All Articles For Laning, Margaret

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“Let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice.” Song of Solomon 2:14 There are many interpretations on the Song of Solomon, yet most would agree it contains lovely communication between a bridegroom and his bride. The two sing one another’s praise. They speak with love and respect. Their speech involves sharing personal thoughts, including inmost longings, in safety. There is mutual trust. This level of communication is a giving of oneself, a way of saying, “I want to know you and I want you to know me.” There are no substitutes for heart to heart talks in marriage....

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Psalm 16 is called, “A Michtam of David.” “The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage” (Ps. 16:5, 6). Michtam means contemplation, and these words are worth contemplating often. This is a happy, hopeful contemplation, is it not? What an inheritance God has promised! Surely, our cup runneth over. We and our believing children are adopted by God and heirs of a staggering, unheard of, massive inheritance. Nothing is greater than our portion—the presence and blessing of...

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(The following paragraph is a modern lament I call, How. Traditional Hebrew laments, such as Lamentations, began their text using the word “How”—see Lamentations 1:1, 2:1, and Lamentations 4:1. Thus, the title of Lamentations is Ekah, “How.”) How did this marriage turn so cold when, once upon a time, it was beautiful and loving? The young Christian couple shared everything together and lived as one. The years passed and their relationship deteriorated to a mere outward performance of duties and responsibilities. Sometimes they verbally attacked one another. Usually, they did not talk at all. Each prided himself/herself that the other...

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It is a sweltering, humid day—a clarion call of the coming monsoon season. It will not be long before God opens the heavens with thunderous sheets of water, turning roads into rivers of muddy black and ocher. The electricity is sporadic—a reminder that reliable electricity is a luxury here. The odor of wet dog wafts in the heavy air as we sit in plastic patio chairs inside a long, narrow room. From young to old, most of the women wear traditional skirts, or tamein. Upon their faces pale yellow circles on each cheek, an ancient sunscreen called thanaka made of...

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How can one measure stress? Some use a numbering system called the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. Although any given event can affect individuals differently, some 43 events have been assigned stress points, to give a rough estimate for the general public. For example, death of spouse is at the top of the list with 100 stress points. For the child, it is death of a parent, with the same number of points. Divorce is 73 points for adults and 90 for children of divorced parents. A parent dismissed from work can add 47 points, while for the child of...

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In the privacy of his own bedroom, the king of Syria, in II Kings 6, devised an attack on God’s people. Where could be a more secretive spot to plot? Finally, when his invasion was ready to carry out, how shocked he was to discover that his plans had been divinely delivered to the king of Israel. This happened not once or twice but time and again to the angry, frustrated Syrian king. Even today, in the privacy of our own homes some of our words are intercepted too. It grieves us to confess that we do not always love...

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The Lord commanded His people how to prepare the Passover lamb. Instead of butchering the animal into pieces and leaving it unrecognizable, it was essential the lamb be kept whole. The head, limbs, and entrails were left intact. It may not be boiled, but it had to be roasted on a spit or wooden stick for the entire family to see. The very lamb they cared for—their lamb— was completely in view. It was a meal not to be forgotten. What a picture of our Savior! Jesus, our Passover lamb (I Cor. 5:7), was left whole. In fulfillment of Scripture,...

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Just a century ago, the well-known psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud wrote that those over the age of 50 were “no longer educable.” 1 Still today, new is in, old is out. Mass media and billboards plaster a cult of youth virtually everywhere. Let the good times roll without the weak, dependent elderly around! Freud’s view was not new. Some societies even abandoned their old people by exposing them to the elements or outright murdering them. Against the law for now, perhaps our society does better. The mercies of the wicked are cruel. We Christians certainly do love the elderly in...

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A friend of mine shops at a second-hand clothing sale and finds a handsome men’s suit. Because it is priced very low, she eagerly searches the lining for the size. Alas, the tag is missing but she has a creative solution. Instructing her companion to hold the coat at a specified height, my friend wraps her arms around it in an embrace. Ignoring some stares, her companion dutifully holds on. After another hug or two, my friend is convinced the coat feels just right. She brings the suit home to her loved one and it fits him perfectly. Three thousand...

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Living in NW Iowa is living upon the threshold of the Great Plains. The broad flatland stretch­es as far as the eye can see. The sky seems larger in all of its breadth and beauty. Thunderhead clouds look close enough to touch. On clear nights, God’s promise to Abraham resounds as a cascade of stars prove too numerous to count. “. . . tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: . . . so shall thy seed be” (Gen. 15:5). What an astounding picture we have of the spiri­tual children of Abraham, so numerous and lovely. No...

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