Morning Musing: Genesis 2:23-24

“And the man said: This one, at last, is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh; this one will be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken from man. This is why a man leaves his father and mother and bonds with his wife, and they become one flesh.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Let me ask a loaded question: Did you marry your soulmate? Depending on your circumstances, you may have a whole variety of answers to that question. If you’re a newlywed (or a nearly -wed), you are probably going to fire off an immediate, “Absolutely!” in response. If you marriage is really, really good, you might also say yes. If you have experienced the pain of divorce or are in a marriage that is on rocky ground, you may not be quite so quick to agree. Let me change the question up just a bit: Do you even believe in the idea that each one of us has a soulmate? Again, maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It’s hard to deny the popularity of the idea in pop culture. What got me thinking about this today is a Hallmark movie I recently watched with my bride. If there is anywhere the concept of a soulmate is part of the foundation of an organization, it is in Hallmark’s film division. Sometimes, though, things slip through the cracks. Let’s talk about one of those times and what it looks like to have a healthier view of marriage than Hallmark offers.

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Morning Musing: Matthew 16:24-25

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone wants to follow after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Christianity is a religion of paradoxes. It is a worldview filled with ideas that seem on their face to not make any sense. We claim things as true that a little bit of thought suggests aren’t even remotely true. A little more thought, though, reveals them to be firmly grounded in reality after all. As we move this morning to another lie the world tells us, let’s take a look at some of these paradoxes, starting with this one.

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Morning Musing: Ephesians 1:4

“For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Do you remember Magic Eye books? They had a brief surge of popularity when I was growing up. Each picture looked like some kind of a random, repeating pattern of shapes and images when you just glanced at it. But if you looked at it just right, all of a sudden, there was something else there. I remember getting a book when I was little and spending hours trying to master the technique of seeing the hidden image. The standard approach is to hold the image right up to your nose and pull it away slowly while trying to look through it. When you got to just the right distance, your eyes would begin to perceive the depth of the 3D image hiding beneath the pattern. I finally figured out my own technique which is to cross my eyes and then slowly uncross them. What got me thinking about Magic Eye images this morning is what Paul wrote here in his opening comments in his letter to the Ephesian church. Most folks who look at it see one thing, but as I was spending some time with it recently, I saw in it something just a bit deeper. Let me share with you what I saw.

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Morning Musing: 1 John 4:19

“We love because he first loved us.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have a free period in high school? Personally, I never did. We had a kind of study hall block every other day which probably came pretty close, but being part of the band nerd group, most of us checked in with our actual Home Room teachers and then went immediately to hang out together in the band room where we mostly all sat around doing homework. A real free period, though, gives you the chance to do fairly well whatever you want (within reason, of course). Well, this morning is a bit of a free period for me. I didn’t preach yesterday and so I don’t have a sermon to share. We’ll start a new teaching series next Sunday about which I’m pretty excited. Stay tuned for that. Instead, then, I’m going to share a few different thoughts and we’ll see where that takes us. Here’s what’s on my mind this morning.

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Morning Musing: Psalm 100:4-5

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name. For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Thirty-nine trips around the sun. That’s what today marks for me. That’s nearly 40. Forty used to be a milestone birthday. I’m not really sure if it is anymore. In Psalm 90, Moses talks about people living an average of 70 to 80 years which makes 40 the halfway mark. But, our current lifespan in the U.S. is just shy of 78 which technically means I’m officially past middle age in this country. That’s a bit too depressing a thought for this early in the morning, though (I started writing this well before the sun), so we’ll stick with 40 and move on. There are a few times in a given year that invite a bit more introspection than usual. For me, birthdays tend to be one of those times. So, at the risk of being self-indulgent, allow me to reflect a bit on what I know at 39.

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