Is that us in the furnace?

Feb 15, 2016 by

Ever since childhood I’ve wondered why we know Daniel by his Hebrew name but his three friends by their Babylonian names. It’s tempting to divine some spiritual significance to the inconsistency, but...

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Cruel words as agents of change

Jan 4, 2016 by

Those were your words. You know not, you can scarcely conceive, how they have tortured me. — Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice I find it discouraging when rude people (myself included) are right...

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Dressing girls

Nov 23, 2015 by

Thus far my daughters and I have rarely fought over clothes. But the middle school years have arrived, and the annoyingly predictable phrase, “Everyone is wearing this,” has now cropped up several times. I...

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Open the wells: meditation on a hymn

Oct 12, 2015 by

Dead to the world would I be, O Father. Dead unto sin, alive unto thee. — Elisha A. Hoffman The hymn, “Lord, I am fondly,” has been popping up in my head at random times. It is intensely personal. To...

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Comfortable with hell?

Aug 31, 2015 by

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.” — C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce A boy in my...

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Promises God does not keep

Jul 20, 2015 by

That’s a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken. — Mary Poppins I did not truly understand the magnitude of making a promise until I had children. Multiple times a day they look deeply into my eyes...

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Complementary and submissive?

Jun 8, 2015 by

Male headship and female submission — not topics I’d suggest for your next social event. They were easier to understand in an earlier time when gender roles were more clearly defined: Men generated money...

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‘I just don’t have the time’

Mar 16, 2015 by

If one more person tells me how “crazy busy” they are and then proceeds to summarize, in detail, the entire season of a TV show on Netflix, I’m going to . . . write a column about it. Most of us have no...

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Worship our children?

Feb 2, 2015 by

Whatever [parents] are doing is for the child’s sake, and the child’s alone. Parents no longer raise children for the family’s sake or that of the broader world. — Jennifer Senior, All Joy and No...

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Marriage and change

Dec 22, 2014 by

This is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart). — E.E. Cummings Given the fact that we all enter the world as helpless infants, we depend on the ability to...

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Avoiding Jesus

Nov 10, 2014 by

No one can truly know Christ unless they follow him daily in life. — Hans Denck You know those people in your life who you respect but find hard to be around? Sometimes it seems the church feels that way...

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Parenting and the Bible

Sep 29, 2014 by

It is the things you assume that really sink into them. It is the things you forget even to teach that they learn. — G.K. Chesterton I recently received a postcard in the mail from a local church advertising...

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Older brother

Aug 18, 2014 by

The worlds we sought were never those we saw; the worlds we bargained for were never the worlds we got. — Saul Bellow, Dangling Man I realize it is an unflattering thing to reveal, but if I had to insert...

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Jesus in my heart

Jul 7, 2014 by

My daughters periodically beg to become members of our church. This would warm my heart more if their requests didn’t always fall on Sundays when we celebrate communion. I sympathize. How well I remember...

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A spirit next to you

May 26, 2014 by

Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you: But when the leaves hang trembling, The wind is passing through. — Christina Rossetti One of the gifts of spiritually mentoring children is the opportunity to...

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Power in the blood

Apr 14, 2014 by

As the first Adam’s sweat surrounds my face, May the last Adam’s blood my soul embrace. — John Donne After rehearsing a gospel song, a musician friend who to our knowledge has never attended an actual...

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Antidote to anger

Mar 3, 2014 by

Then bubbling up from the inner depths is the one thing we did not want, a biting and bitter spirit. — Richard Foster Celebration of Discipline It’s unfortunate we can’t harness this world’s anger...

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Hope of heaven

Jan 20, 2014 by

The thought that life could be better is woven indelibly into our hearts, and our brains. — Paul Simon, “Train in the Distance” Since I was looking out an airplane window, en route to my childhood...

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Orpha’s potato salad

Sep 30, 2013 by

One morning I looked at my five-pound bag of potatoes that were not getting any fresher and thought, “How about some potato salad?” I wasn’t getting good vibes from any of my newer books with large...

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