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Come Home With Shouts of Joy

Come Home With Shouts of Joy

The Thomas Fire has torched over 230,000 acres of land in Southern California, as of Monday. The fire increased by 56,000 acres on Sunday alone and traveled seven miles. There are over six thousand firefighters from eleven western states fighting the blaze. It is the fifth largest fire in California history and is only one of several fires burning on the outskirts of Los Angeles. It may not happen for awhile, but eventually, the fire will be contained. When that…

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Help the Oppressed Be Free

Help the Oppressed Be Free

Several years ago, a van I was driving was hit by another vehicle. It was the strangest accident. I saw the car approaching and watched the drivers face as we collided. Even though she was watching the road, she never saw me. It was like her mind was somewhere else. The driver was a single mother who left work to care for a sick child. In her rush to get back to work, she made a mistake. Her face was filled…

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Patience Will Be My Salvation

Patience Will Be My Salvation

“…and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation.” 2 Peter 3:15a Last night, Peggy and I picked up her father to go watch a basketball game. We were driving during rush hour and knew it would take longer than usual, but we did not foresee the conditions of the road. On Monday, it was fifty degrees and rainy. That evening, temperatures dropped into the teens. The rain turned to ice and then to snow. Ice and snow are not…

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The Anxiety of Standing in Line

The Anxiety of Standing in Line

“Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people…” Psalm 85:8 Do you remember where you were when the Harry Potter books were first released for sale? It is a question we reserve for the most significant cultural events of our time. Where were you when Kennedy was assassinated? Or, Reagan was shot? Where were you for the Challenger disaster or the 9/11 terrorist attack? Compared to these, the release of Harry…

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Golfing in a Storm

Golfing in a Storm

“Comfort, O Comfort my people says your God.” Isaiah 40:1 Shortly after graduating from seminary, my next door neighbor and I decided to go out golfing. It was our last opportunity to go together before we left seminary for good. Our wives were working, and we were watching the children. So we told them of our plans and arranged for babysitters. As we prepared to leave some threatening clouds appeared on the horizon. It looked like they moving out of…

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Jesus in Schuylkill County

Jesus in Schuylkill County

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” Mark 13:31 Sometime in the late 1990’s, Jesus appeared in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Unlike other appearances, this one was not an image on a building, in the clouds or on a baked cookie. This presentation was a living, breathing human being claiming to be Jesus. His random sightings captured the curiosity of a whole region. Highway troopers were the first to encounter him. They received reports of a…

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The Uncomfortable Christmas Letter

The Uncomfortable Christmas Letter

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 1:3 We used to get a Christmas card from a former co-worker. Inside the card would be a rather lengthy letter describing all the events of the past year. When I say, “all,” I mean every intimate detail of her family’s life. Most of the information would violate modern HIPAA standards, the law designed to protect patient privacy. The older she got, the more…

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The Time of Hiding is Over

The Time of Hiding is Over

“Restore us, O God; let your face shine upon us, and we shall be saved.” Psalm 80:3 Study Hall in my junior high was not conducive to studying. The administration did everything in their power to make it work, but most students did not cooperate. It was difficult to sit across from friends and be quiet for five seconds, let alone forty-five minutes. In Study Hall, we used to toss pennies at each other. You would put a penny between…

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The Work of God’s Hands

The Work of God’s Hands

If you are friends with Jules Erickson on Facebook, you’ll know she is more than a pastor. She is a potter who often posts short videos of her work with clay. The videos are speed enhanced so whatever she is creating appears to take seconds to produce. When I watch them, I often wonder about the story behind her creations. How does it speak to her spiritually? How does she visualize the end product? Most of all, I find myself…

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Foods of Poverty

Foods of Poverty

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth…” Deut. 8:17 After Thanksgiving, my family will spend a Saturday in the kitchen making lefse. Lefse is a potato-based Norwegian tortilla. Many would consider this an offense to tortillas. Even for people who love eating it, lefse requires butter and sugar to give it an appealing flavor. Midwestern people of Norwegian heritage like to believe lefse is a universally loved food. It is…

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