Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, the scripture series

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

Numerous verses from God’s Word serve as reminders of His steadfast comfort. Rest in Him today and be reminded He is there for us no matter what we are going through, and He is there to comfort us in those challenging moments life tosses our way.

Before you go, check out these other posts on this blog:

12 verses to encourage the burdened heart

14 things for girls to consider before dating

the importance of respect

Movie Monday: Miss Potter

Posted in Growing in the Lord, making a difference

11 ways to be more gracious in 2023

It’s hard to believe how fast this year is going. Shouldn’t it still be Christmastime rather than already nearly the second week of May?

It wasn’t that long ago that we welcomed in a new year. And when a new year arrives, we make resolutions. Lose weight. Exercise more. Eat healthier. Stick to a budget. Declutter.

These are all excellent resolutions, but what if this year, we resolved to be more gracious? More giving? Less impatient? Not so quick to assume the worst in someone? Less inclined to make others feel they have to align with our standards if we’re going to like them.

Please don’t misunderstand me. It doesn’t mean compromising our faith and values or compromising on the things God calls sin. No, we must remain steadfast in those areas as the Bible is our only Truth Meter and everything must be measured to His Word. Some things will never be acceptable no matter how much culture wishes to makes them so (or wishes to make them the norm).

But what if we respectfully disagreed on matters that don’t contradict the Bible? Most of us are old enough to remember when we could have a civil conversation over differences of opinions.

These days, it seems people are angrier and less inclined to give others the benefit of the doubt. Less likely to show grace. Quicker to assume the worst of someone. Abruptly forgetting that it’s all right to agree to disagree, especially on trivial matters.

Having our own opinions isn’t wrong, as a matter of fact, it’s a good thing and a testament to the creativity of our Creator. He made us each different with different longings, different ideas, and different ways of seeing things. Wouldn’t it be a boring world if we all had the same thoughts on every topic? If we all had the same hopes and dreams?

What if starting now, we made it a goal to be more gracious? Here are 11 ways to do just that.

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt. We truly don’t know what is going on in the lives of others or the struggles they may face.
  • Offer a genuine smile. Smiling not only benefits others, but also, according to Benefits Bridge, benefits you by improving your mood, enhancing your immune system, and reducing blood pressure.
  • Offer ample appreciation and encouragement.
  • See a need and fill it.
  • Dedicate yourself to praying for others often, even your enemies. (Matthew 5:44).
  • Be generous with forgiveness. (Matthew 18:21-22)
  • Offer grace, especially when it’s undeserved.
  • Be humble and put others first.
  • Agree to disagree, and do so with respect.
  • Be honest.
  • And most importantly, tell someone about Jesus and make an eternal impact in their lives.

Other posts on this blog you may enjoy:

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

20 upbeat songs to encourage you

58 fun activities for kids of all ages

5 ways to be happier

5 ways to start your day off right

Movie Monday: Hailey Dean 3-film collection

what to stock up on this winter

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, Miscellanous how-to

6 ways to handle change

I recently posted a “never have I ever” meme on my Facebook page. The meme listed things that were from years past such as using a rotary phone, owning an encyclopedia, and accessing the internet through dial-up. For each thing that someone hadn’t done, they gave themselves a point. It was fun to read everyone’s comments.

In reality, technology has changed rapidly over the last couple of decades and especially in the past couple of years.

Our world has changed as well. The culture—the things that are now acceptable and mainstream—are vastly different than even a decade ago. There has been a decline in morality and people are moving further and further away from the Lord. We’ve changed how and where we conduct business, what we do with our spare time, and how we interact with others.

With so much change all around us, how can we handle it effectively?

Realize that change is inevitable.

Certain change can be good. Other changes can be a challenge and can take a toll on our health, both mental and physical. Whether good or bad, change is unavoidable.

Give yourself permission to be disappointed.

When we observe the continually-changing world, it’s easy to become discouraged. Give yourself permission to be disappointed, but don’t languish in that disappointment.

When my husband was the victim of a surgical blunder, it changed his life (and the lives of those who love him) forever. Understandably, he was devastated when the life he knew would be altered to a vast extent. He still struggles from time to time with knowing that there are many things he could once do, but no longer can.

But one thing I love about my husband is that he didn’t let this enormous change ruin his life. He gave it over to the Lord, forged ahead, and has learned to adjust.

Such a feat is not easy and requires constant prayer and the support of family and close friends.

Rely on others and give grace.

For most of us, 2020 will always be a year to remember, but probably not in a positive way. When we face any type of life-altering change, whether it affects us personally or indirectly, we need to seek support from family and friends.

An elderly man at the gym where I teach spinning and strength-training classes found himself at the crossroads of change recently. The gym has been undergoing a major overhaul. When I asked him if I could help him find something, he told me he’d been standing there for forty-five minutes looking for a specific machine that he used while it was in the former workout room. I assisted him in locating the machine, which was hidden among numerous others in the center aisle. He confided that he suffered from memory loss and that all of the changes were overwhelming to him. As such, he needed repeated information on how to use the machine several times. It’s important to give others grace in times of change.

And it’s also important to give ourselves grace. Change is tough. And at any given moment, several things can bombard us at once. We need to be kind to ourselves.

Guard your mind.

Want to know just how much the world is changing right before our eyes? Log on to social media, turn on the news, or read the paper and within seconds you’ll be reminded that we will never experience a perfect world here on earth. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the toxicity.

We must protect our minds and thoughts by limiting our exposure to the news. Yes, it is important to be informed so we can take action if need be, but it’s hazardous to our health, literally, to be engaged twenty-four seven with the negativity of this world. Thankfully, as Believers in Jesus Christ, this world is not our permanent home.

Keep your focus on Jesus.

When we spend time in God’s Word, commit ourselves to prayer, and view things from an eternal perspective, change is much easier to endure. I love the words from the beautiful hymn Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

And most importantly…Lean on the One who never changes.

In a rapidly changing world, it’s reassuring to remember that there is One who never changes. The Lord remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. He can be counted on and is always faithful. He will walk with us through change, whether the disturbing change of morals in our society, other changes both good and bad in the world around us, or changes in our own personal lives.

In light of that reassurance, we can endure anything that comes our way.

Other posts you may have missed

6 prayers to pray before you start your day

book news & giveaways

what are you thinking?

11 ways we become our culture

launch team opportunities

the top 10 blog posts of 2022

Posted in Growing in the Lord, Miscellanous how-to

5 character traits to cultivate

As an author, I spend a lot of time creating multi-faceted characters and giving them traits, both good and bad. In my latest book project, When Love Comes, I’ve been enhancing the main characters, Charlotte and Tobias. What are their good qualities? Bad qualities? How do they handle difficult challenges sure to come their way? What character traits do they need to cultivate?

Deep in the trenches of writing this next book, I began to ponder what would be some of the most important character traits we should cultivate?

Below are five.


Perhaps one of the most difficult character traits to exercise is consistent gratitude for both the large and the small blessings in our lives. One idea is to keep a “Gratitude Journal,” which causes us to be deliberate in pausing to take a moment to thank God for the many things we oftentimes take for granted.

Putting a different perspective on things reminds us just how blessed we are and Who the Author of those blessings is. For instance, we may complain about the sink full of dirty dishes, but having dirty dishes means we had food to eat. While laundry won’t win the top chore award, if we have a hamper full of dirty socks, shirts, and pants, that means we had clothes to wear. While I love all four seasons, our winters here are long. But without the plentiful snow the season brings, we would experience a drought when summer arrives. And while cleaning toilets is my least favorite thing in the world (and I’ll humbly admit I’m prone to grumbling about it), I’m grateful to have indoor plumbing. As with all chores, I’m thankful I have hands that function to undertake the tasks.

Of course, we remember to thank the Lord for the big and important things, such as our family, friends, health, and the most important, our salvation, and what He did for us on the Cross. But do we cultivate a spirit of gratitude and exhibit thankfulness for the “smaller” things? Things such as:

  • The Bible on our nightstand we can freely read without threat of imprisonment.
  • The blessing of being able to gather at our church and fellowship with other Believers.
  • The ability to see the snow-capped mountains.
  • To be able to hear our child’s sweet voice.
  • The hug we receive from our spouse when we both arrive home at the end of the day.

  • A job that allows us to be able to provide for our family.
  • A roof over our head to protect us from the weather and the outside world.
  • A car that takes us daily to our destination (and has a heater in winter and an air conditioner in the summer).

Psalm 136:1 reminds us to Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.


Perhaps a cousin to gratitude is contentment. Are we content with what we have? Or are we constantly wanting more, constantly looking around the corner in anticipation for the next great thing? Are we content with the life the Lord has given us?

I invite you to join me in a challenge to pare down our complaining and focus on contentment so we might work up to going a full day without complaint.


We unfortunately live in a time where people show less compassion than ever for each other. We’ve become jaded in so many ways, so much so that tragedies don’t affect us as much as they once did.

We serve a compassionate Lord, and to be more like Him, we need to cultivate sympathy, understanding, and tenderness to others. One of the things we started as a habit when our daughters were little was to pray every time we heard sirens. We pray for the person in need of healing, guidance for the doctors’ hands, and for the ambulance drivers/pilots who will be delivering the injured and sick to the hospital.

Here are some ways to cultivate compassion:

  • Pray when you drive by hospitals and medical clinics for the sick ones seeking treatment and the diagnoses they may receive.
  • Offer to visit a shut-in.
  • Send an encouraging note to someone in need of an uplifting word.
  • Pray with someone in need of prayer. So often we say we will pray for someone, which is wonderful, but why don’t we also cultivate compassion by praying with them.
  • Be patient with those who have mobility, sight, or health issues, and for those who aren’t as adept at things that come easily to us. My oldest daughter works with people who have Parkinson’s, M.S., and paraplegia. I am continually impressed by the compassion the Lord has placed in her heart for them.

My book has other suggestions for making a difference in the lives of others.

As we seek to follow the example of Christ, we should cultivate a heart of compassion.


One of the seven deadly sins in the Bible is pride (Proverbs 6:16-19). The opposite of pride is humility. Only when we cultivate a spirit of humility can we then truly put others before ourselves. And what better example of humility to follow then our Lord Jesus who humbly took our sins upon Him when He went to the Cross?


We’ve all met a dishonest person, and if if we’re honest, we can think of times in our own lives when we have not been forthright. Let us seek to be people of integrity where no one ever doubts our words because those words have always been truthful and sincere.

While not an easy task to cultivate gratitude, contentment, compassion, humility, and honesty, with the Lord’s help, we can grow in each of these areas a little more each day.

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord

He is Risen!

Today we celebrate Easter…the day that Jesus Christ rose from the grave and gave us hope. Hope for eternal life spent with our Lord forever.

After Jesus was crucified, thankfully, He did not stay dead. He rose again and is alive!

This world is but a pit stop, a blink of an eye, as we journey through on our way to an eternity spent with Him.

As I contemplate what He did for me—the sacrifice He made, my sins He took upon Himself, I am beyond humbled. Thank You, Jesus, for what You did for me. While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me (Romans 5:8). May I humbly remember Your sacrifice every day of the year, not just the one day marked on the calendar.

Do you know Jesus and the hope His death and resurrection brings?

From our family to yours, Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord

It’s Friday, but Sunday is Coming

Usually writing comes fairly easily to me. But on this Good Friday, I’m struggling to find the words that can adequately express my gratitude to my Savior. A Savior who was severely beaten and brutally killed for my sins and the sins of all mankind.

I’ve always been a moral person and, in the eyes of the world, a “good person”, but I’ve not always walked with the Lord, and I for sure haven’t always lived for Him. But at the end of the day, being a moral citizen isn’t something that will last for eternity. Being a “good person” will not get me into heaven.

That will come only by surrendering my life to and putting my full faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

On this day when we reflect on Jesus’ enormous sacrifice on our behalf, would you join me in thanking Him for this sacrifice? That He didn’t stay dead in the tomb, but rose again on that third day? For what He went through for us, with all the sins of everyone who has ever lived, past, present, and future, loaded upon His back. For not leaving us where we were—dead in our sins, hopeless individuals with no eternal future. For the second, third, fourth, and ten billionth chances. For His forgiveness, mercy, and grace, especially since we don’t deserve it.

May we dedicate our lives to living for Him and sharing the Good News of the Gospel—for sharing the hope that is within us that we will someday reside with Him for eternity. May we surrender fully to Him every detail of our lives, details small, large, and all those in between. May we reach out to those who need to know this life-changing message—the only message that matters in a world full of continual messages. May we strive, with His help, to become more like Him everyday and to mourn for those things that grieve Him. To make a difference in this short time we are given, not a difference for ourselves, but a difference in the lives of others for eternity.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. ~ John 3:16

Have a blessed Easter!

Posted in Growing in the Lord

6 prayers to pray before you start your day

Before we climb out of bed in the morning and tackle our sometimes lengthy to-do list, before we allow our minds to wander on the upcoming events of our day, the best way to begin our day is with the Lord. Here are six prayers to help us do exactly that.


Thank You, Lord, that each morning You see fit to give me another breath. Help me use this day wisely and without waste. Thank You that You are the giver of days. Help me rejoice in each and every day that you have made no matter what my circumstances.


Thank You, Lord, that your steadfast love never ceases and that your mercies never come to an end. Never can I exhaust the immeasurable love You have for me. Thank You that your mercies are new each morning and that You are always faithful.


Today’s load might be heavy and the burdens many, but You, Lord, have it all under control. Help me not to be anxious for anything that comes my way. Guard my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus and help me to focus on things that are true and honorable. Help my thoughts to be pleasing to You.


Lord, it’s so easy to put myself first. To care only about my needs and my ambitions. Help me to do nothing with selfish motivation. Help me to put others first and to be caring and compassionate towards others.


Lord, please help me to walk worthy of the calling You have placed on my life. Help me be brave and bold in sharing the gift of eternal life that Your Son gives to those who have put their faith and trust in Him.


As I begin the next phase of my day, cover me with Your full armor that I may stand strong against the enemy. Remind me, Lord, that I live in this world, but not of it, and that nothing and no one can stand against You.

Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord, the importance series

the importance of avoiding false teaching

Years ago when our daughters were toddlers, my husband Lon and I took them to the park for a free special event. We arrived early and while the event’s coordinators were setting up bouncy houses and other kid-friendly stations, we milled around the extensive local park. Seeing that they had already started the barbecue with hot dogs, chips, and pop, we stood in line and waited our turn.

When we arrived at the front of the line, one of the men grilling the hot dogs mentioned that he didn’t realize we worked for such-and-such company. Lon and I looked at each other before I asked, “such-and-such company?”

“Yes,” the man said. “This is a private employee picnic for those who work at the company.”

Lon and I quickly escaped the line, our faces red with embarrassment, as we apologized to our disappointed little girls.

Sometimes things are not obvious. It wasn’t obvious to us that day that this was a private picnic, plopped in the middle of the area where the free special event would take place.

And so it is with false teaching. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern when it is plopped in the center of an otherwise Biblical-sounding sermon or podcast. Sometimes otherwise good teaching is interspersed with falsehoods or even heresy. That’s when we need to be on our guard the most.

So how do we spot false teaching and how can we avoid it?

By praying for discernment. There is no doubt that discernment can be difficult, which is why we should pray often that God would give us the wisdom to spot untruths. Some pastors and Bible teachers have a knack for being convincing or saying just enough good stuff to sound legit. Or their method of delivery is so passionate and persuasive that their audience can’t help but believe what they say.

By being in the Word often. We cannot filter the truth from the false without knowing what the Truth is. We can’t know what the Truth is if we never study it. Plan to not only open your Bible, but to study it. Read the commentary. Pray for guidance as you seek to understand.

By seeking godly wisdom from mentors. God has blessed me with three godly mentors in my life. They have spent countless hours discipling me, answering my questions, and guiding me through rough times. It’s important to have at least one trusted mentor who is a mature Christian.

A friend at church told me that he once heard that we all need someone discipling us who is more advanced in their Christian walk than we are, and that we ought to be discipling someone who is a newer Believer. I agree. Mentors can be found at church, in Bible studies, and can be family members, friends, or those with a ministry. One of my favorite things about our church’s Sunday school class is listening to the wisdom shared by several of the attendees —most of whom are mature Christians and are old enough to be at least my parents, if not my grandparents.

By holding everything to the Word of God. My daughters and I have discussed often that everyone has an opinion and that there are a gazillion ideas from all sorts of people in all sorts of media platforms. Pick up a book, turn on the TV, listen to a podcast, chat with a friend, hang out on social media…and you’ll discover a wide range of ideas and “true facts”. The only true Truth Meter we have is the Word of God. We need to hold everything up to it and see whether it aligns.

By becoming a researcher. No matter who is preaching, whether you are sitting in a pew on Sunday morning, listening to a podcast in the comfort of your living room, or watching a pastor on TV or online, take a minute to “fact check” them. A quick internet search can give you some insight as to what the teacher believes, what their statement of faith consists of, and possibly other information that can help you discern whether or not they are on the right track.

Some people will say that if the teaching is mostly good, then there’s nothing wrong if one or two things aren’t. I would respectfully disagree. For one, a little bit of falsity contaminates the entire message. Secondly, for the one leading the teaching, while some listeners might be more discerning that others, some will stumble. The Bible is clear about causing people to stumble.

Case in point: I recently listened to a sermon that was good. Yet, toward the end, the pastor highlighted a story from a popular website that is widely known for its unbiblical teaching. While there are some articles on this website that are “decent”, most of them are not (and I personally do not think it is a website for Bible-believing Christians to take their information from). So to quote this website could quite possibly have caused many in his listening audience to stumble. They may go to this website, trusting that it’s okay because the pastor mentioned a story from it. He may know that not all the stories on it are in alignment with God’s Word and can pick and choose with discernment, but to the average person listening to his sermon, this might not be the case. We have to be careful not to cause others to stumble.

False teaching can be difficult to pinpoint, but with prayer, using the Bible as the only Truth meter, doing some research, and by enlisting the help of godly mentors, we can learn to test everything and hold fast to what is good.

Before you go, check out these other blog posts:

how to build close bonds with your kids

15 scriptural reminders of God’s comfort

Book News & Giveaways

for such a time as this: finding stability in an unstable world

the importance of respectful disagreement

the importance of new beginnings

Movie Monday: The Legend of 5 Mile Cave

tasty gluten-free chicken pot pie

7 ingredients for creating the perfect character

Posted in Growing in the Lord, miscellaneous, miscellaneous how-to

what are you thinking?

I recently received an alert for one of my email addresses. Apparently, having 27,000+ emails triggered the warning indicating I would no longer be able to send or receive any emails unless I went on a deleting spree.

No, I’m not an email horder, but due to the busyness of life, I’d neglected this particular account I’ve had for the past 15+ years and one of many accounts I have for my writing, ministry, jobs, volunteer work, and personal use.

Before I could do a massive delete session, I had to differentiate between those emails I really needed to keep and those that desperately needed to be expunged (like all the advertisements for my favorite clothing store to the tune of 2,893 emails).

There were also a multitude of other less important emails crowding my inbox—useless gunk better directed to the junk mail folder.

As is with the multitude of emails we receive each day, at any given moment, numerous thoughts bombard our mind.

An interesting article on Healthline states, “The results of a 2020 study suggested people typically have more than 6,000 thoughts per day.” Further, upon conducting that study, they determined, “a median rate of about 6.5 thought transitions per minute. This rate appeared to remain fairly consistent over time.”

Roughly 6,000 thoughts a day is an incredible amount of things our brain contemplates and ponders. Some of those thoughts are wonderful and others sneak in without warning, attempting to sabotage our day. Some thoughts are needed, while others are intended to cause worry, fear, temptations, discouragement, or unkindness towards others.

We may not have complete control over what flitters through our minds, but we do have control over what we allow to stay there and manifest itself.

What does the Bible have to say about what we allow to permeate our minds?

Philippians 4:8 states, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Colossians 3:2 encourages us to set our minds on things above.

And Hebrews 12:2 reminds us to fix our eyes on Jesus.

What else can we do “junk” thoughts enter our minds?

We can…

  1. Be mindful of what we allow into our minds. What do we watch, read, and listen to? Who do we hang around? How are they influencing us? It’s a lot easier to be proactive and guard our minds than to remove what has filtered in.
  2. Pray for God to protect our thoughts.
  3. Dig into His Word and remain steadfast in learning more about Him.
  4. Focus our thoughts on Jesus.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of new beginnings

the importance of recognizing your influence

the top 10 blog posts of 2022

11 verses of hope

book news and giveaways

14 things for girls to consider before dating

launch team opportunities

Posted in Growing in the Lord, health and fitness, miscellaneous, miscellaneous how-to, Miscellanous how-to

5 ways to start your day off right

You wake in the morning and fling open the curtains to find another beautiful sunshine-filled day. Perhaps you reach for a cup of coffee or head to the shower before tending to your job as a wife, mom, dad, grandparent, young adult, teen, employee, or all of the above. Whatever your plans, be sure to do the following to start your day off right. Here are five ways to do just that.

*Spend time with God. Even before I open my eyes, I spend time in prayer thanking Him for giving me another day and praising Him that everyday His mercies are new. I ask Him to help me to be a blessing to others and then offer my prayer requests to Him. Immersing myself in His Word is my next plan of action.

Lamentations 3_22-23.png

*Spend time with your spouse and kids. My husband heads to work before 5:00 a.m. on weekdays, much earlier than I start my day. However, on the weekends, we spend some time together before embarking on our day.

As a mom, one of the things I do first thing during the week is to spend a few minutes one-on-one with each of my daughters.

*Drink a glass of water. According to the Livestrong website, “Here’s why you feel parched in the morning: ‘Sleep is dehydrative,” Breus says. ‘On average, people lose a liter of water during the night, depending on the humidity level in your bedroom and your breathing patterns—like if you sleep with your mouth open or closed.’ Since water transports oxygen to your muscles and brain, dehydration can lead to physical and mental grogginess. To replenish your cells and perk up, guzzle at least 16 ounces of H2O.”

There are several benefits of drinking water right after waking. And it’s a great way to start toward your daily hydration. I keep a bottled water on my nightstand for that very reason.

*Be sure to eat a healthy breakfast. On Monday mornings, I teach an early cycling class, so time is more crunched than the rest of the days of the week. However, being sure I get a good breakfast helps start the day off right and gives me energy for daily activities. WebMD has an excellent article detailing why breakfast is so important.

*Do some gentle stretches. Stretching relieves tension and prepares you for the day. It also helps with circulation. As one with a former ankle injury, I always integrate ankle rotations into my morning stretches as well. (Always check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program).

And if you need some fun music to get you going while you are doing stretches, check out Good Morning by Mandisa.

So embrace every morning and rejoice in the fact that each day is a gift!

Psalm 118 24.png