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Guest Authors

Writings from various sources occasionally invited/gathered to share their devotional/commentary material.
A hole in the heart is never quite so big as when a father's love is missed. Like our innate need to know the God who loves us, our need for a father never goes away. Though death and divorce have made many children "fatherless," God promises that He will be especially close to these hurting souls. The key: recognizing that God is the loving father you always needed.

Father's Day

Single-parent families were not common in the 1950s, especially in the predominantly Catholic community of Niles, Ohio, where Velma Meares grew up. Kids as well as adults often inquired where her dad worked or where he was.

"He's dead," Velma replied, never getting used to saying those words. When people reacted in shock, Velma felt even more uncomfortable.

In Velma's first-grade mind, every problem was linked to her father's death--he had a . . .

One of my callers had a valid question. He asked if there is such a thing as mean-spirited Christians. My answer was, yes, Christians do all kinds of bad things, unfortunately.

I have to confess to you, I get discouraged when I hear of Christians being unpleasant. On the one hand, it's understandable when Christians trip up and fall into error. I never get down on people who are seeking to live a Christian life and fail, even when they fail consistently in a difficult area. They're working on it.

I get discouraged when I hear of Christians being unpleasant.

To me it's an entirely different thing, though, when believers have consistent behavior patterns that are deeply offensive to God.

I just heard of a former friend of mine who's been living with his girlfriend. (By the way, if you're a non-Christian, I don't expect you to . . .

How essential is the local church in developing strong, godly families? One man told me the church definitely takes second or third place in his list of priorities. "Family has to come first," he said. So, he and his family don't attend church regularly any more.

Is active church participation optional for today's Christian families? Maybe if you have money, health and a busy schedule, you don't feel the need to fellowship with other Christians.

But when the storms of life hit and they will suddenly you?ll find nobody's there. If you remain shallow in your relationship to your local church, you will lose out on the support of other Christians when you need it most.

By neglecting to minister within your local church, you also cause other Christians to lose something. The Lord Jesus Himself says in John 15 that He is the Vine, and we are connected to Him as branches. As a result, through Jesus, we are connected to each other. We are . . .
Do you remember what Jesus said after He washed the disciples? feet? "`Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.... Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them?" (John 13:14-17).

Jesus had just washed everyone's feet. No one needed his feet washed a second time, did he? But Jesus knew He would be crucified the next day. He knew He was going back to the Father. And He knew His disciples would need to be cleansed again soon. So He commanded His disciples (and that now includes you and me) to wash one another's feet.

How do we wash each other's feet? Naturally, we're not in a position to forgive sins, but God can use us in the process of cleansing. Like Jesus, we can minister to a brother or sister in Christ who has become dirty or defiled by the world.

How often have you asked someone "How are you?" and he's said "Oh, great," but you knew that person didn't mean it? Instead of sitting down and . . .

If praying does not come effortlessly for you, try these tips for making your prayer life more focused and effective.

For a few hardy prayer warriors, talking with God is as easy as breathing; it happens almost effortlessly. When you ask them how they do it, they simply shrug and reply, "I just pray." Unfortunately, that's about as helpful as John McEnroe saying "I just hit the ball," when asked for some tips on more effective tennis. It may be easy for him to "just hit the ball", but most of us hackers need a little more fundamental instruction to get the job done. With that in mind, we've included here some practical guidelines that might make your time with the Lord more fruitful. Not all of the suggestions will apply to your particular situation, but if you begin by incorporating a few of them, I'm confident your prayer life will improve.

1. Choose a specific place to pray away from distractions so you can concentrate. Ringing phones and crying children will sabotage your "quiet time" before it gets started.

2. Pray at the same time every day, if at all possible. Make it part of your . . .