Sunday

6 Silly Words to Make You Smile

Life is too serious. 

Politics, terrorists, natural disasters, scandals—they make me want to pull the covers over my head and never get out of bed. Today, however, I’d like you to set all that aside for a few minutes and have some fun. 

I love the English language. As crazy and illogical as it sometimes is, it’s also beautiful, poetic, and sometimes downright funny. Today I’ve chosen six words, courtesy of alphadictionary.com, that are hilarious, either in their spelling, meaning, or pronunciation. I hope they bring you a smile. 

#1 Anencephalous
Pronunciation: æn-en-se-fuh-lus 
Definition: To be anencephalous is to be brainless, empty-headed, to have a skull with an echo. 
Sample: The current election cycle has proven again that anencephalous humans elect other anencephalous humans to high public office. 

#2 Formication (Read this one carefully. It’s not what you think.) 
Pronunciation: fôrmiˈkāSHən
Definition: The sense of ants crawling on your skin. 
Sample: Seeing one bug climbing the table leg was enough to stir up my proclivity for formication.

#3 Pandiculation 
Pronunciation: pan-dik-yuh-ley-shuh n
Definition: A full body stretch. 
Sample: My dog, Winston, always began his day with leisurely pandiculation. 

#4 Sialoquent 
Pronunciation: sai-æ-lê-kwênt 
Definition: Spitting while speaking. 
Sample: The sialoquent preacher never understood why his congregants refused to sit on the front row. 

#5 and my personal favorite: Abibliophobia 
Pronunciation: uh-bib-li-uh-fo-bee-yuh
Definition: The fear of running out of reading material. 
Sample: When my Kindle library of new books dwindles, my abibliophobia rears its ugly head. 

Musicians will love this final word, but even if you’re not musically inclined, have fun trying to pronounce it. Take it slowly and don’t miss a syllable. 

#6 Hemidemisemiquaver
Pronunciation: hemēˌdemēˈsemēˌkwāvər/ 
Definition: A musical timing of 1/64. 
Sample: My fingers can’t move fast enough to play a selection in hemidemisemiquaver. 

Well, there you have it—six funny words from the English language. Since we’ve barely scratched the surface, I invite you to share your personal favorite by leaving a comment below. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and comment there. 

Remember, just because the world is filled with serious things doesn’t mean we can’t lighten things up every now and then with a little laughter. I challenge you to incorporate one of these silly words into your conversation today and watch what happens. 

“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones,” (Prov. 17:22).



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Wednesday

3 Ways to Jazz Up Your Prayer Life

Sometimes prayer is boring. 

If you pray often and conscientiously, you know this is true. Perhaps you use a prayer journal to list the people and ministries you want to pray for. Or maybe you have a structure for your time of intercession, like one of my favorites, P.A.R.T. (Praise, Admit, Request, Thanksgiving). You might have a simple method, like praying daily for your family, friends, and missionaries. However you structure your prayer time, if you pray often, you probably battle boredom from time to time. 

One of the unexpected benefits of my husband’s recent unemployment has been that he's been able to walk with me in the mornings. In almost 32 years of marriage, we’ve never had schedules that allowed time to exercise together. For the past three months, however, we’ve been walking for an hour every morning, and while we walk, we pray. 

After a few weeks, I noticed we were praying the same prayers, in the same order, for the same people, day after day. I knew repetition was necessary, but boredom was not. We put our heads together and brainstormed ways to infuse new life and joy into our times of intercession. 

Today I’d like to share three ways that helped jazz up our prayer time. 

1. Use the alphabet to praise God. 
We begin most of our prayer times by praising God. Reminding ourselves of who God is is a powerful reminder that he is quite capable of answering our prayers and working on our behalf. Using the alphabet, we list a character quality or attribute of God for every letter (X is tough). Then we turn each attribute into something for which to praise him. 

Here’s an example: “God, you are our Advocate. Thank you for interceding for us when we are unable to help ourselves. You are also Benevolent, providing all we need, every day, in just the right amounts. I praise you for being Compassionate. You are a God who feels our pain, sympathizes with our weaknesses, and collects our tears in a bottle. . . .” 

2. Use the alphabet to pray for people. 
Like chronicling the attributes of God with the ABCs, praying for people using the alphabet can also take your prayer time in a fresh new direction. Use the sequence of letters to prompt you to pray for a person whose name (first or last) begins with the next letter. 

Here’s an example: “Father, today I’d like to pray for Aaron. Strengthen him in his faith. Help him love his wife as Christ loves the church. Help him parent his daughter wisely, and bless their unborn baby. Be with Bethany, too. Help her grow to love you more every day. Inspire her to read her Bible every day and work hard in school. Thank you, Father, for Chris, draw him to yourself. Save him and make him a mighty man of God for your glory. 

3. Pray for people for whom you don’t regularly pray. 
The only rule for this prayer approach is that you can’t have prayed for the person recently. Ask God to bring people to mind, and then pray for them as the Spirit leads you. When my husband and I pray this way, we’re always amazed at the people who pop into our minds—friends we went to church with 20 years ago, other people’s children, even patients of mine. 

Trusting that the Lord knows these people need special prayer, we lift each one to the Lord. We’ll probably never know how God used our prayers, but we can be confident that he took note of them. 

God calls us to prayerful persistence, and oftentimes such repetition can be a little dull. Thinking creatively and mixing up our routines every now and then can jazz things up and renew your enthusiasm. If your prayer life needs a spark, why not try one of these ideas or share one of your own 

What do you do to keep your prayer life dynamic? Leave a comment below to share your ideas. If you’re reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down, and leave a comment at the bottom.



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Sunday

Six Words When You Feel Frazzled

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands," Psalm 19:1-3 tells us. 

"Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard."

Even though creation surrounds me, sometimes I don’t really see it. 

Most days the busyness of my life convinces me I don’t have time to stop. To gaze at the sunrise. To savor the cool breeze. To notice a tiny flower. 

I find, too, when I busily whiz past God’s creation, I also whiz past its Creator. 

It’s ironic, because it’s during these supersonic, speed-of-light-days that I most need a glimpse of God. I need a reminder that he's the center of the universe, not me. 

So today I choose to linger long and marvel at the earth’s masterpiece of praise to its Creator. I invite you to come with me. 

May you have eyes to see and hearts to receive what God is saying to us.





When I see ripening grapes hanging on an arbor, I am reminded that He is the vine, and I am a branch. Connected to him, I can bear much fruit. Apart from him, I become a raisin.



When I see variety in a sea of sameness, I am reminded that I am a unique creation, perfectly designed for the Master's use.



When I see towering cliffs and lofty trees, vast expanses of sea and soaring heights, I am reminded that God is big, and I am small.



When I see flashes of lighting and hear the crash of thunder, I experience a tiny portion of God's great power. I am awestruck and strangely comforted.



When I see the bond between humans and animals, I am reminded that God knows what I need before I even ask him.



When I see the beauty of a sunset, I am reminded that the sky is God's canvas, and all the world is his gallery.





When I see a sleeping child resting safely in her mother's arms, I am reminded that I, too, can rest securely in my heavenly Father's embrace.

If you're whizzing past creation and whizzing past the God of creation, I have six words for you:

Slow down.

Breathe deeply.

Look around.

Not only will you see the beauty of creation, you'll also see the beauty of the Creator. And that, my friends, changes everything.

Happy Monday.

Now it's your turn: What does creation tell you about its Creator? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the blog post, and leave a comment to encourage us all.


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Every year since then, I've offered Kindle copies for free at the beginning of the school year.

TODAY ONLY, Monday August 22, IS THE DAY!

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If you live within driving distance of Brookville, PA, I’d love for you to join me for A Wardrobe for All Seasons—Dressing for Spiritual Success, a one-day women’s conference on Saturday, September 17. I’ll share 3 workshop sessions: “Stepping Out, How Our Footwear Impacts Our Faith,” “Clean Out That Closet,” and “A Hat for All Seasons—Serving God In Every Stage of Life.” 

Cost is $35, which includes lunch, a t-shirt, and a copy of my book, Hungry for God…Starving for Time. For more information and to register, contact Kathy Shaffer at flokat1990@gmail.com.

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Wednesday

4 Reasons Why You Can't Quit, Part II

Quitting is mighty tempting sometimes. A body grows weary striving, persevering, and believing when all the evidence and sometimes your own spirit says Quit. Give Up. Surrender.

In my last post, I shared Part I of 4 Reasons You Can't Quit. Today I'll share two more. If you missed Part I, click here



Reason 3: A breakthrough may be just around the corner. 


My husband, David, became a Christian at age 17. Excited about his newfound faith and eager to pass along the joy and life transformation he was experiencing, he shared the Gospel with his older brother, Luther.

Luther was a rough and tough man’s man who wasn’t interested in “religion.” He liked his life the way it was, and he didn’t need his little brother “preaching to him.” One day he got so mad that he threatened him.

“If you ever talk to me about religion again, I will punch you in the face.”

David stopped sharing.

But he didn’t stop praying.

He prayed for his brother for 26 years. He continued to ask God for opportunities to share the Gospel again, but he knew it would have to be with Luther’s permission and on Luther’s terms.

One day Luther received news he didn’t want to hear: “You have lung cancer.”

David went to see him. With fear and trembling, he shared the Gospel one more time.

“I’ll think about it,” Luther said.

Two weeks later he confessed his sin to God and asked Christ to be his Savior.

What if David had quit?

I know God could and would have saved Luther another way, but David would have missed out on the joy of being part of persevering in faith.

You can’t quit, because a breakthrough may be just around the corner.

Reason 4: Others are watching you.

Just like we don’t sin in a vacuum, we also don’t struggle in a vacuum. It’s easy to think that our difficulties only affect ourselves, but they don’t. We are part of what Hebrews 11 calls “a great cloud of witnesses.” 

 As you persevere in prayer and faith for your prodigal, others are watching you. As you refuse to give up on your marriage, others are watching you. As you trust God for financial provision and see him meet your needs, others are watching you. As you suffer for doing what's right, others are watching you.

There are two groups of people watching you struggle: the believers and the skeptics.

Those who share your faith are watching to see if God is going to enable you to persevere and see how he answers your prayers and meets your needs.

Those who are skeptical of your faith are watching you, too. They’re watching to see if God is going to enable you to persevere and if he answers your prayers and meets your needs.

They’re wondering too, if you’ll continue to believe in God when trials come. They want to see if the faith you’ve proclaimed in the good times is strong enough to carry you through the bad times.

If you quit, both groups lose, because faith is contagious, and so is unbelief. If you not only survive your trial, but meet God in the midst of it, others’ faith will grow. They’ll know that the same God who met your needs, carried you through, and worked on your behalf can do the same for them. Every time you exercise your spiritual muscles, other believers will grow stronger because of your example.

The unsaved will also benefit when you choose to persevere. As they watch you weather your trials, they’ll see a powerful example of how God can and does work in his children's lives. Even if nothing changes, you'll have the opportunity to demonstrate the genuineness of your faith.

Like Satan when he tested Job, people expect Christians to serve God when he is blessing them. Trials, however, have a way of weeding out the nominally committed. A Christian who remains steadfast despite difficulties shines a bright light into an unsaved person’s soul.

When you’re tempted to quit, look around you. Think of the Christians who are watching your example. Then think of the people you love who don’t know Christ.

You can’t quit, because others are watching you. 

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Cor. 15:58).


As I conclude this challenge not to quit, I’d like to leave you with my favorite passage of hope from the book of Isaiah, 43:1-3:

“…this is what the LORD says—he who created you, __________ (insert your name here), he who formed you,:

"'Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;'”



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