Thursday

Are You Believing the Lie?

The book of Job is seldom one I choose to read. 

Frankly, it distresses me to think about the horror and hard ship this good man endured. Logic and a sense of justice tell me evil men should suffer and good men should enjoy a long life filled with happiness, health, and prosperity. Such thinking, I discovered this morning in my quest to read through the Bible in a year, is not only wrong, but satanic. 

 Yup, satanic. 

“Have you considered my servant Job?” God asked Satan as Satan presented himself before him, “he’s blameless and upright, honors God, and runs from evil.” (my paraphrase)

 “Well of course he serves you,” Satan responded, “you bless everything he touches. You’ve put a hedge around his family, blessed the work of his hands, and made him rich. Why shouldn’t he serve you?” 

This is what Satan said, and we say it, too, only in reverse. We ask an equally satanic question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” as if, by virtue of their goodness, good people deserve a pain-free life. 

And the reverse – if sorrow, tragedy, sickness, and loss enter their lives, it must be because they’ve sinned. 

Enter Job—a righteous man who suffered horribly and whose story debunks all our false assumptions. 

Job’s life demonstrates that good men suffer. That while hardship can be the result of sin or the natural consequences of poor choices, not all trials are punishment for sin. His life shows that God allows our faith to be tested and gives us the opportunity to glorify him in the midst of our suffering.

Job’s story proves that we may never know, this side of heaven, why trials enter our lives. We can know, however, that no difficulty is wasted if we submit our will to God and trust him to work in and through it. Job’s life shows us that we live in a sin-sick, dying world, and we suffer when others’ sin drag their poisonous tentacles across our lives. 

Job’s faith is a beacon of light to a dark and hopeless world. His steadfast love and commitment to God flies in the face of Satan’s whispers. When the blessings are stripped away and all Job has left is his relationship with God, he finds that it is enough.




“For I know my Redeemer lives,” he shouts triumphantly, or perhaps he whimpers, “and he shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that 

 in my flesh I shall see God.” 

Paul knew what Job knew, that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Cor. 4:17) 

And he embraced Job’s wisdom and declared, 

“. . . we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (v 18). 

 And he gained comfort and hope. 

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). 

Is Satan accusing you today? Is he causing you to doubt God’s love and care for you? Is he whispering Job’s wife’s words, “Curse God and die?” 


I challenge you, on the basis of God’s character and the love he demonstrated on the cross, trust God. 

Stand firm. 

Don’t let Satan have the victory. 

Stand with Job, and Paul, and the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds you, and run the race all the way to the finish line. 

Never give up. Never give up. NEVER GIVE UP! 

There’s glory that awaits you. 




If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to listen to Nicole C. Mullin's "My Redeemer Lives."


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Sunday

When we fear for our children

“You don’t have to be scared of school,” I overheard a young mother in cowboy boots telling her little boy as they left the store. Her toned arms, one embellished with a dainty tattoo, were wrapped around an assortment of brand new khaki pants and blue polos. School uniforms, I guessed. 

“Mrs. Johnson is your teacher, and she is a very good woman,” she said, her voice rising for emphasis. Gazing down into his wide blue eyes, she concluded, “She’s protective, and she’s smart.” 

He fiddled with the toy in his hands. She chewed her lip. I wondered who she hoped the speech would convince—the little boy about to enter kindergarten, or her, about to send her baby off to school for the first time. 

“I never used to be afraid,” another young mother confided to me as her baby played quietly at her feet, “but now I worry about everything.” 

Sickness. Accidents. Choking. Drowning. SIDS. The list of potential threats is endless, and our ability to protect our children is limited. Our love for them is fierce, and the lengths we go to protect them are long. Yet we recognize our frailties, and fear hovers at the edges of our days and chases the sleep from our nights. 

Well-meaning friends challenge us to “Trust God,” but how? Others tell us to pray, but we wonder if it does any good. 

I’ve parented for a quarter of a century and by no means do I have it figured out, but I speak as one who knows and understands. My besetting sin is worry—I’ll battle it all my life, I suspect, like Paul’s thorn in the flesh. Perhaps it came as a free gift with the Welcome Home Baby packet filled with samples of shampoo and wipes. Or maybe it has dwelt in my heart all along and only climbed into the front seat as my husband and I brought our first child home from the hospital. 

I speak to you young mothers, and older ones, too, not as a theologian, but as a Christian mama walking the path with you. 

Here are two ways to fight worry: 

1. Get to know God. 

The more you know God, the more you will trust him. The more you trust him, the less fearful you will become. 

“But bad things happen to people who know and love God,” you may say, and you are correct. Bad things do happen to people who know and love God. Bad things also happen to people who don’t know and love God. 

Knowing God isn’t a magic charm to protect us and our children from harm, but when we know God, we have someone to run to. He gives us truth to help make sense of this world, weapons to combat the forces of evil, and wisdom to make wise choices. Best of all, he gives us a rock on which to stand when the entire world seems to be sinking sand. 

2. Learn to pray. 

Prayer doesn’t keep all harm from our lives, but it allows us to partner with God to affect the world around us. “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective,” James 5:16 tells us. Jesus instructed his followers, “When you pray . . . ,” and the Holy Spirit through Paul challenged believers to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17). Through prayer we battle the spiritual forces of wickedness, the evil intents of mankind, and the foolishness of others. 

Stormie Omartian, in The Power of a Praying Woman Bible, says this: “The battle for our lives, and the lives and souls of our children, our husbands, our friends, our families, our neighbors, and our nation is waged on our knees. When we don't pray, it's like sitting on the sidelines watching those we love and care about scrambling through a war zone, getting shot at from every angle. When we do pray, however, we're in the battle alongside them, approaching God's power on their behalf. If we also declare the Word of God in our prayers, then we wield a powerful weapon against which no enemy can prevail.” 

 By getting to know God, we understand his heart. When we understand his heart, we have faith to pray. And when we pray, we are able to say, “Here are my requests, God. I trust you to do what’s best.” 

Fear is destructive—it steals the joy from our present and from our future. Prayer is constructive—it brings peace to our present and to our future. 

And so, young mothers and old ones, too, how do we keep from being afraid? We get to know God, and we learn to pray. It takes a moment to say, and a lifetime to learn. I hope you’ll join me on the journey. 

How do you combat fear? What are your favorite Scripture passages or promises to claim during fearful times? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. 

“Do not be anxious about anything,” Paul encouraged the Philippian believers, “but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6-7)

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Thursday

Why You Want to Marinate and Meditate, Part II

In Why You Want to Marinate and Meditate Part I,  I shared two ways for Christians to meditate: 

1. Meditate on what God says (his Word), and 

2. Meditate on what God has done (his works). 

Unlike Eastern meditation, which involves emptying our minds, Christian meditation involves directing our minds to think on spiritual things. 

Today I'd like to share a final way to meditate, four ways to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, AND my favorite marinade recipe.

3. Meditate on who God is. 

Revelation 1:13-16 shows us how God revealed himself to the apostle John while he was meditating. 

“. . . among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance.” 

As we meditate on God’s attributes and qualities, we gain a greater understanding of our wonderful Savior. Something as simple as reciting a list of God’s qualities will help put our fear, trouble, and doubt in proper perspective. When we remind ourselves that God is longsuffering, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in love, just, kind, all-powerful, wise, creative, generous . . . and on and on and on. . . . we realize he is wonderfully equipped to care for us. 

In closing, let me remind you that we can have the best marinade in the world, but if it stays in the fridge and never touches our meat, it is useless. Therefore, just KNOWING we should meditate does us no good unless we actually DO it. 

Here are 4 steps to incorporate the discipline of meditation into your day: 

1. Choose one verse of Scripture. 

2. Print it on an index card or type it into your smart phone and carry it with you or post it in a prominent place. 

3. Read the verse aloud several times a day. 

4. Think about it. Ask yourself questions about it. If it’s a promise to claim, claim it for a specific situation in your life right now. If it’s a principle to apply, figure out how it applies to you. If it’s a warning to heed, take note of this also. THEN, walk in light of what you’re meditating on. 

One day last week I chose to meditate on Romans 8:32. 

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-- how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 

Thinking on this verse all day changed my outlook on several areas of my life and made me appreciate all God has done for me.  It reminded me of God's great love for me as demonstrated by Christ's death on the cross.

I hope you’ll accept my challenge. Meditate/marinate in God’s Word daily, and you’ll not only become a more tender Christian, you’ll also become a more palatable one. 

If you take the challenge, leave a comment below and share what verse or passage of Scripture on which you’ve chosen to meditate. I’d love to hear from you. And as a bonus, here’s my favorite marinade recipe. Enjoy! 



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Sunday

Why You Want to Marinate and Meditate Part I

Good cooks everywhere know that a good marinade makes a tough cut of meat tender and palatable. The Home Cooking section of About.com says cooks in pre-Columbian Mexico discovered that wrapping meats in papaya leaves before cooking made meat more tender and tasty. 

Lest you think your subscription’s gone wonky and you’ve somehow landed on a cooking blog, I’d like to propose that Christians can also benefit from a good soak in the right marinade. 

Marinades serve two functions: they tenderize meat and enhance its flavor. The acidic enzymes work on the protein fibers to soften them. Other ingredients, like the garlic, brown sugar, and pepper in my favorite marinade, enhance the subtle flavors of meat to create a palatable and pleasurable dish. 

 The biblical equivalent to marinating is meditating. 

Christian meditation, as F. Antonisamy describes in his book, An introduction to Christian Spirituality, is “the process of deliberately focusing on specific thoughts (such as a Bible passage) and reflecting on their meaning in the context of the love of God.” 

A somewhat icky but excellent parallel to meditation is the process a cow uses as it chews its cud. It chews, swallows, regurgitates, and chews some more to get all the nutrition from its food. 

Unlike eastern religions that encourage meditation by emptying one’s mind, biblical meditation involves channeling our minds to think on specific things. 

Scripture shows three ways we should meditate: 

1. Meditate on what God says. 

When we deeply ponder a portion of Scripture, commit it to memory, and align our thoughts and actions with its instruction, we are changed. As we mine the treasure instead of just skimming the surface of God’s Word, it grows deep roots into our lives and makes us more like Jesus. Ps 119:48-50 shows several other benefits of meditating on Scripture: 

I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees. Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.

 Meditating on God’s word brings hope, comfort, and preservation.

2. Meditate on what God has done. 

I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. (Psalm 77:11-12) 

By deliberately recalling God’s work in our lives and in the lives of others, past or present, we remind ourselves how active and faithful God is. The psalmist led the children of Israel to meditate on all God had done for them in Psalm 136, and it provides a wonderful template for our own praise and meditation. Meditating on God’s deliberate, timely, and miraculous action in our lives and in the world around us strengthens our faith and bolsters our trust. 

Next time, I'll share a third way to meditate, four tips for incorporating meditation into your daily routine, and my recipe for Lori's Marvelous Marinade. 

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Thursday

Devotional for Homeschooling Moms

Available from Amazon

 Joy in the Journey ~ 
Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms

“The lifestyle of a homeschooling mother is unique and challenging.  In the press of academics, extra-curricular activities, and life’s demands, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that homeschooling is a spiritual endeavor.  We forget that God wants to equip us and enable us to succeed.”
                                                             
 ~ Lori Hatcher, author and homeschooling veteran

In Joy in the Journey – Encouragement for Homeschooling Moms, veteran homeschooler Lori Hatcher speaks candidly about the unique challenges homeschooling mothers face today.  With humor and faith she shares lessons from her own homeschooling journey and challenges you to press on.

With a devotion for every week of the school year, Lori tackles tough subjects such as discouragement, sibling relationships, busyness, priorities, and character training (yours and theirs).  She’ll teach you how to know the difference between good, better, and best, and how to seek God for everything you need to homeschool your children successfully.
Lori speaks frankly about the Six Reasons Homeschooling Moms Quit and how you can avoid them.  Best of all, she offers hope and insight for those who are enjoying success and those who are struggling.

Interactive and engaging, each devotion is accompanied by application questions, an action step, and a prayer of commitment.  Joy in the Journey is perfect for your personal quiet time or for use by your support group for discussion topics and meeting ideas.

Like a visit with a wise friend, Lori’s words come alongside you to cheer you on through the joys and struggles of homeschooling motherhood.



The Kindle version of this book, just in time for the new school year, is only $3.99. You've invested in your children's books, why not treat yourself to something you'll enjoy all year long?