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Sometimes the trials of life steal our energy to the point of total exhaustion. But in the midst of carrying heavy burdens, we can still cling to the promises of God.

This week on Connecting Faith, Jo Bender talked about pain and suffering with authors Kristen Wetherell and Sarah Walton, who each suffer with chronic pain and disease. Their shared experience with pain also has a shared hope in the goodness of God. 

You can listen to the podcast of Jo's show by clicking here,or catch Jo live every Friday at Noon on KTIS' Faith Radio Network AM 900 / 90.7 FM 

Today Jo is interviewing Hans Finzel about the Top Ten Ways to be a Great Leader. Listen in at 12 Noon CST.

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As my kids have been counting down the days to summer vacation, I have been counting them down too. As a teacher, I too look forward to the end of the year—a break from lesson plans, grading, and lectures. I look forward to three months of rest, rejuvenation, and refueling. Everyone has their favorite time of the year. Summer is definitely mine.

 

But wait… I have kids of my own…and they require my attention. Perhaps rest and relaxation will need to be redefined.

 

When my kids were young, I remember wondering how in the world I was going to keep the little cherubs busy for 15 hours a day, 12 weeks in a row. I set up an elaborate calendar of playdates, swim lessons, and activities to keep their minds and bodies active. I tried to make every day a fun adventure. I compiled a list each summer of places we’d visit on sunny days, and places we’d go on rainy days. I took trips to my parents’ cabin, trips to McDonalds, and trips to Daddy’s office—just to let him know how much fun we were having. My kids loved summer, and wanted it to last forever. And part of me loved it too. But by the beginning of August, I was praying for deliverance from my scheduled craziness and together time. The start of the school year felt like a vacation from my summer vacation. 

 

My kids are older now, a teen and a pre-teen. Summer feels different now, and I feel different too. As I look forward to the end of the school year and the start to the greatest 12 weeks of the year, I’ve been doing some planning. But this year’s planning does not involve a lot of the things it used to. This time I’ve made a list of what I’m not going to do. I tried to keep it to a top 5, but I somehow made it to a top 6. Feel free to add your own to the list.

 

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Do you struggle to find lasting friendships? In a world where we can unfriend each other with the swipe of a finger, how do we find friendships that we can trust to last?

This week on Connecting Faith, Jo Bender talked with author Lisa-Jo Baker on the secret to finding and keeping lasting friendships.  

You can listen to the podcast of Jo's show here, or catch Jo live every Friday at Noon on KTIS' Faith Radio Network AM 900 / 90.7 FM

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Have you ever prayed to love someone you don't really want to forgive?  

Friday on Connecting Faith, Jo spoke with Deidre Riggs, who specializes in bringing unity to our fractured relationships and polarized communities.  

 

How do we forgive those who may have wronged us, and how can we foster understanding between groups or individuals who believe something different than we do?  

 

A challenging conversation about self-preservation vs. opening ourselves up for deep conversations and deep rewards. 

 

You can catch Jo Bender each Friday at 12 noon CST on Faith Radio Network (the AM arm of KTIS). Click here to listen to Jo's interview with Deidre Riggs, or catch the podcast of Connecting Faith and many other programs like Live the Promise with Susie Larson, Just Thinking with Ravi Zacharias, or Living on the Edge with Chip Ingram at myfaithradio.com

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by McKayla Adams

 

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

—Romans 13:14a

 

Anyone who lives in Minnesota understands with sincere familiarity the concept of dressing up in layers.

 

The brutal and lengthy stretches of the bitter cold season make the bulky jackets, tightly wrapped scarves, and thick hats an adapted attire.

 

As a resident to a state with seemingly endless winters, I’ve become more than accustomed to piling on layer over layer.

 

I’m familiar with dressing myself in other forms of layers as well, but these layers do more harm than good, and I have a feeling I’m not alone.

 

I think we often dress ourselves in layers to hide our insecurities, our doubts; to cover up anxiety, depression, and pain.

 

Maybe these layers—coverings of sorts—have even turned into bitterness, hostility or pride as a defense mechanism to protect our fragile hearts from the hurt. An outer garment of smiles and laughter to cover up the hole of emptiness we don’t want gaping through, exposing the truth.

 

We layer our outside world as well: the outer surroundings of social events, gatherings, and parties to mask the loneliness that is a constant shadow lurking behind.

 

So many coverings, layers, and masks dress our external existence—to convince the crowds that we’re content. But even more so, these layers that we dress up in everyday are to convince ourselves. Maybe if we have it together on the outside, then we can have it together on the inside too. Maybe we can convince ourselves that the brokenness, pain, and emptiness aren’t really there.

 

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