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But You Need to Actually Open the Gift…

On Crazy Christmas Sweater Day as a high school teacher,  I often wore a sweater depicting my favorite scene from the movie, “Elf.” Pictured on the front is Buddy the Elf screaming with ecstasy “Santa’s Coming! I know him!” Raised (by Santa) at the North Pole, Buddy works in the Christmas department of a New York City…

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God Hears Our Cries in Confusion

I’m confident that Almighty God is not pacing the throne room of heaven wringing His hands in confusion and fear. But today I want to remind us all that our cries are heard by God. 2020 is certainly not the first time a culture has battled conflict, confusion, and crisis — reaping what we have…

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I Refuse to Live in Fear!

If you’re not afraid right now, then just check the news. Plenty of horrific happenings this year while tempers are hot, triggers are happy, and trust is in short supply. And, lest we forget, 220,000 fellow Americans have already died from a deadly virus. How do we live in this world so full of things…

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Surviving a Worst Case Scenario

Today on my husband Michael McDowell‘s 75th Birthday, I’d love to share part of his life story which inspires me greatly. ****** What does a 34-year-old man do when he hears these two phrases only days apart: “Congratulations, you have a baby daughter!” and “I’m so sorry to tell you that your wife has liver…

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We are the Wounded 

“Just assume that everyone within the reach of your words is wounded.” These were my words to the writers and speakers attending my seminar entitled “What Your Audience Desperately Needs.” Because it’s true. We all carry soul wounds. Scars from childhood family skirmishes. Scratches from professional rejection. Scabs from physical trauma we never saw coming.…

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What He Did

 I still cannot believe what Christ did. For me. This is Holy Week. It began as Christians all around the world celebrated Palm Sunday – a commemoration of that day when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey to the cheers and adulation of crowds waving palm branches and singing “Hosanna! Blessed is He who…

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Why I Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

What if evil hijacked your youth and held you captive for years and years? When escape to a new life was finally achieved, you would vow to stay as far away from your former captors as possible, right? Well, maybe not. Maybe you would choose to return and “conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12.21)…

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Is It Time for You to Return?

My friend Ruth Graham went straight for the heart when she shared two years ago at Billy Graham’s funeral:  “Daddy wasn’t God, but he showed me what God was like.” She went on to tell of when she returned to her parents’ home after disobedience and sin, knowing she had made bad choices and hating…

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Lent ~ It’s Not Just Giving Up Chocolate

When I was growing up in south Georgia, my Episcopalian friends Mercer and Lisa always proudly announced this time of year that they were “giving up chocolate for Lent!” I never really knew what that meant. All I knew is that they didn’t seem any holier after doing this, so I kept eating chocolate… Now,…

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Mercy Way Back in the Cove

Mercy Way Back in the Cove Lucinda Secrest McDowell My 1968 Ford rattled across the rickety bridge deep in the hollows of Kentucky, literally driving on a wing and a prayer. Rounding the bend, the scent hit me before I even caught sight of the Caudhills’s place. The old weathered house stood on a hill.…

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