DEVOTIONS

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Today’s Truth

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28 CSB)


 


 


Friend to Friend


The air smells like sugar and cinnamon as I walk into my favorite bakery for a pie-making class. I am nervous about this new undertaking. (I once made ciabatta bread that turned out so badly that my dog, who gleefully eats unspeakable things in the backyard, spit it out on the kitchen floor.)


But my friend Melissa is the head baker here and she has promised to walk me through the process. So I stand with my classmates around a long wooden table. We’re each given a large silver bowl for mixing our ingredients. I add butter, shortening (the combination of both is the secret, Melissa says), salt, flour, and water a little bit at a time. I work

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Today’s Truth

Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart (2 Timothy 2:22 NIV)


 


 


Friend to Friend


On sunny afternoons after school, my brother and I would cross the street to play at our neighborhood park. We hunted for turtles along the edge of the pond. We pumped our swings high in the air, and we climbed the jungle gym to dangle our feet and enjoy the view. 


One week we noticed a stranger was stopping by the park as well. He followed us from the slide to the swings to the teeter-totter, acting friendly and asking personal questions. Our mom had taught us “stranger danger” enough for us to be cautious. Yet after several days, I let down my guard. While my brother was far down the hill, I went to play near the bench

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Today’s Truth

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


 


 


Friend to Friend


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


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


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


For it is just like a man

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Today’s Truth

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’ve been through hard times. I’ve asked the question “why?” on many occasions. I’ve begrudgingly said goodbye to family and friends in order to say hello to strangers and scary new places. I know the matter of being shattered. 


There was a season when Brad and I lived in four different homes, in four different states, within four years. From Ohio to Pennsylvania to New York to North Carolina, we made our way across the East Coast with three little ducklings in tow. 


So much of what had been comfortable and familiar was stripped away. God was surely leading me to a place where I would have to trust Him and lean on Him in ways I never had before. And

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Today’s Truth

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)


 


 


Friend to Friend


It hit me hard one August afternoon.


Our youngest had married eight months earlier and while I’d been enjoying my newfound freedom after 33 years of parenting five children, I was also very aware of how life had changed. My heart was sad, grieving, and even fearful of all the changes.


This particular afternoon, however, I experienced a tsunami of emotions. Scrolling through Facebook, it seemed that everyone was talking about back-to-school-specials. They were sharing deals on notebooks, paper, markers, pens, and crayons. That’s when it hit me. My getting-kids-ready-for-school days were definitely over. 


The tears began to roll, and I silently said to myself, I don’t like this. Not one little bit. I used to love getting the kids ready for school.

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Today’s Truth

Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind” (Matthew 22:37 NIV).


 


 


Friend to Friend


From the moment of birth, we are taught that successful people never give up. Yet, I have discovered the paradoxical secret that true success can only be found in complete surrender. 


Dr. Billy Graham tells the story of a little child who was playing with a very valuable vase. The child put his hand into the vase but could not pull it out. His father tried to free the little boy’s hand but couldn’t. They were thinking of breaking the vase when the father said, “Son, let’s try one more time. Open your hand and hold your fingers out really straight and then pull.” The look of alarm on the boy’s face surprised the dad until the little boy explained, “Oh

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Today’s Truth

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


 


 


Friend to Friend


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


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


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


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

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Today’s Truth

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you (Psalm 56:3 ESV).


 


 


Friend to Friend


The prophet Isaiah said, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor is his ear too dull to hear” (Isaiah 59:1 NIV). Though I know in my heart this is true, I still sometimes go back and forth between doubt and worry as if God’s arms are short and his ears are dull. My friend Erica does too. 


She came to my door with a package to deliver and a story to share. I signed for the package, and we began to catch up. Her kids were grown. Mine were teens. Her daughter had just gotten married. My oldest had just gone to college. Mama to Mama we shared and cared. 


“My daughter and her new husband

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Today’s Truth

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you (James 1:5 NIV)


 


Friend to Friend


One Sunday afternoon, my friend, whom I’ll call Leah, called in tears over her adult children. Leah spent large sums of money, time, and tears trying to help her kids, but their reckless life choices kept her up at night stressed out and scared for their future.


Leah struggled with what I call “secondhand worry.” This happens when we suffer the effects of worry because we’re trying to carry the load that someone should be responsible and accountable for managing themselves. 


If you can relate to Leah, you know that this is a difficult place to be. When we wear someone else’s worry, it can wear us out! So, how do we get out of God’s way? Do we trust

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Today’s Truth

He gives strength to those who are tired and more power to those who are weak (Isaiah 40:29 NCV)


 


Friend to Friend
I love a great movie! To me, a movie is great when good wins over evil, the right guy gets the right girl, nobody gets hurt and everyone lives happily ever after. A bit naive, I know. But I have decided that there is enough harsh reality ripping through daily life without paying to see more on a movie screen.


With these criteria in mind, I went to see the movie “Seabiscuit.” There I was popcorn in hand, minding my own business and enjoying my brief respite, when his words slammed into my soul, yanking me back to the tenacious essence and interminable power of truth.


“You don’t throw a whole life away just because it’s banged up a little.”


I was done.


Although

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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