Apostle Paul

Unity Strengthens Relationships

December 10, 2017
Philippians 2:3, 4

Meditations for Advent: 2. Moving Toward Joy On this second Sunday of Advent, we turn to Philippians 2 for directions for the next stage of our journey toward the joy the angels sang about. Last week, at the beginning of our journey, the Apostle Paul’s letter of joy and encouragement led us from grace to gratitude, then discernment and courage and—with realistic expectations—on to joy …

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Love Overcomes Fear

December 3, 2017
Philippians 1:27, 28

Meditations for Advent: 1. Moving Toward Joy Are you ready to celebrate Christmas? or is something missing this season? This has been a hard year on many fronts. Many have suffered grievous losses. Hope and peace and joy may seem very far away. That’s how I felt after Lev died. The very thought of the Holidays terrified me. To prepare my heart, I turned to …

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Moving Toward Joy: Meditations for Advent

November 30, 2017
Good tidings of great joy

Introduction When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out.[i] But she treasured it because it had belonged to her …

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Really? I’m an author?

October 13, 2017
Ella at desk

With a contract for RECLAIMING JOY, I can now legitimately call myself an author with a forthcoming book. Those words have very specific meaning in the publishing world, and I have to pinch myself to make sure I haven’t dreamed it. After having an unfinished manuscript hanging over my head for more than three years, I am not quite sure what I do next. I …

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The Winters of Our Lives

August 24, 2017
winter

What a surprise! What a blessing! And what a learning experience for me. Last month on Nantucket, I led a conversation on moving from discouragement and loss to joy during four Tuesday afternoons of Porchtime at the Parsonage. Our small group turned to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians for inspiration and practical advice as we admitted our own struggles and shared our efforts …

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The Parable of Two Sons

August 3, 2017
mother and son

Once there were two elderly, affluent widows whose oldest sons served as executors of their fathers’ wills and as trustees responsible for managing their mothers’ finances. Each son was the mature, responsible, oldest child in his family. Both women lived for decades after their husbands’ deaths. One widow complained, “I can’t buy a new outfit without asking my son’s permission.” The other widow happily traveled …

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Porchtime at the Parsonage

June 29, 2017
parsonage porch

When I visualize my mother, the first image that always comes to mind is of her with her worn Bible across her knees, index cards and pencil at hand, preparing her Sunday School lesson. Her old King James Version was falling apart, the spine of its cheap leatherette cover peeling off, pages spilling out. But she treasured it because it had belonged to her beloved …

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No Regrets!

May 18, 2017
the road to hell

Don’t I wish? Good intentions may not lead to hell, but they can lead to a life of regrets—if only and what if. With age, I have acquired enough experience to know that I am happiest when I seek to live life without regrets, without all the “should haves”—all the times I procrastinated until it was too late—pricking my conscience. My cousin in Alabama taught …

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Lessons Learned in Widowhood

April 20, 2017
I-press-on

Grace is the bottomless well of God’s unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness and pardon. It is the gift of unmerited favor. Those of us who receive His grace are bound to extend the same grace to others. And in the giving and receiving of grace, we find inner peace and peace with others. In our despair, we cannot imagine that life will ever be good again. …

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God, the Celestial Bellhop

March 30, 2017
prayer meme Matthew 5:44

“Try not to pray against anyone, so that you do not destroy what you are building, and make your prayer loathsome.” – Evagrios the Solitary Recently, a New Testament scholar/professor/preacher friend posted this quote—without explanation—on his Facebook page. While I had never heard of Evagrios, knowing my friend as I did, I guessed correctly that he was one of those early mystics of the Church, who …

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