Thursday

"Mercy In Disguise," a Sneak Peek into Refresh Your Faith

On Monday, April 13, 2020, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible will launch on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and ChristianBook.com

Before it does, I want to share a sneak preview with you, my friends and faithful readers. I hope the devotion from the book of Jonah, “Mercy In Disguise,” will encourage and inspire you today. 

Thanks for praying that the book launches well and reaches everyone who needs to refresh their faith and draw closer to God. 

Hugs, 
Lori 

Jonah 

Mercy in Disguise

“Those who regard worthless idols forsake their own Mercy.” Jonah 2:8 (nkjv) 


Does anyone not know the story of Jonah? Rebellious prophet catches the first ship headed south after God calls him north to preach to the wicked Ninevites. A storm arises, threatening the ship and all those on board. Jonah confesses his sin, offers his life in exchange for the crew’s, and urges the sailors to toss him overboard. 

But instead of drowning, Jonah gets swallowed by a great fish, who just happens to be swimming toward Nineveh. Jonah repents of his rebellious ways, the fish burps him out, and he heads toward the city center, preaching repentance as he goes. The city responds, and they all live happily ever after. The End. 

If you ask someone, “Who gets saved in the book of Jonah?” they’ll respond, “Why, the Ninevites, of course.” Every kid in children’s church knows this. Jonah shines as an ambassador of God’s mercy toward the disobedient, unbelieving Ninevites. But hidden in the first chapter, we find something unexpected—glistening examples of God’s mercy toward Jonah, toward a disobedient, believing Hebrew. 

The first glimmer of God’s mercy toward Jonah comes in the form of a storm. “The Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up” (Jonah 1:4). 

Jonah recognized it for what it was—a divine response to his sin. “I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you,” he told his shipmates (verse 12). But he was wrong about God’s intent. Jonah assumed the storm was meant to kill him as punishment for disobeying God’s call to go to Nineveh. And he was willing to accept his sentence. But he wasn’t willing to take the entire crew with him. He instructed the sailors, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea . . . and it will become calm.” 

They did. And it did. 

Jonah was a dead man. He knew it and the sailors knew it. As they threw him overboard, they prayed to God, “Please, Lord, do not let us die for taking this man’s life” (verse 14). 

But God didn’t send the powerful storm to destroy Jonah. He sent it to save him. How do we know this? Because Jonah didn’t drown. God sent the storm to save Jonah from himself. 


As he sank into the depths of the sea, God extended His mercy a second time. Instead of wind and waves, however, God sent a whale. “Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah” (verse 17). 

In Jonah’s mind, his situation went from bad to worse, but we know better. Instead of becoming fish bait, Jonah became a passenger in the world’s first submarine. God used the great fish to shelter and transport Jonah back to a place of repentance and restoration. 

But Jonah’s repentance wasn’t instantaneous. While he should have been praising God for his unlikely rescue, he sat with his arms crossed in the pitch-black belly of the whale for three days and three nights. Floating in gastric juices and breathing the stench of rotting fish carcasses, he resisted God’s mercy and clung to his worthless idols of prejudice, superiority, and rebellion. 

Until a light dawned.  

“When my life was ebbing away,” Jonah prayed, “I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7). 

“And the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land” (verse 10). 

As Christians, we all have our Jonah moments. We sense God’s call and run the other way. Fear, prejudice, a lack of faith, or a school of other excuses hinder us from obeying what we know He wants us to do. 

Because He’s committed to helping us grow and bear spiritual fruit, He orders the circumstances of our lives to give us every opportunity to turn back to himself. What looks like punishment might instead be the velvet glove of mercy. 

When we return to Him, He’ll again work through us to bless other people. We may not see an entire city come to faith in God like Jonah did, but we can be confident He’ll use us to accomplish His good and perfect will in the lives of those around us. 

Uncommon Thought 

What looks like judgment may instead be God’s mercy in disguise. 

Unusual Faith 

As you look back on the difficult seasons of your life, have you ever considered the possibility that God may have allowed those times to draw you closer to himself or to redirect your steps? Could what looked like punishment instead have been a manifestation of His mercy? What about your life now? Are you walking in obedience to God, or are you running in the opposite direction? Have you been reluctant to obey something He’s called you to do? Demonstrate your faith by saying yes today. 

Would you like to hear what one reader thinks about Refresh Your Faith?





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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.



Tuesday

It's Time to Party, and You're Invited!

There was a glitch with yesterday's post, and the information about the PARTY got buried. I didn't want you to miss the fun, so I'm resending all the glorious details in the correct format. Hope to see you there!

Remember how long the time seemed between summer vacation and Christmas? Or between the start of your senior year in high school and graduation? Or how the days of your engagement moved like a three-legged turtle climbing Mt. McKinley?

I’ve waited for Monday, April 13 for a very long time.

More than three years, to be exact.

But it’s almost here – the day my latest devotional book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible, launches with Our Daily Bread Publishing. Early reviews are overwhelmingly positive.

My eyes leaked joyful tears over feedback like: 

This from Melissa G: 

“One of my goals this year was to get back into my faith, and this book helped reignite it. It’s been great for me during this hard time when it’s hard to trust in God and his word. This book helped me find my faith again and allowed me to be more open to Christian books!”

And this from Cheri S.: 

“This devotional ‘from every book of the Bible’ is wonderful. It’s down-to-earth, relatable, yet so insightful. It shows me God’s truth from a slightly different perspective, layering more truths into my heart. I love the easy style of reading. This is a book I’d be happy to give to a seasoned Christian to gain more insight, a new believer who wants to learn more about the Bible, and everyone in between. It’s great for men, women, and teens.”

And this from Robin D.:

“This devotional is like a breath of fresh air in the stagnant world of devotionals. I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the passages of scripture anew. This book is a winner!”


Today the book launches on Amazon, and tomorrow we PARTY!

Please join me on the Hungry for God Facebook page on Tuesday, April 14, from 8-9 pm EST for a live event. My husband David and I will broadcast from home (we're sheltering together :). We’ll play online games; compete for prizes like restaurant gift cards, books, and signed copies of Refresh Your Faith; and get to know each other better.

The author trivia game will help you learn fun facts about me. The conversation starters will help me get to know you better.

Here’s the link to the Hungry for God page: https://www.facebook.com/HungryForGod/ . Please like the page and RSVP to join the party. Then show up on the Hungry for God page Tuesday night, April 14, at 8 (EST) and join the fun. I can’t wait to see you there! 

If you’d like to pre-order your copy of Refresh Your Faith, click here to visit Amazon.  or here to visit Christian Book . com.  

Thank you for your overwhelming support, kind words of encouragement, and PRAYERS. Please don’t stop. My hope is that God will use Refresh Your Faith to help many people fall more in love with God and His Word. And for those that don’t know Him? That they’ll discover Him for the first time. May God be glorified.

~Lori


Monday

Refresh Your Faith Footer

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.



Let's Not Waste Our Isolation -- 10 Tips for Redeeming the Time during Coronavirus Sheltering


Today begins week three of the unofficial shelter-in-place recommendation our governor has implemented for South Carolina. As a dental professional, I’ve been working shorter hours with limited patient contact. Our office is open for emergencies only for the foreseeable future. 

My husband was sent home two weeks ago from his full time job. As a bi-vocational pastor, he continues to minister to our small congregation through phone calls, text messages, Facebook Live, and Zoom. 

Together we’re struggling to find our new normal. 

We’re grateful to be healthy and vacillating between enjoying the slower, less-stressful days and chafing at all we could be accomplishing if we weren’t sheltering at home. We wish the crisis was over and life would get back to normal. 

Normal meaning plenty of chicken, canned food, and toilet paper. Birthday parties and weddings. Bible studies, worship services, neighborhood gatherings and coffee with friends. I long for the days when I can hug a friend in the grocery store instead of waving at her from six feet away. I miss dropping in on my parents without being afraid I’m going to infect them with a virus that might kill them. 

We’ve Been Given a Trust 

But until the sickness is vanquished and life returns to normal, we’ve been given a trust. First Corinthians 4:2 reminds us, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” 


Like a lawyer administrates a financial inheritance or the state oversees a guardianship, the trust of time at home comes with the understanding that we will give an accounting.

When the stay-at-home orders lift and we resume our day to day activities, what will we have to show for the hours and hours and hours God has given us at home? 



Will we have stored up wood, hay, and stubble? Or gold, silver, and precious stones? Intentional acts? Or mindless inactivity? Will my body, my relationships, and my spiritual life be better because of the time I’ve spent at home, or worse? 

I don’t want to waste a minute of my isolation. 

I want to redeem it. I want to squeeze everything good out of every moment. I want to leverage the time God has given me by doing things that will advance God’s kingdom and benefit my family, my neighbors, my community, and the world. 

I don’t want March, April, May, and who knows how long to go down on my calendar as wasted months with nothing to show for them. We’ll never regain these days of our lives. 

I want to spend mine well. Don’t you? 

10 ways we can redeem our time at home during the coronavirus isolation: 

1. Read the Bible. How often have we raced past our Bibles on the way to work, school, or some other responsibility, lamenting, “I’d love to read my Bible more. If I only had more time.” Now we have it. The possibilities for diving into God’s Word are endless. Why not organize a study online with a few friends through Zoom or FaceTime? Pull that Bible study book off the shelf. Watch a video study online. Read a book of the Bible you’ve never read before and record what you learn about God. 

2. Pray. Dedicate some time every day to pray for the lost, the sick, and those who are caring for them. Pray for our leaders. Ask friends how you can support them through prayer. Reach out to missionaries, especially those overseas. Many serve in countries with poor healthcare systems far away from family. Start a prayer journal to help you remember requests. Be sure to date the requests and leave room for answers. 


3. Exercise. We all know regular exercise promotes physical health. This is especially important now, when a strong immune system could make the difference between life and death. 

Exercise also promotes mental and emotional well being, giving us reserves to combat the extra stress of social and physical isolation. Many communities allow individual exercise like walking a dog or going for a run. If you’re confined indoors, you’ll have to get a little more creative. Check Youtube for workout videos or, if you prefer a live class, visit Planet Fitness’ Facebook page. There you can work out by working in. Their free “Home Work-Ins,” sessions provide a series of 20-minute classes that don’t require equipment. 

4. Connect with someone you haven’t talked with in a while. In the past two weeks I’ve exchanged text message conversations and phone calls with three out-of-state friends, a missionary in Mexico, and a friend from high school. We’ve caught up on the events of our lives, swapped book and movie recommendations, and prayed together. 

5. Look for creative and safe ways to serve others. Reach out to the elderly, the sick, and the disabled in your church and community. Check in with those who depend on Uber and Lyft services to get around. Ask them if you can pick up groceries or prescriptions. Be safe and use precautions, but don’t let fear prevent you from helping those who can’t help themselves. 


6. Share. Rather than thinking about what you don’t have, look for ways to share what you do. Residents of my daughter’s neighborhood set up a card table in their driveway and filled it with colorful bouquets of poppies stuffed into Solo cups. They posted a picture with the message, “We are a small business, and since we are unable to sell to our usual restaurants, we thought we’d share with our neighbors!!! Come by and grab [a bouquet] to brighten up your home.” This creative couple turned a bad circumstance into a good one, looked for a way to share, and made a lot of neighbors smile. 

7. Read good books. Remember that stack of books on your bedside table or bookshelf? Now’s the time to dust them off. Immerse yourself in fiction with redeeming value, classic literature, or Christian living titles. Revisit old favorites or pick up a new one. If you’re looking for a story-driven devotional, I’d love for you to pick up a copy of my new book, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible. 

8. Explore something you’ve always wanted to learn. My friend Heather ordered a calligraphy book. James is experimenting with acrylics. Other friends are digging out piano books and polishing their skills, writing the next American novel, and learning to sew. Renee and Jimmy played tennis for the first time in a long time, and Jean’s researching how to record online Bible studies. Many websites are offering free classes. 


9. Play a Game. If you’re sheltering at home with others, break out the cards or dig out the board games. Some of our family’s current game favorites are Exploding Kittens (no cats are hurt during this game), Rummikub, and I Should Have Known That Trivia Game. 

If you’d like to have some fun with others but can’t leave your home, download the free version of Psych in the App Store. Start a game, download the password, and invite others to play along with you in this Balderdash-type game. Several years ago, while visiting our daughter and son-in-law in Spain, we invited our youngest daughter and her husband in South Carolina to join us in a game. Through the wonders of technology, all six of us were able to play in real time despite being separated by almost 4,000 miles and the Atlantic Ocean. 

10. Spread truth and light. First Peter 3:15 reminds us, “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” Many around us are frightened and filled with questions. Their spirits are tender and searching. As believers, we can share hope, truth, and light. 


Every morning, ask God to show you where He is at work and how you can join Him. Invite Him to speak through you in person, through texts and messages, and on social media. And remember to smile. One smile in a sea of worried faces can change the atmosphere and lift someone’s burdens. Thank the cashier that rings up your groceries for coming to work that day. Express your appreciation to those who serve you. 

These weeks (and maybe months) of social isolation don’t have to be lost time. With forethought, prayer, and creativity, we, our families, our communities, our churches, and our nation can come through stronger, wiser, and more like Jesus.


Update on Refresh Your Faith!

On April 13, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible will officially launch. ChristianBook.com is offering a 27% discount and will begin shipping tomorrow. Amazon has it available for pre-order. 

Will you join me in asking God to direct this book to everyone who is looking for a way to energize their quiet time and gain new insights into God's Word? I especially hope to reach those who find themselves approaching their quiet time out of duty rather than delight. 

Thank you so much!




HOT OFF THE PRESS: FREE Bible Study Guide and Small Group Discussion Questions! Did you know there is a FREE Bible study guide and discussion questions to accompany the Hungry for God...Starving for Time devotional? Click HERE to download your copy. Now you'll have everything you need to use Hungry for God as the basis for your next small group Bible study. 




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

When It's Time to Take a Stand Guest Post on Revive Our Hearts Leaders Blog



When It’s Time to Take a Stand


When was the last time you had to take an unpopular stand? 
We sometimes hear high-profile news stories of Christians and Christian companies refusing to compromise on matters of faith or conscience. Some win victories, while others suffer loss.
History brims with examples of people and groups who challenged government, culture, or tradition. Some protested in defiance and anger. They demanded their rights and used violence to champion them. Others stood vocally but respectfully in the face of oppression, prejudice, or injustice.
We’ll probably never take on a king or the Supreme Court, but we will face circumstances that will require us to stand for what we believe. Thankfully, Scripture shows us how to do it. . . . 



Update on Refresh Your Faith!

In less than a month, Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible will officially launch. Early reports tell me that ChristianBook.com is offering a 27% discount and will begin shipping tomorrow. Amazon has it available for pre-order. 

Will you join me in asking God to direct this book to everyone who is looking for a way to energize their quiet time and gain new insights into God's Word? I especially hope to reach those who find themselves approaching their quiet time out of duty rather than delight. 

Thank you so much!




HOT OFF THE PRESS: FREE Bible Study Guide and Small Group Discussion Questions! Did you know there is a FREE Bible study guide and discussion questions to accompany the Hungry for God...Starving for Time devotional? Click HERE to download your copy. Now you'll have everything you need to use Hungry for God as the basis for your next small group Bible study. 




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.