Snake on the Shelf

By Shirley Crowder

Read: Genesis 3:1-24

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

Genesis 3:13

Today we see Adam and Eve committing their first sin. Before this incident, they lived sinless lives in close communion with God. Now, for the very first time since God created man, God’s status, authority, and words were challenged, by the evil one and by Eve. The serpent was used as an instrument of the evil one to deceive Eve.

Genesis 3:12 tells of the first instance of blame-shifting when Adam tells God, ““The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.”” Then Eve blames the serpent. That sounds a lot like us, doesn’t it? We don’t want to take responsibility for the sin we commit.

In this exchange between Eve and the serpent, we see numerous places where Eve could have responded in a way that honored God. The sin committed by Adam and Eve was heinous and a willful act of disobedience to God that brought eternal separation from God since He cannot tolerate or condone sin.

Thankfully God gives us (Genesis 3:15) Hope with the first proclamation of the gospel and we learn throughout Scripture that the shed blood of Jesus Christ is the only way for our sin to be forgiven, the chasm between us and God to be closed, and our relationship to Him be restored. As we turn to Jesus in saving faith, death and sin no longer have a grip on us, we are set free!

Then in the garden, and now in our own lives, the evil one tempts us to doubt the truth of God’s Word. Our own sinful desires “Ooh, I want that,” woo us. The world tempts us to follow its ways, not God’s.

Some spot it instantly, others take a while to spot it, and some never spot it. What is it? A three-foot green rubber snake, with its red forked tongue sticking out of its mouth. It lives on a bookshelf in my office. It is coiled on top of some books with its head slithering down onto the books below. Those books are written specifically for women and deal with issues that women face. I have the snake there to remind me of how easily the serpent deceived and misled Eve and how easily Eve succumbed to that temptation and sinned.

Each time I see that snake I am reminded of how easily I am deceived and misled by the evil ones, my own sinful desires, and the temptations of the world. When I focus on the red forked tongue sticking out, I remember that my own words can mislead and tear down others.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You that through Jesus You provided a way for our sin to be forgiven. Help us not fall prey to the lies of the evil one, our own sinful desires, or the temptations of the world. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Prepare yourself and be ready at any moment to withstand the temptations that lure you into sin.

Shirley Crowder was born under a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. Okay! She was actually born in a mission guest house under the shade of a mango tree, but that doesn’t sound as exciting, does it?

Shirley is passionate about disciple-making, which is manifested in and through a myriad of ministry opportunities: biblical counseling, teaching Bible studies, writing, and music.

She is a biblical counselor and is commissioned by and serves on the national Advisory Team for The Addiction Connection. Several of her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden Times, and in Seek magazine. She also writes for Life Bible Study, Woman’s Missionary Union, and

She co-wrote the chapter, “Paul and Women in Ministry” in Paul the Counselor: Counseling and Disciple-Making as Modeled by the Apostle.

She wrote Study Guide on Prayer—A Companion to Prayer: It’s Not About You by Harriet E. Michael.

She co-wrote: Hope for New Beginnings, Glimpses of the Savior, Glimpses of Prayer, and Prayer Warrior Confessions.

She has a four-book devotional series, co-written with her Nigeria MK cousin Harriet E. Michael, that will be released over the next few years.

Shirley has spiritual children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren serving the Lord in various ministry and secular positions throughout the world.

Follow Shirley on: Blog, FacebookTwitterAmazon

Hello Thursday Morning Refresh

Introducing a new feature for Hello, Thursday Morning: Devotions. Every third Thursday, I’ll post a devotional from one of my devo-writing friends. Today’s post is written by my good friend and fellow Kentucky writer, Harriet E. Michael.

I hope you enjoy these posts and will be uplifted by the messages.


Pestering God

Read: Luke 18:1-7 

“You who call on the Lord give yourself no rest and give Him no rest…”

Isaiah 62:6b (NIV) 

“Oh please, Mommy! Oh please, oh please!”

I have said these words to my mother many times when I was a child. I used to pester my mother terribly if I wanted her to say yes to something. My mother would tell me to stop begging–she had heard me already and was considering my request. But it was hard for me to be quiet. Pleading for something I wanted was in my nature.

Some years ago, a child of mine was struggling greatly and I was extremely concerned. I prayed about it constantly because like when I was a child–it was just my nature to do so. I couldn’t let it go, my concern was so great. I found myself thinking, “I must be driving God crazy the way I used to drive my mom crazy when I pestered her about things.”

Then to my amazement and relief, I found this verse of scripture. God is not bothered by our constant prayers. How reassuring to know that not only is God not bothered by our pestering, he wants us to bring our concerns to Him over and over.

Today the situation I was so concerned about is resolved and my child is recovered. But of course, I’m still pestering God about other concerns. Now I smile when I do it and thank Him for letting me talk about it yet again.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how patient you are. Thank you. Ease our burdens as we bring them to you in prayer and show us your answers even as we call on you again and again. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thought for the Day: It’s ok to pester God with your needs.

Click to Tweet: Pray without ceasing. “You who call on the Lord give yourself no rest and give Him no rest…” It’s ok to pester God with your needs. #ThursdayThought #ThursdayInspiration

Born in Nigeria, West Africa, as the daughter of missionaries, Harriet E. Michael is a writer, wife of nearly 40 years, mother of four, and grandmother of two.

She holds a BS in nursing from West Virginia University but has discovered her passion for writing. Since her first published article in 2010, she has now had hundreds of articles and devotions published.

Harriet is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Louisville Christian Writers. She is the author of several books, Prayer: It’s Not About You, a finalist in the 2011 Women of Faith book contest, published by PixNPens Publishing Company, The Whisper of the Palms published by Olivia Kimbrell Press, Glimpses of PrayerPrayer Warrior Confessions also published by PixNPens. She has more books slated to be released in the next few years.

She has authored over 200 stories, articles, and devotions which have appeared in publications by Focus on the Family, Lifeway, Standard Publishing, David C. Cook Co., Bethany House, American Life League,, Christian Communicator, The Salvation Army, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Judson Press, The Upper Room, Pentecostal Publishing House, Smyth and Helwys, and more.

She is also a Christian speaker who loves to talk to women’s groups about prayer or other topics. She also speaks at writers’ conferences on free-lance writing, or devotional writing.

The Truth Mothers Know

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone, once again reminding me of how quickly time passes.

Hello, Thursday Morning friends! Thanks for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed Mother’s Day weekend.

There is a truth that mothers know—one among many, of course. We learn wisdom over the years as we rear our children and help tend our grandchildren.

While going through the early years, time seems to move at a snail’s pace. These were the years when I felt as though the long days would never end. Mothers often get up early and stay up late, up all hours, trying to be the best possible mother.

In the natural passage of time, we graduate into moms of school-age children. While the nights settle a little, with the exception of nocturnal illnesses, we’ve now become shuttle-drivers. If we work full-time, we have to keep to a tight schedule to incorporate after-school activities, church activities, and sports. This level of mothering can be almost as rigorous as the early years.

Then one day, it ends.

We’re standing in a large room watching that child we raised graduate from high school. We’ve spent long hours agonizing over finances, helping our college-bound child decide on the best venue. Others of us will send that child off to boot camp for the next level of training. Either way, we say goodbye.

The truth is, those years that seemed so long as we were passing through them…aren’t. They’re very short in the long view. When we’re on the other side looking back, we can see that. I’m reminded of a poignant scene in one of my favorite stories, the British mini-series, “North and South.”

The scene is desolate. Everything is gray, and snow is falling. John Thornton is watching as the woman he desperately loves prepares to leave him. As she climbs into the coach, he mutters, “Look back. Look back at me.” But she doesn’t look. Her eyes are on the road ahead.

This is a difficult time for some of us, as parents of children who are joyfully moving on to the next level. They’re excited about what the future holds. We see empty rooms and quiet houses. Which can be a wondrous thing, depending on your perspective.

Image by <a href="">labsafeharbor</a> from <a href="">Pixabay</a>Whether it’s a road well traveled or not, is entirely up to us. Until it’s not. When we’ve reached our child’s late teen years, or maybe their early twenties, we realize just how much it’s not. At a point unrealized by me, the child I birthed and loved and raised, has taken over the reins.

I suppose that’s one of the deepest truths I’ve learned along the way. No matter how much I might want to help them avoid the potholes, they really want to do their own thing, even if it means making their own mistakes.

I’m standing on the stoop, watching as they pull away. “Look back,” I whisper, “look back at me.”

And they do, with waves and smiles. Then they turn toward their destination while I return to a quiet house. I’ve come to love and cherish the silence, but oh, how I’ve loved the chaos.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. —Proverbs 22: ESV

Click to Tweet: There is a truth that mothers know—one among many, of course. In the aftermath of Mother’s Day. #ThursdayThoughts via @batowens


“Please, sir, I want some more.” —Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

You know that moment when someone poses the question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never had the nerve? I remember the collective gasp of the roomful of orphans in this scene in Oliver Twist. No one had ever dared ask for a second helping. So, they waited with bated breath for what they all knew would come next.

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning readers!

Are you wondering where I’m headed with that opening? Me too! It all started with my need to finish a project for my publisher. When I wrote “The End,” and declared it “a wrap,” I hoped to put writing aside for a few weeks and get busy on some household chores. A little spring cleaning, painting, organizing. All those things waiting in the wings for me to tackle.

But sometimes work takes precedence. Already, the marketing needs to be done. Which means I have to continue writing things to get ready for the release of the book I so recently finished, while it’s fresh in my mind, and also because time has a way of sneaking up on you.

So, I’ve gone back to the land of Annabelle’s Ruth. Not that I mind. You know, I was already missing Annabelle, Connie, Alton, Tom, and Miss Lillian. They are like old friends. Or maybe like my cousins who live where Annabelle lives. Whenever I have time to visit, it’s like I never left.

Back to Oliver’s question, it was my publisher who asked for more. I was like the roomful of orphans, staring back at her, waiting for the inevitable explosion. But of course, it didn’t come. Not out loud, anyway. After a bit of thought, I realized, in this case, a little more was just the thing.  I’ll scrape the bottom of the pot and see what I can come up with. Sometimes, that’s the yummiest part.

Click to Tweet: You know that moment when someone poses the question you’ve always wanted to ask, but never had the nerve? #amwriting More

I trust you’re having a wonderful spring. If you’re a mom, I hope this Mother’s Day holds many blessings. I look forward to spending time with some of my family this weekend. And then, it’s back to the writing board. Maybe a dash more adventure is what is needed, rather than washing walls and scrubbing baseboards. Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for More!

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. —Luke 11:9 ESV

Thursday Thoughts

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! Here I go, thinking again!

Sometimes those moments come out of nowhere—blank ones with actual time to think. Oh, our brains are in constant motion, even when we sleep. But actual thinking is a process that takes time.

In my mind, I see this cute photo of Pooh Bear thumping his head with a stuffed paw and saying, “Think, think, think.” Yeah, my brain works that well, too.

I’m forever amazed at the capacity we have for thought and engagement. I am constantly bombarded by…well, stuff for lack of a better word. Yesterday, I completely forgot what week it is and set out on a shopping adventure. Big mistake!

Why? Well, it’s Derby Week in Louisville, Kentucky. There are a gazillion cars on the road and the sky is filled with private jets arriving hourly. Noise.

So, the actual shopping was a pleasure because it was still early enough that the stores were empty, but getting there and back again. Super stressful!

On another note, it’s May and the locust trees are blooming in my backyard. The air is filled with their sweet aroma. Locust trees are common in Kentucky. They’re actually invasive, tend to be quite tall and skinny. Not really all that attractive, except when they’re covered in Wisteria-like blooms.

And then the white rain begins as the bloom petals fall. It’s really enchanting.

Last night, I was privileged to sit in a Bible study being taught this week by a missionary from Spain. I’ve known Tom Cook and his wife, Beth, for many years. His words last night were simple, but profound as he taught us how to pray the will of God. When you pray, and you have total confidence that what you’re asking is God’s will, you can expect an answer.

I am blessed to have such a fine couple as dear friends. Thank you, Tom and Beth, for your continued service.

So, that’s what I’m thinking about this morning. Very low-key and keeping it simple. May your day be blessed with joy and peace!

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. 1 John 5:14-15 ESV