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Bible Readings for the Events of Holy Week

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Holy Week is the week from Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday. This period covers the final events of Christ’s life, starting with the Triumphant Entry on Palm Sunday, until He was betrayed, tried, and crucified–and ultimately resurrected! It can be confusing because there are four gospels containing the events, so I wanted to provide a list of where you’ll find each event in each of the gospels. Download a free reading chart as my gift to you. These readings, divided into 33 events, also correspond to the 33 crossword puzzles in my latest volume of Crossword Bible Studies.   Bible Readings for the Events of Holy Week The Triumphant Entry Matthew 21:1-11 Mark 11:1-11 Luke 19:29-44 John 12:9-19 Jesus Curses a Fig Tree Matthew 21:18-22 Mark 11:12-14 Mark 11:20-26 Jesus Cleanses the Temple Matthew 21:12-17 Mark 11:15-19 Luke 19:45-48 Jesus Foretells His Death John...

God’s Grace for Depression

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The past month has been challenging. My brother came home with a chest cold and my mom promptly caught it, exactly one year after she had been in the hospital because her heart caused fluid to build up in her lungs until she nearly drowned. I took care of her around the clock and we both went three consecutive nights without sleep at all. One night, she coughed with every single breath and I was scared to death. Fortunately, I never caught their chest cold and they are both well now. But three nights without sleep played havoc with my mental health. One of the obvious symptoms of bipolar mania is the increased energy that reduces my need for sleep. But when circumstances disrupt a healthy sleep pattern, the lack of sleep can also signal my brain to trigger mania, which is what happened. You know what they say: “the higher you go, the harder you fall.” When mania dies out, it crashes...

I Have a Rare Disease #RareDiseaseDay

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In January 2000, I woke up with one eye dilated. When it didn’t go away, I called the doctor who saw me immediately. There was concern that I could have a brain tumor. That was scary. The nurse called around to find an ophthalmologist who could see me right away. The eye doctor tested some eye drops in my eyes and determined I had a neurological disease called Adie’s Tonic Pupil. He prescribed some eye drops that I could use to force my pupil constrict and he added, “You can look it up on the Internet. If there are any new treatments available, let me know.” Jaw dropping. Back in 2000, the Internet was less helpful than it is today. But that’s when I discovered NORD, the National Organization of Rare Disorders. They listed Adie’s Tonic Pupil or Adie’s Syndrome as a rare disorder affecting fewer than 10,000 people. I ordered the report from NORD...

More or Less by Jeff Shinabarger

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More or Less: Choosing a Lifestyle of Excessive Generosity by Jeff Shinabarger My rating: 4 of 5 stars Jeff Shinabarger tells the story of how he moved to a new home in Atlanta and the neighborhood welcoming committee showed up on his doorstep. It was a homeless guy named Clarence who was eager to let the new neighbor know he was “looking for work.” Jeff suddenly saw his life through Clarence’s eyes and realized he had an overabundance of almost everything. This change in perspective caused Jeff and his wife to engage in a series of social experiments. For instance, after receiving a credit-card bill in January they realized they had overspent at Christmas and didn’t have the means to pay the bill. They cut back their spending and decided to see if they could go for an entire month by eating only the food in the house. They lasted seven weeks without going to the grocery store. The...

Giving It All Away . . . and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green

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Giving It All Away…and Getting It All Back Again: The Way of Living Generously by David Green My rating: 3 of 5 stars When I saw David Green’s book, Giving It All Away . . . and Getting It All Back Again, I expected an epic tale of a billionaire who did exactly that—gave it all away. I hoped it would be more than a rags-to-riches story. I anticipated a story of David Green going from great riches as the founder of the retail giant, Hobby Lobby, moving to rags as he gave it all away, and then back to riches as he got it all back again. Instead, I found the first half of the book discussing his lawsuit against the United States. He admitted that he had written most of the book before the lawsuit came up so he put the book on hold and added this information later, but it should have been a book of its own. The added content deviated from the message of the book (as intended). While I’m on...

The God Guarantee: Finding Freedom from the Fear of Not Having Enough

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The God Guarantee: Finding Freedom from the Fear of Not Having Enough by Jack Alexander My rating: 4 of 5 stars Fear of not having enough or fear that God won’t provide are what author Jack Alexander calls a scarcity mindset. When we hoard what little we have, God can’t use us. The author writes, “When we have a scarcity mind-set, we hold on to what we have been given instead of freely giving it to others—and God’s miracle of provision stops.” In contrast to a scarcity mindset, the author urges us to develop a capacity mindset. Capacity is not limited to the current circumstances as we see or experience them. Rather, our lives and circumstances have the capacity to be more. While scarcity looks at how little we have, capacity looks at how much God can make of it. Again, the author writes, “Living within God’s capacity changes the entire conversation. It’s no longer about living in...

Genius of Generosity Book: Lessons from a Secret Pact Between Two Friends

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Genius of Generosity Book: Lessons from a Secret Pact Between Two Friends by Chip Ingram My rating: 4 of 5 stars Chip Ingram describes learning about generosity as a young pastor. An elder in his church, who was a prosperous executive, fed money into an account and asked Ingram to give the money away to people who needed it most. One of them had resources and the other had contacts with needy people. The secret pact began. They met quarterly to discuss results and replenish the fund for the next quarter. From this experience, Ingram learned the meaning of being a steward of someone else’s money. His task was to give away money that belonged to someone else. In reality, we are each stewards of God’s money and He is willing to keep funding our account if we will give it away. By couching his message in his experience as a pastor giving away someone else’s money, his teaching points were...

BeScrooged: Imagining a Full Life of Generosity

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BeScrooged: Imagining a Full Life of Generosity by Gordon MacDonald My rating: 4 of 5 stars Part storybook, part devotional, and part Christian teaching, this book is a fast-paced, enjoyable read with a serious message. BeScrooged follows the transformation of Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. At each stage in Scrooge’s development, the authors provide Christian teaching on the subject of “full-life generosity” and devotional readings focusing on specific people in the Bible who exemplified either stinginess or generosity (or the struggle in between). According to the authors, we each need to reach our personal crisis that brings about life transformation, a point at which we have been BeScrooged. Just as Scrooge had a drastic and total transformation of his outlook on life, we each need to experience a similar moment that forever changes our hearts and lives. Full-life...