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    A Theology of Sleep

    It’s no secret that Americans are chronically sleep-deprived. The problem isn’t relegated to just the United States; it seems our neighbors across the pond also suffer from a “global problem of insufficient sleep.” Researchers contributing to a 2014 BBC article named the significant consequences of getting less than 7-hours of shut-eye on a regular basis: depression, heart disease, cancer, and obesity, to name a few. No surprise there. But I was startled by the reason the researches gave for our propensity to deny our body clocks: arrogance. In Reset: Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture, David Murray boldly states, “Show me your sleep pattern and I’ll show you…

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    Spend Your Summer in the Scriptures: 5 Tips

    If you’re anything like me, summer means less structure. That might equal more free time, but it also might mean your group Bible study has taken a break till fall. Or maybe your church holds a group study, but your VBS commitment,  kids’ softball schedule, or a road trip make participation impossible. How will you stay in the Word when pools and grills are in use? Whatever your situation, get active, not passive. Here are my suggestions for a great summer in the Scriptures: 1.     Pray. Ask, “Lord, please guide me. What part of your Word do I most need? Trust the Spirit to show you. Should you gather a small…

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    Walking in Circles

    A wiser woman once told me that, much like the children of Israel, God sometimes leads us in circles. We learn and relearn life’s lessons as we walk through similar circumstances again and again. If you look at the geography, there wasn’t much room for the children of Israel to wander in the wilderness. Instead they trod the same paths over and over again for forty years. And amidst those circular trails, they learned dependence, obedience, and trust. I’m not suggesting that the circular seasons of life are punishment. Israel wandered in the wilderness because of their disobedience and unbelief. But I also know that God disciplines those he loves…

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    Authority! How is That Working for You?

    God blesses His people with authority. But how well are we wielding it? One of my high school teachers was disciplining her children over a broken vase, not sure which one had broken it, she told them that God had been watching and knew which one of them had done it. The daughter told her mom that God hadn’t talked for a long time and she was counting on that to continue. What we think about authority makes a difference in our relationships. 1 Peter 2:12 says that we are being watched.Our actions often result in how others judge God. This is true, especially with children. Look at the human…

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    Christian Parenting Mistakes: #4 Raising Cultural Christians

    The difference between religion and life in Christ, which is what God intended in Christianity, can be summed up in one word, RELATIONSHIP. We must guard against just handing down our rules and ethics like a religious preference. Christianity is not inherited or genetically passed on from one generation to another. It is not a way of life that is taught because how we live doesn’t make us Christians. Being a Christian determines how we live. We cannot give anyone a relationship with God. Relationship is personal. Relationship must be developed by the individuals at a personal commitment level. Christian parents are sadly mistaken when they think that if they…

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    New Year Resolutions Run Wild

    New Year resolutions are running wild this month. Many of them will die before the month is out. Only the resolutions that are corralled, nourished, and trained into a disciplined practice will survive.  Many of God’s people will purpose in our hearts to memorize more Scripture. As parents and teachers we will want to ramp up our memory lessons because God’s Word encourages us to do so.  It is a weapon for guarding our hearts from sin that seems to elude the vast majority. Psalm 119:9-11 (NET Bible) “How can a young person maintain a pure life?By guarding it according to your instructions! With all my heart I seek you. Do…

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    GOOD GRIEF: Seven Steps to Embracing Emotions- #4 Actions Defined

    If actions speak louder than words then we had better learn to define them. Whether at home or in the classroom, hurting children who have not learned how to ask for help will resort to acting out or closing down. Their actions are a cry for help. Too many times we label them as an act of defiance. We never want to justify or condone misbehavior. However, if a child needs help and they don’t know how to ask for it we can correct their communication style best by first hearing their heart, dealing with their hurt and then in love and compassion explain to them the proper way to…

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    How Change Happens

    On a 2010 trip to Australia, one of the topics I was asked to address at a conference featuring a redemptive view of homosexuality was “Is Change Possible?” This is a controversial question because there are some loud, insistent voices in the culture who say, “Unless you never again have a homosexual thought or feeling, you haven’t changed. And since no one admits to that, any claim of change is an illusion.” No one would apply that strict a standard to any other issue! Former alcoholics living sober and free from the chaos of their drinking for decades still would like a cold beer on a hot day, but that…

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    Chores, Lent, and Discipline

    My mother used to say she had a hard time disciplining me. "Send you to your room? You would be thrilled to have an excuse to read books uninterrupted. And it seems somehow wrong to take away books from a kid…" I’ve always understood discipline in two basic lights, one negative and one positive. You either get disciplined, or you are disciplined. Both can result in positive change, but one is somewhat less painful than the other. Getting Disciplined Like my mother years ago, my husband and I now wrestle with creative and effective ways to discipline our four children. Timeouts, spankings, grounding, withholding electronics or books (yes, I went…

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    Ebola and me?

    Ebola.  The very word conjures up all manner of anxiety within and without. The word hit our awareness when two committed missionaries contracted the dread disease while serving those suffering in Liberia. I don’t know about you, but I followed breathlessly Kent Brantley’s arrival in Atlanta and prayed for Nancy Writebol. Their stories touched the hearts of people around the world.  Thankfully both survived the dread disease and Kent now gives blood to support others also infected. The story continues now and the awareness of danger draws close to home when a Liberian man comes to Dallas and the danger grows closer, New York next, and so the crisis develops. …