Posts by Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3 NIV)


 


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My mom wore a two-carat diamond necklace that hung from a gold chain around her neck. My dad had given it to her for an anniversary. Before you say, “Good for her,” keep reading.


One day, when she was shopping in my little hometown, she walked through an alley separating two buildings. This spunky seventy-something-year-old held several packages and her purse looped over her wrist.


About midway through the alley, three teenage boys on bicycles circled her like buzzards over roadkill. One hopped off his bike and grabbed at her necklace. The others continued circling and keeping watch.


But rather than give the would-be-robber what he wanted, Mom dropped her packages and began hitting the boy over the head with her

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Today’s Truth

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me (Psalm 66:16 NLT).


 


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I was 16 years old and about 100 pounds soaking wet.


My friend’s dad, Mr. Evans, gathered up a few of us teenagers and drove us to a church just outside my hometown. We were going to give our testimonies at a Saturday night gathering of strangers. I’d never stood behind a podium, spoken into a mic, or stared at a sea of faces thinking I had something to say. 


When my name was called, I walked up the stage steps, took a deep breath, and told all those staring eyes about how Jesus plucked me out of a home filled with alcohol abuse and violence, and about parents who fought all the time, and about hiding in the closet.

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Today’s Truth

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).


 


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I walked to the mailbox and then to the recycler. Don’t need this one, or this one, or this one I whispered as I dropped the shiny flyers in the red box.


I don’t know about you, but I get tired of slick ads for things I don’t need and junk mail from services I don’t want. I especially dislike the credit card applications that say I’ve been “pre-approved” for a line of credit. 


But here’s something I’ll never get tired of doing: going to the Word of God and reading His love letter to me. I’ll never stop being amazed that I’ve been pre-approved to be His child. I wonder if that’s how Jesus felt, too.


Just before He began His earthly

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Today’s Truth

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised” (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)


 


 


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Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of trying. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I got tired of the battle. I don’t want to do that any longer. I’m taking my cues from Joshua.


The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange. March around the city of Jericho with all the armed men. Do this in silence, once a day for six days. Then on the seventh day, walk around seven times with the priests blowing the trumpets. Have

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Today’s Truth

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV).


 


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As I sat on my screened-in porch early one morning, I was taken aback by the beauty surrounding me. I held a steamy cup of coffee in my hand and placed my open, well-worn Bible in my lap. As if on cue, as had been our routine for the past several weeks, a visitor hopped from the shrubbery and onto the night-cooled patio. “Good morning, Peter,” I cooed to the little brown bunny. “How are you today?” I just love bunnies, I mused.


Just as I was enjoying watching my furry friend, he hopped over to a flowerpot, stood up on his hind legs, and yanked a rather large stem from a plant.


“Good grief,” I moaned. “Stop that!” Bounding down the

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Today’s Truth

Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me. Do this because of your love for me, given to you by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:30 NLT)


 


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I am so glad that God gave us girlfriends who will struggle with us in prayer. Paul wasn’t a girlfriend in God, but he certainly understood struggling together in prayer.


He wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30 NLT).


The New Testament was originally written in Greek and sometimes looking at the original definitions of the words can give us great insight. The Greek word Paul uses for struggle in Romans 15:30 is sunagonizomai, which means “to struggle in company of, i.e., to be a partner (assistant), strive together with.” The root word means “to endeavor to accomplish something: fight, labor fervently,

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Today’s Truth

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6 NLT).


 


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Harper and I were having a visit on Facetime. This five-year-old bundle of love, my niece’s daughter, was telling me all about her Guinea pig, Skitters. Skitters was her new best friend. He went down the sliding board with her, nibbled on baby carrots at tea parties across from her, and nestled in the mini stroller in front of her during walks. Oh, how she loved Skitters.


“I had a Guinea pig when I was a little girl, too!” I shared. “His name was Oscar!”


“You did? What happened to Oscar?” she asked. “Did you give him away or did he die? Do Guinea pigs go to heaven?”


I was not expecting those questions and wished I had kept my Guinea

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Today’s Truth

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 ESV).


 


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Have you ever gone through a situation and wondered, Jesus where are You? If You had been here, this wouldn’t have happened. The loss of a loved one? The crash of a car? The devastation of property? Did you know that two women in the Bible felt the same way…and actually told Jesus just how they felt about it!


Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. He often stopped by their home for a hot meal during His travels. I’d dare say they were some of His closest friends. And yet, when the girls sent someone to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He didn’t go…at least not right away.


The Bible tells us, “So, when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he

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Today’s Truth

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalm 51:10 NIV).


 


 


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I had braces on my upper teeth three times. Count them. One. Two. Three.


As the orthodontist explained, “Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”


As soon as he said those words, I felt convicted. I tend to go back to the way I was.


We all do.


Karen (not her real name) admitted to single-handedly destroying her marriage with passive-aggressive coldness, destructive words, and disrespect of the worst kind. After her husband walked away from the marriage, she had a Holy Spirit moment and realized what she had done. Karen’s heart softened and she vowed never to be that woman again. 


She immersed herself in Bible study and began to pray for her ex-husband

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Today’s Truth

Woman, you are released [set free] from your infirmity (Luke 13:12 AMPC)


 


 


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When my brother was a teenager, my mother used to threaten him when he hunched over at the dinner table. “If you don’t sit up,” she would say, “I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.” I don’t even know if Sears made back braces then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me.


Then I had a son who seemingly grew to six feet overnight. He didn’t know what to do with all that height, so he slumped. I tried my best not to say, “If you don’t sit up, I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.”


Then one night my father-in-law took care of it for me. We were measuring and

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Today’s Truth

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things (Matthew 25:21 NIV)


 


 


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I can do it. No, I can’t. Yes, I can. No, I can’t.


Have you ever had that conversation with yourself? You feel like God is calling you to reach out to someone, start a new venture, teach a Bible study, write a book, or share a story about your past that you’ve never shared before. But then your fear shouts at your faith to keep quiet. 


One day Jesus told a parable to a group of listeners. We’ve come to know it as the Parable of the Talents, but it is really more the Parable of the Three Choices. Jesus was explaining what the kingdom of heaven would be like in common terms.


For it is just like a man

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Today’s Truth

Now he [Jesus] had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4 NIV).


 


 


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I was in college when I met my husband at a Bible study. He was sitting on the floor dressed in scruffy jeans, a red flannel shirt, and a strong face that needed a shave. The moment I saw him, I was smitten. But I didn’t want him to know that.


Steve finally asked me out on a date, and several more followed. One night, Steve said, “Will you go with me to all the rest of the football games for the rest of the year?”


“I’m not going to answer that question,” I cavalierly responded. “You’ll have to ask me each week.”


What I was saying was that I wanted to be pursued. None of this blanket-invitation-for-the-entire-fall business. I wanted

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Today’s Truth

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10 NIV).


 


 


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I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a little boy so excited! Steven was seven years old, and we were headed to Disney World! It was his first time on an airplane, his first time sleeping in a hotel, and his first time seeing Mickey Mouse in person. My video camera was fully charged and poised to capture those precious memories.


But when we go back and watch the old video, it doesn’t start out as I had planned. We’re in some type of welcoming center where children are running around climbing on various objects, crawling through tunnels, and swinging from monkey bars. As the “movie” comes into view, the first thing I see is my husband, Steve, running

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Today’s Truth

Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know (Jeremiah 33:3 NASB).


 


 


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It was an unusual phone call from my son, Steven. He was in the second week of his second semester, his third year in college.


“Hey mom, this is Steven. I just wanted to call and say ‘hello.’ I haven’t talked to you in a while and wanted to see how you were doing.”


“Hey bud,” I replied. “How are you? How are your classes? Do you like your professors?” 


We volleyed questions and answers back and forth. It was a nice intro, and I kept waiting for the request such as, “could you put an extra $50 in my account for another Philosophy book I had to buy,” or “does my car insurance go up if I get a parking

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Today’s Truth

This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin (Hebrews 4:15 NLT).


 


 


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For almost forty years, Margaret lived with word-inflicted wounds that nearly destroyed her life. From the first day she attended her one room schoolhouse, she and her teacher, Ms. Garner, didn’t get along. Ms. Garner was harsh, bitter, and cruel, and could not tolerate Margaret’s childish idiosyncrasies.


Margaret was nine years old when she frantically raced into class, late again. As she burst through the doors, she faced her peers jeering at her maliciously.


“Margaret!” Ms. Garner shouted. “We have been waiting for you! Get up here to the front of the class, right now!”


Ms. Garner ranted, “Boys and girls, Margaret has been a bad girl. I have tried to help her be responsible. But apparently, she doesn’t want to

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Today’s Truth

For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities-his eternal power and divine nature-have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20 NIV).


 


 


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I believe one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century was the Post-It Note. First, there was yellow. Then came fuchsia, turquoise, buttercup, and magenta. From full-page mega notes to tiny little strips, sticky notes have saved me from embarrassment, kept me organized, and helped me memorize. Mostly, they have served as visual reminders of information, events, and appointments not to forget.


But visual reminders of things not to forget didn’t begin with Post-It Notes. They began with God, Himself. All through life God places Post-It Notes on our days to remind us of Him. Just today, I jotted down a few Post-It Notes God placed throughout my day.



The sunrise with swirls of mist rising from the
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Today’s Truth

Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away (Acts 3:19 NLT).


 


 


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It was the incompetent and the inexperienced being led by the inept, the day our Sunday School Class worked on the habitat for humanity house for an unsuspecting, extremely grateful family. Among the crew were two dentists, an investment banker, a lawyer, an engineer, two pastors, a receptionist, several homemakers, and a marriage counselor. It’s always good to have a marriage counselor on hand when a home improvement project is taking place.


The one-thousand-square feet, vinyl-siding house had already been framed by a team the week before. Today was sheetrock or drywall day. The site supervisor’s name was T.A. 


T.A. was a country carpenter who had hammered more nails for Jesus than Noah and his sons combined, and he got

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Today’s Truth

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).


 


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Jennifer stood in front of the mirror staring at the overweight woman looking back at her. Just two years ago she’d lost 120 pounds, and now 80 of them were back. I can’t keep this weight off, she thought. I know what I’m supposed to do, but I just can’t do it. I’m always going to be fat. I’m just going to accept it and quit trying. What’s so bad about being fat anyway? I just can’t help myself.


Rachel loved Travis; she did. Though they were both Christians, they found themselves staring at the ceiling in her bedroom after a night of passion that led to a morning of regret. We’ve tried to remain pure, she mused, but we love each other

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Today’s Truth

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9 NIV).


 


 


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When I was eight years old, my prized possession was a collie dog named, what else, Lassie. Lassie was my shadow. She ran alongside me as I pedaled around the neighborhood on my pink-glittered banana bike. She slept outside the door of my one-room playhouse when my best friend, Wanda, and I “camped out.” She protected me from dangerous strangers, such as the paperboy, the mailman, and the trash collector.


When the veterinarian told us that Lassie had an incurable skin disease and needed to be put to sleep, I was devastated. And even though she was my dog, my dad was almost as heartbroken as I was. He could not bring himself to purposely end Lassie’s life, so

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Today’s Truth

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV).


 


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Allan was a tough man. Raised by a single mom with five siblings, he learned how to scrape his way through life and climb to the top of humanity’s heap through sheer determination and grit. He married at nineteen, had his first son at twenty, then a baby girl at twenty-five. Over the next two decades, he advanced from driving a delivery truck at a lumber yard to becoming part owner of a building supply company.


Allan drank heavily, fought with his wife verbally and physically, and terrorized his children emotionally. He gambled, dabbled in pornography, and had questionable relationships laced with a host of unsavory vices. 


But when his teenage daughter gave her life to Jesus and began praying

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Today’s Truth

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV emphasis added).


 


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If there’s one thing I know it’s this: The measuring stick will get you stuck! Comparison is the devil’s tool that has stopped many of us gals from stepping into our God-given destinies…and it’s time to stop!


I camped out with Moses by the burning bush for more than a year when I was writing the book, Take Hold of the Faith You Long For. When I met him in Exodus chapter 3, he was an insecure, stuttering recluse. He argued with God and told him He had the wrong man for the job. He stuttered, sputtered, and had difficulty speaking. I knew exactly how he felt…I had been just like him.


But, Moses hadn’t always been so insecure. He hadn’t always

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Today’s Truth

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12 NIV).


 


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Have you ever felt like someone just knocked you over with words…not caring how it made you feel? I know I have. One day my Golden Retriever showed me just how it’s done.


Shortly after we had planted a maple tree in our backyard, we went on vacation. It was the first time we had left Ginger, our Golden Retriever, home alone. A neighbor fed and watched out for her while we were away. On the second day of our trip, I called Cathy to see how Ginger was doing.


“Well, Ginger’s fine,” Cathy reported. “But you know that tree you planted last week? She dug it up!”


“She did what!” I exclaimed.


“She dug it up. The tree’s lying in the

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Today’s Truth

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).


 


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One day I was driving home from the beach in July Fourth holiday traffic. It was Southern muggy hot, and cars were a throng of metal on wheels. Everyone was going faster than the posted speed limit and I was trying to keep up. I was also young and distracted. Ok, here’s the truth: I had just broken up with my boyfriend and was crying my eyes out.


At one point, I felt my front right tire slip off the asphalt and onto the gravel shoulder of the road. In a flood of panic, I heard the voice of my driver’s ed teacher from four years earlier, “If you run off the road, do not, and I repeat, do

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Today’s Truth

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other” (Romans 12:9-10 NLT).


 


 


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Carley and Dan are a couple who have gone the extra mile…not to go the extra mile. They constantly keep score as to who put a new bar of soap in the shower last or who replaced the toilet paper roll last or who opened a new tube of toothpaste last.


“It’s sort of a contest to see who can use the smallest sliver of soap or use the last drop of toothpaste,” Carley boasted. The contest, as silly as it may seem, boils down to who is going to serve the other. Imagine how adored Dan would feel if Carley began to get out a new bar of soap before the sliver war began or replenished the toilet

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Today’s Truth

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power…For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” (Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV)


 


 


Note from Sharon: I know that devotions on marriage are difficult for many who are not married and perhaps would like to be. That’s why we usually keep the marriage devotions that minister to thousands of women in the month of February. Whether you are married or single, please join us at GiG in praying for marriages all around the world.


 


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I can still remember being sequestered in the “Bride’s Room” of our church just moments before the organist began to play for the early arrivals. As I sat in front of an oversized gilded mirror trying not to wrinkle my dress, I daydreamed about the man who would become my husband in just a few moments. He

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Today’s Truth

The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you mourn for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and be on your way; I am sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I have chosen one of his sons to be king” (1 Samuel 16:1 NIV)


 


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Have you ever been so discouraged that you just wanted to stay in bed and pull the covers up over your head? Maybe that’s where you are right now.


I’ve hidden under the covers a time or two myself. OK, well maybe more than two.


There’s a story in the Bible that helps me when I feel mopey.


A few years after the Israelites made it to the Promised Land, they grew tired of being ruled by God through the prophets. They wanted to have a king like all the other nations.


Samuel was the ruling prophet at the time, and he told the people all the reasons having a king was a bad idea. They persisted in their demands, and eventually

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Today’s Truth

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does (Psalm 33:4 NIV).


 


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Some people just seem happy and positive all the time. They appear to never worry and fret. These people act like they eat rainbows for breakfast and ride a unicorn to work. But life isn’t all lucky charms. Sometimes it is just plain hard.


We should anticipate trials. Jesus promised trouble. “In this world you will have trouble,” He warned (John 16:33).


So what if the worst thing you can imagine does happen? What then?


What if my child gets sick?


What if my husband does leave?


What if I lose my job?


What if I get on a plane and it crashes?


I decided a long time ago, when I get on a plane, I’m either going to get where I’m headed, or

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Today’s Truth

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you’” (Exodus 3:14 NIV).


 


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Do you remember the first Rocky movie? (I just looked it up and there have been eight.) In the very first film about the Italian Stallion, Rocky Balboa falls madly in love with the very demure Adrian who works at a Tropical Fish pet store. Adrian is very intelligent, shy, and cautious. Rocky is, well, none of those things. In one scene, Adrian’s brother, Paulie, asked Rocky what he sees in his sister. Rocky answers, “She’s got gaps, I got gaps. Together we fill gaps.”


But Rocky got it all wrong. Adrian’s got gaps. He’s got gaps. And no person is going to fill those gaps.


Let me put it this way. I’ve got gaps. You’ve got gaps. And no

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Today’s Truth

“Love never ends” (1 Corinthians 13:8 ESV)


 


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I set out to tackle a task I had put off for many years. I didn’t really want to do it at all. It was the job of cleaning out my ministry storage closet. A closet filled with boxes of memories collected over twenty years.



Old magazines with articles I had written dating back to 1996.
Thirty-six-inch vinyl posters of book covers beginning in 1999.
A 3-foot lighthouse used in a teaching on motherhood.
A treasure box of oyster shells mixed with a strand of pearls used in another teaching on what can happen with irritations that get under our skin.
Videos of past interviews from television programs that probably don’t even exist any longer.
A box of CDs from ten years of recording
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Today’s Truth

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done (Psalm 143:5 NIV)


 


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Steve and I were headed to the coast and stopped for our usual lunch break—Chick-fil-A—Just twenty minutes from our destination, it was one last time to fill up on sweet tea. While Steve purchased our nuggets, I took our Bernedoodle, Molly, for a walk in the grassy area between Chick-fil-A and Dunkin’.


Molly sniffed, stretched, and well, you know. On our second turn around the quarter-acre plot of green, I noticed something shiny poking through the weeds. When I bent down to pick it up, my heart skipped a beat. It was a silver cuff bracelet that read, “This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior, all the day long.”  What left me slack-jawed wasn’t just

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Today’s Truth

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:12 NIV)


 


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Who in the world would wait until Christmas Eve to do their Christmas shopping? I find it hard to believe the statistics that show December 24th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, so one season I decided to venture out to the stores and see for myself. I usually have my Christmas list complete by Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, so even though I was elbow to elbow with anxious shoppers, I didn’t feel the same angst that seemed etched on their faces.


I traveled to my favorite department stores and picked through a few stocking stuffers. Low and behold, I saw three of my in-laws scrambling for gifts. I picked up a few items

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Today’s Truth

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


 


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Every year, I search for Christmas poems, stories, and traditions that stir my soul and keep my focus on Jesus. Perhaps none has tugged my heartstrings like the treasure I am sharing with you today. It is a letter that could have been written by Mary. Join me now and let’s peek over Joseph’s shoulder as he reads this letter from his beloved.


I had a dream, Joseph. And I don’t understand it, not really. But I think it was about a birthday celebration for our Son. Well, I think that’s what it was about. People had been preparing for about six weeks. They had decorated their house, bought new clothes, gone shopping many times, and bought elaborate gifts.

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Today’s Truth

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV)


 


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Yard sales. I’ve never really liked them. But when we were preparing to move from our home of twenty years, we decided it was the best way to clean out the clutter and make a little money.


We displayed our lovely attic décor on makeshift plywood tables and waited for the bargain babes to descend. Two hours before the advertised opening time, treasure hunters began congregating outside the closed garage doors. Then, the doors rose, and the swarm attacked.


Among the valuables from my past sat an electric, ceramic 12” Christmas tree with various colored lights…no doubt a gift from the eighties. One woman perused the lovely display and came upon this “magnificent work of art.”


“I’ve always wanted one of

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Today’s Truth

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else (Galatians 6:4 NLT).


 


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I was checking out my Facebook posts and feeling a little bit left out. It seemed everyone was having a big ole time with family and friends, and well, I wasn’t. It was Christmas time and it appeared that all the family gatherings were picture perfect…and mine wasn’t.


Pinterest postings of perfect sausage pinwheels. Facebook pics of glittery table setting with Christmas China and matching napkins. Instagram reels of happy families decorating a freshly cut tree. A passel of grandparents, parents, and kiddos dressed in matching Christmas pajamas. And you’re thinking, good for them, kinda.


And don’t get me started on Christmas letters—highlight reels that don’t show the part of the story left on the cutting room floor for no

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Today’s Truth

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).


 


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Pretend with me for a moment. Let’s say you are on an island in the Pacific. Pick an island, any island, but make it a tropical, lush, and beautiful one. You walk out onto the porch and see some equipment laid out just for you. You know what it is, and you know what it’s for. You’re excited! You’ve always wanted to do this, but never had the right gear.


You slip into a black sleek wet suit, zip up the front closure, and most likely marvel at the way it holds everything in. Then you squeeze your feet into squeaky black flippers. I know they’re tight, but go ahead and wiggle your feet in. Next, you strap a

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV).


 


 


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A sign was posted on a telephone pole by the grocery store: “LOST DOG with three legs, blind in left eye, missing right ear, tail broken, and recently castrated. Answers to the name of Lucky!”


Perhaps you feel just about as “lucky” as that lost dog. Hobbling along. Impaired vision. Broken tail. Well, you get the picture. There was a woman in the Bible who also felt like she was out of luck and had nothing to give. But then God showed her how to fill up so that she could pour out. Her story is found in 1 Kings 17. It begins with a man named Elijah.


Elijah was a good prophet who gave some bad news to a

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Today’s Truth

The LORD is righteous in all His ways and faithful in all he does (Psalm 145:17 NIV).


 


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Did you have dreams about what your adult life would be like? I had a dream of having a house full of giggling little girls and boisterous rowdy boys. After my son, Steven, was born, I felt that we were well on our way to making that dream a reality.


I loved being a mom! With Bambi-length eyelashes, chubby cheeks, and a shock of black hair (which later turned white), Steven had my heart in his tiny little fist the first time I laid eyes on him.


Eighteen months later, I was ready to plan for baby number two. We had conceived Steven with no trouble whatsoever, so I thought giving him a sibling would be just as easy.


We told

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Today’s Truth

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded (Hebrews 10:35 NIV).


 


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Have you ever felt the sting of rejection? That’s a silly question. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.


When I first started writing, I sent off sample chapters to various publishers. Shortly after, rejection letters came creeping into my mailbox.


“Thanks, but no thanks. “Nobody knows you.” “Your manuscript does not meet our needs at this time.” “Blah, blah, blah.” You get the picture.


At that point, I had two choices: quit or keep pressing on. I’ll admit, quitting seemed mighty good about then. But after I moped around for a while, I decided to keep pressing on.


Have you ever gone through a period of discouragement? Perhaps you’re in one right now. Believe me, I’ve hidden in the cave with Elijah

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Today’s Truth

Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance, (John 20:1 NIV).


 


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I was so disappointed. I had worked really hard on a project, and to be honest, it was a flop. It seemed that not as many people loved it as much as I did. And it made me just want to pitch a tent in the land of disappointment and quit!


I think the women on Jesus’s ministry team must have felt the same way. They had committed their lives to the Messiah and believed that He would restore Israel. Mary Magdalene and a handful of other women had followed him for more than three years. But life had not turned out like they thought it would. Their hopes and dreams were nailed to a cross, and the lifeblood

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Today’s Truth

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38–39).


 


Friend to Friend


Have you ever been in a situation when you felt God calling your name to a particular task, and at the same time you felt that He had the wrong person for the job?


I remember when I felt God calling me to become a counselor at a Pregnancy Care Center during a time when I was going through infertility struggles. “Lord,” I said, “You’ve got the wrong person for the job. How can I talk to women who are in a crisis pregnancy situation when all I want is a pregnancy situation? Nope you’ve got the wrong gal.”


Moses felt the same way when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and into the Promised Land.

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Today’s Truth

“I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18–19a NIV emphasis added).


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God speaks to me in the comics. I know. That’s weird. But He does.


The Pickles comic strip features an older couple named Earl and Opal Pickles. One day Earl and Opal were sitting on a porch swing and the following conversation ensued.


Frame one: Pearl, “Did you know the DNA of humans and chimpanzees is 98 percent the same?”


Frame two: Earl, “I know it but I don’t believe it.”


Frame three: Pearl, “You know it, but you don’t believe it?”


Frame four: Earl, “Yes, “I don’t believe everything I know.”


And there you have it! In the wise words of Earl Pickles, our problem isn’t that we don’t know the truth, but it’s that we don’t really believe everything we know. We

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3 NIV).

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I’ll be honest, I’m not a sports fan. I know which way a ball is supposed to go, but that’s about it. My husband, on the other hand, loves the games. If I’m sitting with him while he’s watching one, I want to know about the players’ families, where they’re from, and other nonsensical information that has nothing to do with the game. I’m what some might call a distraction!


Occasionally, Steve shares something with me from Sports Illustrated that he thinks might be of interest…what he calls a human-interest story. The story of Matthew Joseph White was one of them.


He signed with the Cleveland Indians in 1998, the Boston Red Sox in 2002, and the Colorado Rockies in

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Today’s Truth

Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory (Romans 8:17 NIV).

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When my husband, Steve, was in high school, he worked various jobs and was notoriously frugal. His twin brother, Dan, and their best friend, Mike, were not quite as thrifty. Dan and Mike had odd jobs from time to time—flipping hamburgers at the Wild Pig being the most infamous. But their funds disappeared as quickly as they got them. Steve, on the other hand, was a saver. And they knew it.


Steve had a little brown wallet with a horse head on the front and a zipper on the top. It was his “saving wallet”, and he kept it safely tucked away in his sock drawer. Occasionally, Steve, Dan, and Mike would get together to plan an adventure, such

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Today’s Truth

Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things (Matthew 25:21 NIV).

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I can do it. No, I can’t. Yes, I can. No, I can’t.


Have you ever had that conversation with yourself? You feel like God is calling you to reach out to someone, start a new venture, teach a Bible study, write a book, share a story about your past that you’ve never shared before. But then your fear shouts at your faith to keep quiet.


One day Jesus told a parable to a group of listeners. We’ve come to know it as the Parable of the Talents, but it is really more the Parable of the Three Choices. Jesus was explaining what the kingdom of heaven would be like in common terms.


       For it is just like a man

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Today’s Truth

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV).

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I walked to the mailbox and then to the recycling. Don’t need this one, or this one, or this one I whispered as I dropped the shiny flyers in the red box.


I don’t know about you, but I get tired of slick ads for things I don’t need and junk mail from services I don’t want. I especially dislike the credit card applications that say I’ve been “pre-approved” for a line of credit.


But here’s something I’ll never get tired of doing: going to the Word of God and reading His love letter to me. I’ll never stop being amazed that I’ve been pre-approved to be His child. I wonder if that’s how Jesus felt, too.


Just before He began

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Today’s Truth

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (Phil. 3:12 NIV emphasis added).

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Have you ever felt stuck in your faith? Like you can’t seem to grow any deeper? Stand any stronger? Believe any better? I know I have.


Sometimes I feel like a trapeze artist who’s stuck hanging over the vast expanse in a circus tent, wondering why I can’t fly through the spiritual life with the greatest of ease like so many others seem to.


OK, let me backup. Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? An aerialist stands on a high platform while holding onto a tiny trapeze bar connected to a rope. She jumps off the perch and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again.


It

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Today’s Truth

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

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My family growing up was one big mess. Fighting. Arguing. Yelling. Crying. And eventually, a lot of forgiving. If ever there is a place to learn about forgiveness…to practice forgiveness…to struggle with forgiveness…it is in the family. And interestingly, it is in the context of family where the word forgiveness first shows up in the Bible.


Let’s dig into Scripture today.  Come on. You can do it.


In the book of Genesis, we meet a young man named Joseph—the eleventh of twelve brothers, and favorite son of Jacob. He is most famously known for his elaborate coat of many colors. Young Joseph had several prophetic dreams involving his brothers and father one day bowing down to him. Rather than keep

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Today’s Truth

“It’s not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NLT).

Friend to Friend


My son, Steven, was in the ninth grade when I turned in the manuscript for my book, Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids. I should have waited until he was in the tenth grade.


That fateful morning, I placed my neatly printed pages in a padded envelope, prayed a blessing over the bundle, and then dropped a year of hard work in the mail slot at the post office. When I returned home, my phone was ringing. It was Steven.


“Hey, Mom, I’m calling to let you know that I’m in the principal’s office. I got caught stealing in the lunchroom. You need to come to the school.”


I sped to the school, stomped down the hall, and opened the

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Today’s Truth

Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me (Romans 15:30 NLT).

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I am so glad that God gave us girlfriends who will struggle with us in prayer. Paul wasn’t a girlfriend in God, but he certainly understood struggling together in prayer.


He wrote: “Dear brothers and sisters, I urge you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to join in my struggle by praying to God for me” (Romans 15:30 NLT).


The New Testament was originally written in Greek and sometimes looking at the original definitions of the words can give us great insight. The Greek word Paul uses for struggle in Romans 15:30 is sunagonizomai, which means “to struggle in company of, i.e., to be a partner (assistant), strive together with.” The root word means “to endeavor to accomplish

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Today’s Truth

“But the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him (1 Corinthians 6:17 NLT).

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“Blondin” was the stage name for Frenchman Jean-Francois Gravelet. He was a young man who migrated to the United States with a troupe of acrobats employed by Master Showman P.T. Barnum. In 1858, the thirty-five-year-old Blondin visited Niagara Falls as a tourist and there conceived the preposterous idea of walking across it. In his mind’s eye, he saw himself walking between the two countries, the United States and Canada over the great gorge on nothing more than a rope pathway taut between the two.


Harry Colcord became Blondin’s agent and promoter, selling his product, “The Great Blondin!” On June 30, 1859, Blondin planned to make his first historic trek across the falls.


A 1,300-foot long, three-inch diameter manila rope stretched

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Today’s Truth

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:2 NIV).

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I watched a gaggle of eight-year-olds play a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. One was blindfolded, spun around in circles, and then pointed in the direction of a donkey posted on the wall. As she made her way toward where she thought the donkey was waiting, her friends yelled out which way she should go.


“Move to the right!”


“Move to the left!”


“You’re getting cold!”


“Now you’re getting warmer!’


“Go up a little!”


Some of the voices intentionally tried to mislead her, but I could tell she was trying to pick out the voice of her closest friend, someone she could trust. After returning the donkey’s tail to its rightful position, or pretty close to it, she removed her blindfold

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Today’s Truth

Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment (1 Timothy 6:17 NLT).

Friend to Friend


There she lay in her beautiful box. A two-foot bride doll dressed in a white chiffon, pearl-studded wedding gown with matching veil. Her short-cropped, curly brown hair fell softly around her delicate face; her pink, plump skin felt amazingly soft; and her movable eyelids lined with thick black lashes opened and closed with her changing positions. The bride had perfectly shaped lips and crystal-blue eyes that appeared strangely real. She was truly the most beautiful doll I had ever received in my six-year-old life.


My uncle knew my infatuation with being a bride one day, so he gave me this lovely gift for my birthday. However, there was one problem. My mother wouldn’t let me play with her. “You’ll

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Today’s Truth

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done (Philippians 4:6 NLT).

Friend to Friend


Harper and I were having a visit on Facetime. This five-year-old bundle of love, my niece’s daughter, was telling me all about her Guinea pig, Skittles. Skittles was her new best friend. He went down the sliding board with her, nibbled on baby carrots at tea parties across from her, and nestled in the mini stroller in front of her during walks. Oh, how she loved Skittles.


“I had a Guinea pig when I was a little girl, too!” I shared. “His name was Oscar!”


“You did? What happened to Oscar?” she asked. “Did you give him away or did he die? Do Guinea pigs go to heaven?”


I was not expecting those questions and wished I had kept my Guinea

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Today’s Truth

Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame (Psalm 34:5 NIV).

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I remember as a little girl, hiding under the covers of my bed, trying to shut out my parents’ yelling and screaming in the next room. I heard bad words. I didn’t know what some of them meant, but I did know how they made me feel. Dirty. The next morning, I awoke to the aftermath of the night’s tirade—Mom’s black eye, Dad’s crying remorse, furniture tossed and broken—and those bad words bouncing around my little-girl head.


Nevertheless, I was expected to put on my school clothes, brush my hair, eat my cereal, brush my teeth, and sit in class with my little friends as if nothing had happened the night before. The shame of what I’d seen and

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Today’s Truth

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).

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I sat on the floor playing a card game with my young son. It was shaping up to be one of the best summers ever. Steven was savoring every minute of the long hot days, our Golden Retriever, Ginger, had delivered seven adorable puppies, and after years of negative pregnancy tests and doctor visits, I had a new life growing in my womb.


In the middle of enjoying the moment with Steven, I felt a warm, sticky sensation that made my world stand still. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fear.


Later that day, as I sat in the doctor’s office listening to his condolences for the loss of this much-prayed-for child, all I could think of was

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Today’s Truth

Friend to Friend


Have you ever felt like you just wanted to quit this thing called the “great race” of life? That’s your spiritual legs ache and you would much rather sit on the side of the road and have a good pity party than take one more step. I certainly have. And then I think of my nephew Stu and his mom, Pat.


Stu ran cross-country when he was in high school, but the most exciting parts of the races was his mother cheering. At one particular race, my family and I stood on the sidelines, watching legs stretch, backs bend, and arms swing in an effort to warm up. Seventy anxious young men clustered around the starting line in ready

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Today’s Truth

Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Luke 18:40-41 NIV)

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To Beth it was the confusion of an inept airline. To me, it was a divine appointment from God.


“I don’t have an assigned seat,” the disheveled young woman complained as she stumbled into the airplane.


“This one is empty,” I pointed out.


“Thanks,” she huffed as she plopped down.


The beautiful young lady was obviously exhausted. She was dressed in skin-tight jeans and a distracting low-cut T-shirt. Sunglasses hid something…I wasn’t sure what. She looked straight ahead, but I felt that her mind was traveling to a distant place.


After the plane left the ground, I pulled out a book I had written to prepare for an upcoming radio interview. Put the book down and talk to this girl, God seemed to

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Today’s Truth

“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect" (Romans 12:2 NLT).

Friend to Friend


I met my husband at a Bible Study in college and quickly learned that he was a very frugal, industrious, and resourceful young man. On our first date, he came to pick me up in his ten-year-old Volkswagen Beetle that he had purchased for $725. He says it was yellow. I say it was beige. Regardless of the color, this fine piece of machinery had several not-so-fine features.


It had no air conditioner, no defroster, and…wait for it…no speedometer. The speedometer broke when the odometer hit 200,000 miles and never left 0 again. So how did he know how fast he was driving? He paced himself according to the speed of the cars around him, and he knew when

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Today’s Truth

When he [the devil] lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44 NIV).

Friend to Friend


We were in the fictional town of Amity Island, NY, where Jaws the man-eating shark, lurked below the surface of the still waters and terrorized vacationers who dared go there. Twenty tourists piled into a small boat at Universal Studios and drifted quietly in the “river” until the waters began to stir, and our greatest fears were realized!


The giant man-eating shark erupted from the water and attacked! He gnashed his teeth and lunged at the side of the boat. Women screamed, babies cried, and one overall-clad, hefty man in the back just burst out laughing. Soon his contagious laughter caused an avalanche of giggles throughout the boat and we all began laughing hysterically!


After much chomping at the boat,

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Today’s Truth

“She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: ‘You are the God who sees me.’” For she said, ‘I have now seen the One who sees me’” (Genesis 16:13 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And sometimes it seems God does too. Often our experiences fall short of our expectations for God to meet all our needs the way we think He should, and like a lover who has been wronged, we tend to guard our hearts against future disappointment by lowering our expectations and trust. But make no mistake about it, God sees. God understands. He is not aloof.


One day I was sitting on the patio with my stepfather, Pete, waiting for the grill to heat up before cooking our dinner. My mom opened the door and gave Pete his orders—telling him what to do and how to do it. When she

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Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Friend to Friend


A few months ago, I was in the airport headed to New Jersey. It was a typical rush, rush, rush morning. Grab the bags, trudge through traffic, hunt for a parking space, follow the herd, wade through security, dash to the gate.


Folks aren’t usually very friendly in airports. Eyes look straight ahead. Purposed feet slap the floor. Overstuffed bags roll behind. It’s not that people are grumpy. They’re just “flatish.” (That’s a new word for today.)


On this particular morning, I looked just like everyone else: “flatish.” Before settling in at my gate, I decided to make one last trip to the restroom. I’m so glad I did. It was one of the most joy-filled places I had been in

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Today’s Truth

Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30 NIV).

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I opened the letter and read words of rejection. Thanks, but no thanks.


Several months prior, I had sent my first book proposal off to a publisher. It was a step of faith walking to that mailbox and dropping it in the slot. However, I knew this was what God was calling me to do. Then the rejection letter came. “We like your writing, but nobody knows who you are. It will never sell. It does not meet our needs at this time.”


I wondered: Did I hear God wrong?


Why is it that most, including me, tend to think we’ve heard God wrong when we come face-to-face with opposition or difficulty? That certainly isn’t what we see in the Bible,

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Today’s Truth

But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (Genesis 27:40 NLT, emphasis added).

Friend to Friend


I was really upset with her. I don’t need to tell you the details because I want you to fill in the blanks yourself. I was really mad at _______ for ________. I’m not worried about you not having anything to put in those blanks because you’re human. We’ve all been really irked at someone for hurting our feelings, hampering our plans or a whole lot worse.


We’ve talked about Jacob in our devotion times together before, but what about poor Esau. His baby brother stole his birthright and his inheritance…that was a lot more than hurting his feelings. But let’s look back at the story from Esau’s point of view because sometimes we have to look backward in

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Today’s Truth

Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:20 TNIV).

Friend to Friend


I believe one of the greatest inventions of the twentieth century was the Post-It Note. First there was yellow. Then came fuchsia, turquoise, buttercup, and magenta. From full-page mega notes to tiny little strips, sticky notes have kept me organized, tasks prioritized, and Scripture memorized. Mostly, they have served as visual reminders of information, events, and appointments not to forget.


But a visual reminder of things not to forget didn’t begin with Post-It Notes. They began with God, Himself. All through life God places holy Post-It Notes on our days to remind us of Him.


In the Bible, Paul wrote to the Romans, “Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen,

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Today’s Truth

After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel (Judges 2:10 NIV).

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Several years after the loss of our second child, I found an old Bible tucked in a cedar chest in my mom’s attic. As I flipped through the pages, I stumbled upon a crude chart of our family tree written in my mom’s flourishing hand.


Listed were the names, dates of birth, and dates of death for my maternal and paternal great-grandparents and grandparents. Next, came my parents, my brother, Stewart, then me, and then my sister, Gloria Gale. My mind stopped for a beat. My sister, Gloria Gale? Who’s that?! I never knew I had a sister named Gloria Gale.


I ran downstairs holding the opened Bible in my hand, walked over to my mom, pointed at the entry,

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV).

Friend to Friend


A store owner was tacking a sign in his store window, which read PUPPIES FOR SALE, when a little boy appeared.


“How much are you selling the puppies for?” he asked.


The man told the lad he didn’t expect to let any of them go for less than $50.


The boy reached in his pocket, pulled out some change, looked up at the store owner and said, “I have two dollars and thirty-seven cents. Can I look at them?”


The store owner smiled and whistled. From the kennel, a dog named Lady came running down the aisle, followed by five tiny balls of fur. One puppy lagged behind. Immediately, the little boy asked about the limping puppy.


“What’s wrong with that doggie?”


“The veterinarian

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Today’s Truth

[Jacob said to Esau,] “To see your face is like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me favorably” (Genesis 33:10 NIV).

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Have you ever held a grudge? That’s a silly question. I think we all have. I remember when Nancy Davis asked the boy I had my eye on to the high school dance. Can we all say G-r-u-d-g-e with an extra grrrr?


Esau, now that’s a biblical character who held a grudge…and rightly so. His brother Jacob and his momma grabbed the pen right out of God’s hand, as if God needed help writing their story. While Esau’s mother, Rebekah, was pregnant, God told her:


Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23)


Rebekah did indeed give

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Today’s Truth

In his defense Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17 NIV).

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I often hear people say, “It is what it is.” What they mean is, the situation is not going to change, so just accept it; get over it! Let me tell you why I don’t like the saying. “It” rarely is what it looks like it is. In fact, what we think the situation is, usually isn’t what it is at all.


The Old Testament story of Ruth and Naomi is a perfect example of something not being at all what it looks like it is. Because of a drought in their hometown of Bethlehem, Naomi, her husband and two sons, moved to Moab. Her sons married Moabite women, but in a ten-year period, all three men died. Naomi

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Today’s Truth

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God (2 Corinthians 1:3–4 NIV emphasis added).

Friend to Friend


Chris, one of my friends, was in a seminary class when someone raised his hand and asked the professor: What is your best advice on how to be a good pastor?”


“Empathy,” the professor replied. “Have empathy.”


Then Chris raised his hand. “How do you get empathy?


With a trace of sad knowing in his eyes, the wise older man replied, “Suffer.”


Chris now understood. Empathy isn’t something you learn; empathy is something you live.


One of the greatest ways God puts to use what he puts us through is by creating in us a deeper sense of compassion than we would have ever known without the trauma. The word compassion is derived from the Latin words pati and cum, meaning “to suffer

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Today’s Truth

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 NIV).

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I love Romans 8:28. 


Now, let me be honest…sometimes I don’t.


When I am going through a dark time of loss or disappointment, and someone throws a sloppy coat of Romans 8:28 on my open wound, I just want to scream.


There. I said it.


Paul wrote: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV). But what does “all things” mean? I looked it up in my Greek dictionary and guess what it means—it means “all things.” I was hoping for something a little different.


“All things” includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. In every dark circumstance of life, there

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Today’s Truth

“Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’” (Mark 12:43-44 NIV).

Friend to Friend


One summer my family and I traveled to Yellowstone Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. One of our goals was to see as many unusual animals as possible. For us that was anything other than a dog, cat, or bird.


During the entire trip, we were on the lookout for moose, elk, buffalo, and other furry beasts with antlers. After several days we fell into the rhythm of looking for groupings of cars stopped alongside the road or crowds clustered in the woods. This signaled a sighting! As if holding up a neon sign, the assembly let us know we needed to stop. There was some magnificent creature we needed to see.


That’s what happened one day when Jesus was in

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Today’s Truth

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:2-4 NIV)

Friend to Friend


I watched my friend, Patricia, struggle through more than twenty years of a difficult marriage. Her husband left three times during the two decades—once before their three children were born, and twice after. They lived through nineteen different homes in multiple cities, revolving jobs, rumored affairs, cycles of financial plenty followed by financial deficiency. Eventually, after twenty-three years, Rodney packed his bags for the last time and left. The divorce was final the following year. That long chapter was over.


I don’t like to struggle, and I don’t like to see my friends struggle. I like for life to be easy. I want all my friends to love me all the time, I want my husband to agree with

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Today’s Truth

Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me (Psalm 66:16 NLT).

Friend to Friend


I was 16 years old and about 100 pounds soaking wet.


My friend’s dad, Mr. Evans, gathered up a few of us teenagers and drove us to a church just outside my hometown. We were going to give our testimonies at a Saturday night gathering of strangers. I’d never stood behind a podium, spoken into a mic, or stared at a sea of faces thinking I had something to say.


When my name was called, I walked up the stage steps, took a deep breath, and told all those staring eyes about how Jesus plucked me out of a home filled with alcohol abuse and violence. I also told them about the woman who introduced me to Jesus and how

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Today’s Truth

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! (Philippians 4:4 NLT)

Friend to Friend


I sat in the dimly lit room with soft music wafting through the air, and I began to relax. No this was not the prelude to a romantic evening with my husband. It was my yearly eye exam!


If you’ve ever had an eye exam, you’re familiar with the refraction test the doctor uses to determine if you need glasses and if so, what prescription is right for you. You place your face up to a phoropter (I had to look that up. Who knew?), and then the doctor flips down first one lens, then another, while you say which of the two helps you see the letters on the wall more clearly. Lens one or lens two? Lens

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Today’s Truth

“It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God. He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant” (2 Corinthians 3:5–6 NLT).

Friend to Friend


My son, Steven, was in the ninth grade when I turned in the manuscript for my book, Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids. I should have waited until he was in the tenth grade.


That fateful morning, I placed my neatly printed pages in a padded enveloped, prayed a blessing over the bundle, and then dropped a year of hard work in the mail slot at the post office. When I returned home, my phone was ringing. It was Steven.


“Hey, Mom, I’m calling to let you know that I’m in the principal’s office. I got caught stealing in the lunchroom. You need to come to the school.”


I sped to the school, stomped down the hall, and opened the

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Today’s Truth

Now he [Jesus] had to go through Samaria” (John 4:4 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I was in college when I met my husband at a Bible study. He was sitting on the floor dressed in scruffy jeans, a red flannel shirt, and a strong face that needed a shave. The moment I saw him, I was smitten. But I didn’t want him to know that.


Steve finally asked me out on a date, and several more followed. One night, Steve said, “Will go with me to all the rest of the football games for the rest of the year?”


“I’m not going to answer that question,” I cavalierly responded. “You’ll have to ask me each week.”


What I was really saying was that I wanted to be pursued. None of this blanket-invitation-for-the-entire-fall business. I wanted

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Today’s Truth

Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40 NIV)

Have you ever gone through a situation and wondered, Jesus where are You? If You had been here, this wouldn’t have happened? The loss of a loved one? The crash of a car? The devastation of property? Did you know that two women in the Bible felt the same way…and actually told Jesus just how they felt about it!


Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother, Lazarus. He often stopped by their home for a hot meal during His travels. I’d dare say they were some of His closest friends. And yet, when the girls sent someone to tell Jesus that Lazarus was sick, He didn’t go…at least not right away.


The Bible tells us, “So, when he heard that Lazarus was

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Today’s Truth

“Woman, you are released [set free] from your infirmity! (Luke 13:12b AMPC).

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When my brother was a teenager, my mother used to threaten him when he hunched over at the dinner table. “If you don’t sit up,” she would say, “I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.” I don’t even know if Sears made back braces then, but it sounded like a pretty good threat to me.


Then I had a son who seemingly grew to six feet overnight. He didn’t know what to do with all that height, so he slumped. I tried my best not to say, “If you don’t sit up, I’m going to buy you a back brace from Sears.”


Then one night my father-in-law took care of it for me. We were measuring and

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Today’s Truth

He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (Mark 5:34 NIV).

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I went to bed, pulled the covers over my head, and had a big ole pity party. Once again, I had been rejected…come in second place…told I wasn’t quite what “they” were looking for. The scarlet letter loomed large. It wasn’t an A like Hester Prynne’s in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s book I had to read in high school, but a big fat R that I chose to wear when life turned ugly.


There was a woman in the Bible who understood rejection too. You probably know her as “the woman with the issue of blood.” Mark 5:25-34 tells her story and lets us know that she had been suffering for 12 years. During that time, she had been rejected by

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Today’s Truth

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I sat across the table from a broken friend. Her life was scattered on the coffee shop floor like spilled grounds from the bean machine. Melissa (not her real name) had had an affair, and she finally mustered up the courage to tell me the truth. I knew about some of it, but not all of it. The new details were shocking. Now, what was I going to do with that?


My mind went back to the scene when the Pharisees brought the woman caught in adultery to where Jesus was teaching a crowd.


It was a set up. No doubt about it. The religious leaders had burst into the woman’s home, caught her in the act, and dragged her

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Today’s Truth

There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28 NIV).

Friend to Friend


She was beautiful.


She was bright.


And she was mad at God.


I sat across the lunch table picking at a salad and trying to digest Jan’s words. Her startlingly teal eyes were tinted with frustration at God, primarily because of how she perceived He felt about women.


“I don’t understand God. It seems like He is against women. All through the Bible I see how God used men in mighty ways.


“Abraham, Moses, David, you name it; it is always the men. And polygamy. How could God allow that? Today, there’s so much abuse toward women. Where’s God in all that? There are so many inequalities and injustices between how men are treated and how women are treated. I think the bottom

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Today’s Truth

Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled (Joshua 21:45 NIV).

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Life wasn’t turning out like I thought it would. There would be no gaggle of laughing children filling my home, no crowded kitchen table at mealtimes, no juggling of kids’ busy schedules. My first child would be my only child. And while I was so grateful to have this walking, talking, bundle of love, this wasn’t the way I had envisioned life unfolding. When the news came, I had a choice. I could get trapped in disappointment, or I could trust in God’s sovereign plan. I could get stuck crying “why me” or move forward with “what now.”


Mary, the mother of Jesus, had the same choice. Her life had not turned out like she thought it would. Before

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Today’s Truth

Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known (Jeremiah 33:3 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Fourteen exhausted, sweaty teenage boys plopped down on the bottom step of the gymnasium bleachers—my son being one of them. The assistant Junior Varsity basketball coach paced back and forth, lecturing them on the error of their ways. In the style of Sergeant Carter addressing Gomer Pyle, he yelled, “Who’s talking?”


The boys, in practiced unison shouted back, “You are, sir!”


“OK then, listen up!” he barked.


For the next twenty minutes, they did just that.


Unfortunately for the merry band of athletes, school is not simply a place where sports are played, but also an institution for academic advancement. The next day it was time to see just how much advancement had taken place in the first four months of school

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Today’s Truth

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:12 NIV).

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Who in the world would wait until Christmas Eve to do their Christmas shopping? I find it hard to believe the statistics that show December 24th is one of the biggest shopping days of the year, so one season I decided to venture out to the stores and see for myself. I usually have my Christmas list complete by Thanksgiving to avoid the crowds, so even though I was elbow to elbow with anxious shoppers, I didn’t feel the same angst that seemed etched on their faces.


I traveled to my favorite department stores and picked through a few stocking stuffers. Low and behold, I saw three of my in-laws scrambling for gifts. I picked up a few items

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Today’s Truth

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Yard sales. I’ve never really liked them. But when we were preparing to move from our home of twenty years, we decided it was the best way to clean out the clutter and make a little money.


We displayed our lovely attic décor on makeshift plywood tables and waited for the bargain babes to descend. Two hours before the advertised opening time, treasure hunters began congregating outside the closed garage doors. Then, the doors rose and the swarm attacked.


Among the valuables from my past sat an electric, ceramic 12” Christmas tree with various colored lights…no doubt a gift from the eighties. One woman perused the lovely display and came upon this “magnificent work of art.”


“I’ve always wanted one of

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Today’s Truth

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them” (2 Kings 6:16 NIV).

Friend to Friend


It was the hardest day of my life. One phone call, and my life crumbled into a pile of dust easily blown away by shock and unbelief. In a moment, my trust in God was tested as never before. Could I trust Him with this?


Trusting God would certainly be easier if we could see Him and His angel armies face-to-face. But even though we can’t see them in the physical realm, we can trust that they are in the spiritual realm—a realm that is more powerful than anything we could ever imagine. Even when we don’t see God working, we can be sure that He is.


God shows us a powerful glimpse into that spiritual realm in 2 Kings

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Today’s Truth

And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NIV).

Friend to Friend


As I sat on my screened-in porch early one morning, I was taken aback with the beauty surrounding me. I held a steamy cup of coffee in my hand and placed my open, well-worn Bible in my lap. As if on cue, as had been our routine for the past several weeks, a visitor hopped from the shrubbery and onto the night-cooled patio. “Good morning, Peter,” I cooed to the little brown bunny. “How are you today?” I just love bunnies, I mused.


Just as I was enjoying watching my furry friend, he hopped over to a flowerpot, stood up on his hind legs, and yanked a rather large stem from a plant.


“Good grief,” I moaned. “Stop that!”  Bounding

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Today’s Truth

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV).

Friend to Friend


When I turned forty, suddenly small letters and numbers got smaller. A trip to the ophthalmologist proved that I needed reading glasses. But I had a hard time keeping up with them, so the doctor fitted me with mono-vision contact lenses.


In my left eye I wear a contact lens for close-up and in my right eye I wear a contact lens for distance. And somehow, my brain figures all that out and I can see perfectly.


That is how I view gratitude and grace. With gratitude in one eye and grace in the other, I can see God more clearly. If there is one thing that should cause gratitude to bubble up and spill out of our hearts, it

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Today’s Truth

“My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you” (Job 42:5 NIV).

Friend to Friend


My son, Steven, and I sat on the floor in his room playing a card game. This summer was proving to be the best ever. Our golden retriever, Ginger, had just delivered seven adorable puppies, Steven was enjoying his sixth summer of life, and after four years of negative pregnancy tests, God had surprised us with a new life growing inside my womb.


But as Steven and I sat cross-legged on the carpet, I felt a warm, sticky sensation run down my leg. A trip to the bathroom confirmed my greatest fears. Later that afternoon, the doctor voiced the weighty words, “There is no heartbeat.”


What do you do when heartbreak slams into joy? When your soul cracks open and

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Today’s Truth

To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:2-3 ESV).

Friend to Friend


When I was a teenager, I gave my life to Jesus. I came to know Him as my Savior and Lord and followed Him with all the knowledge I had at the time. When my more mature friends messed up horribly, they would shrug and say, “Well, I’m just a sinner saved by grace.”


Before I knew it, I was saying, “I’m just a sinner saved by grace” to justify all sorts of bad behavior. The only problem was, the words, “sinner saved by grace” weren’t in the Bible.


I knew that I was a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (ESV).


I also knew that I had been saved by

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Today’s Truth

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins (Matthew 6:14–15 NIV).

Friend to Friend:


It was a Saturday college football game and I was doing what I like doing best—not watching the game but observing people. My seat was on the end of a long row of Carolina blue bleachers, and a steady flow of fans walked up and down the concrete steps. After a while, I noticed that four out of five people walking up the stands tripped on the step right in front of me. At halftime, I measured and discovered that the step was about a quarter-inch higher than the others. So, the people tripped.


Forgiveness is like that step. It’s just a little bit higher than anything else we practice as Christians. Unfortunately, it’s the one step a lot

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Today’s Truth

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18 NIV).

Friend to Friend


My husband woke one morning with a nostalgic urge to revisit the small North Carolina town where he spent the first eight years of his childhood. At family gatherings, he and his twin brother recounted endless stories of playing kick-the-can and baseball in their front yard, which was “at least the size of a football field.”


They recalled long hardwood hallways where they slid sock-footed, that were “at least as long as a bowling alley.” And they itched talking about rolling down grassy hills in the front yard that spilled onto the sidewalk.


So, the little boy in Steve decided to take a trip to his boyhood home and revisit the days of his youth. With map in hand, he

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Today’s Truth

Do you want to get well? (John 5:6 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Five-year-old Brooke was sitting in the backseat of the minivan while her mom and I ran errands. “Mommy,” she asked, “Is it worse to pick a scab or pick a mosquito bite?”


“You shouldn’t pick either one,” her mom replied.


I glanced back at Brooke as she tried to wipe away the bloody evidence that she had done both.


Little girls aren’t the only ones who pick at scabs. We big girls do it, too. Maybe we don’t pick at the brown crusty scabs that form over flesh wounds, but we do pick at bitter rusty scabs that form over soul wounds. Either way, picking at scabs keeps wounds from healing, and keeps us stuck from moving forward.


One day Jesus went

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Today’s Truth

Woman, you have great faith! (Matthew15:28a NIV)

Friend to Friend


He called it a dune buggy. I called it a death trap.


My friend, Harry, invited me and some of my friends for a ride over beach sand dunes in his big wheel jeep. I like sand. I like rides. Sounded like fun. It was not.


We buckled in and Harry revved up the engine. We did not ride over the sand dunes; we flew. Bouncing. Jostling. Screaming. Crying for him to slow down. All the while, Harry laughed and had a good ole time, mainly because he was the one controlling the steering wheel.


One thing I learned that day, besides don’t get in a jeep with Harry, was that you need big tires to go off-road over big hills

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Today’s Truth

He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair (Isaiah 61:1, 3 NIV).

Friend to Friend


“Mommy, tell me a story.”


That was a common request when my son was a little guy. Whether riding in the car, getting a haircut, or being tucked in at bedtime, Steven loved for me to tell him a story. The one requirement for my made-up tales was that Steven had to give me the first line. “Okay, buddy,” I’d say, “What’s the first sentence?”


“Once upon a time there was a leaf . . .”


“Once upon a time there was a snail . . .”


“Once upon a time there was a tree . . .”


“Once upon a time there was a dragon . . .”


And so, the tale would begin.


Everybody loves a good story, but not everybody loves their

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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