START HERE

Posts by Melissa Spoelstra

Today’s Truth

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means “the Lord is my banner”) (Exodus 17:15 NLT).

Friend to Friend 


During her kindergarten year, my daughter had a variety of puzzling symptoms that caused her organs to start shutting down with septic shock. During the days on the ventilator in the ICU, I felt God’s presence and power in a way unparalleled to any other time in my life. But I wasn’t prepared for the battles I would face after going home.


My other children had been displaced during the long ordeal and needed extra attention. My daughter was getting better but still required daily shots in her stomach because of a blood clot that resulted from a central line IV. To say I was weary would have been an understatement. But the crazy thing was the battle

Read More

Today’s Truth

He said, “If you will listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his sight, obeying his commands and keeping all his decrees, then I will not make you suffer any of the diseases I sent on the Egyptians; for I am the Lord who heals you” (Exodus 15:26 NLT)

Friend to Friend  


My friend Lee described the night when he lay alone on his hospital bed, feeling as though he were hanging over a cliff. The Lord asked him this question: “Will you trust me?” He wrestled to reconcile God’s goodness with the direness of his circumstances. He was in his early forties with a brain tumor that was later diagnosed as glioblastoma.


The following days were a wilderness of surgery, medications, and recovery. Contrary to what doctors had told him, Lee got better, with no signs of cancer. He felt great and took every opportunity to share about God’s miraculous healing in his life.


After five years of excellent health, Lee told me at a church campout to pray for him

Read More

Today’s Truth

God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: Yahweh, the God of your ancestors—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you. This is my eternal name, my name to remember for all generations. (Exodus 3:15 NLT)

Friend to Friend  


When my youngest child was born, my son was just starting kindergarten and my twin daughters were two years old. To say I was a little overwhelmed in that season would be an understatement. When Rachel’s birth certificate came in the mail, I noticed that it said she was born on the second of the month, but she actually was born on the fifth. I made a mental note to look into getting that changed but got swept up in tantrums, diaper changes, potty-training, and reading lessons.


Years went by and I didn’t think much about it until one day when she was in middle school and wanted to go on a mission trip. Guess what she needed?

Read More

Today’s Truth

And there he built an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel (Genesis 33:20 NLT).

Friend to Friend


My sister, mom, and cousins traveled from all over the country to gather in celebration of my aunt’s seventieth birthday. We laughed, made memories, and talked about all sorts of subjects. Occasionally we spoke about God. Someone told a story of God’s provision. Another shared openly how she was struggling with her faith. I enjoyed our conversations, especially when we talked about our Savior.


On the way home I realized that while we had spoken about God, I hadn’t spent much time with God. There’s a difference between talking about someone and personally spending time with them. God reveals Himself to us so that we can draw near to Him.


Jacob was a man in the Bible who knew

Read More

Today’s Truth

Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:1-2 NIV).

Friend to Friend


My mind stared at the blank index card. A Bible study leader handed one to every person to write down a prayer request. Sounds easy, but on that particular day, my mind and heart felt so jumbled. I thought about my kids and some of their concerns but knew I needed to write down the two words that come up almost every week for me: time management. I struggle with managing my time wisely and also feeling guilty when I don’t. Too often my mind seems occupied with the next thing on my schedule.


You may be in a season when you have a lot of time on your hands. Maybe you’re a stay-at-home mom and your kids

Read More

Today’s Truth

“And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you.” (Genesis 14:20a, NLT).

Friend to Friend


My daughter’s friend faced some pretty significant health challenges in high school. It got so bad at one point that she couldn’t raise her hands above her head to even wash her hair. She thought she would never be able to go away to college and take care of herself with the amount of pain she battled on a daily basis.


Through these debilitating setbacks, she set her attention on the Lord. She focused on what she could do more than what she couldn’t. Though she felt her setbacks outnumbered her abilities at times, she felt more determined than ever to be able to attend nursing school.


This gal is now my daughter’s roommate in college. She still battles

Read More

Today’s Truth

“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.

(Judges 6:23-24, NLT)

Friend to Friend


Life can be so stressful. The American Psychological Institute reports that 77 percent of Americans say that they regularly experience physical symptoms from stress. The top four symptoms they reported were fatigue, headache, upset stomach, and muscle tension. Psychological symptoms of stress were also reported, including feeling irritable, angry, nervous, lack of energy, and as though you could cry.


I know I can relate to many of those symptoms! How about you? I wonder if you have encountered some stressors already in this new year. We all lack peace from time to time. Fear and worry can creep in when we least expect them, leaving us awake at night. Maybe we think peace will descend upon us once

Read More

Today’s Truth

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming” (Psalm 27:8, NLT).

Friend to Friend


Have you ever found yourself so caught up in the activity of Christmas that you had no time to spend with the God we celebrate? I sure can relate to quick prayer times and less Bible study in my Decembers. I’ve found that spending time with Jesus is a great way to say, “Happy Birthday.” Yet those cards have to be mailed, presents bought, cookies made, and parties attended. So how can we get it all done and still invite Jesus to His own party? We don’t want to just add more items to our already overflowing to-do lists, but we can make small adjustments in our posture and mindset regarding the things we are already doing.


We

Read More

Today’s Truth

And she made this vow: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, if you will look upon my sorrow and answer my prayer and give me a son, then I will give him back to you. He will be yours for his entire lifetime, and as a sign that he has been dedicated to the Lord, his hair will never be cut” (1 Samuel 1:11, NLT).

Friend to Friend


I remember my thoughts and emotions swirling with questions. Friendships that I treasured were falling apart. No matter how many meetings and conversations we had, reconciliation wasn’t happening. I prayed in anguish, asking God to help me see clearly. It wasn’t a physical war, but every day felt like an inner battle during that season. I needed to respond to the hurtful words and actions of others. Knowing when to initiate and engage and when to pull back and stay silent were a significant part of the process. I needed God to deliver me from the internal battle in my thoughts and emotions, as well as the external battle of conflict. Have you ever found yourself in

Read More

Today’s Truth

And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from His glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19, NLT)

Friend to Friend


When I breastfed my children, I knew how dependent they were on me. I also knew I could quiet them when they were fussy by feeding them. I was their sole source of nourishment.


As strange as it sounds – Scripture uses this picture of breastfeeding to illustrate how God wants to take care of us. The Hebrew word shad means “breast”—specifically a woman’s breast. It is the root word for the name of God El Shaddai. His name reveals God as the pourer of life, nourishment, and blessings. While the Hebrew word is associated with nourishment, I also want us to consider the English translation “all-sufficient.” Webster defines sufficient as “enough to meet the needs of a

Read More

Today’s Truth

“But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”

(Isaiah 52:6, NLT)

Friend to Friend


One of the first things we learn about a person upon meeting them is their name. Sometimes a surname can help us connect people with their families as we discover they are related in some way. When I got married, I changed my last name to identify with my husband—and later with our children who would bear that name. Recently someone at the place where I exercise told the class that she was getting married and mentioned what her new last name would be. I had never met her officially before, but I recognized the last name. I introduced myself after the workout and found that I knew some of her future family members. Names help us

Read More

Today’s Truth

Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.

(Philippians 4:2-3, NLT)

Friend to Friend


I’m so glad that today we don’t have disagreements or quarrels within the church between women partnering together in ministry. Oh wait… that was just a dream. We are still needing to heed Paul’s instructions to settle disagreements.


I imagine Euodia and Syntyche sitting in the audience as Paul’s letter to the church at Philippi was read. Did they slink in their seats when they heard Paul name them? Was one of them not present because she wasn’t coming to the church gathering if the other one was there?


In the letter to the Philippians Paul had spoken mostly in general terms to the entire group. The theme of the book revolves around joy. Paul wanted the church to

Read More

Today’s Truth

A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the Tabernacle in the wilderness of Sinai. On the first day of the second month of that year he said, “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe.

(Numbers 1:1-4, NLT)

Friend to Friend


One of my college summer jobs was at a retail clothing store. When the manager told the employees that it was time to do inventory, my internal groan was loud. This is when we had to count everything in the store and record it. (The store sold baby clothes, so counting socks, onesies, and tiny clothes was tedious.) Taking stock of inventory was necessary in order to assess losses from theft and prepare for a new line of clothing to come in. It was menial and boring, yet it was a necessary preparation.


In the first chapter of the Book of Numbers, we find the Lord asking His people to take stock of their resources. This meant counting the

Read More

Today’s Truth

For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

(Psalm 32:7-8)

Friend to Friend


I played hide and seek often with my three siblings as well as the various friends and cousins that migrated in and out of the house when I was a child. I can remember hiding under beds, the back of closets, and even squeezing into cupboards or toy boxes in an effort to be the last one found.


Some days between managing my home and running the race of church, kids’ activities, and work deadlines, I want to find a place to run and hide. A place where there are no notifications and reminders sounding an alert on my phone. A place where no one is calling, “Mom, I need you.” A place where the mental hamster wheel

Read More

Today’s Truth

For You are my hiding place; You protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. The Lord says, ‘I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.’

(Psalm 32:7-8

Friend to Friend


I played hide and seek often with my three siblings as well as the various friends and cousins that migrated in and out of the house when I was a child. I can remember hiding under beds, the back of closets, and even squeezing into cupboards or toy boxes in an effort to be the last one found.


Some days between managing my home and running the race of church, kids’ activities, and work deadlines, I want to find a place to run and hide. A place where there are no notifications and reminders sounding an alert on my phone. A place where no one is calling, “Mom, I need you.” A place where the mental hamster wheel

Read More

Today’s Truth

And don’t grumble as some of them did, and then were destroyed by the angel of death. These things happened to them as examples for us. They were written down to warn us who live at the end of the age.

(1 Corinthians 10:10-11, NLT)

Friend to Friend


Recently my teenage daughter asked me for something new. I told her we wouldn’t be purchasing it, and she needed to be content with what she had. Her response was, “I am content… but I just want more.” I laughed with her and told her she needed to revisit the definition of contentment.


Complaining is a universal problem, especially among women. We don’t like our body type, the texture of our hair, the faults of our husbands, our budget, or the habits of our mothers-in-law. We always seem to want more.


Complaining may seem like a small vice when compared to lying, adultery, or murder, but God says grumbling against Him is a serious issue. Consider the Israelites in Numbers

Read More

Today’s Truth

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

(Romans 5:8, NIV)

Friend to Friend


Growing up in a small East Texas town, I attended kindergarten through tenth grade in the same school district. When my dad announced we were moving to a suburb of Dallas, it rocked my world. While I threw a fit about all the changes at the time, I can look back now and see how God grew me in huge ways during that season. Our family connected with a dynamic church that took discipleship seriously.


The gal who became my closest friend was a cheerleader who wanted me on the squad. Since I didn’t have any cheer experience, she talked me into trying out for the mascot; and since I was the only one trying out, I got

Read More

Today’s Truth

“It is all right,” the Lord replied. “Do not be afraid. You will not die.” And Gideon built an altar to the Lord there and named it Yahweh-Shalom (which means “the Lord is peace”). The altar remains in Ophrah in the land of the clan of Abiezer to this day.

(Judges 6:23-24, NLT)

Friend to Friend


We all lack peace from time to time. Fear and worry can creep up on us when we least expect it, leaving us awake at night. Maybe we think peace will descend upon us once we have no difficult relationships or financial worries. Other times we may think peace will come through having the right leaders in our government, job, or church. Our culture often hints that we need to create peace in our lives with a better time-management plan, more self-esteem, or an escape to a tropical island.


However, we can learn an important truth from a man named Gideon in the Bible. He discovered that we don’t create peace; we receive it from God. While peace

Read More

Today’s Truth

No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.”

(Romans 2:29, NLT)

Friend to Friend


What kind of gear, gadgets, or stuff do you tend to gather? Is it sports equipment, clothing, or home decor? Clutter is my enemy, and I like to keep things pretty simple. Someone recently described my decorating style as “sparse.” I’m not sure if that was a compliment, but I’ll own it. I mean, I love a delivery box at my door like the next girl, but mine are usually filled with household items or commentaries.


Where am I going with all this talk about stuff? The Apostle Paul’s teaching in Romans 2:17-29 and 3:1-8 helps us see that we can over-focus on the stuff of our spirituality to the point that we miss the heart of it.

Read More

"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