• Devotions

    Feels Like Home

    Over the holiday break from college, my oldest son frequently had friends over to the house.

    Talking about everything under the sun, it was evident that they were just happy to be in each other’s presence.

    Entering at all times of the day and night, they had full access to the house.

    My husband jokingly asked me, “how many people have the code to our garage?”

    But there was something about seeing the ease at which they would come and go.

    During one of our late night conversations, one of the boys said this to me:

    You make it feel like this our home.

    I get choked up even now as I write this.

    John and I have always wanted our home to feel welcoming.

    But to actually have it feel like home to others touches my heart.

    And makes me think of our heavenly Father.

    I talk with Him about everything under the sun and am happy just to be in His presence.

    He is available to me all times of the day or night.

    He grants me full access to Him.

    No code required.

    I come and go with ease, because He is always welcoming.

    He makes it feel like home because it is our home.

     “Lord, through all the generations

        you have been our home!

       Before the mountains were born,

        before you gave birth to the earth and the world,

        from beginning to end, you are God.”  Psalm 90: 1-2 NLT

    Sometimes it is difficult to grasp that the Creator of the heavens and the earth will pause just to listen to my heart.

    But He does.

    Every single time.

    There is no place that feels more like home to me than when I spend time with Him.

    Friends, I do not know what you are going through today

    But know this.

    The Creator of the world wants you to feel at home in Him.

    You can talk with Him about anything under the sun.

    He will be happy to have you in His presence.

    You are always welcome, day or night.

    And you don’t even need the code.

    My prayer is that you allow Him into your heart today.

    Trust me.

    It feels like home.

     “I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. 

    Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the 

    power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, 

    and how deep His love is.” Ephesians 3:16-18 NLT

  • Devotions

    Always the Same

    2020 has been the year of changes.

    That is putting it mildly, some of you are probably thinking.

    The ways that we work, shop and go to school have been altered.

    Curve balls are thrown at us on a daily basis.

    Yesterday was no exception.

    An eerie feeling came over me as I entered the building for my yearly appointment with my oncologist.

    The center that was once bustling with activity now felt like a ghost town.

    No walks where breast cancer survivors and supporters could gather this year.

    In person activities and gatherings have shifted to virtual.

    It has been almost 10 years since my diagnosis.

    Connections with others were the very things that helped me through my own journey.

    And as I made my way back the empty hallway after getting my temperature taken at the door, 

    I ran into a staff member who had helped me through my treatment years ago.

    We sat and chatted about the change in the atmosphere.

    Limitations in how the staff interacts with patients and how the patients interact with each other left a heaviness on my heart.

    Everything just feels different.

    And when everything feels different, this is the verse that I hold onto:

    “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT

    He never put limitations on how He interacted with His people.

    Not if they were considered unclean.

    “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” Matthew 8: 1-3 NLT

    Not if they were considered unworthy.

    “Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.

    The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

    Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  John 4: 7-10 NLT

    Jesus knew that they craved connection.

    Connection with the One who brought hope into their brokenness.

    The same hope that is available to us today.

    The only limitations that are placed on how I interact with our Savior are the ones I put there myself.

    He is always available, ready to listen to our hearts, whether they are joyful or heavy.

    He never withholds Himself from us.

    And in a world that is constantly in flux, my heart is grateful that He is my constant.

    My prayer is that you allow Him to be yours as well.

    That is putting it mildly, some of you are probably thinking.

    The ways that we work, shop and go to school have been altered.

    Curve balls are thrown at us on a daily basis.

    Yesterday was no exception.

    An eerie feeling came over me as I entered the building for my yearly appointment with my oncologist.

    The center that was once bustling with activity now felt like a ghost town.

    No walks where breast cancer survivors and supporters could gather this year.

    In person activities and gatherings have shifted to virtual.

    It has been almost 10 years since my diagnosis.

    Connections with others were the very things that helped me through my own journey.

    And as I made my way back the empty hallway after getting my temperature taken at the door, 

    I ran into a staff member who had helped me through my treatment years ago.

    We sat and chatted about the change in the atmosphere.

    Limitations in how the staff interacts with patients and how the patients interact with each other left a heaviness on my heart.

    Everything just feels different.

    And when everything feels different, this is the verse that I hold onto:

    “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NLT

    He never put limitations on how He interacted with His people.

    Not if they were considered unclean.

    “Large crowds followed Jesus as he came down the mountainside. Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.” Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared.” Matthew 8: 1-3 NLT

    Not if they were considered unworthy.

    “Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”  John 4: 7-10 NLT

    Jesus knew that they craved connection.

    Connection with the One who brought hope into their brokenness.

    The same hope that is available to us today.

    The only limitations that are placed on how I interact with our Savior are the ones I put there myself.

    He is always available, ready to listen to our hearts, whether they are joyful or heavy.

    He never withholds Himself from us.

    And in a world that is constantly in flux, my heart is grateful that He is my constant.

    My prayer is that you allow Him to be yours as well.

  • Devotions

    The One

    As I settled into bed, I felt a sense of peace.

    Jonathan was curled up watching Netflix.

    Daniel reclined in his chair playing Madden on his Xbox.

    My husband had already dozed off beside me.

    There is no better feeling than this.

    Joy.

    Everyone was home.

    It’s just not the same when one of them is missing.

    Just knowing they are all in my presence is everything.

    Our heavenly Father feels the same way about us.

    His ultimate goal is to have all of His children in His presence.

    And when we leave this place, He wants us all to come home.

    That is why even if one of us is missing, it is just not the same.

    Even if ninety nine are present, He still pursues the one.

    “Then Jesus told them this parable:  “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’  I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”  Luke 15: 3-7 NIV

    Don’t miss this, friends.

    Our Creator rejoices when one of His lost sheep comes home.

    “And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.”

    Joy.

    That is what our heavenly Father feels when all of His children are together.

    You.

    Me.

    The ninety-nine.

    And the one.

  • Devotions

    First Thoughts

    My first steps in the morning are typically toward a large cup of black coffee.

    My first thoughts of the day?

    Well, I would like to say that everyday they rise up to Him with a song of praise or a prayer of gratitude.

    But honestly, that is not everyday.

    And especially these times, when school openings, business closings and the physical and mental health of those around me is constantly in question, my first thoughts tend to be all over the place.

    Maybe you are in that season, too.

    Some days these thoughts swirl around in my mind like a cyclone, picking up anything it can scoop up in its grasp.

    The neverending saturation of news, others opinions, and general chaos loom around me before I have had my first sip of motivation for the day, twisting my first thoughts away from Him.

    So each morning, before I put my feet on the floor and head towards the coffee pot, I need to make a choice.

    Where will my first thoughts go today?

    Friends, as easy as it sounds to choose door number one or door number two, I can say with complete honesty I struggle with this daily.

    My worries and fears sometimes get the better of me.

    And yet, when I choose to let my first thoughts rise to Him, my days always go exceedingly better.

    My perspective of what lies ahead changes.

    I am no longer focused on the world, but on His promises.

    Here are a few verses that help me stay grounded and not swept up in the cyclone of despair.

    1. “He remembers His covenant forever, the promise that He made, for a thousand generations.” 1 Chronicles 16:15 NIV    

    Our God is a covenant keeping God.  The promises He made to His people thousands of years ago still covers you and me today.

    1. “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.” Psalms 119:50 NIV God sees us as we struggle.  He knows our daily challenges.  And yet it is our relationship with the Almighty and His promises to be with His people that reminds us we are never alone in our suffering.
    1. “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you.  He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV 

    Most of us are worried about what lies ahead.  But our heavenly Father goes before us.  If He is already in the days ahead, we can embrace the promise that He is waiting there for us and preparing the way.

    What verses give you grounding?

    Focus on these words.

    Let them penetrate your heart and your mind.

    My prayer is that your first thoughts rise to the One who gave us life.

    Could that be your prayer for me as well?

    Less worry, more peace.

    Not our perspective, but His promises.

    “Look to the Lord and his strength;

        seek his face always.”  1 Chronicles 16:11 NIV

    May each of us find strength in Him today.

    Amen.