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Posts by Holley Gerth

Today’s Truth

I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I find myself (Philippians 4:11, CSB).

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I recently learned a lesson that involved sharp knives, a little shouting and a lot of heat. Thankfully, all of this happened on a screen. As I watched an episode of Chef’s Table, the featured chef described going far away only to realize what he wanted most had been right in front of him all along. After he comes back home he says something like, “This place has always been the same. It’s just that now I see it differently.”


I kept thinking about those words. It’s so tempting for us to say, “If only I lived somewhere else.” “If only I had a more exciting job.” “If only I were married.” “If only I were single.” “If only

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Today’s Truth

“Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and the Lord your God redeemed you” (Deuteronomy 15:15 CSB).

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The evening sky is like a girl in a prom dress, swirls of purple and pink with thin clouds like lace. My husband Mark and I take our seats alongside family members in an outdoor stadium, the metal bench, unmerciful beneath us. We’ve come to this same spot in years past to watch a series of nieces and nephews graduate. I’ve almost memorized the proceedings.


There will be a welcome speech by a school official. Then the national anthem. The valedictorian giving remarks. Diplomas passed out. Caps tossed in the air as we all cheer, partly in congratulations and also because the long ceremony is over. Graduations are not the most entertaining of events. Yet we still do them,

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Today’s Truth

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” (Luke 12:25 NIV)

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The phone call comes. Hard news on the other end of the line. I listen and nod. By the time I hang up I feel a weight on my shoulders, like it all depends on me. I begin to worry. This is what I can do, isn’t it? I can carry this around like a dog with an old bone. I can gnaw and twist, bury it and dig it up again. Surely this will be helpful, certainly this will save the day.


But into that place of fear there comes a God-whisper in my heart, “Your worry cannot change the world, only I can.”


Luke 12:25 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your

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Today’s Truth

Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body (Proverbs 16:24 CSB).

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In the middle of a tough day, I take a deep breath and then share my discouragement with a friend. I resist the urge to end with, “But, really, I’m fine.” I dare to let her see what’s actually going on in my heart.


She replies with words of hope and encouragement. They are Jesus-filled words, so spot-on for what I need to hear that I know they are not just from her but Him, too. I can feel the ache easing and my strength returning. I’m going to be okay. I think of Proverbs 16:24, which says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body.”


Suddenly, I’m curious about what this actually means.

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Today’s Truth

I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 CSB).

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God brought our daughter, Lovelle, into our lives when she was twenty years old through Saving Grace, a home for girls aging out of the foster system or who would otherwise be homeless. She got married a year or so later but we did have a brief window of time when she lived in our house.


One night Lovelle got in late and I heard a loud crash come from the kitchen. Concerned, I got up to check on her and found my beautiful daughter on her knees, frozen in fear, pieces of ice from the belligerent machine on the front of the refrigerator scattered all around her. Lovelle, after going from place to place, felt sure we were

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Today’s Truth

The Lord will protect your coming and going both now and forever (Psalm 121:8, CSB).

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The airport is crowded this morning. As I wait for my flight, I watch the parade of people. Disgruntled teenagers with caps pulled down over their eyes trailing behind determined parents. Bright-eyed couples holding hands with the honeymoon sun still on their faces. A group of grey-headed ladies in pink matching t-shirts laughing and exchanging stories while they sip coffee. I wonder about all of them. Where have they come from? Where are they going?


I realize all over again in that moment God knows the answers. He sees every detail of our lives. He’s been with us in every step we’ve ever taken. And as we welcome a new year, this reassures me because none of us knows

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Today’s Truth

The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace (Psalm 29:11 NLT).

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I recall a holiday season when Mark and I braved a local shopping area for some last-minute gifts. We braced ourselves for big crowds, long lines, loud songs playing over store speakers, and irritable drivers fighting to get the last parking spot. When we walked through our door an hour later, I took a deep breath and thought, Peace at last.


In our culture, we tend to think of peace as the absence of what troubles us. The blaring music gets turned off. The crowd thins out. The pace of our life slows down. But when Mark and I went to church that night, our wise pastor, Mark Schatzman, talked about what God really means when He says He

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Today’s Truth

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts (Psalm 139:23 NLT).

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I lost a spool of gold satin ribbon. I searched my basket of craft supplies, my closet shelves, the back seat of my car—where I did discover granola bar crumbs, lip gloss, and a church bulletin from six months ago. I’d bought the ribbon to make a sash for a bridesmaid dress I’d worn in the recent wedding of a friend (by make, I mean ask someone else to tie the aforementioned ribbon in a bow). I’d planned to use the leftovers for Christmas packages. But I finally threw my hands up and consigned the spool to the unknown space where missing socks must also go when they disappear from the dryer.


Months later I pulled open a drawer

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Today’s Truth

He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams (Psalm 23:2 NLT).

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I’m not an athletic sort of person. But I am married to one. And in an attempt to bond with my husband, I agreed to do a charity bike ride. I grew up in Texas, where the roads are smooth and the ground is flat. I’m still adjusting to the idea that this is not the case in other places, such as the one where we live. This ride had several distances to choose from, and Mark picked the longest—one hundred miles. This felt to me like a form of cruel and unusual punishment for one’s behind. So I chose the shortest distance—twenty miles—which still felt monumental to me.


I arrived at the starting line just as the sun

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Today’s Truth

“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’” (Matthew 25:21 NLT)

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Despite my best intentions, I still eat vanilla ice cream right out of the carton. I sometimes wrestle anxiety like a wild alligator. I feel confused by social media and stressed out by the news. Curled up in bed, I told all this to Jesus one day. And I asked, “What do You want me to picture as success?” It seems the answer that came quietly into the dark was this: faithfulness.


This is not the answer our world would give. We’d be told fame or material possessions, staying young forever or getting to sit at the cool table are markers of success. But in the Gospels, the master doesn’t say, “Well done, my good and famous servant.” He

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Today’s Truth

Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2, NIV)

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My feet hit the pavement in a slow, steady rhythm. I am not fast. I am not graceful. But I like how stress rolls off me along with the sweat from my forehead, the way my favorite songs match the beat of my heart, and the satisfaction of discovering I’m capable of more than I first thought.


The sky spreads blue above me, and I’m content. Then I see another runner with a smooth, speedy stride I can hardly fathom, and suddenly I feel like I’m not doing anything right. My peace and contentment vanish. Have you ever felt the same?


You love the home you have until you see someone else’s fancy renovation.


You’re happy with your marriage until you

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Today’s Truth

Blessed are those whose strength is in you (Psalm 84:5, NIV).

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I stand in front of the mirror and ask my reflection, “How could you have done that?” I think back to an incident yesterday where I was not at my best. As much as I want to, I can’t take back the words I said. Why did I let my emotions get the best of me again?


I’ve done hard work in the area where I messed up. I’ve read books. Talked to my counselor and good friends. Prayed about it and written reminders of truth in my journal. At this moment it feels as if it’s all been for nothing. Have you ever been there too?


Then I recall a moment from graduate school. My professor stands at the

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Today’s Truth

For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory (Psalm 32:7, NLT).

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I hold a list in my hand. The words are written in black Sharpie on cream paper in a square, unlined journal. The page looks so small, but the sentences scrawled on it feel big—more than I could ever handle.


I’m going through a process of healing, and my assignment for this week is to write down my fears. The wise, strong, encouraging friend to my right says, “Okay, read your fears out loud.” I panic for a moment. Read them out loud? Where people can hear? For a second, I consider running out the door. But then I think, No, I want to be free. Whatever it takes.


I clear my throat and begin.


I’m afraid of not being good

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Today’s Truth

I am the . . . bright Morning Star. (Revelation 22:16, NIV)

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The rough wooden boardwalk is cool beneath my feet as I make my way to the sand. The sky is still the thick, deep blue of night, and gray shadows sway in the salty wind. I sleepily take my husband’s hand. I’m not a morning person, but we’re on vacation and I’m determined to see the sun climb like a rising warrior above the waves at least once.


As we get closer to the shore, we can see more people who have decided to forsake pillows for flip-flops along with us. They sit on huge pieces of stranded driftwood, stroll along the edge of the water with cameras in hand, or sip from coffee cups with dazed looks on

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Today’s Truth

God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance. (Romans 2:4, CSB)

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I sit across from a friend who knows me well. We’ve walked together for more than a decade. My eyes are tear-filled as I look at her and say, “I messed up.” I tell her of how I have failed in an area that has been an off-and-on battle in my life for years.


We all have one, don’t we? I call it our “Signature Struggle.” It’s the choice or habit or escape we go back to even though we know better. We swear we’ll never do that again—eat the whole pan of brownies or snap at the kids or drain the drink. But then we’re tired or stressed or overwhelmed and, suddenly, we do. No, sister, it isn’t

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Today’s Truth

“So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.’” (Isaiah 28:16, NIV)

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I stand inside the bones of a building. Wooden beams stretch over my head like a rib cage. I am close to the center where the heart would be. I run my hands along a rough board waiting for a wall to cover it like skin. My husband and I often venture into houses that have not yet fully become homes. With his training as an architect, he can picture it all before it comes to be. “This is where they’ll sleep,” he’ll say. “This is where they’ll watch TV.”


So it makes sense that he’s the one I ask when I come across a word in Scripture I don’t understand. I’m reading in bed and his head is

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Today’s Truth

Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but your commands are my delight, (Psalm 119:143, CSB.)

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I read Psalm 119 on an ordinary Thursday morning, a latte to my right and a vase holding yellow daisies in front of me. It seemed like a fitting setting for a spiritual ah-ha moment. But I only scratched my head and thought, “God, I don’t understand this verse at all.”


Trouble and distress have overtaken me, but your commands are my delight. (Psalm 119:143)


Maybe you’ve never had this experience but it’s not the first time I’ve encountered a Scripture that makes no sense to me. Thankfully, we serve a God who’s not intimidated by our questions. So I stared off into space, past the yellow daisies to the neat row of blue mugs on a shelf and did

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Today’s Truth

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.

(Zechariah 4:10 NLT)

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Do you ever feel like only the “big” things in life matter? It can seem that way, especially around the New Year when everyone is setting goals and making resolutions. But God has a different perspective, one that can free our hearts.


Almost three years ago we moved to a new home with a little pond behind it. When the weather is nice we can hear bullfrogs declaring love and war. Turtles sun themselves like movie stars circled around a pool. And, one evening last spring, a pair of Canadian geese appeared like guests checking into their favorite bed and breakfast.


We watched the two of them build a nest. For twenty-eight days the female faithfully sat on it, undisturbed

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Today’s Truth

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

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Gift-giving is not my strong suit. I stand in the aisles of stores slack-jawed with my eyes glazed over. I don’t know how to choose between the Cranberry Cinnamon Scone candle or the Christmas Cookie one. I just get hungry and go home empty-handed. Or if I dare to pick one it turns out to actually smell like the poor old pumpkin that has been on the porch since Halloween.


I’m not only like this with gifts for other people; I’m the same way with myself. I need quiet and instead I say “yes” to one more event on the calendar. I desperately want peace and instead make a to-do list so long it rivals Santa’s. I long for

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Today’s Truth

Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever, (Psalm 106:1, NIV).

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The sky outside is a dense, soaked grey today. It reminds me of earlier this year when my husband and I watched from our living room window as menacing clouds rose up in the distance then stretched their fingers tentatively toward the ground. We live in tornado country and we don’t take such sights lightly. Flipping on the television, we heard the weatherman telling us to find a safe place as he pointed to splotches of red on the map. We went to our designated spot and took a moment to pray as the tree limbs began to sway outside.


The dark masses soon gave way to brilliant blue again. The wind quieted and we stepped back into the

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Today’s Truth

The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations. (Psalm 33:11, NIV)

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I stand at the sink, dirty pan in hand. I feel small in this space, ordinary and rooted to the ground. I have been here for a long while now, in this kitchen, on this earth, and I silently ask, “What’s my purpose?”


Across the street a mama or grandma might be asking the same question as she changes the tenth diaper of the day. Maybe in the center of town someone is leaning her head on her desk with the door closed, just resting for a moment on that stack of spreadsheets and wondering this, too.


When we ask this question and silence seems to be the answer, we often go searching. We’ll say yes to another opportunity or

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Today’s Truth

For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So, I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So, I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. (Galatians 2:19-21, NLT)

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I’ve been given a hard task—write down the lies/condemnation my heart hears and the truth that will set me free.


I approach this assignment on an ordinary weekday morning over a cup of coffee. I pull out my favorite journal and write Lies/Condemnation on one side and Truth on the other, and then I draw a black line right down the middle.


The first lie/condemnation comes easily, like a strong wind blowing through me… I’m not good enough.


It’s my signature struggle, the phrase that echoes through my mind most often. When I’ve addressed it in the past I’ve tried a simple counter argument: I am good enough.


This never seems to work. I can say the words but I don’t feel

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Today’s Truth

We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

(Isaiah 64:8, NIV)

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I walk through the door of a room that smells of earth and dirt. The table is rectangular, surrounded by a rainbow of small chairs. My daughter and I are decades ahead of our fellow participants in this clay class. The others are pig-tailed and freckled, dark-headed and clad in neon tennis shoes. “Did you know it would be like this?” she asks. “Nope,” I reply. We grin.


I signed up for this class as part of my resolution to be a tourist in my hometown years ago, long before Covid-19 and social distancing. I wanted to do things I never had before. I’d pictured fellow adults around me, a serious and substantial exercise. Instead, it’s like art class

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Today’s Truth

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.

(Psalm 4:8, NIV)

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“What’s going to happen?”


“How will this work out?”


“Do I have the strength to get through this?”


Questions like this swirl inside her mind at the end of a hard day. Her head is on a pillow, but her heart is in another place. One that’s filled with fear, anxiety, and uncertainty.


We’ve all had nights like this one. We stare at the clock as the minutes pass by and sigh, “I used to be able to sleep like a baby.” That phrase has always sounded a little odd to me because I have lots of friends with kids and, well, their babies never seem to sleep as much as mom and dad would like.


But I think that saying comes from

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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