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Featured Author of the Week:
Devotional Author, Bill Strom
about Dr. Bill Strom
When we see Christmas scenes of Jesus’ birth, we observe a family of three: Mary, Joseph, and the infant in swaddling clothes. They appear like a nuclear family in the 21st century where mom and dad work and junior goes to daycare. Jesus was born first, but he wasn’t an only child.
When I was young I thought a godly life meant avoiding things that others in town enjoyed freely. I was on the outside looking in as my youthful peers spoke of their first cigarette, drink, and engagements with girls. Their lives seemed carefree, and mine a burden.
In my work as a university professor I often write letters of reference for students who are applying for their first job out of college or for graduate school. Along with this service comes the role of counselor to graduates as they hear from one organization or school, but not another.
It’s the playoffs, and during them hockey players hold to the unspoken rule that giving hard hits is fine, but one ought to avoid outright fights. This agreement makes for fast-skating, hard-hitting hockey without the tough-man antics of dropping the gloves for a mid-ice brawl. Most would say it makes better hockey.
In a TV drama I recently watched, an artist sat deep in thought in front of a painting that hung in a gallery. The picture resembled two rectangles one atop the other, the bottom one black, the upper one yellow. On the horizon of the dark piece an errant bump broke the otherwise flat skyline.
The story of the father with two sons captures the gospel story for two sorts of people. The first are like the younger son who decided against his better judgment to demand his inheritance early, move to a distant land, and squander it on loose living with women and wine. When he came to his senses, he realized that his father’s servants living under his care and provision had it better than he did. So he went home.
Ever wonder what the Bible means when it says to love God with your heart, soul, strength, and mind? As one who does not know either Hebrew or Greek, I am prone, at first, to interpret these English words very basically as emotions, spirit, body, and intellect. However, even the shortest online search for studies on these terms tell us it isn’t so easy.
Today I learned from an acquaintance about a fella who holds resentment and hatred toward his mother. Evidently this man—in his 50s—was born out of wedlock (unlike his siblings), and was treated differently by his mother all his life.
My acquaintance encouraged me to pray for this guy who has felt second-rate, disowned, and marginalized. I know personally that he has suffered from drug and alcohol addiction.
Where I live October is a transition month. By October summer is all put away. The lawnmower sits idle in the shed, and deck chairs lean against the back of the house.
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, 25-26)
The story of God calling Gideon to deliver his people Israel begins unceremoniously. The Midianites are bullying their way through Jewish territory routinely, taking crops, slaughtering animals, and scaring Gideon’s people into the caves and ravines of local mountains.
When I was growing up the words of Paul in Ephesians 6:12 were generally valued for the second half of the sentence. That is, our struggles were considered to be against the Devil or demons who might trip us up as we tried to live for Jesus. More recently I have come to appreciate the first half of the teaching.