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Sixteen years ago, my husband the Norwegian Artist and I had an improbable dream: we wanted to find a place in the country and raise our kids there. I say improbable because 1) we had four kids and 2) we lived on one extremely moderate income. Most people we knew had half the amount of progeny and twice the number of jobs, and they were barely making it: lower middle class families with too many children need not apply for improbable dreams. But the dream wouldn’t go away. Early in our search,...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of being told, at every store I enter or order from online, that I am receiving the lowest prices — ever! The statement is made so much and so sweepingly, that I don’t remotely believe it, and when at Store B — with the lowest prices in town — I found three items that were priced higher than Store A — also with the lowest prices in town, I was hardly surprised. But that’s okay, because three of Store A’s lowest prices in town were higher than...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

Fear is one of Satan’s best weapons, because it’s relatively inexpensive. For a minimal outlay, Satan — who generally works through the assorted people on this planet who love him, worship him, or have sold themselves to him for whatever it costs to buy them — wields control over good people who fear the things that might happen, or could happen, but don’t necessarily have to happen. That’s the beauty of it: in a small town or big city, the sheriff’s deputies or city police can burst...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

If you read the Gospels at all, at some point you’ll run into the temptation of Jesus, by Satan, in the desert, since the story is in three out of four of the books (Matthew 4: 1-11; Mark 1: 12, 13; and Luke 4: 1-13). Like many accounts in the Bible, it’s easy to read through these quickly and say, “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that before,” and not slow down to focus on what the passage is saying. What it’s saying, however, is pretty important to us, because it shows us the three major ways...

by School Of Life on 23 September 2017

How to get to heaven is a piece of information that from the beginning of time, humanity has wanted to know. The rich young ruler of Matthew 19:16 – 29 (Mark 10: 17 – 30, Luke 18: 18 – 30) asked Jesus, “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Nicodemus, a religious leader, visited Jesus secretly at night and circumspectly touched upon the topic, something that should comfort the rest of us ordinary, non-leadership type people, because as Jesus observed, “You are Israel’s...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

We serve a God who does impossible things. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, had a baby when she was 90 years old (Genesis 18, 21). The Israelites escaped the Egyptians by walking through the parted Red Sea — with the pursuing Egyptians drowning when the waters crashed back together (Exodus 13, 14). The walls of Jericho fell on the seventh day, after the Hebrews walked around the city seven times, blew a trumpet, and shouted (Joshua 6). We haven’t even mentioned Jesus and all the many miracles He performed. God,...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

Apostasy is nothing new in Christianity. Two thousand years ago Jesus warned that false prophets “come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7: 15) Given that we, the people of God, are frequently referred to as sheep, the term “sheep’s clothing” imparts the disquieting concept that these false prophets will inveigle their way into the church itself, potentially fooling the saints (Matthew 24: 24). According to the apostle Peter, false teachers...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

For many people, hearing the audible voice of God — speaking directly to them — is incredibly important. He isn’t “real” somehow if He isn’t physical, tangible, and accessible. They are encouraged in this belief by celebrity leadership and the lay people snared by them, confidently assuring that God speaks audibly today, and if people aren’t hearing Him, it’s not God’s fault, it’s theirs — they’re too ordinary for God to bother with, or they don’t have enough (or the...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

Has this ever happened to you? You’re in a social situation, somebody asks you how you’re doing, and since the most significant event in your life lately has been the loss of your job, or the diagnosis of a serious disease, or your teenager’s totaling the car but mercifully walking away unscathed, you mention this. And the person listening leans forward, touches your arm, and says, “Jesus is all you need. Excuse me while I go refresh my lemonade.” You’re Not Helping No offense, mind...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8) Those of us who attended church in the 1980s are familiar with the musical version of this verse. As with any Scripture that is set to music and presented during “worship service,” however, it’s easy to sing the words without thinking, and be pretty much unable to read them without the melody playing in the background. It’s worth slowing...

by School Of Life on 22 September 2017