God's Voice or My Thoughts? How to Know the Difference

When I went to bed that night, I knew who was right—I was. 

When I awakened the next morning, I wasn’t so sure. 

The conversation went over the cliff before I even realized it had changed direction. One minute we were brainstorming ways to fix a problem, and the next minute we were exchanging angry words. He stomped off to bed, and I stayed up and stewed. 

Horizontal or vertical, I’m confident we were both rehearsing how right we were and how wrong the other was. 

Why didn’t she just look up the information when I asked her to? She doesn’t listen, just goes off and does what she wants to do without listening to me. 

Why couldn’t he just wait patiently? I was on to something. Just a few more clicks, and I’d have had the information we needed. 

I considered sleeping in the guest bedroom, but wasn’t willing to give up my comfy bed to make a point. But you’d better believe I’m staying waaaaay over on my side when I do come to bed.

Eventually fatigue won out, and I crawled into bed, staying far to the right of the imaginary line I’d drawn down the center.

Lord, I prayed silently as I clung to the edge of the mattress, pride is an ugly thing. Please help him realize he was wrong, and make him apologize for his unkind words. I don’t want us to spend tomorrow at odds with each other. Then I finished with a sincere but skeptical request: And if I was at fault in any way, please reveal this to me. Amen. 

The next morning, the strangest thing happened. When the alarm sounded on my iPhone, I heard God’s voice. And it didn't sound like Siri.

I’ve always loved the story in 1 Samuel 3, where God awakened the boy Samuel out of a sound sleep by audibly calling his name. But that’s not what happened to me. Instead, God spoke two sentences into my barely-awake consciousness: I’m sorry I was slow to look up the information you asked for. Will you please forgive me? 

As the words echoed in my mind, I knew the Lord was speaking. 

First, the words were true. While I wasn’t totally at fault in the argument, I did have a part in it. 

Second, the words were a direct answer to the prayer I’d prayed before I fell asleep. 

Third, the words did not originate with me. When I’d gone to bed the night before, I was still convinced that I was all right, and he was all wrong. Those two sentences had to have come from God. 

Fourth, to say those words to my husband, I’d have to humble myself and take the first step toward reconciliation. Since this was the last thing my sinful flesh wanted to do, I was confident it was God’s idea, not mine.  

Once I realized I’d heard from God, I knew I had two choices: obey or disobey. 

“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins,” (Jas. 4:17). 

I’d like to say I always obey, but I’d be lying. That day, however, I did what the Lord told me to do. As soon as my husband opened his eyes, I said the words God had planted into my brain. 

“I’m sorry I was slow to look up the information you asked for. Will you forgive me?” 

“I’m sorry I was grumpy with you. I was sleepy and impatient.” 

Kiss. Kiss. Hug. Hug. All was well again. 

Not all our arguments end so peacefully. Sometimes I hold on to my stubborn, sinful, self-righteousness and refuse to invite God into the strife. I fail to ask God to show me where I was wrong and focus instead on someone else’s sin or my own perceived innocence. 

But when I do pray and ask God to glorify himself, even in our arguments, I give him permission to work. Sometimes he speaks to me through his Word, sometimes through wise counsel, and sometimes, if I’m willing to listen, he speaks through the still, small voice of his Holy Spirit. 

If you’re in the middle of a conflict with someone, I invite you to pray about it. Watch to see how he answers. Be quick to obey what he tells you to do. You won’t regret it. 

What about you? How has the Lord spoken to you during times of conflict? I’d love to hear your story. Leave a comment below, or, if you’re reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down to the end of the post, and leave a comment there.

A special request from Lori: 

If you downloaded a copy of Hungry for God...Starving for Time during my publisher's recent giveaway, or if you've read my book in the past, would you be willing to post a review on Amazon? Reviews are gold to authors and publishers. Your honest opinion would be a blessing to me and a help to other readers searching for good books. My goal is to reach 100 reviews by November--only 21 to go!  Click here for the link.

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner


Just a Bunch of Nuthin'

“What did you see?” I asked my friend Cathy. 

“Just a bunch of nuthin’.” 

Cathy is a treasure hunter. Every weekend she combs estate sales for valuable artwork, china, jewelry, and antiques. It’s a good day when she finds a rare piece of furniture buried in the contents of someone’s attic or a perfectly preserved brooch in the jumble of an old jewelry box. 

Cathy’s been doing this awhile and has developed a good eye. She can separate the junk from the gems with a quick glance. That’s why it didn’t take her long to scan the items offered at the sale we attended and declare, “No valuables here. Just a bunch of nuthin’.” 

My friend's assessment reminded me that one day, a similar treasure hunter will examine the contents of my estate. He’ll look at the way I invested my time, talents, and treasure with his all-seeing eye and pronounce a judgement. He’ll heap my works into a great big pile and set a match to it. 

“But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value” (1 Cor. 3:13 NLT). 

“If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames (v. 14-15 NIV). 

The stuff I’ve done to build my kingdom—poof. Gone like a marshmallow in a campfire. 

The stuff I’ve done to build God’s kingdom—refined. Shining like gold in a California stream. 

I’ve lived enough of my life to realize that temporary things bring temporary pleasure, but permanent things bring lasting joy. And rewards that will last for eternity. Because I fear losing my reward and dread the shame of squandering what God has entrusted me with, I must choose carefully how I spend my time, talent, and treasure. I must invest it wisely in things that matter in eternity.

I don’t want to stand before the Lord as he examines my life and hear him declare, “No valuables here. Just a bunch of nuthin’.” 

What about you? What changes might the Lord be calling you to make to ensure that you have a hefty pile of enduring treasure to lay at his feet on the judgment day? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. I invite you to leave a comment below, or if you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment there.

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner


Do You Love Me a Little or a Lot?

“I love you,” my husband often says spontaneously.

“A little, or a lot?” I ask.

If he’s feeling expansive, he’ll fling his arms out wide and say, “A LOT.” If he’s feeling mischievous, he’ll hold his thumb and his index finger a quarter of an inch apart and say, “A little.”

I swat him, and we both laugh.

I’m not the only person who asks this question. Jesus also asked it, in a slightly different way.

Simon the Pharisee had invited Jesus to dinner. Scripture doesn’t tell us why, but we know one thing for certain—Jesus wasn’t the guest of honor. Simon had given him no bear hug at the door. No invitation to step inside and freshen up. No refreshing glass of water to sooth his parched throat or tasty hors d’oeuvres to take the edge off his hunger. Just a seat at the table, nothing more.

Maybe it was one of those socially obligatory invites, you know, like your twelfth birthday party when your mother made you invite the homely girl in your class with greasy hair and pimples.

“You can’t invite everyone else and leave her out. It isn’t Christian.”

So you invited her, and horror of horror, she came. Oh please don’t let her do anything that will embarrass me in front of my friends. Hopefully she’ll just sit quietly in a corner and not call attention to herself.

But radical rabbis, like 12-year-old girls, are wildcards, so Simon knew he’d have to keep an eye on Jesus. Good thing, too, because it wasn’t long before something weird happened.

Just as they were sitting down to eat, in walked the town hussy—bold as brass. Making a beeline for Jesus, no less.

Some nerve she has. Maybe it’s a good thing after all that I invited Rabbi Jesus. He’ll run her out of town on a rail just as soon as he catches sight of her. This could make some great dinnertime conversation. 

Then things got even weirder. 

The bravado that had carried the harlot through the doorway and across the room faltered, then vanished as she approached the teacher. Her purposeful steps grew hesitant. Her defiant eyes softened. Her shoulders drooped until she collapsed in a heap of tears at his feet, unable to meet his tender gaze.

Bowing her head, she watched in horror as the first, then the second, then a flood of salty tears fell on his dusty feet, making tiny brown rivers that dripped to the floor. She hastily unwrapped her hair until it cascaded over her shoulders like an inky cloak. Grabbing a thick handful, she brushed at the drops, smearing them in her haste. Taking the teacher’s warm feet into her hands, she pressed her cheek against them and began to kiss them.

Hmph Simon thought, aghast at the display. If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.

He didn’t say it aloud, but Jesus answered him as if he had. 

"Simon, I have something to tell you.'

"Tell me, teacher.'

"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

“Simon replied, ‘I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.’

“‘You have judged correctly,’ Jesus said.

“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little’” (Luke 7:41-47).

And so we must ask ourselves, how much do we love him? 

A little or a lot?

Are we Simon the Pharisee, sitting in self-confident ease, trusting in our good works to earn our place in Heaven? Have we invited Jesus into our lives because it’s expected of us? The cultural thing to do? Do we treat him as the socially awkward friend who will always be around to help us pick up the pieces when our cooler friends dump us? Do we wear him around our necks as one pearl in a long strand? Do we claim him when we’re hanging out with Jesus people and ditch him when we’re not? 

Or are we the harlot, bowed under the weight of our sinfulness and the knowledge that apart from his mercy we would spend eternity in Hell? Have we invited him into our lives because without him we would self-destruct? Do we treat him as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who loves us enough to confront us when we are wrong, empower us to change, and use us to lead others to himself? Do we wear him around our necks as the most precious treasure of our lives? Do we claim him proudly and unapologetically, unashamedly loving, worshiping, and serving him wherever we find ourselves?

We have all been “forgiven much,” whether we realize it or not.

“All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son” (John 3:17).

Are you Simon?

Or are you the harlot?

Do you love a little or a lot?

Simon left Jesus’ presence unchanged. The harlot, however, heard these words: “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner


Kindle Version of Hungry for God is FREE Today, Tues. Oct. 11, 2016

Happy Tuesday, everyone. I wanted to share the great news that my publisher is giving away (as in FREE) the Kindle version of my 5-minute devotional, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time. 

This offer is  FOR ONE DAY ONLY, Tuesday, October 11. At midnight, it's GONE. Here's the link:

The timing of this giveaway is extra special, because today is my mom and dad's 55th wedding anniversary. Without them, I wouldn't be where I am today.

So if you don't have an electronic copy of my book yet, click on over and grab one, then forward this email or post on social media to share the news with friends and family who need a resource that helps them connect with God in just 5 minutes a day, wherever they are. It could be the nicest thing you do for someone today. 

Thanks for sharing the love!


P.S. Here are two photos of my parents. The first was taken in 1961, during their engagement (aren't they cute?). The second was taken this past Easter with my sister Tina and me. (They're still cute, aren't they?) Happy anniversary Mom and Dad!


What If You Knew You Were Going to Die?

What if you knew you were going to die? 

And not only knew you were going to die, but knew the day and the hour? 

And what if you also knew how you were going to die? Suppose someone who could look into the future had told you the day, the hour, and the method. 

And the method is ugly. 

It involves torture—an entire night of it. Brutality—beyond anything that has ever been done before. Public humiliation, too, in front of your family, your friends, and your countrymen. And then the accusations—blasphemy, treason, lying under oath, insurrection—and those are just the biggies. And then, the final betrayal—every single person who claimed to love you is going to abandon you, leaving you to face death alone. 

Suppose you knew all this, and it’s now the night before your death. 

How would you spend your last evening? 

I think I’d be sitting in my comfy chair with my loved ones gathered around me. They’d be serving me all my favorite foods and playing my favorite songs in the background. One by one they’d wipe tears from their eyes, pause thoughtfully, and tell me how much my life has impacted theirs. Maybe I’d read the stack of Thank You notes I’d been collecting all my life, you know, the ones from the missionaries I’d supported, the students I’d taught, and the friends I’d done nice things for. 

But let me tell you one thing I wouldn’t be doing—washing some man’s nasty feet. And I certainly wouldn’t be washing twelve men’s nasty feet. 


“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love . . . . he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” (John 13:1,4,5). 

On the eve of Jesus’ torturous death, what was he doing? Humbly serving others. 

The task of foot washing typically belonged to the lowest servant in the household. Because this was a four-mile-an-hour, first-century world, foot washing was a nasty task. It wasn’t unusual for pedestrians to walk through animal dung, urine, mud, and garbage as they traveled the streets. 

Yet while the disciples argued about who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom of God, Jesus, God in the flesh, knelt and began to wash their feet. 

Only one disciple balked, ashamed and convicted, I’m sure, at the humble position his teacher had taken before him. "No," said Peter, "you shall never wash my feet” (v. 8). 

And Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand." 

As I read this familiar narrative, I have to ask, “Why? Why would he serve them this way, at this time? How could he humble himself when he was God Almighty? His disciples should have been falling all over themselves to serve him, but they weren’t. He would have been completely justified in demanding it of them, but he didn’t. 

We find the key to Jesus’ extraordinary humility in a simple statement in John 13:3: 

“Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.” 

Jesus could serve humbly because he knew who he was. He didn’t have to point out his worth before others. He didn’t need others’ affirmation and service to feel good about himself. He didn’t even have to defend or justify himself in the face of slights and disrespect. He was confident and settled in who he was—the Son of God, sent to Earth and called to spend his life serving others. 

“Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.” 

Sometimes I struggle to serve others. I don’t want to be humble. I don’t want to be last. I don’t want to deny my wishes to honor someone else’s. I don’t want to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and forgive my enemies. I fear humility diminishes my value and servanthood will invite people to treat me like a servant. 

But if I know who I am—if I know I am a child of God, sent to Earth and called to spend my life serving others, then I can know that the Father is pleased. 

And that makes it all possible. 

What about you? Do you fear that serving others will somehow diminish your worth? What does this vignette from Jesus’ life tell you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below or CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll to the bottom of the post, and leave a comment.

Post-Matthew Hurricane Update: 
Thank you to the kind friends who have emailed and messaged me to see how my family and I fared during last weekend's hurricane. The storm swooshed through quite dramatically on Friday night and Saturday. In the center of the state, where I live, we had 35-40 mph winds and almost 4 inches of rain. The community had quite a few trees down and some local flooding (one dam broke), but no loss of life or major property. The coast is another story, and we covet your prayers for those affected. Most are still unable to return until the authorities confirm that it's safe. Currently 800,000 people are without power. I'm thankful it's sunny and warm today. 

If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.

Delivered by FeedBurner