Thursday

Throwing Rocks at Change

In 1979 my best friend Jodie and I sat outside and threw rocks at the yellow For Sale sign in my front yard. My parents had decided it was time to move south, and the sign in the yard was a mere formality. Our home was already under contract. 

I was 15 years old. 

Convinced my life was over, the thought of leaving my hometown was more than I could bear. Can anything good come from moving to South Carolina? I wondered. 

In 2009 I threw mental rocks when my husband accepted a new ministry position that required us to leave our home church. The church where both daughters had been baptized, learned memory verses, and went on mission trips. The church where we had learned to give by faith, serve with passion, and lead with love. The church where we loved the pastor and worshiped with most of our friends. Although I knew the Lord had opened the door, it was still a hard adjustment. 

In the past few years, our family has experienced several significant transitions. Our daughters went off to college, we’ve welcomed two new sons-in-law into our family, and both couples have moved far away. (For some reason my girls think they should live where their husbands are.) We’re learning how to keep in touch through email, text messages, and Face Time. 

Some days I mourn change. 

Unlike friends who thrive on variety and spontaneity, I like predictable routine. I want to know what to expect every day, from the cereal in my breakfast bowl to the people sitting around my dinner table. I automatically assume change is bad. 

I forget that the Lord orders our days according to his good pleasure for our good. He brings us to new places and seasons to grow our faith, strengthen our witness, and utilize our spiritual gifts. 

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jer. 29:11). 

Our move to South Carolina in 1979 didn’t ruin my life, it redeemed it. A new friend from school invited me to church. I sat under the sound of the Gospel for two years. The summer before college, I surrendered my life to Christ. 

Changing churches in 2009 when my husband finished his ministry degree meant I had to stop teaching my beloved Sunday school class. I was so sad, but as we settled into our new church family, the Lord opened new opportunities for ministry. I began to speak and write more, started a blog, and received a book contract. 


The latest changes in our family have parted us physically but joined us spiritually and emotionally. We talk often, pray for each other, and communicate in deeper ways than when we lived together. I love having handsome, fun, smart sons-in-law. I love watching both couples begin families of their own. Best of all, I love my little granddaughter Lauren more than I ever imagined possible. 

The longer I live, the more I realize the only thing constant is change. But because the Lord is the sentinel who guards the gate of my life, I don’t have to fear. I can rest in the confidence that his plans for me are good, his hand is at work on my behalf, and he will walk with me through every change in my life. 




“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you” (Isa. 46:4). 

What about you? Do you welcome change or fear it? What is one change you’ve experienced that you thought might be bad, but turned out to be good? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.


If you're in the Columbia, SC area and would like to learn more about prayer, I'd love for you to join me for a 5-week Bible study based on my workshop, Praying with Power

We'll meet at New Testament Baptist Church, 300 S. Sims Ave. on Monday nights beginning June 15 from 7-8:30 pm. The cost is $10 and includes a workbook and a personalized prayer journal. 
Email me at LoriAHatcher (at) gmail.com to register. 
Invite a friend -- I hope to see you there!




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. 
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Monday

How to Be Happy

What we read and watch on the internet can make our hearts soar. 

It can also make our hearts weep.

Mine did both recently.

Logging onto my email from a remote computer, I watched MSN’s top news stories scroll by. A headline from Examiner.com and its accompanying photo caught my eye:

Paris Jackson happy with boyfriend Chester after pregnancy talk, suicide attempt.

Happy, according to the Examiner, is a 17-year-old girl with pink and black hair accepting an open-mouthed kiss from an 18-year-old Mohawk-sporting, wife-beater-shirt-wearing soccer player from a “family of means.” In a hotel bathroom, no less.

The article expressed delight that Paris, who had attempted suicide in 2013, looked “happy, healthy, and gorgeous.”

My heart wept for Paris.

Also in my news feed was another story, this one about another teenage couple. They, too, looked happy, healthy, and gorgeous. The Atlanta Journal and Constitution’s headline read:

Quarterback fulfills 4th grade promise, asks childhood friend with Down syndrome to prom.

The photo showed a tall, clean-shaven young man in a dark suit holding the hands of his prom date. Dressed in a stunning lavender floor-length gown and sporting a wrist corsage, the young lady smiled demurely, too shy to meet his happy grin.

Ben Moser and Mary Lapkowicz were friends in fourth grade when he promised, someday, to take her to the prom. Eight years later, he made good on his promise. 

Commenting on his decision to take his Down syndrome friend to the most important event of the year, Moser said, “There shouldn’t be a barrier between someone who has Down syndrome and someone who doesn’t. You should just be who you are, and do what’s right. Simple,” he said. 

Simple indeed, Ben Moser.






A wise man once said, “Your life is the sum of the choices you’ve made.” I couldn’t help contrasting Paris Jackson’s choices with Ben Moser’s.

At the end of the day, who do you think was really happy?





Here's a video clip of prom day. If you're reading by email, click here to view the video.






This week I'm privileged to serve on faculty at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers conference. Nestled in beautiful Black Mountain, NC, the conference is an amazing opportunity to pour back into the Christian writing community some of what I've learned. 

I covet your prayers as I pitch my next devotional book, tentatively called, Feeding Your Soul in a Drive-Thru World. Stay tuned.

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.
 

 

 

Thursday

How to Grow a Friendship -- A Tutorial


I remember the first time my friend Maryann called me. We had met earlier that month in the church nursery, and I assumed she was calling about a church-related matter. She asked me how my day was going, whether my daughter was over the sniffles, and if I was enjoying the new series of messages our pastor was preaching. We laughed over the challenges of parenting toddlers and shared potty training woes. 
  
I enjoyed our talk, but I kept waiting for her to get to the point. 

“It’s been fun talking with you,” she finally said. And then she said goodbye. 

I hung up the phone puzzled—like when I was a kid walking through a dark house expecting my sister to jump out from behind the door and yell Boo, but she never did. 

It took me ten minutes to figure out that the only reason Maryann had called was to talk. Like friends do. For no reason except that they enjoy each other’s company. No agenda. No task to check off, just because they like you. 

It was awkward and amazing. 

A week later, Maryann called me again. This time I was ready. 

I asked about her daughter, and if she was still wearing the twirly purple dress she’d taken a fancy to. I asked where her husband worked and discovered he was attending school to get his masters degree in education. And when the conversation began to wind down, I thanked her for calling—sincerely, because I realized how much I’d enjoyed our talk. 

Over the 24 years since that first phone call, my friendship with Maryann has grown and matured. We’ve shared the joys of parenting, marriage, church, and homeschooling. We’ve camped together, schooled together, and served together. Our conversations have gone from one end of the library shelf to the other—what’s the best curriculum, pediatrician, or marriage book? How do we keep our tempers, study the Bible, and put a good meal on the table? 

We’ve also shared deep times of sorrow. We’ve walked the nightmare of grief and loss. We’ve prayed each other through dry times in our marriages, desperate times in our parenting, and dark nights of our souls. 

Now that our children are mostly grown, we find ourselves talking about the needs of aging parents, how to be great mothers-in-law, and, still, what’s the best marriage book. We visit without the constant interruption of little ones and laugh about our common desire never to be frumpy, grumpy, or lumpy. 

Some people handle relationships intutively and others, like me, have to learn by example. 

Maryann’s been that example. She’s taught me that friends initiate. Friends serve. Friends are willing to be inconvenienced for each other. She’s taught me there’s always time for a cup of tea when a friend needs to talk, and you can always find a meal or a dollar for someone less fortunate than yourself. She’s taught me to obey God even when it costs me something, follow my husband, and never stop praying for loved ones to come to Christ. 

I hope you have at least one special friend in your life like my friend Maryann. If you don’t, why not take the first step? Pick up the phone and call someone. If they respond, call them again. You never know what this simple act might accomplish. 

Here are five simple suggestions for building godly friendships: 

http://lori-benotweary.blogspot.com/2015/03/how-to-grow-friendship-tutorial.html


I pray God will bless your efforts and grant you the joy of deep, abiding friendship. 

Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel (Pro. 27:9). 

What about you? What tips do you have for building life-long friendships? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and bless us all. 

Here are dear friends Noelle, Charlotte, Maryann, daughter Kristen, me, Mandy, and Susie -- God's good gifts to me!





What a joy it was to train 47 mighty prayer warriors at the 
Praying with Power Women's Conference last Saturday
Hosted by Good Shepherd UM Parish in Brookville, PA




We heard powerful prayer testimonies about lost loved ones coming to know Christ, dying grace, and, my personal favorite, one family's story of how God granted them a baby after many years of waiting.



We laughed, we cried, and we learned together 
how to pray God-sized prayers that He delights to answer.




We learned from God's Word, heroes of the faith, and each other. Each woman went home with her own personalized prayer journal.

I can't wait to see what God is going to do through prayer in Pennsylvania.


If you'd like to host a Praying with Power women's ministry event, Click here for my speaking information.


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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May I tell you about my new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women?

 Today's women 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. 

Monday

Why I'd Name My Son Caleb

I don’t have a son, and the son-in-laws I’ve acquired came already named. But if I had a son, I’d name him Caleb. Here’s why:

You may remember that Caleb was one of 12 spies who went into Canaan to scope out the land as the children of Israel prepared to conquer it. All 12 agreed the land was bountiful and “flowing with milk and honey,” but ten of the 12 were seriously concerned about the fortified cities and the Anakites—a race of giants who lived there.

Caleb and his buddy Joshua were unintimidated. “Let’s go in immediately. The cities are strong, the people are large, but with God as our helper, we can conquer this land!”

Reason #1 why I’d name my son Caleb: He wasn’t afraid of daunting tasks, because he knew God would help him. Caleb had faith.

You may also remember that because the Israelites were wimpy, frightened, and weak in their faith, God punished them by making them wander in the wilderness until every person who said no to God had perished. Even the mighty patriarch Moses sinned and didn’t get to go into the Promised Land.

This left two men standing—Joshua and Caleb. These men did everything right, but because of everyone else’s sin, they had to wander and wait for 38 years. But you know what? They kept their faith. They kept their integrity. They waited patiently, served their brothers, and continued to believe that God was going to do what he’d promised.

Reason #2 why I’d name my son Caleb: He suffered because of others’ sins, yet still maintained his integrity. Now it’s promotion time. God has told Moses he’s not going into the Promised Land, so it’s time to appoint a successor. There are only two candidates—Joshua and Caleb. Both are wise, godly, faithful, courageous men. God chooses Joshua, and Caleb gets passed over.

There’s no injustice here; God knows who’s most qualified to lead the Israelites. But don’t you think Caleb is a bit hurt and disappointed? I know I’d be.

How does he handle it? Does he throw a tantrum, howl about how unfair God is, take his marbles and go home? Nope. He just keeps serving the Lord. He supports Joshua, throws his wholehearted allegiance behind him, and continues to faithfully carry out his duties as a leader.

Reason #3 why I’d name my son Caleb: He served faithfully in the shadow of another leader.

And finally, Caleb went the distance. When the land was largely conquered, and it was time to settle into their respective cities, Kenneth Gangel, in The Holman Old Testament Commentary on Joshua, describes Joshua’s unusual request:

“Even after 85 difficult years, Caleb had a great attitude about serving God and fighting for him. He wasn’t tired out; in fact, he was just getting excited. He didn’t walk up to his old buddy Joshua to ask for a maintenance-free, energy-saving home. . . . No, he asked for the hill country still inhabited by giants. He wanted the very area that had intimidated the other ten spies . . .”

I love this about Caleb. When he could have justifiably asked for an easy retirement, he asked instead for a daunting task he could only accomplish with God’s help and enabling. He never took the easy way out. Elisabeth Elliot is famous for saying, “When you have a choice between two things, choose the harder.”

Reason #4 why I’d name my son Caleb: He chose the harder thing.

Caleb is an amazing man of God. He clung to his faith, stood for God even when it cost him something, served faithfully in the shadow of another leader, and chose to do hard things. He’s a man I admire, respect, and want to emulate. He’s a man worthy of naming a son after, don’t you think?

I’ve barely skimmed the surface of Caleb’s life, but maybe I’ve whetted your appetite. If you’d like to read more about Caleb, check out his story beginning in Numbers 13. If you’re already familiar with this great man, what do you admire most about him? Or maybe you’d like to name your son after another godly hero of the faith. Leave a comment in the box below and share your thoughts.







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.
 

 

 

Thursday

My Three Baptisms

It’s fun to watch the expressions on people’s faces when I tell them I’ve been baptized three times.

I’m a little slow, and it takes me time to get things right. Thankfully, God is patient with me. Kind people around me are, too. Perhaps the story of my three baptisms might help you along on your faith journey. 

My first baptism came when I was six weeks old. Some churches call it a “christening.” Google says christening is the old-fashioned name, so I guess that makes me old-fashioned. It seems the word old is coming up more and more lately in connection with me. 

Christening is also associated with naming a child. In the days of high infant mortality, tradition required families to wait several weeks or months before christening a child to be sure he was going to live. When I was christened, two things happened: I was “officially” named Lori Ann Slice, and my parents stood before the church and promised they would raise me in the faith. 

My second baptism came as a result of walking down an aisle at a church when I was 16 years old. Visiting a church that was very different from the one I had grown up in, I was desperately trying to find a similarity. At the end of the service, I found one. I noticed that people went down to the front, kneeled at the altar, and prayed. 

This was familiar to me, because in my church, at the end of a mass, a person could go to the altar, put coins in a box, light a candle, and say a prayer. Because I really wanted to fit in, I decided if people went down to the altar to pray at the next service, I would go down, too. 

I had no idea what it meant when someone, especially a visitor, came forward at the end of the service in an evangelical church, but I quickly found out. Some well-meaning, soul-winning lady ran me down the Roman Road, I had an emotional experience, we cried, and before I knew it, I was “saved.” Wow. That was way more than I bargained for. 

My second baptism followed shortly thereafter. 

It took two more years of sound Bible teaching for God to peel back the layers of confusion, wrong theology, and self-sufficiency that hindered me. Two more years of living my life my way didn’t hurt the progress of my redemption, either. 

To the casual observer, I had everything going for me—a steady boyfriend, a full-tuition scholarship to the college of my choice, and the #4 spot in in my graduating class. I had the world by the tail, yet I was miserable. I was empty inside. Frightened about the future, guilty about the past, and longing for something more than what I saw in front of me, I’d wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and sob. I was making decisions that would impact my life forever, yet I had no Source of wisdom. 

Distraught and needy, I found myself in my pastor’s office. The same pastor who had presented me to the church, dunked me beneath the baptismal waters, and taught me every Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night. 

“I’ve been living my life my way, and I’m not doing a very good job of it,” I said, while silent tears left shiny trails down my face. “I need someone bigger and wiser than me to run my life. I don’t want to be in charge anymore.” I confessed my sins and heard my pastor say those glorious words of emancipation from 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

I was forgiven and cleansed. 

I left my pastor’s office a changed person. Second Corinthians 5:17  was true. I was a new creation, changed from the inside out. I broke off a relationship I knew didn’t honor God. I started wanting to go to church for the right reasons. I had a new desire to study God’s Word. Best of all, when I sinned, it bothered me—further evidence that the Holy Spirit was living inside me. I wanted to obey whatever God told me to do. 

And what was one of the first things God told me to do? Get baptized. 

“But Lord,” I argued, (Can anyone say But and Lord in the same sentence?) “I’ve already been baptized—TWICE! What will people think?” 


Baptism is an outward testimony of an inward transformation, the still, small voice of God whispered to my heart. It’s the first step of obedience for a disciple of Christ. 

It made sense, because, for the first time in my life, I knew for sure I was a disciple. 

So I said no to the insecurity that said I can’t do this in front of people. I said no to the pride that said What will people think? I said no to the disobedience that said I really don’t want to stand up in front of people for the THIRD time. 

And I said yes to baptism. Again. 

Down into the baptismal waters I went. The old adage says, “Third time’s a charm,” but for the first time, my baptism was a glorious testimony that I had placed my faith in Christ alone for my salvation. 

That was thirty years ago, and I’ve never looked back. 

“What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). 

What “hard” thing has Christ called you to do to demonstrate your obedience to him? I’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

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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. 

Enter your email address and VALIDATE the Feedburner email sent to your inbox.



Delivered by FeedBurner











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