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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Sabbath Rest: Remember

I remember the day that Sarah was born. I remember that little baby with the cutest toes, wearing a blanket and a funny-looking cap, and demonstrating a healthy – and loud – set of lungs. I remember the first time our eyes met as she laid in the warming bed. I remember looking at her, tears in my eyes, and marveling at the wonder of this little new creation. I remember thanking God for his mar…

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Watch and Wait

When I first got back to Westminster from a summer sabbatical, I preached a sermon on God’s action in our lives. I talked about how God is always present, always moving, always acting in our lives, even when it feels like God is doing none of those things. I talked about how God has a habit of taking God’s people into the wilderness, or waiting room, and leaving them there for a season. I talked abo…

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Habits of the Heart: Compassion

I’ve been reflecting on some of the more negative habits of the heart in recent weeks, including fear and anger. Now I want to focus on a couple of alternatives that might serve as antidotes to the darker side of those habits, beginning with compassion. Compassion means to feel for people in a way that wants to help relieve their suffering. The feeling comes naturally to most of us when we see a…

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Sabbath Rest: Trust

In Exodus 16, God had just delivered the people from years of slavery in Egypt. Instead of jumping for joy these newly freed people griped and disobeyed regularly. They complained about the menu (or lack of it). “Why couldn’t God have just left us in Egypt rather than saving us?” they grumbled. “There we could sit by the pots cooking meat and eat our fill of bread. " So God gave them daily food te…

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