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    Pain: God’s Just-Right Tool

    I wrote this blog post on May 7, 2012. When I ran it again almost five years later, I added this introduction: Not quite five years ago, when I originally wrote this, I had no idea that by this point, I would hardly be walking, using a scooter 95% of the time and unable to move without a walker for the rest. Pain and serious weakness are my daily companions. As I noticed the counts on my most popular blog posts and discovered this one among the top, I am grateful that the wisdom God gave me five years ago is even more true today. And I am grateful that…

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    Lessons from a Blue Cast

    Two weeks ago, I had a close encounter with the sidewalk. I caught my foot on a stump and found myself on the ground bleeding and in pain. Some stitches and a cast later, my routine has changed: no more going non-stop grabbing breakfast and dashing off to work. I function at turtle pace. Preparing my lunch takes planning. My limitations teach me lessons I’d prefer not to learn, at least not THIS way. Here are three of them: 1. Being a member of the body of Christ means receiving as well as giving. The body of Christ and my larger community of friends amaze and humble me. My capable…

  • Political pressures sharpen your focus-2 Chronicles 10-12
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    Political Pressures Sharpen Your Focus

    Listen to this blog as a similar podcast: Often, when I am studying the Old Testament books of history, I marvel at how similar to today are the challenging situations faced by the people and their responses to those challenges. Although the types of challenges may be different, human nature hasn’t changed one bit. And, the choice in every situation back then or today is this: On whom will you rely? Will you rely on God and obey Him regardless of what the culture says? Or, will you rely on your own reasoning and side with the world? One very good example from the Old Testament is found in 2…

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    Trust God’s Choice in Addressing Your Pain

    Listen to this blog as a similar podcast: This year has been painful for many of us. Because of Covid-19, we haven’t seen loved ones for months because they live far away. Travel is risky for older folks because of their vulnerability to the disease. We keep praying for it to go away, and it just won’t! The flu at least ends after a few months. This thing is persistent and wicked. This pain is affecting our lives in new and challenging ways. I was in a Bible study recently talking about how pain affects our lives and our perspective of God’s goodness to us. We were studying the Mark…

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    The Last Mile of Life

    Everyone faces life and death crossroads. And everyone’s experiences differ. This year in particular has impacted many of us as we or a loved one walk the last mile of life. Today my emotions remain raw while this season of incredible loss for me and my family wears on. I don’t have facts and figures to try to make sense of it all. Instead, I’d like to share a few thoughts from my heart.

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    Taking a stand for what is right

    Exodus 1:9–2:10 is part of the lectionary readings for the twelfth Sunday after Pentecost, which is August 23rd. For the sake of brevity, this study primarily focuses on the narrative in chapter 1. Genesis reveals how Joseph was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers. Yet, in time, Joseph rose to prominence in Egypt and became the prime minister. When famine struck Canaan, Joseph’s brothers sought relief in Egypt. While there, they happened upon their long-lost brother and discovered that he was in a position to get them the resources they needed to keep from starving. Joseph forgave his brothers. And since the famine was continuing to worsen, he invited…

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    God’s glorification and vindication of believers

    Romans 8:26–39 is part of the lectionary readings for the eighth Sunday after Pentecost, which is July 26th. In 7:1–12, Paul described how sin (personified as a despotic power) used the Mosaic Law to arouse the desire for iniquity within people. When believers trusted in the Son, their relationship to the Law was severed. In turn, this undercut a major way sin exercised its unchallenged authority in their lives. Next, in verses 13–25, the apostle described what life dominated by the sinful nature looked like. He affirmed how easy it was for people to succumb to sin’s control. He also revealed that it was only through faith in the Son…

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    Light and Momentary Troubles

    Job loss. Global pandemic. COVID-19 killing thousands. Racial injustices. Knees on necks. Anxiety. Depression. Social distancing loneliness. Sexual harassment. School bullying. It’s just one thing after another. Maybe you wonder if God is even paying attention.    We all face discouragement. We try our best, only to be humiliated in front of our coworkers by a toxic boss who leaves us feeling unappreciated and discarded. We toil to make our marriages work, only to feel frustrated because nothing is changing. We give and serve at church, only to have our jaws hit the floor when we learn of members’ gossip and betrayal. It’s a good thing that what God says…

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    Freedom to Do What?

    Another celebration of our country’s freedoms will occur in just a few days.[1] The focus is generally on friends, food, and fireworks. Our country’s freedoms somehow seem to get lost in the celebrations each year. This is a sad reality, but an even sadder reality occurs in our everyday life concerning freedoms. I tend to forget these freedoms and spent some time recently reminding myself of them. These freedoms seem to come on the flip side of some things I am naturally bound to do. With the occurrence of COVID-19, I am more aware of my seemingly loss of personal freedoms during 2020. I am naturally bound to want to…

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    Experiencing Peace and Hope with God

    Romans 5:1–8 is part of the lectionary readings for the second Sunday after Pentecost, which is June 14th. In 3:21–31, we learn about the Father’s provision of righteousness through faith in the Son (Rom 3:21–31). Paul argued that long before the advent of the Messiah, Abraham and David were justified by faith (4:1–8). The apostle clarified that faith was also the basis for the covenant between God and His chosen people (vv. 9–15). Indeed, God’s promise of grace extended to all Jews and Gentiles, whose faith in the Creator was like that found in Abraham. Though he was exceedingly aged, and Sarah was past childbearing, Abraham still believed God’s promise…