Friday, September 30

How Deep the Father's Love for Us

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that left Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Thursday, September 29

Stood Up

Stood Up

Read Psalm 33

Contributed by Melissa Howell, pastor’s wife, mom to two sweet boys and co-author of the devotional book for teens Fusion: Where You and God Connect. Thank you Melissa, for graciously offering this article.*

On a morning train from Rome bound for Naples, Italy during our backpacking trip across Europe 8 years ago, my husband and I were forced to share a train car with some of the coolest friends we have ever made – Andrea and Paul. They were warm, open, fun-loving, adventuresome Christian young people from Oregon, and we became almost instant friends. By the time the train ride ended, we didn’t want to leave them, so we followed them to their campground overlooking the sea and spent 3 amazing, fun-filled, memorable days in their company. Together we toured the ruins of Pompeii, ate exquisite pastas and sampled dozens of gelato flavors, swam in the Mediterranean, and explored the streets and shops of Sorrento.

At the end of the 3 days, being so reluctant to part ways, we all promised each other that we would meet in Paris a week later under the south east leg of the Eiffel tower at noon.

They caught a train to a wedding in Malta. We crossed the border into Germany.

And a week passed.

At noon on the appointed day, Greg and I eagerly positioned ourselves plainly in front of Eiffel’s south east leg, and waited. Hundreds of people milled around this vast area underneath the tower, as we earnestly searched for our friends’ faces in the crowd. We had grown so close in only a few short days, and we couldn't wait to see them!

But 20 minutes passed, and there was no sign of them. Then 40 minutes passed, and then an hour. After the second hour, instead of wasting our entire day by the tower’s leg, we decided to give up on our friends. Clearly, they had stood us up. They had abandoned us. We waited and longed for them, but they never showed.

I have felt this way about God sometimes – haven’t you? We go through a time of deep enjoyment of Him, and then there comes a time of struggle, a time apart. We search for God, we wait on Him and long for Him, but no one comes. We ask for His presence, and beg for His nearness. We need Him! But we are met with silence. We feel deserted, stood up, disillusioned, and alone. Wherever God is, He is not near to us.

We know that especially in times of actual depression, this abandonment seems to be a very real thing – depression keeps us in a state where we are unable to feel happiness, love, joy, or even God, though all those things may in fact truly be there. All we can feel is despair, and every other hope seems lost. Even in times of trial or tragedy, we can find ourselves in this state of affairs – waiting on God to show up, earnestly desiring a God that seems missing in action.

God has, seemingly, stood us up.

But the waiting was not – is never – the end of the story.

I have always wondered what happened to the friends we met in Europe. Many times over the years, Greg and I would try to imagine what caused their absence that day. But then last week I got a strange Facebook request from a girl I didn’t know – someone named Andrea who lived in Oregon, and attached to the friend request was this note: “I don’t know if you’ll remember me, it’s been so long – but we met you on a train leaving Rome….”

It was them! Our long lost friends. Instantly, I sent a reply stating how excited I was to have finally found them, how much fun we had with them all those years ago, etc. But I also included a simple question: “Where were you on the day we were supposed to meet in Paris? We have always wondered.”

I couldn’t have been more surprised at her reply. I expected a story about missed trains, extra days spent in Malta, sickness from a hostel or a map in French that they couldn’t read, but the answer was none of those. Her answer, simply, was “We were there. We have always wondered what happened to YOU.”

They were there all along?! They were there. All along. In the crowd of hundreds and hundreds of people, with a clear confusion between north east and south east, we had missed them. We spent years and years feeling abandoned and hurt and forgotten. But they were there! It was we who were in the wrong place.

God is also there, all along, of course – though we feel abandoned and forgotten, though we can’t feel Him or don’t see Him working, He is there. Maybe we are just in the wrong place.

And though the time may seem to stretch on forever, we know that this waiting is not the end of the story.

“And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me.”
John 14:3

*If you have an article you would like us to consider for Drops, please email us at

Wednesday, September 28

Dear Mom, Happy Birthday

Read Proverbs 31

Dear Mom,

On my daughter’s birthday, I stopped on the way to our little-girl-festivities to buy myself a gift. The day was all about her, yet I treated myself because I think of her birthday as partly my day too. No one got me a present or said, “Nice work on the child you bore and are raising.” But I was there. I fell in love with a precious child and became a mother to her on that day. I put in the hours and the emotion. It’s a special day for her... and for me.

So, I bought myself a coffee.

Tuesday, September 27

Whose Kids Are Those?

Read Matthew 7:7-12

Who does he look like?

It was the most frequently asked question after the birth of my son. Some saw my nose. Others noted his father’s chin. He had jet black hair just like all my grandma’s babies…

When I look at my boys, I tend to see extensions of myself. They are my boys. I love them more than my own life because they are mine.

“Every good and perfect gift comes down from above.” James 1:17

“Children are a heritage from the Lord.” Psalm 127:3

“For him and through him and for him are all things.” Romans 11:36

These verses tell me something profound. When I look at my children, I should see not my children, but God’s children. He trusted me and my husband with the amazing privilege of raising children He loved first.

Ever had another mother parent your kids? It’s annoying and threatening when another person steps between you and your baby and suggests your child (and you by association) have done something wrong.

Yet that’s what God lets us do as moms. He trusts us to intervene in His parenting.

We get frustrated with His children.

We yell at His children.

We fail to discipline His children.

“Children, obey your parents,” God says. But how often do we allow His children to disobey that command because disciplining consistently and well is SO much work?

We yell at them because they won’t obey as a way of scaring them into submission.

How happy would we be if a trusted adult let our child run out into traffic because it would be inconvenient to stop him?

What words would we have for the person who dared correct our child with a raised voice?

It’s a heavy responsibility we have as parents, and a perspective we so easily loose sight of. Thankfully, God didn't leave us poorly equipped to raise his children. It seems that way sometimes. He drops these “treasures” in our laps then removes himself to watch from afar as we muddle through projectile vomit, sleep deprivation, terrible twos, first days at school, drivers ed, and puberty.

But He didn’t ask us to do this alone. In fact, he knew we couldn’t, and his greatest desire is that we turn to him in the millions of helpless moments.

No more comforting words have ever been scrawled across the page for parents than the ones in James chapter one: “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.”

Did you catch the line “without finding fault?” What a release! Our generous heavenly Father is not up there taking notes on our less than stellar parenting moments. Rather, He is waiting eagerly to be invited to help us out. And He won’t be holding our mistakes against us.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
 Matthew 7:7

Monday, September 26

No Really, Be Strong and Courageous

Read Joshua 1

Life skills. I can teach those to my kids. Let's learn how to cook, bake, make a bed, unload the dishwasher, weed the garden.

We get through the day with a skill set that is essential. How would a mom cope if she couldn't 14 household chores at once? She would learn quick, that's for sure.

I was sorting clothes with my two girls, the colored ones going in the washer, the whites in a pile on the floor. Inevitably, I was pulling whites out of the washer, half wet, and saying, "This is white, so we'll put it in the next load." The girls quickly lost interested and went off to play. I wanted to be off playing too, especially since this wasn't my last chore of the day. There was folding the load of clothes in the dryer and putting them away before little people dismantled my hard work.

And don't forget the never ending chore list that has normal moms dropping into bed each night, later than they hoped, with exhaustion.

This schedule takes more than life skills. This simple mothering fact had not donned on me really until a children's song and Joshua 1 drilled it into my head. It takes more than skills. It takes courage.

Friday, September 23

If You Have Not Love

If I talk to my children about what is right and what is wrong, but I have not love, I am like a ringing doorbell or pots banging in the kitchen.

And though I know what stages they will go through, and understanding their growing pains, and can answer all their questions about life, and believe myself to be a devoted mother, but I have not love, I have nothing.

If I give up the fulfillment of a career to make my children's lives better, and stay up all night sewing costumes or baking cookies at short notice, but grumble about lack of sleep, I have not love and accomplish nothing.

A loving mother is patient with her children's immaturity and kind even when they are not; a loving mother is not jealous of their youth nor does she hold it over their heads whenever she has sacrificed for them.

A loving mother believes in her children; she hopes in each one's individual ability to stand out as a light in a dark world; she endures every backache and hearthache to accomplish that.

A loving mother never really dies. As for home-baked bread, it will be consumed and forgotten: as for spotless floors, they will soon gather dust and heel marks. As for children, right now toys, friends and food are all-important to them. But when they grow up, it will be their mother's love that they will remember and pass on to others. In that way, she will live on.

 So care, training and a loving mother reside in a home, these three but the greatest of these is a loving mother.


Wednesday, September 21

Changing Reactions

Read James 1

Imagine this scenario:

You need to look something up on the computer, but lose track of time and your two year old child is left unsupervised for 15 minutes. You hear water splashing and run to the kitchen to find your toddler standing on a chair with the water running at the kitchen sink. She is dumping a cup full of water on the floor as you walk in the room. By the looks of the sopping wet child and counter, it wasn’t the first cup of water dumped. Then, your eyes travel to the floor where you take in a mound of flour the size of the toddler. Powder and paste is now running across the floor as rivets of water wash through it like a slick mountain mud slide. What is your reaction?

A) Scream. Yell. Throw the wet and floured child in the bath with too much force. Vent your anger with loud words until the child cries.

B) Take the silent approach. Seethe inwardly at the child while cleaning up the mess. Throw dagger edged looks at her every chance you get until she cries.

C) Take a moment to pray. Calm yourself down and ask your child about the mess. Listen to her answer, the best she can communicate. Pray silently for God’s wisdom on the right way to handle the child. Be slow to speak.

Tuesday, September 20

An Unlikely Princess

Read Joshua 2

Once upon a time there was a princess....

My daughters ask me to tell them stories that start just like that. And fairy tales are not just for little girls. We all love a perfect story about a lovely princess, a dashing prince. Neat details that close with everyone happy, "the end."

But God has a way of using the imperfect. He likes the unexpected, the intrigue, and always a show of His power. Joshua chapter 2 starts out with another true, awe inspiring, God-written story:

Once upon a time, there was a prostitute named Rahab....

Monday, September 19

Shaddai's Shadow

Psalm 91-The Message

You who sit down in the High God's presence, spend the night in Shaddai's shadow,
Say this: "God, you're my refuge.
I trust in you and I'm safe!"
That's right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
under them you're perfectly safe;
his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
drop like flies right and left,
no harm will even graze you.
You'll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God's your refuge,
the High God your very own home,
Evil can't get close to you,
harm can't get through the door.
He ordered his angels
to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you;
their job is to keep you from falling.
You'll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
and kick young lions and serpents from the path
"If you'll hold on to me for dear life," says God,
"I'll get you out of any trouble.
I'll give you the best of care
if you'll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I'll answer, be at your side in bad times;
I'll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I'll give you a long life,
give you a long drink of salvation!"

Thursday, September 15

Prowling Lions

Read 1 Peter 5

Lion. He’s the king of the jungle. He’s known as the hunter, the killer, the destroyer. It’s no wonder Peter used the lion when warning the early church about the devil.


“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.”

It’s pretty common knowledge that big cats will take down the weakest prey first. I did some exhaustive search on Wickipedia and found out some fascinating little tidbits about how lions hunt. Since my source is the internet, I encourage you to remember this piece is supposed to be an analogy, not a research paper.

Wednesday, September 14

Refreshment That Lasts

Read Psalm 18

As a mom with young kids, there is nothing more elusive than “me time.” Time gets spread thin to kids, causes, and my husband. Most days are closed without any time spent by myself. Even the bathroom is not sacred any more. You totally know what I mean, right? It leaves me crying out in frustration, “I just need some time for myself!”

Tuesday, September 13

The Vine

Posted by Andrea

Read John 15:1-16

I found an old journal. I hate reading old journals. The writing is generally terrible, and I have a hard time reading terrible writing. The emotions are so raw and foreign. I am in such a different place now than I was then, it feels like I’m reading something someone else wrote.

Monday, September 12

Seeing Failure or Success

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

I don't know anyone harder on herself than a mom. I can't go a day without feeling like I failed at something. Even the devotions meant to encourage can lead me to one more conviction that I am doing something wrong.

Is there anything I'm doing right in this long list?

We have high standards for ourselves. Those ideals were set long before we got the glorious gift of a first child. And then they came crashing down at the first mistake. It is sometimes an every day defeat. 

We knew what we would never do as moms and then we watch those lofty goals come falling off the knight's horse onto a dirty kitchen floor.

Wednesday, September 7

Forgiving Your Man

Read Genesis 2:18-24

My children sat making mud-balls. Mud + water. It is an art really. Too soft and the mud-ball falls apart on impact; too hard and the mud-ball just bounces and cracks. So they made their mud-balls and piled them high in buckets and wagons.

It was a somewhat mother approved activity. The "somewhat" being that I said they couldn't throw the mud-balls at anything. They could make the mud-balls, but not do anything with them. What fun is that?

Yes, you guessed it, as soon as I left the immediate area the mud-balls were flying. Splatting against each other, the house, the garage door, the cat.

Tuesday, September 6

God's Work

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

He’s been out of steady work since the economy tanked a few years back. He’s got six kids to raise on his own, every single one of them teenagers. And he paints houses.

He painted ours this week, and spending a few hours with him in his element made me pause and say, here lives a great house painter who does his job well.

His work is his ministry, and he finds great joy in donning pain spattered whites, climbing ladders and spraying color into people’s worlds. He blasts Christian music on his radio and shares the love of Jesus with everyone he meets. He calls what he does God’s Work.

I guess he never got the memo that a blue collar laborer’s job was something he should dread. He doesn't seem to understand that he has every right to whine about the many discomforts and instabilities of his employment. The paycheck is far less than steady, but this man of integrity refuses cash under the table for the side jobs he does. Instead, he does it to serve. And, he will tell you, God always provides.

Working beside him (and I use the term “working” loosely—he worked circles around me) made me think of my own job in a new light. I say I serve joyfully, but do I really? Is my passion for my duty contagious? Has anyone observed me on the job and considered switching careers because my work made me that happy?

I’m a mom. I have, hands down, the best job on the planet. My little people are awesome, and I adore them. I also snap at them, brush them off because I have something better to do, and look forward to breaks from being in their presence. If my attitude is contagious, it’s in the negative sense. I try. I really do. I work at parenting intentionally. I confess my shortcomings and employment strategies for improvement, but I still fail.

I’m sure the man who painted our house has bad days too, but what a witness. What an inspiration! The work itself does not fulfill the man, rather the servant’s heart with which he approaches is it does.

So I should not look to laundry, shoe tying lessons, taxi services, menu preparation, or potty training to fulfill me. God will do that when I selflessly serve.

I’ve seen it in action now, and it was a humbling sight to behold. I hope you will join me in looking at today as a chance to do God’s Work in whatever we do.

Monday, September 5

Above the Clouds

Read Psalm 8

Written by Amanda, wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate, and former college roommate to Alysun. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us Amanda! We love to use contributed posts and are thrilled that God is showing you amazing things. We are encouraged by what you wrote! 

LORD, our Lord,

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory

in the heavens.

When I consider your heavens,

the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars,

which you have set in place,

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,

human beings that you care for them?

(Psalm 8:1,3-4)

I just came inside from sitting at our backyard fire pit. Earlier in the evening that same fire pit had been surrounded by a bunch of college kids. My husband and I work and live on a Bible College campus and the new school year is upon us. As they left I decided I would sit down and enjoy the rest of the myself...with no one to interrupt my thoughts... Yes, gold to a mom!

Something drew my gaze up. That something was a beautiful dark sky filled with stars. I often miss this perspective and rarely look up. Why is that? When I sit in my backyard it is usually during the day and it is to referee a energetic group of preschoolers and to fret about the weed count in my garden.

I was struck tonight with how we get so busy in our lives down here “below the cloud cover”. We work and strive and I forget that the same God who formed those magnificent stars also cares deeply about my life. Me...wife, mother of two, organizer of a few too many side projects, with an addiction to coffee and chocolate!

Thursday, September 1

The Claw

Read 1 Samuel 8

I’m not a big fan of taking my kids to the grocery store. They behave well enough (mostly), but grocery stores attempt to antagonize parents by putting those horrid candy/toy vending machines directly in line of the exit. You can ignore them going in, but coming out, they call out, brightly colored Sirens, beckoning small children and turning them into small monsters.

They begin by running toward the machines, then the whining starts. We’ve been grocery shopping together, my kids and I, for 4-6 years. NEVER in all that time have I weakened my resolve not to contribute to such a heinous play for my hard-earned quarters. But they still beg. They still whine.

Far and away the WORST vending machine atrocity is The Claw. I don’t know what it’s really called. It’s the one filled with giant stuffed animals, jewelry and cell phones. For only a dollar, you can try your hand at maneuvering the mechanical claw to grab at a coveted prize.

I’m telling you, they are a legal form of gambling for the under 21 set. The house always wins.

And it’s call is the loudest of them all.

One of the tragic side effects of trying to teach children to be responsible with money, is that they have it. Also, they have not yet learned responsibility. So the other day, my kids found out we were going to the grocery store. They both took off for their piggy banks and they both came back with dollar bills, eager to this time get to try The Claw.