If You REALLY Want to Help those Who Grieve

Living Our Days

We sat on the couch, side by side, but miles apart.  She had just lost her son in a tragic accident.  I had four living and healthy boys — and no words that could touch her loss.  In the weeks and months that followed, I wrote notes, shared Scripture verses, listened to her sadness, and showed up at her door bearing food, but never feeling confident that any of it held meaning, and often feeling as if I was missing the whole point.

Nancy Guthrie writes to bring clarity and a measure of confidence to people like me:  those of us who want to help and bring comfort to our grieving friends, but want to avoid saying all the wrong words and assuming things that are not true.  Her “research” for What Grieving People Wish You Knew was gritty and uninvited, and began on the day when her infant daughter…

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Love, Faith, and Courage in the Killing Fields

Living Our Days

“One death is a tragedy.
One million deaths is a statistic.”      ~Joseph Stalin

Banking on this banality of evil, the Khmer Rouge murdered or starved 1.7 million Cambodian citizens during the years in which they were in power, all with an eye toward establishing themselves and their Community ideology. Having wiped out 25% of the population, the Khmer Rouge will go down as history’s most totalitarian regime, for even though Mao and Stalin were responsible for more deaths, no dictator has ever destroyed one fourth of its citizens.

This chilling period of history forms the meta-narrative of Les Sillars’s Intended for Evil, but he has brilliantly shared the harrowing story through the eyes of one man, Radha Manickam who survived the Cambodian Killing Fields.  Of Indian ethnic descent, Radha was born into a Hindu Brahmin family, but came to faith in Christ as a young man in 1973…

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Theology 101 (In the Nursery)

Living Our Days

When school started in the fall, I introduced a series in our Sunday School on God’s incommunicable attributes — for the kids.  The timing was perfect:  everyone was going back to school.  We all have lots to learn.  God has never needed to learn anything.   He is omniscient . . .  and on we went from there, week by week, pondering God’s sovereignty, His immutability, the other omni’s, and more besides.

Childhood is the perfect time to introduce little people to the important truths of the faith.  With that in mind, Danielle Hitchen has produced a tool to make the learning process fun for the kids, the parents and the teachers.  Bible Basics – A Baby Believer Counting Primer has all the best indestructible features of a board book, the interesting and colorful pictures that go with a cute counting book, but with the important difference that the…

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Built Up

The pile driver with its steady thump, thump, thump sounded throughout the China Town neighborhood as it drove the huge steel beams deep into the earth. Building was happening on a steep hillside. Bedrock would need to be reached if the structure built above was going to stand on its precarious perch. Even though the beams would never be seen by the people who would live above them, they would provide strength and stability to those who inhabited the apartments. If the earth decided to shake as it quite often does in Southern California, the structure would stand firm thanks to its ‘roots’ beneath the surface.

This first stage of building is an important one. The builders would have to go down before they could be built up. It would make all the difference in the ability of the structure to stand. Without the bedrock supporting its feet, the homes above…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Writing... Apples of Gold


On this day of giving thanks, what if we take up a refreshing challenge to  be a blessing?

Today, I am pondering the grateful hearts of the first settlers celebrating teamwork and mutual respect and adventure of beginning on a wondrous new journey…how they came together in humble and joyful spirit after so much heartache and struggle…

O, how we need to turn our hearts once again to that spirit of giving and receiving blessing!

Have you noticed lately – all the tares among the wheat?  “What is happening to a world where we think nothing of taking disrespect for others to seismic scale?  Hatred and anger and fear and rudeness – even attack — are considered elite, correct stances and no one is more important than number one.   “I don’t care what you are feeling!” one young, otherwise intelligent woman decries, captured as if in tantrum display on…

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Joyful Attachment

You, however, are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God lives in you. Romans 8:9

Who knew that the sweet little Sunday school song I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart was revealing a symbiont relationship. Yes, this feels a bit sci-fi, but it is far from fiction. Before you get visions of Alien, and creep yourself out, let’s look back at the definition. [Woo Hoo! Science and English!]

Symbiosis noun [sim-bee-oh-seez]

  1. the living together of two dissimilar organisms resulting in which both benefit from the association. 2. a relationship between two people in which each person is dependent upon and receives reinforcement.

If you know anything about the Holy Spirit, you know this pretty much describes Him. If we have decided to follow Jesus, the Holy Spirit is living with us. He is nothing like us…

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Standing and Waiting with Those Who Suffer

Living Our Days

The words of 17th century poet John Milton from On His Blindness, come to mind with every visit to my mother’s long-term care facility:

 “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

I hope it’s true, and I’d love to report that in the midst of my waiting we have warm and meaningful conversations or that I push her wheelchair outside for sunshine and fresh air, but the truth is that she refuses to leave her room, and that for the duration of my visits, the t.v. is blaring infomercials and game shows.  With every visit, I wonder if her life is enhanced at all by my presence.  Of course, “standing and waiting” on behalf of my mother also includes advocating for her when her crankiness gets in the way of administrators hearing her real needs, calling health care providers, and bringing her treats, but, most of the time, I…

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