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    Waiting Out the Wait

      I’m not good at waiting. Most of us aren’t. We live in a culture of instant response and immediate gratification. Even waiting out a storm can drag on. “Right now” has become the norm and expectation. But immediacy in all aspects of life is a relatively new phenomenon. In the not-too-distant past, responses and news of current happenings travelled at a snail’s pace. But as pre-iPhone kids, this created anticipation each week as we looked forward to the Sunday paper’s section of cartoon strips. My favorite: the beloved Snoopy by Charles Schulz. I still remember the picture of Snoopy laying atop his red doghouse with ears relaxed and eyes…

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    Heartprints

    Tips for Teaching #1

    I want to share some tips that will hopefully help us better prepare our children for the difficulties of standing strong in the faith. Encourage children to ask the hard questions. If they aren’t asking, ask them! Teach them how to wrestle with the Word of God to find the answers. We tend to shy away from the questions that are hard to answer or maybe can’t really be answered. Learning that we can’t demand answers but must be humbly thankful for the revelations God gives is a hard lesson to teach and even harder to learn. I was recently talking with a woman who grew up in a Christian…

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    Suffering and All Its Glory

    There are several ways to approach teaching God’s Word. There are those who focus on teaching the principles, others on the doctrine, and still others put the focus on the words or the content of the passages. They tell the stories, they highlight the words and they emphasize the historical facts. They carefully teach the who, what, when, where, why, and even the how of the story. I have tended to use this method. Through this form of teaching I learned a lot of the characters, places, and events in the Bible. I have seen how God works and how people respond to His person, power, and promises. After over…

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    Hunting for Goodness

    Goodness. It’s this elusive thing we crave. We know what it looks like but can’t fully describe it. We know when we hunger for it but can’t seem to clutch onto it and make it stay. We want to bottle it up, store it tight and save it for a desperate day. But we can’t. Goodness slips into our days and surprises us in the most unexpected ways. Like familiar arms slipping round our waste as we do the dishes. Or sometimes—occasionally—like a flurry of activity at the back door when our kid sneaks home from college for an unexpected weekend. But sometimes we just can’t seem to see it.…

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    Give Thanks for a Little

    "Give thanks for a little, and you will find a lot." — West African Proverb I tore those simple words out of a health and wellness magazine a year or two ago and hung them on the fridge. After a while they started to blend in, feeling ordinary just like the other papers and cards and magnets cluttered around them. I'd glance at them occasionally, but their poignancy seldom stuck with me.  The page hung that way for weeks, and even months, until I started reading Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts Devotional. The book’s challenge to count my blessings and daily write them down—until I reach one thousand of them in…

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    Better than Shirley Temple Goodness

    Hearing that Shirley Temple Black died this week sent me back to my childhood years. The Shirley Temple from the 1930s movie screens had an influence on my early life in the 1950s. Even though there were no reruns on television, nor channels like TMC and AMC to play all her movies, and certainly no DVDs, I somehow knew about Shirley Temple. And, her portrayal of goodness. Looking back at pictures of me as a young girl, I wore Shirley Temple style dresses, with my hair in fluffy blonde curls. Like many girls my age, I played with a Shirley Temple doll,complete with outfits from some of her movie roles. When…

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    Shadowed Valleys and Splendid Tables

    The dark night closes in around us, like a foggy mist clinging to the soul. Night give ways to another night, and it seems daybreak misses its cue. We step forward but stumble, reach out but cannot find something steady to which we can cling. In such moments all we want is a person, a presence, a guide. David, expressing the longing of his heart and ours, penned a promise for dark seasons. Often read at funerals or resigned to bookmarks, Psalm 23 gives hope to every journeying soul. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with…

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    God of Insignificance

    God celebrates smallness. He invites to Himself amidst our insignificance. Like a silver chord woven into midnight-colored fabric, God’s goodness gleams in the places where we feel isolated and unimportant. Trace the thread through the pages of Genesis. You’ll meet a man named Joseph—chosen by God yet consigned to slavery and imprisonment. Peer into Ruth. Once a pagan, then a proselyte, this widowed woman followed harvesters around trying to gather enough grain to feed herself and her mother-in-law. Go into the gospels. You’ll encounter men who earned their living as laborers—casting nets, cleaning fish, and eventually catching souls.   Scripture’s finest figures spent most of their lives in humble positions.…

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    The Glad Game

    “Let’s play the glad game!” The golden-haired, azure-eyed child declared to a group of grumpy-faced adults. Her silly phrase got me thinking, do I look for reasons to be glad? Two Fridays ago my husband and I nestled onto the sofa and put in the Disney classic Pollyanna. I prepared myself for a few cheesy lines. I expected the drama-turned-to-joy storyline. But I didn’t anticipate learning a spiritual practice from the 1960 film. If I take an honest inventory of my life, gratitude is often absent. I overlook the good things before me—friendship, food on the table, family, —because I’m focused on what I don’t possess. And as gripe about…