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    The Forerunner: What Does Repentance Look Like?

    About four hundred years before Christ, Malachi (5th century BC) predicted that the prophet Elijah (who lived in the 10th century BC) would return and herald the arrival of the Messiah (Mal. 4:5). In John the Baptist’s day, his people expected the literal Elijah to return from the dead as Messiah’s forerunner. Elijah himself had raised a dead person, so they had some precedent for someone coming back from the dead. The angel’s announcement to Elizabeth and Zechariah identified their baby as the fulfillment of Malachi’s prophecy; he would come in the “spirit and power” of Elijah (Luke 1:17, 76). During John’s ministry, when asked if he was Elijah, John said, “I…

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    Aspects of Aging with Grace

    Snarky. Snarky. Snarky. I heard this word from different sources recently. I was not familiar with the definition of this word, but I did not like how I identified with the context in which the word was used. Snarky is an adjective describing someone who is subject to whims, ill-temper, crankiness as well as given over to curt irritable speech. Ouch! I was convicted of having some snarky thoughts and words. As with most sins, this one is subtle and limited. I realized I was on the brink of joining a club I did not want to be a member of—the Domineering Old Ladies Club (DOLC).[1] This club’s members think…

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    But, I’m Not Sorry; Navigating an unrepentant heart.

    Recently I behaved in a way that was sinful.  I lost my temper with someone I love because I was furious. I confided in my husband and as usual, he gave sound counsel. “You need to call her up and say that you’re sorry,” was his simple advice. “Well,” I said. “Here’s the trouble. I’m not sorry.” What do you do when you’re not sorry? Check yourself before you wreck yourself. This is one of my favorite silly sayings. But, to “check myself” is not actually good enough. “Self” is the issue.  If left to myself, I might justify my behavior. This is where humility and the transforming power of…

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    Ash Wednesday – what questions should I ask?

    Today is Ash Wednesday…what is it and should I participate? This day of repentance, which for many in the Western church marks the beginning of Lent, the 40-day period of fasting before Easter following the example of our Lord who spent 40 days in the desert to fast and pray (Matthew 4:1-11).  It is also known as the “Day of Ashes,” so called because on that day at church the faithful have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross.   In the Old Testament ashes were used for two purposes: as a sign of humility and mortality and as a sign of sorrow and repentance for…