Devotionals

Devotionals

Thoughts for study and encouragement

Thoughts on Growing Older

Today I had a lovely conversation with a Christian sister approaching 80—years, not mph. We had just finished Sharon Betters’ and Susan Hunt’s Aging with Grace, and that led us to…

God, Who is Greater Than Our Hearts

If our hearts are our emotional houses, we have lived in them, as in our literal homes, too long and too exclusively the past few months. I can tell that people…

You’ve Never Had Your Favorite Before

I once had a family visiting for lunch, and their little girl came into the kitchen and asked what we were having for dessert. I said, “Caramel ice cream.” And she said,…

In the Darkest Night, Draw Near, Hold Fast, Consider Others

In the darkest season of my life, I was lifted decisively out of the pit by a passage in the book of Hebrews. The three simple commands embedded in it…

The Gospel According to Sinners

We have all been troubled by stories from those who have been abused or betrayed by the church. Sometimes these anecdotes stymie us as we try to share the gospel. When…

Falling Down Laughing

Originally published on enCourage. Events of the last couple of years have robbed us of several wonderful things, and one of them is laughter. Oh, we’ve had a few humorous…

I’M A MESS-TERPIECE

That was my conclusion the other day when I mentally reviewed footage of my most moronic moments. Once I was hosting a meal after a funeral, and in trying to…

LIFE-FAKING MINISTRY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES

LEAH FARISH|GUEST In their new book, Life-Giving Leadership, Karen Hodge and Susan Hunt explain that life-giving women’s ministry comes from confidence in Christ, not in ourselves. Without it, they warn, women’s ministry can…

THE SANCTITY OF LIFE

In honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (January 20), I want to tell you a true story. My friend Cassandra was pregnant—with twins.  They were eagerly anticipated, and already…

A STORY WRITTEN ON OUR SKIN

I’m thinking tonight of the shepherds in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks…When the angels burst forth from the skies (/heavens) singing of glory, the shepherds were “sore afraid,”…

Grace Opens the Door: A Story of God’s Grace in Ministry

There I was in a bustling Middle Eastern city, and I had somewhere I needed to go. I was busy—or, as my Syrian friends say, “buzzy.” Maybe even a little…

When Mommy Grows Up

With every succeeding Mother’s Day, I am challenged to reevaluate my role in my kids’ lives. Now that they are taller than I am, I am thinking perhaps it’s time…

The Cross: Where Love and Righteousness Collide

With angels singing and kings bowing, God gave us His perfect Son at Christmas. And on Good Friday, we killed Him. So with Easter, He gave Christ to us again. More than…

Always Reforming

It was Reformation Sunday 2017 in Wittenberg, Germany, where Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Castle Church door 500 years before. Our rather staid gathering of Presbyterians and…

The Merriment of Christmas

Better than any greeting card or bright package was the news that Mary received that she was going to bear Jesus, the Savior.  Her humble response—“Be it unto me according…

Ages of Grace

Do you ever wonder about our sisters in Christ who lived in other ages–and about what we have in common with them?  Our church decided to offer a women’s retreat…

Memorial Day and the Wartime Widow

On Memorial Day, I remember our veterans and brave civilians who gave their lives for this country.  I also remember a woman who died peacefully in her bed at age…

A Woman’s Response to the Benedict Option

Columnist Rod Dreher has written The Benedict Option to stimulate Christians to consider how evangelism and community can be lived out in 21st-century America.  He assumes the dominant culture is hostile to…

Celebrating the Big 5-0-0

It’s not every year you get to celebrate a 500th birthday. This year, on October 31, we commemorate that day centuries ago when Martin Luther launched the Reformation. But why mark…

Gratitude Versus Gratification

The other day I grabbed a bite of lunch and hurriedly ate it, sitting in my car on the way to the next thing. As I finished up and headed out,…

Of Biblical Proportions – Habits of Thought We Need in Troubled Times

I was looking at a child’s drawing the other day, amused that the dog in the picture was as big as the house, the people’s ears as big as their…

Planted with the Light of His Face

“With your hand you…planted our ancestors…and made them flourish.  It was not by their sword that they won the land…It was your right hand, your arm, and the light of…

Walking the Way to Justice

How many of us have felt caught between radical positions on justice issues? This summer, doubtless quite a few. Whether at work, church, or at the screen of social media…

Helping Paul and Trophimus – Doing Life with One another

“I left Trophimus sick at Miletus” (2 Timothy 4:20). As some churches tiptoe back into corporate worship and ministries reboot in a post-corona mode, those who are immune-suppressed or elderly…

ENCOURAGEMENT AND PRAYERS FOR THE GRADUATES IN YOUR LIFE

For many of our youngsters this graduation season, masks and sanitizer are replacing caps and gowns; e-certificates will arrive online instead of sheepskin diplomas. This cohort of youth make up…

THE SABBATH IS A WOMB

I once started a list with just the title, “What I accomplish on the Sabbath” —and those words lay on a big blank page. Actually, that captures most of my…

IN THE DARKEST NIGHT: DRAW NEAR, HOLD FAST, CONSIDER OTHERS

In the darkest season of my life, I was lifted decisively out of the pit by a passage in the book of Hebrews. The three simple commands embedded in it…

Encouragement and Prayers for the Graduates in Your Life

For many of our youngsters this graduation season, masks and sanitizer are replacing caps and gowns; e-certificates will arrive online instead of sheepskin diplomas. This cohort of youth make up…

So Grateful, So Grateful

My friend was telling me the saga of her teenage son’s illness. As a Down syndrome child, he had trouble enough with swallowing and digestion. But then he developed urgent…

Offering the Lastfruits

Some New Year’s Eves, I have felt a frisson of nervousness as I readied for a party or fellowship event—did I forget to pay a bill that needed postmarking this…

The Sabbath is a Womb

I once started a list with just the title, “What I accomplish on the Sabbath” —and those words lay on a big blank page. Actually, that captures most of my…

SO GRATEFUL, SO GRATEFUL

My friend was telling me the saga of her teenage son’s illness. As a Down syndrome child, he had trouble enough with swallowing and digestion. But then he developed urgent…

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