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Posts by Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth

This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him (Psalm 91:2 NLT).


 


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While at my son Preston’s football game, I had a moving conversation with another team mom. It was the first time we’d ever connected beyond socially expected niceties. Between cheers that went up to our football-playing boys, she stumbled upon the fact that I was a Jesus-loving girl and was excited to share about how God has intimately drawn her heart to his over the past five years… how He met her where she was and ministered to her through the hands of others. How He sparked life into her soul through His Son Jesus Christ.


She was radiant and she spoke with excitement, joy in every sentence, praise on her tongue for the God who gives her strength

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Today’s Truth

Let the nations be glad and sing for joy (Psalm 67:4 NIV).


 


 


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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. All the things.


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

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Today’s Truth

Truly my soul finds rest in God (Psalm 62:1 NIV).


 


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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

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 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” (Psalm 90:14). 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 want this

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Today’s Truth

You are to distinguish between the holy and the common, and between the unclean and the clean… (Leviticus 10:10 ESV).

 



 


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When I think about the books in the Bible that encourage and inspire me, the Old Testament book of Leviticus would rank near the bottom. Not kidding. It’s a tough read.


But it’s important to approach God’s Word holistically, so I have to take the good with the bad… the easy-to-read chapters with the hard-to-get-through chapters. And I’ve found that in doing so, God reveals powerful, life-changing lessons.


Here’s a doozy He taught me recently that will change the way you approach your day.


Leviticus is a historical narrative that reveals God’s holiness in ways large and small. It’s intense. Full of complex instructions (detail upon detail, instruction upon instruction) given from God to Moses so the sins of the Israelites

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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 NIV).


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I was on my way home when my cell phone rang.


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


“Hey, baby! I’ll 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?”


Don’t say no? Really? I’m the parent. You’re the child. C’mon girl.


“Honey, you’re free to tell me if you want something, but you don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t say no to. I’m pulling into the neighborhood and will see you in a minute.”


Later, as I considered the way my daughter positioned her

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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 ESV).

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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 reunions because there was always a seven-layer salad and lots of desserts. All of us kids played fun games that filled us with joy 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 our anchor, and his strength

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Today’s Truth

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26 NIV).

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I’ve always loved connecting dots. In my childhood it was dots with numbers on paper that stranded together to form an object. As I threw my attention to the page and followed the numbered steps, a picture developed. A new creation appeared that brought joy to my little-girl heart.


My grown-up dot-connecting challenges are far from a kid’s fun sheet. There are daily life dots that need connecting, like: family dots, faith dots, emotion dots, relationship dots, job dots, parenting dots and decision dots. I continually struggle to make sense of situations and circumstances and I long for a simply numbered life sheet to give me guidance and direction.


Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wonder how

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Today’s Truth

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT).

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Every family has one… that certain kid who gets injured and banged up more than their fair share. That one who spends the majority of your family’s health care budget on their copay needs because, for whatever reason, accidents mysteriously, regularly, and relentlessly hunt them down and throw a good bit of hurt on them. In our family, this person is my oldest son, Preston.


We’d been up, down, and all around when it comes to Preston’s breaks, bandages, and bruises. So, it was a bit old-hat to be sitting in a small examination room winters ago, waiting to see the doctor about yet another injury.


This one happened in gym class at school.


Preston climbed up a rope, made it

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Today’s Truth

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13 ESV).

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I love spinach. Love it in salads – especially with grilled salmon, goat cheese and pine nuts. I love it on a turkey sandwich with sourdough bread, a thick slice of avocado, and sharp cheddar cheese. I love spinach sautéed with EVOO, garlic and a pinch of Himalayan Sea salt. Straight up, I guess I’m just a spinach-kind-of-girl. Anyone with me?


Now that we’re clear on my love for this wonderful, dark green leafy veggie, imagine my disappointment when I was told by the evening news that I had to throw out the two bags of fresh spinach in my refrigerator! A few years ago, there was an e-coli outbreak that was linked back to some manufacturing plants in

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Today’s Truth

Search Me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24 ESV).

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My son Preston called from the nurse’s office at the middle school early one morning. Here’s how the conversation went:


“Hey mom. It’s Preston. I’m not feeling well, and I have a temperature of 96.5. Can you come get me?”


“96.5 degrees?” I asked. “Honey, that’s below normal! That doesn’t sound right.”


“I know,” he said, “but I don’t feel well. Can you please come pick me up?”


“Sure, honey. I’ll be right there.”


I chuckled the whole way to the school at what he had said. Surely he misread the thermometer! A normal temperature is 98.6 degrees. Something was off.


I got to the school in a North Carolina minute and headed straight to the nurse’s office. While Preston packed his bag to

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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

“Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him” (Matthew 3:3b NIV).

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I like preparing things. I like to cook. I love hosting gatherings, planning party details, and preparing for guests. When my kids graduated from high school, I spent countless hours prepping for the celebrations we hosted. When my son got married, we hosted a bridal shower and the rehearsal dinner. Each party was packed with preparation, and each 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 different type of preparation than my domestic kind. They are serious about vetting each location regarding security. They vet out the people that will

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Today’s Truth

Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest field (Luke 10: NIV).

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Several years ago, when our neighborhood hosted a garage sale, I rallied my family to set up a water/soda stand to raise some money for a local charity. While this may sound somewhat noble and exciting, I assure you, it was a brutal battle of stubborn wills. My kids fought me the whole way to the curb and tested my love-o-meter to the max.


Quite frankly, I wanted to fold up my card table, put away the homemade signs, write a personal check to the charity, and call it a day. It would’ve been easier. Yet in the tangled middle of my frustration, I felt God nudge my heart.


I was reminded that in order to serve Jesus I needed

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Today’s Truth

The eyes of every-one in the synagogue were fastened on him (Luke 4:20 NIV).

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Long, long ago, royalty would send letters and packages with trusted servants, often having sealed their personal communications with wax and a signet ring. Before our current American postal system was in place, the Pony Express is how letters and packages got from place to place. Now, deliveries are not only physical, but can even be sent electronically.


I love deliveries. Doesn’t matter if they’re from Amazon, UPS, Fed Ex or the local pizza shop, I relish the transfer of goods that conveniently finds its way to my front door. And flowers! I love when flowers are delivered too! Although that very, very, very rarely happens around here as the hubs is not the romantic type. Oh, well!


Whether it’s

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Today’s Truth

Exalt the Lord our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the Lord our God is holy (Psalm 99:9 NIV).

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When my son Hunter was ten, he came to me with a humble confession. He said that because he hasn’t been spending much time with God lately, he had been grumpier and grumpier. He quietly admitted he had been mean to his siblings and had said some unkind things. With amazing insight, he connected the amount of time he spent with God to his behaviors … recognizing that there was a direct correlation.


Boy, can I relate.


I told Hunter that I experience the exact same thing in my life. That when I don’t carve out time in my day to spend with the Lord, I often say and do things I shouldn’t. For that matter, even when I do

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Today’s Truth

Blessed are all who fear the lord, who walk in His ways. You will eat the fruit of your labor. Blessings and prosperity will be yours (Psalm 128:1-2 NIV).

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My husband Brad and I were the poster kids for financial stewardship. Larry Burkett junkies and cash-budget-nerds from the day we exchanged our vows. Thirteen years into marriage, we got a bit unsatisfied with our bank numbers and borrowed to invest in several lots of land.


The plan? Flip them for a quick and hefty profit. Change the bank numbers. Secure our financial future.


Our intentions were sincere. Brad wanted to be able to retire from corporate by the age of 50 so he could join me in full time ministry. Surely God would bless and prosper such a noble mission, right?


Yes. He did. By allowing us to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars and endure excruciating years of class

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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 NIV).

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I’ve always been an athlete. Growing up, I played on different sports teams all year round, but volleyball has always been my jam. I played in college and coached 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 volleyball 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 hit into the net instead of over the net.


There are still times when I miss a serve.


No matter how much I’ve grown as a player,

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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 NIV)!

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My hubs and I were obsessed with the TV show Person of Interest. The plot is fast-paced and features two main characters: a former CIA agent, and a mysterious, tech-savvy billionaire. The duo prevents crimes using technology and vigilante justice.


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 didn’t see while watching Person of Interest was people in danger, casually hanging out with their hands in their pockets.


When we have our hands in our pockets, it means we’re relaxed… that our guard is down… that we’re neutral – not on the offense

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Today’s Truth

On high, he summons heaven and earth in order to judge his people (Psalm 50:4 CSB).

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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, 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 our lips, but

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Today’s Truth

God is love (1 John 4:8b NIV).

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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

Jesus replied, ‘Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching’ (John 14:23a, NIV).

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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 have a deadline to meet. Decline. Sometimes a call comes in when I’m mid-conversation with a friend or when I’m connecting with my family. Decline.


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. Times when I just don’t feel like doing what I know God wants me to do. Times when I don’t want to hear the still small voice that whispers to my

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Today’s Truth

How Awesome is the Lord Most High, the great King over all the earth (Psalm 47:2 NIV).

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For our 20th wedding anniversary, Brad and I celebrated by taking a trip to several cities. We painstakingly plotted touring strategies in order to see the sites, view the views, eat the foods, experience the local charms, and soak in the unfamiliar cultures as best we could. Each city boasted different personalities and attractions, but one thing was consistent about our approach in every location: we climbed to high places.


And. We. Climbed.


We climbed and we climbed… thousands of steps. I kid you not! We climbed creaky, dusty, windy staircases in old cathedrals and up small steps in tall buildings. We climbed fancy-schmancy staircases in opulent castles, up ancient stone staircases in an arena, up earthen lava trails on

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Today’s Truth

This God, our God forever and ever— he will always lead us (Psalm 48:14 CSB).

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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.


Brides are often consumed with wedding planning. They dream of details with 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 wedding day is special. They know this is their day for the spotlight. Their day to shine.


A

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Today’s Truth

Save us and help us with your right hand, that those you love may be delivered (Psalm 108:6 NIV).

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Back when jelly bracelets, Aqua Net hairspray, blue eyeshadow and parachute pants were a thing, I wrestled with frustration every time radio disc jockeys talked over the beginning or ending of a song.


Why?


Because before the days of digital, I used to record songs on audio cassettes with my handy-dandy cassette recorder so I could listen at leisure.


Truth be told, we technically did have the option to buy a 45 and spin the song, but I had very little money. So instead, I’d hover my pointer finger over the red-circled record button and wait for a popular song to come on the radio.


When the music began, I’d press the magic button, then dance giddy knowing I’d soon be able

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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 the 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

He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting (Psalm 104:19 ESV).

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Gravity. It’s not just the title of amazing songs written by John Mayer and Sara Bareilles, though I completely love both of these songs. Gravity is a mysterious force that holds the universe together. One that sustains flight and orbit. A force that cannot be seen yet cannot be denied. A bit similar to grace!


Gravity echoes the majesty and mystery of our unsearchable Creator. It’s a celestially adhesive influencer. Powerful. Essential. Incredible.


Here on the pale blue dot gravity keeps humanity grounded and presses fleshy body parts to plunge and sag with age. In the distance she spins the world on its axis and dances between the barrier of earth and sky.


The Psalmist wrote of it beautifully. “He set

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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 ESV).

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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 descendant 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

But Phinehas stood up and intervened, and the plague was checked (Psalm 106:30 NIV).

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Phineas and Ferb was one of my absolute favorite cartoons when my kids were little. Seriously. The plots were intriguing, and the characters had whimsy, depth and layer-after-layer of peculiar personality. To top it off, they had a pet platypus named Perry who was actually a secret agent. Is that not epic?


This show was creatively crafted for children and parents. The writers of Phineas and Ferb didn’t forget that adults were watching too. They remembered us, and cleverly wove subtle humor into episodes that entertained both the littles and the larger humans who were in charge of the remote. Well played, writing team. Well played!


Aside from this likable cartoon character, Phinehas isn’t a name you hear much in

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Today’s Truth

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).

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My husband and I were in a waiting period. His company had gone through a merger and was collapsing positions and territories, which left his employment in jeopardy. For months we didn’t know if Brad would keep his job or if he’d need to find another one. During that time, we had to choose to trust God. And it wasn’t easy.


Choosing to trust God is so daily, isn’t it?


When I only looked at the “what-ifs” of Brad’s job situation – the possible unemployment, the stress of job-hunting, the financial strain of unemployment, and the uncertainty of the economy – my faith and God-confidence shook and waned. Fear and doubt knocked on the door of my heart, suitcases in

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Today’s Truth

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon (Psalm 92:12 NIV).

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There’s an abundance of palm trees in Israel. I’m not sure why that surprised me as we traveled throughout the Holy Land, but it did. Not only was I blown away by the populous palm presence, but I was also blown away that palm trees don’t just produce coconuts! Did you know this? There’s actually a type of palm that produces dates.


What? Yep. Date palms are all over Israel. Farm after farm of them. And here, my whole life I just gave palm trees coconut creds.


Silly, Gwen.


I learned a few other interesting insights about palms on the day we visited Magdala, an ancient city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee, near the small, present day

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Today’s Truth

Today’s Truth Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings (Psalm 61:4 ESV)!

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Our boo boo bunny was pink and lived in the freezer. When my kids were small, I loved to take them to the park for play dates. Often there was at least a dab of drama, usually because someone got hurt. When they fell and skinned their knees, my littles didn’t run to their friends… they ran to me. They knew I would help clean up boo boos, get them a Toy Story bandage, wipe away their tears and hold them. Because I’m their mom. The one who loves them and could be trusted to care for them.


In Psalm 61:4, the psalmist cried to God saying that he longed to take refuge in the shelter of His wings.

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Today’s Truth

He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed (Psalm 107:29 NIV).

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Some called it a teeter-totter, but I called it a seesaw and it was one of my favorite playground amenities in elementary school. There were always risks involved when it came to mounting a teeter-totter during recess. If you rode it with someone heavier than you, you struggled to touch your feet to the ground. If you rode it with someone lighter than you, you struggled to get off the ground. If you rode it with someone who was untrustworthy, they could ditch you while you’re in the air and send you crashing to the ground. The best rides on a teeter-totter back in the day were usually with a trusted friend who was about the same size.


Up

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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 who lived on a farm. I didn’t much care if these people were nice. I didn’t much care what activities we would do. It wasn’t the beach, and I was disappointed to be in Ohio for a vacation. (No offense, Ohio people.) But I heard they had horses, and that was enough to calm my grump a bit because I was giddy

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Today’s Truth

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand (Psalm 121:5 NIV).

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The sun’s intensity pushed me toward any shaded spot I could find. We were just south of the Judean desert, close to the Dead Sea, in Israel. And it was H-O-T, fry-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot. From the heights of Masada, we were able to see for miles. Beige and brown. An eye-full of arid. Heights and depths. Dust and dirt. Almost no life, save that of a few date palms. The smatterings of shade I found made the desert heat less draining and more bearable, but those pockets of reprieve were hard to come by.


The writer of Psalm 102 was looking for shade as well. (Pause now to read Psalm 102 in its entirety if possible!)


4 “My heart is suffering, withered like

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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 NIV).

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I’ve heard it said, “If you don’t know your purpose, you’ll be distracted by the voices.” The same principle applies to the purpose of our words. Oh, how I wish I had this perfected. But I don’t. My words still put me to shame sometimes. It is only by the grace of God that I can speak in ways that honor God.


Without God’s intervention my sparky emotions can become a destructive force just looking for a place to happen. Especially with my family. But thankfully, God helps me when I look to Him. And when I go off track, the Lord convicts me… reminds me that I am His… that His Spirit is within me, and that His

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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’m 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 wild 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 recognized

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Today’s Truth

Let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12b NIV).

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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 rises 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 (1 Timothy 6:15b-16 NKJV)

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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

Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife (Proverbs 21:19 NIV).

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My nerves were raw because of the faint, repetitive sound in the background of our conversation. As I sat in the kitchen talking to my mom, the faucet behind her was dripping… and dripping… and dripping.


It. Drove. Me. Bananas.


I got up and tightened the handle.


It didn’t help.


I wanted to grab the nearest screwdriver and fix it. But I couldn’t. I’m not a sink-fixer. I cannot express to you how severely lacking my sink-fixing skills are. And although I’m sure there is an online instructional video that could teach me how to fix that faucet in five quick steps, I had neither the desire to learn nor the patience to try.


Drip. Drip. Drip.


Isn’t it amazing how something so small

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Today’s Truth

I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes (Psalm 119:59 NIV).

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I gave her instructions for the job. “Remove the chairs from the room, vacuum thoroughly, and then I will show you how to mop the wood floor.” Once my daughter got through the first two of three steps, I joined the cleaning party to teach the age-old-mom-class, “Mopping 101.”


Class began with a few mopping fundamentals. “Shake the bottle of polish before you use it. Do one small section at a time. Mop along the grain of the wood. Put some muscle into it and always – always take a step back to see if you missed any spots.” I gave a quick demonstration, then Kennedy took the mop and got busy on her weekend wood-floor polishing project.


As I

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Today’s Truth

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint (Isaiah 40:29-31 NIV).

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Every morning my coffee maker is programmed to turn itself on so it’s ready to go as soon as I am. I’m a total coffee girl. I love a piping-hot dark roast with half and half, and I struggle to function without my first cup of coffee. I crave that first sip and relish the warmth of the mug in my hands. It’s my warm, happy friend. My mornings just wouldn’t be the same without coffee.


I want to have this same attitude about Jesus. I should wake up each morning bursting at the seams to be with God, to be in His presence, to listen for His still small voice, to savor Him. Yet on many days I

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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’d watched a movie about the end times that left me longing for a few answers. 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 for

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Today’s Truth

But when I am afraid, I will put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3 ESV).

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Each day brings fresh possibilities and opportunities for us to trust God. As I think of what lies ahead today and in the upcoming new year, I’m reminded of a lesson God taught me years ago through a team building exercise called the Trust Fall…


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

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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 NIV).

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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’s 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 of humanity’s

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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 the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3 NIV).

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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 was 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.

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Today’s Truth

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2a NIV).

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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 have always been 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, put her headphones on and fixed her attention on the 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 was the first week

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Today’s Truth

...holiness adorns Your house for endless days, O Lord (Psalm 93:5 NIV).

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After lightning struck and the fire destroyed seventy percent of my home, we rebuilt. Every item seared, soaked and smoked was lifted and sifted. Ashes were removed. All things broken and tattered were excavated and evaluated in pursuit of total renewal and restoration.


Then a new plan was put in place.


A plan paved with promise and purpose.


It was time to rebuild. Time for prayers of protection and direction. Time for beauty to rise. Time for fresh peace and paint to adorn rooms that had been wrecked by a storm that brought fire.


Echoes of healing and hope filled the hallways of home with each swing of the hammer and hanging of drywall.


Relief and resilience rose as painters brushed beams and

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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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I’ve heard it said that in the cookie of life, friends are the chocolate chips. This rings true in my life. I’m thankful to have girlfriends that hit their knees when I hit a wall. I do the same for them. We have each other’s backs in thick and thin.


Moses had some friends that had his back in hard times too. After the Lord delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, they spent 40 years in the desert. During that time God provided for them 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

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Today’s Truth

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28 NIV).

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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 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 knots.

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Today’s Truth

Do you not know that in a race all runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24 NIV).

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Before our first child was born, Brad and I took a series of classes to prepare us for childbirth. My Lamaze instructor told us I would need to breathe through each contraction while in labor. She gave specific instructions. “Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth.” “When you inhale, allow your belly to expand first, then your


chest.” I learned that the way I breathe would affect the way I experienced labor.


I spent time learning how to breathe in a whole new way – so my labor breaths could be purposed and controlled. This required discipline. I practiced, and I practiced the special breathing techniques in preparation for when labor pains came a-knocking.


On the day we welcomed

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Today’s Truth

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2 NIV).

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One of the things we’ve always done at dinnertime as a family is a daily recap. Simple stuff: we talk through the things that happened that day. When my kids were in elementary school, one of the first things they talked about was who got to be the line leader that day. It was a pretty big deal, especially to young Smiths who really, really loved being the line leader. (I don’t know where they get that . . .)


Okay, I need to be honest here. I like to be the leader. Following is not necessarily my strong suit. I like to be in charge and in control. Especially on the road. If you and I have somewhere

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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 NIV).

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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 depression.


He felt alone.


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 and served God. I can totally relate to this guy. He’s my kind of people.


The story of Elijah begins in 1 King 17 when

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Today’s Truth

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:33 NIV).

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When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to twirl in the grass. With arms outstretched, I’d spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, invigorating and a fun, simple way to spend a lazy summer day in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania.


Now that I’m older, I can’t handle spinning in circles. My body rejects any twisty endeavor. Nausea quickly sets in and reminds me that I’m not a young “spinny-girl” anymore.


Several years ago, while my family and I were at an amusement park, in an effort to gain favor in the eyes of my kids and earn

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Today’s Truth

Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song (Psalm 95:2 NIV).

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It’s not every day you come close to death, especially when you’re young.


It was a beautiful spring day in Akron, Ohio. I’d just gotten off work and was excited to meet with a manager of the restaurant where the rehearsal dinner for my wedding would be held. One of my bridesmaids was going with me and we were eager to sample the food and select the final menu.


Michele and I met up in the parking lot of my workplace then she followed behind my car in hers as we headed to dinner. The restaurant was in an area called “the valley,” and there was a long, steep hill leading down to it. At the bottom of the hill

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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. “I love this necklace! Why would You ask me to do that?”


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


He was nudging me to give up something that meant a lot to me. And the Spirit prompt didn’t even make sense. It seemed bizarre and totally random.


Reluctantly, I chose to obey.


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

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Today’s Truth

When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your unfailing love, Lord, supported me (Psalm 94:18, NIV).

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I can fall with the best of them. Really. It’s almost a spiritual gift for me.


When I was in second grade, Mr. Traynor came once a week to take me out of Mrs. Bryan’s classroom for an “extra phys-ed class.” I loved getting out of bookwork to juggle bean bags and play fun games with Mr. Traynor in the gym, and I thought it was so cool that I had the privilege of extra playtime. Yay me.


Years later I found out that “Mr. Traynor time” was actually a special school program to help kids with under-developed coordination. Yay me. Ahem.


Back in those young, uncoordinated days of mine, my family vacationed at the South Jersey shore. We stayed just

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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 NIV).

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While walking into the opening session of a conference, my husband’s cell phone rang. He answered the call, then as the emcee welcomed us to the weekend, Brad leaned over and whispered in my ear. “Preston fell on a rock at camp. They’re taking him to urgent care to get stitches in his chin.”


Deep breath in.


Less than an hour later, my husband’s phone rang again. “The doctor said Preston actually broke his jaw. They need us to pick him up and take him to Charlotte. He might need surgery.”


Gripped by his words, I struggled to think clearly … A broken jaw? Surgery? It was supposed to be just a few stitches! Bags were packed quickly and by the

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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 ESV).

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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” (Gen. 1:26–27, ESV).


My brain doesn’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how to process this mystery. God’s 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

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him (Psalm 62:5, NIV 1984).

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I don’t know if you’re  a Star Wars fan or not, but my kids certainly are. I’ve spent many nights hunkered down watching lightsabers save the day.


There’s a scene in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope – where Princess Leia, Han, Chewbacca, and Luke found themselves on the detention level of the Death Star in a trash compactor whose walls were closing in quickly.


Their efforts to slow the walls down were ineffective.


Leia and Han tried every way conceivable to brace the walls with something to stop the progression of imminent 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

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Today’s Truth

Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name (Psalm 86:11, NIV).

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“Mom! We have to go buy sponge rollers! They’re incredible! Last night, before we went to bed, Mrs. Robertson rolled our hair in sponge rollers and when we woke up this morning our hair was curly!”


My flaxen-haired little girl bounced with uncontainable effervescence.


“Wow! That’s exciting, Kennedy,” I replied amused. “I used sponge rollers when I was a little girl too… but I wasn’t a big fan. They made my head hurt when I laid down. Are you sure you want sponge rollers?”


“Yes, mom! I loved having curly hair! It was so great. We just have to get some!”


So, the very next day we went to the store and got us some.


Fast forward to that evening. I gave her

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Today’s Truth

I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me (Philippians 3:12, NIV).

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The race started like any other race: runners at the starting line, fans in the stands, excitement, and anticipation thick in the air. But this race was a big one. An indoor track and field conference championship for the collegiate women’s 600-meter run.


At the sound of the gun, the runners took off – each with a heart longing to win the race – each competing fiercely for the prize. Just three quick laps stood between the four athletes and their destinies. It was clear from the beginning this race would be tight.


My family and I watched online as the long and lean runners vied for the lead. In unison, we gasped with horror when, as they began the

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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, 2:14-16a, ESV).

Friend to Friend


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 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 take you

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Today’s Truth

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us (Hebrews 12:1, ESV).

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Both his stature and demeanor were unimpressive to elite breeders. He was exercised with harsh tactics, under cruel restrictions, and publicly dismissed by a professionally acclaimed trainer. Eventually, the horse, Seabiscuit, became a wild, bitter, and angry animal that was considered worthless to the racing world and was sold for a very small price.


The new owner, a wealthy auto salesman, hired an experienced trainer to work with the racehorse… a man who others would no longer hire… a man who, like the horse, had been beaten up by life a bit.


This new trainer had his hands chock full of rebellion with the stallion, but he patiently and painstakingly trained him as best he could. He watched closely as

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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, NIV).

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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?


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 not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless” (James 1:19-20, 26).


I know this verse. Maybe you do too. Maybe you

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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, ESV).

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Every time I tell my redemption story, I have to swallow my pride. Why? Because my past includes ugliness, conflict, and rebellion that I’m not proud of. As much as I’d like to sweep it all under the rug the Lord wants me to share. Why? Because the brokenness of my past magnifies the beauty of His grace.


The New Testament begins with the book of Matthew and a lineage that showcases more drama than a Hallmark movie. The book starts 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!)


Scandal steps onto the

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Today’s Truth

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had (Acts 4:32, NIV).

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“What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” My husband and I used to joke that this was the unspoken motto of our kids when they were little. Toddlers have no qualms about grabbing a toy, snack, or any random item of interest from other people or pets. It’s rare to see a child share her cherished possessions generously.


It can be hard for all of us to share.


Media bombards us with marketing campaigns that tell us we are the center of the universe. “You, you, you, you, you!”


Time and time again we hear that this life is all about us. The more we have, the happier we’ll be. The bigger that bank account, the more blessed the

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Today’s Truth

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7, NIV).

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My paternal ancestors came to America from Europe in the 1700s and settled just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Hanging on the wall of my childhood home is a faded-with-time land survey of our property, signed by William Penn, and dated 1773… that’s before the Declaration of Independence was even signed!


Our house was a red brick century home built by my great-great-great-something-or-other back in 1830 to replace the log cabin that had burnt down. It’s the same house my father grew up in. And his father. And so on. It’s a cool old house, built to endure fire and high winds, with six-brick-thick door frames.


My siblings and I played on acres of wide-open spaces and hid in great hiding

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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, NIV).

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I took a few pictures with what I call my “big girl camera.” You know, the old-school 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.


I often 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. Psalm 89 was penned by a man named Ethan. He wrote the psalm to celebrate the throne of king David

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Today’s Truth

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day (Psalm 91:5, NIV).

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Basketball is a game of hustle, teamwork and strategy, all of which I love. My introduction to the sport, however, was a good bit lame and un-strategic. Not sure why, but my parents signed me up for a rec league team in the fifth grade where I was the only girl on my team. Possibly the only girl in the league.


Now, before you go waving your girl-power pompoms and breaking out in resounding choruses of R-E-S-P-E-C-T, let me assure you it was neither pretty, powerful nor pompom worthy, because at that point I knew more about quantum physics than the game of basketball. Yep. I knew nothing.


Eventually, however, I went on to play for my junior high and

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Today’s Truth

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them (Acts 16:25, NIV).

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When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, our family got an up close and personal lesson on faith. Trials can lead us to a greater dependency on God and a deeper trust in His sovereignty if we let them. I’ve learned that in every situation I 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 trusting that His understanding is enough for the both of us – even if it hurts – even if fear 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.

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Today’s Truth

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22, ESV).

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My husband is a wise man, and God has placed him as the head of our home, so I like to talk through difficult things with him. He gives me a perspective that’s often quite different from mine.


When I need to hash out confusion, I sometimes go to the small group of women I call my besties. They’re godly. They love me. They like me. They laugh at and with me. They pray for me. They mentor me and provide counsel.


Now, it’s true: 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

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Today’s Truth

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are (1 John 3:1, NIV).

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I am the middle child of five born to my parents in eight short years. Our house buzzed with activity, sibling rivalry, and noise. Stadiums full of noise. I was one girl among a handful of kids who wanted to catch the eye of my busy, work-a-holic daddy.


While I knew he loved me, I wanted so much more from my dad.


I wanted to hear his love, to feel his love, to be sheltered by his love, and to be adored.


One of my favorite childhood memories is when my big, strong father would take both of my hands in his and then begin to spin. Running in circles around him, I would quickly gain momentum and take flight. Round

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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.


David prays unfiltered. He’s brutally honest with God. He says what he means to say! In a way I admire but hesitate to emulate. He doesn’t

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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, NIV).

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I was down to the last few drops 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, making it 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 frustration

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Today’s Truth

The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you (Deuteronomy 33:27a, NIV).

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My curiosity begs to understand life. My mind longs for logic. When I was a child, I asked a million questions. Why is the sky blue? Are all angels 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… and certainly don’t ask me to tune in next

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Today’s Truth

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9, ESV).

Friend to Friend


I became a watering girl that summer.


Not because my black thumb suddenly turned green, but because my husband had ordered a heap of mulch and I was determined to not have a lame bare patch in the landscaped section of the house. No sir-eee! Mulch should be the accessory, not the main feature. My opinion.


So, in response to the mulch mountain, I drove my spontaneous little self to the gardening store and bought us some new bushes, a few flowers, and a tree. And I quickly learned that once all of said planty-purchases were in the ground, they required… gasp… maintaining so they could take root.


Totally cool, I thought as I strapped on my big girl panties. I

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Today’s Truth

The LORD your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend


My friend Brad has a daughter named Elizabeth. When Elizabeth was one year old, Brad and his wife taught her some sign language. For the word please, they chose to have her rub her chest. So, as Brad and Jamie taught Elizabeth to say please, they rubbed their own chests and said “please.” Simple enough.


Elizabeth had a favorite toy. It’s a plastic knobby toy that holds colorful rings. You know the one with the yellow pole and white base that, without the rings, loosely resembles a trumpet. (C’mon, use your imagination!) So, being the fun, creative parents that Brad and Jamie are, they’d often dump off the rings and playfully hold up Elizabeth’s toy and make a trumpet

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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, NIV).

Friend to Friend


When I coached high school volleyball, one of the games we played in practice was called Queen of the Court, the goal of which is simple: gain and keep the lead. Dominate. Serve more aggressively, pass more accurately, set more strategically, and hit harder than your opponents.


My life sometimes feels like a game of Queen of the Court.


I strive, set goals, create a game plan, and execute the strategy. I long to be my best (a good thing), but at times my goal changes from wanting to experience all of God’s best for me to wanting to be THE best (not so good). Look at me, everyone! Check out my people, my position, my possessions, my trophies-of-greatness…


I have

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Today’s Truth

A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed (Proverbs 11:25, NIV).

Friend to Friend


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 bestie 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 obviously

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Today’s Truth

God, knock the teeth out of their mouths (Psalm 58:6, CSB).

Friend to Friend


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

Don’t turn to the right or to the left (Proverbs 4:27, CSB).

Friend to Friend


Knowing her soul was filled with sorrow, I sent my girlfriend a few texts with links to worship songs, hoping they would cover 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 tens of thousands with a raw reminder of the frailty of life.


One treasure

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Today’s Truth

Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead (James 2:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend


When I was swept up in the whimsical world of wedding planning every detail mattered. I was excited to be marrying Brad Smith and wanted our wedding day to be a magical springboard to a life filled with amazing adventures and deep years of God-centered love. From the cake choices – to the dress choices – to the music choices – to the guest list choices – to the bridal registry choices, I was all about the business of wedding prep.


The bride of Christ is purposed to be all about the Father’s business. To prep for eternity by making choices to bring Him glory throughout our days. To intentionally worship the Lord through our service.


We are called to

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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, NIV).

Friend to Friend


Debbie felt worthless for years. She was verbally abused and emotionally abandoned in her marriage from the very beginning, but Debbie stayed in the marriage for years, though she was wronged and mistreated.


The shame of it all kept Debbie silent and trapped in an unsafe marriage. Behind closed doors she endured verbal cruelty, and she believed the lies of her abuser. When her husband was in a good mood, things were good at home. But if he was in a foul mood, Debbie bore the brunt of his abuse and anger.


She endured the abuse for a long time before she left. Three kids, twenty-plus years, many affairs, and many lies later, Debbie finally had enough. She mustered up

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Today’s Truth

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV).

Friend to Friend


I admit, I’m a sucker for the makeover shows. It doesn’t matter what kind… home makeovers, fashion makeovers… or even the shows that take a person from drab to fab. I just love to see an amazing transformation! Don’t you?


A few years ago, we “transformed” our family a bit when we added a bouncy little puppy to the mix. Fun, right? Mostly, yes, but there is a bit more to the story…


Let’s just say that it took a good while for our precious new barky addition to get the hang of potty training and healthy chewing patterns. Our little, little dog caused us big, big problems when he chewed up and stained our family room carpet.


It. Looked. Awful.


Accidents

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Today’s Truth

…but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm (Proverbs 1:33, NIV).

Friend to Friend


Let’s face it. Life can be scary.


We watch the news and feel like Chicken Little. The sky always seems to be falling.


We lose sleep over our loved ones, our lost ones, and our little ones.


We worry about the economy, finances, and employment.


We shake and shudder when more medical testing is required, when the test comes back positive or the diagnosis is not favorable.


We are anxious with “what ifs” and “whys.”


It’s understandable that we wrestle with the opponent of fear. The world is broken, and life isn’t a Hallmark movie or a fairy tale. (Although I do love a good Hallmark movie!) In the same token, while I realize it’s completely normal for us to process emotions of anxiety

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Today’s Truth

The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).

Friend to Friend


My kids are both sweet and sour on a regular basis… as are all of us. Depends on the minute. Depends on the day. Every once in a happy while, however, one of my children surprises me with an unexpectedly sweet moment that becomes a heart treasure.


I had one of those special conversations many moons ago with my middle child Hunter when he was just nine years old. It was bedtime. Teeth were brushed. Jammies were on. Prayers had been prayed. The smell of shampoo lingered from his freshly showered head. As I brushed a stray hair from his eye, the sweet conversation began with an innocent question…


“Mommy, do you know what I love?”


“What do you love, Hunter?”

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Today’s Truth

They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water (Jeremiah 2:13, NIV).

Friend to Friend


Oh, you and I are such a thirsty gaggle of girlfriends, aren’t we? Even as believers, we deal with emptiness and bow to idols other than God. We place our faith in the economy, in our finances, health, employment status, politics, marital status, and relationships. When they fail or fumble, we fall apart … and no wonder! They’re all broken cisterns and were never meant to be our source of hope or satisfaction.


Jeremiah knew a little something about broken cisterns. He 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

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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 8:39b, NLT)

Friend to Friend


Renee speaks at Christian women’s events. Several years ago, she 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 week, Renee sent us an email thanking us for praying and telling us what God did in the hearts of women at that retreat. She spoke about the lies that we believe as women and told personal and biblical stories that illuminated God’s truth. Then, at the final session, Renee asked the women to consider what they believed to be true about themselves.


Her challenge went something like this:

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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, ESV)

Friend to Friend


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 reunions because there was always a seven-layer salad and lots of desserts. All of us kids played fun games that filled us with joy 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 our anchor, and his strength

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Today’s Truth

Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable.

(Psalm 145:3, NASB)

Friend to Friend


I fell in love with my husband Brad more than half-my-life ago, yet with twenty-seven 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 can bear witness to his character, his personality, his strengths, weaknesses and ways.


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

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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 43:1b-3a, NIV).

Friend to Friend


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 2017. 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

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Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart (Luke 2:19, NIV).

Friend to Friend


Have you ever wanted to travel back in time to witness the celestial celebration that took place in Bethlehem the night Jesus was born? Now, I’m a bit fussy about fashion, but I’d even consider donning a shepherd’s garb and hanging out with a few sheep for that opportunity!


To see angels fill the sky, to hear the voice of God through the cries of a baby.


To catch a glimpse of the brilliant Star of David, and to satisfy my curiosity as to what exactly a host of heavenly angels sounds like.


To soak in the amazingness of it all.


Oh, and to talk to Mary!


Wouldn’t that be incredible to hear what she was thinking as she witnessed, and took part

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Today’s Truth

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1, NIV).

Friend to Friend


As the basketball game heated up and the man-to-man coverage got up close and personal, he took an elbow to the ear. Seconds later his world went silent on the trauma side. Stunned, he continued to play and pointed to his ear as he ran down the court telling his coach about the situation.


“I can’t hear in my left ear!”


Wait, what? I read his lips from the stands and wondered if I accurately interpreted what my son had just communicated. (My stomach did the I-hate-when-my-kids-get-hurt twist.)


“I think he just told coach that he can’t hear out of his left ear!?” I said to the friend beside me.


My guess proved to be accurate. Preston came out of the game

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Today’s Truth

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

(Matthew 6:33, NIV)

Friend to Friend


When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was to twirl in the grass. With arms out-stretched, I’d spin around and around until I was silly-dizzy, and then fall to the ground with a giggly heart. It was thrilling, invigorating and a fun, simple way to spend a lazy summer day in the rolling hills of southwestern Pennsylvania.


Now that I’m older, I can’t handle spinning in circles. My body rejects any twisty endeavor. Nausea quickly sets in and reminds me that I’m not a young “spinny-girl” anymore.


Several years ago, while my family and I were at an amusement park, in an effort to gain favor in the eyes of my kids and earn

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Today’s Truth

For I know that my Redeemer lives.

(Job 19:25a, NIV)

Friend to Friend


God can restore any life.


In the beginning, when rebellion collided with perfection and darkened the hearts of humanity, God set in motion a plan of redemption. His plan was Jesus – the one who gives beauty for ashes, comfort for mourning, and freedom to the shackled.


Scripture introduces us to a guy who experienced God’s redemption in deep ways. His name was Job. Job was a good man. I mean a really good man. No joke – the Bible says so! This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1b). He lived life the right way. He honored God, loved his family and was both faithful and patient. Good man.


You’d think that because Job

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Today’s Truth

Have you ever felt lonely, 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, several years ago, when I wanted to run – hard and fast – from life as I knew it.  I had just birthed three babies in three  and a half years.  Then, to everybody’s surprise – especially mine – my husband got a promotion that moved our young family across the country to a place where we knew no one. I had two babies in diapers and one “big boy” struggling to say goodbye to his binky.  There was always a diaper to change, a mouth to feed or a

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Today’s Truth

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”


Psalm 91:1-2



 


 


Today’s Truth

Several months ago I went to Dallas to be interviewed on LIFE Today (with James and Betty Robison) and to write a few songs for my next CD. The genre of songs for this project is worship. I’m prayerfully writing these songs so that they might be sung by the church for the glory of God. I’m asking the LORD to breathe an anointing on each word and note so that the songs might be used to connect the heart of worshipers to the heart of the worthy One. Here’s one of my new favorites…


My Strength, My Song
by Jourdan Johnson & Gwen Smith


You speak to my weakness
You tell me Your grace is strength
Your power

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Today’s Truth

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; 2 for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. 3 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false. 5 He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior. 6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.


Psalm 24:1-6, NIV



Amen


Today’s Truth

GiGs,


I’m humbled to share this interview that airs today on the Life Today TV program. Please join me in asking the LORD to bring many hearts to healing, hope and restoration through this testimony of redemption. “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!” (Psalm 107:2)


You can watch the program online here: http://lifetoday.org/video/from-broken-to-beautiful/



Feel free to share it with someone who might need to hear this word of hope.


In His Grip of Grace,


Gwen


 


Today’s Truth

May we never stop inviting the LORD to speak into our hearts.


Lord, please forgive us for the times when life gets so noisy that we forget to listen.
In Jesus Name, amen.




Today’s Truth

Today is a big day. Really big. CAPITAL LETTER BIG!! 😉 Why? Today our new, interactive GiG devotional book, TRUSTING GOD, A GIRLFRIEND IN GOD FAITH ADVENTURE releases. Woohoo! (Happy dance with us!)


God called Sharon, Mary and I to write this. We believe that the message of this book will bring women to a deeper place of faith because it is stuffed with Scriptures and stories that are purposed to connect the heart of each reader to the heart of God.


Because you are a friend to this ministry: we do life together. So that makes you the best people to share this book with those in your circle of influence! Bottom line: we need your help in getting the word

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Today’s Truth

There always seem to be a million voices vying for my attention. Can you relate? True confessions: I often choose good things instead of the Best thing. Instead of the Best One.


I wish it weren’t the case, but it is. I get easily distracted and frazzled. I never seem to satisfy my to-do list and I struggle with time management. It surprises me continually that God would choose to use a cluttered woman such as me. But His grace abounds. It reaches my most unfocused, unproductive heart places. Grace covers my mess and uncovers His faithfulness.


God’s loving goodness constantly draws me back to His peace.


Oh, how I want to live life in simple grace. To listen intently to the heartbeat

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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