Gail

As Often As You Drink It

Jesus calls us the “salt of the earth.” Whose spiritual thirst are you meant to arouse? Is there someone in your circle of loved ones who stands outside the circle of faith? Who can you enlist to form a prayer circle to around this beloved unbeliever to pray regularly and systematically for their salvation ?

At the Last Supper, Jesus raised his cup and said,

“Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” I Corinthians 11:25.

What if those you call together to stand in prayer for your loved one were to use the simple act of drinking a beverage as a guide and reminder?

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Wonderful Light

“…to declare the praises of Him who has called us out of darkness into his wonderful light” ( 1 Peter 2:9)

I spent a good portion of my twenties working in the dark. Singing in nightclubs for a living, I played four sets a night, the first one not even starting until 9 pm. At 2 am when the lights went on, anyone still at the bar was in for a rude awakening. Those cozy booths were actually stained and crusted with a variety of revolting substances. The bottles of Chivas Regal and Jose Cuervo glittering against the illuminated mirror were coated in a layer of grease and dust. The harsh glare revealed that the cocktail glasses, hastily sloshed out in the sink between customers, probably hadn’t ever been washed in hot soapy water.

But it was the people who were typically still there at last call that looked even worse than the shabby, stained carpets. Dim light hides a lot. A lot of ugly. Like the telltale indentation on the third finger, left hand of a ring that had been temporarily removed. Like the bloodshot eyes and shaking hands of the aging

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Making Your Mark

This is what life looks like when I am writing a new Bible study. The process is, by turns, exhilarating, frustrating, grueling, and exciting. What I love most is having a reason to pull together ideas from all my favorite books, to go back and read notes I wrote in margins 30 years ago.

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Fishing for the Right Words

My grandfather loved the sea. He’d built a sailboat, but what he enjoyed even more was the small cabin cruiser on which he spent the happiest days of his retirement fishing for flounder. An introvert and engineer, he was a patient, soft-spoken man. I imagine he liked fishing in large part because of the quiet it afforded him to think his thoughts in peace.

My father also loved boats, but did not have the same high tolerance for passively waiting in solitude as did my grandfather. My grandmother was fond of repeating the old saying: “Patience is a virtue, have it if you can; seldom found in woman, never in a man.” Although I didn’t perceive it at the time, she was probably

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What Are You Focusing On?

I think I must be going a bit cross-eyed. Am I crazy to look up at the sky and think that God is still pouring forth speech?

It started several years ago, a few days before I was due to fly to Houston to speak at my second CrossWise Living retreat. As my brother relaxed on the front porch of his log cabin in the Hill Country near Austin, he glanced up in the sky and was quick enough with his camera to grab a shot of this amazing cloud pattern. He texted it to me and joked that this was a biblical pillar of cloud leading me to Texas.

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Splendor like the Sunrise

Instead of New Year’s resolutions, some of my friends have found a simpler way— asking God to help them choose just one word as a focal point for change and growth for the year. As the year turned, I pondered this, wondering if a single word would come to me without forcing it.

It did: Focus.

And so today I am focusing my attention on what God might have to say to me in this photo of a splendid sunrise.  

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Advent Meditation on Longings Fulfilled

We don’t always wait in vain. Faith and patience inherit the promise. Sometimes  we get a holy hint of what is to come.

My first and long-awaited grandchild was born in June . Yesterday , as I sat gazing at a photo of her, anticipating her first visit to California for Christmas, I was struck by its great significance. In the picture, Summer Adelle is being proudly held by her great-grandfather. My dad is a crusty old Swede, a sailor whose relationship with strong drink shaped my world. But God does hear

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What I Really Want

Even more than the ability to eat dark chocolate almonds and croissants all day without gaining weight, here is something I really want:

  • Favor with God
  • Favor with people
  • A good reputation.

I suspect this is what you really want too, even if your momentary craving is for just a few minutes of air-conditioned peace and quiet, with a carton of coffee Häagen-Dazs and a spoon.

This week I found a verse in the Bible that tells me exactly how to get what I want.

Proverbs 3:3-4(NLT) says:

Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!

Tie them around your neck as a reminder.

Write them deep within your heart. 

Then you will find favor with both God and people, 

and you will earn a good reputation

Be Loyal. Be Kind. Then everyone, including God, will be pleased with you. That sounds a simple enough recipe for happiness.

But is it really that easy to pull off?

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September: A Second Chance for a Fresh Start

I never get a new planner in January. My life has always revolved around schools, so I start getting excited around the last week in August about selecting my new planner for the year. And I never seem to leave the office supply store without some new pens, new folders, new pads, and new notebooks. Any of you share my stationery addiction?

The start of a new school year, traditionally the day after Labor Day, has always carried the promise of a fresh start. New pencils, new notebooks, new school-clothes. A new schedule, a new teacher, a new backpack.

People whose lives aren’t defined by the academic calendar only have one time a year—New Year’s Day— when they get to turn the page for a fresh start.

Students, teachers — and I want to add life-long learners — get a second chance in September for a nice clean sheet on which to write their hopes and dreams and good intentions.

The Day after Labor Day

This is just one reason I am so excited to launch Living CrossWise : Hope and Help for Navigating Transition on the day after Labor Day! Is there a better time than a new semester to start reading and studying a resource that will help you grow in faith?

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The Most Important Step in Writing a Book

My husband is a world-class listener. After meeting and talking with him at a social gathering, you leave with the wonderful feeling that you are both interesting and important. He smiles at you with those kind eyes, making you feel that your concerns are his concerns as he keeps coming up with questions to draw you out. This is one of the ways he won my heart so many decades ago.

He is still listening. And boy, am I putting it out. Processing. Downloading. Emoting. Stressing. Freaking Out. Melting Down. Cry Talking.

He is a patient man.

How to sum up how I’ve been feeling? Let’s just say I needed another go-round of this

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