Wednesday

A Moment of Hope

Two years ago I attended a banquet for a pro-life ministry called A Moment of Hope. In the center of each table sat stunning orchids in full bloom—purple, fuchsia, yellow, and red. Bunches of blossoms hung like grapes from long stems. Some were showy, like pink monkey faces. Others were delicate and demure. 

“As a thank you for your support and a reminder to pray for our ministry, we’d like each table sponsor to take an orchid home,” the emcee announced. 

I considered a plant with blooms the size of clementines but instead selected one with miniature white flowers. The blossoms reminded me of the babies the ministry rescues every year. Tiny, pure, and innocent, these pre-born babies have barely begun to live before their existence is threatened by abortion. 

Margaret* is one of those babies. Conceived out of wedlock by people too young to be parents, her presence was not celebrated like those whose conceptions were “planned.” Her existence caused problems--and questions—lots of them. 

“How can I tell my parents?” 

“What will I do about school?” 

“What will people say?” 

“How can I care for a baby?” 

“What should I do?” 

Her mother, Lillie, made an appointment at the local Planned Parenthood office—to gather information and discuss options. The counselor agreed with her—you can’t tell your parents. You have to finish school. People will talk. You’re too young to have a baby. Here’s what you should do. It’s the only option. 

She scheduled an abortion the following week. Instead of feeling relief, Lillie left the building heavyhearted. 

At the foot of the driveway stood a man with kind eyes

“Hi, my name is John. May I talk with you for a moment?” 

The moment turned into two. And then five. When the conversation moved around the corner to a restaurant, the truth gushed out like a rushing river. The relationship. Her pregnancy. Her parents. Her schooling. Only one option. No hope. 

“But there are options,” he said gently, “and there is hope.” 

When I brought the orchid home from the banquet, I set it on the dining room table and enjoyed its snowy blossoms. When the last one fell, I relocated the plant to a sunny window in my guest room. One day I noticed a shoot emerging from the base of the plant—the orchid was going to bloom again. 

Imagining a cluster of blooms as beautiful as the first, I checked the plant’s progress often. All was well until my grandchildren spent the night. The next morning, as I stripped the sheets from the bed, I noticed a stick on the floor—only it wasn’t a stick. It was the blossom stem of my orchid. 

There’d be no beautiful blossoms decorating my dining room table that spring. 

Spring turned into summer, and summer became fall. As I did every week, I carried the orchid from the guest room to the bathroom and doused it with water. I eyed the still-broken stem and sighed.  

Then I noticed something. 

A bump had formed right below the severed end of the spike. By the next week, the bump had swelled. The week after that confirmed what I had hoped for—a new sprout was growing from beneath the broken stem. 

Meanwhile, at the base of the plant, another spike was forming. 

Within a month, the plant withe the barren future sported not one but two flower stems.

Lillie is a lot like my orchid. 


With help from John and his team, she began to her reframe her future. They connected Lillie with medical resources and a care team who would walk her through every step of her pregnancy. She realized that while her pregnancy had changed her original future, perhaps another future—a better one—awaited her. 

When my grandkids broke my orchid’s stem, I assumed nothing beautiful could come from it. Instead, with time, nurturing, and healing, the plant produced something more spectacular than if it had never been broken—two stems of snowy white blossoms. 

The same is true of Lillie’s life. 

In time, with nurturing and healing, her life produced not one, but two beautiful futures. 

It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen easily. When Lillie chose life for her baby, it took some time for her world to right itself. Her parents were heartbroken. Her education suffered. People talked. She wasn’t ready for a baby. She didn’t know what to do. 

But little by little, with the help of family, friends, and kind strangers, her future brightened and her hope grew. 

Now not only does she have a future—one free from guilt and shame—her baby has one, too. 


Instead of a dead, lifeless stem separated from the plant that produced it, little Margaret is alive and growing. Day by day, like her mother, she is becoming a person of exquisite beauty. 


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). 



This holiday season, would you consider giving to a ministry like A Moment of Hope? Every dollar you contribute gives women like Lillie and babies like Margaret a hope and a future. For more information, click HERE

*The story is true, but the names have been changed.





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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 due 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.





Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
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Tuesday

You're Invited!

What’s the most amazing invitation you’ve ever received? 

When I got a call from my congressman inviting me to a VIP tour of the White House, I was excited. I was even more thrilled when my son-in-law’s father offered me his frequent flyer miles to go visit my daughter in Japan. 

Today, however, I read an invitation that tops every invitation I’ve ever received. 

It’s a personal invitation, yet it’s for everyone—for me and for you, for your friends, for your relatives, even for strangers. It’s exclusive yet expansive. Elite yet all-encompassing. Open to the Public, yet By Invitation Only

The apostle John is the courier. Let’s read it together: 

“And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). 


When my congressman said, “Come to the White House. I’ll meet you at the East gate and see you in,” my heart beat with excitement. 

When my son-in-law’s father said, “Come to Japan. I’ll share my miles so you can visit your daughter,” I did a happy dance and wept. 

But when Jesus, the Lord almighty, threw open the gates of Heaven and said, “Come!”, I laughed. I cried. I rejoiced. I dissolved into a blubbery, slobbery puddle of gratitude and fell at his feet. I was undone. 

Yet not everyone who receives this invitation responds this way. 

Some flat out refuse this opportunity to experience the grandest adventure of all time. Some cling to the keys of their earthly shack instead of accepting the keys to God’s heavenly dwelling place. 

Others draw the putrid garments of their sin closer to their spiritually dying bodies instead of shedding their rags and putting on the snowy garments of eternal life. 

Still others shove their fingers in their ears and avert their eyes, pretending they don’t hear the Spirit of God whispering. And calling. And shouting. 

“Come.” 

“Come." 

“Come! Let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” 

The White House was awe inspiring. 

Japan was other worldly. 

But Heaven? Oh my. 

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). 

I hope your holiday season is filled with grand and glorious invitations. Thanksgiving dinners, Christmas parties, and church celebrations. Holiday concerts, White Elephant gift exchanges, and cookie swaps. 

Say yes to them all. But don’t neglect the grandest invitation of all time. 

“Come!” 

If you’d like to accept this invitation and know more about how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ, click HERE to hear my story 

Now it's your turn. What's the greatest invitation you've ever received? I'd love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and share your story. 

Dear Hungry for God friends,

I suspect there are quite a few busy women on your Christmas list. Friends, co-workers, fellow church members, and your children's teachers, Sunday school teachers, coaches, and babysitters, to name a few.

If you'd like to give them a gift that will draw them closer to the Lord, encourage them to spend time in God's Word, and think biblically, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is the gift you're looking for.

And what about those friends and loved ones who may not have a relationship with the Lord?

In the last devotion in the book, I share, in a winsome and non-threatening way, what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

If you give someone you care about a copy of HFG, you'll not only be passing along spiritual encouragement, you'll also be sharing the gospel. Either way, you could change someone's life forever.

And that's what Christmas is all about.




I'm excited to say
Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time has 114 reviews and a 4.8 star rating on Amazon. It received the Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year award in 2016.

If you live in the Columbia, South Carolina area, I'd love to autograph and personalize copies for your special friends. Email me at LoriAHatcher (at) gmail.com. Otherwise, I hope you'll click over to Amazon.












Sunday

Wrestling with Waves -- When Faith and Fear Collide


It was a beautiful sandcastle. 

Carefully-selected seashells encircled the main building. Four turrets containing imaginary princesses marked the perimeter. A dragon-thwarting moat surrounded it all. Six-year-old Lauren had spent the better part of an hour creating her masterpiece. 

Stepping back to admire her work, she noticed something she hadn’t seen before—the tide. Reaching toward her creation, the sea’s arms extended then retreated, ominous in their subtle advance. With her back to the ocean during construction, Lauren hadn’t given the water a thought. 

But now the threat was real. 


 Like a superhero squaring off against the enemy, she positioned herself between the sea and her beloved creation. Thrusting her hands toward the advancing waves, she bellowed, “NO!” 

For a moment, the sea slithered away. Then, gathering strength, it rushed forward for another assault. 

“GO BACK” she cried, willing the sea to retreat. The tug of war continued until, with a mighty heave, the ocean roared past her restraining arms and over the castle, sucking the seashells off and drowning the imaginary princesses. 



Lauren hung her head in defeat, crushed by her inability to protect her creation. 

I’ve often felt like Lauren. Weak in the face of an insurmountable challenge. Frightened by things I can’t control. Threatened by forces too mighty for my feeble strength. Death. Disease. Evil. A prodigal child. A troubled marriage. A challenging work environment. All these and more make us feel powerless and scared. 

Like Lauren, I've wondered if it’s only a matter of time before fearsome waves swallow everything I’ve worked so hard for. 

Lauren isn’t the only one who’s had a tussle with the sea. Jesus’ disciples faced a similar challenge. 

“On the same day, when evening had come, [Jesus] said to them, ‘Let us cross over to the other side.’ And a great windstorm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so that it was already filling. 

“But He was in the stern, asleep on a pillow. And they awoke Him and said to Him, ‘Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?’” (Mark 4:35, 37-38). 

Have you ever asked God this question? Wondered if He was asleep? Immune to your struggle? Unconcerned about your suffering and distress? 

Yet even in their terror, the disciples did the right thing—they ran to the One who could save them. 

“Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’ And the wind ceased and there was a great calm” (v 38). 

Lauren didn’t have the power to protect her sand castle, nor do we have the power to protect our children, our jobs, our marriages, our possessions, or our positions. 

But God does. 

And we can trust Him to order the circumstances of our lives for our good and for His glory. Whether He quiets the storm, removes it completely, or rides it out in the boat with us, we can trust that He’ll bring us to the other side. 

How do I know? Because He promised. 

As He said to the disciples, so He says to us, “Let us go over to the other side.” 

In His omniscience, He knew there’d be a storm, but storms don’t change His plan. “I’ll carry you over every white-capped wave,” he promises, “hold you when you’re frightened, and sustain you when you have no faith. We will make it to the other side—together.” 

“Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” (v 39). 

Lauren learned that day that she was powerless before the mighty force of the ocean. Life’s storms have caused me to realize a similar helplessness. Her attempt gave me the opportunity to remind her of a truth she can cling to all the days of her life. 

“You aren’t strong enough to keep the ocean in its place,” I told her, “but there’s Someone who is. Do you know who He is?” 

“God?” 

“Yep. Aren’t you glad nothing is too hard for Him?

“Yes,” she said, shrugging her shoulders. “But I wish he’d put the ocean a little farther away from my sandcastle.” 

“Me too, sweetie girl. Me too.” 

Now it’s your turn. What waves threaten your safety today? Have you taken them to Jesus? Will you trust Him to bring you to the other side? What does this look like in your life? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and comment there.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
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Wednesday

Bored with Your Devotional Time? Try Interval Training

Do you ever get bored with your devotional time? Ever feel like what you’re doing isn’t accomplishing the spiritual results you hoped for? 

Consider interval training. 

I first learned about interval training at the fitness center where I exercise every morning. Here’s the definition as it refers to physical activity: 

Interval training: training in which an athlete alternates between two activities, typically requiring different rates of speed, degrees of effort, etc. 

The Mayo Clinic article, “Rev up your workout with interval training” lists several benefits to this approach to exercising: 

*Higher calorie burn Increased time efficiency 

*Additional aerobic effect 

*Less boredom 

*Increased feelings of happiness 

Who wouldn’t want these benefits? 

Impressed with the science behind this approach, I decided to use an interval training exercise routine. I walk five laps at a brisk pace, then jog one. I’m not a runner, and I’ve never enjoyed jogging, but I found that one lap out of five isn’t so bad. 


Almost immediately, I saw a difference. I finished my workout quicker, which helped me get to work on time. The occasional jog broke up the monotony of 50 laps around the track, and instead of feeling drained at the end, I felt energized. 

But what does this have to do with morning devotions and spiritual boredom? 

We can apply similar principles to our spiritual exercise and achieve similar results. Think about what you normally do to engage God each day. 

If you’re like me, you probably sit in the same spot and read the same Bible you’ve used for the last five years. Or maybe you read from a devotional. You pray about the same needs and the same people, “Lord, keep my husband and children safe, draw my unsaved loved ones to you, and use us in your service today. Amen.” 

If you’re suffering from spiritual boredom or not seeing the spiritual results you hoped for, maybe it’s time to shake things up. 

Here are some suggestions for spiritual interval training: 

Read from a different Bible. Choose a different translation, or a new way of reading. I love the MacArthur Daily Bible, where, every day, I read a portion of the Old Testament, a portion of the New Testament, and a Psalm and Proverb. This year, however, I’ve been reading in The Chronological Study Bible instead. I may try The Archaeological Study Bible next. 


I’ve gained new insight and grown even more excited about God’s Word. Some days I use the Bible Gateway app to listen to different translations and readers without having to invest in new Bibles. Hearing God’s Word read aloud often gives me fresh insight. I catch emphasis and repeated words I would otherwise have missed. 

Use a Different Devotional. If you always read Charles Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, read Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest,. If you love The Upper Room devotions, try Our Daily Bread. If you haven’t read my book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time – Five Minute Devotions for Busy Women, I’d love for you to click over and grab a copy. 

Pray Using a Different Method. Do you normally use the ACTS (Admit, Confess, Thanks, and Supplication) way? Try using The Lord’s Prayer as a model instead. If you pray with a list in a prayer journal, go off script and invite God to bring people and situations to your mind and allow Him to direct your prayer time. Or pray for missionaries and ministries one day, family members the next, and friends, associates, and strangers the next. 

Meet with God in a Different Place. If you usually sit in your recliner in the den or read your Bible in bed, go somewhere else.
 Weather permitting, find a quiet spot outdoors, read in your car at lunch time, or listen to a Bible app while you’re walking. It’s amazing how a change of venue can open your heart and mind to things you’ve never see otherwise. 

Unlike physical training, spiritual interval training has less to do with speed and more to do with efficiency. When we switch things up in our Bible reading and devotional time, we rev up our spiritual metabolism, burn off negative influences, fight boredom, and increase our joy. Investing time and energy in God’s Word every day enables us to raise our level of spiritual fitness and increase our degree of spiritual health. 

If you’re struggling with boredom and inefficiency in your devotional time, I encourage you to banish it by applying interval training to your faith walk. 

"Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful" (Joshua 1:8).

Now it’s your turn. What do you do to keep your devotional time fresh? Leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.



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.