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Posts by Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

(Psalm 90:14, NIV)

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I’m needy when it comes to love. Remember that game Hungry Hungry Hippos? Well, I’m pretty much Hungry Hungry Gwenno. (Don’t remember that game? Google it and then buy it for your child, four-year-old nephew, neighbor or grandkid. You’ll thank me.)


It seems our old friend Moses was a bit of a hungry hippo too.


In Psalm 90 he asked God to fill him and God’s people full of love: “Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days” (v. 14). Love this! Note that Moses connected the love of God with a satisfaction that put a song in his heart and a skip in his step.


Yes. I

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Today’s Truth

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

(Romans 13:12)

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When you grow up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and summer yields to fall, you root for the Steelers. It’s not even an option. It’s culture. You bleed black and gold. The home team binds every borough, city and suburb into a greater community that r09-23-19-Monday-GSises in unison to wave Terrible Towels and high five complete strangers. In the stadium, in the grocery stores, in the workplace… anywhere.


To this day, even though I’m now a Carolina girl, when I see any random person in public wearing Steelers gear, I see family… and I stroll over to chat with them as if we graduated from high school together.


Yinz guys. Not even kidding. Rilly. We Steelers fans love our team fiercely.


And we

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Today’s Truth

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

(1 Timothy 6:15b-16)

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It was shockingly early when the alarm clock invaded my dreams, screaming at me to wake up that morning. Even the sun was still sleeping as I rose. With heavy eyelids and a groggy mind, I crawled out from beneath the cuddly warmth of my bed and ventured downstairs.


The kids had set their alarm clocks as well. We trickled down, one sleepy Smith at a time, and met in our jammies for the big event. It was April 29, 2011. Prince William and Catherine Middleton were about to be married and we were giddy-excited to watch it live from the cozy comfort of our living room couch.


It was worth the early wake-up just to see the hats that

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Today’s Truth

After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every town and place where He was about to go. He told them “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field.

(Luke 10:1-2)

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I had been reading through the book of Luke and freshly looking at how Jesus interacted with people. How he responded to their interruptions. How he reacted to their pain. How he met their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs. Jesus was quite the man of action.


When people encountered Jesus they were changed and challenged, healed and helped. They longed for His presence in each town and looked for His purpose in each teaching.


Jesus fed the hungry, healed the diseased and paralyzed, ate with sinners, cared for the children, and just plain showed compassion in crazy-practical ways. What an amazing picture of love. A perfect picture of love. Perfect love: Jesus.


Perfect love cares.


Perfect love makes time for the interruptions

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Today’s Truth

He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.

(Psalm 147:4, NIV)

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One day when my kids were little and playing with Play-Dough at the kitchen table, they enthusiastically called me over to view their creative masterpieces. I noticed that my son Hunter had used a small cookie cutter to make a bunch of blue stars. As I looked at the work of his small hands, I was reminded of a Bible verse. So I asked them, “Did you guys know that the Bible talks about stars? It says that God made all of the stars in the sky and has named each one!” (Psalm 147:4)


Without hesitation my daughter Kennedy, who was five years old at the time, excitedly responded, “Like George, Junior, and Kelsey?”


After the laughter waned we had

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Today’s Truth

“...Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

(Matthew 26:10, NIV)

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I am completely crazy about cool jewelry, so when the Lord prompted me to take off my favorite necklace and give it to the woman who had just admired it, I tried to pretend I didn’t hear Him.


“It’s mine, God!” I reasoned. “It isn’t replaceable! Why would ask me to do that?”


My self-plan didn’t like the God-plan that was laid out before me.


He was asking me to give up something that meant a lot to me. And the nudging didn’t even make sense. It seemed crazy. Unnecessary.


Reluctantly, I chose to obey even though I didn’t want too.


Moments later God softened my childish heart as the woman wept at the Lord’s blessing. Selfish thoughts faded to deep, humble joy

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Today’s Truth

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

(Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV)

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I’ll be the first to admit that I am a woman who is easily distracted. More times than I care to even discuss. Sigh. I would love to say that the detail-oriented-woman in me rocks my days, but that’s not always the case. One crazy day, a few years back, the absent-minded-scatter-brain in me dominated big time. Here’s what happened…


After I dropped my kids off at school, I swung into the local gas station and ran inside to prepay. I handed the cashier forty dollars in cash and headed out the door to pump my gas. As I left the mini-mart, I held the door for the woman behind me. As she passed in front of me, we

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Today’s Truth

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Exodus 4:11-12, NIV

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On the far side of a desert, high upon the Mountain of God, a voice called out to Moses from within a curious, fiery bush. He had been tending the sheep of his father-in-law’s flock – going about his normal day-in-day-out tasks on the day that God spoke to him from the flames. On the day that God called Moses to a fresh and fiery mission. A mission of deliverance.


Once a noble prince of Egypt with the world at his feet, he had become a lowly shepherd with dust on his sandals. His crown had been traded in for a staff. The palace days were far behind Moses now. He fled them because of what he had done.

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Today’s Truth

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

Psalm 62:5

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There’s a scene in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope – where Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker find themselves on the detention level of the Death Star in a trash compactor whose walls are closing in quickly. Their efforts to slow the walls down were ineffective. Leia and Hans tried every way conceivable to brace the walls with something to stop the progression of eminent death. Chewbacca tried to use brute force. Steel poles were snapped like toothpicks as Luke desperately called out to C3PO on his com-link to shut the system down.


Meanwhile, in another area of the Death Star, C3PO thought that Storm Troopers might have captured the crew, but he couldn’t

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Today’s Truth

But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations…

1 Samuel 8:19-20a

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It was spring break and we were home. Social media posts of friends were showcasing sandy beaches, yummy meals, and fancy-schmancy hotel lobbies and pools. I was doing laundry, finishing up my taxes and wrestling with cravings stirred by the glittery things “everybody else” was eating and doing.


As I turned to the Word of God I was reminded that none of this is new. I was also reminded and convicted that looking at and longing for what other people have, are, and do is NOT God’s best for me.


In the Bible, the Lord used a strand of strugglers just like you and me. I’m so glad about that. Aren’t you?


The book of 1 Samuel introduces us to a

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Today’s Truth

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.

Proverbs 1:7, ESV

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Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to be afraid.


Case in point. I was a tween with pimples; long, lanky limbs; and an attitude the summer our family went to Ohio to visit friends of my parents who lived on a farm. I didn’t much care if these people were nice. I didn’t much care what we would eat for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner. It wasn’t the beach, and I wasn’t overly thrilled to be in Ohio for a vacation. (No offense, Ohio people.) But I had heard they had horses, and that calmed my

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Today’s Truth

You are resplendent with light, more majestic than mountains rich with game.

Psalm 76:4, NIV

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The glasses we had to wear looked ridiculous. They came in lots of shapes, colors and styles and were sold for weeks leading up to the big event. Some people made viewing machines out of cereal boxes. Others went against the warnings and attempted to see the celestial wonder without eclipse glasses.


The epic 70-mile-wide “path of totality” stretched across fourteen states, from Oregon to South Carolina, changing day into night for a few unforgettable moments. It was the longest total solar eclipse of the century, the first in forty years, and all of the North American continent was amped up to see it.


The day was electric.


People from every state and around the world celebrated the light show.


It was

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Today’s Truth

“Long ago the Lord said to Israel: ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’”

Jeremiah 31:3, NLT

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When our kids were younger, we had gathered as a family around the pull up bar in the upstairs hall to see our oldest son, Preston, display his thirteen year old man-cub strength. Like a chimpanzee, he pulled his lanky frame up and down with ease, impressing us all. When he tired to exhaustion, Preston dropped down and met our enthusiastic applause with a satisfied grin.


As the clapping and praise died down, my then nine-year old daughter, Kennedy, decided to give the pull up bar a try. Lifted to the high metal pole by her strong daddy, she gave her best effort but fell short of her desired goal. With a slightly disappointed – but not defeated –

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Today’s Truth

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Acts 9:3-4

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He had no idea that he was moving in a dangerous direction. The cute, little box turtle was just trying to get where he was going. Doing what turtles do. Thinking what turtles think. The fact that he was crossing a busy road that is paved for fast moving cars, not slow crawling reptiles, wouldn’t have even entered his tiny turtle brain.


I’m a fan of turtles. Always have been.


Maybe it’s because they look tough on the outside, but are really softies on the inside.


Maybe it’s because they seem shy and vulnerable when they retreat into their shells and pretend that nobody’s home.


Maybe it’s because for a brief time as a kid I had a pet turtle named Raspberry…

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Today’s Truth

Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life?

Romans 2:4b, AMP

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I was speaking in Georgia that particular weekend. On day two of the retreat I woke up early and turned on the water in the beautiful tiled shower. As it heated up I noticed that the showerhead was mounted on an off-centered pole. It seemed very low, and was spraying straight along the plane of the wall. Odd.


I’m a tall chick, so as I stepped in and positioned myself under the showerhead I had to squat and stand very close to the wall. {Awesome. A quad workout! Shower bonus.}


As I shampooed my hair, my legs were on fire from squatting. And then a thought crossed my mind… MAYBE the showerhead can be raised!


I turned around and tried to

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Today’s Truth

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

Isaiah 40:31

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A friend of ours has struggled with heart problems for years. He has gone through seasons of wellness and seasons of strain. Recently, his health challenges moved from the back burner of his life to the front when his doctors recognized the need to operate.


He didn’t just need a simple procedure. He needed open heart surgery to the max. I mean we are talking valve replacements, ablations, hole repairs and more. You name it – and the surgeon pretty much had to do it.


In the wee hours of the morning prior to his surgery, our friend’s heart decided to cause problems that led them to the Emergency Room instead of the Operating Room. Thankfully, his surgeon rushed to

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Today’s Truth

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

Nehemiah 1:3, NIV

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Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation. Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.


The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. He was pressed but not crushed. He told the Lord that he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected God and for the ways they had disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions

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Today’s Truth

Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady until sunset.

Exodus 17:12b NIV

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After the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt they spent 40 years in the desert. During that time God provided for them both miraculously and practically. One practical way God moved was through His people.


Much like today.


Moses was God’s chosen leader, but many others were used as well. We see this demonstrated in Exodus 17 when a savage, nomadic tribe called the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. The Amalekites lived in in the desert region near the Dead Sea and were quick to destroy anyone who got in their space. I imagine that when they went into battle with the Israelites they had no idea that if they messed with Moses and his traveling companions they

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Today’s Truth

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Joshua 8:1

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We see a vibrant example of courage and obedience in the book and life of Joshua. He served humbly and faithfully in the shadow of Moses until the Lord took Moses home and chose Joshua to be the next leader His people.


I’d be shaking in my size 10 shoes if I had to fill the sandals of Moses! I’m sure that in his humanness Joshua was intimidated too, but he was well trained because he had served under Moses for 40 years.


I mean – he wasn’t exactly a spring chicken when God gave him His incredible I-made-you-for-greatness and I’ve-got-your-back motivational talk. Have you ever thought of that?


“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days

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Today’s Truth

Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

Psalm 73:23

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It was Corrie Ten Boom who said, “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. If you look at God, you’ll be at rest.” The text of Psalm 73 helps this truth rise vividly.


If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed… “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)


They. They. They.


“They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity;
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take

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Today’s Truth

Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

Ephesians 6:10, NIV

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In his letter to the believers in Ephesus, the apostle Paul talked straight about the spiritual battle of faith. He exhorted them to:


Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Eph. 6:10–13 ESV)


In recognizing

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Today’s Truth

You have forsaken your first love… Repent and do the things you did at first...

Revelation 2:4b-5, NIV

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I watched a movie about the end times that left me longing for a few answers. So I grabbed my Bible and sat to read from the book of Revelation. In this apocalyptic, end-of-the-Bible book, John speaks of a vision from Christ that he received while on the island of Patmos. In this vision, Jesus unveils events yet to come – which, ultimately, echo His eternal love, power, and justice.


In chapter two, the words leapt from the page to my heart as Jesus spoke to the Church in Ephesus. His tone was heavy and serious, yet intimate, tender, and loving. Clearly this message was meant for Christians throughout history, not just the church of Ephesus. It was meant

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Today’s Truth

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Philippians 3:13b, NIV

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It spoke to me as I strolled down the check out aisle of Marshalls that day. The wall art that was featured on an impulse-buy rack.


Amen! I thought.


The message? Simple: “Don’t Stumble On Things That Are Behind You.”


My mind reeled, and I thought hard about this seemingly simple directive that points to a habit that trips so many of us up: looking back. Allowing the past to deter and diminish our present and our future.


The Apostle Paul had a difficult past to contend with. His early years were spent learning laws and tormenting Chris followers. Then he met Jesus and everything changed for him. He chose to move forward as the new man he’d become.


Instead of wallowing in

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Today’s Truth

The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary.

Isaiah 50:4

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I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t know your purpose, you will be distracted by the voices.” The same principle applies to the purpose of our words. The Bible has a lot to say about the ways we should use our words.


To ENCOURAGE – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)


To WORSHIP – “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,

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Today’s Truth

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”

(Genesis 50:20, NIV)

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God is faithful. He can use all circumstances for His glory. Let’s take a brief look at the life of Joseph (Genesis 37–50). Joseph was a man of integrity who did right in the eyes of the Lord, yet he faced hardship, betrayal, and temptation. As a young man, he was less than humble a few times with his ten older brothers. Okay. Straight up, he actually came across as a puffed up little braggart. His bragging fed the jealously of Joseph’s brothers because he was clearly their father’s favorite child. Now granted, Joseph threw gasoline on the fire of this jealousy when he gushed about the dreams God had given him, but imagine how he must have

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Today’s Truth

Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you.

(Psalm 84:4)

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The bedrooms of my children house more memories than a library full of books. The doorframes have been gateways to relationship. Access points of intimacy. Invitations to community.


Over the years the space beyond each threshold has fostered fun, friendships, frazzled feelings and family. It’s been a meeting place of life and love. An incubator for growth, depth, conversations and dreams.


The floors have held dance parties, dirty clothes, discipline, and daily drama. The air has held honest whispers and lingering lullabies, screams and songs… prayers, promises and plans.


That space is a place of misunderstanding and tantrums, of teaching and reaching, of decorations and celebrations. A beautiful dwelling place of knowing and being known.


Psalm 84 echoes this type of warmth,

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Today’s Truth

Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand? Take it from the fold of your garment and destroy them!

(Psalm 74:11)

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My hubs and I are obsessed with the TV show Person of Interest. The plot is fast-paced, and features two main characters, John Reese and Mr. Finch, a presumed-dead, former CIA agent and a mysterious, tech-savvy billionaire. The duo prevents crimes using technology and their own take on vigilante justice. Brad and I binge watch the show on Netflix when time permits and are depressed that we only have five seasons to enjoy.


Each episode features complicated characters in critical situations. Life and death situations. Tensions are always heightened and people often look over their shoulders to see who might be after them. As you’d imagine, what I don’t often see while watching Person of Interest are people in

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Today’s Truth

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in sprit and truth.

(John 4:24, ESV)

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In John 4, we see a tired Jesus. He was exhausted and thirsty from the journey he and the disciples had just made from Judea to Galilee. Having sent the disciples into town for food, Jesus sat down by Jacob’s well and talked with a woman of Samaria – ignoring cultural, racial, and social norms of that day. {Jews did not associate with Samaritans and often tried to avoid Samaria all together on their journeys. In addition to that, respectable Jewish men did not talk women whom they didn’t know in public.} But Jesus was clearly not concerned with public opinion as He was on a mission of mercy.


He asked this unnamed woman for a drink then engaged

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Today’s Truth

He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

(John 15:2, NIV)

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Our hotel room had a small balcony that overlooked the swimming pool. Early one lazy vacation morning, I grabbed my journal, Bible, and a fresh cup of coffee then headed to the balcony for some quiet time.


As I settled in, movement by the pool caught my eye. I watched as a maintenance man approached a palm tree and briskly pulled a brown, life-less branch from underneath the green leaves. Oddly, before he pulled the dead branch off, I hadn’t even noticed it was there.


After he pulled it off, however, the palm tree looked fresh and vibrant.


Seriously.


The pruning made such a difference!


Jesus spoke to His disciples and said,


I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He

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Today’s Truth

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

(Galatians 5:16, NIV)

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The apostle Paul wrote a letter to the church at Galatia during his second missionary journey. He was frustrated that many believers were wavering in their faith. Not good.


In Galatians 5, he reminded the believers that Christ died so that they could be free. And he was careful to distinguish that their freedom was not to sin but from sin.


He went on to tell them of the spiritual battle that was taking place between their fleshly desires and their holy desires. Between walking by the Spirit and walking by the flesh.


So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and

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Today’s Truth

I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.

Psalm 52:8b

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I remember lining the hallways at West Hempfield Elementary School when we had severe weather drills. The teachers would have us sit side by side against the inner concrete walls, quiet sticks up, until the training exercise was complete.


Fire drills took us outside.


Severe weather drills, inside.


We knew which way to go based upon the type of drill.


Sadly, nowadays students don’t just have drills for fires and natural disasters, but also to prepare for evil attacks on humanity by humanity. We teach children how they should respond in the event of a shooter being on school grounds so they know the places to go to find protection and safety. My heart doesn’t even know how to process the angst

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Today’s Truth

God, knock the teeth out of their mouths.

Psalm 58:6

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In the first few moments of the movie we watched her light up and ask hard questions as her beautiful mama told her stories at bedtime. Brave curiosity and fearless adventure twinkled in her eyes as she ran about and soaked in the activities and people of the all-female, Amazonian warrior-filled island of Themyscira.


Diana, princess of the Amazons, grew in skill, wisdom and stature, training as an unbeatable warrior. She loved justice. Loved peace. Loved goodness. It was all she knew… until the day a handsome American spy, Steve Trevor, crashed his plane in the waters off the paradise island and Diana dove in to save him.


As she grew to know Steve, Diana learned of the danger, death,

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Today’s Truth

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy.

Psalm 67:4

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I’m obsessed with gymnastics and figure skating. Obsessed. For two weeks, every four years. You know… like everyone else in America… when the Winter Olympics games come around. Pour me a bowl of Wheaties, hand me a flag with stars and stripes, and let’s get it on! Stick that landing! Land that triple salchow! You got this! USA! USA! USA!


And you can’t miss the opening ceremonies!


There’s just a beyond-ness to them! Bright colors. Epic music. Intricate costumes.


Athletes from every nation, coming together in harmony. The pride of each country celebrating their unique heritages, while at the same time vibrantly displaying the beauty of humanity that binds us all together.


Songs are sung, dances are danced, and joy rises to

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Today’s Truth

He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping.

Psalm 66:9

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Church camp helps young hearts feel held, healed, loved, and seen by an immortal, invisible God. It did for me as a teen and for my children as well. There’s just something special about cabins, games, songs and Christian community under a canopy of trees.


In the summer of 2012, our Smith kids had all gone off to church camp while Brad and I snuck away to a marriage retreat. As we headed into the first session, Brad got a call from the church camp informing us that Preston was being taken to the local urgent care facility. The camp director had announced that it was time to toast smores, and in his excitement to get there quickly from

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Today’s Truth

Jabez called upon the God of Israel, saying, “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border…”

1 Chronicles 4:10 ESV

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Years ago I worked with a woman in Nashville named Cindy. She was a no-nonsense publisher for a major music company. Each month she listened to the songs I wrote and gave honest, constructive feedback that required this songwriter-chick to have thick skin and wear big-girl-panties. She was salt and light to me in the work place, but not in ways that I expected or necessarily appreciated at the time.


I didn’t always love what she had to say.


Total honesty? She. Scared. Me. Silly.


I wrestled with her strong, bristly opinions while at the same time grew from


the pruning of her wise, professional words. She challenged me toward greater excellence and she wasn’t afraid to speak difficult words of truth.


One

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Today’s Truth

Protect my life from the terror of the enemy.

(Psalm 64:1b)

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Battles are everywhere… in our homes, in our hearts, in our humanity, and in realms unseen. The Bible actually has a lot to say about this: Our struggle isn’t just against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. (Ephesians 6:12) No weapons formed against us will prosper. (Isaiah 54:17) Greater is He who is in us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4) When we submit to God and resist the devil, he has to flee! (James 4:7) And there’s tons more.


Let’s be honest, that’s a lot to take in. It all sounds so major-motion-picture.

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Today’s Truth

Don’t turn to the right or to the left.

(Proverbs 4:27, CSB)

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Knowing her soul was filled with sorrow, I sent my girlfriend a few texts with links to worship songs, hoping they would cushion her grieving heart with comfort. A while later she responded. Listening and worshiping. I have death certificates and head stones here, but we know that he has eternal life and the glory of God all around him. For that, I will ever praise the Lord.


The funeral had passed, but the sting of the death was still fresh and fierce. At the hand of a tragic, senseless accident, her young-adult son was gone in an instant. Shockwaves of horror ripped through the community, leaving thousands with a raw reminder of the frailty of life.


One treasure

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Today’s Truth

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never allow the righteous to be shaken.

(Psalm 55:22, CSB)

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I like to filter things. Get the junk out. Keep it pure. I have a filter for water on my counter and on my refrigerator. I replace them regularly. It makes me feel safe.


My fondness for filtering often flows over into the prayers I pray. I search for cleaned up words when I talk to God. Unconsciously believing He’ll like me better if my thoughts, emotions and desires run through a “good-Christian-girl” screen. It makes me feel safe.


Then I see David all up in the mess with God in Psalm 54 and I’m challenged again.


David prays unfiltered. He’s brutally honest with God. In a way I admire but hesitate to emulate. He doesn’t clean up his God-talk. He

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Today’s Truth

This I know: God is for me.

(Psalm 56:9, CSB)

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I often try to quiet fear by pretending it doesn’t exist. Clever… I know. But alas, it does exist and that’s not always a bad thing. To the contrary, it can actually keep us safe in proper context. When my house was struck by lightning and lit with fire, fear sounded an emotional alarm, insisting that I escape – and fast. In this instance, fear was good. It kept me safe.


In many instances, however, fear is not good. I’ve found that while it’s natural to be afraid at times – human, even – it’s best to not allow feelings of fear to consume and control large spaces of real estate in my heart. In Psalm 56, David handles

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Today’s Truth

On high, he summons heaven and earth in order to judge his people.

Psalm 50:4

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When a skilled jeweler places a diamond under a microscope, he is able to authenticate and determine its value based upon the color, cut, clarity and carat weight of the stone.


Flaws are visible in the testing, and any jeweler worth his salt can easily see the difference between a man-made cubic zirconia and a real diamond that’s been forged in pressure over time.


I like to think I can spot fake from a mile away too. It’s everywhere: the lashes, spray tans, hair color, boobs, eyebrows, puffy lips and high cheekbones. Beyond the substitute beauty efforts, there are a million other ways humanity serves up fake. Passing off that gossip as a prayer request. Praying from my lips, but

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Today’s Truth

All this has happened to us, but we have not forgotten you or betrayed your covenant. Psalm 44:17

Psalm 44:17

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Not gonna lie, sometimes life gets really hard. At times our battles are an intense, invisible boxing match, and the enemy seems to not only make contact on every upper cut but also win every round. There are seasons when we feel defeated, wounded, abandoned, vulnerable, frustrated and forgotten. The psalmists felt this way sometimes too.


“You make us a joke among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
My disgrace is before me all day long,
and shame has covered my face,
because of the taunts of the scorner and reviler,
because of the enemy and avenger.


All this has happened to us,
but we have not forgotten you
or betrayed your covenant.
Our hearts have not turned back;
our steps have not strayed from your path.”


(Psalm 44:14-18, CSB)


The

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Today’s Truth

“This God, our God forever and ever— he will always lead us.”

Psalm 48:14Friend to Friend I couldn’t help but notice the flying shoes. Strewn across power lines all over El Salvador was pair after pair of dirty, old tennis shoes that had been tied together and strung over the wires that lined the streets. On the bus, our guide pointed them out. Telling the story that those tennis shoes serve as territory markers for the violent gangs and drug cartels. They establish boundaries and stake claim to who runs what in particular parts of town. My heart sifted through the language, economic and cultural barriers that separated me from them. I was stirred to understand more deeply. Distressed by the implications and evil. Moved to do something. To help. To protect. As we got off the bus in each area, the guide gave specific instructions about what we could eat and drink, the time we had for the stop, the dangers of the area and the challenges the locals were facing. I was grateful for his direction and knowledge. It helped me know what to do and how to respond. Made me feel more confident. More safe. With the guide, the trip was far better than it would’ve been had I tried to explore the region on my own. Psalm 48 celebrates God’s presence and showcases Him as our Security, Defender and Guide. A good guide knows his stuff. He’s got the backstory on places you go and is able to answer the questions that come up along the journey. A good guide stays with you, even in the scary places, and helps you see and understand the history, significance and culture as you pass through new places. A good guide welcomes your questions, warns you of danger and points out tennis shoes on power lines. It’s easy to feel lost and trapped by barriers of life that keep us from understanding or knowing which way to go. “For this is our God for ever and ever; He will be our guide even to the end.” (Psalm 48:14, NIV) As I read Psalm 48:14, I breathe in a fresh confidence. God is not just a good guide, but the one and only perfect Guide. He’s the Guide I need. The Guide that walks with me along the path, offering protection and direction. Our security and peace are amplified when we listen to and heed God’s instructions. Let’s Pray Dear Lord, In Your presence I find joy and security. Thanks for being my Defender and Guide. Thank You for offering me access to Your endless protection and direction. Please help me know what to do with ____________________. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Now It’s Your Turn Read Psalm 143:8, “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” What two requests does the psalmist make? What’s the chosen response? Will you make the same request and response today? What do you need to trust Him with? More from the Girlfriends SPECIAL OFFER: If today’s message is where you are and you need more practical help, we have a resource called Trusting God. Gwen is offering a 20% OFF discount on the Trusting God book from her site when you use the coupon code: 20OFF. Click here to get yours now. PSST! If you’re on Instagram, Gwen would love to connect with you! Follow here.

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I couldn’t help but notice the flying shoes. Strewn across power lines all over El Salvador was pair after pair of dirty, old tennis shoes that had been tied together and strung over the wires that lined the streets. On the bus, our guide pointed them out. Telling the story that those tennis shoes serve as territory markers for the violent gangs and drug cartels.


They establish boundaries and stake claim to who runs what in particular parts of town.


My heart sifted through the language, economic and cultural barriers that separated me from them. I was stirred to understand more deeply. Distressed by the implications and evil. Moved to do something. To help. To protect.


As we got off the

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Today’s Truth

In colorful garments she is led to the king.

(Psalm 45:14, CSB)

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Rarely do I see more beauty on the face of a woman than on the day of her wedding. She’s the belle of the ball and she knows it. Her eyes twinkle as she walks down the aisle toward her groom and her smile speaks to the confidence she feels.


And she’s J Lo on the dance floor. Unhindered. Exuberant in celebration of her big day.


Brides are often consumed with the details of wedding planning. They reach out to best friends, family, co-workers and loved ones. They invite others to share in the big day.


There are showers and parties and cake-tastings.


There are presents to buy and dresses to try on, menus to peruse, and tuxes to rent.


Brides know their

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Today’s Truth

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Romans 14:19

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I’ve got lots of opinions, not gonna lie. You do too, right? I’ll go even one step further by assuming that your opinions and my opinions are not perfectly in synch. Agreed?


Differences of opinion among people are more numerous than grains of sand in the ocean. Disputable matters in the church are no exception. Freedoms and convictions are not the same in every heart. Unfortunately, these areas of contention can cause conflict in our hearts, relationships, and communities of faith if we let them.


My family and I got thrown into a situation recently that caused some harm and confusion. The perception and convictions of another was pressed upon us, and the consequences were anything but peaceful. Much of

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Today’s Truth

Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings!

Psalm 61:4

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Psalm 61 is a powerful reminder that no matter where we are or what we’re going through, we can cry out to God for help. David was in a fragile place, desperate for God. Forced to flee because his son Absalom had rebelled against him. He’d been betrayed by his own flesh and blood, and the sting of betrayal, as we all know, is painfully damaging.


He ran to God seeking refuge when he was hurting and overwhelmed.


“God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for

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Today’s Truth

He drew me out of deep waters ... He rescued me because He delighted in me.

Psalm 18:16-19

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Debbie was a pastor’s wife who felt worthless for years. She was verbally abused and emotionally abandoned in her marriage from the very beginning. She had been a virgin when she met her husband, so she knew something was very wrong when, seven months into their marriage, her husband went out of state for a “business trip” and gave Debbie a severe pelvic inflammatory disease when he got home.


Her doctor explained that she had gotten a bacterial infection that can only be sexually contracted. Debbie was hospitalized for five days and placed on strong medications. The IV antibiotics she received unknowingly rendered her birth control pills ineffective, and a pregnancy with their first child resulted. So Debbie stayed

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Today’s Truth

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Joshua 1:5

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The morning had been hectic and they were running late because the baby needed a last minute diaper change. Tara needed to get all three kiddos loaded up and to the car pool location quickly, but for some strange reason the back doors of her van would not open. She tried her clicker. She tried the key. She tried jiggling the lock.


Anxiousness started to well up in her heart.


“You’ve got to be kidding me!” She grumbled loudly while trying to open the back doors of her minivan. “This is NOT what I need right now!”


The kids began to sense the tension and take on the stress for their own.


“What’s wrong, mommy?”


“The back doors aren’t opening and we’re gonna

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Today’s Truth

Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.

Luke 3:11

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Luke 3 tells the story of John the Baptist as he began his ministry. His job? Prepare the way of the Lord. (Luke 3:4) Many royal rulers and powerful leaders of the land are listed at the beginning of the chapter to set the stage and give us historical context, yet it is a normal guy, born to older parents, in an off-the-map-of-all-places-important rural village that the Lord called to be the forerunner for Jesus. (Doesn’t it encourage you that God uses normal people from ordinary places to tell the world about Jesus? Me too.)


The Lord spoke to John when he was in the wilderness and told him what to do (Luke 3:2). Then John walked his sandals

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Today’s Truth

The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

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The gap between knowing I need God’s rest and responsively living it out can be huge.


You too?


Yesterday we began to talk about the spiritual discipline of rest. {If you missed part one, CLICK HERE to read it from my blog.} We began to break down R.E.S.T. as an acronym and started a walk through Scripture to see just how God’s best for you is fueled by this discipline.


R.E.S.T. {Reflect. Engage. Surrender. Trust.}


Our big takeaway from the first of word of the acronym, reflect, was this: when you reflect on God, you better reflect God.


In addition to prioritizing times of reflection, we also personally engage with the Lord. To go to Him in prayer and interlock our hearts, motivations,

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Today’s Truth

Truly my soul finds rest in God.

Psalm 62:1

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Cammie is a children’s ministry director at her church. One day, as she was preparing for the lesson she would teach on Sunday morning, she had an idea for a fun illustration that would require a few props. She asked her four-year-old daughter to help.


“Hey, Taylor! Can you please bring me a few of the Fisher Price people from your dollhouse?”


This reply came from her preschooler who was sitting across the room…


“No, Mom. They just want to chill out. They’ve had a long day.”


So funny… yet so not funny.


My word, people! When our children’s toys need a break, you know that it’s time for you and me to hit the pause button.


And, truth be told, I live smack

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Today’s Truth

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

John 15:7

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One of the most lovable and charming characters in the history of cartoon animation has to be Winnie the Pooh. He simply oozes adorableness and positivity.


In the movie, Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin, Pooh and Christopher Robin, who are the closest of friends, have a moving conversation high in a tree where strength and love flow heart-to-heart.


CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “Oh, Pooh. If ever there’s a tomorrow when we’re not together, there’s something you must remember.”


POOH: “And what might that be, Christopher Robin?”


CHRISTOPHER ROBIN: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”


POOH: “Oh, that’s easy. We’re braver than a bee, and, uh, longer than a tree, and taller than a

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Today’s Truth

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.

Philippians 1:6

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It took four years of fresco painting for the Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Commonly known as Michelangelo, his


\time painting was mostly spent alone, on his back, lying on scaffolding. (How painful!)


The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most remarkable in the history of Western art. One thing is for sure: the process that altered a ceiling from plain to fabulous required a lot of time, great discipline, and the hand of a master artist. The same is true for us. The journey from broken into beautiful is a lifelong transformation that requires time, discipline, and a

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Today’s Truth

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3

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The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor is his ear to dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1) Though I know in my heart this is true, I still sometimes go back and forth between doubt and worry as if God’s arms are short and his ears are dull. My friend Erica does too.


She came to my door with a package to deliver and a story to share. I signed for the package and we began to catch up. Her kids are grown. Mine are teens. Her daughter just got married. My oldest just went to college. Mama to mama we shared and cared.


“My daughter and her new husband might

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Today’s Truth

Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Luke 2:11

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The story of Christmas is familiar. Many of us can recite verses and sing choruses that recap the holy day without so much as a second thought. It is said that familiarity breeds contempt – so I wonder.


I wonder and I search my heart.


When I sit and search long enough to listen to God’s still small voice, I grapple with the familiar and I groan for the fresh… and I wonder. Have I shopped, cleaned, and baked away the season without bending a knee to worship the Savior? Have I decorated my home, but failed to focus my heart?


The story of Christmas is the ultimate story of life, of hope, of freedom. The beautiful and mysterious intersection

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through … Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:3

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My son Hunter had been having pain in his left elbow. He mentioned it to my husband and I casually, but didn’t make a big deal about it initially. He’s a teenager, so we thought it might just be growing pains. Months later, when the pain continued to increase, he brought it up to us again.


Off to the doctor we went, not knowing what to think about the mysterious, lingering pain. After a brief physical evaluation, the doctor ordered that x-rays be taken. Soon after, he peeked his head back in the exam room and gave me the “come with me” finger-wag.


Eew. Okay.


I followed him out to the light board that illuminated Hunter’s new bone pictures. Dr. Joe

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Today’s Truth

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

1 Peter 5:6

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In my spare time I help coach our high school volleyball team. Let me rephrase that, because I do not have spare time. Three months a year I choose to invest daily in the lives of young female athletes who play volleyball at the high school where my children attend.


One of the games we play in practice is called Queen of the Court, the goal of which is simple: gain and keep the lead. Dominate. Be the best and protect your turf at all costs. Serve more aggressively, pass more accurately, set more strategically, and hit harder than your opponents. It is a fast-paced drill of skill where only the strong survive.


My life sometimes feels like a game

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Today’s Truth

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.

James 1:19-20

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“I’m a terrible mom!” Do you ever say these words?


I do.


And I did that day… the day years ago when I was working in my office, minding my own business, when out of now where my son threw a paper airplane at the back of my head… on purpose.


Not one to normally welcome an air attack, I gritted my teeth, gave him the stern “mom voice,” and asked him to stop messing around. I told him I needed some private time so I could get some work done.


He agreed, and turned to leave.


Then he jumped around and threw the paper airplane at me again!


Let me tell you, my grace-o-meter was reading pretty low at this point. I barked

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Today’s Truth

Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7

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A nasty storm had blown through. Lots of thunder and lightening. Buckets of wetness. The Twitter feed from our local fire department alerted us to the dangers of high winds and encouraged the community to hunker down at home until the storm passed.


The next morning the grass was vibrant green from the watering, but the yard was a disaster. Leaves and sticks were a blanket. I grabbed coffee and caught up on a few tweets that the fire department had sent out following the storm.


One of the tweeted photo-updates gave me chills. In the middle of a neighborhood just a few miles away, a tree had been uprooted by the strong winds and it annihilated a car. Crushed

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Today’s Truth

Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways. According to your love remember me, for you Lord are good.

Psalm 25:7

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“In you, Lord my God, I put my trust. I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause. Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:1-5)


Psalm 25 is simply amazing. David professes his desire and need for God with an authentic voice. I read this and am challenged. I wonder if my desire for God will ever be this strong. I want it to

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Today’s Truth

In the night, LORD, I remember your name, that I may keep your law. This has been my practice: I obey your precepts. You are my portion, LORD; I have promised to obey your words.

Psalm 119:55-57

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I’ve always been an athlete. As an adult, I enjoy power walking and keeping fit. Growing up, I played on different sports teams all year round, but volleyball has always been my jam.


I played volleyball in college and now I help coach my daughter’s high school team. I’ve been around this game for more than thirty years and I’ve spent more time on the court, on the sand, and on the grass playing and practicing than most people ever will.


You’d think that after all the hours invested I’d have the game perfected by now, right?


Not hardly.


There are still times when I shank a pass and have spike attempts that send the ball into the net instead of over

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Today’s Truth

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

John 6:38

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Growing up we played silly games. Fun games that connected strands of strangers and tethered them to a specific time and place with a memory. One of those was the cookie jar game.


It’s probably more of a chanty thing. You remember.


Crowd: “Amy stole the cookie from the cookie jar!”


Amy: “Who me?”


Crowd: “Yeah, you!”


Amy: “Couldn’t be!”


Crowd: “Then who?”


Amy: “Elise!”


Crowd {redirected}: “Elise stole the cookie from the cookie jar!” … and the game went on to never really gather the cookies that were stolen. Who thinks these things up? Why can’t we just pass around the cookies and eat them with milk instead? I hear your “Amen.”


Sometimes I think that those of us who are Jesus lovers play the cookie

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Today’s Truth

Do everything without grumbling or arguing.

Philippians 2:14

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My friend Ellen is a preschool teacher who regularly contends with entitled toddlers and privileged preschoolers who know how to major on some minors and throw down some serious tantrums.


I want the red crayon, but Tommy has it!


I’m not eating this because it has white cheese. I only like yellow cheese.


I want to go first!


I’m allowed. You’re not my boss.


Miss Ellen calls these little escapades “princess problems,” and she does her best to lovingly redirect the heart of each young complainer toward the reality of his or her blessings and toward the virtue of patience, selflessness, kindness, sharing, etc..


Hardly a day goes by that the kingdom of her kiddie classroom isn’t inundated with princess problems. The outbursts are

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Today’s Truth

There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.

Luke 15:10

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You would think she had just won the lottery the way she was screaming and jumping up in down. In fact, to her she practically had! She’d found her lovey and wanted everyone within hearing distance to celebrate with her.


Gabriella had lost her lovey a few weeks prior. This was a very big deal to a four-and-a-half-year old, especially since she’d had the little white and tan bear blanket from the time she was four months old. Lovey comforted her when she was sad or hurting, rode with her in car trips, slept with her during nap and nighttime, and was her most treasured possession.


When her comfy blanket friend went missing, Gabriella was understandably upset. She mentioned it

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Today’s Truth

And don’t let us yield to temptation.

Matthew 6:13

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It was a windy winter day. Our three dogs needed to stretch their legs and get a bit of outside playtime, so I let them out to roam freely in our fenced-in back yard. An hour later, my husband asked me where the dogs were.


“Out back,” I replied.


“Honey, the wind blew that gate wide open and only Rocky is on the deck! How long ago did you let them out?” He asked.


“An hour ago!” I exclaimed, as feelings of unease crept into my heart.Grabbing our jackets and our shoes, Brad and I bolted outside and began to scour the neighborhood looking for our two little runaway dogs.


“Roman! Steeler! Come!” We yelled endlessly into the biting wind.


After covering several

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Today’s Truth

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.

James 1:26

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I want my words to be life-giving. I want to use my words and tone of voice to bless people and love them well. Isn’t that what we all want? Isn’t that what pleases God? To be clear: I’m still a work in progress when it comes to this, but by God’s grace I am making progress.


My heart is hushed as I reflect on the way James addressed the importance of our words in the New Testament.


My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Those who consider themselves religious and yet do

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Today’s Truth

Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

John 8:10

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A four-year-old girl was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer, “and forgive us our trash baskets, as we forgive those who pass trash against us.” When I first heard that story, I smiled. Then I thought of a conversation I had had recently with a girlfriend.


She is a Christian friend. But though she has “emptied her trash basket” of sin before the Lord in sincere repentance, she has not emptied it of self-condemnation. Not completely. She holds the trash basket lid on tightly.


She is haunted by shame. Haunted by mistakes that are no longer remembered by a holy God. Haunted by sins that have been cast as far as the east is from the west.


For as high as the

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Today’s Truth

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 15:22

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God always needs to be our go-to guy when it comes to counsel. Our first call. But the Bible also gives us the directive to connect with other Christ followers for guidance: seek godly counsel.


“The LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless” (Prov. 2:6–7).


When I make an effort to seek godly counsel, I benefit from the power of the Lord that is at work in the lives of those around me. I benefit from their mistakes and from their successes. And it frees me from the pressure of having to figure everything out on my own. It

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Today’s Truth

You are the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14

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The hike up the mountain was a tough one. Flimsy patches of shade dangled from the trees but they were no match for the brutal Pennsylvania mid-summer heat. The rocky, three-mile vertical jaunt was only tamed by the fun being had along the way with the other camp counselors.


We talked. We sang. We laughed.


It was a week before the campers would arrive. All the counselors gathered for training that prepared us for the lessons and activities we would lead kids in all summer long. Caving was one of the optional camp activities so we went as a team of counselors to experience it before we led it.


When we finally reached the entrance of the cave and stepped down

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Today’s Truth

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You are our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Isaiah 64:8

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My son Hunter had been home from school for days on end following the concussion he sustained in a high school basketball game. In an effort to occupy his time productively, he picked up an old interest one afternoon and invited me to join in.


The interest? Graphology.


Yep. I was pretty excited too. Wait … no. No, I wasn’t. Not really. But I strapped on my mama smile and obliged him by doing what he asked: write three random sentences on a blank sheet of paper.


He left the room with my sentences and spent well over an hour doing a thorough analysis of my handwriting. He evaluated, measured, and contrasted the angles of each letter. He observed the way

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Today’s Truth

‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’

Matthew 3:3

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John the Baptist told God’s people to “prepare the way for the Lord” … to purify their hearts and get ready for Jesus to come, redeem, restore, heal, love, challenge, and change the world. (Matthew 3:3)


I read this and smile because I like preparing things. I like to cook. I love hosting gatherings, planning party details, and preparing for guests. My son recently graduated from high school and I spent countless hours prepping for the celebration we had in his honor. It was wonderful.


When presidents, dignitaries, and heads of state are going to visit a particular town they often send people ahead of them to make sure the area is made ready for their visit. This is a

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Today’s Truth

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16

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A few summers ago, I flew to Nashville to record vocals for a CD project. My friend, Kerri, and I had spent the last day of my trip in a studio, recording background vocals. When we were finished, I had to high tail it to the airport in order to catch my flight home.


Kerri enthusiastically offered to take me to the airport. I was excited because I’m all about spending time with my girlfriends and catching up on life. As we made our way out to the car, Kerri apologetically mentioned that her young daughter had dropped a milk sippy in her car the day before, and that she hadn’t been able to locate it.


“I would love to

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Today’s Truth

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

2 Corinthians 5:17

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The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew and showcases more drama than a Hallmark movie. The book starts off with a genealogy trail that leads from Abraham to the birth of Jesus. This list of names might make you yawn, but it’s actually really important – and even exciting. (Yes. You read that right!) It’s fascinating because it gives evidence to a family line that shows Jesus was a descendent of both Abraham and King David, thus fulfilling what the Old Testament predicted about the lineage of the Messiah.


Scandal steps onto the page in verse three of Matthew chapter one when a woman’s name shows up. (Traditionally, only the names of men appeared in these family

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Today’s Truth

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7

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Sir Isaac Newton wrote a book that was published in 1687 called The Principia: Mathematical Principle of Natural Philosophy. In this book, Newton unpacks research that redefined the way the world looks at science and physics. One of the three Laws of Motion he wrote about is this: an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless an external force is applied to it.


Interestingly enough, this particular law of motion presents a compelling analogy for increasing growth and progressing toward mature faith. When it comes to growing in spiritual maturity, the most important thing to do is getting started. Once you begin to move, it is much easier to stay in motion. To progress. To mature.


Motivation often

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Today’s Truth

Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith,

Philippians 1:25

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When I was growing up, ours was on the door frame between the kitchen and the hall with the red carpet. A vertical trail of penciled dashes and dates that marked the growth of my siblings and I – that eventually got painted over. An archive of ages and heights that proved physical progress was really happening in the Eisaman household.


And boy did I want my growth to show.


Each time my dad lined us up to draw lines just above our highest hairs, I would stretch my spine to the sky. {It’s even possible that I might’ve lifted my heels occasionally. Possible. Just throwing it out there. Don’t judge me. Dad always bumped us back down…}


I loved to

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Today’s Truth

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

Proverbs 19:21

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Ants have been known to ruin a picnic or two, but recently they messed up my beach time and flustered my heart.


Yeah. I know. God made ants to live on the earth and we have to share space. But I just wasn’t prepared for my first afternoon away from home to be altered by the annoyance of their small yet mighty presence.


I’d really been looking forward to vacation and wanted to relax. To sit by the shoreline, chill out, and soak in the sun with my people. I wanted to enjoy the presence of God in the glory of His creation, not flick uninvited ants away from my towel and off my legs.


No rest was happening because it

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Today’s Truth

For the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.”

Isaiah 12:2

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Just try to keep my daughter from singing. Go ahead and try. You will fail. She must sing. It’s just her thing.


Some days when I’m writing, or simply trying to piece together a coherent thought, I dream that she could travel to a land far, far away from me and hang out in a sound proof room.


Shhhh! Embrace “quiet” already, girl.


I know. When it comes to 24/7 musical expressions, mother-of-the-year I am not.


And I’m okay with that.


The irony, of course, is that I, too, love to sing—just not all day every day like my daughter, and certainly not when I’m writing.


Oh, but I do love music.


I love writing songs, singing songs, learning songs, and playing songs. If my

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Today’s Truth

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 16:8

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Danita experienced a tragic loss. Her husband Dave was a military officer stationed at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. An avid runner, he was the picture of good health. Over six feet tall, his tanned, athletic build never failed to take Danita’s breath away.


Like every other married couple they had their issues, but strived to live together as one. Early on their household was surrendered to the Lord. Faith, friendship, and fun were the foundations of their home and the cement that held them together during difficult times.


In October 2003, Dave had been wrestling with some issues of spiritual surrender about the possible relocation of their family. At their Wednesday night church service, God got ahold of Dave’s heart,

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Today’s Truth

And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.

John 14:13

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Several years ago, I was on my way home from running errands. As I approached our neighborhood, my cell phone rang.


“Hi, Mom. It’s Kennedy. Where are you?”


“Hey, baby! I ran some errands and will be home in just a few minutes. What’s up?”


“Well, I wanted to see if you and I could go shopping for a new bathing suit this afternoon, and— don’t say no —I’d like to get a feather in my hair. Can we, Mom?”


Oh. No. She. Didn’t!


Don’t say ‘no’? I thought. Really? C’mon girl. I’m the parent. You’re the child. Get a grip.


“Honey, we’re several weeks away from swim season. I’m not sure that today is a good day for all of this. And you’re

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Today’s Truth

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.

2 Corinthians 7:1

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I sat in the dentist chair considering the state of my teeth. It was rather interesting, and somewhat frustrating, that even though I brush my teeth two times a day, stains are still a problem.


I hate that.


No one wants dingy teeth. I like my teeth to sparkle and want them to rank “fabulously-white” on the sliding scale of teeth colors. (Are you with me?)


Yeah… my two cups of coffee each morning probably don’t help the stain situation, but I do take care of my teeth. I use whitening toothpaste with fluoride, brush in circles, and I floss. Okay – so I don’t floss everyday – but I do floss! Yet in spite of my efforts, I still need

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Today’s Truth

God is love.

1 John 4:8

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My mom tells a story that when I was a toddler, I used to push my older brother and sister off my dad’s lap so I could cuddle with him all by myself. I still do this with my kids and husband. It might look different today, but my goal is the same: I want more love. And I’m not above pushing someone else out of the way to move myself forward.


My love hunger stumps me. I’ve been a Christian since I sat on a little plastic Sunday-school chair and learned Bible stories from a flannel-graph board. If I’m so into Jesus—and I promise you, I am—then why am I still needy?


Why is my heart such a love

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Today’s Truth

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.

Psalm 56:3

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Each day brings fresh possibilities and opportunities for us to trust God. As I think of what lies ahead today I’m reminded of a trust lesson God taught me long ago…


Our arms were braided across each other’s and our hands were locked tightly. As the young girl stood on the tall tree stump above us she looked over her shoulder and saw with her eyes that our formation was tight…that we were ready for her. She heard with her ears that we would catch her…that we would not let her get hurt. Yet the fear that screamed in her head told her not to do it. Not to fall backwards.


Her legs shook and lips quivered. Other campers had

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Today’s Truth

‘Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching’

John 14:23

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There is a feature on my cell phone that allows me to decline an incoming call. There are a thousand reasons why I might choose to hit the “decline” button when my phone rings. Sometimes I’m writing and have a deadline to make. Decline. Sometimes a call comes in when I’m mid-conversation with a friend or when I’m connecting with my family. Decline. At times, true confessions here, I decline a call simply because I don’t have the energy or desire to talk to the person who’s calling me at that moment.


Similarly, there are times in my life when I try to ignore the promptings of the Holy Spirit as if I were declining a cell phone call.

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Today’s Truth

“You are precious and honored in my sight…”

Isaiah 43:4

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Years ago, I bought my daughter a really cute jacket at the mall. It was a hoodie made of a cuddly fabric with cream, lavender, and mint green horizontal stripes. The jacket zipped up in the front and was well crafted, stylish, and simply adorable.


When I bought it, I felt like the price on the tag was a fair one, so I gladly pulled out my wallet and paid the retail amount. I was a kid in a candy store on the way home – fully anticipating a shriek of happiness from my little bag-of-beans when I gave it to her.


I wasn’t disappointed. Kennedy loved her new coat, and I was pleased with my purchase. Happy dances all

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Today’s Truth

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.

Psalm 23:1-3

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There are times when laundry takes over my house. Piles build up, though I try to stay on top of them. Many of the clothes are clean and even folded, but not put away. That tricky put-away-part is always hard for me.


Then there are the socks. Oh, the socks! They burden me so and cause me to wonder. Does an unseen sock nation exist? Are sock-soldiers are on a secret mission to destroy my testimony and drive me crazy? Divide and conquer. That’s what they do! Why can’t socks just behave? Why can’t they ever stay in pairs, and where am I supposed to put the socks that remain unmatched? Sigh.


Unmatched socks and folded-but-not-put-away-laundry tie me up in

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Today’s Truth

Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:21

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It’s recorded in the book of Genesis that at the dawn of creation God made the heavens and the earth, separated light from darkness, and that everything was good. Then He held the sky away from the water, established day and night, and it was good. Next He spoke the land, seas, sun, moon and stars into existence, and again all good. He went on to fill the earth with fish, birds, and animals, and fashion man in His own image … and it was good, good, good and good. Then He rested – which we ALL know is awesome. Amen? Amen.


Peace covered the earth like a warm blanket.


God had a perfect relationship with all that He created.

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Today’s Truth

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8

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When our kids were itty-bitty my husband Brad and I used to hold little hands a lot. Sometimes it was to protect them from danger, like if we were crossing a street. Sometimes it was to calm fears or to help them to feel secure. Sometimes it was because we were on a mission to get through or to a place quickly. Other times it was for the simple pleasure of strolling, skipping, and smiling together.


Now that they’re older, my kids aren’t so keen on holding hands with mom and dad anymore. Sigh. There is still the occasional watching-a-movie-on-the-couch-at-home handhold, but it’s a rarity. And I miss it.


I love locking fingers with my people. There’s a beauty and

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Today’s Truth

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.

John 1:4

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I wanted to hurl my screaming alarm clock into an abyss. The warmth of my cozy covers and the safety of sleep beckoned my heart to stay, linger and forget what lay ahead of me that day. On that afternoon, I would sing for the funeral of a precious eighteen year-old family friend who had died in a tragic car accident.


Her name was Macie.


She was a girl who lived life to enjoy life.


She babysat my kids and would often catch a ride home from church with us. She always had a spring in her step, a hug for a child, a kind word on her lips, and a sweet smile on her face. To know Macie was to

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Today’s Truth

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:7-9

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I’ve been through hard times. I’ve asked the question why on many occasions. I’ve begrudgingly said goodbye to family and friends in order to say hello to strangers and scary new places. I know the matter of being shattered.


There was a season when Brad and I lived in four different homes, in four different states, within four years. It was a very difficult time of my life. From Ohio to Pennsylvania to New York to North Carolina, we made our way across the East Coast with three little ducklings in tow. Back then, the uncertainty of tomorrow caused me a great deal of stress. A certain muscle in my back is twitching just thinking about it.


The chaos began

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Today’s Truth

Pray Continually.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

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Okay. As much as I HATE to use the bathroom on airplanes, on this particular flight it just simply couldn’t be helped. The water bottle that I’d drank on the way to the airport, combined with the several essential cups of morning coffee mandated the mid-flight excursion. So at about 30,000 feet up – somewhere over rural Alabama – I unbuckled and walked the narrow, balance-beam aisle to the rear of the aircraft.


After tapping a chatty, aisle-strewn gentleman to squeeze by, I entered the shoebox lavatory. Upon closing the folding door my eyes adjusted to the incandescent lighting, and I began to prepare for my nature call. Then it happened.


A tiny “Pop!”


And the button on the top of

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Today’s Truth

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

James 4:17

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Sometimes doing the right thing is hard. Case in point…


My husband asked if I could run to pick up his dry cleaning while he was on a conference call for work. Sure. So I drove across town, paid, grabbed what they gave me, and then headed home.


“Are my suit pants cleaned too?” Brad asked when I brought the dry cleaning in the house.


“I’m sure they are, honey. I remember seeing them in the bag when I dropped them off.”


I checked. No suit pants.


“There are only shirts here, Brad, but I do remember there being a dark pair of pants in there last week when you gave me the bag!”


“I definitely had pants in there,” he replied. “Can you

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Today’s Truth

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:7

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When I was a little girl, one of the highlights of every summer was going to our family reunion at White Oak Park. I loved those reunions because there was always a seven-layer salad, yummy home- made favorites, and lots of desserts. All of us kids played fun games that filled us with laughter and drenched us in sweat. Then after the kid games were done, some adults would join us for a final competition: the tug-of-war.


When it came to tug-of-war, I had a strategy: wherever my dad went, I went. Because in my little-girl mind, he was superhuman strong. (I was ever the rational one.) Dad always positioned himself at the far end of the rope as

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Today’s Truth

I will not forget you. Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands.

Isaiah 49:15-16

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Have you ever felt alone, scared, angry, confused, and hurt all at the same time? Ever felt like running away from a difficult situation? I have. There was a time when I wanted to run—hard and fast—from life as I knew it.


I was a young mom with three babies that had been born within three and a half years. (A maternal trifecta!) Then, to everybody’s surprise, my husband got a promotion that moved our seedling family across the country to a place where we didn’t know anybody.


I jokingly refer to that time as the “blurry era.” I had two babies in diapers that carried around their blankies, and one “big boy” who was potty training and struggling to

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Today’s Truth

Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

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As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart lives – to be sanctified – we must spend time with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead us.


God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He wants much more for us than that! God’s plan is to make us more like Himself… to sanctify us. He is Yahweh M’Kaddst, the Lord our Sanctifier.


Let’s take this street level. I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are

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Today’s Truth

‘Even now,’ declares the LORD, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.” Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love…’

Joel 2:12-13

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Jeremiah was just a youngster when he came to know God and began to work for Him as a prophet. He endured year after year of hard times, frustrating people, and complicated disappointments. His message was one that called the people of Jerusalem – God’s chosen people – to turn away from the idols that they had been worshiping and back toward the one, true God.


Let me say it straight: God was miffed at the nation of Israel and He sent Jeremiah to let them know. He had every reason to be angry! He had given the children of Abraham a sacred covenant, a promised future, delivery from oppression, and His tabernacled presence, yet they turned their backs

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Today’s Truth

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you.

Deuteronomy 33:27

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My curiosity begs to understand life. My mind longs for logic. I am not overly fond of ungraspable concepts. When I was a child I asked a million questions. Why is the sky blue? Are angels all men? Why do bad things happen? Why can’t we send my brussel sprouts to the starving children in Africa? Who created God?


I wanted answers.


I still do.


Give me a story that grabs my attention at the beginning. Fill it with intrigue. Throw in some high conflict and drama in the middle and then catch the bad guys, tie up the loose ends and call it done. Cue the applause. Bring down the curtain. But don’t even think about leaving me hanging…

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Today’s Truth

bout midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

Acts 16:25

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Trials can lead us to a greater dependency on God and a deeper trust in His sovereignty if we let them. In every situation I come to a crossroad and have a choice: I can pout or I can praise. I can turn away from God because I don’t understand or I can turn toward God in full assurance that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if anger lingers – even if doubt looms.


Have you been to these crossroads?


God shows us a powerful example of praise-over-pout behavior in chapter sixteen of the book of Acts. During the Apostle Paul’s second missionary journey, he and his ministry buddy Silas

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Today’s Truth

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.

Psalm 34:5

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If you’ve been around Christian believers for any length of time then you have probably heard people talking about their “life verse.” Having a life verse isn’t a Biblical mandate and it doesn’t make anyone sprout wings of holiness, but it’s a thing. A thing that often redirects us to God’s Word. Which is always good.


Back in the day of Joshua, the people of Israel were led through the Jordan River when the Lord made a miraculous way. After they reached the other side safely, God told the leaders to go back into the water and gather 12 large stones, one to represent each tribe, and to place them by the water’s edge. The stones became a visual

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Today’s Truth

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:23

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Now, the Old Testament prophet Elijah is a guy I can relate to. God asked him to do and say some difficult things. He also got an all-access pass to the God-Is-Awesome show as he experienced epic miracles at the hand of the Almighty. Even so, at one point he became gripped by fear and tried to run away from his problems.


He knew exhaustion and sank into a pit of depression that darkened his hope.


He felt alone, yet was provided for when God sent angels to care for his every need.


At times Elijah found God in grandiose shouts and flames, but also heard from Him in a humble whisper. And through all his highs and lows, he loved

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Today’s Truth

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you. Psalm 56:3

Psalm 56:3

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The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor is his ear to dull to hear.” (Isaiah 59:1) Though I know in my heart this is true, I still sometimes go back and forth between doubt and worry as if God’s arms are short and his ears are dull. My friend Erica does too.


She came to my door with a package to deliver and a story to share. I signed for the package and we began to catch up. Her kids are grown. Mine are teens. Her daughter just got married. My oldest just went to college. Mama to mama we shared and cared.


“My daughter and her new husband might

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Today’s Truth

The testing of your faith produces perseverance.

James 1:3

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My daughter plays competitive volleyball and recently began a specialized resistance plyometric workout called Vertimax training. The actual Vertimax equipment looks rather unimpressive. It’s a sturdy platform that hosts a complicated series of industrial-sized rubber bands. The results of training with this system, however, are anything but unimpressive. This advanced resistance-training helps to increase vertical jump, strengthen and protect muscles, and accelerate an athlete’s reaction time. Everything a volleyball player wants!


But let me tell you, it is hard work.


Kennedy trains under the careful watch of a guide who knows just how much tension to add and to allow on the platform. And she works through a rapid series of reps to the point of fatigue, and sometimes to

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Today’s Truth

Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

Matthew 7:24

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The words of Jesus pack a punch. His is a powerful and vibrant dialog that brings both tradition and the Law into a new and living light.


On a hillside, long ago, Jesus engaged individuals toward choosing God’s best on a heart level, not just a do-this-to-make-God-happy, knowledge and rules level. Recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus gave the crowd, and us, some incredible insights to the way His followers should live. We call this the Sermon on the Mount. (Matthew 5-7)


Remember that collection of Jesus teachings? Here’s a rapid review:


He taught the “beatitudes” (Matthew 5:2-12), and told His followers to be “salt and light” (Matthew 5:13-16).


He said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the

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Today’s Truth

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Philippians 4:13

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You can do this.


Sometimes we just need to be reminded. I know I do.


That day was a whopper. I rose early, worked hard, was intentional, and still felt unproductive. Been there? On top of that, we’d gotten a heavy heap of unwanted news in the afternoon. My dad had an aggressive form of cancer.


I couldn’t believe it.


He had been through so much. To explain the details would take a whole book. All I can say is that when it came to the distribution of health challenges, my dad had an unequally large share.


We’d found out that his ear was riddled with the c-stuff and that he would be losing it. But we thought he’d just lose an ear

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Today’s Truth

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near.

Isaiah 55:6

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Four years ago we installed a new bathroom sink in our downstairs powder room. While I love the way it looks, I have not loved the way it has worked – because the water pressure has been a dreary drizzle.


I asked my husband Brad if he could fix the water pressure a few times. Let me say this: my man is awesome at a million and one things – he’s super smart and awesome around the house – but he has no plumbing experience. Being the great guy he is, he dutifully checked what he knew to check on the faucet, but had no success.


Recently, we had a plumber come to our house to install a new kitchen

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Today’s Truth

The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.

Nehemiah 1:3

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Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation. Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed. He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.


The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. He was pressed but not crushed. He told the Lord that he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected God and for the ways they had disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions

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Today’s Truth

As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

Acts 9:3-4

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He had no idea that he was moving in a dangerous direction. The cute, little box turtle was just trying to get where he was going. Doing what turtles do. Thinking what turtles think. The fact that he was crossing a busy road that is paved for fast moving cars, not slow crawling reptiles, wouldn’t have even entered his tiny turtle brain.


I’m a fan of turtles. Always have been. Maybe it’s because they look tough on the outside, but are really softies on the inside. Maybe it’s because they seem shy and vulnerable when they retreat into their shells and pretend that nobody’s home. Maybe it’s because for a brief time as a kid I had a pet

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Today’s Truth

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

Proverbs 11:25

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I pretty much have a black thumb. Charcoal, even. I like plants and genuinely try to keep them healthy and thriving, but fail at it a lot more than I succeed. So when my BFF brought me a baby aloe plant, my heart was torn between girlfriend-gratitude and feelings of sorrow for the innocent little aloe.


A few weeks after she gave me the plant gift, my friend told me a story. She confessed that she struggles to share things and said that she had two aloe plants for a long time. One day she felt a heart-nudge to give one of them to me and she decided that she would give me the small aloe baby. (Bless her heart! She

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Today’s Truth

Abide in me, and I in you.

John 15:4a

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The first time I went to a drive-in theatre I was about six years old…in first grade. The motion pictures on the reel that night were not just exciting – they were epic. A double feature of Godzilla and Star Wars. It was a rare treat for our young family. With five kids and a school administrator’s salary, movies were a luxury.


The details of that evening are foggy, but there are several things that I remember. Daylight ended as Godzilla began. Dad went to get popcorn while mom spread a blanket out and helped the three oldest littles get to the best vantage point for the show: the roof of our station wagon. Pillows were handed up to

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Today’s Truth

Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.

Isaiah 40:31

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A friend of ours has struggled with heart problems for years. He has gone through seasons of wellness and seasons of strain. Recently, his health challenges moved from the back burner of his life to the front when his doctors recognized the need to operate.


He didn’t just need a simple procedure. He needed open heart surgery to the max. I mean we are talking valve replacements, ablations, hole repairs and more. You name it – and the surgeon pretty much had to do it.


In the wee hours of the morning prior to his surgery, our friend’s heart decided to cause problems that led them to the Emergency Room instead of the Operating Room. Thankfully, his surgeon rushed to

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Today’s Truth

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

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As I walked into the pink and purple bedroom to tuck in my little rosebud, she sat up in bed and began braiding her hair. She’d been waiting for me. News was bubbling in her heart that she simply had to share.


Through twists of hair, she began, “Mom! I know what I want to be when I grow up!”


“Well, tell me, Kennedy!” I replied, completely smitten with her 8-year-old enthusiasm.


“I want to be a beautritionist!” She gushed.


“A beautritionist?” I questioned, both amused and enamored.


“Yes, mom! I want to be a beautritionist!”


“That completely rocks, girlfriend! I’m so excited for you! Do you mean that you want to do hair and makeup and help ladies look beautiful?”


“Yes!”


“Excellent!” I replied. “I

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Today’s Truth

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.

Psalm 62:5

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There’s a scene in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope – where Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker find themselves on the detention level of the Death Star in a trash compactor whose walls are closing in quickly. Their efforts to slow the walls down were ineffective. Leia and Hans tried every way conceivable to brace the walls with something to stop the progression of eminent death. Chewbacca tried to use brute force. Steel poles were snapped like toothpicks as Luke desperately called out to C3PO on his com-link to shut the system down.


Meanwhile, in another area of the Death Star, C3PO thought that Storm Troopers might have captured the crew, but he couldn’t

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Today’s Truth

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.

Philippians 3:13

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It spoke to me as I strolled down the check out aisle of Marshalls that day. The wall art that was featured on an impulse-buy rack.


Amen! I thought.


The message? Simple: “Don’t Stumble On Things That Are Behind You.”


My mind reeled, and I thought hard about this seemingly simple directive that points to a habit that trips so many of us up: looking back. Allowing the past to deter and diminish our present and our future.


The Apostle Paul had a difficult past to contend with. His early years were spent learning laws and tormenting Chris followers. Then he met Jesus and everything changed for him. He chose to move forward as the new man he’d become.


Instead of wallowing in

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Today’s Truth

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.

James 2:26

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In part one of this message we looked at our valuable purpose as image bearers of God to be an imprint of Christ to the world around us. We also examined the Biblical truth that validates this discussion. {Click here to read Part One.}


Today we will consider what is required of us to be an imprint, and we’ll discuss our call to “rep the house” as well by taking action.


What does that mean? Read on.


Ever since our kids were little, Brad and I have taught them that the Lord is the head of our home, and every Smith needs to rep the house well. The rules are simple:


Love God.


Love others.


Use your manners.


Use kind words.


Wear clean underwear.


Say please.


Say thank

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Today’s Truth

So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them

Genesis 1:27

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Let’s rewind humanity’s story way back to the beginning. “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ … So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26–27 ESV).


My brain doesn’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how to process this mystery. His image displayed in my life. How can that be? How can there be such a compelling connection between God’s heart and my humanity? Especially when I know me. I know that on my best, most holy day, I don’t come close to being imago Dei, the image of God.


Even so, the Bible says

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Today’s Truth

The LORD said to him, “Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now go; I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

Exodus 4:11-12

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On the far side of a desert, high upon the Mountain of God, a voice called out to Moses from within a curious, fiery bush. He had been tending the sheep of his father-in-law’s flock – going about his normal day-in-day-out tasks on the day that God spoke to him from the flames. On the day that God called Moses to a fresh and fiery mission. A mission of deliverance.


Once a noble prince of Egypt with the world at his feet, he had become a lowly shepherd with dust on his sandals. His crown had been traded in for a staff. The palace days were far behind Moses now. He fled them because of what he had done.

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Today’s Truth

Fear not … I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.

Isaiah 43:1-2

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While walking into the opening session of a marriage conference that we had been looking forward to his cell phone rang. He answered the call and we took our seats. As the emcee kicked off the weekend with gracious greetings, my husband, Brad, leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Preston fell on a rock at camp and is on his way to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.”


Less than an hour later, Brad’s cell rang again. An update.


“He said that Preston broke his jaw,” Brad said with a tone of disbelief. “I can’t believe this. They need us to come get him and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”


Gripped by his words, I

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Today’s Truth

I love you, O LORD, my strength.

Psalm 18:1

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I will never forget how the movie The Wizard of Oz lingered in my heart for days after I first saw it. I was just a child like the heroine Dorothy, who won me over the instant she effortlessly sang the dreamy lines of Somewhere Over the Rainbow. I was moved profoundly by the story of this young girl who had been caught up by a complicated dog matter and a whirling tornado that transported her to a strange and bewildering land far from home.


While watching the adventure play out on television, I joined the story in my imagination. I cheered for Dorothy as she came to the defense of her spirited puppy, Toto, when a witchy woman

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Today’s Truth

I will maintain my love to Him forever, and my covenant with Him will never fail.

Psalm 89:28

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I took a few pictures the other day with what I call my “big girl camera.” You know, the kind with a lens that adjusts to things near and far, making objects change from blurry to clear with a simple twist. It’s amazing to look through a viewfinder and watch what is hazy become crisp and clear.


Lately I feel like I need this feature for my soul.


Have you ever felt that way?


My week has been a bit of a blur and this distracted heart needs a good refocusing. So I turn to the Word of God, and the adjustment begins. A man named Ethan penned psalm 89. He wrote the psalm to celebrate the throne of king David

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Today’s Truth

"Does it seem a small thing to you that the God of Israel has chosen you … to minister to them?"

Numbers 16:9

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A friend sent this text: “I thought of you when I read Numbers 16:9 today!”


“Does it seem a small thing to you that the God of Israel has chosen you from among all the people of Israel to be near Him as you serve in the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the people to minister to them?” (Numbers 16:9, NET Bible)


She texted again: “God chose you to serve Him in this tabernacle of flesh, to stand, talk, and to sing before people to minister to them.”


I thanked her and shook my head. No, it’s not a small thing at all. It is an honor: one that I don’t deserve, but for the healing, life-changing grace of Jesus.


She

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Today’s Truth

Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Joshua 8:1

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We see a vibrant example of courage and obedience in the book and life of Joshua. He served humbly and faithfully in the shadow of Moses until the Lord took Moses home and chose Joshua to be the next leader His people.


I’d be shaking in my size 10 shoes if I had to fill the sandals of Moses! I’m sure that in his humanness Joshua was intimidated too, but he was well trained because he had served under Moses for 40 years. I mean – he wasn’t exactly a spring chicken when God gave him His incredible I-made-you-for-greatness and I’ve-got-your-back motivational talk.


“No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as

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Today’s Truth

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.

Psalm 12:6

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I recently got to the bottom of my favorite liquid foundation. I wanted to make sure it was completely used up before I bought a new one because it’s pretty pricey. I’m willing to pay a higher price for it because it matches my coloring better than any other foundation I’ve ever used. It’s the perfect base for my face because it evens out my skin tone and makes my skin appear flawless. {Which it’s totally not!}


In Psalm 12, David talks about a different kind of foundation: the Word of the Lord. He was frustrated with the people around him and felt alone in his faith. He was tired of lies. Tired of negativity and deceit. In his

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Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.

Luke 2:19

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On the night that divinity merged with fleshy humanity as Jesus came on the scene in a stable, things of earth were shaken and stirred with fresh glory and awesome wonder.


A host of heavenly angels appeared in the sky praising God and celebrating the arrival of the long awaited Messiah. They left their veiled existence to speak and sing to a few lowly shepherds in a field.


Wait, what? Why?


To announce the good news of great joy that came as a gift from God in a cloth-clad baby-package named Jesus. The singing sky creatures pointed the shepherds to the swaddled Savior who was in a manger near by and urged them to go and check out the Christ child.


When

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Today’s Truth

looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2

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A few years ago I was invited to speak and sing in Tennessee at a women’s event. To my delight, my daughter Kennedy was able to join me. The two of us are all about “mommy-daughter time” so we were all smiles as we started off on the three and a half hour drive.


Prior to the trip, I had given Kennedy permission to use my iPad to watch a movie. So once we hit the highway, she got cozy with her pillow, her headphones went on, and her attention became fixed on the rectangular screen in front of her. Random giggles floated from my little movie-watcher as I drove and prayed for the event we were heading to.


It

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Today’s Truth

He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 3:30

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I once listened to a talk on the foundations of contemporary discipleship given by scholar and apologist Ravi Zacharias. Toward the end of his lecture, Ravi spoke of a conversation he had with a former Muslim who had become a Christian. The gentleman humbly explained to Mr. Zacharias that there is a compelling contrast between the way he was taught as a Muslim to view faith and the way he sees faith being perceived in the lives of many Christians.


He drew a circle and a small dot inside the circle.


After this, he drew another circle and a small dot in the other circle.


Then he told Ravi that since he’d become a Christian, what he sees is that the

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Today’s Truth

I will extol You, my God, O King, and I will bless Your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.

Psalm 145:1-3

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I fell in love with my husband more than half-my-life ago, yet with twenty-four years of marriage under our belt, there are still moments that I shake my head and wonder, “who is that man?” And while I may not have every mystery about him solved, I DO know my husband. I know his voice, his touch, and his quirks. I’m can bear witness to his character, his personality, and his ways.


The same is true about my relationship with God. Over the years, I have gotten to know God intimately. I talk with Him regularly in prayer. I’ve learned to hear His voice, to recognize His touch, and to understand many basic truths of who He is.


There are

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Today’s Truth

Are you [actually] unaware or ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance [that is, to change your inner self, your old way of thinking—seek His purpose for your life]?

Romans 2:4

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I was speaking in Georgia that particular weekend. On day two of the retreat I woke up early and turned on the water in the beautiful tiled shower. As it heated up I noticed that the showerhead was mounted on an off-centered pole. It seemed very low, and was spraying straight along the plane of the wall. Odd.


I’m a tall chick, so as I stepped in and positioned myself under the showerhead I had to squat and stand very close to the wall. {Awesome. A quad workout! Shower bonus.}


As I shampooed my hair, my legs were on fire from squatting. And then a thought crossed my mind… MAYBE the showerhead can be raised!


I turned around and tried to

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Today’s Truth

“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…”

Isaiah 43:1-3

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Thunder cracked the sky when a lightning bolt ripped through the roof of our home, igniting a fire that redefined our normal that Tuesday night in March. The house snapped dark and shook. It was as if a bomb had gone off.


“I think we got hit!” Hunter screamed from the family room.


We hurried outside to see if it was true. Our neighbor Jeff ran across his yard to ours yelling a confirmation, “I think you got hit! I saw lightning hit your roof!”


The next few minutes were a blurry race against the clock. Get the dogs out! Get the cars out! I’ll grab the computers!


And that’s pretty much all we had time for.


The flames and smoke kicked

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Today’s Truth

Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:39

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One blessing of being in women’s ministry is the friendships I have with other women in ministry. We are our own little band of sisters. Sisters with a mission! We cheer for one another, cry with one another, laugh with one another, pray for one another, and rejoice with one another.


One sister I’ve had the opportunity to lock arms with for the journey is named Renee. Renee is a talented God-fearing, Bible-teaching speaker and writer.


Several years ago, Renee traveled across the country to speak at a women’s retreat. When she got there, a few unexpected circumstances caused her to send out an “SOS, pray-for-me-now” email to her ministry sisters.


I got the email and hit my knees.


Early the next

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Today’s Truth

Aaron and Hur held his hands up - one on one side, one on the other - so that his hands remained steady until sunset.

Exodus 17:12

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After the Lord had delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt they spent 40 years in the desert. During that time God provided for them both miraculously and practically. One practical way God moved was through His people. Much like today.


Moses was God’s chosen leader, but many others were used as well. We see this demonstrated in Exodus 17 when a savage, nomadic tribe called the Amalekites attacked the Israelites. The Amalekites lived in in the desert region near the Dead Sea and were quick to destroy anyone who got in their space. I imagine that when they went into battle with the Israelites they had no idea that if they messed with Moses and his traveling companions

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Today’s Truth

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

Exodus 14:21-22

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A boy was sitting on a park bench with one hand resting on an open Bible. He was loudly exclaiming his praise to God. “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! God is great!” he yelled without worrying whether anyone heard him or not.


Shortly after, along came a man who had recently completed some studies at a local university. Feeling himself very enlightened in the ways of truth and very eager to show this enlightenment, he asked the boy about the source of his joy.


“Hey” asked the boy in return with a bright laugh, “Don’t you have any idea what God is able to do? I just read that God opened up the waves of the Red Sea and led the whole nation

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8