Too ashamed to pray?
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When I was a kid, we always knew that when the dog slunk around the house and avoided our eyes we would soon find an “accident” in the living room. When you know that you have done wrong and offended someone, it is a powerful deterrent to wanting to have a close and intimate conversation with that person. Guilt makes you want to run away. When we are guilty of unconfessed and unforgiven sin, one of the first casualties is... Read More
My children are my treasures
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Dear Lord, thank you for my children. I know I don’t thank you enough. They are miracles of your design, and they have brought incredible joy and delight into my life. How blessed I am to be their gateway into the world! I grumble too much about the strain and cost and work involved in raising children. Lord Jesus, you sacrificed so much for me—it is a privilege to worship you by being willing to sacrifice for my children. They... Read More
Your Father's compassion
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You know the story of the prodigal son, right?—son asks for inheritance, son spends inheritance foolishly, son travels home looking for his father’s mercy. If this were reality TV, here’s how the story would continue: “But while he was still a long way off, his father’s security guards spotted him and relayed the message. The father gave strict orders that his wastrel offspring was never to set foot on the family estate again, and if he tried, the dogs should... Read More
Does anyone really love me?
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How many movies have been made about lonely people looking for love? How many songs have been written about lonely people looking for a little affection? There is an ache inside each of us for love, in some ways a bottomless pit. We are hungry for acceptance. We are dying to be felt valuable by someone else. We all need to matter to somebody. We need a safe place where we can lick our wounds and be liked anyway. We... Read More
I feel so overwhelmed
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Lord, help! Some days I am so overwhelmed and exhausted that I want to give up. I’d run away, but I am too tired. I can’t keep up. I don’t know how much longer I can keep juggling my job, marriage, children, house, bills, and all the other demands put on me. Many days I feel like a failure in each area of my life. I can’t work on improvement when every day I’m just reacting to the next crisis... Read More
A servant wife
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Two generations ago married women were generally referred to by both their husbands’ names, e.g., Mrs. John Smith. One generation ago that was passé and wives’ own first names appeared—Mrs. Judy Smith. Yesterday’s trend was for married women to keep their maiden names even after marriage. Today’s fashion is just to live together and not bother to be married at all. In these times, the Bible’s teachings about gender roles in marriage must seem quaint and antiquated at best and... Read More
Jesus is peace
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One of the greatest works of art ever is da Vinci’s Last Supper, a fresco painted into fresh plaster above a doorway in a Milan monastery. It depicts an evening that was one of the worst in the lives of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus spent hours prepping his Twelve for coming hardships. He would be arrested, abused, and killed. They would fall into the hands of Jesus’ own tormentors and suffer too. Their own faith would fail. But all this would... Read More
Sweet serenity
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Can you get pączki where you live? These scrumptious Polish jelly donuts appear only once a year on “Fat Tuesday,” Mardi Gras, and symbolize one last rich food fling before the 40 days of Lenten austerity. Mardi Gras’ annual excesses of drinking and partying have cast something of a shadow on the fine old custom of “Shrove Tuesday.” Self-denial is good, but so is enjoying the gifts and treasures that God has built into our earth. Both feasting and fasting... Read More
Jesus is love
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We have three potted hibiscus trees that spend summer in our backyard, but only two bear those big gorgeous red flowers. The third is nice and bushy, has great leaves, but doesn’t feel like producing no matter what I do. In the last paragraph of Galatians chapter 5, St. Paul lists nine “fruits of the Spirit,” i.e., features and characteristics of our lives that show a living faith and the indwelling of the Spirit. These fruits are not optional; God... Read More
Remember Sabbath now
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The wording of the Third Commandment has confused a lot of Christians. God’s “Big Ten” are an extremely handy summary of his will for how he wants us to treat him (#1-3) and one another (#4-10). Even though the wording is found in the Old Testament (Exodus 20), they express timeless moral truth, not just temporary ceremonial law. Except for #3. Sabbath is timeless; the Sabbath day was intended to be a temporary regulation. St. Paul helped Christians who grew... Read More