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    When Prayers Go Long: Trusting God While We Wait for Answers

    The tired friend. The good father. The unjust judge. Jesus knew that persistent prayer takes grit. It wears down our give-it-to-me-now mentality. It raises hard questions. It takes an ever-growing faith. So he gave us some poignant pictures to keep us going. In all three of his parables on prayer, Jesus reminds us—keep asking, even when the waiting grows long and wearisome. Here are three lessons we can learn from Jesus’ parables: Pray with fearless abandon. When Jesus’ disciples asked for a lesson on prayer, he gave them a pattern to follow. Then he gave them two vivid pictures. In so doing he encouraged more that rote iterations. He wants…

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    Steps to a Calmer, More Christ-Focused Advent

    The word ‘advent’ comes from ‘ad’ meaning ‘to’ and from ‘vent,’ a form of a Latin word meaning ‘coming.’ Advent is the season when Christians look back on the first advent, or coming, of Messiah, and we look forward to the second advent—his return. New Year’s Day in the church year, which follows the life and ministry of our Lord, begins this year on December 1—the day many Christians count as the first day of Advent. During the four weeks leading up to Christmas, a lot of churches observe Advent as a season of expectant waiting and the preparation of our hearts. Two millennia ago as Israel awaited the Messiah,…

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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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    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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    Waiting with Hope in a Gelatin World

    I’ll be honest. National and world affairs burden my heart. Yes, the world changes constantly, but in recent years the Arab Spring, Brexit, and the election of unexpected leaders in a number of countries have rocked our world. Just last week elections in the Republic of Zimbabwe led to violence. What issues weigh on your heart? I work with refugees. While refugee admissions are at decades long low in my country, there are 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, according the UN Refugee agency. The dire circumstances of so many burdens me. What people inhabit your personal concerns? Wayward children, a sick friend? Do you have significant personal desires that…

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    Heartprints

    Wisdom in Waiting- A Timeless Truth

    In a world of instant everything, a third world country appears to be backward, deprived, even antiquated. They seem slow in their thinking, in their decision making, and especially in their everyday living. A person who visits these countries where living is harder, might verbally give thanks for modern advances while they secretly enjoy the slower pace. Modern cultures have life easier, faster, and more productive. Technology has advanced our ability to do more but sadly reinforces our tendency towards impatience. Impatience comes naturally to all who have a sinful nature. Just try to get a baby to wait when they are hungry or when their diaper needs changing.  In…

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    Man-in-Waiting

    In this last week of Advent, one of the ways we learn to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the arrival of our Savior is to see how others have done so. In Luke 2:25-32 we meet Simeon as he meets Jesus. But before the Messiah is revealed, Simeon is a man-in-waiting. He has waited a very long time to see the coming of the Savior of Israel, for God to keep his promises, for hope to be fulfilled. Notice that Simeon doesn't just pass time as he waits (like we do at the airport), but he "eagerly" waits for God to send the One. There is an anticipation, an expectation.…

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    Groaning

    Today, I am pleased to feature guest blogger Dani Ross. Dani is one of my favorite friends to grab a cup of coffee with and talk about life; I love getting her thoughts on anything from dispensationalism to home decor. Dani resides in Flower Mound, TX, and is a wife and mother of three young boys. She is pursuing a double masters degree in Christian Leadership and Systematic Theology at Dallas Theological Seminary.   The other day I decided to gut our upstairs of all of the stuff we have accumulated as we have moved from from one side of the country to the other. I’m not very sentimental. For…

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    Is God Holding Out on Me?

    My one-year-old sits in his highchair, cramming watermelon into his mouth. He can’t get it in fast enough. In between bites, he fusses. If there’s not a spare piece or two waiting on his tray, he complains. Despite the fact that we generally give him as much watermelon as he wants, he still fears a shortage. As I watch the scene unfold over lunch, it hits me. My son thinks I’m holding out on him. And in a sense, I am. I don’t want him to fill his mouth so full of watermelon that he chokes. So I give him a piece or two at a time—then wait for him…

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    While you wait on Trump, build a house and plant a garden

    Our nation is experiencing a new place, and we are waiting for the "new normal" to sort itself out. Trump won, and whether you were for him or against him, if you are a citizen of the United States of America, he will soon be your president. If you are a Christ-follower, God's Love Letter tells you what to do: "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established" (Romans 13:1). Paul was writing to Christians about their attitude and actions toward one of the most brutal and unjust governments in history–Rome. So we know what to do, but what…