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A Better World

Our Daily Bread Cover March 2014

In one of my favorite Peanuts cartoons featuring Charlie Brown, the always confident Lucy declares, “How could the world be getting worse with me in it? Ever since I was born the world has shown a distinct improvement!”

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The Eleventh Hour

Our Daily Bread Cover February 2014

World War I has been ranked by many as one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Millions lost their lives in the first global modern war. On November 11, 1918, a ceasefire was observed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. During that historic moment, millions around the world observed moments of silence while they reflected upon the war’s terrible cost—the loss of life and suffering. It was hoped that “the Great War,” as it was called, would truly be “the war that would end all wars.”

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Sweet Rest

Our Daily Bread Cover January 2014

Try as we might—tossing, turning, fluffing the pillow, pounding the pillow—sometimes we just can’t fall asleep. After offering some good suggestions on how to get a better night’s sleep, a news article concluded that there really is no “right way” to sleep.

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Serious Fear

Our Daily Bread Cover December 2013

After weeks of preparation by the children’s choir, the night had finally arrived for our annual Christmas musical in 1983. The costumed children began filing into the auditorium when suddenly we heard a ruckus at the back door. My wife and I turned to look and saw our own little Matt. Sobbing loudly and with a look of sheer terror on his face, he had a death grip on the door handle. He refused to enter the auditorium. After much negotiating, the director finally told him he didn’t have to go on stage. Instead, Matt sat with us, and soon his fears began to subside.

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One Stretch

Our Daily Bread Cover December 2013

For years, Sarah had low-back pain that continued to worsen. Her doctor sent her for physical therapy, and she was given 25 stretches to do every day. The pain lessened but not completely. So the doctor ordered x-rays and sent her to another therapist, who instructed her to discontinue the other therapist’s stretches and do only one stretch a day as needed. Surprisingly, the one simple stretch worked the best.

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A Season For Everything

Our Daily Bread Cover November 2013

In the 1960s, the folk-rock band The Byrds popularized the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” It climbed to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and gained worldwide popularity. People seemed captivated by the lyrics. Interestingly, though, except for the last line, those lyrics are from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes.

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The Last Chapter

I have a friend who reads the last chapter first when she starts a new thriller. “Takes the anxiety out of reading,” she claims. So with Christians: Because we know the end of the story, we can be centers of peace in the midst of utter chaos, calm in the face of disaster.

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The Campaign

Each year young people in our community participate in a “Be Nice” campaign spearheaded by a mental health organization. In one of the events in 2012, 6,000 students spelled out the words BE NICE with their bodies on their schools’ sports fields. One principal said, “We want students to come to school and learn without the distraction of fear or sadness or uneasiness around their peers. We are working hard to make sure students are lifting each other up, rather than tearing each other down.”

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“Gorgeous Inside”

It’s a rather nondescript house that sits on a busy thoroughfare. With no distinctive characteristics, this rather plain home is easy to ignore. But as I drove past it the other day, I noticed a “For Sale” sign in the yard. Attached to the sign was a smaller notice that happily announced: “I’m gorgeous inside.” While I’m not in the market for a new house, that sign intrigued me. What could make this otherwise forgettable house gorgeous inside?

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Public Praise

I love the YouTube video of people in a food court of a mall, who in the midst of their ordinary lives were suddenly interrupted by someone who stood up and boldly began singing the “Hallelujah Chorus.” To the surprise of everyone, another person got up and joined the chorus, and then another, and another. Soon the food court was resounding with the celebrative harmonies of Handel’s masterpiece. A local opera company had planted their singers in strategic places so that they could joyfully interject the glory of God into the everyday lives of lunching shoppers.

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