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    The Mother of All Virtues

     “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point…A chastity or honesty or mercy which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful until it became risky,” C.S. Lewis What will you undertake this coming year that will require courage? God’s people have always been called to bravery. Obeying God, especially when it’s to our own disadvantage, is the crux of the Christian life. Scripture tells multiple stories of those who demonstrated true bravery in the context of their times. In Joshua 1:1-9, God instructed Joshua to lead His people into the Promised…

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    Go, Total Stranger, Go!!

    Sometimes encouragement comes from entirely unexpected sources. A few years ago, four friends and I embarked on a mini-adventure, each running a 5ish-mile leg of the White Rock Marathon relay. Mind you, my visions of the day and the reality of the morning were quite different. While training, I enjoyed either sunny skies or the comforts of a temperature-controlled workout room. I didn’t anticipate shivering outside for two hours in less-than-ideal weather conditions. Standing in the pouring rain waiting for that baton, out of my blue lips came these words (said with emphasis): “This is STUPID. Why did I sign up for this??” I had distant hope that I would…

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    Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

    He could have kept a distance, withholding his immanence from the shepherd tending a flock. But, there he was: appearing in a fire that burned, yet did not consume its bushy host. God himself had come. And the shepherd, unable to behold such glory, hid his face while God continued, “’I’ve seen the afflictions and heard the groaning of my people. I know their suffering andI have come down to deliver them out of Egyptian oppression and lead them into a broad land flowing with milk and honey.’” He could have delivered the once-enslaved Israelites from afar. But, there he was: appearing each evening as a flaming fire and each…

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    Running the Race of Life

    As Thanksgiving approaches, many of us are gearing up for our favorite running day of the year. Even non-runners love the annual Turkey Trot where young and old alike jog in anticipation of the great feast ahead. Then you can eat all the turkey dinner you want AND have a second helping of dessert guilt-free. Okay, maybe that last part is just my tradition. Unfortunately, I can’t run this year due to a back injury. Doctor’s orders. As I’ve lamented and longed to run again, a new picture has emerged: Life as a race with hurdles and PR’s (personal records). Scripture says: “Since we are surrounded by such a great…

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    Face Trouble with Courage and Peace

    Do you feel sometimes that you are just spinning like a top and nothing will stop the spinning? Life is going well. You’re doing your job faithfully, whatever it is. Then you get blindsided. The world starts spinning. It doesn’t seem like it will ever stop. Where do you go to find security when life hits like that? Where do you get the courage to keep going? The Bible teaches that we can face life’s realities with courage and peace by entrusting ourselves and our loved ones to a God who loves us dearly. I believe that you and I can learn to do just that. How do we learn…

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    Fresh Perspectives on Women of the Bible: Tamar by Barbara Haesecke

    One Sunday our pastor challenged us to “be willing to move toward the messy” to become the kind of people Jesus wants us to be. I immediately thought of Tamar. Her Genesis  38 story is tucked away in the middle of Joseph’s compelling tale, and many routinely skip over her to continue his amazing technicolor dreamcoat saga. But more than an interruption, her story teaches us valuable lessons even though it competes for the messiest story in the Bible. She’s the woman who dressed up as a prostitute and seduced her father-in-law just so she could have a baby.  But is that all there is to her story?  The more…

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    How Not to Hate the Wait

    Our pace of daily life quickens. For instance, do you remember when email emerged as a life-changing breakthrough––speeding up and expanding communication beyond what we ever imagined? Some of us older cats do. But today, many view email as an archaic nuisance, like snail mail. Why not just text or chat? In our world of one-click shopping and on-demand streaming, much of life no longer unfolds over time. We expect immediate results. We want what we want when we want it. Instantaneous life is a must. We hate waiting. Thankfully, we don’t have to wait for anything. Or do we? Yes, often God asks us to wait. But His concept…

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    Fresh Perspectives on Women in the Bible: Esther By Natalie Edwards

    The sound of water flowing fills the palace. Trickling fountains. Incense burning. The smell of lavender lingers in the air. Shades of fine silk in purple, red and blue are laid out for the choosing. It’s a spa of the most luxurious sort and hundreds of women are preparing for their encounter with the king. Yet only one will be chosen queen of Persia and marry King Ahasuerus. Among the crowd of women to come before the king is Esther, our Bible character in this week’s Fresh Perspective on Women in The Bible. Does God value bold courage as a desired feminine quality too? Let's find out.     Raised…

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    The Managerial Style of Moses: Part I

      You’ve heard it said, “Leaders are born, not made.” While a person may possess a certain charisma, extroversion, and tenacity from birth, having these qualities does not pre-qualify him or her as an effective leader. Moses, for example, was a former criminal, fugitive, and poor public speaker (Ex. 2:12, 15; 4:10). Per today’s standards, Moses was unfit for leadership. I doubt we would have trusted him with managing the entire nation of Israel. But God chose Moses regardless. God had a plan—a plan that required Moses to grow into his leadership responsibilities, learning along the way while relying on the Lord. Perhaps you can identify with Moses’ predicament. You’re…