Devotions (Page 5)

The Habit of Fasting

Lent, the season leading up to Easter, is a popular time to fast. We don’t call it that, but people make pledges to give up something for lent. It might be something small like chocolate or sugared drinks. It might be an action like not saying a certain phrase or doing some poor habit anymore. The idea is to give up some sort of “bad” practice to become a better person or a better Christ-follower. The hope is that after…

The Habit of Meditation

Do you ever find yourself being pulled from task to task in rapid succession? I have days like that and it always feels like I wasn’t able to get much accomplished. My time and attention is so divided that I don’t feel like I make much progress on any one item. Focusing on a larger quantity of tasks superficially over one or two tasks in great detail produces different results. The same is true about reading the Bible. Sometimes I…

Women of Faith

Becoming a parent changed everything in my life. I remember the moment I found out we were having a child. We were at a restaurant and I sat down at the table living in one reality, but left in another. Everything changed in the blink of an eye with a few simple words. Mary had one of those moments, but it didn’t come from a pregnancy test or doctor’s visit. Rather, the angel Gabriel appeared to her and brought the…

Confident Salvation

This weekend we are celebrating our confirmation students as they stand and confess their faith in Jesus. Confirmation is a 2-year experience where students learn about Jesus and what it means to walk with Him every day of their lives. For most, it is the end of a journey that began with their baptism as babies. This weekend, our young people will stand before the congregation and confirm the faith that was spoken on their behalf in baptism. Jesus claimed…

Confident Defender

If you’ve ever watched a courtroom drama, you’ve heard these words before: “You have the right to an attorney. If you can’t afford one, one will be appointed for you.” This is one of the things that makes our legal system great. If you are facing a charge that could result in jail time or worse, you’re guaranteed an advocate who will defend you. Of course, if you can afford an attorney, you’ll more than likely be able to increase…

Roadside Welcome

Our kids love going to parades. We plop our chairs on the side of the road and patiently (OK, not always patiently…) wait for the parade to start. Bags are at the ready in case anyone is throwing candy or passing out goodies. Pretty soon, you hear the first sounds of the parade coming our way. One of the highlights of the parade is when the military men and women head past us. Everyone stands to cheer and clap in…

Waiting for Figs

September 20, 2014 was not an easy day for me. I was going on six months since being diagnosed with clinical anxiety, and I’d been struggling especially with social anxiety. Over the summer I had a panic attack at a conference dinner that I attended with my husband and several of his colleagues. I spent most of that evening in the bathroom, breathing deeply and trying to figure out who I could talk to without having to make a sudden…

Elevator Speech

When I was seven years old, I lived in an apartment building with fifteen floors. I used to spend hours on the elevator, talking to whoever came in. I’d greet them and take the few minutes before their stop to learn their name and what they had done that day. Then I’d tell them whatever was on my mind, say goodbye, and see where the elevator summoned me next. Now, let’s just get the elephant out of the room and…

Roadside Repentance

It’s interesting to me that people in the Bible are often surprised by who Jesus chooses to associate with. It’s usually the self-righteous, the ones who would be considered “good” or “holy” by the standards they themselves have created. They see Jesus choose “sinners” over them and immediately criticize Him for it. One such instance comes from our Gospel reading this week. Jesus is passing through town when a known sinner becomes His focus. Zacchaeus was an awful man—everyone in…

Gerbers, Gushing, and God

We recently had to replace a very old toilet in our home. When the plumber, Trent, reviewed my options for which new models to choose from, he was non-committal. “This one’s okay; this one’s pretty good, except the neck can cause problems; this one has a fancy handle if you like that.” Then he came to a toilet called the Gerber Viper. Trent’s whole countenance shifted, and his face lit up. “This toilet is amazing. The design is as close…