Archives For Margaret

The Unexpected Gift of Sadness

The book of Job is part of the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, along with Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Job tells the story of a wealthy, successful man living in the land of Uz who had seven sons and three daughters. The story opens with an insight into Job’s character. When Job learned that his children may have inadvertently sinned, he offered sacrifices on their behalf—an example that Job was a righteous man who loved God.

In an unusual twist, an adversary (often thought of as Satan) approached God about Job. Satan claimed that the only reason Job was righteous and loved God was because Job had been successful and prosperous. If stripped of his possessions, Satan argued, Job wouldn’t be as faithful to God.

Out of this heavenly court scene would come an unforgettable test for Job whom, according to God’s command, Satan would be allowed to strip of all his material blessings.

At Satan’s request, Job would be allowed to lose everything—everything, said the Lord, except for his life.

Continue Reading...

2e9b0cb2

For the last several months, I've noticed something bothering my dog's mouth. Hershey has been licking more and rubbing his face into the ground. I decided to take him to the veterinarian. He assured me all was well with my dog.

But the behavior continued.

I went to another veterinarian for a second opinion. He assured me that Hershey was fine. When I asked about the odd behavior he told me that sometimes dogs just do funny things.

I wasn't satisfied.

One of my closest friends just happens to be a dental hygienist. While over for dinner one night, I asked, "Is there any way that we could break into your dental office in the middle of the night and use the X-ray machine to see what's really going on in my dog's mouth?" Continue Reading...

Bible Study

Every small group has a different DNA made up of interests, needs, desires, passions, and perspectives. Selecting a curriculum is not as easy as slipping on a one-size-fits-all t-shirt. In fact, choosing a Bible study can be the most difficult part when launching any small group.

Here are 5 steps to take when it comes to selecting a Bible study curriculum for your small group or Bible study: Continue Reading...

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate Halloween

To celebrate Halloween or to ignore it?

That is the question Christian families have been asking themselves for decades. Halloween has become almost impossible to completely ignore due to the media and consumer hype behind the princesses, ghosts, and snack-sized Snickers bars.

The origins of Halloween connect back to the Celtic celebration of Samhain-which marked the end of the harvest.

The harvest festival showed traces of celebrating death and Irish mythology. This holiday has pagan origins. Now, Halloween is a real celebration for followers of the Occult and Wicca. It is no doubt that for that culture-Halloween is a chance to celebrate evil spirits and death.

In the seventh century, Pope Gregory III instituted another holiday in substitution of Halloween: All Saints Day (celebrated on November 1st). Designed as a day to pray for the saints who have already passed, this holiday was created to combat the pagan rituals of Halloween.

Throughout the centuries Christians have tried to find alternatives.

Here are five creative ways to celebrate October 31st:

Continue Reading...

sheep

I love the way God is at work and even uses a tiny sheep to accomplish his purposes.

For those of you who have read Scouting the Divine or been through the six-week Bible study, then you're familiar with Lynne, the shepherdess, who I spent time with her and flock unpacking Scriptural truths.

Lynne and I continue to keep in touch, and I recently received the following note from her regarding a small sheep named Piaget. This precious creature was near death and Lynne nursed her back to life as a loving shepherdess.

While other shepherds would have given up on Piaget, Lynne never did--even waking in the middle of the night to crawl in the pen to be with Piaget.

Their story offers a rich portrait of God's tender love for us.

Here is an update from Lynne on how God is still using Piaget for his purposes:

Continue Reading...