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Devotions

Be With

“I hate life.” My 9-year-old daughter slumped on my lap, a tear meandering down her cheek. “Oh honey, I know. I’m so sorry,” I said, pulling her close. “I hate Zoom and remote learning and I hate it when Daddy gets us school lunch even though we’re not at school and I hate it that we’re not going to Grandma and Grandpa’s for Christmas. Also, I have a stomachache. And my eye hurts.” I almost launched into my Pollyanna speech…

Missing Mike

I wrote a devotion on this blog six years ago, and because the lectionary is on a three-year cycle, the Magnificat passage that I used for that piece is one of the Advent readings again this year. I wrote about my dear friend Mike, who blessed and vexed us with his irrepressible love and badgering for eight years. Mike died suddenly on March 23, 2020, and as I read Mary’s song in the book of Luke, I think of Mike…

Laid Bare

Over the course of these last several months, I have noticed a particular phrase used frequently in the media. It goes like this: “COVID has laid bare…” and then what usually comes next are words like healthcare inequality, socioeconomic divides, food insecurity, or the inaccessibility of technology. I find this phrase quite accurate in describing what the pandemic has done both broadly in society and personally in my own life. With so many children doing remote learning suddenly, we have…

Complex Operating System

I recently got a new phone, and it was an unexpected adventure. First, I decided to change carriers, which involved being on hold for long periods of time and then porting my old phone number to my new carrier. I felt like I was on a maritime expedition or in the midst of a Harry Potter journey. But more than my port situation, it was harder than I expected to choose between an Android and an Apple phone. I’ve had…

Heart and Soil

When I was eight years old, I walked slowly out of church on a sunny, humid Sunday morning in Hong Kong. I remember looking at the large white cross that stretched to the sky amidst sloping green mountains overlooking the South China Sea. Church of All Nations, this gathering of Christians was called—made up of people who’d come to Hong Kong from all over the world, for many different reasons. There were business families there for short appointments of two…
happy girl with test paper at school

What If We Do Something Extraordinary?

One of our daily routines during the school year is homework. I know, I know… no one likes homework. Done well, it’s an important part of the learning process as kids interact with content on their own and master the concepts. It also provides valuable feedback to the teachers. Of course, kids rarely love it. This week during homework time, my youngest was over-the-top excited to show me all her homework. She’s in Kindergarten and we usually receive completed work…

What if we seek God first?

We have a screen room off the side of our garage in the back yard. It’s great for storing stuff, but without windows it’s problematic for things that can’t get wet. As a result, we store those kinds of items (bikes, lawn mower, tools, etc.) in the garage. This leaves no room for the car of course, which is fine for most of the year. With the arrival of winter, however, we like to have that space to keep at…

What if we humble ourselves and pray?

It’s easy to get sidetracked or off-target when you consider the myriad possibilities that exist between you and your goal. Oftentimes it will take the form of “what if” questions. What if my underlying assumptions are wrong? What if my plan doesn’t work? What if I start down this path but can’t finish? Sometimes “what if” questions paralyze us—but they can also energize us! What if I get that promotion at work? What if I spent more time investing in…

Meditate on Good Things

This weekend we celebrate All Saints’ Day. The first Sunday in November, it’s a time to give thanks and praise to God for those who have gone before us into eternal rest in Christ Jesus. Many of us are worshiping this day because someone helped bring us to faith. God uses His people to reveal Himself to us.  Revelation gives us a glimpse of what those who have gone before us in Christ are doing at this very moment. John…

Prayer, Not Despair

There’s a saying in driving instruction that your hands follow your eyes. If you want to drive straight, your eyes should be looking straight out the front of the car. If you are turning left, your eyes will move left and your hands will follow. Where you look eventually determines your direction. Our eyes will often determine where you go spiritually too. When difficult circumstances arise, what do you focus on? Is it the circumstances, or your Creator that has…