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Today’s Truth

Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord (Psalm 31:24 NKJV).

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When I was growing up my favorite movie was the classic Wizard of Oz. I lay on the carpet, completely absorbed as Dorothy battled flying monkeys and fled from the wicked witch of the West. I wondered if she’d make it to Oz or ever find her way home to Auntie Em. It seemed unfair. A girl and a tiny dog all on their own, until she met her unlikely heroes. A tin man, a cowardly lion, and my personal favorite, the scarecrow. Nothing changed, not really. A wicked witch still wished her harm. Flying monkeys still followed her every move. But suddenly, she was surrounded by those who traveled the road with her, and that made all

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Today’s Truth

Lord, you are my strength and my protection, my safe place in times of trouble (Jeremiah 16:19 NCV).

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I enjoy movies that have a happy ending. My family constantly teases me about my surreal perspective of movie entertainment. But honestly, life holds enough reality. Why would I want to pay good money to see more reality made bigger and more frightening on a gigantic movie screen?


When the movie, “The Perfect Storm” was first released, the previews suggested it had a happy ending. I should have known better. Seriously, how bad could it be?


We bought tickets, popcorn, and drinks, found the best seats in the theater, and prepared to be entertained. Wrong!


Every scene showed tiny boats caught in the grip of frightening waves and fierce winds. I kept waiting for the storm to die down so everyone

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Today’s Truth

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye (Matthew 7:3 NLT)?

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I shook the evidence of an addiction in front of a loved one’s face. In my fearful pursuit of confirmation, I weaponized the facts with cutting words and unkind opinions. While I had a right to be angry about the situation, I was completely wrong in how I addressed the struggle. Like a vengeful judge, I banged a self-righteous gavel atop my loved one’s heart until I felt like I’d gotten my point across. While I repented and apologized later, God used that terrible day to convict my heart of prejudicial thoughts and behaviors that often led to judging and thinking poorly of others.


God never calls us to give unconditional approval of sinful behavior. Yet harboring or communicating

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Today’s Truth

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

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I walked to the mailbox and then to the recycling. Don’t need this one, or this one, or this one I whispered as I dropped the shiny flyers in the red box.


I don’t know about you, but I get tired of slick ads for things I don’t need and junk mail from services I don’t want. I especially dislike the credit card applications that say I’ve been “pre-approved” for a line of credit.


But here’s something I’ll never get tired of doing: going to the Word of God and reading His love letter to me. I’ll never stop being amazed that I’ve been pre-approved to be His child. I wonder if that’s how Jesus felt, too.


Just before He began

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Today’s Truth

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want (Philippians 4:12 NIV).

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Like every other morning, I stood in front of my closet and tried to answer the question, “What should I wear today?” Big-city rent, a new baby, and minimum-wage paychecks meant few options to choose from. Pulling a well-worn shirt from its hanger, I grumbled in my head and heart. I’m tired of these clothes. Everything is shabby and out of style. I wish I could feel pretty for once. Will I ever get anything new?


I didn’t want a whole new wardrobe. Just one fresh item to put a pop of color in my closet. A red sweater! That’s it—just one red sweater—and I’d be content. On impulse, I tossed up a prayer for that one piece of

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Today’s Truth

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13 ESV).

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I love spinach. Love it in salads – especially with grilled salmon, goat cheese and pine nuts. I love it on a turkey sandwich with sourdough bread, a thick slice of avocado, and sharp cheddar cheese. I love spinach sautéed with EVOO, garlic and a pinch of Himalayan Sea salt. Straight up, I guess I’m just a spinach-kind-of-girl. Anyone with me?


Now that we’re clear on my love for this wonderful, dark green leafy veggie, imagine my disappointment when I was told by the evening news that I had to throw out the two bags of fresh spinach in my refrigerator! A few years ago, there was an e-coli outbreak that was linked back to some manufacturing plants in

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Today’s Truth

Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms (1 Peter 4:9-10 NIV).

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More than two decades ago, my husband James and I lived with my parents for about a month while we were waiting to move into a new house. One of the perks of living with my mom was the magic laundry. She would take my laundry basket and not only do the laundry, she would fold every single piece of clothing meticulously. My t-shirts looked like the folded shirts you see at upscale boutiques. The items I usually toss into a drawer were tightly folded and neatly stacked. James and I called it magic laundry because we would open a drawer and our clothes would magically appear–clean, fresh, and folded.


The kicker was my mom never even complained or

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Today’s Truth

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12 NIV emphasis added).

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Have you ever felt stuck in your faith? Like you can’t seem to grow any deeper? Stand any stronger? Believe any better? I know I have.


Sometimes I feel like a trapeze artist who’s stuck hanging over the vast expanse in a circus tent, wondering why I can’t fly through the spiritual life with the greatest of ease like so many others seem to.


OK, let me backup. Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? An aerialist stands on a high platform while holding onto a tiny trapeze bar connected to a rope. She jumps off the perch and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again.


It

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Today’s Truth

Search Me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24 ESV).

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My son Preston called from the nurse’s office at the middle school early one morning. Here’s how the conversation went:


“Hey mom. It’s Preston. I’m not feeling well, and I have a temperature of 96.5. Can you come get me?”


“96.5 degrees?” I asked. “Honey, that’s below normal! That doesn’t sound right.”


“I know,” he said, “but I don’t feel well. Can you please come pick me up?”


“Sure, honey. I’ll be right there.”


I chuckled the whole way to the school at what he had said. Surely he misread the thermometer! A normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. Something was off.


I got to the school in a North Carolina minute and headed straight to the nurse’s office. While Preston packed his bag to

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Today’s Truth

Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent (Exodus 33:10 NIV).

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The room was hot. A fan pushed the sweltering 110+ degree air between us as we sat on the floor. When the reading lesson was complete, we were introduced. Shy smiles broke language and cultural barriers. A handful were Christians. Others practiced different religions. I asked several women to share their names. As one young woman spoke, she pointed at her mother, who stood in the back, and tears fell. The interpreter told me that her mother was seriously sick. She couldn’t afford a doctor, and she fell more ill each day.


I wanted to pray for her. If we were in a church, I wouldn’t have hesitated, but we were guests in this community, in this culture, and

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8