Thursday

Birthing a Book Baby (And Mrs. Betty's Embarrassing Question)

I'm glad I didn’t know my first embarrassing pregnancy moment would be one of many. Followed by many embarrassing parenting moments. Followed by many embarrassing grandparenting moments.

Except by the time you become a grandparent, you think everything kids do is cute, and you cease to be embarrassed.

Until then, there’s about a forty-year window where you can and will be embarrassed. 

My moment came in early December 1988. I was about four months pregnant with my first child. On the other side of morning sickness, by belly was just beginning to grow.

For the first time, I slipped into my jeans and couldn’t button the button. No worries, I thought. I’m wearing a long sweater. I’ll just leave it unbuttoned. No one will ever know.

And no one would have known, except we ran into my mother-in-law’s best friend, Betty, in the center aisle of Kmart.

“Oh, Honey,” she exclaimed in a voice that carried all the way to the automotive department. “I heard you’re expecting. Are you showing yet?”

And with that question, she lifted my sweater, exposing my unbuttoned blue jeans for every Christmas shopper in the store to see.

“Well I guess you are!” she exclaimed delightedly. “You’ll be big as a house by Valentine’s Day.”

She planted a kiss on my burning cheek and disappeared down the sporting goods aisle. Mortified, I prayed for a blue light special to distract everyone’s attention from me and my exposed belly.

Like Mrs. Betty, many of you have been watching for signs of progress as I incubate my latest book baby, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible. Before you embarrass me, I’d like to reward your patience (and your tact) and give you an update.

The publishing process is slow, more like an elephant’s gestation than a human’s. As of this week, we’re 13 months into a 16 month process, but we’re getting closer. My publisher, Our Daily Bread Publishing, and I have completed final manuscript edits, galley proofs, proofreading, and the final final edit.

The publicity wheels have begun to turn, and soon I’ll be asking you to join my launch team to help get the word out. Advanced reader copies (ARCs) will go out to influencers, librarians, and reviewers. Best of all, the listing is up on Amazon. Would you like a peek? Click HERE to visit Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible’s Amazon page.

Because you are so faithful to read my simple words, leave comments, and share your thoughts by email, I’d like to ask you to pray for me in the next few months. 

*That I will do everything I can to help this book succeed.

*That God will connect Refresh Your Faith with people who are bored with their devotional time and want to fall in love with God and His Word all over again.

*That I will seek God every day, take my marching orders from Him, and please Him in all I do.

I want to be a good steward of the opportunities God (and Our Daily Bread Publishing) have entrusted to me through this book.

Thanks for listening, reading, and praying. Y’all are the best readers a writer could ask for!



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Monday

Look for Opportunities, not Excuses

Nell Easterling is 94 years old. She and her husband, Lairy, were founding members of our church. For more than 50 years,  they served faithfully, given generously, and modeled the faith life to our congregation. 

Nell’s also a really good cook. 

As I sat across from her at a pot luck dinner, I asked for the recipe for the dish she’d brought. As with most good cooks, she could recite it from memory. 

But halfway through, somewhere between the cottage cheese and the Mandarin oranges, she stopped. Catching her husband’s eye, she tapped the tablecloth in front of her. 

“Honey, let’s take these home and wash them,” she said. He nodded. “We can’t do much anymore, but we can do that.” 

I wrote down the rest of the recipe, but came away from the conversation with much more than instructions for a new dish. Without realizing it, Mrs. Nell had shared a life lesson with me. 

I told my husband about it on the way home. “If I was 94 years old, could barely walk, and had been serving in the church for three-quarters of a century, I think I’d probably say, ‘I’m old. I’ve done my time. Let someone else do it.’"

"Instead she looks around and says, ‘I wonder what I can do to help?’” 

Mrs. Nell is living out 1 Samuel 12:24: "But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart."  

Her example challenges me to serve God with the abilities and resources he’s given me. To jump in wherever I see a need instead of waiting to be asked. To look for opportunities, instead of excuses. 

Will you join me in pledging to serve God whenever he gives us the chance and the ability? If every church member served this way, imagine what God could do. 

Now it's your turn. Has there been someone in your life who has modeled biblical servanthood? I'd love to hear about them. Leave a comment in the box below and share your story.




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Thursday

How Does the Holy Spirit Speak?

Have you ever heard God speak?
If you’re a Christian, you have the ability to hear God speak every day, because the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, lives inside you. Ephesians 1:13-14 describes this.
“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal,the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession…”
Ephesians 1:13-14 NIV
The Holy Spirit speaks to us in different ways, but here I’d like to focus on two, found in John 16:8.
It's an honor to guest post on the Salvation Army's website, The War Cry. To hop on over and read the rest of this post on The War Cry, CLICK HERE.



Are you hungry for God, but starving for time? 
I’d love to send you a 5-minute e-mail devotion twice a week to start your day off with the Lord. 

Sign up for a free subscription to Hungry for God by CLICKING HERE.
Then, be sure to VALIDATE the confirmation email you receive. 

Note: I promise never to spam you or share your email address.

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




Monday

Danger: Falling Iguanas

The National Weather Service in Miami issued an unofficial warning for falling iguanas last week due to the unusual cold snap that hit the Sunshine State. 

"This isn't something we usually forecast,” the weather service tweeted, “but don't be surprised if you see Iguanas falling from the trees tonight as lows drop into the 30s and 40s.” 

When the cold-blooded reptiles’ body temperature drops to fifty degrees, they become lethargic. Below forty, they begin to stiffen up, causing them to lose their grips on the trees where they live, dropping onto the heads of unsuspecting passersby. 

“Don’t assume they’re dead,” meteorologists warned, “and don’t try to warm them up. They can bite.” 

I’ve never seen a falling Iguana, but I have seen the effects of cold on people—physically and spiritually. 

I was 14 years old when the Blizzard of ’78 roared through my home state of Rhode Island. Dropping as much as forty inches of snow on southern New England, the storm packed 70 mph winds and brought four days of storm surge. 

One hundred people died, including 10-year-old Peter Gosselin, who jumped out of a second story window into a 10-foot snow bank, hit his head, and died. His body was recovered three weeks later. 

Three thousand five hundred motorists were trapped in their cars trying to get home in Rhode Island and Massachusetts the day the blizzard struck. Forecasters had predicted the storm, but because previous forecasts had been inaccurate, no one took the warning seriously. 

When the snow began to fall, it was just another day at work—until the snow began to fly—up to four inches an hour at the height of the storm. By then it was too late. 

Seventeen people died of carbon monoxide poisoning when the snow blocked the tailpipes of their vehicles idling on the freeways. People had to be rescued by snow mobiles, sleds, and even cross country skiers. 

Spiritual coldness can be just as deadly as physical coldness.

Like the iguanas in Florida and the snow in Rhode Island, it has the power to sneak up on us gradually, with disastrous results. 

Busyness can squeeze out our times of Bible reading and prayer. A change in work schedule can make church attendance more difficult. Even happy events like a new relationship, a new home, or a new baby can distract us from the habits and routines that govern our spiritual lives. 

Our spiritual temperature drops, and we grow stiff and lethargic. We lose the desire to spend time in God’s Word and with God’s people. We’re less likely to give and serve. We begin to justify our lack of spiritual energy. I don’t have to go to church to be spiritual. I can worship right here.

Before long, we’re in danger of losing our grip and falling. We’re not dead, but if something doesn’t change, our spiritual lives could be. 

Are you in danger of becoming a falling Iguana? 

Has your spiritual body temperature dropped to a dangerous level? Are you hanging on with ever-stiffening fingers? Are you a toenail away from losing your grip and taking someone else down with you? 

Then it’s time to make a change. 

Perhaps it’s time to seek sanctuary in the warmth of the church. To come in out of the cold of independence and experience the interdependent living of a spiritual family

Or maybe you need to thaw your hands at the fire of God’s Word. Or get your spiritual blood pumping again in prayer and praise. Or fan into flame the gifts God has given you by serving someone who can’t serve you back. 

Regardless of what you do, take that first step. And then the next. And the next. 

Before long your spiritual heart will be pumping, your grip will grow strong again, and your legs will be running to rescue others. 

If your faith has grown cold, it’s time to get moving. What are you waiting for? 


"Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord" (Romans 12:11 ESV).





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.







Thursday

The Cure for Complaining

Oh, how we love to complain.


It's our default setting whenever something doesn't go our way. And we're not alone.

I’ve been reading through the book of Exodus in my quest to read the Bible in a year. Almost without fail, every time the children of Israel had a need, they complained about it. They fretted. They whined. They lamented that God had abandoned them, and grumbled about how much better things were back in Egypt. 

Most of us probably aren’t wishing we were back in Egypt, but we often wish for “the good old days.” We complain, fret, and whine. 

Frightening circumstances and overwhelming odds? The Israelites complained against Moses. 

Bitter water to drink? The Israelites complained against Moses.

No food to eat? The Israelites complained against Moses. 

Absent in each of these wilderness crises, however, is what should have been their default response—prayer. It never occurred to the Israelites, with the exception of Moses, to take their needs to God. 

Oh, how I often walk in their fretful sandals. 

I can learn a valuable lesson from my shortsighted compatriots and from their leader, Moses. He saw their complaining, fretting, and whining for what it was—not a statement against their circumstances, but a complaint against God. 

“The Lord hears your complaints which you make against Him,” he said. “And what are we? Your complaints are not against us but against the Lord” (Ex. 16:8). 

Yikes. 

Every complaint I make isn’t really against my circumstances, but against the Lord. My grumbling goes straight from my mouth to God’s ears. 


In contrast, Moses had a different type of conversation with God. “So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him . . .” (Ex. 15:24). Every time Moses saw a need, he asked God to meet it. And God did. Gladly and generously. 

James 4:2 bluntly states the obvious: “You do not have, because you do not ask God.” 

Moses got it. So should we. 

What situation is making us whine and complain? What if we take it to the Lord and see what he will do?

Father, I confess the sins of grumbling and complaining. Please forgive me. Help me, instead, to bring everything to you in prayer, and then trust you to answer according to your wisdom and grace. Help me complain less and pray more. In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.






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.