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Posts by Sharon Jaynes

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).


 


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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).

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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).

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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).

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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, 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

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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 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).

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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).

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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).

Friend to Friend


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).

Friend to Friend


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).

Friend to Friend


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).

Friend to Friend


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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Today’s Truth

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

Friend to Friend


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

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).

Friend to Friend


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, and it begins with a man named Elijah.


Elijah was a good prophet who gave some bad news to

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Today’s Truth

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 NIV).

Friend to Friend


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

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Today’s Truth

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Looking out my den window I noticed two of my neighbors puttering slowly down the street. Ernestine, with her bald head snuggled in a woolen cap, held tightly to Patti’s supporting arm. Patti’s chestnut hair, just two inches long, shone like a victor’s crown of a cancer survivor.


The previous year, Patti discovered she had breast cancer. For three months she endured chemotherapy followed by seven weeks of radiation. As God would have it, her final treatment fell on Thanksgiving Day. Yes, she had much to be thankful for—a full life, a loving husband, and Ernestine Nevils, her new next-door neighbor who had moved in two years before.


During Patti’s cancer treatment, Ernestine was right by her side, an extension

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Today’s Truth

“They triumphed over him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Poor Daddy. He just couldn’t shake it. Shame weighed him down like a dead body strapped to his back. No matter how many times I told him that God loved and accepted him just the way he was, he couldn’t believe it. That kind of grace was unfathomable, unthinkable, unbelievable . . . especially for a man like him.


How does a body get so low he feels there’s no getting out of the hole he’s dug? How does a soul see beyond the wrong done to him and through him? How does a pierced heart heal when the knife still turns in tender flesh?


I’ve shared how the home I grew up in was lashed with angry outbursts, violent

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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

“Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” (Numbers 12:8 NIV)

Friend to Friend


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 in our fenced in yard. 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 yard.”


When we got home, we walked over to the toppled tree. Ginger tucked her tail and slunk into the garage like the bad dog she was.


When we

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Today’s Truth

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones (Proverbs16:24 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Have you ever had times when you felt like you just couldn’t breathe? Stress weighs you down and the “to-do list” becomes the “too-much-to-do list.” Sometimes we just need a friend to come and breathe life into us. And one of the ways they do that is with words.


When I was in my teens, I went scuba diving with some friends. I had no training and probably shouldn’t have been in deep water, but I was a teenager and threw caution to the wind. The guy who took me below the surface of the deep, another teenager I might add, strapped an oxygen tank on his back, a mask on his face, and flippers on his feet. I

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Today’s Truth

“He burned the plowing equipment…” 1 Kings 19:21

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Okay, that might be the strangest Bible verse I’ve written about in the 14 years of Girlfriends in God’s existence but stick with me a moment.


Sometimes when I’m reading the Bible, one little sentence jumps out and grabs me by the heart. That’s what happened when I read 1 Kings 19:19-21. This was the day that Elijah the prophet called Elisha the farmer to take his place.


So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father

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Today’s Truth

“Anxiety in the heart of a man weighs it down, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25 NIV 1985 ed.).

Friend to Friend


Steve and I were on a trip to celebrate my birthday. He’s not a very techy guy, so I did most of the reservations online. One night, we were trying to get tickets to a show using our hotel Internet. I kept getting kicked off and grew frustrated.


In a huff, I said, “I wish you could do this! I feel like I’m having to do all the work and it’s my birthday!”


With the saddest face ever, Steve looked down and said, “Well, I am good at some things.”


That broke my heart. Of course, he’s amazing at many things. He’s a fabulous husband, a hard worker, a great friend, and a godly man. He’s handsome, gentle, and strong. At the moment I was

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Today’s Truth

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I sat on my back porch, wrapped in my fuzzy worn robe—the one that’s twenty years old that I just can’t seem to get rid of. The birch trees waved “good morning,” and the newly planted gerbera daisies stretched their faces to the sun…just a bit higher than the day before. Then I heard him. The rooster.


ER-er-ER-er-ERRRR. I’m not sure where he lives, but it’s within earshot.


ER-er-ER-er-ERRRR. I thought of Peter. I thought of me. I thought of you.


You know the story. At the dinner table, on the night before Jesus went to the cross, he said to Peter:


“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith

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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” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I was in the sixth grade when I first ventured into the House of Mirrors at my hometown county fair—a mere 12 years old. My friends and I ran from booth to booth, suckered into paying good money to play rigged games. For hours we gave cash to shady carnival characters in hopes of winning a stuffed purple polka-dotted snake, an oversized tie-dyed teddy bear, or a cheesy piece of jewelry we’d never wear. Personally, I stuck with Pickup Ducks—a sure win.


But of all the sideshows at the carnival, it was the House of Mirrors that captured my attention.


We walked through maze-like halls, giggling at the distorted images of ourselves. Short and stubby. Tall and lanky. I looked

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Today’s Truth

Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God (Romans 15:7 ESV).

Friend to Friend


I don’t know about you, but a few of my greatest lessons on how to love other people haven’t come from church folks. For example:


Nestled 50 feet off Highway 17 in Pawley’s Island, S.C., rests C.J.’s Beach Club. For years, Steve and I eyed the clapboard building tucked in the grove of myrtle trees, but it wasn’t the sort of place we would tend to visit. One weekend it was just the two of us on a short holiday at the beach, and we were feeling adventurous. Steve turned the car onto the crushed-oyster-shell parking lot of C.J’s, and we decided to taste the local nightlife of the coastal South.


C.J.’s was a dance club. Now, before you click

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Today’s Truth

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I hugged my pink stuffed poodle to my chest. We were about to have a serious conversation, even though I would be the only one talking. My ten-year-old self looked into his black button eyes and confided the empty ache that I dare not admit to anyone. I didn’t say the words out loud. I didn’t need to. We were close like that.


I wish I had a daddy who loved me, I began. I wish I had a daddy who would kiss me on the cheek when he came home from work, tickle my sides after catching me in a game of chase, and carry me piggyback in the park. I wish I had a daddy who liked

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Today’s Truth

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NET).

Friend to Friend


It’s was one of the worst days of my life. Tragedy struck our family in the worst way and I was emotionally paralyzed. That’s when my friend, Mary, stepped in to do what I couldn’t. She made a hotel reservation for me, called the necessary people, and said, “It’s going to be okay.”


“It’s going to be okay” is one of the most hope-filled sentiments I can offer to others, and that I can choose to believe for myself. The writer of Hebrews says: “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1 NET). That’s where hope comes from.


Of course, for the Christian, there is the future hope

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Today’s Truth

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV).

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

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” (Song of Solomon 6:3 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I could hear the wailing from the driveway. It was 5:10 a.m. and nature soundly slept. All was quiet, except for the animal-like cries making their way out the back door and into the still dark dawn. My husband and his sister were giving their mom the news that her husband of sixty years had passed away. After three months in a rehab facility recovering from a fall, Bruce Jaynes quietly slipped away and took Jesus’ hand.


Jesus or no Jesus, Mary Ellen was devastated that her husband had left her.
“How could he leave me?” she cried through salty tears. “He said he wouldn’t leave me.”


My in-laws’ relationship reflected the Shulammite’s words in the Song of Solomon: “I am

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Today’s Truth

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him” (Luke 15:20 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Perhaps one of the most memorable and heart-touching stories of grace and forgiveness is recorded in Luke 15. It’s what we’ve come to know as the Story of the Prodigal Son. This young man demanded his inheritance while his father was still alive, spent it all on riotous living, and found himself dirty, destitute, and despairing. As despicable as pigs were to Jews, this young man took a job taking care of pigs and eating their food just to stay alive. But then he had an epiphany.


“When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death. I will set out and go

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Today’s Truth

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results (James 5:16 NLT).

Friend to Friend


Allan was a tough man. Raised by a single mom with five siblings, he learned how to scrap 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 lumberyard 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 for her

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Today’s Truth

“Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you,” (Matthew 9:22 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Just the other day, I got a bit lost going to pick up takeout at a restaurant I had never been before. Once I arrived and got in line, I watched the woman in front of me with a baby in a stroller. God prompted me. “Pay for her meal.”


So, I did.


With tears in her eyes, she said, “How did you know my situation?”


I assured her that I had never seen her before, and I didn’t know anything about her “situation.” I also assured her that God did.


We talked for quite sometime. This woman was in a very dark chapter of her life. She had lost her job. Her daughter was an addict. Her funds were running low,

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Today’s Truth

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—(1 Corinthians 2:9).

Friend to Friend


I hopped up on the counter at the soda fountain and placed my five-year-old feet on the spinning stool in front of me. Dad sipped on a Coke and talked to the lady behind the counter with the red-and-white-striped apron tied around her waist.


“This is my little girl,” Daddy said with a smile. “She’s a little monkey.”


“Why, Allan, she’s just as cute as she can be.”


For a moment, I thought I was.


I stood in the front yard waiting for the screaming to stop before I went back inside. Dad was drunk again, and Mom was screaming at the top of her lungs. Why couldn’t he see how afraid I was? Why did he drink? Why did Mom yell?

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Today’s Truth

“I am God Almighty [El Shaddai]; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. Then I will make my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.” (Genesis 17:1)

Friend to Friend


I was exhausted. I was drenched in sweat. I was filled with inexplicable joy–a joy I had never known. It was the day Steven Hugh Jaynes, Jr. emerged from the pocket of my womb and made his grand debut into the world.


When my son was born, I never knew so much love could be wrapped in one tiny package. After twenty-three-and-a-half hours of pushing and pulling, heaving and hoeing, he finally decided to leave his comfy sauna and face the bright lights of the delivery room. As soon as the umbilical cord was severed, the nurses whisked him away to make sure ten fingers and toes were accounted for, wrap him in a cozy blanket, and place a

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Today’s Truth

But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck” (Genesis 27:38–40 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

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

For in him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Most of us come to Christ with a certain “inloveness”—a stirring of emotion mixed with an inexplicable knowing that we’ve discovered our reason for being. But some years into our spiritual journey, the wonder that swelled during the early years ebbs into routine religion laced with busyness. And we secretly question the point of it all.


There has to be more than this, we muse. What am I missing? What’s wrong with me? I’m doing all the right things, but God seems so far away. I’m trying as hard as I can, but it never seems to be enough. What does God really want from me anyway?


For decades, as I have had the privilege of ministering to women, I

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Today’s Truth

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)

Friend to Friend


There it was.


Carved in wood.


The evidence could not be denied.


My niece, Anna, dropped her kids off at school and then went home to clean up a bit. She removed a hairbrush, school papers, and yesterday’s jewelry from her dresser. And there it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes.


A nail.


And a name.


L-i-l-l-i-a-n…carved into the top of her dresser’s walnut surface.


Seven-year-old L-i-l-l-i-a-n didn’t even bother to hide the weapon used to commit the crime. The nail lay just where she found it, right on the dresser by her name.


It was a tough six hours as Anna waited for her 44-inch, 49-pound lump of love to get off the school bus. This was not a good day.


“Come with me,” Anna said to

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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—I was bleeding. 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

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Today’s Truth

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! (1 John 3:1 NIV)

Friend to Friend


I became a Christian when I was a teenager. But even after I made a commitment to follow Christ, feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy clung to me like a spider’s sticky web. The dirge of “I’m not good enough” was a song I couldn’t get out of my head. The lies of the enemy created limitations in my life. They were the barbed wire that fenced me in and kept God’s best at bay.


The problem was, I had no idea who I was, what I had, or where I was as a child of God. Oh, I understood that I was going to go to heaven when I left this earth, but what I was supposed to

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Today’s Truth

The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work (1 John 3:8 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I watched the news and mourned the hatred of mankind. I read the paper and questioned the senseless headlines. I listened to the radio and cried about the wildfires out west. Silently I prayed, God, why is the world so messed up? And then the Holy Spirit reminded me of where broken began.


When God fashioned, fitted, and filled the earth, there was nothing but goodness. The lion and the lamb lay side-by-side. Adam and Eve lived a harmonious existence without a hint of discord. God and human beings communed with no barrier between them. All creation ebbed and flowed with the rhythm of the tides and the breath of God. There was no lack, only abundance; no fear,

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Today’s Truth

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13 ESV).

Friend to Friend


When I was a little girl, my mom did her grocery shopping at White’s Supermarket on the corner of Tarboro and Pearl Streets. Other grocery stores were close by, but only White’s gave out S&H Green Stamps.


On shopping days, I stood on tiptoes, bug-eyed as the cashier pushed the buttons and rang up my mom’s purchases. My mom lit up every time she heard the cha-ching, knowing that meant more stamps were on the way. After the cashier tallied the purchases, she pulled a lever and the register spit out two streams of stamps—large and small. We never put the stamps in books right away. Mom stuffed them in a brown paper bag and stored them in a cabinet over the

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Today’s Truth

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Grief is a funny thing. I can’t think of many who haven’t experienced grief in some form or another. Grief is a natural response to a loss. It could be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a relationship, or the loss of a dream. Grief is a complex weaving of emotions that accompany the loss of what was or sometimes the emptiness of what wasn’t.


I grieved that I did not grow up being the apple of my daddy’s eye. My friend Angela grieved the loss of investing in a thirty-five-year marriage that ended in divorce. Gail grieved the loss of her son in the chilling waters of the James River. Pat grieved the loss of

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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).

Friend to Friend


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 birth to two

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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).

Friend to Friend


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

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead; I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Friend to Friend


There was a world of hurt in my family growing up. When I became a Christian, there was a world of forgiveness that needed to take place. It took me some time, but I eventually forgave my dad for all the things he did. However, every time I remembered what was done and how it was done, I felt the hurt all over again. I wondered, Have I really forgiven him if I can’t forget the pain? The answer is yes.


We hear the term, forgive and forget, but how can we forget? Don’t you wish there was a delete button for our brains? The key to understanding biblical “forgetting” lies in the way God “forgets our sins and

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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).

Friend to Friend


I like instant. I like brewed coffee in a minute or less. I like microwaved leftovers in 45 seconds or less. I like instant text, instant on-line shopping, and instant movies at the click of a button.


I’m not a fan of process, but would rather have immediate results. One of my favorite words in the New Testament is “immediately.”



“Immediately they received their sight” (Matthew 20:34).
“Immediately the leprosy left him” (Mark 1:42).
“Immediately her bleeding stopped” (Luke 8:44).

Sometimes, God does heal immediately, but not always. Most times, He heals through a progression of healing steps/


Whether we’re talking about someone’s healing from the results of a bad decision, healing of violent childhood memories, or healing from a broken heart, healing takes

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Today’s Truth

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)

Friend to Friend


I used to cringe at the thought of telling parts of my story. People in my small town thought that my family was a typical American family with two kids and a collie dog named Lassie. We certainly dressed the part…my mamma made sure of that. I remember sitting in high school homeroom laughing on the outside but crying on the inside. If they only knew, my shame whispered.


You can imagine my resistance when God prodded me to speak up and tell how He transformed my secret alcohol-induced violent childhood into a public grace-infused peaceful adulthood. Would you rather they think well of you, or well of Me, He seemed to ask. But when I finally planted the

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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)

Friend to Friend


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.


But there it was. A date of birth and a date of death. Digging through the old chest, I

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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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Today’s Truth

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. (Ephesians 4:31 NIV).

Friend to Friend


I have a confession to make. When I was in high school, I never read the books we were supposed to have read in English class. I read the Cliffs Notes study guides and got by. But a decade later, I decided to go back and get that high school reading list and actually read the books! Great Expectations was one of my favorites. It showed me just what can happen with a heart that stays stuck on a solitary disappointment.


In the story, Miss Havisham is an elderly recluse who lives in a dilapidated mansion. When the main character, a young boy named Pip, is taken to her Gothic estate, he sees a dismal old brick structure with

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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)

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 I had a steady flow of fans walking past me up and down the concrete steps for two-and-a-half hours. After a while, I noticed that four out of five people walking up the stands tripped on the step right in front of me and to my left. 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

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Today’s Truth

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

(Proverbs 3:5 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Steven was three years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly in my lap like a worn-out rag doll. When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor took one look at my boy and sent us straight to the hospital. Steven was dehydrated and needed fluids immediately.


My heart ripped wide when the nurses taped a support board to Steven’s little arm and inserted the needle for the IV. Not his thumb-sucking arm, my heart winced.


“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Make them stop! They are hurting me!”


“No, honey,” I tried to assure him with tears streaming down my cheeks. “They’re making you all better.”


“Mommy, help me!”


Steven cried. I cried. The

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Today’s Truth

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

(2 Corinthians 4:8–9 NIV)

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

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.”

(John 4:39 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Everyone loves a good story. But not everyone likes their own story. I wouldn’t have written my childhood story the way it now appears on the page. Instead, I would have had a daddy who loved me, a momma who cherished me, and a big brother who was my best friend. We would have spent holidays eating turkey, weekends playing board games, and quiet moments before bed saying goodnight prayers. But that’s not the story I got.


I would have had a passel of children, a calendar overbooked with afterschool activities, and walls full of picture-framed little ones all grown up. But that’s not the story I got.


I would have had best friends who stayed friends for life, and

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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


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

“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 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

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Today I want to share with you a story that I wrote a few years ago. In it, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be one of the shepherds who visited Jesus at His birth. For just a moment, I want you to pretend that you are reading a letter that one of the shepherds wrote to his brother, Mathias.


Dear Mathias:


As I am writing you this letter, my hand is still a bit shaky. I’m not sure it will ever stop. But I must tell you about an incredible experience that happened to Matthew, Simeon, Levi, and me, two weeks ago. As usual, we were watching our sheep on a hillside east of

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Today’s Truth

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

Friend to Friend


Every year, I search for Christmas poems, stories, and traditions that stir my soul and keep my focus on Jesus. Perhaps none has tugged on 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 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

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

Friend to Friend


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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"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