Saturday

What Better Way to Celebrate FREEDOM than with FREE Books?

I love my country. 

In recent days it's made me proud and it's made me sad, but nothing will ever change my opinion that it's still the greatest country on earth. 

On this, America's 239th birthday, I want to share a few of my favorite patriotic pictures. AND share a very special offer -- five FREE books, all written by Christians, from a Christian worldview. 

The fact that we can write, publish, and distribute books that share our faith and encourage others in their faith journey is one of the greatest evidences that the freedom our forefathers fought and died for still lives in our country. 

May God continue to preserve this most precious of all freedoms. 

And may we never, ever take it for granted.







My publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, has made 100 copies of my book, Hungry For God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women, available FREE on Book Grabber today. I'd love for you to download a copy, then pass this offer on to your friends.

Here's the link: https://bookgrabbr.com/books/3199 

AND to sweeten the FREEDOM celebration even more, here are FOUR other Lighthouse Publishing books, also available FREE today:


Andrea's Merrell's Praying for the Prodigal:  https://bookgrabbr.com/books/3163   

Lori Roeleveld's Running From a Crazy Man:  https://bookgrabbr.com/books/3153      

Amy Sullivan's When More Is Not Enough, How to Stop Giving Your Kids What They Want and Give Them What They Need :  https://bookgrabbr.com/books/3207    

Nan Jones' Perils of a Pastor's Wife:
 https://bookgrabbr.com/books/3195   


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Thursday

Why Do I Write, Even If I Wonder if Anyone's Reading?

What makes you think anyone would want to read anything you write? 

You think that’s original? Ann Voskamp’s already said it—better. And with pictures. 


Other bloggers write long posts about big issues. Who are you kidding? You’re not even in the same league. 


Have you ever had a morning when you were defeated before you even got out of bed? When the voices whispered so persistently you couldn’t even mount a protest? When you questioned your calling, your ministry, maybe even your existence? Any success you may have enjoyed in the past was just a colorless memory, like an old black and white newsreel, and the motivation to do the next thing just wasn’t there?

Times like these don’t come often to me, but on hormonal days when the sun doesn’t shine and my feelings are tender, they have the power to get me down. Like cockroaches too cowardly to come into the light, they scuttle along the baseboards of my mind hindering my progress and distorting my perspective.

Here in the South where Palmetto bugs are four inches long and big enough that we can hear their footsteps, we keep a can of Raid nearby at all times. Similarly, we should keep our spiritual insecticide within arms’ reach.

The insecticide for cockroach comments like the ones I listed above? The Word of God.

When I reached for it, the Word was alive and powerful. Like sitting down with an encouraging friend, my time in God’s Word was just what I needed to banish the dark clouds of doubt and discouragement.

As I read in The One Year Bible, I read the story of Elijah. A bold prophet who had stood up to evil King Ahab, called fire down from heaven, and slayed the evil prophets of Baal, Elijah was riding the wave of the miraculous. Convinced that the supernatural events he had witnessed would win over Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, he was shocked to receive this message from the royal palace:

So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of (the prophets) by tomorrow about this time (1 Kings 19:2).


Frightened and confused, Elijah ran.

Far far away.

And prayed that he might die. 

 “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life . . .”

You know what God did? He didn’t scold him, nor did he pity him. He fed him. He granted him sleep. He listened to his complaints, and then, as only God can do, he reminded Elijah of three things:

1. I am God. 

2. You are not. 


3. You are not alone. 


Through a tornado-like wind, he showed Elijah his power. Through a ground-shattering earthquake, he demonstrated his control. Through a raging fire, he reminded Elijah of his judgment.

And then, in a still, small voice, he showed Elijah that he was quietly, sometimes imperceptibly, at work in Israel.

“You are not alone, Elijah,” God said. “There are 7,000 men whose knees haven’t bowed to Baal.”




“Now get up, dust yourself off and get going. I have work for you to do.” 

In January, my friend Jean emailed me:

“My dear friend who is in prison wrote me and said:

Each morning I start my day with three daily devotionals. Hungry for God, Starving for Time is unequivocally my favorite. When information is enveloped in narrative, I tend to remember what I’ve read. Lori’s antidotes are comedic, metaphorically graphic, and rich with a message universally relevant to a believer’s intent to incorporate God’s wisdom into their daily walk. Thank you so much for the book. It has had an impact already. I share it with Lorena (her cell mate) and she appreciates it equally.”


In February, my friend Debbie brought five copies of my book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, to Kenya. She gave one to Sister Freda, a brave, dedicated sister in Christ who has founded a preschool, clinic, a girls high school, and a nursing school.

In May, I received this email from Andrea, a young woman ministering to Navy wives in Japan through Cadence International:

I have been enjoying your devotional book. I think it is something the women could benefit from … Thank you for being willing to donate copies to our ministry. 

And recently I found these kind words in my Inbox from Sharon, a woman I met at one of my Praying with Power conferences who works with Women at the Well Ministries of PA:

My one new idea from your seminar was to pray first, and read the Bible second, looking for answers in my reading. It’s taking a while to get used to making this change, but I am gaining insight and answers from this switch. Yes, you can teach old dogs new tricks if they want to learn! 

I have especially enjoyed the two devotions that came out this week. The post on sex and violence spoke to my heart, and reconfirmed some of the limitations I place on things we read and watch. Thank you for your prayers and your ministry of encouragement. I look forward to another time when we can meet. In the meantime, keep writing those great devos! 


God, in his still, small voice, used Elijah and these women to remind me, 

He is God,

I am not, 


and I am not alone. 


Author/speaker Alton Gansky says this,

"When you write for God, and you really mean it . . . your work may never show up on the shelves of Lifeway. It may never find its way into bound print at all. But when you write for God, when you write with the heart of a servant . . . you may find that your words are only meant for the guy sitting next to you. If you can accept this . . . live with it . . . grasp it . . . then you can truly write for God."

Why do I write, even when I’m afraid no one’s reading? 

Because God has called me to.

What has God called you to? Are you questioning your calling, your ministry, perhaps even your existence? Struggling soul, be faithful, even when the voices cry loudly, no one appreciates you, and you want to quit. Press on. The harvest is coming.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Gal. 6:9).








 Hungry for God Starving for Time
You want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

You need a resource that answers the questions you’re afraid to ask out loud. Questions like:

• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

Each devotion begins with a Facetime question and ends with a biblical answer wrapped in a modern day parable. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God … Starving for Time is packed with enough scriptural nutrition to get you through the day. Wherever you are—in break rooms, carpool lines, or wherever you can snatch five minutes of quiet reflection—Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is for you.



If you enjoyed this post, why not subscribe? I'll send you twice-weekly 5-minute devotions to help nourish your soul. 
Because women need to connect with God in the craziness of life. 

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Hungry for God is on Facebook! Will you take a moment and LIKE my page? CLICK HERE to help HFG share 5-minute devotions.
 

 

 

Sunday

How Christians Should Live in Light of the Supreme Court Decision

Yesterday my pastor stood in the pulpit and said, “I may have to go to jail one day.” 

“And we may have to do church much differently than we’ve ever done it before, he said. "The time may come in our country when we have to choose between obeying man and obeying God. One thing I can say for certain—we will never, ever compromise the Word of God.”

I love that man. 

And the timelessness of God’s Word comforts me, speaks truth to my troubled heart, and reminds me that this season has not caught God by surprise. He inspired Peter, millennia ago, to write these words with us in mind:

Dear friends, 

Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.


Christ was born into a government that killed the innocent to preserve a kingdom. 

If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler.

The disciples were beaten, jailed, and run out of town. 

“Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine!”

However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.

“But Peter and the other apostles answered and said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”  

For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And, "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"

“Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator-- who is forever praised. Amen.

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done (Romans 1:24-28).

“On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria. . . . But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” (Acts. 1:1, 3-4).

“When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed.

So there was great joy in that city.”

So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:12-19).

We can take comfort from the past, knowing that Christ will continue to build his church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. 

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).


What truth from Scripture comforts you when the events of this world make you afraid? Why not share them in the comments so others can be encouraged? If you're reading by email subscription, click here to visit Hungry for God and comment.






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Thursday

When You Don't Like What You See in the Mirror

“It is an observable fact that most people don’t like themselves, in spite of being, for the most part, decent enough human beings . . .” says Phillip Lopate, in Writing Creative Nonfiction.


I thought about Lopate’s quote today, because I looked into the mirror of God’s Word and saw something I disliked. It wasn’t the smile lines around my mouth, the crows’ feet near my eyes, or the less-than-perfect skin on my face.

I looked into the mirror and saw King Ahab. Eeew.

It’s a curious thing, how when we look into the perfect law of God, we see the juxtaposition of our shortcomings and sins. We see who we could and should be side by side with who we are and aren’t. I suspect this is why, in Galatians 3:24, Paul called the law a “schoolmaster”: “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

With no standard to compare ourselves, we look pretty good—better than some of our neighbors, and certainly not as bad as others. But when we look into God’s law, which is really just a template for his perfection, we fall woefully short.

This is how God and his law used wicked King Ahab to show me my sinful family resemblance.

Ahab was rich. The king of Samaria, he had a beautiful palace, all the money he needed, land, horses, and a wife. Oh, boy, did he have a wife, but that’s a subject for another post.

Instead of being thankful for all God had blessed him with, Ahab turned his lustful eyes over the wall onto his neighbor’s vineyard. Now Ahab didn’t need Naboth’s vineyard. He had vineyards galore. And gardeners to tend them and servants to pick their fruit.

But Ahab was greedy. He wanted what he didn’t have. Sometimes I wish for what I didn't have, too.

Where does this continual lust for more come from? I hate to blame everything on our sinful natures, but the apostle James connected the dots on this one:

“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight” (Jas. 4:1).

Our lust for more and our discontentment with what God gives us comes from our human nature—a nature that, left to itself, will never, ever be satisfied. So what’s the antidote when our coveting eyes glance over at our neighbor’s smiling family, intact marriage, pain-free body, etc., etc., etc. . . .?


“. . . be content with what you have,” Hebrews 13:5 tell us, “because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

If Ahab had been thankful instead of greedy and ungrateful, I think he'd have been much happier. Could this be true of us as well?

Forgive us, Father, for allowing what we don’t have to steal the joy from what we do. Thank you that the boundary lines have fallen for us in pleasant places. We have a good inheritance. Help us remember if we seek first the kingdom of God and your righteousness, everything we need will be added to our lives. And you will send no sorrow with it. Thank you for the perfect law of liberty that promises us freedom from lust and greed and discontentment. And thank you for your Son, who promises never to leave us or forsake us. Truly, Father, what more do we need?

If you’re struggling with covetousness today, will you join me in listing God’s good gifts and saying thank you? It will do much to banish the sin of grumbling greed from our hearts.



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Hungry for God is on Facebook! Will you take a moment and LIKE my page? CLICK HERE to help HFG share 5-minute devotions.


 Hungry for God Starving for Time
You want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

You need a resource that answers the questions you’re afraid to ask out loud. Questions like:

• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

Each devotion begins with a Facetime question and ends with a biblical answer wrapped in a modern day parable. Like a spiritual power bar, Hungry for God … Starving for Time is packed with enough scriptural nutrition to get you through the day. Wherever you are—in break rooms, carpool lines, or wherever you can snatch five minutes of quiet reflection—Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is for you.


 

 

Sunday

Today I'm Proud to Be a Christian

There have been times when I’ve been ashamed of my family.

My faith family, that is.

Squabbles, scandals, and division. Disputes over denominational differences. Competition rather than cooperation. “Black churches” and “white churches.” These have broken my heart and made me ashamed.

But this week, I’m proud. PROUD to call myself a Christian.

I’m so proud, of Debbie Dills, an ordinary believer whom God called to do an extraordinary thing. Early Thursday morning she watched FOX and Friends’ coverage of the church shooting. On her way to work, providentially running late, she spotted Dylann Roof’s car.

“I got a little nervous,” she told FOX news afterward, “I’ll be honest with you. I’m not a hero, and I’m not brave.”

She pulled off onto an exit ramp, phoned her boss, and told him what she’d seen. He called police, who asked Debbie to get back on the highway, catch up with Roof, and confirm the license plate number.

Would you chase after an armed man who had just killed nine people in cold blood? And get close enough to read his license plate and confirm his identity?

But with courage that only came from God, Debbie got back on Highway 74, chased Roof down, phoned in his license plate number, and tailed him until police arrived.

"I’m not the hero,” she’s quick to admit. “God’s the hero. He just used me. . . . I hope he’s pleased with me. I want him to be pleased with me more than anything else.”





I’m so proud, of Marcus Stanley, a black rapper and survivor of black gun violence. He looked past the horror of Dylann Roof’s crime into the darkness in his soul. He posted a message on Roof’s Facebook page calling him to repentance and salvation.

“Give your heart to Jesus and confess your sins with a heart of forgiveness.” Marcus wrote. “He is the only one who can save your soul and forgive you for the terrible act you have done.”

I’m so proud of the families and loved ones of those who died in Charleston. Wracked with grief, they followed the example of their Savior, who interceded for his killers by saying, “Forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Through tears, Ethel Lance’s daughter said to Roof, “I forgive you. You took something very precious from me, and I will never talk to her ever again. I will never be able to hold her again. But I forgive you. And have mercy on your soul."

I’m so proud that when some called for a race riot in Charleston, Pastor Norvel Goff, standing in the pulpit of Emanuel AME church, said, “A lot of folk expected us to do something strange and break out in a riot. Well, they just don’t know us. They just don’t know us because we are a people of faith, and we believe that when we put our forces and our heads together, working for a common good, there is nothing we cannot accomplish together in the name of Jesus.”

I’m so proud that Emanuel AME opened their doors in faith and commitment as they’ve done every Sunday since the church’s founding. And of the hundreds from all over the state and nation who sat in sweltering heat and crowded conditions inside the church for Sunday school and service.

The church met for Sunday morning services to send a “message to the demons in Hell.”

Perhaps this is what Jesus foresaw when he told Peter, “upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mat. 16:18).

I’m so proud of the hundreds who held vigil outside the courthouse while Dylann Roof’s arraignment hearing took place. Black and white, young and old, they held hands and sang hymns in support of the bereaved families inside.


And I’m so proud, of St. Andrews Evangelical Church, a mostly-white assembly in my hometown of Columbia, whose congregation walked down the street and surprised a mostly-black church by joining them in worship. “It was crowded, hot, emotional, and awesome,” one church member wrote.

Perhaps this is what Paul foresaw when he said, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

There have been times when I’ve been ashamed of my faith family. Ashamed to reveal that I’m a Christian “like them,” but not today.

Today, I’m proud.


“The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned” (Mat. 4:16).





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