Lent – Day 6

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Today’s Thought: What message do my works send about my faith?

If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that?  (James 2:14-16)

My mother loved to people watch. When I was in elementary and middle school, our family would make an entire day of picking up my older brothers from the airport when they would come home on military leave. For someone my age who rarely left our small, rural county, trips to the airport were pretty exhilarating. Especially since my people-person mother was in her element! We would try to guess passenger destinations from the way they were dressed or from bits of information we overheard. It was a particularly exciting trip if my mother struck up an actual conversation with one of the travellers. There were several particularly exciting trips!

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Lent – Day 4

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Today’s Thought: Does a person’s status make a difference in how I treat him or her? (Hint: Don’t say “no” too quickly.)

You do well if you really fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2:8)

One of the most quoted verses of the Bible is, love your neighbor as yourself. It’s fairly common to see it used in charity campaigns as a way of reminding us that “love” is an action word! To love our neighbor means giving, helping, donating. But in the Letter of James, Chapter 2, we’re asked to think about the various ways we show love to all of our neighbors and consider how… just maybe… we might love some neighbors more than others.

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Open My Eyes

“Mommy… Can two women get married?”

I looked at my six-year-old daughter’s large, brown eyes and I said, “Not legally in our state.” It wasn’t a good answer, but it was true, and she accepted it without further questioning. In my defense, she was only six and she had caught me off guard. (Note to new mommas… the questions only get harder.)

That was 25 years ago.

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Abba

I had just taken a sip of coffee and was staring absentmindedly at the menu, feeling the stress of another workweek beginning to slip away… and then it started. First as a small whine, I don’t waaaant to; then it amplified into a full-blown tantrum… aaaaaahhhhhh [crying] nooooooooo [kicking the chair]. No, it wasn’t me telling my husband how much I didn’t want to go back to work on Monday. It was the small, but hearty-lunged, child at the table next to us expressing his displeasure with his parents. I glanced over and caught their exasperated faces and slumped shoulders as they asked for to-go boxes while wrestling a coat onto their child (who seemed to have turned into an octopus). I wanted to tell them it was just a phase, like teething or potty-training. But, I never was a good liar.

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Those Days

“We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade the presence of God. The world is crowded with Him. He walks everywhere incognito.” ― C.S. Lewis

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing seems to go right? Days when you need to do just One. Simple. Task. but three more clamor for attention before you can even begin the one you started with? Days that commence unexpectedly at 3:45 a.m. when the cat hacks up a furball on the comforter that demands dry clean only? How about several of those days coming one right after the other… days that include things a lot worse than an unexpected dry cleaning bill?

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In the Headlights

Have you ever heard the phrase, like a deer in the headlights? Poor deer. It’s late at night. She’s minding her own business. She just needs to cross this one road, when… BLAM. A car with those creepy bright halogen headlights comes out of nowhere and blinds her. There she is in the middle of the road, wide-eyed and stunned motionless. Got that picture in your mind? Good. Now set that to the side while you picture a nice lady, such as myself, sitting in church minding her own business.

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Too Much Togetherness

A friend and I were talking about the complexities of showing kindness to strangers, especially in this sometimes scary world we live in, when she said, “You know… It’s not really strangers that I have the most problems with.  It’s my family!”  We shared a knowing glance.  “Christmas dinner is always the worst. I am not looking forward to it this year.”

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Healing

Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’  (John 5:8)

Christmas will be here two weeks from today.  Two. Weeks. When I still had little ones at home, I always felt a rush of childlike anticipation at this point in the holiday season. After the little ones grew up and left home, I accused them of taking all my holiday enthusiasm (along with several glasses, two iPhone chargers, and a crockpot). My holiday joy was gone, so I hunkered down for a long, cold winter.

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Can I Take It Back?

It took less than 30 seconds.  Seriously.  In less than 30 seconds I spoke some pretty ugly words about someone, bonded with others over it, and immediately started to feel like a heel, a jerk, and a disaster in living out my faith. This is not how Christians act, I told myself. And then it hit me – this is how Christians act. It’s how we act when we forget, dismiss, or ignore God’s presence.

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Who’s There?

I am standing at the door, knocking… (Rev 3:20)

One of the first images I remember from church is a painting called The Light of the World – a vivid image of greens and reds, it shows Christ with a crown of thorns knocking at a door overgrown with weeds. My mother explained that there was no outside handle on the door. Whoever is inside must be the one to open it; otherwise, Jesus will not be able to enter. I remember thinking to myself, “Who would ever refuse to open the door for Jesus Christ?”

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