Raising the White Flag

“Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? “Father, save me from this hour?” No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour.”  John 12: 27 I believed that God was leading me to write for publication. But soon after I finished the first leg of my journey, doubt and fear undermined my confidence. Attending college in my forties changed all my plans. But after spending five years in the academic world, I sensed God renewing my initial call to write for publication. So I signed up for my first Christian writers’ conference in New …

Claiming Your Promised Land

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Phil. 4: 7 As I compiled this devotional guide, other commitments and obligations kept getting in the way. Plus, I was exhausted. I had just completed my book, Words That Change Everything. And that process birthed more challenges than I’d like to admit. Also, my husband, Dan, had just retired. And I was ready for some REST and time off, too. Lord, I’ll never keep up with all my commitments! I thought of the story in Matthew where the Spirit led …

Searching for Truth

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”  Matt. 6: 33–34 I felt discouraged and depressed, but I didn’t know why. I just couldn’t get a grip on my emotions. I didn’t think I was angry, but I was impatient and irritable, with a sarcastic tone to every word I spoke. Lord, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. And I don’t know how to snap out of it. Please help …

Spending Time Alone

“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself” (Lam. 3: 28–29 The Message) I was hurt and felt sorry for myself. How could she say those mean thing about me? Were they true? Weren’t we friends? Yet she was devaluing our friendship for some reason. Should I lash back at her unkind words and defend myself? Instead, I retreated to a place where I could pray about her comments. I knew I shouldn’t say anything to anyone while angry, especially the one who had attacked my character and integrity. In the solitude, a still, small voice whispered, “Forgive.” …

Tuning Out Distractions

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you . . . Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”  (2 Chron. 20: 17 niv) Writing my first book initiated one of the most intense spiritual battles of my life. I worried about my family—especially my seven grandchildren. I had not been available for their needs with all my blogging, speaking, and writing. Guilty thoughts saturated me like a heavy rainstorm. And worry encompassed me like a …

Communicating with God

“And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.” (Mark 11: 25 The Message) I felt a roadblock in my communication with the Lord. I prayed about it, but I didn’t find inner peace or direction. My tattered red flags whipped in my emotional wind. I asked, When did this feeling of isolation begin? A conversation I had with my husband, Dan, the previous day started it. A difference of opinion grew into …

Navigating Your Negative Self-Talk

Navigating Your Negative Self-Talk and Overwhelming Anxiety “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa. 59: 19 kjv) Fearful thoughts escalated into a full-blown panic attack as I faced a crisis with my mother over a decade ago. As I waited for the doctors to diagnose her medical condition, I began to do some research of my own. And everywhere I turned, the facts were grim. I knew my mother was facing a battle for her life. And my emotional red flags were rippling high overhead. …

Speak God’s Truth to Your Soul

“Do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matt. 10: 19–20 niv) During my mother’s health crisis, I didn’t know what to say or do. Overwhelmed by fearful emotions, I tried to pray. I knew God’s miraculous intervention was Mother’s only hope. But I still felt helpless and afraid. And I panicked. Lord, I don’t know what to do? Help! I need you! Mother needs you! We all need you! …

Facing Your Fear, Doubt and Unbelief

“Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God—soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.” (Ps. 42: 5 The Message) When my husband sensed God’s call to move our family to a city we’d never even visited, I agreed to go because I believed it was the right thing to do. But it didn’t take long for my emotional connections to my past to deeply trouble me. I thought about the loved ones I had left behind. Looking back with regrets …

Discovering a New Prayer Strategy

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” (Phil. 4: 6–7 The Message) With my personal life on hold due to my mother’s disease, I didn’t know how to help her. I couldn’t even take care of my own family responsibilities four hundred miles away. Plus, I struggled to manage my other …

Focusing on God’s Presence

“I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence!” (Ps. 139:7 nlt) Do you sense you’ve lost your way in your spiritual journey? I walk through one door and find the next door padlocked. Yet, as I turn around, the door behind me has closed, too. I find myself plagued by indecision and doubt. How did I get here, Lord? When I finally get past my distress and ask this question, I’m reminded that the Lord promises to always be with me. In Matthew 28: 20, Jesus promised, “I’ll be with you as you …

Experiencing the Power of Praise

“Let us give thanks all the time to God through Jesus Christ. Our gift to Him is to give thanks. Our lips should always give thanks to His name.”  Heb. 13: 15 How can we praise God in the midst of a threatening storm? As I prayed for my mother and the circumstances surrounding her illness, I didn’t always “feel” like praising God. In fact, I wasn’t thankful during this difficult season at all—my family was desperate for a miracle. Lord, please help us! Jesus promised his followers that he would send an advocate to help them: “If you love …