Grace? What’s That?
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Every trade and every craft has its own jargon. That special “inside talk” sometimes uses ordinary English words but gives them totally different meanings. For instance, you may have a sister, i.e., a female sibling. In carpenter talk, though, a “sister” is a short piece of wood that is used to reinforce a joint between two ceiling or floor joists. In day-to-day conversation, the word grace means that someone moves fluidly and beautifully. We admire a dancer’s graceful steps or... Read More
For Others
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We all have a selfish streak by nature. When we become aware that we are able to access God’s throne through prayer, our first instincts are to care only about ourselves. But just as spiritual growth helps us see the joy and fulfillment that come from serving other people, growth in prayer maturity leads us to think of other people’s needs before our own. St. Paul invited his Asian brothers and sisters to pray for him while a prisoner in... Read More
Obey Your Parents
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You’ve seen what happens when a child has not learned to obey, haven’t you? “Sally, come here. Sally! I mean it, right now. Please, Sally, if you come here, I’ll take you to McDonalds. All right, Toys ‘R’ Us too.” It’s disgusting, isn’t it? When parents don’t teach their child that they will say something one time and expect it to be done, that child has learned, “I have power. You don’t mean what you say.” A child who has... Read More
Aging
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Help! My body is betraying me. American culture is all about worshiping youth and beauty and strength. How can you not be depressed about the way in which your body is steadily breaking down? Decline in our looks is bad enough—who in his right mind welcomes wrinkles, skin blotches, gray hair, flab, and male-pattern baldness? Even worse is the slow erosion of our health—onset of diabetes, prostate trouble, cartilage loss in knees and hips, hypertension, and cataracts. Moses nailed it... Read More
It's Her Fault
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Home sweet home? Alas, not always. You’d like to think that your home would be a steady refuge from conflict in the business world, but sometimes it’s the reverse—the bitterest quarrels and deepest pain arise between people who on other occasions say that they love each other. How can that be? Well, remember that sinful parents give birth to sinful children, who are little ego monsters by nature. They don’t need to go to school or summer camp to learn... Read More
Immanuel: God With Us
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Does it ever bother you that you are invited to worship a God that you can’t see? If there really is a divine Maker of this world, why doesn’t he hang around to let us get to know him? God’s seeming absence from this planet has led some to fear that we are all alone here and that there is nobody and nothing greater than man. Ah, but that’s not so. The Bible says that “in Christ all the fullness... Read More
Whatcha Lookin’ For?
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Isn’t it funny how your mind-set can become a self-fulfilling prophecy? What I mean by that is that you usually find what you are looking for and what you expect. If you expect other people to let you down, if you are bracing yourself at all times, refusing to trust anybody, bitter about past betrayals and certain the next one is coming any minute, you will probably find evidence today or tomorrow that someone must have it in for you.... Read More
Be Proud of God
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Of all the things teenagers do that cause hurt to their parents, being ashamed of them in public is one of the worst. I did it to my parents, and my own kids have repeatedly done it to me. Even though I expect it and even understand it to some degree, it still hurts that they think my wife and me too old, too slow, and too out of it to be associated with. I don’t suppose God is too... Read More
Soon I Can Praise You Face-to-Face
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Lord Jesus, you took on my humanity and were born just like me. You honored the human race by living among us and as one of us. You offered your body on the cross, were buried like us, and rose again not only in spirit but in body too. When you ascended into heaven, you brought your body with you! You took our humanity to the very throne room of heaven. You are now bonded to us into eternity. We... Read More
Who, Me? A Pharisee?
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There used to be a yeast company in my town. Its pungent, musky smell wafted over the near west side on production days. Yeast’s ability to reproduce rapidly makes it an indispensable ingredient to beer and bread. God chose to use this wonderful substance as a metaphor for sin—something that metastasized quietly and dangerously. At Passover time the Jewish housewives were to get rid of every trace of yeast in their kitchens and eat only unleavened bread. Jesus warned his... Read More