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Adding Calligraphy to Your Devotion Time

What draws you to art? Is it the colors? the images? Have you ever been drawn to a work of art because of the words—not just the meaning of them, but how prettily the words are written?

Books of the Bible—Study Questions: 1 Thessalonians

Overview

The Book of 1 Thessalonians calls believers to live in the Gospel and fulfill their calling in the joy of the Holy Spirit. Paul reminds the Thessalonians of Christ’s return—a tricky passage to interpret—but also reminds them to simply follow Christ’s example while they await His coming.

What Does It Mean To Be A Lutheran?

It is a complicated question. What makes a Lutheran? Belief in grace alone, faith alone, and Scripture alone is often used to describe the essence of a Lutheran. These three “solas” are a good overview of what Lutheranism is and what defines our relationship with God. Dr. Daniel E. Paavola addresses this and other questions about his new book Grace, Faith, Scripture: Portrait of a Lutheran.

Books of the Bible Study Questions: Ecclesiastes

Imagine having the world at your fingertips. God gave it all to young King Solomon when He gave him a wise and discerning heart. Like the prodigal son in Jesus’ parable, Solomon squandered God’s generous gift in wild living. Here in his Book of Ecclesiastes, he reports on his discoveries about a life of self-indulgence lived apart from God. 

A Message for Teens Struggling with Bullying or Depression

This post is an excerpt from my newest Bible study, Shine: Sparkling with God’s Love.

In my life, I’ve struggled with real hope-crushing sadness. Not just the kind of sadness that comes from something hard that’s happened, but the kind that shifts my whole outlook on life.

To the Church on Her Birthday

Last week I turned forty with much pomp and circumstance. My family treated me like royalty, sending me off on an adventure with my oldest daughter. My friends made detailed plans for restaurants and meet-ups. There was food and sunshine and praise and laughter involved. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.

Sharing God’s Love with New People in New Places

Our family is on the road again, transitioning from our time at the seminary to my husband’s call and a life in western New York. Transitions with three small children are messy. There are abnormal bedtimes and meals, toys packed into boxes and onto a truck despite the protests of a four year old, and lots of emotions. The simple reality is that saying good-bye is sad and saying hello can be scary. About a week ago now, after being shipped off to grandma’s house so my husband and I could finish packing, load a truck, and clean our apartment, my daughter said to a family friend whom she hadn’t seen in sometime, “My heart missed you. I’m so lucky I get to love people in lots of spots. Some people only love people in one spot.”

What We Can Learn about Perseverance from Nehemiah

We all have one thing hanging over our lives that has been there far too long. It could be a habit to break, an addiction to conquer, a goal to accomplish, a long-standing project to complete, a relationship to restore or end, or a debt to retire. That one thing keeps showing up and outstaying its welcome. It sits smack dab in the middle of the room like the proverbial pink elephant. Everyone tiptoes around it—never acknowledging or discussing it.

Books of the Bible Study Questions: Ezra

The Book of Ezra is not well known; we tend to just mumble our way over it when we say the books of the Bible (1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther . . .) and maybe never even venture to see what's inside this Old Testament book.

Using Philippians to Find Joy—Every Day

This post is adapted from my newest women’s Bible study, Joy: A Study of Philippians.

If you’ve mailed me a letter, I probably still have it. I treasure handwritten words because the writer has something special to say. Maybe the letter is filled with news and updates. Or perhaps it contains humbling words of thanks. Often, it includes encouraging words and tender reminders. Sometimes it contains carefully crafted remarks that challenge or hold me accountable. One of my favorite parts of personal letters is the valediction, the complimentary close, such as “Blessings, my friend,” “With a grateful heart,” or “Yours in Christ.”