Tough Hides, Tender Hearts

WHEN HOSEA MARRIED A PROSTITUTE, respect for him dropped to zero. “Small wonder he is listed first among the minor prophets,” some may sneer today. “He must have been a real loser.” Wrong again, O critic. Hosea was one of the most patient, tender, loving, and obedient of all the ancient prophets. “Then why in the world would such a man fall for a woman such as she?” Because God told him to! That’s right.

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Is It Can’t or Won’t?

DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU are the recipient of limitless ability . . . incredible strength? Just read a few familiar lines out of the Book, slowly for a change: “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). “Each time he said, ‘My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness'” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

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Confessions of a “Clutter-holic”

WHEN WE SUFFER FROM clutter-holic syndrome, our lives are marked by mediocrity, haphazardness, and putting out needless fires. Think you might have a mild case of that? Maybe a few questions will help prime the pump of self-analysis: Do you often lose things? Are you usually late for appointments and meetings? Do you put off doing your homework until late? Are you a time waster? Is your reading limited to only the essentials rather than heavier works?

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It’s about Time

I AM A SUCKER FOR TIME-MANAGEMENT BOOKS. Some people can’t say no to a salesman at the door. Others have the hardest time passing up a litter of free puppies. Some people struggle with driving by a garage sale without stopping. Still others find it almost impossible to withstand the urge to gamble. Not me. My weakness is books that teach me about the investment of my time—all of those volumes that promise to tell me how to replace simply being busy with being effective.

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Hoping and Waiting

AT LONG LAST I AM FINALLY discovering that that stuff about Rome not being built in a day is true. And speaking of Rome, Paul’s words to the century-one Christians who lived there are truer than ever. We believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children . . .

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Considering Life

SNAP A TELESCOPIC LENS ON your perspective for the next few minutes. Pull yourself up close enough to see the real you. Pore over your own pores. Study what you see. Like a physician giving you a physical. Like an artist painting your portrait. Like a biographer writing your story. From the reflection in your mental mirror, pay close attention to your life. Try your best to examine the inner “you” based on time.

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A Handwritten Note

THERE IS NOTHING QUITE like the charm and personal touch conveyed in a handwritten note. Since our penmanship, like our fingerprint, is altogether unique, each curve of the letter or stroke of the pen bears its own originality. Occasionally, it’s nice to think some still cared enough to throw efficiency to the winds and look you right in the eye, as it were, with their words.

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Fighting the Fast Fade

Can you remember those pointed challenges from the preacher who stood before you with Bible in hand? How many hours have passed since you sat there, opening your ears and heart to counsel from God’s always-relevant Book? A few dozen, maybe? Ah, it’s starting to fade, isn’t it? Those incisive, potentially life-changing principles are swimming away in a sea of forgetfulness. What a frustration! Why can’t we hang on to those mental, spiritual handholds we need so desperately?

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Echoes

A YOUNG BOY LIVED WITH his grandfather on the top of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. Often, just to hear his voice echoing back to him, he would go outside, cup his hands around his mouth, and shout, “HELLO!” Up from the canyons it reverberated over and over, “HELLO . . . HELLO . . . hello . . . hello . . . hello . . .”

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