Tuesday, April 28, 2020

New Devotion: Run Your Race

I wrote the following devotion this past fall, and it was featured last month. I hope it encourages you now as we navigate COVID–19, for its topic is timely. 


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. —Hebrews 12:1

My oldest son started Cross Country this fall at school. He did not perform as he had hoped at his first meet. The course was flooded with children who were older and unknown to him. The distance was double what he had been running. He didn’t know the trail. When his body started aching after his initial sprint, he decided to walk the course with friends. He finished the race frustrated with his placement.

As a mom who used to run Cross Country competitively, I encouraged him to stick to his sport choice because it would get better. The fall is a magical time to run outside as the leaves crunch under your feet, I said. Running is great cross training for other sports and promotes life fitness. Further, it releases natural endorphins that make you feel good. Despite these attractive reasons, he reminded me that there was still the pain.

Cross Country holds true to the motto, “No pain, no gain.” It’s difficult to build endurance. I remember pushing through painful cramps in my side, lungs that hurt from breathing cold air, spit that felt like Saran Wrap in my mouth, and legs that were so gassed that they wobbled. It would have been easier to walk, and some runners on race day make that choice.

That’s why Paul’s metaphor of running a race in our passage is so powerful. He encourages his readers to “run with perseverance the race marked out” for them. Living a life of faith will require perservance, sometimes right when we want to give up or walk...

Continue reading about how running teaches us to 
persevere by faith here


Author's note: While Hebrews is traditionally attributed to Paul, as reflected in my devotion, its official authorship has been debated by Bible scholars.
Also, if you need a laugh as you persevere, I hope you watch Christian artist Matthew West's hilarious new single, "Quarantine Life!" Stay safe, everyone!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

A Prayer for When Your Efforts Are Feeling Wasted

I wrote this prayer before the COVID–19 crisis, but its sentiment is perhaps even more applicable today. I pray this meets you where you need it most, whether it's concerning a job, struggle at home, or personal issue. 

A Prayer for When Your Efforts Are Feeling Wasted

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come before You in weariness. I have been pressing forward with the best of intentions only to come up dry. I know that You are a God of abundance. I call upon that promise in prayer through the power of the Holy Spirit.

It’s difficult to be doing the right thing and see the wrong things happening. It’s exhausting to work so hard and experience little progress. It’s deflating to remain hopeful when there are continually reasons to doubt.

I understand what the Bible means when it encourages believers to fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Sometimes it feels like faith requires that kind of persistence. Encourage me through your word.

I remember the psalmist who had many enemies and felt mercilessly pushed to his limits. As he recorded his anger and laments, he also praised Your deliverance repeatedly. He observed how You fought for him and drew him close in relationship (Psalm 91). I call upon that same support now.

I remember Joseph in the Book of Genesis whose life was riddled with setbacks and delays. He was forcibly separated from his family and wrongfully imprisoned for years. You used those experiences to uniquely catapult him into a high position, however. Help me to remain faithful and believe that all things will work for my good too (Romans 8:28).

Continue in prayer with me. 
Plus, you'll find 11 affirmations to build your faith!


P.S. Did you catch Hope Rising this weekend? My family watched this Christian concert together. We laughed. We cried. We felt the arms of Jesus. THIS is resurrection power at work. Watch a concert replay on demand on Facebook! Let God inspire you with his HOPE.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

7 Affirmations to Live By in the COVID-19 Crisis

A rainbow picture from our front window right now

I wrote this article because I needed seven "mantras" to live by to help guide me. I want to return to these, which are biblically grounded, instead of the worry and fear that can sometimes swirl in my head and on the news. I hope you find them meaningful too. They're featured as a slideshow on iBelieve, allowing for each affirmation to be its own thought.

I marvel at the fact that although this time is challenging, somehow I am also achieving a better balance in many respects. I am cooking more by necessity, spending more time on the floor with the baby, and enjoying virtual yoga. Other things require juggling, however, like keeping the house clean and finding space to write in a louder house while growing into my new role of homeschool teacher.

As we as a family mediate the stress of the new, wrestle through pandemic fear, and negotiate boundaries while under one roof, it occurs to me that my children in particular are learning valuable life skills. In addition, practicing gratitude has never been more important. It's a powerful grounding force that can help us lock onto the good that's occurring right now and equip us to weather future storms.

I mention gratitude and other topics in my affirmations article here. Stay safe, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Holy Week Inspiration: An Easter Prayer and Devotion


If we're not careful, we can surround ourselves with a lot of negative voices right now. We might have the best of intentions. We turn on the news to stay informed. We empathize with people who are struggling. We observe how things are very different—even scary—from our unique perches in the world. This active discovery is only part one, however. Part two is God's answer of hope. 

We need to bathe ourselves in light. Just like closing our eyes and tilting our face toward the sun until our eyelids warm, we need to flood our soul with the warmth of God's presence. He has an answer to our confusion, worry, and pain. "Don't stay there," he invites us. Holy Week is a timely reminder of the always-present, never-stopping hope we have in Jesus. Here are two ways to drink in God's hope this Easter—the latter includes a sweet poem to share with your kids!

An Easter Meal Prayer to Pray with Your Family 
(Read the prayer here)
"You hear us when we think no one is listening, You act when we think there is nothing more than can be done, and you shower grace upon us when we feel most unworthy. These examples communicate your unconditional love and are proof that you are alive and active today..."

Devotion: High-Flying Easter Hope
(I penned this back in January—read the devotion here)
"I like using a swing to illustrate what resurrection power looks like to my children. A swing may go low, but inevitably it comes back up. That’s the power of faith. God promises that he will never leave us in our lows, including death—we have the firm hope of coming back up. Pumping our legs is equivalent to exercising our faith muscle. We get to participate in Christ’s mystery by believing and experiencing the exhilaration of the high he offers—life in the present and life eternal..."

Stay tuned next week for more inspiration! In the meantime, watch my recent show or read inspiration to stay strong amidst the pandemic.

Monday, April 6, 2020

WINNER!

I hope you had a lovely Palm Sunday yesterday! My family and I read together from the Jesus Storybook Bible for my children's Sunday school. It's been such a treasure to read from Sally's classic during this time at home, as adults love it too!

I chose the winner for Glenys Nellist's precious and *timely* new release, Little Mole Finds Hope, this morning. Congratulations to K. Culp of Montana! It gives me such joy to see all of the states represented by our registrants—thank you for taking the time to register, and for your loyal patronage and bonus entries! I like to keep a running list of winning states, so now they are: Montanta, Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Connecticut, Maine, New Jersey, Texas, Indiana, Kansas, Illinois, South Carolina, Arizona, Utah, and California. Several states have had repeat winners too!

Stay tuned on Wednesday here for special Holy Week inspiration. I'll be sharing my blessing to pray around your Easter table and Holy Week devotion, both through iBelieve.com. I can't wait for you to read them!

TODAY Video Clip