Sunday

God is Nigh --24 Notes of Comfort









All eyes were on the casket, but I saw the soldier in the distance — a solitary figure on the hill. 


Wearing full dress uniform and holding an instrument, the man waited, eyes glued to the flag that draped the coffin. 

He raised the trumpet to his lips, breathing gently on the mouthpiece. Cold instruments produce sour notes, and that wouldn’t do for this World War II veteran’s funeral. 

“As we commit the body of Lawrence Goodwin to the ground and commend his soul to heaven,” the minister said, “I invite you to stand for the presentation of the flag.” 

Heads that had bowed in reverence lifted. Stooping shoulders and bent knees straightened. Right hands raised and settled over aching hearts. 

Two men gently lifted the flag from its sacred place. No longer would it serve as a shroud for the dead. Now it would function as a comfort for the living. 


Clear and mournful, the first notes of Taps slipped from the  trumpet and into the hush that cradled the mourners.

Day is done. 

Like a sleeper awakening from the darkest night, the widow raised her head. 

Gone the sun. 

She turned toward the sound. 

From the lake. 

From the hills. 

From the sky. 

She spotted the lone musician. Made eye contact. Blinked. 

All is well. 

She bowed her head again. 

Safely rest. 

Eyes closed in faith and arms open to receive the flag, she released the breath she’d been holding since her husband took sick. 

God is nigh.



Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.





5 Things You Need to Know about Gossip

“Did you hear what happened with the Fredricksons? I suspected something was going on, but I never imagined it was this bad.”

Gossip is everywhere—break rooms, coffee shops, the gym, and, sadly, even in the church. Sometimes it’s obvious, like the example above. Other times it’s much more subtle.

“Jean, I want to share a prayer request. Did you hear that John’s fallen off the wagon again? We’ve got to pray for him and Chelsea. I’m so afraid he’s going to lose his job. And then how will they keep the kids in Christian school? I heard that they’re paying $20,000 a year to keep them there. . . and I think they had to take out a second mortgage to buy that new minivan last month.”

Google defines gossip as “casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true.”

Scripture has a long list of names for it: slander, backbiting, betraying a confidence, whispering, and tale bearing. However you define gossip, the Bible clearly warns us of its destructive power.


Here are five things you need to know about gossip: 

1. When we gossip, we break God’s greatest commandment, the call to love one another. 

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34-35).

2. Gossip hurts our witness to the unsaved world.

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:25). 

Wounding other believers with our speech (gossipy “prayer requests,” whispered “I’m concerned about so-and-so,” and behind-the-back conversations in the spirit of “care and concern” doesn’t demonstrate an accurate picture of how sisters and brothers in Christ should act toward each other. The world sees this, takes note, and determines that “believers” are no different than unbelievers.

3. God holds us accountable for every idle word we say.

“But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Mat. 12: 36-37).

If we’re true, born-again believers, we have the assurance that Christ took the punishment for our sins, even the ones we haven’t committed yet, on the cross. So when the Bible talks about being judged, it’s talking about a different type of judgment. This judgment may involve a loss of rewards (because gossip is certainly “wood, hay, and stubble” that will burn) or experiencing the natural results of being a gossip, like loss of trust and broken relationships.

4. Gossip will cause you to lose friends. 

 "A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” (Prov. 16:28).

The most obvious way we can lose friends is to gossip specifically against that person. When word gets back to them, and it will, your relationship can be permanently damaged.

Another reason gossip parts friends is because sharing gossip, even if it’s about someone else, destroys our friend’s confidence in our trustworthiness. If Cara hears you gossiping about Shelby, then she’s naturally going to wonder what you say about her when she’s not around. Because trust is the foundation of any deep and lasting relationship, without it, our friendships will be superficial and stunted.

5. Gossip will find its way back to you. 

“What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” (Luke 12:3).

The very nature of gossip requires passing along information. When that “information” makes its way to the person being talked about, rest assured, the tale-bearing breadcrumbs will lead straight to your door.

Now that we’ve examined these five scary truths about gossip, here are six questions we should ask ourselves before we speak:

1. Is it true? 


2. Is it kind?


3. Does it need to be said? 


4. What is my motive in sharing this bit of information—to build someone up, or tear someone down? Look deeply into your heart and examine your true motives.


5. Would I say this if the person was standing here in front of me? 

6. Do I have a right to speak on this matter? Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?


One of the best ways to break the gossip habit, according to Chip Ingram in his Bible study, Five Lies that Ruin Relationships, is to listen more and speak less. This is sound advice, straight from the Bible: 

"When words are many,” Proverbs 10:19 says, “sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.”

I want to be known as one who uses my words to help others, not hurt them. I suspect you have a similar desire. As we pursue this noble goal, may the words of Ephesians 4:29 guide us:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Now it's your turn. Why do you think almost everyone struggles with gossip? What steps have you taken to help break the destructive speech cycle? 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 post, and leave a comment.

Do you live within driving distance of South Carolina?
Are you ready to gather with sisters in Christ for fellowship, games, door prizes, an amazing lunch, and spiritual encouragement?


Please join me at the

Princeton Baptist Church Ladies' Spring Luncheon
Princeton Baptist Church, Honea Path, SC
Saturday, May 8

I'll be sharing the message, 
"Uncommon Hope -- Four Reasons Not to Lose Heart."

The event is free, and childcare is provided, but you must REGISTER.
For more information, contact 
Debbie at ddeciantis57@gmail.com
or phone Irene at 864-369-2275.





Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.

Random or God-Sent? How Kindness Changes Everything


I was feeling overwhelmed. 

I was trying to be all things to all people—people I love and consider it an honor to serve. The fact that I was running behind didn't help my angst. On the way to bring food and supplies to my dad and my mom, who’d just gotten out of the hospital, nothing had gone as planned that morning.

The grand boys and I decided to stop at Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to pick up a dozen doughnuts, because doughnuts fix everything, right? The drive thru line was a mile long, so I parked, unstrapped both boys from their car seats, and headed in. 

Just grab a dozen doughnuts and get back on the interstate for the 30-mile drive to Mom and Dad's. While we waited for our doughnuts, a young guy with a huge smile struck up a conversation with Andrew, the three year old, who had his nose pressed up against the doughnut case. 

When I pulled out my card to pay for the doughnuts, the guy said to the cashier, “I got this,” and handed her his card.. When I protested, he insisted. 

“I do this about once a month,” he said. “I wait for a group to walk in and take care of their order. It brings me joy. I work as a mentor to youth and help them get on the right path.” 

These doughnuts are for my mom and dad," I told him. "Mom was just released from  the hospital. So you’re not just blessing us, you’re blessing them, too.” 

He smiled even bigger. 

"May I take your picture?" I asked. "People post pictures on social media of people doing bad stuff all the time. I’d like to post a picture of someone doing something good for a change.” 

We posed. He smiled. 

And then he was gone.

You can’t see my smile behind my mask, but you can probably see the tears that sprang to my eyes. 

That young man had no idea what my week had been like, but God did. He moved him to be the hands and feet of Jesus to me. 

Sometimes God moves mountains and parts seas. Other times He buys doughnuts for an overwhelmed woman trying to love and care for her family. 

Thank you, kind stranger, for blessing us with your random act of kindness.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights," (James 1:17).

Have you ever been the recipient of a random act of kindness? Have you ever performed one? Leave a comment and share your story.

Do you live within driving distance of South Carolina?
Are you ready to gather with sisters in Christ for fellowship, games, door prizes, an amazing lunch, and spiritual encouragement?


Please join me at the

Princeton Baptist Church Ladies' Spring Luncheon
Princeton Baptist Church, Honea Path, SC
Saturday, May 8

I'll be sharing the message, 
"Uncommon Hope -- Four Reasons Not to Lose Heart."

The event is free, and childcare is provided, but you must REGISTER.
For more information, contact 
Debbie at ddeciantis57@gmail.com
or phone Irene at 864-369-2275.









Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.


When You're Struggling to Know God's Will



“I’ve been chasing this dream for years,” a friend said, “but I’m not convinced it’s God’s will for me. And I’m afraid I’m running right past the really important stuff sitting right in front of me.” 


It’s a common dilemma, one I struggle with, too. Our world offers so many opportunities. How do we know what’s God’s will for us? 

A dozen requests to serve on a board, volunteer for a ministry, or work with needy individuals. And opportunities to give? Oh my. Every month I receive requests for support from missionaries, non-profits, and ministries. And then there are the needs of my family. And friends. My church, my neighbors, and my circle of influence. Everyone wants a share of my time and energy, and I want to help them all. They’re all good causes. 

But my time, energy, and money isn’t as expansive as my heart. They have limits. 

How do I decide where to spend the resources I have? How do I know, like my friend, which dreams to chase without missing the calling sitting right there in front of me? How can I determine what is God’s will for this day, this season, this time in my life? 

“The good is the enemy of the best,” Oswald Chambers said, and it is true. It’s so easy to say “Yes” to a hundred good things. But every time we say “Yes” to one thing, we say “No” to two or three others. Every choice we make has trickle down effects. 

An event in 1 Samuel 15 reminded me of this good versus best principle. As King Saul prepared to lead the Israelites into battle against the Amalekites, God gave him very specific instructions through the prophet Samuel: “I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them” (v. 2). 

Saul had clear instructions, but he chose not to obey. He instructed his men to kill the Amalekites, “but Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs-- everything that was good” (v. 15:9). Saul chose the good instead of the best

The good, in his mind, was to spare King Agag’s life and keep the best of the livestock. History tells us otherwise. 

The best is to obey the Lord. Every time. 

So how can we, 21st-century Christians with no prophet to speak God’s words into our ears, know what is best? We begin with obedience. 

“To obey is better than sacrifice,” Samuel said as he viewed the evidence of Saul’s sin. God doesn’t care whether we’re rich, successful, or highly-esteemed. He cares if we obey him. Every day, in every way. 

And how do we know what he wants us to do? We can’t, like King Saul, consult our resident prophet for advice. But we have something better—the Holy Spirit who lives inside us. “He will guide you into all truth,” Jesus promised. 

With the help of the Holy Spirit, God the Father speaks to his children in a variety of ways: 

Through his Word (Psalm 119:105). 

Through his people (Proverbs 11:14). 

Through circumstances (Acts 16:6-10). 

And through the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit (James 1:5). 

James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” 

So the next time you wonder what God’s will is, large or small, begin with prayer. Ask him to show you. Then search his Word for principles to apply. Seek the advice of godly people, especially if it’s a big decision. Watch how the circumstances unfold around you. Do they confirm or challenge the direction you think you should go? Finally, sit quietly before the Lord so you can hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit speak to your soul. 

If you sincerely seek God’s will, he will reveal it to you. Your obedience will still require a measure of faith, but he will guide you. It’s his nature. The Good Shepherd never sends his sheep on alone. Instead, he goes before us every step of the way. 

“He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:3-4). 

Now it’s your turn. In what area are you struggling to discern God’s will? Which of the steps above might help bring further clarity? 




Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

Did you make a commitment to read the Bible this year, but now you're struggling? 

Do you need a resource to take you through each book of the Bible?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion once a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.








Why You Are Where You Are

Last year I visited Downtown Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. To be honest, what attracted me to the church wasn’t its sanctuary (although it’s lovely) or the upcoming sermon topic (the Apostles’ Creed). It was the sign that stood like a sentinel near the entrance to the church’s parking lot. Church Parking Only, it said. Violators will be baptized. 

When I mentioned the sign to my daughter, who lives nearby, she said, “Oh yeah. We’ve visited there before. It’s a good church.” So that’s where I went for Sunday worship. 

I appreciated the church’s tongue-in-cheek, somewhat snarky humor. The church was laughing at itself, and that’s a good thing. We’d all be happier if we'd laugh more. 


The pastor, Phil Faig, said something more profound than the church's clever parking lot sign. His words continued to resonate with me long after I drove my legally-parked, non-baptized car from their parking lot: 

“Our jobs are our platforms to do missions in the world around us.” 

Consider this for a minute. 

Our jobs (think beyond what we do to earn money, although this is part of it. Think about the circumstances and situations in which we find ourselves in our everyday lives) are our platforms to do missions in the world around us. 

Many of us assume our jobs are our first priority. Then, once our work is done, if we have time (energy, money, desire) left over, we squeeze in a little Jesus. Like the butter beans we forgot in the microwave until dinner was almost over. 

But Pastor Phil’s sermon makes me think perhaps we’ve got it backwards. 

That maybe we need to look at life like this instead: 

I work at __________(fill in the blank) because this is the best platform to help others around me see Jesus. 

I’m in the ____________ (doctor’s office, grocery store, class room, drive through) because this is the best platform to help someone here know God better. 

I am where I am because this is the best platform to fulfill God’s command to share Christ with those I encounter. 

This perspective could revolutionize our daily living. 

What if I live in my neighborhood/apartment/dorm because it best positions me to do missions? 

What if I’m eating in this particular restaurant being served by this particular waitress because it best positions me to do missions? 

What if I’m in this traffic jam because it best positions me to do missions to the drivers around me? 

What if I’m on this plane/bus/train/sidewalk because it best positions me to do missions to the people I encounter? 

When I adopt this perspective, I find myself seeing – really seeing – the people around me. Not as inconveniences, hindrances, distractions, or (worse) invisible, but as people with eternal souls that God wants to minister to – through me. 

That kind woman who noticed my backpack was unzipped in the boarding line at the airport? Maybe God had positioned me in front of her (and across the aisle on the plane) so I could do missions in her life. So instead of plugging in my ear buds and zoning out, I smiled and asked her where she was going. 

“To Hartford. To visit my family and interview for a graduate program,” she said. We didn’t talk long, but as we gathered our luggage and prepared to part, I handed her my ministry card. 

“I’ll say a special prayer for your interview,” I said, and I did. 

The aesthetician who coached me through my first ever head and foot massage (a birthday gift from my daughter and son-in-law)? Perhaps the purpose of this special treat wasn’t just to bless me. Maybe God was positioning me to do missions in this woman’s life. 

“Sometimes when I’m quiet and relaxed,” I told her. “I pray. Is there anything I can pray for you about?” Her answer told me volumes (and gave me lots to pray about while she rubbed my feet with orange-scented oil). 

That challenging child/adult/parent/customer/patient? Maybe God has positioned me in their life to do the mission he’s called me to do as a disciple of Christ. 

How often do we see our work, our circumstances, our responsibilities, and our recreation as separate from our spiritual callings? What if, instead, we realized one enables the other? 

Imagine the possibilities. 

Now it’s your turn. How has your work, circumstances, or responsibilities positioned you to do God’s mission in the lives of those around you? Leave a comment below and share your story. IF you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and join the conversation.





Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

Did you make a commitment to read the Bible this year, but now you're struggling? 

Do you need a resource to take you through each book of the Bible?

That's in the Bible? I've never noticed that before!

It's probably been too long since you've newly discovered a story that speaks to your soul or a verse that pops with truth. But that's about to change!



Refresh Your Faith contains 66 culturally relevant, story-driven devotions, one from each book of the Bible. Each real-life story spotlights an unusual verse or Bible passage that you may have overlooked in your usual Bible reading. Lori Hatcher challenges you with additional features like an uncommon thought to ponder; an unusual faith action step; and an unfamiliar passage suggestion for additional Bible reading.

When the fabulous has become familiar and your quiet times are more like nap times, it's time to step out of spiritual boredom and ignite the spark that will keep you growing. No matter where you are on your faith journey, Lori's conversational and engaging style will challenge you to think about things you've never thought about before.

“Real-life inspiration and candid wit. These 5-minute devotions will change your life.” —Psychologist and best-selling author Dr. Kevin Leman, commenting on Lori Hatcher's devotional style




Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.

Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.


Because busy women need to connect with God in the craziness of everyday life.