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Thoughts From Horatio Spafford

Dear Friends, I like stories. True stories. And not always stories that have a happy ending. In fact, I have gained much solace from stories that were very sad (like this one), but were helpful because they were about real people, struggling with raw emotions, and real issues, in an imperfect and fallen world where our ultimate hope must rest elsewhere. This morning I read a story I've read before. It's one I have even shared from the pulpit before. And I know that many of you (like me) have already heard as well. But then I thought, "Maybe some do not know it." And if you happen to be one, you need to read on! I pass this story along for you. For those who have not heard the story behind the writing of the hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul" by Horatio Spafford. Because once you know the story behind it, it's hard to ever sing it again in the same way. And even if you already know it, it is always helpful to pause and think once again about a
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Thoughts From Elizabeth Sherrill

Dear Friends, Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. Four years ago I did discover (according to my DNA results) that I have a little Irish in me, though unlike some I know, I do not tend to make a big deal about the day. In fact, it sometimes slips by me unnoticed. Yet, when I was reading a devotional today, I found the entry quite interesting -- a mix of history, combined with a true story of determination, and a lesson of faith -- all mixed into one! So I decided to share it. It comes (once again) from the Guideposts Daily Devotional, 2018 edition. The author is Elizabeth Sherrill. I do hope you find it as interesting as I did - though I must confess that my fascination with it was likely due (in part) to the fact that I'm from just outside Boston, and happened to do a report on the events mentioned in this entry when I was in the 8th grade. I have even visited all the places that are referenced, which also surely piqued my interest in it. At any rate, an early &quo

Thoughts From Gordon MacDonald

Dear Friends, We just passed the one year mark of the Covid lockdown and restrictions. It's been a trying year in many different ways, and therefore there are very few (none I know) who do not want to put all this stuff behind us -- and see it all gone yesterday! All of us are looking for that "finish line" people keep predicting, hoping it is very close by. The day when we will finally be freed to go back to life as normal (whatever that will look like). But for now, anyway, we still have to press on and walk through what can be called: Covid-fatigue. Restriction-fatigue. Mask-fatigue. Distancing-fatigue. Hug-Hesitation Fatigue. Travel Ban-fatigue. And many others! In our instant society, patience is not a primary American virtue, so it's not surprising that many are experiencing some degree of burn-out. A condition which evidences itself in irritability, sensitivity, negativity, frustration, lack of motivation, lack of passion, and fo

Thoughts From Rick Hamlin

Dear Friends, This "thought" will likely seem more relevant to those who are past the child-rearing stage -- though it can surely offer hope to those who are in the midst of it! It was the March 1st reading from my 2018 edition of the Daily Guideposts devotional which I quoted from a few weeks back. The author of this particular entry is Rick Hamlin. It struck me as an entry that offers hope to the burdened conscience, and for that reason I pass it along to any parents who may need the encouragement it offers. Enjoy. "You will hurl all our sins into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:19 "It's interesting what we can remember and what we regret. When I think about the kind of dad I was when my kids were younger, I hate to recall the times when the two of them tested my patience. Two boys, three years apart, roughhousing indoors, the playful tussling that turned into wrestling matches threatening to destroy

Thoughts From Michael and Sharon Rusten

Dear Friends, Most of us love a good story. I am one who especially loves stories that are true. In fact, those who know me, know I prefer reality to fiction! That's why the following story spoke so loudly to me -- a story that is true, sad, and encouraging, all at the same time. It is found in "The One Year Book of Christian History" by Michael and Sharon Rusten and is the story of Doug Herman, his wife Evon, and their two children Ashli and Joshua. Though heart-wrenching in one way, it shows how the Lord can comfort and teach us through experiences we were never looking to learn a lesson from. Enjoy.   Tragedy and Strength on the Other Side "Those best qualified to teach us about suffering and hope are those who have walked through the shadows of tragedy and emerged stronger on the other side. Doug Herman is one such person. This is his story. "In a two-month period my life and faith came to a crashing climax. Evon, my wife,

Thoughts About the History of Lent

Dear Friends, As today is “Shrove Tuesday” and Lent begins tomorrow, I thought I would pass along some interesting facts about the history of Lent. Sometimes we know about it, but don’t really know about it! So, for today, I have put together some background information about Lent. Information varies depending on the source, but I tried to weave together an accurate, historically reliable, and generally accepted summary of the basic facts! Enjoy. Lent is the approximate 40-day season between Ash Wednesday and Easter, during which Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant believers prepare themselves spiritually for Easter through prayer, Bible reading, and a focus on spiritual disciplines like fasting, self-denial, and a commitment to acts of generosity. The word “lent” comes from the Old English word “lencten” meaning “length” and was used to refer to the springtime season in the Northern Hemisphere when the days were lengthening as the sun rose earlier and set later. Lent is

Thoughts From Richard J. Foster

Dear Friends, This past Sunday I preached on John 14:12. It's the verse where Jesus says, "Anyone who has faith in me will do the things I have been doing. He will do greater things than these because I go to the Father" (that is, to send the Holy Spirit). Thus, in keeping with what I preached on, I wanted to share some thoughts by Richard J. Foster on "The Power of the Holy Spirit - The Marks of Spiritual Power.” They are taken from a book entitled, "The Contemporaries Meet the Classics on the Holy Spirit." It's a collection of writings from well-known Christians, past and present, compiled by Randall Harris. I wish I could quote the entire article(!), but alas some may feel my posts are already long in an age where we are told attention spans are getting much shorter. Therefore, I will give you the shortened and abridged version. Enjoy. The Marks of Spiritual Power "The power that creates is spiritual power, and i