But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Wednesday, 25 March 2020 01:31

COVID-19: Living by Probabilities or Providence?

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The COVID-19 pandemic is making statisticians of us all. Perhaps you, like me, have investigated where you fall in the mortality-by-age charts. (If you haven’t, don’t.) I’m 58 and, at least on the graphics presented last week, if I contract the virus my probability of death is...

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Thursday, 19 March 2020 05:35

Seeing the People in Front of You

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When I wrote this blog, our lives looked different than they do today. Without much warning, we are now reacting to the coronavirus pandemic and many of us feel overwhelmed. Perhaps you feel challenged by what it means to love an out-of-work family member or a sick neighbor. Maybe the fear of...

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Wednesday, 11 March 2020 12:24

Anxiety, Waiting and the Coronavirus

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Writing about events while they are happening is always a bit dangerous. It’s easy to encourage over-reactions and reinforce unhelpful panic in our hearts. That said, the COVID 19 coronavirus provides us with an opportunity to think about how we respond to anxiety. Specifically, I want to...

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Thursday, 05 March 2020 02:39

Why We Give in to Temptation

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Why do we give in to temptation? This question often arises in the context of counseling for repetitive struggles such as pornography use, masturbation, substance abuse, and overeating. There are many biblical ways to answer this question, but I want to focus on just one: we give in to temptation...

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Wednesday, 26 February 2020 06:16

When Nobody Else Listens, God Listens

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At the 2020 Grammys, artist Demi Lovato took the stage for the first time in over 18 months.  She performed her song Anyone,an emotional and urgent cry from the heart written hours before she was hospitalized for a drug overdose.  As Lovato finished singing and opened her eyes, the...

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Wednesday, 19 February 2020 00:55

Stories Beneath Stories

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Listen to Scripture, listen to people. This is how we grow in our care and counsel. And grow we must if we want to help someone who has stories beneath stories. Most addicts do.

Flea is the bass player for the Red Hot Chili Peppers. He is a sensitive soul whose father left when he was six. The men...

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Wednesday, 05 February 2020 03:14

Men: Pursue Others Like Jesus Pursues You

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Following Jesus’s Lead

All the biblical stories of the Lord moving toward people are stories of grace. Grace is God’s moving toward us in Christ. He pursued us not because we called out so well and took the first step of self-reformation. We were simply sick and needed him. Or worse, we...

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Monday, 27 January 2020 00:26

Samson: For Us

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It’s hard to draw out meaningful wisdom from some of the Old Testament stories—wisdom that shapes how we pray. It takes time, maybe a conversation or two. And who has time for that when you are trying to read through the Bible in a year?

Recently, as I came to the story of Samson (Judges...

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Wednesday, 22 January 2020 00:55

What Kind of Parent Are You?

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Helicopter parenting, lawnmower parenting, free-range parenting, tiger parenting, attachment parenting, baby-led, and serenity parenting—the list of descriptive parenting terms is endless. Or here is one of mine: janitorial parenting—letting your children do whatever they desire and you...

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Sunday, 12 January 2020 20:57

10 Things You Should Know about the Priesthood

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When we think about priests in the Bible, we imagine bearded men burning incense and sacrificing animals. However, the priesthood is a premier theme throughout Scripture, and ultimately it is a role shared by all believers—men and women from every tribe and nation. The church doesn’t...

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Saturday, 28 December 2019 13:46

Five Ways to Jump Start Your Devotions

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Spending meaningful time alone with God is one of the most important aspects of the Christian life, but it is also one of the most difficult to sustain. Failure in this area, real or perceived, is common and is guilt inducing for most Christians. We give many different reasons for our struggle: it...

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Wednesday, 25 December 2019 13:37

A Fragrant Offering

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“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offeringand sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

I have an uncle who is mentally handicapped. Uncle Melly was born in an era when people...

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Monday, 16 December 2019 01:01

Darkness and Light at Christmas

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I’ve always loved the Christmas season. As a child growing up in a family of 13, I treasured the time we spent together for the holiday. We did cleaning and shopping and decorating, all together; there was a constant crowd and constant activity! Dad would find a huge tree (usually over 12...

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Sunday, 01 December 2019 23:54

Pain: Our Present Reality

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Recently, my family set out on an afternoon walk. Beauty surrounded us; the fall colors set the trees aglow, and the sun shimmered upon the lake as it set. There was much glory to behold that day. The display of the changing season was spectacular. Upon returning home, I was reflecting on all we...

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Monday, 18 November 2019 23:44

“Worthy?”

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Recently I read the story of Jesus healing the centurion’s son (Luke 7:1–10) and was struck by the two times “worthy” appeared. Pay attention to the word as you read the story:

After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. ...

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Tuesday, 12 November 2019 22:57

Desire for Approval

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My wife at I were at odds. We were in the midst of the worst vacation ever. Curiously, the previous worst vacation ever was at the exact same location, so I suggested that the place was cursed and we should leave as soon as possible. We stayed and gradually worked through the conflict, but its...

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Tuesday, 05 November 2019 23:59

When a Command Became a Promise

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I have had a plaque resting over my bedroom door for years. It reads, “Be still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). I am a busy homeschooling mother, and I placed it there as a reminder to myself. When I leave my bedroom every morning, I walk into a day that will be filled with...

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019 05:15

Is Scripture Sufficient for Counseling?

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“They just use the Bible.” I have heard people say that about biblical counseling. I wouldn’t think about the comment except for two things. One, this is not a pat on the back; the word just gives that away. If I heard “they use the Bible,” I would be encouraged and...

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Wednesday, 02 October 2019 19:47

Look Up

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Lately I’ve been reading in the Psalms of Ascent. These are the songs sung by the Israelites as they journeyed to Jerusalem for their annual feasts. This morning I lingered over Psalm 123:

To you I lift up my eyes,

O you who are enthroned in the heavens!

Behold, as the eyes of servants

look to...

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Wednesday, 25 September 2019 01:29

Spiritual Abuse in Marriage (Part 2)

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This is the second blog in a two-part series on spiritual abuse in marriage. In the first blog, we looked at the damage done to wives whose husbands use Scripture to control and criticize them. This second installment focuses on how to help.

Spiritual abuse occurs when an oppressor establishes...

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019 05:39

Spiritual Abuse in Marriage

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This is part 1 of a 2 part series.

I often sit with wives whose husbands have used Scripture as a weapon to control them. Beth was one such woman. When I asked her how her husband, Joe, prays for her, she shared the most recent example. “Last week, he prayedMatthew 6:24over me,...

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Friday, 16 August 2019 05:42

The Skill of Living in the Future

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Here are two prominent spiritual skills:

  • live now, in today, rather than tomorrow
  • live in tomorrow rather than in gut reactions and unexamined decisions today.

The first is a familiar rule for anxiety. We live in the grace that God gives us for right now, and we trust our Heavenly Father to worry...

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Monday, 29 July 2019 01:01

Listening is…

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A student had a eureka moment. Key to care and counsel, he wrote, is listening. His words warmed my instructor’s heart. He was not saying, only listen. Instead, he gave listening a place of prominence in daily life.

I know another man who was a pastor. He asked his wife the same question every...

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Wednesday, 24 July 2019 03:59

The Beauty of Unexpected Help

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Have you had a time when things were so hard that you concluded God was too far away to matter? Maybe it seemed like he couldn’t even hear you. Perhaps it felt like he didn’t care about what you were facing. I believe this is a common experience for Christians. It’s challenging to...

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Wednesday, 17 July 2019 03:22

Faith as Sight

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Faith can have different meanings. We who follow Jesus Christ are called people of faith. This faith is something you either have or don’t have: you put your faith and trust in Jesus, or you don’t. Yet there is more. Faith is also a gift from God that can grow. You can have weak or...

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