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Posts by Sharon Jaynes

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.).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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).

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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

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

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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).

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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).

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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)

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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).

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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

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).

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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)

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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).

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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).

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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)

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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).

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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 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).

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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

“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)

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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)

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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.


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)

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“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).

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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)

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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).

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

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


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

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Today’s Truth

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

“But he [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me,” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV).

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When I was six years old, I skipped off to school with a new box of crayons, a Swiss–polka dotted dress, and fresh hope that I would be smart. But first grade only confirmed my greatest fear. I was “not enough.”


As soon as my first-grade teacher held up that initial spelling flashcard, I knew I was in trouble. We lined up our miniature wooden chairs in a row like a choo-choo train. The teacher held up a spelling flashcard for us to identify the word. If we missed the word, we had to go to the caboose. I spent most of the first grade in the caboose. I just couldn’t spell to save my life. For some reason,

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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

“Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous,” God encouraged Joshua. “Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For I the Lord am with you wherever you may go,” (Joshua 1:9).

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I was getting ready to teach my first Bible study…and my knees were shaking like crazy. I’d never taught a group of women who were staring back at me. I wanted to run.


How do you react to fear of the unknown when it comes to stepping out in faith or living bold? Everyone has his or her own unique way.


Some respond to fear by retreating to the safety of cul-de-sac Christianity, which is actually one of the most dangerous places of all. Dale Carnegie once said, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”


You will not become

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Today’s Truth

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

Friend to Friend


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


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


After much chomping at the boat,

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Today’s Truth

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

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


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

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Today’s Truth

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up…A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)

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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

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

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

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Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle—tired of trying. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I threw up my hands in the battle and said, “Just forget it.” I don’t want to do that any longer. I don’t want to stop too soon.


The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange.


Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do

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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)

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It was a beautiful crisp February morning when Steve and I traveled from our college town of Chapel Hill, NC to Charlotte to announce our engagement to Steve’s family. The night before, God had decorated His creation with a dusting of snow and tipped the trees with shimmering ice sickles. All of nature looked as if it were dressed for a wedding ceremony. I was sure God had done this especially for me. Ice laden trees bowed their branches all along the highway as if to sing, “Here comes the bride.”


It was one of those Southern days that couldn’t decide if it was the end of winter or the beginning of spring. As the day wore on, the

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Today’s Truth

“Let no foul or polluting language…[ever] come out of your mouth.” (Ephesians 4:29 AMPC)

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Remember when that 1,200 miles of Alaskan shoreline was covered with black slimy crude oil by the Exxon Valdez oil spill? Eleven million gallons of crude oil spilled into the Prince William Sound and disrupted the ecological balance of nature. More than 1,000 bodies of once-bustling sea otters were littering the coast, and more than 100,000 grounded birds were gasping for air. Many of its most beautiful inhabitants, including 150 bald eagles, were killed. The once glacier-fed waters teeming with life became an oily death trap.


Just as toxins in nuclear waste facilities, city dumps, and industrial accidents wreak havoc on the environment, toxic words cause destruction to the hearts and souls of the people. Paul wrote, “Let no

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Today’s Truth

“Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”.

(Philippians 4:8 NIV)

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Have you ever been to a rodeo and watched a lassoing contest? The little calf bursts from the stall, and then the cowboy and his steed follow in close pursuit. With his lasso in hand, the cowboy swings the rope in the air and attempts to catch the little heifer before she escapes out the corral door at the opposite side of the arena. That is a vivid picture of what we need do with the words that attempt to escape the gate (the mouth). We need to lasso them with the word of truth and rein them in. Throw them down in the dirt and tie them up if necessary.


The Bible teaches us to take every thought

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Today’s Truth

“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven.”

(Matthew 18:21–22 NLT)

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One day I received an e-mail from a woman who was still bitter over a statement her husband made to her cousin ten years ago. She and her husband were preparing to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and she was dreading it because of his careless words a decade before. She wrote, “Please pray that God mends this title [sic] piece of my heart that has fallen to the ground.”


The word title was a typo—she meant to type little. To me, it was telling. Friend, we can allow someone’s little shortcomings to become the title of our story, or we can forgive and write a new storyline. Not only does forgiveness change the title of your story, it

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Today’s Truth

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

(Romans 12:2 NIV)

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


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

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Here’s a question. Do you think obedience to God is easy or hard? Hmmm. Obedience may seem hard at first, but in reality, obedience is the easy way. It is difficult to cope with the messes we get into when we don’t obey. The consequences of sin are hard to deal with. Think about the times you have disobeyed or turned your back on God. What were the results? Easy? Hard?


Satan will try and convince you that obedience is much too hard, that it carries too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. He will never tell you the glory moments you will forfeit by refusing or ignoring God’s invitation

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Today’s Truth

[Jesus said] “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working,”

(John 5:17 NIV)

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Bob told me about a visit to Vietnam where he met with a leader of an underground Christian church. This leader, who had spent a large part of his life in prison for his faith, told Bob many stories of the growth of Christians. Approximately 1 million believers met in hidden huddles all around the country. “What everybody wants is to see God move,” the pastor explained.


And isn’t that the desire of your heart…to see God move in your life and in the lives of those you love? Jesus reminds us, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Always at His work. Always. And yet, do we

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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 13 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

“In Him we live and move and have our being”

(Acts 17:28 NIV)

Friend to Friend


“I just never have enough time to spend with the Lord,” Amanda cried. “I work forty plus hours a week, commute ninety minutes both ways, oversee elderly parents’ affairs, and take care of my five-year-old son. I’m either on the road, at my desk or taking care of someone else’s needs. And on top of that, I never feel like I’m doing any of it well. What does God want from me in the middle of all this madness? How can I carve out time for Him? I feel like I’m constantly failing Him!”


Amanda is not alone. I’ve been right there with her. Haven’t you?


We live in a physical realm and our new, born-again spirits will never be

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” he asked His disciples. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows”

(Matthew 10:29-31, emphasis added)

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As a little girl, I never felt I was worth very much. I always felt that I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough. I sensed my parents tolerated me, but certainly didn’t delight in me. And if your own parents couldn’t love you, then who could?


Then there was the definitive day in the eleventh grade that took my self-worth to an all-time low. I can still remember what I was wearing: lavender bell bottom low rise jeans, a bubble knit short-sleeve top, Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals, and a blue bandanna tied around my head of long oily hair I hadn’t had time to wash that morning. This was acceptable attire for teens when I was in

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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)

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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

“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 NIV)

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“Mommy, Mommy,” Steven cried. “Don’t let them hurt me!”


My son, Steven, was about 3 years old when he contracted a severe case of the flu. His slumped body snuggled listlessly in my lap like an old, worn rag doll.


When I carried him into the medical clinic, the doctor quickly diagnosed dehydration and immediately sent us to the hospital.


My heart ripped apart as the nurses strapped my little boy onto a table and began placing IVs in his tiny arms.


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


“No, honey,” I tried to assure him. “They’re going to make you all better.”


“Mommy, help me!”


Steven cried. I cried. The nurses cried.


I could only imagine what was going through Steven’s little

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Today’s Truth

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”

(Romans 8:1 NIV)

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I sat on my back porch, wrapped in my fuzzy worn robe—the one that’s 20 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 may not

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Today’s Truth

However it is written, “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 NIV)

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Have you ever been afraid to jump into the deep end of God’s will? I certainly have. Then God showed me how


I was sitting on the balcony of a condominium listening to the excited squeals and splashes as children played in the swimming pool below.


One particular little girl caught my attention. She appeared to be about six years old and wore bright yellow water wings wrapped around her arms like blood pressure cuffs. As she stood on the side of the pool nervously flapping her arms, her daddy was poised in waist-deep water with his arms outstretched.


“Come on, honey, you can do it,” he coached. “Go ahead and jump. I’m right here.”


“But I’m scared,” she said, whining and

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Today’s Truth

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

(Matthew 18:21-22 NIV)

 


Friend to Friend


I was so confused. I was talking to God, but it seemed He wasn’t talking to me. There seemed to be a barrier between us. I was a single, twenty-years old, and needed to make an important decision about my future, but I wasn’t hearing from God.


Mr. Thorp was an older, godly gentleman who mentored my Christian friends and me during our teen years. After one of our Bible study meetings, I asked him to pray for me.


“Let’s read some Scripture about prayer before we pray,” Mr. Thorp suggested.


First he turned to Matthew 18:19-22:


“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for them by

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Today’s Truth

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

(Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Can I make a confession? Sometimes I quit too soon. I’ve quit when what I really needed to do was to press on and press through. Sometimes I’ve gotten tired of the struggle—tired of trying. And you know what? I’ve missed many blessings because I threw up my hands in the battle and said, “Just forget it.” I don’t want to do that any longer. I don’t want to stop too soon.


The battle plan to take the Promised Land was as simple as it was strange.


Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do

Read More

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 me 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, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…

(Hebrews 12:1 NIV)

Friend to Friend


My son was fast, and he ran with a fast crowd. As a matter of fact, his entire track team was fast! In the ninth grade, Steven participated in the conference track meet, running the 1600 meters. (That’s four times around the big circle.) I was so proud of him as he ran like a gazelle around the first lap, about six feet behind the first-place contestant. But at the beginning of the second lap we saw an unidentified flying object soar over Steven’s head.


“What was that?” my husband asked.


“I think it was his shoe!” I replied with amusement.


All the fans were laughing and pointing as they noticed Steven’s left running shoe fly heavenward and land on the

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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

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

(Proverbs16:24 NIV)

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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

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Today’s Truth

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

(Colossians 4:6 NLT)

Friend to Friend


Sometimes God will bring people who need encouragement across our paths in the most mysterious ways. That’s why we need to slow down and look around. Be sensitive to the little nudges of the Holy Spirit. You never know when you will be someone else’s miracle.


Jon Robinson experienced an unexpected miracle at a crucial time in his life. He was a longtime media personality in my hometown, but when he was passed over for an anchor position he thought he had earned, he quit his job at the local television network and sank into a depression. He was hurting and alone. But an unusual twist of fate turned his life around. It all began with a wrong number.


Jon

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Today’s Truth

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

(John 13:34-35 NIV)

Friend to Friend


I ran into Shelly at the grocery store. She had just returned from a visit with her prospective daughter-in-law. Her son was getting married in a few months, and the weekend was intended to help the two families become better acquainted.


“I will tell you one thing,” Shelly began, “she might be a Christian, but there is one chapter in the Bible that girl has not read…Proverbs 31. She doesn’t know the first thing about how to be a wife. And I know where she got it from. Her mother. She made all the decisions. It was her show. All weekend it was evident that the women in this family were in charge.”


Shelly continued pointing out the shortcomings of

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Today’s Truth

I will put my hand over my mouth.

(Job 40:4)

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From the time I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand, I’ve enjoyed creating various “works of art.” Many of those masterpieces ended up under the Christmas trees for family and friends. One year it was macramé hanging plant holders. Another it was a menagerie of decoupage wooden boxes. Then there were the years of framed cross-stitch, ceramic nativity sets, and quilted pig and chicken pillows (don’t laugh).


When I was 17, it was the year of the candle. Everyone from Grandma Edwards to my best friends received praying hand candles. For weeks I slaved over a hot stove, stirring melted wax, meticulously centering ten-inch wicks, then slowly pouring the red, green, or yellow molten material into

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Today’s Truth

“Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand”

(Romans 14:4 NIV)

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Miriam was the brave little girl who hid among the bulrushes to watch her baby brother floating in the Nile among the crocodiles and would-be assassins of the Hebrew babies. Because the Hebrews were growing too numerous for the Pharaoh’s comfort, he issued an edict that all Hebrew male babies must be killed as soon as they were born. But Moses’ mother wanted her son to live.


After she could no longer hide the growing babe in the quiet of her cottage, she wove him his own little ark of reeds, covered it with pitch and set him afloat in the crocodile-


infested Nile River. His sister, Miriam, hid among the bulrushes as he set sail.


She watched as the Pharaoh’s daughter spied the

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Today’s Truth

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to be silent and a time to speak.”

(Ecclesiastes 3:1,7 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Timing is everything. How many times have I heard that? How many times have I heeded that? Hmmm. Those two answers are not the same.


When Steven was about seven years old we went snow skiing. For hours I instructed him how to stand up, ski down, and get up once he fell. In his frustration, Steven fell down and fell down and fell down. He was not getting the hang of it at all. What’s the problem, I wondered? Then I found out. It was me.


“Mom,” Steven cried, “if you just quit telling me what to do, I think I could get it.”


“Fine!” I said. “Go ahead and do it your way!”


And you know what? He did. Thirty

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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)

(Romans 15:7 ESV)

Friend to Friend


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 delete in shock that we would darken the doors of such a place, I want you to stay with me a moment. We grew

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Today’s Truth

“The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.”

(Proverbs 18:8)

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A monster was sneaking into my yard in the dark of night and devouring my prize plants. I never saw his beady eyes or heard his pounding footsteps—just the aftermath of his destruction. He left a trail of slime as he moved from plant to plant, leaving large gaping holes in broadleaf gerbera daisies, gnawing entire velvety
trumpet-shaped blossoms on purple petunias, and reducing bushy begonias to naked stalks.


I asked a neighbor about my flower-bed’s demise, and she said, “You’ve got slugs.”


“Slugs!” I exclaimed. “The yard monster is a tiny little slug?”


“You can put out slug bait to catch them and see for yourself,” my confident neighbor continued.


I sprinkled slug bait all around the yard and then waited. The

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Today’s Truth

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.

(Psalm 71:14 NIV)

Friend to Friend


I was flying home from Pennsylvania on Good Friday of the Easter weekend, and the airport was packed. As I waited for the plane to arrive at the gate, clouds began to fill the sky. Unfortunately, overbooked airplanes and stormy weather do not a good combination make. Delays and cancellations lit up the departure board like fireflies at dusk in summertime south.


I was scheduled to arrive in Charlotte, N.C. at 7:00 p.m. But then my arrival time was pushed back to 7:40, then to 8:40, then to 9. This was turning out to be not such a “good Friday” after all. The travelers were getting angry, the ticketing agents were getting agitated, and kids were getting antsy. I

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Today’s Truth

For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

(Matthew 12:34 NIV)

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Once a little boy’s mother called him to come in to wash up for dinner. “But my hands aren’t dirty,” the boy argued.


“Yes, they are,” his mom replied. “They have germs on them, you just can’t see them.”


“Germs and Jesus,” the boy huffed. “That’s all I hear about around here and I’ve never seen anyone of them!”


That’s a cute story, but we know that both germs and Jesus are very real. Hand sanitizers are available in every scent imaginable. Heaven help us if we get a germ from the shopping buggy or a door handle. Have you ever had someone shake your hand and then walk away squirting sanitizer in his or her palms? I have. I’m not

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Today’s Truth

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

(Ephesians 4:29 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Have you ever said something you wished you could take back? Silly question. We all have. But what if we could stop the words before they tumbled out in the first place? That would be a win-win for everybody.


I remember taking my son, Steven, to an amusement park just before he began fourth grade. It was hot, the lines were long, and I began to feel queasy from being gyrated and jerked to sudden stops from 60 miles per hour. Feeling quite the martyr, I was just about to remind Steven how lucky he was to have a mother like me to bring him to an amusement park. But before the words escaped my mouth, the Holy Spirit

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Today’s Truth

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

(Proverbs 10:19)

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I love reading WWII books and watching WWII movies and documentaries. During the war, the War Advertising Council created propaganda posters as part of a campaign to advise servicemen and citizens to avoid careless talk concerning secure information that might be used by the enemy.


The gist of the slogan was to remind people to avoid talking about ship movements. The fear was that covert enemy agents might hear the comments, intercept the war effort, and destroy the ships. Thus, “Loose Lips Sink Ships” signs were posted on factory walls across America.


Loose lips still sink ships. Perhaps we need to hang a sign in our homes that says, “Loose lips sink relation-ships.” Choose wisely. Don’t allow the loose lips

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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

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”

(Colossians 3:12 NIV)

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


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


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


“She did what!” I exclaimed.


“She dug it up. The tree is lying in

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Today’s Truth

“Then Orpah kissed her mother-in-law goodbye, but Ruth clung to her.”

(Ruth 1:14 NIV)

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Have you ever been reading the Bible and suddenly something grabs hold of you so tightly, you know, oh you know, that God has opened your eyes to a new truth? That He has spoken to you loud and clear? Not through someone else, but directly to you? That happened to me one morning while reading the story of Ruth, Orpah, and Naomi.


How many times have I read this story, taught this story, pondered this passage, and yet, God still opened my eyes to something new? Stand with me on the road back to Bethlehem as Ruth and Orpah are crying because their mother-in-law, Naomi, is headed back to Bethlehem. They both wanted to go with her, begged

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Today’s Truth

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”

(Psalm 63:8 NIV)

Friend to Friend
Have you ever felt that this thing called life is just too hard. I know I have. Sometimes life just does not turn out like I thought it would. That’s when I have to hang onto God and simply trust Him.


I remember when my son was four-years-old and I was trying to teach him how to snow ski. The first day was just horrible…at least it was for me. I felt like a down-covered workhorse as I lugged two sets of skis in one arm while dragging along Steven with the other. Clunky ski boots, overstuffed mittens, and a hooded snowsuit made it difficult for Steven to maneuver. Add all that to the slippery snow, and we had

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Today’s Truth

“Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, poured into your lap. For 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 as you’ve had times in your life when you’ve felt about that lucky! You’ve wondered how you can help someone else or encourage someone else when you feel so empty.


There was a woman in the Bible who knows just how you feel. She also felt that she had nothing left to give, but God showed her just how wrong she was. The story is found in 1 Kings Chapter 17.


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

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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


All day long God is working in and around us. It is so easy to simply go about the task of living without seeing God’s hand-prints on our circumstances and footprints on our paths. When we see life as a “to do list” to check off, or random acts of fortune to celebrate or misfortune to endure, we miss seeing God and hearing His voice as the scarlet thread that connects the moments and the days of our lives.


Frederick Buechner noted, “All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense,

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Today’s Truth

“One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

(John 5:5-6 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Five-year-old Brooke was sitting in the backseat of a 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 be picking at either one.” her mom replied.


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


Little girls aren’t the only ones who pick at scabs. We do it all the time. Maybe we don’t pick at the brown crusty scabs that form over a flesh wound preventing the skin underneath to heal. But many times we pick at the bitter rusty scabs that form over a soul-wound, not allowing the heart to heal.


Barbara (not her real

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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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Sometimes you expect you’re getting a Rachel and you wake up with a Leah. Okay, I know that example might connect better with a guy, but you get the point.


Let me try that again. What do you do after you’ve crossed the Red Sea of obstacles, only to be dying of thirst at Marah three days later? How do you keep your dancing from turning into disappointment? One thing is for sure; you don’t drive down your tent pegs by the disappointing waters of Marah and camp out there. You move on.


I think of the women on Jesus’s ministry team. They had committed their lives to the Messiah and believed that He would restore Israel. Mary Magdalene and

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Today’s Truth

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

(Ephesians 6:10-12 NIV)

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


Friend to Friend


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

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Today’s Truth

“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

(2 Corinthians 10:3-4 NIV)

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


Today’s Truth


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


Friend to Friend


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

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Today’s Truth

“I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.”

(Revelation 2:4-5 NIV)

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


Friend to Friend


What do you do when you’ve lost that lovin’ feelin’? Maybe you truly adored your husband in the beginning, but now you can’t remember why. Maybe you honestly admired his finer qualities, but now you can’t remember what they were. Maybe you appreciated his wonderful attributes, but now you take them for granted. What do you do now?


Here’s

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Today’s Truth

Today’s Truth “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters.”

(2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV)

Friend to Friend


When I was a little girl, my father spent most of his waking hours working at his building supply company, observing construction sites, or socializing with his colleagues and associates. Even though his place of business was only a few blocks from our home, his heart was miles away in a place I could not find. My father didn’t drink alcohol every day, but when he did, it consumed him. He was filled with a rage that always seemed to be simmering just beneath the surface of his tough skin. But when he drank, that lava of rage erupted out onto those around him.


As a child, many nights I crawled into bed, pulled the covers tightly under my

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?” he asked His disciples. “Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

(Matthew 10:29-31, emphasis added)

Friend to Friend


As a little girl, I never felt I was worth very much. I always felt that I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough, or good enough. I sensed my parents tolerated me, but certainly didn’t delight in me. And if your own parents couldn’t love you, then who could?


Then there was the definitive day in the eleventh grade that took my self-worth to an all-time low. I can still remember what I was wearing: lavender bell bottom low rise jeans, a bubble knit short-sleeve top, Dr. Scholl’s wooden sandals, and a blue bandanna tied around my head of long oily hair I hadn’t had time to wash that morning. This was acceptable attire for teens when I was in

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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

“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

They overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.”

(Revelation 12:11 NIV brackets added).

Friend to Friend


When the writers of the Old Testament penned the words to the long lists of lineages, the so-and-so begat so-and-so passages, they almost always listed men. Very rarely did a woman’s name make the list.


But when we turn the page from the Old Testament to the New Testament, we see God honoring women in a brand-new way. We get a hint that the tide is turning for women when we read the lineage of Jesus recorded in Matthew chapter one. Shockingly, in addition to Mary, four women were listed in the genealogy of Christ!


And whom should God choose to be set apart, chosen, and honored in the genealogy of His Son? Not Mrs. Noah, who must have been

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Today’s Truth

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

(1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV)

Friend to Friend


An African boy listened carefully as his teacher explained why Christians give presents to each other on Christmas day. “The gift is an expression of our joy over the birth of Jesus and our friendship for each other,” she said.


When Christmas day came, the boy brought the teacher a seashell of lustrous beauty. “Where did you ever find such a beautiful shell?” the teacher asked as she gently fingered the gift.


The youth told her that there was only one spot on the island where such extraordinary shells could be found. When he named the place, a certain bay several miles away, the teacher was left speechless.


“Why…why, it’s gorgeous…wonderful, but you shouldn’t have gone all that way to get

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Today’s Truth

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.”

(John 15:19 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Have you ever felt that you were overlooked or ignored…like you were a nobody? Well, take heart girlfriend. You are not alone.


In the Bible, we read the story of when the prophet Samuel went to anoint the next king of Israel. By God’s instruction, Samuel traveled to Bethlehem to the house of Jesse. He knew where to go and what family the king would come from.   He knew the next king would be one of Jesse’s sons…he just didn’t know which son.


Samuel arrived in Bethlehem and asked Jesse to bring all of his sons out for his inspection. Jesse brought out each of his seven sons, one-by-one. As Samuel prayerfully approached each young man, God said, “No, that

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Today’s Truth

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

(John 1:12-13 NIV)

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Advertisers are well aware of the need human beings have to belong. They are banking on it. How many times have my eyes filled with tears over a television commercial? A credit card commercial shows a grown daughter taking her elderly mother back to Italy to discover her roots. The cost? Priceless. (I cry.)


A horse-drawn carriage glides through the snow on its way to a cozy cottage nestled in the trees with smoke swirling in the sky. “Home for the holidays.” (I cry).


A young man dressed in a military uniform drops his duffel bag on his unknowing parent’s den floor in the wee hours of the morning and starts the coffee maker. His mother, smelling the aroma, hurries

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Today’s Truth

“Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.”

(John 6:11 NIV)

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Have you ever noticed this pattern in the gospels: the disciples get in a bind and Jesus bails them out? Hmmm. Sounds a little bit about my life. How about you?


In John 6:1-15, we find the disciples in a precarious situation. Their lawn party had turned into quite a bash. The guests far exceeded their expectations, the disciples hadn’t planned on providing dinner, and it appeared the crowd was expecting refreshments. But the disciples didn’t have the funds or the food to feed them. All they could scrounge up were five loaves of bread and two dried fish. The crowd was getting restless, the disciples were getting anxious, and Jesus was getting ready. He took the five loaves

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.”

(John 14:20 NIV).

Friend to Friend


Do you ever feel far away from God, or that He is far away from you? If you’re like most people, then I bet the answer is yes. So let’s take a look at those “feelings.”


You are a triune being with a body, soul and spirit. Within your soul you have a mind, will, and emotions. That’s where those “feelings” come from. And if you are like most people, sometimes you feel closer to God than other times. But are you? Really?


Sometimes I feel closer to my husband than other times. But that doesn’t mean I’m any less married sometimes more than others. I usually feel closer to him after we’ve enjoyed a fun time together, been especially

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Today’s Truth

“In Him we live and move and have our being”

(Acts 17:28 NIV)

Friend to Friend


“I just never have enough time to spend with the Lord,” Amanda cried. “I work forty plus hours a week, commute ninety minutes both ways, oversee elderly parents’ affairs, and take care of my five-year-old son. I’m either on the road, at my desk or taking care of someone else’s needs. And on top of that, I never feel like I’m doing any of it well. What does God want from me in the middle of all this madness? How can I carve out time for Him? I feel like I’m constantly failing Him!”


Amanda is not alone. I’ve been right there with her. Haven’t you?


We live in a physical realm and our new, born-again spirits will never be

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Today’s Truth

“I will never leave you nor forsake you"

(Hebrews 13:5 NKJV)

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She was among an eager group of four-year-old children crowded around my feet as I taught their Sunday school lesson. I was the teacher and they were the students—or at least that’s how it started out. The pint-sized audience listened intently as I tried to create a mental image of Jesus and His disciples trapped in a thunderstorm on the Sea of Galilee.


“The winds bleeeeeeew and rocked the little boat back and forth, back and forth. The waves were soooooo big; they splashed over the wooden sides and got the men all wet. Then water started filling up the boat—and do you know what happens when a boat gets full of water?”


“It sinks,” they chimed together.


“That’s right.” I

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Today’s Truth

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns”

(Philippians 1:6 NLT)

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He ironed. I watched.


I stood in the door frame of my guestroom, watching my nephew Jonathan iron the wrinkles out of his crumpled shirt, the rumpled creases out of his crumpled heart. He ironed and talked. I watched and listened.


Jonathan, my twenty-seven-year-old nephew, stopped by for a visit on his way to a wedding in my hometown. I’ll take every opportunity to spend time with my two nephews, Stu and Jonathan, and their sister Grace Anne. I’ve always been convinced that the stork dropped them off at the wrong address, missing my doorstep by 200 miles or so. I’m just crazy about them.


But life hasn’t been so easy for this precious nephew, or his siblings. While they

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Today’s Truth

In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

(Psalm 5:3 NIV)

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Have you ever prayed about something, but didn’t really expect God to answer…I mean really expect it? That happened to a bunch of Peter’s friends.


In the early years of the church, King Herod had many Christians murdered and many more put in prison. James, the brother of John, was put to death with the sword, and Peter was thrown into prison.


The night before Peter was to be taken to trial, a group gathered at Mary’s (John’s mother’s) house to pray for him. While they were praying, there was a knock at the door. A servant girl named Rhoda answered it.


“Who is there?” she asked.


“It is Peter,” the freed apostle answered.


She knew it was Peter—she recognized his voice! God

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Today’s Truth

[Jesus said] “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working”

(John 5:17 NIV)

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Bob told me about a visit to Vietnam where he met with a leader of an underground Christian church. This leader, who had spent a large part of his life in prison for his faith, told Bob many stories of the growth of Christians. Approximately 1 million believers met in hidden huddles all around the country. “What everybody wants is to see God move,” the pastor explained.


And isn’t that the desire of your heart…to see God move in your life and in the lives of those you love? Jesus reminds us, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working” (John 5:17). Always at His work. Always. And yet, do we

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Today’s Truth

Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from me, for my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

(Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Here’s a question. Do you think obedience to God is easy or hard? Hmmm. Obedience may seem hard at first, but in reality, obedience is the easy way. It is difficult to cope with the messes we get into when we don’t obey. The consequences of sin are hard to deal with. Think about the times you have disobeyed or turned your back on God. What were the results? Easy? Hard?


Satan will try and convince you that obedience is much too hard, that it carries too high a price, but he will never tell you the cost of not obeying God. He will never tell you the glory moments you will forfeit by refusing or ignoring God’s invitation

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Today’s Truth

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin,”

(Hebrews 4:15 NIV 1984 edition)

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Let’s face it. People let us down. They disappoint us. And so does God. 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 friend Beth and her stepfather, Sam, waiting for the grill to heat up before placing steaks on to cook. Beth’s mom opened the door and gave Sam his orders—telling him what to do and how to do

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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)

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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 Lord said I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering.

(Exodus 3:7 NIV)

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Have you ever felt like God has forgotten you? I know I have. When my husband and I lost our second child, I felt like God was far away, and didn’t see what I was going through. It was a wilderness time, and I felt very alone.


In Exodus 3, Moses was on the far side of the wilderness—literally and figuratively. But then God spoke to him through the burning bush. Moses had failed in Egypt and bailed to Midian. Yep, failed and bailed. He ran away to the wilderness where he stayed for the next forty years.


And friend, sometimes it is only on the far side of the wilderness where God can get our attention. Sometimes it is

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Today’s Truth

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

(Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV)

Friend to Friend


I just love Moses. I can relate to him on so many levels.


For about forty years, he thought he was an Egyptian…the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter. But somehow he discovered that he was NOT an Egyptian after all. He was a Hebrew, the son of a slave woman. . . and that changed everything.


Moses had a mid-life crisis and came up with a plan to save his true people from Egyptian slavery. God did not call him to this plan. He came up with it all on his own. (Red flag for all of us.)


One day Moses was walking among his people and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew slave. Glancing first one way and then another to

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Today’s Truth

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

(2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

Friend to Friend


Do you remember the day you came to saving faith? Perhaps you’re still considering a relationship with Jesus. Perhaps you can’t even remember a time when you didn’t know Him. For me, it was on a summer night when I was fourteen years old.


When I think about how God brought me out of a home filled with alcohol, rage, and hostility into this wonderful relationship with Jesus, I’m amazed. The sheer wonder of it stokes my passion for Jesus and gratitude to God every time I tell it.


But here’s what you need to know. Just because I became a Christian when I was fourteen, does not mean that my feelings of inferiority, insecurity, and inadequacy went away—the girl

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Today’s Truth

“Give us this day our daily bread…”

(Matthew 6:11 ESV)

Friend to Friend


You could smell the fried chicken as we walked out of the restaurant, but we pranced out as if nothing was unusual.


When I was in dental hygiene school, my friends and I never had enough money to go out to dinner…unless it was all you can eat night at Wilbur’s Barbeque. On those nights, we gathered our pennies and eat until we hurt. We filled our tummies with fried chicken, hushpuppies, barbequed potatoes, coleslaw and banana pudding. I can almost taste it years later. Then, when we thought no one was looking, we slipped the leftover chicken and hushpuppies into our oversized purses…enough to last for a few days. I’m sure we weren’t fooling anyone as the aroma

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Today’s Truth

“I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me”

(Philippians 3:12, emphasis added).

Friend to Friend


Have you ever watched a circus performer on a flying trapeze? A short horizontal bar suspended by ropes or metal straps dangles high above the crowd. The aerialist grabs the trapeze bar, jumps off of a high platform, and swings through the air. She swings out once, swings back above the platform, and swings out again.


It is during the peak of the third swing where the fun begins for those below. The performer releases the bar mid-air and grabs hold of another bar or second performer hanging from his knees who swings toward her. Once she grabs hold, the crowd remembers to breathe. Somersaults, backflips, and triple twists wow the crowd. And each move requires the performer to

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Today’s Truth

“Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?” Jesus answered, “No, not seven times, but seventy times seven”

Matthew 18:21–22 NLT

Friend to Friend


One day I received an e-mail from a woman who was still bitter over a statement her husband made to her cousin ten years ago. She and her husband were preparing to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and she was dreading it because of his careless words a decade before. She wrote, “Please pray that God mends this title [sic] piece of my heart that has fallen to the ground.”


The word title was a typo—she meant to type little. To me, it was telling. Friend, we can allow someone’s little shortcomings to become the title of our story, or we can forgive and write a new storyline. Not only does forgiveness change the title of your story, it

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Today’s Truth

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Genesis 2:24 KJV

Friend to Friend


My in-laws were coming for a visit…and I was not happy about it.


My husband has a twin brother, Dan. When “the twins” got married, Steve’s parents struggled with letting go. They lived four hours away and often announced that they were coming for a visit without being invited. To make matters worse, there was no departing date mentioned.


In their minds, it was an open-door policy. They had the idea of mi casa es su casa…su casa es mi casa. It wasn’t that Steve and I weren’t on the same page when it came to putting our relationship first and establishing healthy boundaries; it was just that we didn’t know how to handle his parents who refused to let

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Today’s Truth

“How beautiful your sandaled feet, O prince’s daughter! Your graceful legs are like jewels, the work of an artist’s hands”

Song of Solomon 7:1 NIV

Friend to Friend


I was going through a drawer at my mom’s house looking for a scratch pad, when I came across a small vinyl record. It was in a cardboard sleeve addressed to my mom and dated 1950. It was a recording my dad had made for my mom when he was in the Korean War, the first year they were married.


He talked about how much he loved her, couldn’t wait to be with her again, and how much he missed her.


And honestly, I was shocked.


See my parents had a very troubled relationship from as far back as I can remember. They fought both verbally and physically my entire childhood. I heard words a child should never hear and saw

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Today’s Truth

“Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame” Genesis 2:25 NLT

Genesis 2:25 NLT

*This devotion might make you a little uncomfortable. It makes me a little squirmy. But I encourage you to read it, save it, and maybe print it out. There is going to be a daughter, granddaughter, or friend who is going to need to hear it one day. It might even be today.


Friend to Friend


My maternal grandmother had twelve children. My paternal grandmother only had six (which I say tongue in cheek). They were both farm girls back in the early 1900s. I’m sure birth control never crossed their minds. When I was a teenager, I asked my paternal grandmother how she prevented getting pregnant back in the day. Horrified, she turned to me and replied, “I just didn’t do

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Today’s Truth

Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me”

Song of Solomon 2:10 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.”


They had been a matched set. Like a candlestick made to be part of

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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