Sunday

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.



When You Lack Compassion-- A Confession and a Hope


Those with the gift of mercy may find this post unnecessary, but if you lack compassion or feel overwhelmed in this area, read on. 

One of my strongest spiritual gifts is the gift of administration. (See Romans 12:6–8.) I’m a firstborn go-getter who can take a complex project, break it down into its respective parts, and figure out how to get it done. I work most successfully when I pair up with a visionary who can think up something wonderful or creative (not my strong suit), then hand it off to me to make it happen. 

Jesus’ Healing Ministry 

If I’d been in charge of Jesus’ healing ministry, I would require everyone to reserve their appointments at least three days in advance, list them on a spreadsheet-style scroll, and you can bet I’d check their synagogue IDs when they arrive. 

Like a Chick-Fil-A drive through, I’d have greeters, traffic control officers, and three lines. -Demoniacs to the right. Don’t shove and please keep the noise down. -Contagious diseases? Far left. -Masks on until you approach the front, and please, stay six feet apart at all times. -Crippled? You and your helper stand (or lie) in the middle line—only one helper allowed per person, please. 

Jesus’ Example 

Interestingly enough, Jesus operated quite efficiently without an organizer like me. . . 

Today I'm guest posting over at Revive Our Hearts. To read the rest of  When You Lack Compassion, click over to the Revive Our Hearts blog

https://www.reviveourhearts.com/leaders/blog/when-you-lack-compassion/ 





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.








Thursday

Always Wanted -- A Birthday Post

 


Because today's my birthday, I thought it appropriate to share the story of my first BIRTHday. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for always making me feel wanted.


God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace. 
 Galatians 1:15 

I always knew my parents wanted me. From my earliest existence, I was welcomed, celebrated (maybe too much), and loved. Not because I was the firstborn, but because I was the second. 

My brother, Robert, was born just eighteen months prior to me. He lived only three days. Complications from a challenging delivery took him from my parents before they even had a chance to hold him. 

My mother was only eighteen years old. 

In time God blessed them with another baby—me. 

Halfway through Mom’s pregnancy, her doctor discovered a cyst on her ovary. It blocked the birth canal and took up much-needed space in her abdomen. Without surgery, my growth and development would be hindered, and my mother would be unable to deliver me. 

But with the surgery came the risk that I could be born deaf, blind, or both. The procedure could also trigger early labor. In the sixties, babies born three months prematurely had little or no chance of survival. 

Imagine what it would be like to be nineteen years old, mourning the loss of your first child, and fearing for the life of your second. My mom was wheeled into the delivery room.  My dad chain-smoked in the waiting room. 


“We didn’t know if you’d make it,” he told me years later. “I don’t know how we’d have borne it if you hadn’t.” 

As you already know, I survived. I arrived right on schedule three months later, neither blind nor deaf. 

As you can imagine, my parents celebrated my birth as a grand and glorious gift from God. 

Unlike me, not everyone has the privilege of being wanted by their parents. Some don’t even know their parents. Many were born into impoverished, dysfunctional, or turbulent homes and families. Others were “unplanned” or “unwanted.” Some were celebrated, but later, when the winds of circumstance changed, they became a burden. 

Whether we were wanted or unwanted by the people in our lives, the apostle Paul’s words to the church in Galatia speak truth: “God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace.” 

What does it mean, for Paul and for us, to be set apart from our mother’s womb and called by God’s grace? 

Here are three truths to consider: 

1. Your birth was not an accident or a mistake. 

Psalm 139:15–16 reads, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together. . . . Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” 

2. You were set apart for a purpose. 

Paul’s purpose was to preach Christ to the Gentiles, yet he didn’t start out that way. Instead, he persecuted the church of Christ, jailing and killing sincere believers. But instead of disqualifying him from the purpose for which God had set him apart, his tragic early years added weight to his testimony that Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom he was the worst. 

Our purpose may be something less grandiose than evangelizing half of the known world, but it is significant, nonetheless. We may never understand how our life impacts others, but we can rest assured, God will use us for His glory. 

3. Our encounter with God wasn’t by chance. 

On the contrary, before the foundations of the world were formed, God ordered our days. Through a divine work of grace, He revealed himself to you (perhaps He’s doing this right now) and called you to himself. No one comes to Jesus, the Bible says, unless God the Father draws him. 

What a thought. 

God invites imperfect people like us to have a relationship with Him—the almighty God of the universe.

I don’t know your background. You may have read my story and wished it were yours (minus the part about my brother). Maybe you’ve always longed to be treasured and loved. 

If you’ve spent most of your life feeling more like a burden and less like a blessing, consider this:
On the day you were born, God welcomed you, celebrated you, and loved you. He set you apart for His glory and good pleasure. He’s inviting you, by His grace, to walk with Him all the days of your life. 

Uncommon Thought 

Whether or not you were wanted by your mother, father, or other significant person in your life, God the Father has always wanted you. 

Unusual Faith 

Think back over your life. Have you ever felt unwanted? Have you doubted your value or questioned if your life has a purpose? Instead of allowing the circumstances of your birth or the opinions of others to define you, embrace the truth of Galatians 1. You have been set apart by God and called for His glory. Tuck this truth deep into your soul and embrace it. When other people’s words or the voices in your head contradict what you know to be true, personalize and quote this verse aloud. “God set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace.” 

Read Galatians 1:15–24.

Taken from Refresh Your Faith: Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible by Lori Hatcher© 2020. Used by permission of Our Daily Bread Publishing®, Box 3566, Grand Rapids, MI 49501. All rights reserved. Further distribution is prohibited without written permission from Our Daily Bread Publishing® at permissionsdept@odb.org.



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

This I Know -- A Guest Post by Allison Jones


A theology discussion in one of her classes made Allison Jones realize she didn't know what she believed about a certain topic. 

"I left that class feeling really confused about almost everything other than my core beliefs," she said. 

To remind herself of what she believed and that core beliefs are what really matter, she penned the poem, "This I Know." 

I asked her if I could share her poem with the Hungry for God readers, and she graciously agreed. I'm confident Allison's spiritual depth and insightful perspective will bless you, as they have me. Be sure to leave kind words for her in the comment box. 

This I Know

I don’t know 
Much about 
Theology, 
Or philosophy, 
Or ethics, 
Or anything really. 

But this I know: 
That I have believed 
In my heart, 
And confessed With my mouth, 
That Jesus is Lord. 

I don’t know 
Much about 
Theology, 
Or philosophy,
Or ethics, 
Or anything really. 

But this I know: 
I have died, 
And my life 
Is hidden With Christ, 
Who is my life. 

I don’t know 
Much about 
Theology, 
Or philosophy, 
Or ethics, 
Or anything really. 

But this I know: 
That my Father knows me, 
And holds me In His hand, 
And no one is able 
To snatch me away. 

I don’t know 
Much about 
Theology, 
Or philosophy, 
Or ethics, 
Or anything really. 

But this I know: 
That my Father 
Is slowly but surely, 
Conforming me 
To the image 
Of His Son. 

I don’t know 
Much about 
Theology, 
Or philosophy, 
Or ethics, 
Or anything really.  

But this I know: 
That my Father 
Is working in me, 
To will 
And to work 
For His good pleasure. 

But this I know: 
That He Who testifies 
To these things 
Is coming soon. 

Amen. 
Come, 
Lord Jesus. 




Allison Jones is a freshman at Anderson University, double majoring in Biblical Studies and Creative Writing. She's a triplet with two sisters who also attend Anderson University. They have twin siblings who are juniors in high school. This poem first released on her blog Fixing Our Eyes, Setting Our Hearts, Running the Race. You can connect with her on Instagram @fixingoureyesblog or Allison Jones on Facebook.








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.