Sunday

Is Your Former Life Holding you Back?



You learn to be prepared for anything when you date (or marry) someone in the ministry. 

Before I met my husband I dated a man I'll call John. John pastored a small church in a small town and drove a conversion van with squeaky shocks and no air conditioning. 

For our first date, John invited me out to dinner after church on Sunday night. He wanted me to visit his church and hear him preach. Then we’d grab a bite to eat. 

If you’ve ever visited a small church, you know there’s nowhere to hide. And when you walk in with the young, single pastor, it’s impossible to slip in unnoticed. I’m not sure “unnoticed” was John’s plan as he marched me down the center aisle and seated me smack dab in the middle of the second row. Next to a lady with blue hair and her hard-of-hearing husband. 

“The preacher’s got a girlfriend,” she said to her husband in a stage whisper.

“Huh?” her husband replied, cupping his hand to his ear. 

“The preacher’s got a girlfriend,” she repeated a little louder, leaning in to his good ear. 

“The preacher’s got a GIRLFRIEND?” he bellowed, bending forward to look at me. “Well it’s about time!” 

I smiled weakly and prayed for the service to begin so I could blend into the congregation. After the opening song and before the offering, John stepped to the pulpit. 

“I have a special guest with me this evening,” he said. “I’d like you to get to know her a bit. Lori, would you come up here and share your testimony with the church?” 

So much for blending in, I thought, as I willed my body to rise. A thousand thoughts swirled in my mind as I made the all-too-short walk from the second row to the pulpit. I’d accepted Christ as my Savior two years earlier, but this was the first time anyone had asked me to share my story. And in front of the whole church, no less. 

Gripping the lectern, I faced the congregation with a wobbly smile. “I’ve heard a lot of testimonies of how people got saved,” I said, fear making my voice tremble. “‘God saved me from drinking,’ or ‘God saved me from drugs.’ Well,” I paused. “God saved me from hell.” 

The hard-of-hearing man on the second row snorted, and several others laughed. 

“I didn’t drink or do drugs. I was a “good girl.” I studied hard. Obeyed my parents (for the most part), and didn’t run with the wrong crowd. But I was just as lost and in need of a Savior as an alcoholic or a drug user.” I took a deep breath. “Salvation isn’t as much about where you’ve been as it is about where you’re going. And I was going straight into an eternity without God.” 

The apostle Paul shares his testimony in the first chapter of 1 Timothy. Writing to encourage a young pastor (I wonder if Timothy had a girlfriend?), Paul shares a poignant glimpse into his life before Christ. 

“I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man.” Elsewhere he provides greater detail. “Many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities” (Acts 26:10-11). 

BUT. And this is one of the most powerful buts in the Bible.

“But I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief” (v. 1:13). 

Many of us allow our former actions to silence our witness and hinder our usefulness for God. “I could never speak (serve, lead, teach, mentor, minister),” we say, “because of what I did in my former life.” 

But there’s the key—our former life. 

If you’ve been born again, the old has gone. The new has come. We may not be perfect, but moment by moment, day by day, God is at work in us conforming us to His image and making us new creations. 

Paul knew what we need to know—that our past doesn’t disqualify us to speak for Christ. It qualifies us. If we’d lived a perfect life (and none of us have), we’d have no hope to offer. When we share how lost we were and how deep God was willing to reach down to rescue us, we share powerful hope. 

The same God who saved a wretch like me can save a wretch like you. And make no mistake, we’re all wretches (to quote the old hymn). “Good” girls are no more fit for heaven than “bad” ones. We’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). 

Paul understood this, and we should, too. 

“This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. For this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life” (v. 1:15-16). 

That day in church I joined the ranks of the alcoholics and drug users to testify that all our former life proves is that we all need Jesus. 

What were you formerly? What are you now? 

Will you trust God with your past and invite Him to use it for His purposes? 

Who knows who God might reach through your story—present and former.

Now it's your turn. Do you struggle to share Christ with others because of your past? Does Paul's story help you look differently at your former life? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.




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.





Written Reflections of Our Character - How Christians Should Respond on Social Media, A Guest Post

I'm delighted to share a guest post from my friend Gail Purath . Gail loves God's Word and knows how to apply it to everyday life. She writes 1-minute devotions over at Bible Love Notes. I know you'll be challenged and inspired by her post today. Thanks, Gail, for sharing your insights with us today.
 
The comments we leave on social media reflect our character. This short devotion encourages Christians to examine their words and thoughts carefully.

Whether we like it or not, social media has become a huge part of human relationships. How we comment on blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest pages reflects our character, our spiritual maturity, and our consideration for others.  

A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Luke 6:45

As a blogger I deal daily with people's joyful, angry, affirming, critical, humble, and arrogant comments.

Cruelty and ad hominem tactics in comments from professing Christians often shock me. I find it challenging to exercise self-control and respond graciously when I get such comments. I'm usually successful, but it's a challenge. 

 When responding online, I try to remember to stick to the subject, explain my view, and share Scriptures that support my view. Most important, however, is not to question the faith or character of those with whom we disagree. 

The comments we leave on social media reflect our character. This short devotion encourages Christians to examine their words and thoughts carefully.
Remember we're talking to real people. 
 
When we write a comment, we sometimes forget we're having a conversation with a real person. Keeping this in mind helps me write healthier comments. I try to imagine I'm speaking to fellow church member or neighbor.   

I'm convinced most Christians who leave rude comments would never be so rude in face-to-face conversations.

It's also important to read things carefully and accept correction  

Many people skim an article, make assumptions, and comment half-cocked.  

To answer before listening-- that is folly and shame. Proverbs 18:13  
I had to ask one man to leave my discussion group because he repeatedly claimed I'd written something I hadn't written. And when I pointed this out, he refused to admit his mistake. Instead, he became increasingly rude.   

Refusing correction is a huge problem online and off. If we're wise, Proverbs says we will actually love correction.

Correct the wise and they will love you for it. Proverbs 9:8  

I'm not sure I'm at that point yet, but I want to be.   
See The Sting of Correction. 
 
We must also beware of Trolls  

In addition to being careful about our comments, we need to understand a type of person we sometimes encounter on social media: the "troll."  

Trolls write arrogant, aggressive, repetitious comments. They don't simply sharing an alternate view, they purposely try to offend people. I've had a single troll leave as many as forty comments on my posts in one day. Troll comments are always rude and arrogant and some contain threats and profanity.(1)    

Experts warn us not to respond to trolls because they become empowered by offending people and don't respond to reasonable debate. I've learned this the hard way. Trolls are definitely the kind of fools described in Proverbs 26:4. See a Foolish Contradiction.  

People who occasionally write rude comments are not trolls. They're just rude. Trolls are obsessed with writing mean-spirited comments. They have emotional and spiritual problems.   

While most trolls who stalk my posts are atheists, I've also had some who are professing Christians: those with strong views about translations of the Bible, Saturday sabbaths, Old Testament laws, etc.(2) 

I advise people with very strong non-essential views to stick to blogs and social media sites that hold to their specific view. There's no purpose in repeatedly disagreeing with an author who holds a different view.

The Irony of Rude Comments  

I've also gotten some especially rude comments over the controversial subjects I occasionally address such as "Christian" yoga, or the popular books The Shack and Jesus Calling. We need to face the fact that Christians are not going to agree on everything, but we should at least be able to disagree with grace.   

There's an irony when someone claims that yoga, The Shack, or Jesus Calling has drawn them closer to the Lord, but they tell me these things with anger, resentment and name-calling.   

This brings me to the biggest irony and hypocrisy of all: those who judgmentally inform someone that they're a hypocrite, unbeliever, pharisee, or something worse because they share something that addresses sin. 

"Judge not" may just be the two most misunderstood words in the Bible. They're almost always used to judge in the exact way Matthew 7:1-5 condemns. This is why I have a whole collection of 1-minute devotions called Misunderstandings About Judgement.  

Conclusion  

I encourage you, as I encourage myself, to remember that our words on social media are written reflections of what's in our hearts.  

May the words of our mouths, the meditations of our hearts, and our comments on social media be pleasing in God's sight (Psalm 19:14).  

--------------------
Foot Notes:  

(1) Psychologists have various views about the cause of troll behavior: brain damage, bad childhood, narcissism, psychopathy, etc. But they agree that trolls are typically bored and angry people who get a sick enjoyment and a feeling of power from leaving repetitive rude comments. As with some other disorders, these folks might seem quite normal in social circles, but when they get on social media, they become obsessive and/or cruel. (source)  

(2) If you are interested in exploring any of the "controversial" subjects I mentioned above, you can use these links. These are not my 1-minute devotions sent to subscribers: Is the KJV the Best Translation, Is One Day Holier than Another, and All or Nothing: Christ's Fulfillment of the Law.

If you would like to receive Bible Love Notes 1-minute devotions each weekday via email, we're offering a free e-booklet with subscriptions: "10 Days to a More Meaningful Quiet Time." Find out about free subscriptions HERE.  

 If you would like to sample some Bible Love Notes 1-minute devotions check out the Subject Archive with over 60 categories such as Handling Adversity, Discovering, Developing, and Using our God-Given Gifts, and Christians Who Inspire  

You might also like to check out Bible Love Notes on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram, but please leave only mature comments! 😃 


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.


What Does It Look Like to Rest in God? A Prescription for Worry





Holding eight-month-old Collin while he slept was a rare and exquisite treat. The youngest of four siblings, this active little fella usually naps in the car, in the stroller, or in his mama’s arms. I seldom have the opportunity to rock him to sleep. 

I’m not good at juggling the needs of his elder siblings and rocking a baby, so when Collin gets sleepy, I usually lay him down in the pack n’ play, give him a quick pat, and tiptoe out of the room. 

But last Friday my husband was home to oversee the older kids, and I had the pleasure of rocking Collin. 

“He almost fell asleep in the swing,” my husband told me, handing him over. “Look at him. He can barely keep his eyes open.” 

I gathered him close and eased into my favorite rocking chair. If you’ve ever held a breast fed baby to your chest, you know they often root around looking for milk—even if you're not their mama. If their hunger isn’t satisfied, ooooooweeeee are they mad. They thrash. They kick. They scream. They’re not happy, and the whole neighborhood knows it. 

But Collin’s belly was full. His mama had nursed him before she left, and he’d snacked on strawberries, banana, and tiny bites of pancake with his sisters and brother. He drifted off peacefully as I held him close, tucked into the crook of my arm. 

Psalm 131:2 reminds us that we, too, can rest in contentment and security. “I have calmed and quieted myself,” David the Psalmist wrote, “like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” 

David rested like a weaned child in the arms of his Savior because he trusted him. He had no need to thrash about, fearful God couldn’t or wouldn’t take care of him. In his spiritual infancy, God had provided everything he needed. Now, with his stomach (and his heart) full of God’s goodness, he could rest in quiet confidence. 

The rest of this tiny psalm, the third shortest in the Bible, tells us how David developed that peaceful trust. 

First, he approached God humbly. 

“LORD, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty” (v. 131:1). Humble Christians recognize that every breath we take, every day we live, and every opportunity that comes our way falls from the hands of our benevolent Father. Instead of approaching him like a spoiled child demanding our way, we come before God like a grateful daughter. In confidence and trust, we submit to His will and trust His heart. 

Second, he accepted that he’d never fully understand God’s will or His way. 

“Neither do I concern myself with great matters, Nor with things too profound for me.” David knew God’s mind contained the knowledge of the universe. The creative genius of a master artist. The infinite wisdom of the ages. Unlike those who refuse to put their faith in God until they get all their questions answered, a restful believer accepts by faith what we don’t understand. 

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). 

Like Collin slept in my arms, we can climb into the strong arms of God and calm our hearts. No thrashing. No kicking. No screaming. Just quiet, confident trust. 

What are you struggling with today? Isn’t it time you crawled up into God’s arms and rested there?




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.




Monday

Stepping Up to My "No Plan" Challenge -- A Guest Post by Jessica Brodie



I’ve been both frustrated and liberated these last few months by the inability to plan, well, pretty much anything. And it’s teaching me a lot about what it means to be dependent on God and live in the moment. 

By nature, I’m a planner, which is where the frustration comes in. I keep multiple calendars, including six different categories of calendars on my iPhone, a hard copy calendar on my desk and another on my fridge. Plus the daily to-do list by my side. 

This all probably sounds completely obnoxious to some of you, I’m sure, but I’m a busy woman and a working mom. For me, it’s how I do life. 

Yet as a Christian I’m well aware my craving for a plan is all too often an exercise in futility. We humans mistakenly believe we are “in control” and that planning can put the chaos of life into a neat little box. 

This is an illusion, for only God is in control. I know this intellectually. Still, I often conveniently forget this, especially in times of stress when I crave a plan, order, structure, routine. The plan, not God, reigns supreme. 

At the beginning of this year, I had a grasp of how this year would probably go—a hot mess of travel between work and a host of family commitments, not to mention the day-to-day juggle of business meetings, church activities, school events, youth theater, and everything else that sucks up all our time. 

When the pandemic hit and all those things were forcibly paused, I’ll admit I felt a bit relieved. For the first time in what felt like eons, I had unexpected free time. 

It was both freeing and frighteningly chaotic. 

As a planner, this was good for me—really good. I soon trained my brain and my heart to let go of the non-essentials, to let each day dictate what was to come courtesy of God, not Jessica. 

When life started getting more normalized and our state began to reopen, that familiar go-go-go began to rise up inside of me. I found myself impatient again, wondering “exactly when” we’d do this or that. 

How quickly I forgot the most important lesson the pandemic has taught me: let go of the steering wheel and let God be the driver. 

God created us to lean on Him and live in a dependent relationship with Him. I struggle to remember this on a daily basis. Yet Scripture assures me repeatedly that God is the one in control, not me. 

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus reminds us, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34 NIV). And, as He says in Luke 9:23-24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” 

Faith is about surrendering control, about understanding that control is an illusion. The only plan that matters is God’s plan. 

And God sees how this year, this decade, this century will play out with a perspective only God has. I can't possibly understand all that His plan entails, or even why. All I can do is my part to bring myself into alignment with His plan, work to serve Him, and spread His holy truth. 

All I can do is walk on the path God has laid out for me, and bring myself back on that pathway if ever I walk astray. 

I think the Bible’s King David might have felt the same way I feel. For much of his life prior to his rule, David—while God’s anointed—lived on the fringe, his guard up constantly because King Saul resented, feared and envied him. For a time, he was forced to live in the wilderness, taking refuge in caves and other hiding places. 

Maybe he, too, fancied himself a planner, wanted to be able to say, “Next year, we will go here and do this,” or, “Next week, we will achieve that.” Instead, he lived on the run. Perhaps he felt forgotten or irrelevant. Maybe he struggled with giving over his plans to God. Yet the psalms, thought largely to be written by David, are filled with verses that acknowledge God’s reign and almighty power, a power we can trust and shelter beneath. 

Take a look at these three as an example: 

Psalm 20:7, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” 

Psalm 28:7-8, “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.” 

And Psalm 62:6-8, “Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” 

Again and again, the message is clear: I can trust God. God is my refuge. God is in command. 

Today is a good day, for today I remember the truth: When it comes to a choice between my petty human pride about all I plan and want to do, and heeding God’s plan, I choose the latter. 

God’s way is the better way—the only way for me. 

One day, maybe life will go back to the kind of existence I feel I can “manage” with multiple calendars, to-do lists, life goals and more. But right now, God is showing me a new challenge—what I call a “no plan” challenge. 

And it’s good for my soul. 


Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at http://jessicabrodie.com. You can also connect with her on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.



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

5 Ways to Know God's Speaking to You




Does God still speak to people? If so, how can we know it's Him speaking?

The concept of hearing messages from God sounds like a topic for an alternate reality television show, but in truth, it’s a very biblical concept. 

From the beginning of creation God has spoken to his people. In the early days, before the canon of Scripture, he spoke to believers in several ways: through his audible spoken word (Gen. 6:13), through angelic messengers (Dan. Luke 1:11), through a Christophany—a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ (Gen. 18:22), and through the prophets (Jer. 1:7). 

Today he speaks primarily through his messengers (pastors, teachers, and fellow believers), his Word, and the Holy Spirit’s voice in our hearts. But the question remains: 

How do we know we’re hearing God’s voice rather than our own or someone else’s? 

Here are some guidelines: 

1.  What we hear must agree with Scripture. In other words, God never tells us to do something contrary to his Word. This means the abortion clinic bomber who testified that “God told me to blow up this place” may have been hearing voices, but they weren’t the Lord’s. This is why we must read the Bible daily and become familiar with its truths. It becomes the plumb line for all other input. 

2.  God usually repeats an important message. He knows we’re sometimes spiritually dense, so he gives us more than one opportunity to get it. You may read something that applies to your life in your morning quiet time, read it again during a devotional reading, and hear a preacher or teacher mention it in a sermon or lesson. God’s willingness to repeat himself is blessed confirmation if we think we’re hearing from God but aren’t quite sure. This is why it’s important to journal during our Bible reading and prayer time and take notes during teaching and preaching times. Sometimes the pattern of God’s messages to us becomes clearer when we write them down. 

3.  An idea may come to us while we're praying. If it’s something simple, like Send Sally a note of encouragement; she’s been struggling since Dan lost his job, and isn’t contrary to Scripture, I usually act upon it immediately. It’s probably the Holy Spirit prompting me. If it involves a greater commitment, I test the thought by waiting to see if God reinforces it in other ways. 

For years the Lord had prompted me to write inspiring articles for homeschooling moms. Friends encouraged me to compile them into a book. When another friend invited me to attend a writers conference, the idea began to take shape. I sought confirmation by speaking to an acquisitions editor at the conference, and he invited me to submit a proposal. When I shared the idea with a Christian businessman, and he offered to help, I knew the idea had been from the Lord. 

4.  If an idea is from the Lord, the desire usually grows stronger with time. I confess—I get some crazy ideas sometimes. Crazy or not, I write down the idea and begin to pray about it. As the days pass, I’ll often find my enthusiasm and desire waning. Other times the desire grows, develops, and blossoms into a full-fledged calling. God confirms it in other ways and reinforces it with appropriate Scripture. 

5.  It usually requires an element of risk and faith. God seldom calls us to do something completely off the normal path of our lives. Instead his call is usually the next step, albeit sometimes a BIG step, on the path we’re already on. 

For years our family’s been involved with missions. We’ve financially supported missionaries, prayed and provided resources for them, and hosted them in our homes. When my husband and I began to experience a desire to take a short-term missions trip with our family, we sensed it was from the Lord. 

We began to pray about it, and the desire grew stronger. We already knew a mission trip was scriptural, so when one of our missionary friends mentioned how they’d love to have a family work with them in Mexico, we knew the Lord was calling us to go. 

Although it seems a bit mysterious, God loves to speak to his children. To hear him, we must learn to recognize his voice. This ability comes with patience and practice. Missionary Frank Laubach accurately expresses how every conversation with God involves learning to listen: 

“The trouble with nearly everybody who prays is that he says, ‘Amen,’ and runs away before God has a chance to reply. Listening to God is far more important than giving him our ideas.” 

May God bless you as you learn to listen to his voice. 


How about you? How does the Lord usually speak to you? And how do you know it's him speaking? Leave a comment below. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the post, then click on Comment to leave your thoughts.




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.