Thursday

10 Loving Ways to Interact with the Visually Impaired

When the Spittle family walked through the doors of our church, I was thrilled. Visitors don’t often find our little church tucked into the middle of a residential neighborhood. 

Nick, a teenager, and his mom, Tracy, walked down the aisle first, her hand tucked into in the crook of his arm. Thom and Jonathan walked in single file, with Thom’s hand on his son’s shoulder. Their entrance was different, but I didn’t realize Thom and Tracy were blind until I noticed Thom’s dark glasses. 

As the Spittles visited and brought other blind friends to our church, I’ve learned better how to interact with those who are visually impaired. 

If you’re unsure how to interact with a person who is blind, here are ten tips I shared in a guest post on Crosswalk.com:

TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST, CLICK HERE.



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.





 


Sunday

ONE Way to Draw Closer to God this Year

 

The headline read, “Ten Ways to Draw Closer to God this Year.” As I looked down the long list, I sighed. I was a young mom overwhelmed with the responsibilities of caring for two young children, homeschooling, serving in church, and working outside the home part time. I didn’t need ten more things to do. 

Why doesn’t anyone write an article giving ONE way to draw close to God this year? I wondered. I might actually be able to do that. 

Twenty years later, this is that article. 

ONE WAY TO DRAW CLOSER TO GOD THIS YEAR. 

And here’s the one way: read your Bible. 

If you’re super busy and need to move on, you can stop reading now. You know what to do. If you’d like to hear my story (and read several reasons why I believe this is the best way to draw closer to God), read on. 

I’ve been a Christian for almost forty years. I’ve done Bible studies, joined women’s groups, attended retreats and conferences, and practiced all the spiritual disciplines, but only reading the Bible has revolutionized my life and drawn me closer to God. 

I’m not saying Bible studies, women’s retreats, and all the other things I just mentioned aren’t helpful. They are, and I recommend them all. But nothing has transformed my life and drawn me closer to God than reading His Word. 

Fits and Starts 

For years I treated the Bible like my favorite piece of jewelry. I’d pick it up and put it down based on the occasion. During times of trial, I wore it close to my heart. During times of busyness or prosperity, I left it on the dresser. Every December when our pastor or Sunday school teacher encouraged us to commit to read the Bible in the new year, I’d sign on the pledge card and make a good start. 

Many years I sailed all the way through Genesis and Exodus only to shipwreck on the rocks of Leviticus. My relationship with and commitment to reading God’s Word was as fickle as a toddler at a buffet. Some days I’d feast, and other days I’d snack. Some days (months), I’d fast completely. 

My spiritual life mirrored my commitment level. In some seasons, I grew and flourished. Other times I struggled, languished, and fainted. 

Many times my motivation for reading was off base. I used it to bargain for God’s favor. “Lord, I read my Bible every day this week. Haven’t I earned a blessing?” I used it as a lucky rabbit’s foot. “Well, nothing bad can happen to me today because I checked off the Bible Reading box on my Good Christian scorecard.” Sometimes I used it to prop up my weak self-esteem and sense of worth. “I’m super spiritual. I read my Bible every day.” 

Then one day, I heard a Bible study leader tell her story. As a fairly new believer, she had joined the Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru) staff as a college leader. One day a speaker challenged the Cru leaders to commit to read the Bible for five minutes a day. Just five minutes. Every day. “See if it doesn’t change your life,” he said. 

She and the other students took the challenge. Some days she’d read more, but she never read less. She read her Bible every day for at least five minutes. The habit drew her closer to God and transformed her life. 

Twenty years later, she said, the group of college students, now middle-aged adults, held a reunion. Every person who had kept the commitment to read their Bibles for at least five minutes a day were still passionately walking with the Lord. Many were serving Him in full time ministry. 

When I heard her story, my heart stirred. I want the kind of faith that lasts, I thought. I want to be like Jesus. I’m tired of wobbling around like a toddler, spending more time picking myself up off the ground than moving forward. I want to know God. 

So I committed to read my Bible every day. 

Much later, I discovered Psalm 19:7-13, which gives fourteen reasons to feast on God’s Word. 

God’s Word: 

Converts the soul (v. 7). 

Makes the simple wise (v. 7). 

Brings joy to our hearts (v. 8). 

Enlightens our eyes (v. 8).

Is pure and enduring (v. 9). 

Can be trusted (v. 9). 

Is more valuable than fine gold (v. 10). 

Adds sweetness to our lives (v. 10). 

Warns us of danger (v. 11). 

Bestows a special reward (v. 11). 

Reveals error in our lives (v. 12). 

Keeps us from presumption (v. 12). 

Guards us from becoming enslaved by sin (v. 13). 

Protects us from great transgressions (v. 13). 

Don’t you want these blessings? I do. 

If you’re sick of half-hearted Christianity and up-again-down-again spiritual growth, commit to read the Bible every day. Not to check off a box, acquire knowledge, or impress those around you. Read it to learn more about God. 

Ask the question, “God, what will you show me about yourself today?” and then look for His answer, You will draw closer to God, and your life will be transformed. 

I know. It happened to me. 

A Christian cannot look sincerely into the Word of God—the whole word of God—and remain the same. And you cannot know God without knowing His Word. 

But once you do, oh my. You’ll never look back. 

On January 1, 2021, I committed again to read my Bible through this year. Although I’ve done this for more than a decade, God has already show me exciting new insights and glimpses of His heart, His love, and His character on these familiar pages. 

Do you want to draw closer to God this year? Do you want to know Him intimately and love Him deeply? Do you want to experience His power in your life?

Read your Bible. 


 Now it’s your turn. Do you read the Bible daily? What benefits have you received? If you don’t have a regular habit, what’s stopping you? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. 

It’s my pleasure to share Jean Wilund’s excellent article, “It Takes a Whole Bible to Make a Whole Christian.” 

If you’d like a peek into my favorite Bible reading approach, CLICK HERE to read, “The Habit that Changed Me.” 




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.





Lizard Wars and the Comfort of God's Presence


 I was sitting at my kitchen table when a movement caught my eye. I thought I was alone in the house, but apparently, I wasn’t. 

The movement—just a flash in my peripheral vision—made my heart thump. 

Small. 

Fast. 

With a tail. 

Oh, Lord, please don’t let it be a mouse. 

We had a mouse years before. I didn’t want to repeat that sequence of events. There’s nothing creepier than sharing your living space with a rodent. 

Rising slowly, I crept to the doorway and looked down the hall, dreading what I might see. Two shiny eyes stared back at me. 

LIZARD! 

I screamed. The lizard probably did, too, if lizards can scream, but I was making too much noise to notice. 

In a scramble that would have made the Three Stooges proud, we both ran toward the kitchen. The lizard scurried under the refrigerator, and I leaped onto a chair. 

Although I couldn’t see it, at least I knew where it was—for now. The only thing worse than having a lizard under your refrigerator is having a lizard loose in your house. I knew, for the moment, we were okay, but if it emerged and went somewhere else in the house, I probably wouldn't track it down for days. 

With one eye on the refrigerator, I pulled out the largest stainless-steel bowl I owned. I crept to the fridge, flipped the bowl upside down, and waited. I didn’t want to hurt the lizard. I just wanted to detain it until my husband, David, got home. Then he could take it outside and release it. 

Poised like a cat stalking a mouse, I held my breath.
Every few minutes the lizard would poke its head out then retreat under the appliance. I knew timing was everything. If I slammed the bowl down too soon, I could hurt the lizard or send it off in another direction. 

About the time my arms started shaking and the bowl wobbled, the lizard’s head emerged from under the fridge. I saw its arms next, then its torso. When the tip of its tail cleared the fridge, I slammed down the bowl as fast and hard as I could. 

Success! Checking the circumference of the bowl to be sure I hadn’t amputated any lizard limbs, I sighed with relief. 

Thank you, Lord. 

I stacked a 5-lb. bag of flour on top of the bowl, just to be sure the little reptile didn’t escape, and waited for David to arrive. When he did, I explained in graphic detail every moment of the hunt, then finished with a burst. 

“Now you have to take over, because I don’t ever want to look at that creepy thing again. Please take it outside and let it go far, far away from the house.” 

Then I left the room. 

Minutes later he appeared in the doorway. 

“Did you let it go?” 

“Not exactly.” 

“What do you mean, ‘not exactly’?” 

“Well,” he said, not making eye contact. “It didn’t make it.” 

“Oh no!” I said. “Did I squish it? I tried really hard not to hurt it.” 

“No,” he said, shaking his head. “There wasn’t a mark on it.” 

“Then what happened?” 

“I think it died of a heart attack. You probably scared it to death.” 

The feeling is mutual, I thought, with only a twinge of remorse. 

Unlike my friend Linnea, who occasionally finds a bear on her screened porch or a porcupine up her tree, I don’t encounter wildlife very often. A wayward lizard, a tree frog, or a mole is about as exotic as my animal encounters go. Regardless, they unsettle me. I’d much prefer to let my husband handle my critter problems. 

Sometimes, however, he’s not around, and I must take matters into my own hands. Or wait until he returns home. 

I’m so glad God is available 24/7. 

Scripture tells me He’s always with me. I don’t have to wait for him to arrive or make an appointment to request His help. 

I don’t have to exhaust all other options before I cry out to Him. No heavenly triage nurse compares my needs against others’ and places me in the queue. Even if a million other voices come to Him in prayer, He still hears my request. 

Isaiah 65:24 reminds me, “Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” 

God’s omnipresence doesn’t release me from seeking wise counsel and taking appropriate action, but it gives me a reliable source of insight, comfort, and strength. When I go to God first, He equips me to face whatever comes my way. Even when I must fight the battle on my own, like that day with the lizard, I’m never truly alone. 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,” Psalm 23:4 reminds me, “I will fear no evil, for you are with me.” 

I don’t know what you’re facing today, but God does. He’s as close as a prayer and eager to help. 

Cry out to Him today. 





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.


Grateful or Grumbling? How Are We Handling the Pandemic?

In five weeks I get to hug my mom and dad again. 

I haven’t hugged them since March 8, 2020, the day we celebrated Dad’s 84th birthday. It was the last day we gathered as a four-generation family. 

If I’d know it would be the last family celebration we’d enjoy in almost a year, we’d have lingered over cake. Poured another cup of coffee. Hugged harder. 

But in five weeks we’ll have the immunity (and the freedom) to hug responsibly. Hug responsibly—who would have thought this term would ever enter our vocabulary? Yet here it is. 

This isn’t a post about vaccines, so please don’t leave me unkind comments. I've already been told that my legs are going to turn black and fall off, the only vaccine I need is Jesus, and that I’ve sold my soul to the antichrist. 

I know not everyone feels comfortable with the vaccine. I respect your right to pray, do your research, and make the best decision possible for your family. Thank you for doing the same toward me.

Today I want to write about gratitude, because my heart is full of it.

I’m grateful God has preserved our immediate family. We know families who haven’t been so fortunate, and my heart grieves with you.

I’m grateful for the approximately 46 meals my husband and I have shared with my parents—outside, on their deck, every Saturday night since March. 

We bring groceries and share socially distant but emotionally close meals together. We've sweated through the summer and shivered through the winter, but we’ve also enjoyed many beautiful evenings out under the stars. 

We’ve played games like Jeopardy and I Should Have Known That. Broken out the vinyl and sang along with Elvis and Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. Listened to Dad’s Navy stories about saluting John F. Kennedy and strapping on a sidearm to escort a criminal to the brig. Mom has shared memories, too, about first cousins, first dates, and first homes. 

I’m grateful for the unhurried time we’ve had together. 

I’m grateful for every piece of PPE I’ve worn in the last ten months, no matter how much I've grumbled while wearing it. Masks, goggles, face shields, gowns. They’ve kept my coworkers and me safe during thousands of dental procedures on a host of unmasked patients. None of our staff has gotten infected, and we’ve kept our patients safe. 

I’m grateful for God’s protection. 

I’m grateful for God’s provision, too. My husband was furloughed for three and a half months when the country shut down. I've worked limited hours. We’ve quarantined twice after exposures. Several of my speaking engagements were cancelled, and the magazine I edited suspended publication, yet no bill went unpaid. 


I’m grateful for technology that allows us to share game nights, Bible studies, and Sunday morning services. A good Sunday at our little church in pre-COVID days would find twenty people in the pews. Thanks to Facebook Live, we’ve ministered to people in Rhode Island, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, and who knows where else. Multiply this by hundreds of thousands of churches broadcasting their services beyond the walls of their buildings, and we see how the gospel is reaching the uttermost corners of the world. 

I’m grateful God’s work is never hindered, and His Word never returns void. Eternity will reveal how many people have placed their faith in Christ during this pandemic. 

Finally, I’m grateful for God, who never changes, never fails, and never abandons us. 

Isaiah 43 says it all: 

"But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: 

'Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. 

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. 

When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. 

For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.'"


I’ve read many posts spotlighting what 2020 and the pandemic has taken from us. 

I could have written one. 

Instead, I'm choosing to push back the darkness of despair by shining the light of gratitude. 

And looking forward to those hugs.

How about you? 

I’d love to hear what you’re grateful for as you look back on 2020 and the pandemic. Leave a comment and share your thoughts. 






How's your commitment to read the Bible through this year? 

Do you need a resource to help you along?

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.




Are You Sitting in the Dark?


My friend Jean is visually impaired. Because she can’t see our faces when our church gathers on Zoom, she usually turns off her camera and listens through the app’s audio feature. We hear her voice, but her square on the screen remains dark. 

I assumed she’d turned off her camera the other night when we gathered for a women’s Bible study. (Twelve of us are studying Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth’s book, Adorned, about the Titus 2 woman.) 

As I made introductions, I said, “And that’s Jean in the black square.” 

“Oh,” she said, “can you not see me? I thought I turned my camera on.” 

We heard footsteps, then a rustling, then Jean’s smiling face appeared. 

“My camera was on,” she explained, “but Mike turned off the light.” 

Because Jean is totally blind, she doesn't need light to function. Her husband, Mike, also visually impaired, benefits from having the lights on. Hearing her in the room and knowing she didn’t need the light to participate in the study, he switched it off. 

This happened twice during our meeting. Each time we had to tell Jean she was in the dark, so she knew to turn the light back on. 

Jean’s on-again-off-again darkness reminds me of my life. 

Sometimes I get enveloped in the darkness of anger, bitterness, confusion, or some other sin, and I don’t know it. Like the darkness descending as the sun sets, it creeps up on me. 

Other times a crisis plunges me into the inky blackness of fear, doubt, or unbelief. I usually recognize when this happens, but sometimes, I sit in the darkness until someone else points it out. 

If I’m smart, I’ll flip on the light of God’s Word and study its principles so I can see clearly again. 

Jesus, the embodiment of God’s Word, is the Light that banishes every darkness we face. This is why Matthew included Isaiah’s prophecy in his gospel: “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.” 

With Christ as my Savior and God’s Word as my lamp, I needn’t remain in the dark. “I am the light of the world,” Jesus said, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life” (Matthew 8:12). 

Are you walking in darkness today? Do you know someone who is? Allow the light of Christ—His salvation, His presence, and His Word—to banish every shadow that clouds your world. 




How's your commitment to read your Bible this year going?

Do you need a resource to help you navigate the sometimes-confusing books of the Old and New Testament?  

Does Your Faith Need Refreshing?

Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is the resource you need.

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.