Monday

Trusting God in the Faith Dance

The ballerina twirled, skipped, and leapt across the darkened stage, captivating the audience who sat mesmerized before her. The music swelled as she paused, inhaling deeply. On cue, she launched herself across the stage toward her waiting partner. Strong hands grasped her waist, raised her high overhead, and returned her to earth, a delicate feather coming to rest after its flight. 

Arms raised in triumph, she smiled, accepting the applause that rose from the watching crowd. 

Seated in the third row, I felt the air leave my lungs. I’d been holding my breath, wondering if the ballerina’s partner would catch her during this all-important grand finale. 

Sometimes I am that ballerina. 

I’ve never studied ballet, but I’ve been dancing for more than 35 years. I’ve never strapped on toe shoes, nor have I worn a tutu. But I’ve been learning to move in harmony and partnership with the Savior who gives life and breath to every move I make. 

As a new believer, my faith steps were tentative. Could I trust this Partner I’d pledged my life to? When I turned to him in times of fear, despair, or confusion, would he remain by my side? When I followed his lead on unfamiliar paths, would he prove to be trustworthy? Committed to my good? Wise? 

My faltering steps became surer as my Partner proved, over and over again, his commitment to me. When I cried out to him in times of need, his generous hand sustained me. During periods of sorrow or grief, he became my ever-present comfort. When I felt lonely or abandoned, his still, small voice whispered truth into my ears, assuring me I wasn’t alone. 

The longer I’ve danced with my Savior, the more trustworthy I found him to be. Step by step, routine after routine, set after set, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has become the God of Lori Hatcher, too. Faithful. Ever-present. Unchanging. 

Over the years, day to day opportunities to trust have become routine. Other situations, however, still cause me to hold my breath. Big issues call for big trust – trust that commands both feet to leave the ground, confident that the One who has proven faithful will not let me fall. 

Like the ballerina preparing for her grand finale, sometimes I must pause, take my position, and launch. Full speed. No hesitation. No turning back. Every time I’ve done so, God has caught me. Not for my glory, but for his. 

“And without faith it is impossible to please God,” the writer of Hebrews tells us, “because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). 

I don’t know what you’re facing right now. A frightening diagnosis? A broken relationship? A financial trial? Maybe you’re gazing into an uncertain future or watching a dream die. 

Whatever lies ahead of you, choose faith. Don’t be afraid to launch yourself into the arms of our great and loving God.

He will catch you. 

Every. Single. Time. 

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip” (Psalm 121-1-3).



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.








Sunday

10 Things I Hope Never Go Back to Normal after COVID-19


I’ll admit up front what most would agree to—2020 hasn’t been my favorite year. The changes brought about by the pandemic—my husband’s job furlough, the dangers of working in a healthcare environment, and the stress of helping my aging parents as they sheltered at home have taken their toll. 

Add to this the scarcity of supplies, uncertainty about the future, and the difficulty of ministering to our church body during COVID-19, and I’ll readily admit—this year has stretched me. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t mourned the losses. While no one close to me has died, I’ve sorrowed over those who have. 

On a smaller scale, I’ve shed a tear or two over the once-in-a-lifetime vacation. Over my granddaughter‘s first piano recital. Over the week at the beach. And my favorite writer's conferences. Like you, I won’t miss the fear, the masks, or the six-foot distancing in the grocery store—and everywhere else. I look forward to enjoying people again instead of secretly wondering if they’re carrying a virus that could endanger my family’s health. 

But in the wreckage of the pandemic I’ve found treasure—sparkling gems worth showcasing. Like other challenging times, 2020 has taught me lessons I’ll benefit from for a lifetime. We have changed as a society in a major way, but in some ways for the better. 

Here are ten things I hope never go back to normal after COVID-19.  

CLICK HERE to read the rest of this article on Crosswalk.com.



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.











Tuesday

Could God Be Testing You?



My grandmother was a Portuguese immigrant. The daughter of textile mill workers, she was much older than the English speaking students in her class, and they mocked her. She quit school after the fourth grade when she learned to read, write, and do simple math. 


At 14, she lied about her age so she could join her parents and eldest brother in the mill. When the work became too strenuous, she hired herself out to babysit other mill workers’ children.


She once told me a story about the first man for whom she worked. “Money was always tight,” she said. “They had five children. But every now and then Mr. P. would leave paper money lying around on a table or a dresser. I wondered why he would be so careless. . .”

Peering at me over the top of her over-sized reading glasses, she raised an eyebrow and shook her finger. “THEN I figured it out. He was testing me. He wanted to see if I was honest.” Her eyes looked beyond mine and into the past. “I never took anything,” she said softly. “Not even coins I found in his pockets when I was doing the laundry.”

The concept of testing is biblical.

God tested Abraham when he told him to sacrifice Isaac on the altar (Genesis 22:1). God tested Hezekiah, too: “But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart” (2 Chronicles 32:31).

Because God is omniscient (all knowing), he knew Abraham would trust his promises and be willing to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, so why did he test him? He knew what was in Hezekiah’s heart and how he'd respond to the test set before him. 

So why did he test him?

And why does he test us?

Maybe because Abraham needed to know whether he loved God more than anyone and anything else. Maybe because Hezekiah needed to know whether his heart was wholly committed to the Lord His God.

Times of testing, when circumstances are overwhelming and God seems far away force us to make a choice: will we believe God’s promises, or will we allow our circumstances to steal our faith?

Joshua summed up the choice in one sentence: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” (Josh. 24:15). 

Mr. P. didn't leave money around because he hoped my grandmother would steal. He left money around so she could prove she was honest. God doesn't test our faith because he hopes we will fail. He tests us so we can stake our faith firmly on him.

If you’re going through a faith crisis, I challenge you to keep your eyes on Jesus. Trust him with your past, your present, and your future. Throw in your whole lot with the one who loved you enough to die for you.

I can say with confidence, God will not disappoint you. 


When you weather a crisis and come out on the other side with your faith not only intact, but stronger than ever, God will use your testimony to strengthen and encourage others. He’ll give you authentic and indisputable faith stories. He’ll use your tears to water others’ fledgling faith, and he’ll use your obedience to accomplish spiritual deeds on his behalf—all because you passed the faith test.

So how do we pass? By mustering up our own courage, strength, or trust?

No.

We pass God's test by clinging tightly to his hand, asking him to strengthen us, and trusting his will for our lives. We say with Joshua, “as for me and my household, (no matter what) we will serve the LORD.” 

I hope one day I'll hear God say the same words he said to Abraham: “Now I know that you fear God.”

What about you? Are you experiencing a trial? Could it be a test from the Lord to strengthen your faith? God's given you the power to pass the test, and he's rooting for you.  How are you going to respond?








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.





Monday

Why You Don’t Have to Fear the Future – Profundity from Winnie-the-Pooh


Profundity appears in unusual places, but this source didn’t catch me completely by surprise. As philosophers go, Winnie-the Pooh has long been known for wise-beyond-his-years serendipity. Disney’s latest version of Pooh’s adventures, a movie called, Christopher Robin, provides an ample supply of the short, fat, and proud-of-that bear’s snippets of wisdom. 


Here are some of my favorite lines from the movie: 

"I always get to where I'm going by walking away from where I've been." 
My well-loved childhood copy

“Doing nothing often leads to the very best kind of something.” 


“There's always time for a smackeral of wonder.” 

But the quote that has reverberated in my heart since the last whispers of the movie finds its origin in Scripture. 

In one scene, an adult Christopher Robin awakens to discover he’s slept the night away. He’s late for a very important meeting. “Oh no!” he says. “It’s tomorrow.” Panicked, he rushes into a day filled with pressure, problems, and hopeless scenarios. A day devoid of joy and fun. 

Pooh remembers this exchange as the sun sets on the movie. “What day is today?” he asks. 

“It’s today,” Christopher Robin replies. 

“Oh, that’s my favorite day. Yesterday, when it was tomorrow, it was much too much day for me.” 

I have often felt Pooh’s angst. Standing on the precipice of Today peering through the thin veil into Tomorrow, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by what the future might hold. Cold fear clutches my heart. 


Will our country continue to disintegrate?

Will the right officials be elected to office?

Will societal unrest destroy our communities? 

Will COVID-19 destroy our health?


Will my marriage go the distance? 

Will we have enough money to pay the bills? 

Will my children and grandchildren walk with God? 

Will my retirement account last through my old age? 

Like Pooh said, tomorrow is much too much day for me. 

Thankfully, Jesus knows the frailties of our hearts. This is why he cautioned, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Mat. 6:34). 

Don’t peer into the veil, he warns. One day’s challenges are enough. 

Jeremiah, in the book of Lamentations, tells us why each day must stand on its own. 

“(God’s) mercies never end. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23).

Like the manna he supplied to the Israelites every day, God’s supply is inexhaustible – but the quantities are limited. Today’s mercies are only enough to feed Today’s growling stomach. There are no leftovers to vacuum seal and set aside. Tomorrow’s mercies remain safely stored in the warehouse of God’s supply until the new day arrives, and we cannot raid the stash. 

Yet we want to. Oh, how we want to. 

We want to stockpile a lifetime’s supply of mercy so we’ll only have to ask once. We long to shed our mantle of fear and uncertainty forever. We want to walk into our future with our mercy cloaks wrapped tightly about us, impervious to the fiery darts of our uncertain futures – the same darts that drive us to seek shelter in the shadow of the Almighty. 

But it doesn’t work that way. “Yesterday’s mercies are for yesterday’s burdens,” John Piper said, and it’s true. Today’s mercy check is payable to the bearer on demand, but it can’t be post-dated. 

Every day God invites us to sit at his feet and obtain all the mercy we need – but only for that day’s challenges


“Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence,” the writer of Hebrews says, “so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” 

This daily portion of grace and mercy tethers us to his side, where we are safe, instead of releasing us to the dangers of spiritual independence. 

God knows our hearts. He knows we’d jerk the coat of adequacy off the rack, shove our arms into its sleeves, and march off into the future with nary a backward glance. Clothed in our self-sufficiency, we’d have no reason to sit at his feet, learn from him, and allow him to work through us. We’d have no need for a relationship with him if he provided all we needed to live without him. 

Knowing our willful bent toward independence, God tethers us to himself by his grace. There we experience the freedom of knowing he’ll provide everything we need, exactly when we need it. 

What a gift. 

If you feel overwhelmed and frightened by the what ifs of the future, take heart. If you can’t bear the thought of tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, rest easy. As Pooh so wisely observed, tomorrow is much too much day for you. 

But today isn’t. Today you have God’s mercies – and they are new every day, abundantly sufficient for everything you will encounter. 

Today is all you have to face. And God’s mercies are already here.




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.





Why We Need Quiet and How to Get It



We live in a noisy world.


Devices ding, ping, jangle, and whistle. Media delivers a non-stop monologue. And then there are those blessed people whom God has placed in our lives—those who call us Mom, Dad, Husband, Wife, Grandma, Grandpa, Co-worker, Boss, Friend, Fellow-church member, and Passerby.

And if outside noise isn’t enough, there’s also a whole lot of noise in our heads. Sometimes it’s productive, because it reminds us of important stuff we need to do, but most of the time, it’s just environmental overflow from the hubbub around us. It elbows its way into the quiet spots in our heads like a 300-lb. man squeezing himself into the seat beside us on an airplane.

Today I’d like to share three reasons we need quiet times in our lives:


1. Quiet allows us to hear God’s voice. As I study God’s Word, I see times when he thunders from the mountain top or shouts through a storm. Most often, however, he speaks to his children in the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit in our souls.

Think of Elijah on the mountaintop and David in the open fields, or Daniel in his prayer closet and Jesus during his early morning worship times. Sometimes he shouts over the din or our lives through an accident, illness, crisis, or family emergency, but often, even then, his voice is muffled by the chaos around us. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Be silent, that we may hear the whisper of God.”

2. Quiet allows us to hear our voice.

Quiet spaces in our minds are open fields where God can plant the seeds of creativity and inspiration. When we still ourselves, turn off our devices, and wait in quiet reflection, it’s amazing what we think.

On a recent early-morning walk in the woods, I cleared my mind of clutter and invited the Lord into my consciousness.  As my thoughts wandered, I began to connect Scripture with an idea for a blog post. Then I thought of a lovely gift idea for my daughter for Christmas. Before the walk had ended, I had the solution to a problem I’d been wrestling with, another blog post idea, and the basis for a women’s ministry presentation.

Peter Drucker, an American businessman, said, “Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.” Building times of quiet thought into our days allows us to hear our own voices and leaves room for our creativity to blossom.

3. Quiet restores our souls. 

Psalm 23 reminds us that God the Good Shepherd invites us to lie down in green pastures, leads us beside still waters, and restores our souls. Listen to the words the psalmist chose to describe the place where God refreshes us: lie down (not race around), green pastures (not black asphalt), and still waters (not raging rivers). Peaceful, hushed places, whether they’re on the top of a mountain or the corner or your bedroom, are restorative and invigorating.

Keep in mind that the place is less important than the presence. When we carve out time to sit in stillness before the Lord, we gain a fresh perspective, spiritual energy for the day, and hope for the future.

I hope by now you’re convinced that intentional periods of quiet are healthy, productive, and necessary. But the same busy world that steals our quiet also often prevents it.

How can we build times of quiet into our lives? Here are three ideas: 

1. Make an early morning quiet time a priority.

You may not naturally be a morning person, but it’s worth retraining your biological clock. There’s a reason Jesus, probably the busiest soul on the planet, met with God early in the morning. I’ve found that if I wait until nighttime/bedtime to have my quiet time, I fall asleep in the middle of it. 

2. Look for moments of quiet during the day, and instead of pulling out your cell phone to check Facebook, open your Bible app, and meditate on one verse of Scripture.

Or think about what you read that morning in your quiet time. Ask God to speak to you. Then direct your mind to conscious listening. Jot down what you think you heard. (Hint: One way to know if it’s actually God speaking is that what you hear always agrees with Scripture.)

3. Turn off the noise. 

When you’re driving, walking, or working around the house, instead of turning on the TV or your Ipod, listen instead to the silence. You’ll find mental room to think and pray if your mind isn’t pulled in a thousand different directions based on what you’re hearing from an outside source. Don’t be afraid of silence.

"Make time for the quiet moments, as God whispers, and the world is loud."

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how to build quiet into your days. Do you have a suggestion on how to capture or create moments of silence? Have you experienced on of the benefits I’ve listed above, or maybe you’ve thought of one I haven’t? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

Today, why not begin your day with a few moments of silence? And after you've stilled your soul and rested in God's peace, allow Kari Jobe's "Be Still My Soul" set the tone for the rest of your day.











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.