Our First and Ultimate Priority

Scripture: Psalm 33:1-9 (NRSV) 1  Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous. Praise befits the upright. 2  Praise the LORD with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings. 3  Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts. 4  For the word of the LORD is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. 5  He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of t…

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What God Wants

Isaiah 1:10-20 Frederick Buechner, a novelist and minister, said that a prophet is the sort of person who gets invited to dinner only once. That was his colorful way of saying that prophets tend to be unpopular because they tell people things they’d rather not hear. A prophet is the opposite of a demagogue. A demagogue tells people whatever they want to hear, in order to get what the demagogue w…

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Sabbath Rest: Rules

When I was a little boy there were strict rules about what we could and could not do on the Sabbath. It seemed that there were far more things that were prohibited than were permitted. Most Sabbath days looked the same: Sunday School and worship in the morning; lunch at home; quiet afternoon in our living room or that of my grandfather; back home for dinner; and the evening at the church for…

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Touch and Feel

My boys have discovered this new game. I call it pummels, and I’m reasonably sure it’s going to be a part of raising young boys for quite a few years. Here’s the game: I, the large lumbering father figure, lay down upon the ground. The boys, tossing aside whatever they were previously working on, crawl at breakneck speed in my direction. Upon arriving at their lifeless father on the floor, they rise …

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Habits of the Heart: Gratitude

To be grateful is to be, at that moment, blessed and happy. If it becomes a habit of the heart, gratitude lays the foundation for a life of joy and peace. That’s because, first of all, gratitude is a response to having received a gift, and a meaningful gift suggests that someone thought enough of you to offer it. You matter to the giver, and we all want to matter. We want to feel that somebody c…

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