Hello Thursday Morning Devotion

Hello, Thursday Morning! We’re a little soggy over this way. How about you?

It’s summertime, and for many of us, that means VACATION! Later today, I’m headed to the Kentucky Christian Writers Conference. I am honored to be a part of the planning committee, so I know this is going to be a great one.

For me, one of the high points will be time to visit with a couple of my favorite devotional writers, Harriet Michael and Shirley Crowder. I hope you enjoy today’s devotional, written by Harriet.

    “I Can’t Do It!”

Read: Amos 7: 12- 15

“Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, ‘I am not a prophet, not the son of a prophet, for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore trees.” Amos 7:14 (NASB)

“Lord, I can’t do it!” Have you ever said this to God? What has He asked you to do that you think you cannot do? In this passage, God asked Amos to do something new; something Amos had never done before.

Every now and then a verse of scripture strikes me as a little bit humorous. This verse did that the first time I read it. In this verse, the prophet Amos tells Amaziah that he is not a prophet, nor the son of a prophet. Amos claims to be nothing more than a herdsman and a grower of sycamore trees. I think Amos’ comment is funny, perhaps because I can relate to it so well. How many times have I perceived God asking me to do something for Him, whether it was to go on a mission trip, write a devotional, or teach a Sunday school class, when I have told God, “But God, I am not a teacher or the daughter of a teacher…I am just a housewife and a grower of tomato bushes!”

May we learn to offer God a willingness to do what He has called us to do. May we trust that just like God made Amos into a great prophet, He will also equip us to do whatever He has asked of us. Let us be willing to do more than just taking care of our herds and tomato bushes.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, we know you are able to accomplish all that you desire, even through inexperienced and insecure people like us. Grant us willing hearts and capable hands to do your work. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Thought for the Day: Offer God a willing heart and you may be surprised at how He uses you! [Click to Tweet]

About the author: 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.

The Ties that Bind: Delilah

This post is what you would call “two birds, one stone.”

Hello, Thursday Morning readers! I have a treat for you today. I just finished reading Delilah, by Fay Lamb. It was delightful. This is book four, the final book in her “Ties that Bind” series. I’ve loved all the books in this series, and hate to say goodbye.

Delilah has been a lasting presence throughout this series. In the beginning, she was the character I loved to hate.  If she had walked off the face of the earth, or been eaten by an alligator, I would not have minded, except the stories may not have been so interesting. She did at least provide plenty of conflict.

The change in Delilah actually begins in book three, aptly entitled “Hope.” You don’t have to read Hope, or any of the other books, but I urge you to begin with Charisse and read your way to the end.

Delilah (the book) begins with conflict as she (a former judge) stands before a judge. In fact, this story keeps the conflict wire live, piling on enough to break Delilah. At times, I wondered if she could hold onto her newfound faith.

Isn’t that just like life? Everything’s going well, then along comes the tests and trials that strengthen our faith. They’ll make or break us. Delilah (the woman) was always a tough cookie, so I was hoping for the best. She didn’t disappoint.

Of course, Lamb added romance, complete with a dollop of steam and a near train wreck when little hateful sister arrives. Yes, more conflict. Nothing is going to be easy for Dee. Would you expect anything less for such an edgy character?

The Ties that Bind series offers an ensemble cast. You meet them in Charisse. You get to know them better in Libby. The friendship deepens in Hope, and matures by the end of Delilah. These ties are strong, which is a good thing, since they’ll be stretched to the limits by all that life throws at them in Delilah.

This is a story with a message of forgiveness and grace. Saying “I forgive you,” may be easy, but true forgiveness which is coupled with forgetfulness is difficult. You have to forget the past in order to truly forgive. You can’t keep rehearsing the sin or circumstance.

I loved the character arc that completes in this final episode, as Delilah learns to live among people without chewing their heads off.

So, why “two birds, one stone?” Well, I needed to review Delilah, and I also needed a blog post this week. Simple, right? Now I have both, and y’all have a possible list of four books to read while on vacation.


Delilah – Ties that Bind Book 4

Calling a truce with the man you love? What’s the fun in that?

Newly elected judge, John M. Turner, tries his best to call an end to his war with former Circuit Judge Delilah James, the woman he bested in the election by only a narrow margin. Delilah refuses to accept his flag of surrender. Worse yet, a vengeful assistant state attorney, the other candidate whose entry in the race actually handed the win to John, is seeking to have them both removed from the Florida Bar, and the game Delilah has forced upon him has given their enemy ammunition for his disbarment.

Delilah likes the give and take she shares with John. What fun is there in surrender? She wants to make amends but makes a mess of every attempt. Added to her foibles, life has become complicated: John’s teenage sister hates her, and Libby Carter has been arrested for battery on a police officer and has embroiled Delilah in the plight of the homeless. Her past has returned to haunt her, and if that’s not enough, she’s deep into the one experience in life she never thought would happen to her. She’s fallen in love.


Fay Lamb has always taken joy in forming words that tell stories that will enrich the lives of others. She tackles issues that she has had to face. She isn’t afraid of the hard issues and takes delight in weaving humor into the lives of her characters, even in the direst of circumstances.

Fay has contracted with Write Integrity Press for three series. The Amazing Grace series is complete and available as are the first three books, Charisse, Libby, and Hope, in her Ties that Bind contemporary romance series.

Fay loves teaching the art of fiction and has taught at several conferences over the last five years. She is currently the co-host of Publishing Laine, a monthly radio talk show on the Along Comes a Writer Network on BlogTalkRadio.com

Fay and her husband, Marc, reside in Titusville, Florida, where multi-generations of their families have lived. The legacy continues with their two married sons and six grandchildren.

A Morning on the Lake

Hello, Thursday Morning Readers! I love when friends stop in to visit. Will you join me in a cup of coffee? Hot tea?

It’s not quite summer (technically) but there is nothing so inspiring as a morning at the lake. Writing this, I’m sitting on a balcony overlooking Lake Cumberland in Eastern Kentucky. It’s early morning, so the only sounds I hear are birdcalls and the chatter of squirrels.

The view from our balcony at Lake Cumberland.

The big trees that line the cliff in front of me are alive with wildlife. I see constant movement among their branches. Early morning and evening, a single deer passes by, dropping from sight on a hidden trail down the face of the cliff. A sign warns, “Caution! 200 FT cliff. Supervise children at all times. No pets allowed in this area.” I guess that doesn’t apply to deer and raccoons. I saw both go over the side.

There’s another sign at the entrance to this State Park that says, “Watch for Resident Wildlife.” I have to ask you, are there non-resident wildlife? Should I watch for them, too?

Rainy morning at Lake Cumberland

We’ve enjoyed a couple of beautiful, relaxing days here. Turns out, relaxation is good for you. 🙂 The patter of rain on the metal roof early this morning eased my soul. It also cleared the air. It wasn’t enough to deter serious fishermen, though. They were out there, gliding close to the rocks, casting their lines and hopefully leaving with a great catch.

This lake is full of trout. We visited the fishery yesterday at Wolf Creek Dam. It was interesting to see the fish in various stages of life, preparing for release in the lake.

Sunrise on the water.

Well, the sun’s back out to lend sparkle to the ripples on the water. This deep, green lake beckons to me. I’m going to pack up my laptop and move on to the next destination. I hope your summer includes a respite, vacation, lazy weekend, or maybe even a full summer of fun.

All too soon, we’ll be back on a schedule. Bob & I made a lasting friendship with this lake, though. We will definitely return (God willing). Besides being less than three hours from home, it’s grand and glorious as lakes go. There’s so much to see and do, or not to do, if that’s what you desire.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. Let them inspire you to take some time to breathe and relax this summer. But watch out for resident wildlife and steep cliffs. 🙂Note: Lure Lodge at Lake Cumberland is clean and well staffed. There’s plenty of room for families to gather, games and a large, indoor pool. The restaurant affords a wonderful view of the lake. Their wait-staff is friendly, brimming with southern hospitality. They offer a buffet or a menu.

The State Dock below the lodge offers boats you can rent for the day or half a day. There’s a store where you can buy supplies, souvenirs, etc., and a restaurant and bar.

CLICK-TO-TWEET: Lake Cumberland in Kentucky is grand and glorious as lakes go. There’s so much to see and do or not to do, if that’s what you desire. #travel #Kentucky #ThursdayThoughts

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, InspiredPrompt.com and TheAddictionConnection.org.

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, Crosswalk.com, 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.