Judy Nichols

Judy's Blogs

Resurrection - Week of April 5th

As I consider writing about the resurrection of Jesus, I grope for words. Reading the gospel accounts, they seem bare, factual, almost anti-climactic. The emotion just isn’t there. They leave me feeling like the disciples must have felt – I don’t get it. It’s real; I know it’s happened; I’m surprised and happy, but I don’t know what it means.
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Presenting Ourselves - Week of January 18th

I have a dear friend, an early riser, who takes a walk every morning before sunrise, no matter the weather, to give thanks to God. That is her way of keeping God’s presence at the forefront of her consciousness.
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Alternate Universe - Week of January 25th

Sometimes I look at people, politicians with whom I disagree, in particular, and think, "What universe do you live in that you think that could possibly work?" I think they are either deceived in their thinking, trying to deceive others or they’re completely divorced from reality.
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Bearing Fruit For Good - Week of February 1st

Infertility is one of the most painful conditions a couple can find themselves in. There are couples who don’t want children, and that is fine. But generally child-bearing is a desired outcome of marriage. In fact, I believe the purpose for which God instituted marriage is procreation – the creation and nurture of new human beings and the subsequent health of society at large.
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Murphy's Law - Week of February 8th

Everybody knows about Murphy’s Law. In its general form it just says, "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong." My sister sent me a list of corollaries recently, some of which were quite humorous. The one we can all relate to is the Law of Variation – "If you change lines at the supermarket, the line you just left will begin moving faster and the one you got into will move slower."
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Spring Cleaning - Week of February 15th

Spring cleaning used to be a ritual in every home. It’s not done so much today, although doing a thorough cleaning of the house at least once a year is still a good practice. But in the days when homes were heated with a wood stove or a coal furnace things got a lot dirtier through the winter months than they do now, and that spring clean-up was an absolute necessity.
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Finding The Dirt - Week of February 22nd

I do not like to clean my house. I can find any number of things I’d rather do than clean. As a consequence, I don’t usually clean until my house is visibly dirty – dust bunnies under the buffet, cobwebs in the corners, and dust you can draw pictures in. It’s not hard to find the dirt when I finally get around to cleaning and it’s gratifying to be able to see the difference afterward.
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Deep Cleaning - Week of March 1st

There are lots of things around my house that don’t get cleaned routinely. I clean the kitchen counters and table several times daily because we use them all the time. I only clean the cupboards and drawers a few times a year. Once a year I take down the curtains and wash them. And I am embarrassed to admit that there are some things, like the glass in the pictures on the walls and the knickknacks, that haven’t been washed in years.
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Self-Denial - Week of March 8th

I would venture to say that what most people think of when they think of Lent is self denial. "Giving up something for Lent" is a fairly common practice, at least among religious people. And while I would never denigrate a person’s giving up something for Lent, some of the things we give up are inconsequential at best, and at their worst make a mockery of the whole concept.
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In The Mood - Week of March 15th

In order for me to really get into cleaning, I have to be in the mood. When I’m in the mood, I can go at it intensively for hours. This usually happens for the big projects, like cleaning the kitchen cupboards or washing the windows, jobs that don’t get done that often.
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Serving - Week of March 22nd

My first job was as a page at the local public library. I had two duties: to put returned books back on the shelves and, if that was done, to read the Dewey decimal numbers on a section of books to make sure they were in the right order. As an introvert, that kind of job suited me just fine.
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Holy Week - Week of March 29th

This is Holy Week, when we remember the events leading up to the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On what we now call Palm Sunday Jesus approached Jerusalem surrounded by crowds hailing Him as King. Just a few days later, these same crowds would be shouting, "Crucify! Crucify!"
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Conviction - Week of April 12th

When David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then conspired to have her husband killed in battle to cover it up, God sent the prophet Nathan to confront him. God wanted David to know for sure that, even if no one else knew about his sin, He knew it. And while the judgment was harsh – Bathsheba’s child died and the division of the kingdom was foretold – it still was utterly merciful of God to give David a chance to repent. He could justly have struck him dead on the spot.
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Responsible Party - Week of April 19th

Whenever you take your child to the doctor’s office and fill out paperwork, there’s always a place where you have to say who is the responsible party – who will pay the bill if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
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Loving, Kindness and Truth - Week of April 26th

I just finished watching my two-year-old grandson for a few days while his parents took a little vacation prior to the arrival of his little sibling. I love my grand-children to the moon and back. I am the typical doting grandmother.
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Double-Edged Sword - Week of May 3rd

two-edged sword. God uses one of the edges on us. It pierces to the division of soul and spirit and judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Just the other night I was reading one of the Psalms where the writer declares things he does not do because of his reverence for God.
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Chasing Shadows - Week of May 10th

A good friend of mine tells the story of an underwater swim contest she participated in when she was a kid. It was simple: whoever got the farthest swimming under water got a chocolate bar. This friend is an achiever. She was in the race to win and won by a long shot. She’d seen a shadow ahead of her and thought it was a swimmer. Surprise! Nope, they were all far behind. So she got the coveted chocolate bar. Trouble was, whether because of the exertion of the swim or an intestinal bug, she threw up after the race, gave away the chocolate, and went home and spent several hours in bed.
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A Better Word - Week of May 17th

So often we read right over something in the Scripture without really thinking about it. Then suddenly one day it jumps out at us. It happened again today when I was reading in Hebrews. The author has spent the whole book contrasting Jesus with Judaism, the sacrifices, the priesthood, the covenants, and finally even the hope.
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Memorial Day - Week of May 24th

This is Memorial Day, when we remember those who gave their lives to secure and maintain our freedom. My father was just a child when World War 1 broke out and then was too old when the Second happened, but my father-in-law served in both of those conflicts. He was grievously wounded in the Argonne Woods in World War 1. Shrapnel entered his right side and exited his left shoulder. He was in the hospital for over a year recovering from his wounds.
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Creation's Groaning -June 1st

I have always thought that the birds’ songs and the various animal voices were, if we could understand their languages, expressions of praise to God. After all, Psalm 150, verse six says, "Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!" Indeed, the entire creation testifies to the existence and glory of God.
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Baby Sister's Coming - June 7th

Our fourth grandchild is due to come on the scene in a matter of weeks. Our son and daughter-in-law have been making preparations. A month or so ago they moved their firstborn from the nursery into his own room and into a "big boy bed." He has observed his mommy sorting and putting away frilly little girl clothes and has accompanied her to some doctor’s visits. He spent the night at our house as a trial run for when they go to the hospital. He knows Mommy has a baby in her tummy and talks about his "baby sister." But he really has no idea what it all means. He has no concept of what it will be like when it actually happens.
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Courtroom - June 14th

I have only ever been in a courtroom as a participant in the legal proceeding once. We had an attorney to represent our interests and present our case before the judge. The whole thing was a rather scary experience, compounded by the fact that I was dealing with an illness that could have taken my life. We were grateful to have an advocate at a time when we both felt very overwhelmed by life’s challenges.
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Setting The Stage - June 21st

Oddly enough, one of the first Scriptures that came to my mind when I was diagnosed with cancer twenty years ago was Job 2:10. "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?" In a way, this verse set the stage for all that would transpire over the next nine months. It was as if God was calling me to a venue that would stretch my faith muscles to the limit.
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On Marriage and Happiness - June 28th

The U.S. Supreme Court has decreed that same-sex marriage is now legal in all fifty states, despite the fact that thirty states had voted, some overwhelmingly, to protect the God-given definition of marriage in their states. I am not here to debate the merits or demerits of that decree. What I do want to address is an error I believe has crept not only into our culture but also into the church and which has impacted the discussion of marriage. This error is believing that God’s highest priority for mankind is happiness.
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A Grandmother's Prayer - Week of July 5th

I love it when I find a Scripture upon which I can base a prayer concern. If God has said He will do something, then I have much more confidence to ask Him to do it in the particular situation I’m praying about. It happened again recently.
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PSALM 144:12 - Week of July 12th

One of my favorite verses about children is Psalm 144:12. "Let our sons in their youth be like grown-up plants, and our daughters as corner pillars fashioned as for a palace." Grown-up plants are the ones bearing fruit. We planted a half-dozen blueberry bushes last year, and only one of them has any berries on it. Bearing fruit is something that only comes with maturity.
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Sibling Rivalry - Week of July 19th

Sibling rivalry is a fact of life. Who hasn’t heard – or said – "He got a bigger piece than I did!" Or, "She’s not doing her share of the work." Or from the back seat of the car, "He’s on my side!" My older sister and I shared a bed when we were little. She would roll up in the covers when she turned over and I would snuggle up close to her to keep warm. She complained I hogged the bed and I said she hogged the covers.
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Big Birdies - Week of July 26th

Just around the corner from my daughter’s home is a place where tree branches had grown around an electric wire. When the tree was cut down, they left the chunks of wood through which the wire ran just hanging there. While on a walk with the neighbor who babysits them often, my granddaughter noticed them and the sitter told her they looked like big birdies sitting up there.
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Laws - Week of August 2nd

There are laws and then there are laws. When we hear the word "law" we generally think of rules, things we must do or not do. There are traffic laws; there are rules of sports and games. There are criminal laws and civil laws. There are local laws, state laws, and federal laws. And there are the really big laws, the Ten Commandments.
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Puzzle Pieces - Week of August 9th

My three-year-old granddaughter has graduated from the puzzles that have individual pieces that fit into individual holes to jigsaw puzzles. Her mom helps her by handing her the next piece that fits into the last one and by doing the edge before the middle. Even so, sometimes she has trouble figuring out which way the piece should go. Often it just needs a quarter-turn to be in the right position but, when she tells her to turn it, she turns it too far or turns it over and then back and it’s still not right.
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A Saying - Week of August 16th

A friend recently posted a saying on facebook: "When thinking about life, remember this: No amount of guilt can solve the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future." While almost everyone would agree this is a true and pithy statement, it leaves way too much unsaid. If you happen to be dealing with a sense of guilt in your life or if you are one of those who is prone to worry, this little saying (if you think about it) will probably leave you feeling frustrated, confused, and inadequate.
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Sticks - Week of August 23rd

We visited our daughter and her family last week. She started fixing supper and her 15-month-old son started melting down. Late afternoons are never easy for toddlers. So I was holding him as we watched her preparing the spaghetti. I asked her if Micah liked it and she said no, he didn’t. Soon the pot of water was boiling and she dumped the box of spaghetti into it. At first they stuck up out of the water every which way, so I said, "Micah, look! Sticks! We get to have sticks for dinner!" He took that in and said what he always says about things on the stove: "Hot!"
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Not Offended - Week of September 6th

There are times when we see God blessing others but nothing is happening with us. I remember two such times in my own life. Many of my high school and college chums were getting married. I rarely had any dates, let alone a steady boyfriend. At one point I forlornly told my mother that I didn’t want to go to any more bridal showers because it was too depressing. The same thing happened again when all our friends were having babies and we were infertile. It was so hard to be happy for these new parents, though I knew I should be. Many years later a friend asked me why God wasn’t blessing her. She said she loved God and tried to obey Him the best she could; she participated in various ministries; she tithed; yet God’s blessing seemed to her to be absent from her life. I’m not sure what kind of blessing she was looking for, but I’m afraid my answer was woefully inadequate, something about not measuring God’s blessings in material terms but seeing the prosperity of the soul and the goodness of her relationships.
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God's Thoughts - Week of September 13th

Revelation from God is a curious thing. We can and should be seeking it, as I do when I study to understand the Scriptures or pray or write. But often revelation comes in odd places and at odd times.
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Steadfast - Week of September 20th

When I think of what it means to be steadfast, I think of my house. It was built in 1853. The foundation is made of huge blocks of sandstone and the outer walls are three bricks thick. It has stood firm for a century and a half, and then some. I have always felt very secure here.
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Making Mom Cry - Week of September 27th

One of my children recently said that one of the worst things they ever heard from their father’s lips was, "You made your mom cry today." Somehow, to him, and hence to them, their grieving me to the point of tears was a terrible thing. I will admit to being one who cries easily; my husband is that way, too. But there is something to be said for knowing that something you did caused someone you love and who loves you to hurt very badly: Love is the best motivator of good behavior.
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Quilts - Week of October 4th

Every craftsman likes to work with quality materials. Talented musicians want the best instruments to play. Wood workers prefer walnut or maple to pine. As a seamstress, I’ve always said if you want to make a beautiful garment, you need to find beautiful fabric. There is one area of the sewing world where that is not the case: quilting.
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Self-Control - Week of October 11th

What do you think of when you hear the term "self-control?" At the risk of seeming redundant, I think of it as keeping myself under control, that is, keeping my thoughts and emotions in check, keeping my words restrained, keeping my spending within limits, keeping my appetites curbed. It all seems to be centered around containment – not letting things escape or get out of hand.
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Prerequisite To Revival - Week of October 18th

Many people today are praying for revival and rightly so. Our culture is in desperate need of what only God can do. But I believe there is something else that needs to happen before revival can happen and we need to redirect our prayers.
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PROVERBS 16:6 - Week of October 25th

Proverbs 16:6 says, "By loving kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil." The Old Testament saints knew that God graciously forgave their sins when they brought their sacrifices to the temple. God had identified Himself to them as, "the Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth" (Exod. 34:6).
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Amazing Mercy - Week of November 8th

Romans 12:1 says, "I appeal to you therefore . . . by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship." It is God’s amazing mercy that prompts us to dedicate our whole lives to Him. We no longer bring an animal to an altar to be killed and its body burned, as the Old Testament saints did. These animal sacrifices were pictures of the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. Rather, we offer ourselves as those alive from the dead (Rom. 6:13). All we are, all we have, all we do, all we ever hope to be or have or do, we lay it all down as an offering to God.
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Struggle and Love - Week of November 15th

My three-year-old granddaughter’s life has been one of struggle. As an infant, she struggled to breathe; she struggled with eating because of reflux disease. She struggled with repeated eye infections and had to have her tear ducts surgically opened. She struggled with low muscle tone and still struggles with learning to speak. Every skill she has mastered, every milestone she has achieved has come at the cost of great struggle.
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Give Thanks - Week of November 22nd

Psalm 136 begins with the words, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His loving kindness is everlasting." After two more verses exhorting us to give thanks, the writer gives an overview of God’s acts of loving kindness toward Israel. These include His acts of creation, redemption from slavery in Egypt, rescue of His people from the armies of Pharaoh, guidance through the wilderness, defeat of mighty kings on their behalf, endowing them with a land of their own, and remembering us in our low estate. Remembering God’s gracious acts on our behalf is always a good way to spur us to give thanks.
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Thinking and Doing - Week of November 29th

I remember a time in my life when doing, added to thinking, made a huge difference. Always a shy, introverted person, I’d only been working at my job a few weeks when a bridal shower for a co-worker was coming up. They invited me to come, even though I barely knew any of them, even saying I needn’t bring a present. I dreaded the awkwardness I’ve always felt in unfamiliar social situations, and bridal showers with their silly games are the ultimate in bungling affairs. But I decided I would go anyway. They were reaching out to me and I thought I should make the effort to reach back. I thought I could do it, but if I hadn’t gone, I would never have known for sure. It was the doing that changed me.
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Self-Assessment - Week of December 6th

Who do you think you are? What are your strengths and weaknesses? These are questions that might be answered in your job resume, or asked at some kind of psychological seminar. Who we think we are impacts every facet of our lives, our relationships, our work performance, our thought life, our whole destiny, in fact.
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Making Provision - Week of December 13th

We are in the thick of the holiday season right now. Thanksgiving is just behind us; Christmas and New Years are still ahead. Making provision is what we area all about in these days. We buy big turkeys and pumpkin for pies, we bake things ahead and clean the house. We buy and/or make presents for loved ones near and far, wrap them, mail them, and sometimes even go into debt for them. We decorate our homes, ourselves, and our cookies. Making provision seems like a full-time job in this season.
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A Verse to Live By - Week of December 20th

Romans 12:12 says, "Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer." What a succinct statement of how we are to live! It pretty much covers everything.
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Happy New Year! - Week of December 27th

Happy New Year! It’s an oft-repeated wish this time of year. It’s tacked on to the Christmas greetings we send. We go to parties in honor of the New Year. And why not? Newness is definitely a cause for celebration. We have a whole New Year ahead of us, three hundred and sixty-five all-new days. What will fill them? What opportunities will we have in the days of this year? What decisions will we face? What joys will be ours? What sorrows?
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Handel's Messiah - Week of January 3rd

I’ve been listening to Handel’s Messiah during the Christmas season this year. Besides being a fairly complete compilation of the Scriptures concerning the coming and ministry of the Messiah, it is an incredibly complex and beautiful piece of music.
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A STAGGERING THOUGHT - Week of January 17th

As a loving parent, I always hated having to punish my children for their wrongdoing.
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GIVING THOUGHT - Week of January 10th

The old adage to count to ten before responding to something that offends you or makes you angry is a good one, but Paul offers a better one in Romans 12:17.
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HE IS ABLE - Week of January 24th

I have participated in a fun ice-breaker game several times. Each person in the group writes down a little-known fact about herself.
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THE DEMONS FLEE - Week of January 31st

This Sunday in church we sang a song that had a line about how the demons flee at the mention of the name of Jesus...
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GOD’S CHARACTER - Week of February 7th

Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature. Everything Jesus said and did, then, should show us something...
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WAITING ON THE LORD - Week of February 14th

Years ago a presidential candidate made a campaign stop in Mansfield. My husband and I were among the throng that braved the cold...
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PERFUME - Week of February 21st

When my mother was a little girl in the early nineteen hundreds, women didn't wash their hair nearly as often as we do today. She knew people who only washed their...
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HE IS THERE - Week of February 28th

Life isn't always easy. We have our plans and our expectations of how things should go, but quite often they don't go that way.
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CRACKS IN THE VESSEL - Week of March 13th

I know a woman who became paralyzed from the waist down because of a spinal cord infection.
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ENORMITY - Week of March 20th

This is Holy Week, the week between Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and His death, burial, and resurrection.
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PRESENT EVIL AGE - Week of March 27th

Galatians 1:4 says of Christ that He "gave Himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age."
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SEEING GOD’S GLORY - Week of April 3rd

So often when we think of seeing God's glory and power, we think of the beauty of nature or the power of crashing waves on the...
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LANGUAGE - Week of April 10th

In reading Genesis recently I was struck by the similarities and differences between two events in which language confusion played a big part.
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COME AWAY - Week of April 17th

An interesting sequence of events led me to a glimpse of God's heart recently...
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IN SEASON AND OUT - Week of April 24th

This has been a rough season of life...
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PSALM 143 - Week of May 1st

I love how God can meet us right where we are through His word...
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ABRAM’S CALL - Week of May 8th

In reading about God’s call of Abram in Genesis 12...
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YOU USE THE WEAK TO LEAD THE STRONG - Week of May 15th

A line from a song we sang in church Sunday has been running through my mind...
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THE TITHE - Week of May 22nd

We get our concept of the tithe from the fact that Abram gave a tenth of all the spoil from the war of the kings (Gen. 14) and from the commands...
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DISTINGUISHING MARKS - Week of May 29th

Years ago a couple in our church had identical twin sons...
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WIGGLE ROOM - Week of June 5th

Some of my worst parenting failures were in the area of giving my children too much wiggle room – not being clear enough in what I was expecting of them or what would happen if they disobeyed...
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REAL PEOPLE - Week of June 12th

I love how the Bible does not gloss over the failings of the characters in its stories...
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DYSFUNCTION - Week of June 19th

When things aren't working right in our lives, it's difficult to see what God is doing...
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SODOM AND GOMORRAH - Week of July 17th

I always thought of many of the cities named in the Bible as little tiny burgs of a few hundred people, or a few thousand at most...
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TREMBLING - Week of July 24th

Sunday in church a man stood up and read the first two verses of the final chapter of Isaiah...
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PROTECTED - Week of July 31st

There is a little story in Genesis 20 that comforts me...
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ABRAHAM, PICTURE OF GOD - Week of August 7th

As I’ve been studying the life of Abraham in the book of Genesis, I have drawn two conclusions...
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RESTING - Week of August 14th

Back when both television and I were very young, our family spent many evenings together watching wholesome sitcoms and variety shows...
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HUMILITY AND INTEGRITY - Week of August 21st

I’ve lived in two main locales all my life...
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PROVIDENCE - Week of August 28th

Providence is a word we don’t hear much any more...
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MEPHIBOSHETH - Week of September 4th

In Scripture David is called a man after God’s own heart...
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LENTIL STEW - Week of September 18th

In Genesis 25 we read the story of how Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of lentil stew...
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DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY VS. HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY - Week of October 23rd

With the election looming, I struggle as I consider what God may have in store for our country’s future...
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GUILT BY ASSOCIATION - Week of October 30th

We so frequently hear political candidates try to discredit their opponents by associating them with others...
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REMEMBERING HISTORY - Week of November 6th

Of all the commands God gave to the Israelites, the one they seemed to obey the best was to remember...
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CONSTANTS - Week of November 13th

For better or for worse, the election is over...
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GIVE THANKS - Week of November 20th

GIVE THANKS Psalm 136 begins with the words, "Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His loving kindness is everlasting."
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EMPTY-HANDED - Week of November 27th

EMPTY-HANDED Genesis 31 tells the story of how Jacob flees from his father-in-law Laban after years of friction turn into open hostility.
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AN UNFORTUNATE EPISODE - Week of December 4th

AN UNFORTUNATE EPISODE - Jacob and his family have barely gotten settled back in the land of Canaan, after serving twenty years for his wives and flocks, when a very unfortunate episode occurs...
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READY FOR CHRISTMAS - Week of December 11th

READY FOR CHRISTMAS - The conversation starter in December is always, "Are you ready for Christmas?"
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ANTICIPATION - Week of December 18th

Christmas is just a few days away...
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HAPPY NEW YEAR! - Week of December 25th

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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PSALM 83 - Week of January 1st

PSALM 83
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RUNNING AWAY - Week of February 19th

RUNNING AWAY
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DANCING - Week of March 19th

DANCING
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HOLY GROUND - Week of April 30th

HOLY GROUND
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FREEDOM OF RELIGION - Month of June

FREEDOM OF RELIGION
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FEAR OF MAN - Month of August

FEAR OF MAN
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SOLAR ECLIPSE - Month of September

SOLAR ECLIPSE
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SIMILARITIES - Month of October

SIMILARITIES
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UNBELIEF - Month of December 2017

UNBELIEF
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BEING WATCHED - Month of February

BEING WATCHED
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