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I’m obsessed with gymnastics and figure skating. Obsessed. For two weeks, every four years. You know… like everyone else in America… when the Winter Olympics games come around. Pour me a bowl of Wheaties, hand me a flag with stars and stripes, and let’s get it on! Stick that landing! Land that triple salchow! You got this! USA! USA! USA!


And you can’t miss the opening ceremonies!


There’s just a beyond-ness to them! Bright colors. Epic music. Intricate costumes. All the things.


Athletes from every nation, coming together in harmony. The pride of each country celebrating their unique heritages, while at the same time vibrantly displaying the beauty of humanity that binds us all together.


Songs are sung, dances are danced, and

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Friend to Friend


When a skilled jeweler places a diamond under a microscope, he is able to authenticate and determine its value based upon the color, cut, clarity and carat weight of the stone. Flaws are visible in the testing, and any jeweler worth his salt can easily see the difference between a man-made cubic zirconia and a real diamond that’s been forged in pressure over time.


I like to think I can spot fake from a mile away too. It’s everywhere: the lashes, spray tans, hair color, eyebrows, puffy lips, and high cheekbones. Beyond the substitute beauty efforts, there are a million other ways humanity serves up fake… Passing off that gossip as a prayer request. Praying from our lips, but

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Back when jelly bracelets, Aqua Net hairspray, blue eyeshadow and parachute pants were a thing, I wrestled with frustration every time radio disc jockeys talked over the beginning or ending of a song.


Why?


Because before the days of digital, I used to record songs on audio cassettes with my handy-dandy cassette recorder so I could listen at leisure.


Truth be told, we technically did have the option to buy a 45 and spin the song, but I had very little money. So instead, I’d hover my pointer finger over the red-circled record button and wait for a popular song to come on the radio.


When the music began, I’d press the magic button, then dance giddy knowing I’d soon be able

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Friend to Friend


Gravity. It’s not just the title of amazing songs written by John Mayer and Sara Bareilles, though I completely love both of these songs. Gravity is a mysterious force that holds the universe together. One that sustains flight and orbit. A force that cannot be seen yet cannot be denied. A bit similar to grace!


Gravity echoes the majesty and mystery of our unsearchable Creator. It’s a celestially adhesive influencer. Powerful. Essential. Incredible.


Here on the pale blue dot gravity keeps humanity grounded and presses fleshy body parts to plunge and sag with age. In the distance she spins the world on its axis and dances between the barrier of earth and sky.


The Psalmist wrote of it beautifully. “He set

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Friend to Friend


Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be afraid.


Case in point. I was a tween with pimples, long, lanky limbs, and an attitude the summer our family went to Ohio to visit friends who lived on a farm. I didn’t much care if these people were nice. I didn’t much care what activities we would do. It wasn’t the beach, and I was disappointed to be in Ohio for a vacation. (No offense, Ohio people.) But I heard they had horses, and that was enough to calm my grump a bit because I was giddy

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Friend to Friend


After lightning struck and the fire destroyed seventy percent of my home, we rebuilt. Every item seared, soaked and smoked was lifted and sifted. Ashes were removed. All things broken and tattered were excavated and evaluated in pursuit of total renewal and restoration.


Then a new plan was put in place.


A plan paved with promise and purpose.


It was time to rebuild. Time for prayers of protection and direction. Time for beauty to rise. Time for fresh peace and paint to adorn rooms that had been wrecked by a storm that brought fire.


Echoes of healing and hope filled the hallways of home with each swing of the hammer and hanging of drywall.


Relief and resilience rose as painters brushed beams and

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Friend to Friend


It’s not every day you come close to death, especially when you’re young.


It was a beautiful spring day in Akron, Ohio. I’d just gotten off work and was excited to meet with a manager of the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner for my wedding would be held. One of my bridesmaids was going with me and we were eager to sample the food and select the final menu.


Michele and I met up in the parking lot of my workplace then she followed behind my car in hers as we headed to dinner. The restaurant was in an area called “the valley,” and there was a long, steep hill leading down to it. At the bottom of the hill

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Have you ever felt lonely, scared, angry, confused and hurt all at the same time?  Ever felt like running away from a difficult situation?  I have.  There was a time, several years ago, when I wanted to run – hard and fast – from life as I knew it.  I had just birthed three babies in three  and a half years.  Then, to everybody’s surprise – especially mine – my husband got a promotion that moved our young family across the country to a place where we knew no one. I had two babies in diapers and one “big boy” struggling to say goodbye to his binky.  There was always a diaper to change, a mouth to feed or a

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He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”


Psalm 91:1-2



 


 


Several months ago I went to Dallas to be interviewed on LIFE Today (with James and Betty Robison) and to write a few songs for my next CD. The genre of songs for this project is worship. I’m prayerfully writing these songs so that they might be sung by the church for the glory of God. I’m asking the LORD to breathe an anointing on each word and note so that the songs might be used to connect the heart of worshipers to the heart of the worthy One. Here’s one of my new favorites…


My Strength, My Song
by Jourdan Johnson & Gwen Smith


You speak to my weakness
You tell me Your grace is strength
Your power

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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