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The Simplicity of Peace

The Simplicity of Peace

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 In Episode 7 of the PBS series, The Vietnam War, Directors Ken Burns and Lynn Novick focused on the beginning of peace negotiations to end the war. Most people realize diplomacy between leaders of warring countries can be difficult. What surprised me, was the nature of the issues which threatened to derail the negotiations before they even started. The North Vietnamese…

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Mercy Shall Pursue You

Mercy Shall Pursue You

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,” Psalm 23:6a Lucas Jackson was a character born with more guts than brains. Arrested for a misdemeanor offense, decapitating parking meters while drunk, he was sentenced to two years of hard labor in a Florida prison farm. A restless spirit, Luke couldn’t endure authority, nor confinement.  When his mother died while he was in prison, he attempted an escape to attend the funeral. It was the first…

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Wiping Away Tears

Wiping Away Tears

“Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,”  Is. 25:8b My daughter is not much of a crier. When she does cry, it’s often at the most random of times and in the strangest of places. She would look at us and say, “I have no idea why am I crying right now, but I can’t stop.” Then we would all laugh. Pain and suffering are not always reasons for people’s tears. My wife, also not much…

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What Have You Gained?

What Have You Gained?

“Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.” Philippians 3:7 Paul Horner died this past month. A side story on the homepage of my computer reported his death. He’s one of those people who has influenced your life more than you realize but have no clue who he is. Honestly, I clicked the story because I fell for the headline, “Who Was Paul Horner and How Did He Die?” A pioneer in the field of…

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Shine On, Lord

Shine On, Lord

“Restore us, O God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved.” Psalm 80:7 Rhamnus cathartica is the name of the enemy lurking around our house.  We have been engaged in an active campaign against it ever since we moved to Minnesota. The living room is our war room, from there we survey the battlefield and plan strategies for victory. The worst part of the battle is we have resigned ourselves to this conclusion, the only way…

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Projects That Disappoint

Projects That Disappoint

“When I expected it to yield good grapes, why did it yielded wild grapes?” Isaiah 5:4b Carpentry was a hobby I began out of necessity. While working at a camp without a full-time maintenance person, responsibilities for fixing things fell on my shoulders. Fortunately, skilled volunteers and local handymen taught me enough to be dangerous. It gave me enough confidence to try things on my own. My first projects were simple. As my confidence grew, so did the difficulty of…

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Perspective

Perspective

“Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 This past August, the scientists behind the Voyager 1 spacecraft celebrated its forty year anniversary. Four years ago, Voyager 1 officially left our solar system. Now it’s floating out somewhere in interstellar space over 13 billion miles away from earth. What it now encounters is communicated through a series of sounds interpreted by computers and scientists. From its vantage point, the earth…

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A Balance of Memory

A Balance of Memory

“Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;” Psalm 25:7 The other day, I spoke with a young man who spent several summers working for me at camp. We had not talked in years, so I was overjoyed to hear his voice. Listening to him describe his life reminded me, though, in college, he was only a child when we worked together. The person on the phone was a man remembering the time of his youth. These…

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A Pastor and a Bike Thief

A Pastor and a Bike Thief

“For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.” Ezekiel 18:32 My bike was stolen out of my garage this summer. Maybe I have written about this before, but I remember it every morning. I watched the thief walk by my house and ride my bike away as I wrote my daily reflection. It turns out, Jussi, our trusted labrador retriever, is only good at fetching balls, not criminals. He was…

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Calculated Worth

Calculated Worth

“Or are you envious because I am generous?” Matthew 20:15b When I was a child, I loved baseball. My favorite thing about the game was calculating batting averages, earned run averages and some statistics I made up on my own. Baseball taught me most of my basic math skills. It also convinced me, I could statistically compute the value of a player.  My self-generated statistics are elementary to the equations statisticians use today. New categories for evaluating baseball players seem…

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