DEVOTIONS

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Today’s Truth

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


 


Friend to Friend


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



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

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you (Isaiah 43:2 NLT)


 


Friend to Friend 


“I’m not doing this again,” I proclaimed, and I meant it with all my heart.


Just a few days before, I spent a dark, rainy weekend packing our lives into boxes and then unloading them into a new place in a new city.


Though the bulk of the work was behind me, I felt exhausted and unsatisfied. I didn’t look forward to new memories and planting roots, because this new place had no more certainty than the last one. I feared another weekend much like the one I’d just experienced was all too close.


So, I announced I wasn’t doing it again … but my husband’s career required us to relocate often. Although I knew I couldn’t cling to the

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Today’s Truth

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night (Psalm 90:4 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


There was a time I would hide in the bathroom for an ounce of quiet and reprieve. An intense time when diapers drooped, binkies bobbled, and toddlers toddled all over the busy, boisterous Smith house.


Those days are gone.


My husband and I have three young-adult children, and a wonderful daughter-in-law, and are figuring out how to settle into a new season with just each other. Huge portions of our hearts are now spread across three states and another country.


Empty nest. I get why they call it that, but I don’t think it’s an empty season at all. On the contrary, it’s quite full.


Full of exciting dreams and complicated feelings.


Full of unknowns, uncertainties, and unrest.


Full of stretching, stirring and stillness.


Full

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Today’s Truth

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days (Psalm 90:14 NIV


 


Friend to Friend


My eighteen-year-old son found me in the kitchen with my hands in the sudsy sink and my mind bubbling with deep thoughts.


“Mom,” the man-child began, “I understand the idea of the God-shaped hole inside every person. I’ve heard so many pastors talk about it. I get it and I agree. Inside each person is a place that only Jesus can fill. Only He can satisfy. But if I’ve already accepted Jesus, why am I still so hungry? I turn to so many things that aren’t good or godly to fill my hungry. How can that be if I’ve invited Christ to fill that God-shaped empty place?”


I turned off the steaming faucet water and dried my hands, then walked

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Today’s Truth

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


Normal can be a good thing.


Like when the doctor’s office calls to say that the test results are normal or when the mechanic tells you that the funny noise your car is making will not cost you hundreds of dollars to repair – it is just a normal part of wear and tear.


But when it comes to our spiritual lives – normal may not always be a good thing.


I am a pastor’s wife and love the fact that God has called me to serve beside my husband in that role. But some people think a pastor’s wife should look, act, speak, and dress a certain way. I tend to think God called me to be Mary … and

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Today’s Truth

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


 


Friend to Friend


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


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

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Today’s Truth

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 (ESV)


Today’s Truth

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


 


Friend to Friend


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


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

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Today’s Truth

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19 ESV).


 


Friend to Friend


On the night divinity merged with fleshy humanity as Jesus came on the scene in a stable, things of earth were shaken and stirred with fresh glory and awesome wonder.


A host of heavenly angels appeared in the sky praising God and celebrating the arrival of the long-awaited Messiah. They left their veiled existence to speak and sing to a few lowly shepherds in a field.


Wait, what? Why?


To announce the good news of great joy that came as a gift from God in a cloth-clad baby-package named Jesus. The singing sky-creatures pointed the shepherds to the swaddled Savior who was in a manger near-by and urged them to go and check out the Christ child.


When the shepherds came on

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Today’s Truth

I remember the days of old; I meditate on all You have done; I reflect on the work of Your hands (Psalm 143:5 CSB)


 


Friend to Friend


I was standing in a chapel that’s over a hundred years old with a small candle in my hand. The tiny flame cast a soft light toward the bricks and stained-glass windows. A holy hush filled the room between Christmas carols and it felt as if my soul let out a sigh.


It had been a busy week, after all. There were trips to stores for last-minute gifts, delicious things to bake in the oven, dinner with friends where the topic of conversation turned to our plans for the new year. But in the silence and stillness of the Christmas Eve candlelight service, I realized I needed to catch my breath before I got to Christmas morning, before I

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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