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.

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.

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="https://pixabay.com/users/labsafeharbor-5668409/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2418176">labsafeharbor</a> from <a href="https://pixabay.com/?utm_source=link-attribution&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=image&utm_content=2418176">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

The Promise of Easter

coffee, cup, laptop, memeHello, Thursday Morning! I hope you’re having a wonderful Holy Week. A time of remembrance and thankfulness. Sing Hosanna!

We are a joyful people at times, especially when we remember the sacrifice. And the ongoing sacrifices of those around us, who give of themselves on a daily basis to keep the message strong and vital. He is risen!

I’m looking forward to Sunday’s special service. But this is also a time of remembrance for me. I keep recalling my cousin’s sweet but silly telephone greeting, “Happy Easter Egg!” Whenever anyone called on Easter, he’d greet them in that way. This is his first Easter in Heaven, thus the reason for my reflections.

The joy of sacrifice. We’ve all been there, especially if you’re a mom or a spouse. Sometimes you’re called upon to give up something, like your leisure time, or that last cookie that had your name on it. Many of you give up something important for Lent. It’s a time to think and pray and remember the greatest sacrifice of all. The One who gave up everything but gained the greatest thing of all. Life everlasting, not only for himself, but for all who believed in Him.

So, Easter is a celebration, but it’s also a time for reflection. I hope it’s a reset for you, like when you reboot the computer or your phone. A renewal that will set the tone for the rest of your year and maybe the rest of your life.

In the final chapters of the last book in my Kinsman Redeemer series, Annabelle Cross gets a lesson in renewal and a second chance. She alone has the power to change her life going forward. In the book, she sings the beautiful hymn, Great is Thy Faithfulness. God never changes, His compassions never fail. His mercies are new every morning. And as Annabelle sings the final verse, something truly special happens. To find out what that is, you’ll have to read the book. 🙂

Pardon for sin
And a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer
And to guide
Strength for today
and bright hope for tomorrow
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside
Great is Thy faithfulness…

P.S.: As promised, a bit of exciting news! The final book in the Kinsman Redeemer series has a name! Yes, Annabelle’s Joy joins Annabelle’s Ruth, and Sutter’s Landing to complete the series. Expected release date is August, 2019.

Also, I am signing a contract with Write Integrity Press for another series. This one will be suspense. Tentative series title: Journey Home, Book 1 title, Illusion. Possible release date for Illusion is Fall, 2020.