Sunday

Guess What I've Been Working on All Year? An Exciting Announcement!

WOW! Do I have news for you!

But first, a story:

I’ll never forget the first time I read the story of Jonah. As a new believer, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The same thing happened when I read the story of the Moses parting the Red Sea. And Daniel’s sleepless night in the lion’s den. The stories inspired and fascinated me.

But after a while, something changed. The fabulous stories became familiar. Their knock-out punches became more like gentle pats – comforting, but certainly not seismic. To fight the boredom that threatened to lull me into spiritual sleep, I bought several women’s devotionals. Sadly I discovered most authors seemed stuck in the same rut I was in. Their devotions focused on the same well-worn stories and verses I’d been reading in my own quiet times. Zzzzzzzz.

Then I participated in a Bible study called Let Prayer Change Your Life. In one of the sessions, author and speaker Becky Tirabassi challenged us to read through the Bible in a year using The One Year Bible. As I began to read the whole Bible, not just the familiar sections to which I’d previously gravitated, I discovered books and passages I’d read but never really seen before. 

Buried in familiar portions of the Bible and in obscure books like Ezra, Habakkuk, and Philemon were dynamic, life-changing verses. Before, I’d avoided or skimmed these less-familiar sections. Now their gems shined with extraordinary brilliance. In the more well-known books, I discovered unlikely verses that sparkled with truth and life application. Perhaps if others knew these gems were here, I thought, they’d fall in love with the Bible, too.

This is how my latest book project, Uncommon Insights for an Unbounded Life, 66 Unusual Devotions from Every Book of the Bible was born. 

I've spent the last year journeying through the Bible in my personal quiet times, searching for powerful, God-filled verses to spotlight. Once I found THE verses, one from each book of the Bible (and it was HARD. There are SO many amazing Scriptures to choose from), I asked God to give me a real-life story to pair it with. This helps the verse come alive and demonstrates how we can apply the verse to our lives.

In the meantime, my agent, the amazing Bob Hostetler, was busy shopping the proposal around to different publishers. As we prayed for just the right home for Uncommon, God answered by sending an offer from a well-respected publisher in the Christian book industry, Discovery House, publisher of Our Daily Bread and the works of Oswald Chambers.

Their publishing goal aligns perfectly with mine:

To publish books that feed the soul with the Word of God, fostering growth and godliness in the live of God's people. Their materials focus on Scripture, show reverence for God and his Word, demonstrate the relevance of vibrant faith, and equip and encourage you in your life every day.

I signed the contract this week, thus beginning the long road to publication. But before we know it, Uncommon will be available, target date: Spring 2020.

In the mean time, will you cover this book in prayer, and pray for me, also? We must accomplish many steps before this project is complete. I deeply desire God's anointing on each one of them.

Dr. Jerry Falwell often said, "Nothing of eternal important happens apart from prayer." 

I want Uncommon to have eternal importance.

It’s my hope that as readers journey with me through little-known and often overlooked verses in every book of the Bible, they, too, will discover the joy, excitement, and riches of God’s Word. I hope they’ll not only fall in love with the Bible, they’ll fall in love (or back in love) with God, the Author of the Bible.

As we move through the process, I'll share the journey with you, invite you to pray, give input, and test drive some of the really cool components of the book. When launch time nears, you, my faithful readers, will be the first to know about giveaways, excerpts, and free stuff. But the most important thing you can do right now is pray. Thank you in advance, dear friends.

Now a question for you: what feature or aspect is most important to you when choosing a devotional? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.

If you'd like to hear more, here's a video sharing a little more about my journey.




 If you're reading by email, click HERE to view the Youtube video announcement of my latest book.



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




Wednesday

Ellie and David – Two Good Gifts, A Tribute to Marriage



Overshadowed by Christmas and family gatherings, presents and meals, holidays and have-to's, a very special occasion came and went two weeks ago. Our 34th wedding anniversary. 

Friends warned us that an anniversary in the shadow of the most celebrated day of the year might get overlooked. Who needs another present, dinner out, or card? 

And their warning has sometimes come true. If we don’t guard our special day, it’s easy to overlook it. The spectacular becomes the ordinary. The sparkle dims and the fanfare segues to the familiar. Kind of like my childhood friend, Ellie.

My mother created Ellie when I was five years old. An impressive attempt for an amateur seamstress, Ellie the elephant was stitched from 17 pieces of fabric and stuffed with I-don’t-know-what. She has a multi-colored trunk, blue ears, and hand-embroidered pink eyes. 


Ellie quickly became my new best friend. I carried her everywhere, chewed on her trunk, and cried into her soft stomach. I slept with her under my chin. Before long I’d handled her so much that her shiny fabric dulled to a muted blue. Saliva stains marred her trunk, and one ear came loose, a casualty of too much love. 

I brought her to elementary school for Show and Tell, to high school for a Home Ec class, to college for a psychology display, and, after I was married, to our first home. She sat on my dresser, a tribute to a childhood well lived. 

When we moved the first time, and the second, and the third, Ellie traveled with us. Today she sits on a shelf in my bedroom closet above my sock drawer, next to Ken, Barbie, and a picture of me running the hurdles in high school. Ellie is one of my treasures. 

In many ways, Ellie’s a lot like my marriage. Over the years its fabric has also changed. My husband and I have traded the silk and tuxedo for scrubs and work pants. We still break out the bling every now and then, but sequins are scratchy and tuxedos bind. Sparkle has given way to softness, like the warm embrace of a well-worn blanket. 

I cut my relational teeth on the patience and forgiveness of my long suffering husband. I’ve cried tears of anger, betrayal, hurt, fear, sickness, and grief into his chest, leaving emotional stains he’s willingly worn. I’ve filled his ears with rants, dreams, and prayers ‘til it’s a wonder they haven’t fallen off. I’ve carried my marriage everywhere. 

From the elementary years of emotional discovery, to the high school years of responsible parenting, to the college years of hard work and sacrifice, to the graduation years of accomplished dreams. 

But instead of sitting on a dresser or a shelf, my marriage travels with me wherever I go. It centers me, inspires me, molds me, and refines me. It gives me strength when I’m weary and comfort when I feel alone. 

It’s a safe place to be myself and a challenging place to become better than who I am. It sands the rough edges of my selfishness and polishes the gold of my potential. 

Like my mother fashioned Ellie to be my companion, my comfort, and my friend, so has my heavenly father created my husband to be my companion, my comfort, my friend, and my lover. 

Ellie and David. Two good gifts from those who love me best.


Now it's your turn. Have you enjoyed the gift of a loving marriage? Leave a comment below to share something special about your relationship. If you're reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and share your thoughts.




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. 

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Monday

Consider the ants . . . and the grandchildren – What pondering God’s world will show you

When I consider ants, I’m usually thinking about how to poison them, not what I can learn from them. But Solomon, the writer of Proverbs 6:6, instructs, “Go to the ant . . . consider her ways and be wise.” 

Most of us know reading our Bibles will make us wise, but buried in this simple proverb about laziness and diligence lies another way to gain wisdom – by studying God’s creation. Maybe Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, learned it from his father, David, who penned this gem: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psa. 19:1-2). 

No doubt about it – God’s wisdom is all over his creation. We can learn a lot from studying it and prayerfully pondering what we see. And while God’s Word remains the single greatest source of wisdom, we can also find gold dust sprinkled upon the works of his hand. 

As I set out to apply this principle (and sharpen my observational skills), I asked the Lord to reveal himself and his truth to me through the world around me. Here’s one example of what I saw: 



I was hanging out with my grands and slicing apples for a snack. Caroline (3) sat beside me on the kitchen counter while Andrew, aka Bubby, (1) waited at my feet. I handed him an apple slice, made sure he was munching happily, then went back to slicing. 

Pfhhhtt. Splat. 

Something warm and wet hit my foot. 

“Andrew! What are you doing?” 

Pfhhhtt. Splat. 

 A slimy piece of apple skin sputtered from his mouth, and, this time, landed on the floor. He’d taken a bite, chewed it until the fleshy part disintegrated, and spit out the skin. 

“He doesn’t wike skin on his apples, Gigi,” Caroline remarked. 

Apparently not. 

I took the remaining apple wedge from him to trim the skin off. 

But Caroline was faster. 

By the time I’d wiped the apple goo from the floor and my foot and picked up Andrew's apple piece again, she’d nibbled all the skin off her apple wedge. 

“Here Andrew,” she said triumphantly, holding out the naked fruit, “no skin!” 

He scrutinized her gift for skin remnants, then popped it into his mouth, cheeks bulging like a well-fed chipmunk. 

By observing the exchange between these siblings (two of God’s most delightful creations), I learned three things about God: 

1. He created us to be unique, with different likes, dislikes, and preferences. A preference for skinless apples is just one example. We need to remember that different isn’t wrong, just different. How much better would our relationships be if we graciously allowed room for “different” without treating it as right or wrong? 

2. He created mankind in his image with a natural capacity to love, share, and serve. Caroline’s thoughtful act of service to her brother is a sweet example of this. 

3. He provides an endless source of patience and grace to help us deal with the often-amusing, sometimes-annoying quirks of our families and friends. Lord, make us as patient with others as you are with us

As the new year moves into its second week, I’d like to issue a challenge – consider the ants (or grandchildren, cats, dogs, trees, birds, sky, or anything else that catches your eye). Study it. Prayerfully ponder. Invite God to reveal himself to you through what you see. Then leave a comment below to share your observations. 

I can’t wait to hear how God shows himself to you. 

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. 

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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.



Wednesday

When the Task is Great and Your Strength Is Small

What’s the hardest task you’ve ever faced? I can imagine a variety of answers. 

Many would say motherhood. The thought of caring for one or more children from before birth to independence (and beyond) often overwhelms new and prospective parents. To bear the sole responsibility for feeding, clothing, educating, protecting, nurturing, shepherding, doctoring, training, and the myriad of other tasks that fall under the job description Parent is monumental. 

Others would say being a caregiver is the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Many have accepted (or had thrust upon them) the responsibility of caring for, feeding, transporting, protecting, and advocating for a sick spouse, child, or parent. In many ways, this responsibility can be even more complex and difficult than caring for the needs of young children. 

Still others would say single parenting, working in a challenging and thankless job, staying married to a difficult spouse, parenting a prodigal child, pastoring a struggling church, battling an addiction, completing a long-term project, or clinging to faith in desperate circumstances is overwhelmingly difficult. 

If you're facing an insurmountable task today, consider the story of Noah in Genesis 6 and 7. “Noah was a just man,” Genesis 6:9 says. “Noah walked with God.” 

One day God called Noah to a monumental task – to build an ark. 

I’ve read these four words a hundred times. Maybe a thousand. My eyes slide over them with barely a pause. “Noah, build an ark.” Got it. 

But think for a moment. 

What exactly did God call Noah to do? Build an ark. Not a boat. Or a barge. Or a flotilla. An ARK – an ark that could comfortably house two of every species of bird and animal in the world. 

Did you know the ark was 450 feet long? And 75 feet wide? That’s 150 feet longer and 25 feet wider than a football field. A FOOTBALL FIELD. It was three stories high, built of gopher wood, and covered in pitch. 

One man, Noah. Three sons (I assume they helped). And three axes. (There were no saw mills, hardware stores, or power tools back in Noah’s day). 

Ken Ham, from Answers in Genesis, set out to build a true-to-size model of Noah’s ark as part of the Ark Encounter exhibit. According to the Wikipedia, the giant boat, which was constructed by Amish builders using traditional timber framing techniques, required more than 1,000 craftsmen. Even with modern tools, a thousand workers, and pre-cut lumber, the project took more than five years to complete. 

It took Noah and his sons twelve decades. One hundred and twenty years. One 40-hour work week, times four men, times 120 years equals 998,400 man hours. 

Can you imagine what went through Noah’s head when God called him to this overwhelming task? 

I’m thankful God hasn’t called any of us to build an ark. But he calls many of us to undertake monumental, overwhelming, I-can’t-do-this-on-my-own tasks every day

How did Noah accomplish his incredible feat? And how do we accomplish the seemingly insurmountable tasks God calls us to every day? 

Here are three tips we can learn from Noah: 

1. One day at a time. 

I’m confident Noah didn’t peer into the future and calculate how many trees he’d have to cut down to build a 450 foot boat. He rose every morning and asked God’s blessing on that day’s work. “Do not worry about tomorrow,” Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:36, “for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” This doesn’t mean we fail to plan beyond today. It means we do our best and trust God with the rest. 

2. One task at a time. 

Every day Noah awakened from sleep, picked up his hammer, and did the next thing. He cut a board, hammered a nail, or smeared some pitch. While he followed the grand plan, he knew he’d grow discouraged if he pondered the enormity of the project. By tackling the first task of the day, and then the next, and then the next, we can follow his example. Focusing on the individual steps in the grand plan will help us slowly but surely accomplish the task God has called us to. 

3. One act of obedience at a time. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an act and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character; sow a character and you reap a destiny.” I suspect Emerson gleaned this thought from the parable of the stewards (Mat. 25:14-30), where the master rewarded those who faithfully obeyed his instructions in his absence. As they acted upon the master’s promise to reward them upon his return, they secured both temporary and future rewards. 

Like Noah obeyed God’s call to build an ark and trusted God to enable, equip, and provide for him, we too can accept the callings God has ordained for us, even when they seem greater than our abilities. 

The new year lies ahead of us, and many of you are facing monumental tasks. Whether you’re praying for a prodigal, wrestling with cancer, caring for a loved one, or fighting for your marriage, don’t give up. With God’s help, you can build your ark – one day, one task, and one act of obedience at a time. 

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 



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

Out with the New! In with the Old!

Out with the old! In with the new! 

We hear this refrain often, especially during the holiday season, as we prepare to welcome in a new year. Clean out those closets. Shed those lingering 10 pounds. Embrace a new approach or philosophy. 

I relish fresh starts and do-overs and welcome the annual opportunity to draw a line in the sand that separates the old from the new. But as 2019 dawns, my mantra this year is different. I’m turning Out with the Old. In with the New, upside down. Instead of looking for a new word to claim, a new approach to try, or a new favorite book, Bible study plan, or resolution, I’m looking to the old for my new year. 

Out with the New! In with the Old! is my plan for this year. Jeremiah 6:16 inspires my new/old approach: 

This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” 



As this year winds down, I’ve pondered deeply the winding path of my Christian journey. I’ve thought back to those times when I walked closest to the Lord and am recreating the patterns and habits that got me there. The old adage, “If you don’t feel close to God, guess who moved?” prompted me to ask myself, During those times of sweetest communion, what was I doing to connect with God? 

Here’s an example of what I’ve discovered: For most of our married life, my husband has worked for companies that required him to start work extremely early. After he left for work, usually by 5:45, I’d settle into my comfy recliner, grab my Bible and prayer journal, and spend time with the Lord. Because the rest of the world was silent and still, nothing disturbed or distracted me. My time with God was personal, interactive, and rich. 

Two years ago my husband changed jobs. For the first time in decades, he didn’t have to rise early. By default then, neither did I. I still read my Bible and prayed, but later in the morning, when the rest of the world was bustling about. 

Almost instantly I noticed a difference in my level of concentration. The light shining through my window drew my attention to household chores that needed to be done. The phone would ring, or a family member would text me. I’d catch myself making a mental grocery list when I was supposed to be praying. 

My quiet times got shorter and shorter. Sometimes I wouldn’t sit before the Lord at all. I’d listen to a passage of Scripture on my iPhone on the way to work. It was better than nothing, I reasoned. But not much. The quality of my prayer life suffered, too. My ability to hear God speak through the Bible and into my heart diminished. Maybe he was having a hard time catching me as I raced through my time with him. 

This gradual slide into a new routine was a bad one for me. I need the old routine again. And while I haven’t asked my husband to quit his job and go back to the old one (that would NOT be good), I’m again setting my alarm for the wee hours of the morning and rising to meet the Lord before the noise of the day intrudes. As author/speaker Becky Tirabassi said, “It’s better to be sleep-deprived than God-deprived.” 

This is an example from my life of how the old ways can be superior to the new ways. Your new/old ways may look completely different. I encourage you to take some time this holiday season, get alone with God and yourself, and evaluate your life. Are there old ways you’ve forsaken that might be worth revisiting? If you ask the Lord to show you, he will. Then be quick to obey what he tells you to do. 

May we all draw closer than ever to the Lord in 2019. Happy New Year!

Now it's your turn. How have you found the old ways superior to the new in your spiritual life? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you're reading by email, click HERE to visit Hungry for God online and share your thoughts.