Monday, November 28

Of New Beginnings

Read Lamenations 3:19-27

God loves new beginnings. Forming the world out of nothing? That was the best new beginning of them all. And all through the Scriptures story after story is woven of people he used by giving them a fresh start.

Rahab, the prostitute, Paul the tax collector, and those fishermen who he gave new vocations and said, "Come follow me." Their lives did an about-face transformations from following their own desires and wants to following God.

A life without the ability for a new beginning would be life without hope. I know God loves new beginnings because he didn't give our lives to us in one big lump. I'm so thankful for that! I'm sure mine would look like a mound of goup, sans glitter. Instead God designed human life with opportunity for new beginnings often! He gave us free will to choose Him.

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, 

for his compassions never fail. 

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Our lifetime is divided up into year. Those years carry us from first faltering steps as babies through childhood, on to adulthood, until old age. The years are divided up into seasons. Four beauties unique in their own new beginnings from winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Within the seasons there are months that go by in the turn of a calendar page and each day is marked with all importance. And each day has hours, minutes, and seconds.

This moment as you are reading this is an opportunity for a new beginning. Is there something convicting your spirit? Do you wish you acted differently in a recent situation? We can't change the past, although it is easy to use it as a crutch to feel bad about the present. But we can change our next moment from following our own desires and wants to following God.

It might not be as dramatic as the leading men and women in the Bible, but God still desires new beginnings for each of us. Quiet moments when we choose Him. Actions that speak of newness and of hope.

Do not wait until the conditions are perfect to begin. 

Beginning makes the conditions perfect.

~  Alan Cohen

Thursday, November 24


Read Philippians 4 

In 1944 two sisters in their fifties were interred in the Nazi concentration camp at Ravensbruk, Germany. They were accused of the heinous crime of using their home to hide Jews from the prowling Gestapo.

They existed in a universe more horrible than any of us can imagine. They were deprived of food and sleep. Their lives were constantly in danger. They, along with a number of other captives, lived in a dormitory infested with fleas.

In this universe, the two sisters, Betsie and Corrie, read their smuggled Bible in secret. They prayed that the guards that haunted their prison would not find it. The words God spoke to them through the contraband pages were their only source of nourishment in that dark and awful camp. Corrie and Betsie could not imagine surviving without the light the little book radiated in their dark circumstances.

Wednesday, November 23

When We Don't Want To Give Thanks

Borrowed from InCourage.Me

Giving thanks. Sometimes it’s hard to do when the holiday set aside for thanks-giving involves in-laws, slushy weather, disastrous kitchens, and crazy kids, not to mention those deeper extended family issues that materialize only on these blessed events.

 But nonetheless, we are to do so.

To give thanks, that is. And if you’re like me, continual thanksgiving conjures an image of this mama who smiles with a knowing head shake at the eternal stickiness on the doorknobs. A risen-early woman walking amongst the fallen leaves in grateful worship to her Creator. Perfectly fine with the dirty dishes. 

These can be true. But they’re not usually true for me, if I’m honest. When I’m in the liturgical rhythm of laundry, laundry, laundry, my natural instinct is not to lift my arms in praise. I wish it was.

 You know the only way I’m able to change my attitude from grumbling to grateful when I just don’t feel like it?

I just choose to say thanks.

I don’t wait for my emotions to change. I change Finn’s dirty diaper, I scrunch my nose, and I murmur without a smile on my face, “Thank you God for this little body You’ve entrusted me with.”

I open my inbox to untold unread emails and say, “Lord, thanks for this technology and these people in my life and this laptop.” I’m still bummed about all the email I need to process.

I open the minivan door and witness the horror that is the cacophony of clutter, and I say, “God, thanks for these little people that are home with me.”

And slowly, slowly, something miraculous happens. My heart changes. It really, really does. It’s usually not unicorns and sparkles outwardly, but it is prettier on the inside.

 I’m still not in love with the poop or the what-is-that-on-the-floorboard?, but I’m a little more in love with the Giver of Life. I’m more aware of the unbelievable gifts soaked in my life. I’m humbled. And so it is the same on Thanksgiving Day. There’s people and noises and casseroles and chaos, and often a sweet potatoed floor. And those perpetrators are reasons for thanks—they’re gifts from God.

 This season, don’t wait for your feelings to flourish. Say thanks anyway, and see what happens.

Written by Tsh Oxenreider

Tuesday, November 22

Red Badge of Stress

Read Psalm 62:5-12

I read this today, and it knocked my socks off.

“I call it stress and act like it’s normal, some kind of trophy to be proud of.”

The author was talking about feeling tired, worn out, over committed and under creative. There is likely a reason such a topic should speak to me at this juncture in my life, as I feel tired, worn out, over committed and under creative these days.

I tend to wear my busyness as a badge. As if the number of meetings, errands, subjects to teach, crafts to create and foods to prepare somehow validates me as a person. I am special because of the length of my to-do list and the number of people who need me.

It’s not that I can’t say “no,” it’s that I don’t want to say “no.” I like the people I work with. I value the time I spend with them. I enjoy the teaching, the crafting and the cooking. I love being involved in the things I am involved with. But when I literally have to be three people at once on a Sunday morning (not including the always present roll of wife and mom), something’s not quite right.

Just because we can juggle doesn’t mean we need to all the time. I thought by now I’d read enough on this topic to be an expert. Apparently it’s not the reading that gains the expertise.

As we venture forth into the craze of “the Holliday season,” which I’m pretty starts in September now, we need to remember that saying no to a few things we really, really want to do might just be necessary.

And we need to remember that most of our stress is voluntary. When things happen outside of our control we have the option of freaking out, or hanging out in the shadow of the Almighty.

We can reconcile rest and busyness, it’s just a lot more complicated. It involves getting up earlier, making more lists and-contrary to popular belief-spending more time with God. Early morning quiet time is one of those things that gets shoved to the back burner on crazy days, but those are the days it absolutely must come first.

I’m not sure how I can emphasize this point enough.

It’s the first thing I neglect too. “I’ll squeeze it in later,” I tell myself a dozen times a day. And as I fall, used up and wrung out into bed, I tell myself, “Tomorrow is another day.” And it is. Another busy day full of doing this and doing that and before I know it, my Bible is buried under a pile of bills or I’m sushing my hungry kids so I can hurry through day 16 of my Bible study just so I can cross it off my list.

Not cool.

And then I wonder why it’s all catching up to me. Why, when I have my life filled with so many good things, am I so tense all the time?

Rest doesn’t always come through resting. Not the way we define it anyway. Just as we can be just stressed out doing nothing, we can be at peace in the middle of a storm. The act of resting is not as important as in whom we rest.

Being stressed is nothing to be proud of. Being at peace when we should be stressed sure is though. As long as the pride goes to the right source:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him.
Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Monday, November 21

Choose This Day

Read Joshua 24:2-22

At the end of Joshua's life, he had an important message to impart to the Israelite people: choose whom you will serve. God led his people from slavery in Egypt to safety through walls of water and drowned those who pursued. After living in the wilderness for many years, they battled nation and after nation, defeating them by God's power each time. Finally they were in the promised land and Joshua tells them to remember everything they have been through and choose...

Now fear the LORD and 

serve him with all faithfulness.

Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped 

beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, 

and serve the LORD.

But if serving the LORD 

seems undesirable to you, then choose for 

yourselves this day whom you will serve, 

whether the gods your ancestors served beyond 

the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, 

in whose land you are living. 

But as for me and my household, 

we will serve the LORD.”

 Joshua 24:14-15

Life is full of choices. Whom will you serve? We can also say, choose this day whom you will love. Choose this day how you will spend you time. Choose this day what you say. Choose this day where you will go, what you will see, what you will do. These are the weighty decisions that make up our lives here on earth.

For the Israelites in ancient times it was either God or a false god. The big "G" verses the little "g." I always wondered about those silly folks building up false gods out of gold or wood when their Deliverer was jealously waiting for their attention.

We don't have gods of wood or gold, but we do make gods. Anything we serve can be a god. Think about this today, where does your attention stray to? What do you crave? What is your obsession? Where is the majority of your time going? This is your god with a little "g."

With little contemplation, the Israelites went on to say unanimously, "We will serve the LORD!" This was the right answer and I'm sure the crowd was cheering -- the noise of the jubilant crowd was deafening. 

Joshua's face must have remained stoic, realizing they still (after all the wandering and God providing) didn't get the seriousness of this choice. It wasn't a Sunday School answer that could be spoken and then lived differently. 

I can see him shaking his head in doubt. He said,"You can't do it; you're not able to worship God. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won't put up with your fooling around and sinning. When you leave God and take up the worship of foreign gods, he'll turn right around and come down on you hard. He'll put an end to you—and after all the good he has done for you!" (The Message 24:19-20).

Again and again the people cried, "We will serve the Lord!" Joshua basically said "prove it" when he told them to throw away all their false gods and idols. They did it and something serious was needed to commemorate their choice.

Joshua read them the laws and the decrees, he wrote in the Book of the Law about their decision, and then he took a large stone placed it to symbolize this moment when they chose to serve the Lord. It was situated under an oak near the holy place of the Lord. I imagine the people passed that way daily and it was a tangible reminder.

To choose to serve the Lord with our life isn't something we should take lightly either. Our God is jealous and "He won't put up with our fooling around" (verse 19). I love the way the Message puts it bluntly. With Jesus, we live with his forgiveness, but purposeful wrong choices and worship of false gods is sin.

We are like the Israelites in many ways. God has provided, he's let us wander at times, He has defeated enemies, and He is always there waiting for our attention. Will we make the monumental decision to choose this day whom we will serve? Write it down and commemorate your choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

Thursday, November 17

But the Lord's Unfailing Love...

Read Job 36:5-16

Written by Ashley (wife to one great guy, mom to 3 rambunctious boys -- Ashley had a healthy baby boy last night! Congratulations from your Drops team!)

There are two types of pain that we all experience. Purposeful pain and pointless pain. Sometimes God allows obstacles that are meant to strengthen us. He sees our entire course and is so confident in us that he permits Satan to attack us. Other times we inflict pain upon ourselves that eats us up inside. We allow sinful and avoidable pain to take over.

Job experienced purposeful pain. He lost his seven sons and three daughters. He lost his servants and his livestock that undoubtedly provided him with great wealth. If that weren't enough, he was then covered in painful sores from head to toe. Yet he remained faithful. His pain was designed to heighten his faith.

Our purposeful pain may not be quite as intense as Job's, but it's valid pain nonetheless. God may be allowing the death of someone close to you, lack of finances, not getting a call back after a job interview, a miscarriage, or a severed friendship to reveal his glory. "...but the Lord's unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in Him." (Psalm 28:7). There may be a glorious purpose for your pain. Trust Him.

And then there is pointless pain. I tend to cling to the feelings I experience when I feel I am wronged. It's my human nature and God and I are working closely together to overcome this unspiritual flaw. Satan loves to remind me of past hurt and replay it over and over again in my mind.

Honestly, I didn't even realize it was a problem until God began to subtly speak to me in different situations. Does this sound familiar? Is God trying to draw your attention to an area in your life that needs work? Eventually the message became loud and clear. I was authorizing pointless pain in my life. I was not forgiving the people in the past that have hurt me and I was made aware that I was being sinful.

"But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." (Ephesians 2:4-5). God has forgiven us for our sins and brought us back to life. How selfish of me to accept such forgiveness but deny it to people that I love!

Slowly but surely, God is changing my heart. Without the power of the Holy Spirit, this transformation wouldn't be possible. But without the pointless pain brought on by my human nature, the transformation wouldn't be necessary. I finally had to come to a point where I took responsibility for the pain.

What pointless pain are you struggling with today? It could be as serious as an addiction, or just simply a bad attitude. Whatever it may be, identify it, pray about it, and work tirelessly with God to change. Change and submission don’t mean that no struggles will find you. It means that when they do, you will be prepared and the Lord will fight your battles with you. The creator of heaven and earth is on your side.

Wednesday, November 16

Preparing the Way (part 2)

Read Luke 1:57-80

Read Part One

“Then details you shall have.” He turns toward her, and drops his voice, “It was a dark and stormy night—“


“Alright! I give up!

“You know how nervous I was that day. When the lot fell to me, it was as if the hand of Yaweh himself chose me to enter His presence. I stood there in front of the alter. I nearly forgot the words I was supposed to speak, I was so overcome by being in the Holy of Holies. Then, out of nowhere, a man appeared. I was horrified at first. How had he gotten in? Then I was terrified. Had I done something wrong? Was I about to be punished? But he told me not to be afraid. That my prayers had been answered. I was relieved, thinking I had indeed performed the ritual correctly. But then he said, “you will have a son.”

“He did not!”

“He did.”

“What did you say?”

With a derisive half chuckles, he continues, “I said, ‘How can this be? My wife and I are too old!’ The look on his face, Elizabeth! The look on his face made me think for a moment that he had changed his mind. Not that I understood in the first place. But he spoke again.

“You will,” he said. “But you will be in silence until the appointed time.” At that moment, I heard what sounded like a roaring waterfall, then nothing. The man was gone. The holy place empty with just the smoke of the offering rising toward heaven. I stepped out to give the proclamation to the people, and when I opened my mouth, nothing came out. I saw the people’s mouths moving, but could hear nothing. Nothing at all.”

In the tone only a very loved wife can get away with, Elizabeth interrupts, “You questioned an angel? You, a high priest doubted his words?”

“I did, Elizabeth. I did.”

They both sit in the quiet for a moment. At last she admits the truth. “Had you told me a moment sooner in my pregnancy, I would not have believed you. By the time you told me, the truth was undeniable.” She wanted to know and tell so much. She wanted to fill him in on every detail of her miraculous pregnancy and how it felt to finally be free from the judgement of all those people subtly accusing her, them, of some secret sin that kept them barren for so long. But now was not the time for that.

“What did you mean tonight,” she asks, “when you spoke over our son? You talked about the Messiah, and you said our son would be a prophet?”

Zacharias nods. “The angel told me our son would be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he was born. That he will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord. He said he would have spirit and power like the great prophet Elijah.

She knows she should be thrilled with this news, but she can’t help but remember the stories. Surely he was a great man of God but… “Like Elijah? You say that like it’s a good thing. He was nearly killed by a wicked king. Is that what you see in our son’s future?”

He reaches for her hand. “You are missing the point Elizabeth. He said our son would prepare the way for the Messiah. That is what I have been doing at the temple. I have been reading the prophesies. I believe the Messiah is coming soon and our son is the one Isaiah spoke of crying out in the desert.”

“You cannot be serious.” She drops his hand so she can gesture with both of hers.

“And why not?”

“Because he’s a baby, Zacharias! A tiny, red fisted, bald little baby! Not a desert dwelling prophet. He will be raised as a priest, by a priest in the temple.”

“You are right, Elizabeth, He is a baby. A child who removed our disgrace and who will bring us immeasurable joy. We had both closed our hearts to this possibility, but here it is. Here he is. A sign. A wonder. A miracle. He is a gift from Yahweh. It is up to Him what becomes of the son He has given us.”

She bites her lip, another argument on the tip of her tongue. But his words hit their mark. “You are right, Zacharias. He holds my heart so tightly already. I can’t bear to think of what kind of life he has ahead of him.”

Side by side, they watch the fire and they wonder what Yahweh has planned for their son.

Zacharias and Elizabeth’s red faced baby boy grew up to eat locusts and honey, and was so close to God, that he could literally pick his son out of a line up. He grew to maturity in the desert, not in the temple gates, so it is likely that his parents passed away when he was still young. He, like Elijah, was hunted by a wicked king. He preached a revolutionary message and baptized people for the first time on record. And he became the voice of one calling in the desert “prepare the way for the Lord.”

Tuesday, November 15

Preparing the Way (part 1)

Read Luke 1:5-25

Zacharias and Elizabeth, the aged prophet and his wife were the recipients of one of God’s greatest gifts: A baby boy. Well past child baring age, well past the point of continuing to hope, a child was given. Unlike Abraham, Zacharias did not receive a promise under starry skies years before the promise became reality. He received notification in the Holiest of Holy places in the Tabernacle, went home, and TA-DA! Not surprisingly, Zacharias was skeptical of the news. And because of it, his ability to speak was taken away. Most scholars agree that he lost his hearing for a time as well.

I wonder what he thought about those ten or so months in silence. How did he communicate with his wife? Did she know what was happening to her? I wonder how their first conversation went once his ears and mouth opened up again.

One can only imagine it might have gone something like this:

“Is he asleep?” Zacharias asks as Elizabeth settles herself beside him in front of the fire,

“For now.” She holds a piece of paper in her hand.

“What is that?”

Leaning into his side, she opens it up and reads, “’His name is John.’ This will have to go in the baby book.”

“Today is a day we will want to remember.”

Silently the couple watch the flames dance. At last Elizabeth can bare the silence no longer. “Zacharias, why John? You told me long ago what we would name him, and, frankly with you being deaf and mute for the last nine months, it was too much work to ask you about it. But our friends are right. It’s not a family name. It’s a kind of unusual name at that. Where did you come up with it?”

“The angel told me his name was John.”

He states it so plainly, so matter of factly, that Elizabeth almost misses it’s significance. Almost, but not quite. “The what?!”

“The angel. Gabriel. “Who stands in the presence of the Lord.” At least that’s how he introduced himself.”

“An angel named Gabriel introduced himself to you.” She pushes back to see his face better. The low light makes it difficult to make out his distinct features, but she knows them by heart. “When you came out of the Holy Place, your eyes were so bright, and you couldn’t speak or hear. It was so clear you had received some kind of message, but an angel! You saw him? What did he look like? What else did he say? Why did he take away your speech? What did you think when you saw him?”

He can’t help but play with her a little bit. For so long communication had been hobbled by hand gestures and bad penmanship, he had nearly forgotten how much fun it was to tease her. “You know the most important parts. The child you just tucked into bed is proof of that.”

She crosses her arms and with a sigh reminds him, “You didn’t even tell me that part until even I had begun to think I was with child. You scratched on paper, “you are with child. His name is John.” Then nothing more.”

“Did you save that one for the baby book?”

“Don’t change the subject, dear.” She knows exactly what he is up to. “I need details.”

“Then details you shall have.” He turns toward her, and drops his voice, “It was a dark and stormy night—“


**Come back tomorrow for more!

Monday, November 14

Love, Diligence, Joy

Read Psalm 145:1-13

The morning started with an angry scream from my little girl. I took in the whole scene from my cozy bed. Of course I couldn't actually see what was happening because I stubbornly squeezed my eyes shut feigning hoping for 5 extra minutes of sleep.

Toys banged against eachother, voices yelled "Mine" back and forth. Then there was the scream that morphed immediately into a waling cry. Somehow the crying girl managed to communicate her angst, "HE BIT ME!!!!" She must have whacked her brother at this point because his wild screams joined hers.

I know my kids and I know these aren't unfamiliar issues (unfortunately). Kids being normal kids. Needing instruction, intervention, attention, and discipline. Left to their own devices, they choose the easiest way out every time -- not the way God has for us. "For all have sinned," never seemed so applicable (Romans 3:23).

I also know that I wanted to stay in bed for a few more minutes. I tell ya, this pregnancy is stealing every last ounce of energy I have. But who am I kidding? I liked to "sleep in" whether I'm pregnant or not. I'm not a morning person, so it remains an excuse I rationalize when a morning starts with mayhem that I don't want to deal with.

I know what keeps me hiding under the covers. That is not rocket science. It is avoidance in its most unlovely form.

But the opposite. That's the harder question. How do we confront life's challenges when we really, really, really don't want to?

A friend recently wrote on her blog about what makes her day as a mother go round in a pleasant fashion. Follow these and life with little ones works, don't and the end result is chaos (see the above description of my children's morning behavior).

It made me think about actively parenting instead of actively avoiding parenting. For Grace, she does her best to practice these three for herself and her 5 girls:

  • Love.   Not just affection. Choosing to do what is best for one another. Choosing to see the good. Laying aside our own desires for someone else. Obedience is also included in this one. Just as God tell us that love for Him means obeying His commands, as a parent, my girls show me their love by choosing to willingly obey. 

  • Diligence.  Any job can be handled. Any job can seem like a bear. The difference is diligence. Even the most daunting of tasks can be steadily chipped away at with some intentional diligence. My girls are always so excited when they see their diligence pay off. 

  • Joyfulness.  Joy takes any situation in life and makes it just a bit better. A day sprinkled with joy is bearable. A day where everyone is determined to have joy is delightful! Encourage your family to apply joy to every circumstance.*

These three behaviors/attitudes challenged me to tackle my first of many issues during my day. Love, diligence, and joy (for this season in my life) made a tired mommy, depleted and grumpy as she was, get out of bed and deal with my two little one's fight.

The very real confrontation I heard my kids dealing with NEEDED my help. What good would avoiding the scene do for them or for me? There was a toddler who needed to be trained not to bite. A preschooler who started and ended a conflict badly who needed to be listened to and instructed (and both of them also needed some positive interaction with their mommy who was ignoring them).

Making the choice to live lovingly, with diligence, and joyfulness isn't the natural choice. Actually its the hardest choice. From a pile of dishes, loads and loads of laundry, fighting kids, kids who want attention... the "easy" answer is to avoid.

Like me, I know that many of you find it easier to avoid life's challenges. Maybe it is by sleeping in, or watching tv, reading a book, talking on the phone or texting, or losing yourself on the computer. But it only works for a time until we are angry at ourselves and everything in our lives. Including those kids who are just being... kids.

In an angry state, we find it impossible to live with love, diligence, and joyfulness. Instead, we are consumed with selfishness, laziness, and discontent. Oh, how I want to avoid a life lived with those last three descriptions.

Today is a new day and my goals are to confront instead of avoid. Situations (even the ones I would rather run from screaming) will be tackled with love first because my first goal is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, and strength (Deuteronomy 6:5). Then I will diligently work through my day as working for the Lord (Colossians 3:23). And I will cling to joyfulness in this stage of my beautiful life (Psalm 90:14).

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, 

 that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14

* Quoted text used with permission from Grace at Grace Is Blessed By God. Check out her encouraging posts every Thursday called, "Heart for the Home."

Wednesday, November 9

Powerfully Influencing Your Man

Read Proverbs 31:10-31

Written by Ashley K. (Keep her in your prayers as she eagerly anticipates the birth of her 3rd son soon -- she's 40 weeks and still writing and encouraging. What an inspiration!)

 “She (the wife) brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.” 
 (Proverbs 31:12) 

 What happens when your husband comes home in a terrible mood? Think about it. How do you respond to him? Do you ignore him and carry on with what you were doing? Do you lend a listening ear and try to help him work through his problem?

 Now, what happens when you come home in a terrible mood? In my household, if I walk through that door with a frown on my face, each family member runs and hides. My husband’s compassion has its limits. Sometimes, I just want to be mad and it’s in everyone’s best interest to avoid me.

 More often than not, when my husband comes home and something is bothering him, I pester him until we work out a solution. I hurt when he hurts. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” (Ephesians 5:31)

 His problems are my problems. Cheering my husband up after coming home from a bad day at work is part of my job. Ignoring the problem or pretending not to notice that something is upsetting him is not going to make anything better. Women are nurturing and compassionate by nature, but we often direct that solely at our children. We can’t neglect our husbands. They require the same compassion.

 The mood in the household depends mainly on us. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. Like I said before, my family runs and hides if I’m in a bad mood. Because women typically have a stronger emotional awareness, it is our job to do the best we can to have a positive attitude. I’m not saying that because we are wives that we are required to put up and shut up. What I am saying is, why would we make an effort to have a bad attitude when we know that it will negatively affect our family?

 We are in charge of achieving a good mood or bad mood in our household. That is a HUGE responsibility that we shouldn’t take lightly. I will never forget a line from the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The Mom and the daughter are discussing the Father and his attitude. The daughter, Toula, says, “Dad is stubborn...the man is the head of the house!” Her Mother smiles and responds, “Toula, the man is the head, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants.”

 Isn’t it the truth? If we sleep on our neck wrong and get a cramp it limits the motion of our head in the morning. If we get a black eye or bloody nose, our neck still functions fine. We are the neck! When I am sick, the laundry piles up, the kids end up in outfits not meant to be seen by the light of day, and my husband looks like he got hit by a truck.

 When my husband is sick, I kick it into high gear. I bring him meals in bed, I am quick to apply the peppermint oil and he never misses a dose of medicine. I’m not disrespecting my husband at all, because believe me, that man takes really good care of me. I’m simply illustrating how important it is for us to take care of everyone in our family because we are equipped for the task.

 Ultimately, our husbands are the head of the household, but we have such a profound influence over them and we need to make an effort to ensure that it’s a positive one. “But I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man...” (1 Corinthians 11:3)

 Go ahead, baby your husband when he sick, give him a back rub without him asking for it when he gets home from work, bake his favorite cookies, stop pretending to have a “headache”! There is power in being a supportive wife. Go love on your husband today and let him know that you are on his side.

Tuesday, November 8


Read Matthew 11:25-30

By Stacey as posted on Mod Squad

The dishes in my sink could have their own zip code. There has been a fort in my living room for days. My daughter has pirated all my best Fall decorations to decorate said fort. The baby is wrapped around my leg eating something she may have found on the floor. I’m searching for something under the couch when it hits me, “Where do I start?”

I see her staring at me with her hands on her hips. She judges me. She makes me feel less than. She reminds me that I will never measure up. She sighs a lot, pushing me to keep going when I have nothing left to give. Her name, is vaguely familiar. Her house? Well, let’s just say she has it all together. If my baby ate off her floor…it’d be ok. Today, I just can’t seem to get her out of my kitchen or my heart.

I close my eyes and finally ask for help. “Jesus, come today. Come here today. In my mess. To my kitchen, but first to my heart. I am in need of your grace.” It is funny how, as soon as I call for Hope, He comes running. He brings His Word to wrap around my heart…

Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When I open my eyes, the dishes are still close to a national disaster. Nothing has really changed in a physical sense. I get up, and the tears start to flow a bit. He leans in close and whispers it again, surely I will help you. 


And He does.

Are you weary, friend? Do you feel you don’t measure up? Do you know HER? Does she seem to point her finger at you, as well? Nothing keeps us weary like the illusion that everyone else has it all together. I’m pretty sure, they don’t. But in that moment, when SHE shows up, I know I am easily convinced. What if, in that moment, instead of listening to HER, we cried out to Him? He who is waiting to strengthen us, and not judge.

He is Hope. And surely, He will come running.

**Thanks to Betsy for sending the link to this article. 

Monday, November 7

This Little Light Of Mine

Read Matthew 12:28-34

My 2 year old son blew slobber on his one pointer finger while intermittently singing an indistinguishable tune. It took me a few moments to realize he was trying to do the Sunday School song, "This Little Light of Mine."

This little light of mine. 

I'm gonna let it shine. 

Let it shine, let it shine all the time.

The raised pointed finger symbolizes our "light" and one verse says, "don't let Satan blow it out, I'm gonna to let it shine." Hence my baby's slobbering blowing on his finger.

Being a "light" is not just for little kids singing familiar Sunday School songs. As grown up Christians need to shine too.

Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven."

A newspaper article on Friday described a mailman named Paul who shines in his community. Interrestingly enough, the author did not reference this man's faith, that he believes in God, or that he attends church faithfully every week. I know of Paul's testimony because he is my brother-in-law, but those who meet him on his route know him as simply a friendly guy who delivers mail.

".... Sure, he delivered the mail. But he also called in a house fire in an empty home. He checked up on older residents who hadn't been picking up their bills and letters. Once, he even chased a thief across half a dozen backyards, resulting in an arrest. He became, as really great mailmen do, the true connector across fences, the guy in blue who communicates what is really going on in a neighborhood.

.... Paul has been a great source of information in times of want and a great friend in times of need. He's shared toddler care tricks and restaurant tips and, oh yes, he also delivers the mail. 
I'm not sure how he ever gets through his route because he'll stop and chat with people like me who are stuck at home all day working remotely and caring for the wee ones and yearning for some real face-to-face interaction. 
There is a reason writer David Brin made the hero of his post-apocalyptic novel a postman.

.... People talk a lot about the values of community. Increasingly, the communities that get talked about are online, where you either like something or you're not even connected to it. I've moved often in those worlds, and I'm here to say that there are no links or likes or fan pages or comment reply buttons that can replace the real joy of knowing what is going on with the people in your actual living, breathing life." *

It's easy to get freaked out when we are called to be witnesses for Jesus. Do you break out in a cold sweat when you think you may need to tell a non-believer about your faith? Being a light in the world doesn't need to be nerve wracking. Being a light means to live in a way that shows God's love.

  • Be friendly, "be devoted to one another in brotherly/sisterly love," Romans 12:9-10.

  • Show kindness, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness...", Galatians 5:22.

  • Be considerate, "Cloth yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness," Colossians 3:12.

  • Live at peace with those around you, "to lead a quiet life and mind your own business," I Thessalonians 4:11.

  • Work hard, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord," Colossians 3:23.

  • Love your neighbor, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart... and love your neighbor as yourself," Mark 12:30-31.

The mailman in the newspaper article has the opportunity to show God's love to many as he travels door to door to door. If you are like me, you don't come in contact with so many people. Most days it is just me and the kids at home. How can I be light when I don't get to interact with anyone? Saying we don't come in contact with enough people is just an excuse. We can be lights in our home to children who watch our every move and to those we encounter on a busy morning of Mommy-errands and to a neighbor who might just need a "hello" wave and smile from across the street.

The world is a cold, dark place. We will shine brightly for Jesus when we live His love. The warmth will be contagious and those around us will know we have something they need: a personal relationship with Jesus. Let's think of ways to SHINE today.

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine, all the time.

*Read the full article by Emily Grosvenor from the Statesman Journal by clicking here.

Thursday, November 3

His Instrument

Read Ephesians 2:1-10

I use rubber gloves to tackle my dishes. But the rubber gloves don’t do much on their own. In fact, lying on the counter, they are useless. I’ve tested them, believe me. I leave dishes in the sink, the gloves right nest to them.


I’ve given them time, left them in there overnight.


They just sit there. Limp, yellow, worthless.

Until I put them on. Then, they work. Together, we power through mountains of dishes. We scrub, we rinse, we dry, we accomplish good things.

Sometimes we get pretty full of ourselves, don’t we? We fancy that we can handle life’s challenges on our own. We convince ourselves that we can take on the mountains solo.

But just like my floppy rubber gloves, we are not up to the task without Someone else’s hand directing us, literally animating our digits to His bidding.

I pray that I might be as flexible as my dish-doing buddies when God is trying to do good work through me.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10

Wednesday, November 2

Pray Without Ceasing

Read 1 Timothy 2:1-8 

Written by Ashley K.

 “Dear Heavenly Father, Lord, please be with Ashley. Help her to start making good decisions and to look to you as her source of life. I pray that she come to know you better and that she stops living as a woman of this world. I pray that she allow the Holy Spirit to take over. Remind her that she is special and worthy of all you have to offer. Father, give me the strength and the wisdom to know how to help her. In your precious name, Amen.” 

I imagine that is what my Mom’s prayers were like during the dark times in my life. It took several years for me to come around, but I can guarantee my Mom was on her knees every day praying for me.

Growing up, I knew that my Mom was awake before the rest of us. She would sit at the kitchen table with her coffee, her bible, her journal, and she’d be wearing one of those ridiculous floor length Grandma robes. She spent a lot of that time in prayer.

To this day, I know that if I need a prayer answered, I go to her. She is a faithful prayer warrior. Knowing that my Mom is praying for me, has been praying for me, and even encouraged others to pray for me, is very powerful. The fact that she has dedicated so much time and effort to lifting me up in prayer gives me a tremendous sense of security.

Not only that, but the other women in her circle of friends that have spoken to God on my behalf, have also played a significant role in the woman I am today. Wouldn’t you be honored to be a part of someone’s spiritual transformation? You can be if you devote the precious moments during your day to pray for them. “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.” (Ephesians 1:16)

Never underestimate the power of prayer. That line, “there’s nothing we can do but pray,” is bogus. Prayer is our most powerful tool and often times we take it for granted. Our prayers are not falling on deaf ears. God hears each one of them. “Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!” (Psalm 66:20)

When someone asks you to pray for them or a loved one, be sure to dedicate the time and follow through. Where would I be if my team of prayer warriors had forgotten to pray for me? “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12)

Create a prayer journal or keep a list of the people that God lays on your heart to pray for. It’s so important for us to lift up our brothers and sisters in prayer. I borrowed this prayer from the Girlfriends in God devotional I receive daily. It was specifically written as a prayer for husbands, but I feel that it can be used for anyone. Sometimes, God lays someone on our heart to pray for but we don’t actually know the specific need. You can use this to get you started.

Lord, I pray for my husband (or insert name here), from head to toe:

 • His Head - That he will look to You as Lord of his life. (1 Corinthians 11:13)

 • His Mind - That he will have the mind of Christ and think as the Holy Spirit would lead him and not the flesh. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

 • His Eyes - That You will keep his eyes from temptation and that he will turn his eyes from sin. (Matthew 6:13, Mark 9:47)

 • His Ears - That he will hear Your still small voice instructing him. (1 Kings 19:12, Psalm 32:8) • His Mouth - That his words will be pleasing to You. (Proverbs 19:14)

 • His Neck - That he will humble himself before You and be strong, courageous, and careful to do everything written in Your Word so that he will be prosperous and successful. (James 4:10, Joshua 1:8-9)

 • His Heart - That he will love and trust You with his whole heart. (Deuteronomy 6:5, Proverbs 3:5) • His Arms - That You will be his strength. (Psalm 73:26)

 • His Hands - That he will enjoy the work of his hands and see it as a gift from You. (Ecclesiastes 3:13, 5:19)

 * His feet - That You will order his steps and that he will walk in Your truth. (Proverbs 4:25, Psalm 26:3)

Tuesday, November 1

I Must Tell Jesus

Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

There is something in our DNA that requires sharing important news. It manifests itself in an almost physical need to expel words. For me, my go-to person is different depending on the information I can't live without sharing. And if I am not able to share, I feel as though I might literally explode. Good news or bad, we MUST tell. This is why the clerk at Safeway was the first to know of my first pregnancy. We just can't keep certain thing to ourselves.

I was humbled by hymn I Must Tell Jesus this week as I thought about how different my outlook would be if Jesus alone was my go-to person. Would the good news seem better? Would the bad news seem less horrible? I think so.

I must tell Jesus all of my trials;
I cannot bear these burdens alone;
In my distress He kindly will help me;
He ever loves and cares for His own.

I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
I cannot bear my burdens alone;
I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus!
Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.
I must tell Jesus all of my troubles;

He is a kind, compassionate Friend;
If I but ask Him, He will deliver,
And in my griefs with me He will blend.
Tempted and tried I need a great Savior,
One who can help my burdens to bear;

I must tell Jesus, I must tell Jesus;
He all my cares and sorrows will share,

O how the world to evil allures me!
O how my heart is tempted to sin!

I must tell Jesus; He will enable
Over the world the vic'try to win!