We Need Each Other’s Questions

Smuggling Grace

Image Description: A solid oak dining room table with chairs. A green candle and vase of yellow alstroemeria flowers are on the table.

This sermon was preached at First Presbyterian Church of Saline, MI, and it was focused upon Isaiah 65:17-25 and Luke 21:5-19.

Years ago, I attended a Thanksgiving dinner with no mashed potatoes. Gasp! Clutch the pearls!No mashed potatoes. And Ilovemashed potatoes at Thanksgiving.

Now I’m sure if we went around the room, we could probably all name a favorite dish that we enjoy at Thanksgiving or some other holiday meal altogether — the kind of dish we cannot imagine that meal without. And I’m just curious what yours would be.

For me, it is mashed potatoes. I pile them high every single year. But fourteen years ago, I attended a Thanksgiving dinner with no mashed potatoes. That year, far away from my family…

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A Testimony by Lauron Fischer

Smuggling Grace

I vividly remember that before my brain surgery in 2012, I signed consent forms. On these forms, my surgery was called “elective craniotomy.” I asked the nurse what that meant; after all, I never got the sense in the months leading up to surgery day that this procedure was optional. They explained that “elective” meant this was not an emergency surgery; I was conscious and able to consent. We scheduled the surgery in advance. It didn’t have to happen that exact day. I had waited three months for this surgery, so that I could finish college first. That’s what elective means in this context.

Having to cancel elective surgeries because of COVID — again — is causing people to have some very important treatments delayed. It’s not a mere inconvenience. These are often necessary and lifesaving surgeries. Hospitals are running out of room and patients are having to be transported…

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Let the Healing Begin – http://wp.me/p264eT-kt

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Love your neighbor

In the midst of the polarizing political divisiveness of this election cycle, I now find current events have caused social media to become flooded with errant assumptions and absurdly illogical conclusions.
Hatred, bigotry, and blatantly racist statements are being spewed from every conceivable direction.
Do your comments really help find common ground?
Do they foster reconciliation and healing, or breed contempt and resentment?
Consider the option that BOTH sides of the issue may be valid, and are NOT necessarily mutually exclusive!


1) I believe in (and have sworn an oath to support) the Constitution of the U.S.A.
HOWEVER, I believe that the rights it guarantees are NOT a blanket override of common sense in the administration of those rights.

2) I do believe and support ALL those who “Serve and Protect” us: Police, Firefighters, and our military. (in which I PROUDLY served) I cannot imagine the chaos and suffering we all would endure without them.
HOWEVER, I believe that BLACK LIVES MATTER. I see NO logical reason to marginalize the pain and suffering caused by the injustice WE in our ignorance and pompous arrogance have and STILL perpetuate. In other words, folks: WHITE PRIVILEGE EXISTS, AND WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST UNTIL WE ACCEPT THE FACT THAT OUR COVERT RACISM:

3) FINALLY: I believe that until we learn, accept, adopt, and LIVE the 2 greatest COMMANDS ever given us, NOTHING WILL CHANGE!

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The New Life

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:

The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)


    I’ve been spending the last two months in deep introspection, which has always been common for me during the Lenten season; however, this year has brought me into this process of self-examination and spiritual recommitment with a greater necessity for renewal than ever before. The loss of my wife just prior to this season has given me both reason and urgency to prepare for the culmination of all prophecy: Christ’s final return and ultimate claim of dominion over all creation. Such times of loss often serve as “reality checks” for me personally, and I’m almost always amazed at how complacent we easily become during “comfortable” times of this life. We quickly tend to lose sight of just how fleeting our time on this earth is, and how precious of a gift each moment, each breath, really is. This year, I think I may have finally embraced a new and proper perspective, a better understanding, and perhaps most important of all – a tiny bit of true spiritual wisdom.

    At the “young” age of 60, I suddenly realize that IT”S NOT OVER! God hasn’t called ME home yet; therefore He must still have plans for me! I still have a future!

    Throughout these months, I keep hearing some of the last words – actually last directions – Maggie left etched on my mind: “Don’t waste your life in the past – you have a future!” As you enter my home, there hangs a plaque that once hung in my bedroom as a child. On that plaque are these words: “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” I will not argue with either: in 17 years together, I never won a “debate” with Maggie; nor with the woman who hung that plaque on her child’s bedroom wall so many years ago…

    Though this Lent was a rather dark time for me, walking “in the shadow of death,” the arrival of this Easter morning signaled, for me, not only Christ’s victory over death; but a full realization of the new life His sacrifice has given me! Since Jesus died so that I might live, let me give this New Life to Him – dedicated to spread His message of faith, hope, and love with thankfulness and joy forever in my heart!



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Heather C. King - Room to Breathe

Normally, I hear her sprint across the house around 3 or so in the morning, and I open my eyes into the darkness and ask my daughter, “What do you need, baby?”

Most nights, it’s something to drink.  Or perhaps her blanket had fallen off the bed or somehow ended up scrunched up and tangled in a mesh of other blankets in the night.  So, she needs me to embark on a kind of “Blanket Recovery Mission.”

I plod along after her into the darkness, filling the cup, finding the blanket, and tucking her back into bed.

But last night she dashed across the house in the darkness and climbed right up into my arms.  When I asked her what she needed, her eyes flickered open for the briefest moment.

She whispered, “I need Mom” and then fell asleep.

My little one needed me for me, not for what I…

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Heather C. King - Room to Breathe

It looked like nothing more than a dent in the hood of the car, a cosmetic annoyance perhaps, but not worth paying the deductible on the car insurance to fix.

Deer are so frighteningly erratic and unpredictable.  Some people marvel at their beauty, grazing along the roadside.  I, however, slow down to a crawl and pray frantically, my hands white-knuckled ontodeercrossing the steering wheel and my heart racing every time I see them out my car window.

So, I was thankful for the miracle.  The deer slamming into my husband’s car left only this ugly indentation behind and my husband was unharmed: a too-close encounter with the minimal damage.

We thought that was the end of it.

The next day, though, my husband found the passenger door on the car wouldn’t open, not without unusual effort.

One estimate at the body shop later and we found out the truth.  The…

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… So Begins a New Chapter

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation,

whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12, 13 (NIV)


This will not be my most eloquent post. Nor will it be likely to inspire, or pass along snippets of great wisdom. Yet I feel compelled to share a bit of the emotion that has helped carry me through one of the most challenging times of my life.

The final chapter of Maggie’s Battle {working title} was written by the hand of our Lord at 2 a.m. on January 29th. Just 29 days short of 17 years from the day we first met, my greatest earthly gift from God took her last breath.

I now realize that even when I complete the manuscript, it will be virtually impossible to convey all I was taught throughout our time together; or just how much of what I am today is the result of having known and loved her. I do know that one of the greatest gifts she gave me was empathy. That is the wonderful emotion, born from true agape love, most vividly demonstrated by Christ himself, which has carried me throughout her struggle; and enables me to rejoice in her final victory!

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Tribute & Message From The Family

Marguerite “Maggie” Christine Nelson, 58, of Gaastra, passed away Tuesday morning, January 29, 2013 at Marquette General Hospital following a courageous 5 year battle with pulmonary hypertension. She was born June 7, 1954 in Iron River, Michigan, a daughter of the late Ernest and Marie (LaForge) DeRoche. She attended Iron County High School and was a 1972 graduate. Maggie was an avid crafter and enjoyed reading and crochet. She is survived by her husband, Gary Nelson of Gaastra, MI; children, Michelle (David) Hoiem of Grand Rapids, MI, Christopher Karnack of Grand Rapids and Nicholas (Kelsie Christenson) Karnack of Iron River; grandchildren, Bryce & Lyric Karnack and soon to arrive, Jonas Hoiem; sisters, Theresa DeRoche, Kay Ghidorzi and Collette Kocinski; and brothers, David, Joel and Mark DeRoche. Maggie was preceded in death by her parents and two brothers, Paul & Daniel. A Memorial Mass will be celebrated on Sunday, February 3, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. at St. Cecelia Catholic Church in Caspian with a luncheon to follow in the church hall. The Canale-Tonella Funeral Home in Marquette is assisting the family where memories may be shared at www.canalefuneral.com

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Writing Sisters

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows,
strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls,
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen,
baking dozens of Christmas cookies,
preparing gourmet meals
and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime:
but do not show love to my family,
I’m just another cook.
If I work at a soup kitchen
carol in the nursing home,
and give all that I have to charity;
but do not show love to my family,
it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels
and crocheted snowflakes,
attend a myriad of holiday parties
and sing in the choir’s cantata
but do not focus on Christ,
I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though…

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