religion

Reading in the Book of 1 Samuel, we meet another of God’s chosen servants, Hannah, whose soul longed for a child. We learn she was a consecrated woman and had a good and faithful heart. For those that know the back of the book, we are aware that God honored her sincere request and allowed Hannah to become the mother of Samuel, the earliest of the great Hebrew prophets after Moses and the last of the judges. Her story breathes of her love and care for her firstborn.

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In a recent column, we met one of the Marys that we find in Scripture and determined that it is important to remember just which woman we are referencing in teaching or writing. Mary Magdalene is referred to in each of the four gospels as being an integral element in the ministry of Jesus Christ on earth.

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History tells us that the story of Valentine’s Day begins in the third century with an oppressive Roman emperor, Claudius II, and a humble Christian martyr, Valentinus. We of course, do not know for certain if this is the case, but this version has lasted through countless years and has been repeated from generation to generation.

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If you follow my column regularly (and I appreciate those who do), you may remember that we met Mary Magdalene, the person I believe received the most important message ever given: “Go and tell My disciples that I am alive.” These words came from the Lord Jesus after He had risen from the dead as He said He would. We then met Peter, also called Son of Jonah, the Apostle Peter, Simon Peter and “the Rock.” (Yes, I know we have a modern day wrestler named the Rock, but he has little strength compared to the man Jesus called the Rock).

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When Jesus first spoke to the brothers Andrew and Peter, who were fishermen by profession, he told them to follow Him and He would make them fishers of men. Andrew and Peter might not have grasped exactly what those words meant at the time, but in the coming months and years, they would see the Lord’s words come to fruition.

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Ahhh, Peter, the loudmouth, the out front one, the oft spokesperson for the disciples, the leader, and the one to get into major trouble while serving the Lord – we can learn from him. He, perhaps, was an unlikely candidate for Christian service, but his life should serve as an example of forgiveness to those of us who would follow in his footsteps.

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I enjoy and appreciate things that make me think. I don’t always come to a concrete conclusion right away, but I do enjoy the challenge of trying to come to an agreement (or disagreement) with things I have heard or read. Nothing causes quite so much controversy as Bible passages, political promises, or childrearing advice.

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I have been pondering the idea of how to write this column for quite some time now, but like all writers and artists, I suppose I harbored a fear of being misunderstood or even questioned by some of the church folks. I was not reared in a Christian household and my parents did not attend any church except for the occasional wedding or funeral that required family attendance, but I am happy to tell you that God uses whom He will and that earthly standards are not necessarily the top line of criteria.

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As we all rushed around getting ready for family visits, good home cooked food, the buying and exchanging of sought-after gifts, and travel to celebrate Christmas with those we love the most, how many of us became worn out, tired, physically ill, and sometimes blue? For some, it seemed that we just could not get everything we wanted to do accomplished within the tight deadlines, or that we did not have the money we wanted to spend, or we could not get home at all. As I observed and visited with those I love the most, I saw some tired faces, concern about finances and sadness.

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In my last column, we began the discussion of “hollow heroes,” and I am fairly certain each of our readers could get a visual image of someone they know and love that seemed to fit the category. They go on with life, but it is a struggle because they come from such a hollow place in the heart and mind. I think of it as “simply going through the motions of life,” rather than living it abundantly. Perhaps you thought of your own life and wondered just how hollow you really are.

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