Do You Like Your Feet?

by Jackie Hayden

Forget about your imperfections and focus on what you do well: the peacock is famous for its beauty, despite its ugly feet.  ~Jonny Ox

Do you like your feet? Do you like the way your toes look or is a manicure necessary? How about your hair? Do you wish you had thicker hair, curly hair, or a better hair style? What about your body image? Are you happy with every area of your body? Your legs? Do your thighs touch? (OK, that might be too much information.) Do you wish you had someone else’s body?

Sometimes we forget that we were created to reflect God. Being unhappy with our bodies can be one of excuses we give to God. It matters what we think of ourselves; it can either discourage or encourage our ability to respond to God’s call on our lives. It can keep us from seeing His will.

How God wants to use us to replace the world’s discouragement, loneliness, and depression with hope! To invite people around us to lift their eyes to the one that has Created them in His Image.

“How beautiful are the feet of those that preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13-15 KJV). According to Ephesians 6:14, our feet are covered and prepared to bring us to share the gospel of Christ. Our feet are beautiful, because they carry us to those who need Jesus.

God Wants ALL of who we are. He wants us to reflect His image to the world.

We are daughters of the King. He plans to bestow rich blessings on me and you. Fortunately, His love for us is greater than our love for ourselves.

He already knows our hurts and the things that holds us back. He is waiting for us to lay these things on the table and give them over to Him. And while your calling may not look like mine, God has a definite purpose and a plan for you—plans that were in place before you were even born.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that we formed for me, when yet there was not of them. Psalm 139:13-16 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Jackie Hayden is a pastor’s wife who is new to devotional writing and speaking to women. She is a mom, Meme, and loves her Yorkies. God has been teaching her many life lessons over the years. So she chose to say Yes to God and trust Him to equip her for the call.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with a negative body image? How does that impact your ability to serve God?


God’s Spirit Makes Us Free

by Susie Crosby

For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  2 Corinthians 3:17 NLT

PROMISE KEYWORD free (adj): not restricted, obstructed, or impeded; no longer confined

If you have been to Disneyland, you might understand why it is called the “happiest place on earth.”

I’ve been dreaming about going back to the Magic Kingdom. My memories of happy Disney visits range from my first experience as a five-year-old all the way to our most recent trip with our college-aged sons. There are things I count on to feel the same every time: the rising anticipation as we step through the turnstiles, the upbeat music pumping through the speakers on Main Street, the cool air and echoing sounds of the rides, and the delicious warm smells of cinnamon-sugar churros and buttery popcorn wafting up from old-fashioned carts.

Change is also a constant at Disneyland, and that is part of the fun. New “lands” and attractions are added, old rides are renovated, and systems for organizing lines and managing crowds evolve with technology.

Some of us remember that Disney attraction tickets were sold in books in the early years, and rides were categorized by their popularity. Each book contained a few tickets for each type of ride. I remember my Mom trying to organize the tickets in the morning and making a careful plan to use the “E” tickets sparingly. Those were for the best rides–the ones we wanted to do the most. Once the tickets were gone, we were done for the day.

There was some stress that came along with this rationing, this limiting, this feeling of not enough. The worry about running out of “E” tickets loomed all day. What a HUGE difference it made when Disneyland did away with the ticket books and made all the rides available and unlimited to all who paid the one-time fee to enter the park. Such freedom!

Doesn’t this sound a little bit like what Jesus did for us?

Didn’t he do away with limiting laws so that we could approach him personally with repentant hearts instead of through burnt offerings and high priests? Didn’t he pay a one-time price for us to fully experience a grace and mercy-filled relationship with him? Didn’t he free us from the pressure of trying to earn his love and forgiveness?

I feel like I used to respond with a ticket-book mentality to God. The rules. My sins. His laws are so hard to follow. I only have a limited number of chances. What if I mess up too many times? What if use up all my good tickets?

Jesus replaced the old rules with a new way of experiencing God. He gave each one of us our own unique, fulfilling, adventurous relationship with our Creator and Savior. And he didn’t leave us to figure this out on our own. He graciously filled us with his Holy Spirit to guide us through this Kingdom life.

We will never run out of him.

Dear Jesus, Thank you for sending your Spirit to free us. Help us to live in response to your love, not to limits and laws that hold us hostage. You already paid the highest price, and you want us to richly experience your power and love. Thank you that life with you is infinitely better than the best day at Disneyland. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

susie crosby

About the author: Susie is a grateful mom of two (almost) grown boys who currently live and go to school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko. Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets. Connect with Susie at

Join the conversation: Can you let Jesus bring freedom today? Whatever is binding you up right now, ask his Spirit to surround and fill you. Reach out your hand and trust him to walk you through the gate, break down the bars, or wrestle you out of the grip of whatever is keeping you from experiencing an unlimited closeness to him. He wants to and he will.

The Fallen Tree

by Debb Hackett

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

It’s not often a sight stops me in my tracks so my mind can process, but a few weeks ago, while out hiking with my family, that’s exactly what happened.

We were in some woodland, known as Box Hill, in our little corner of Surrey, England. As we followed the trail that took us on a loop of the hilltop, offering us the best views of the lowlands, I spotted a tree that had toppled, leaving its hefty roots exposed to the world.

Surely such unveiling of the parts that kept the tree firmly connected to the group, fed, and nourished, allowing the tree to thrive and grow were now left exposed to the elements. And as you’d expect, the trunk looked hollow and forever desecrated.

I think many of us have felt like that. When parts of life have come crashing down. Be it health, relationships, work or other circumstances. The Bible tells us we will have trouble in this world, and encourages us to remember that Jesus has overcome the world. But down does that help the poor fallen tree?

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10 NIV).

After taking a moment to look at the tree, we walked a few steps further. The breath caught in my throat. A second trunk had somehow grown underneath the fallen body. This part reached for the sky, had branches with waxy green leaves. In essence, the picture of arboreal health and strength. Upon further inspection with my daughter, we realized that this was an offshoot from the original body of the tree. That was when the thought struck me. This is exactly like life in the Kingdom.

Because when we fall down, broken to the core, when we are felled by life, roots exposed to the world, when we are toppled by circumstance and our face are in the dirt, that isn’t the end.

In Christ, there is always a new beginning.

Lamentations 3 teaches us that His mercies are new every morning. Every morning. This mercy was won on the cross. So while life, and all its troubles might knock us down, but there is always a hand reaching down to help us to our feet. Whether we need to have a hard conversation or totally rebuild our lives, we are never alone through it all.

Scripture is burgeoning with God’s promise to never leave us. That’s where we find the strength to get up and grow in a new direction. And the beauty of it, friends, is that when we are weak, we are more likely to invite God to be strong. Then He is glorified by the outcome.

What area of brokenness can you trust the Lord with today?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Debb Hackett  has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives in England with her husband and children. She’s having lots of fun working on an inspirational contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass, or skiing. Also, if you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would be a win. She blogs at:

Join the conversation: Are you struggling with circumstances or inner turmoil? Please share so we can pray for you.

Walking in God’s Grace

by Marcia Clarke

Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the Lord says, O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful I will not be angry with you forever. Jeremiah 3:12 NLT

One of the greatest struggles of the heart is obedience. I recall a point in my life when I was making ungodly decisions. I didn’t take the time to check in or pray about anything I did. I simply move forward with my plans, and essentially lived in regret, because it never turned out as I’d hoped.

I recall studying for a degree in nursing when the Lord called me to teaching. Yes, I argued with God. But He relentlessly pursued me. Again, I refused to respond. Little did I know; God does not take no for an answer. But I began to face setbacks in way that I couldn’t imagine. As I turned back to Him, I finally fell to my knees and responded to the call.

The grace of God has given me new eyes to see my life from his perspective and not my own.

Looking further in the text on Jeremiah 3:16-18, my heart stirred at how God wanted his people to respond to him, to forget their old ways, and turn from the sins that beset them. He had great plans for them as a nation. He was just waiting until they acknowledged their sin and turned back to Him. “I will not look upon you with anger,” He assured them, “For I am gracious” (Jeremiah 3:12 NASB).

I have failed at responding to God’s command many times in my life. I have failed to let go of my old nature, old wounds of the past, and old mindset. It took some time for me to get it together and show up for what God want me to do. Like the Children of Israel, we can respond with a heart of disobedience towards God’s instruction. Yet even as we continue to sin against God and fail to respond to his command, God’s grace continues, and his mercy endures with us. God has a perfect plan for our lives, we simply must change our hearts and respond to his call.

What is your response to God’s command? Are you listening and responding to those whom he sends as messengers? God is gracious and reveals his will for our lives time and time again. He never gives up on us. He is forgiving and a God of second chances. His grace continues even when we disobey his command. He desires us to acknowledge our faithlessness and disobedience and respond to him. Whether it’s disobedience or sin, let us open our hearts to God’s grace toward us.

Father, we acknowledge that we are disobedient. We acknowledge that we walk in disobedience towards you. Change our hearts that we would return to you. Give us new eyes to see you clearly. We thank you for your amazing grace that continues in Jesus name amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Marcia Clarke writes daily encouragement for meditation and spiritual enrichment. Her greatest passion is helping people through difficult seasons by writing practical devotions at her daily blog, Today Is Sacred. She is the author of Journey to Abundance and her latest prayer book, Thirty Days of Grace.

Join the conversation: How have you responded to God’s call? Did you struggle to obey?

What Are You Meditating on?

by Christy Largent

It was 10:29pm, and I needed to turn off the light and go to sleep. Instead, I was mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, silently berating myself for what I hadn’t done that day, and what I was falling short on…again, as I watched all my “friends” who were doing so much more and being so much more successful than I.

When I finally turned off the phone and laid my head down on the pillow, I was so convicted.

I had to confess my sin of comparison, my lack of gratitude and my disobedience in filling my mind with thoughts and images that drew me further away from my Creator.

I’m not saying Instagram is evil. Please don’t misunderstand…

But what I did was not right.

Meditating on, that is “to focus your thoughts on, to reflect and ponder over” according to Merriam-Webster, is what I was actually doing that night as I flipped through Instagram. And as I mentioned, I wasn’t cheering them on, but instead was comparing myself to them and coming up short.

We have to be soooo careful with what we allow into our mind.

In Proverbs 4 we see a wise Father sharing truths for living.

“My (daughter,) be attentive to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Let them not escape from your sight; Keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, And healing to all their flesh.”    Proverbs 4:20-22 ESV

These verses convict me.

The Father is encouraging his child to pay attention to the truth.

To hear it be attentive and incline your ear.

To observe it let them not escape your sight.

To focus on it and meditate on it keep them within your heart.

And then to enjoy life and healing from that truth – they are life and healing

I’m convicted about what I’m focusing on. And what I’m filling my mind with especially before I go to sleep.

The latest science tells us how important sleep is to both our physical and mental health. When we sleep, our body repairs and does a kind of “reboot” as it sorts through everything from the day. This includes a brain adjustment as our thoughts and memories are sorted and catalogued and organized, so that it’s primed and ready to go the next day. (If you’ve ever had a bad night’s sleep, and you notice the next day you’re fuzzy and forgetful, then you’ve experienced what happens when our brain isn’t allowed to refresh correctly.)

This is why it’s even more important to fill our minds with truth before we go to sleep at night. We can set ourselves up for repair and renewal as we sleep by feeding God’s truth into our magnificent computer of a mind, so it can reformat as we sleep.

So tonight, I’ll be putting my phone aside and pulling out my Bible to do a “download” of the good stuff before I close my eyes. I do it to be attentive to His words…that the truth will be life and healing to me…so that I can be life and healing to others.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Christy Largent is a mindset and positivity expert who helps women find their own Opportunity Mindset, so that they can live their best for God’s glory. She is a professional speaker and author of the book 31 Positive Communication Skills for Women, and the host of the Podcasts Encouraging Words for Working Moms and Finding Your Opportunity Mindset w/ Christy Largent. Christy lives in Plano, TX with her husband and 2 teenagers. When she’s not playing chauffeur, she’s playing Pickleball. Visit to connect.

Join the conversation: How do you get your mind ready for bed?

Fallow Time

By Ronda Wells

“For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3 NASB

Along an Indiana highway, a large field hadn’t been planted for the second year in a row. We live in the heart of Midwest farm country, so a cornfield left to fallow for more than a year is unusual. This is done along with crop rotation to help soil recover its energy, like the exhausted mother of a newborn down for a much-needed nap.

The process of writing is similar. Long stretches of stillness occur. Why didn’t that publisher buy this devotional? Will I ever publish again? Where are you God? Should I even still be writing? Twenty years seems like a long time to wait for a contract.

We ask these questions about our lives, too. Periods and stages where things go awry and work against us. Job losses, health, family deaths, people who unexpectedly let us down. Divorces, aging parents, rebellious children. Bad economies. Wars. Sometimes all at once.

All these trials simply prepare us for what lies ahead.

A fallow field looks empty, except for random yellow mum-like weeds dotting its surface. The deep, ingrained patterns of planting remain though, not fully erased by the weather. We might think nothing is happening because the chemical restoration underneath is invisible. Minerals rise from deeper soil and leach to the surface. Organic matter, nitrogen, and carbon along with good bacteria replenish the moisture and fertility of the dirt.

Everything necessary to sustain new life appears.

King David alludes to this in his Twenty-third Psalm (NASB). “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides the still waters. He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  

Whatever you call it, we all need deliberate down time. Rest. Relaxation. Retreat. Time to think upon God and His word. Talk to Him in prayer.

Personally, I’m terrible at this. I’ve been on-the-go ever since I left the womb. I run around helping others, even at the cost of my own health, both mental and physical. After an entire night in the ER with my sick mom, you need me to teach that Bible study? Sure!

Since mostly retiring during the pandemic, I’ve had plenty of ponder time. For two years I became a virtual shut-in because of severe asthma and avoiding Covid. Slowly and surely, God worked on me, that fallow field. I started to see the deep patterns and meaning present along, but I’d been too busy to notice. All the skills, training and interests of my life fell into place.

If you’re in the throes of a busy life, I urge you to not fear what lies ahead. Add deliberate periods of recovery when time allows. Learn to recognize illness and injuries as something God will use, if He must, to literally ground you and get your full attention.

If you’re in fallow time, know that God is at work, preparing you for His plan. And when you reach that point, like a fallow field plowed for planting, you will be fully equipped and ready to burst forth with His goodness.

 “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness. Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the Author: Doctor by day, writer by night, Dr. Ronda Wells is an award-winning author who has written inspirational fiction for over twenty-five years. She has helped numerous other Christian writers with creating authentic medical scenes for their books. A lifelong Hoosier, Ronda is a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Mooresville, Indiana, and loves to travel. She writes fiction and non-fiction stories that illustrate extraordinary faith among the conflicts of ordinary life. Her contemporary inspirational novel, Harvest of Hope, is currently under consideration with a publisher. Visit her website to read a bonus chapter at or connect with her via Linktree at

Join the conversation: Are you in a fallow time?

What Are You Building?  

 by Dana Peters-Colley

You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 NASB

Do you ever consider what God is doing in your life? It might seem like He’s not moving even a smidge. Or it might seem like your circumstances don’t line up with what you know inside you have been created to do. Whatever place you find yourself, it can seem like He’s not paying attention to you one tiny bit.

Yet, that’s not what Scripture says about you.

We were created for greatness. The problem is that God has different seasons and unique ways He wants to build us. He is so outside of the box, we may not believe there is a box, a design, a plan for our lives. But it’s just not true.

God told the Prophet Jeremiah he was known before he was in his mother’s womb. God was building days before man was created. He was specific when He placed Adam into the Garden of Eden. He was detailed with each creature and allowed man to name them. God wants to co-build with us, and it’s confirmed in Scripture when we are called out as co-laborers with Christ. With God’s anointing, the definition of Christ, we can build quite well.

A big part of becoming a builder is learning how to listen. We learn to listen for the leading of God. We experience the remarkable Spirit inside us. We fine tune ourselves to discern and follow His direction.

Recently, I felt like I was off. Do you know that feeling? It’s like your train has toppled off the tracks. You make a lot of effort, but there’s no forward motion. Just spinning your wheels. In was there, sprawled out in nowhere land, I sought the Lord and inquired what was wrong. A few days passed. Then, I sensed answers. You see, God is building something with each of us. But we must be rightly fit to build.

In my situation, I had my priorities wrong. What I felt the Lord speak was that God was first. Then, my family. Then, all of the other things I do: writing, painting, illustrations, my work, my pleasures. By shifting my life around, I experienced wonderful peace. I had to lay down commitments, not jump at every offer that came my way. I reprioritized my life and everything fit. I felt like a piano finally in tune. The sound of my life became beautiful. I laughed more. My family came for visits. I served my husband better. Building.

With things back on track, I began to hear the voice of the Lord. I entertained joy – even though I have been through the roughest season of my life with extreme warfare over my family – it all began to fit together and flow. The rocks of doing it my way, the boulders of chasing my own things were out of the way. Life became filled with love again. I’m surrendered.

Yes, I still have plenty of things to work on. Yes, God is allowing me to go through hard things. But as I release them to Him and shift my focus where He wants it, I’m able to build.

Building. It’s important to God. You are important to God. Seeing where God has placed you and the season of your life and your situation – so you can build – is critical. See that He loves you and is pleased you are His child. Remember, you are being built for heaven and this world’s ways of building is not always God’s way. He created you. He is perfecting you. So, listen. And build my friend, build.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)

About the author: Dana Peters-Colley is a creative who loves Jesus. She has been tucked away developing a brand of Christian parable books, faith-based fiction, and inspirational books as well as screenplays. Dana holds a B.A. in journalism, studied screenwriting at U.C.L.A., and is a former long-time Disney creative leader and producer. When the Lord got ahold of Dana everything marvelously changed. She is developing a heavenly-inspired brand line that brings stories to build family, inspire discovery, and teach kingdom ways. See to connect to her spiritual blog and gaze at her adventures.

Do you have a friend you want to receive Jesus into their lives? Do you want to receive how much God loves and values you? Do you want to be empowered to do the impossible? Then, you have to know who you are! Treasure will take you into the realization of God’s love for you as you discover you are His treasure.

Join the conversation: How do you keep your focus on the Lord?

Don’t Fall for that Old Lie

By Kathy Howard

For by grace you have been saved, through faith and not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB

My paternal grandfather was a sharecropper, growing cotton in northwest Louisiana. My father worked in the fields with his father and older brothers. As young as four, Dad twisted the cotton from the bolls and dropped the white balls into the rough burlap bag slung across his small chest. Dad’s strong work ethic, which began in that cotton field, moved him to start his own business and successfully guide it for more than forty years.

Dad also instilled a similar attitude towards work in me and my brother. First, he assigned age-appropriate chores. I most disliked sweeping the pine straw off the pebbled driveway. Then, when we were old enough, Dad expected us to have summer jobs. We learned Dad’s lesson. If you want something, you work for it. Don’t expect things to just be handed to you.

Since the world widely operates on these same principles, some have a hard time grasping the truth that salvation is solely by faith in Jesus. In fact, this is one of the foundational biblical truths commonly rejected by “Christian” cults like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although they may initially proclaim salvation by grace through faith, when pressed they cite certain rules that must be followed or acts that must be accomplished in addition to Christ’s sacrifice in order to gain salvation.

Christians must never compromise on the vital truth that we cannot work to earn our salvation. Justification – right standing with God – is only possible by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death. This truth is necessary and non-negotiable. We cannot add anything to faith and call it biblical Christianity.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul used Abraham to show that salvation through faith is not just a New Testament concept. God declared Abraham “righteous” because he believed, not because of anything he had done (Romans 4:3). Even Abraham, whom God called His “friend” (Isaiah 41:8), experienced right standing with God through faith.

The patriarch’s good works and obedience – including circumcision- came after he believed God’s promises. God promised Abraham a son, his own heir. God showed Abraham the stars in the vast sky and promised that his descendants would be too many to count. “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6).

In this passage, the Greek word translated “believe” is the verb form of the noun translated as “faith.” By definition, belief in Christ is far more than mere intellectual assent to a collection of facts. According to Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, “to believe” means “to place confidence in, to trust.” Believing in Jesus means we depend and rely on Him to the degree that we will follow and obey Him.

True faith will produce obedience (Romans 1:5 and 16:26). Although Paul emphatically declared salvation by faith alone, he never minimized obedience. Good works, holy living, and faithful obedience to Christ naturally flow from true faith. But obedience is the result of salvation, not the cause.

This truth – salvation by grace through faith alone – makes salvation available to all. No matter how deep or shallow our unrighteousness. All need saving. No one deserves it. Not one can earn it. Only faith. Only Christ.

This post was adapted from Kathy’s upcoming devotional book “Deep Rooted: Growing through the Book of Romans.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. Kathy is the author of 12 books, including “Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith” and the “meaty” devotional series “Deep Rooted.” Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and one accidental dog. Find free discipleship resources at

Have you lost the wonder of your salvation? Maybe you’ve forgotten the abundant riches of God’s grace. The Gospel isn’t just a statement of faith. The Gospel of Jesus is the power of God for your life today. Recapture the awe of your life in Christ with Deep Rooted Romans. Like the rest of the Deep Rooted devotional series, the Romans volume uses the 4-R Bible study framework to help you learn how to interact with and respond to Scripture, not simply read it. These meaty, daily devotions will increase your hunger for God’s Word, encourage spiritual growth and stability, and lay the groundwork for a life-long, spiritually-healthy habit.

Join the Conversation: What does the idea of truth faith mean to you?

In a Dry and Thirsty Land

by Patti Richter

Drought. Some of us have never really seen one except for scenes in the world news and photos published by relief organizations. Drought, along with a heat wave (minus the breeze that usually comes with a wave) is life-threatening, especially to livestock and poor creatures of the field.

The burning heat and cracked, shriveled earth can make us feel forsaken, like those whom God remembers no more (Psalm 88:5). We may wonder if we’re off God’s radar.

We hear that drought is connected to global warming. If we believe in Mother Nature, we’ll perceive that she is troubled, bent out of shape over our excess.

Mother Nature was not prominent in past ages, when tornadoes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters were referred to as “acts of God” or “Divine Providence.” Maybe the gurus of the Modern Age decided it wasn’t good to ascribe destructive works to God, so that he went out of the picture altogether. Mother Nature is credited with all bad weather; she therefore receives the praise for beautiful days.

We must cast down the idol of Mother Nature. “The earth is the Lord’s,” to do with as he pleases (Psalm 24:1).  He is our God, for better or for worse, in green pastures and in drought.    

The natural elements respond to their Creator, and we can direct our concerns and fears to him. God spoke to his people saying, “If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit” (Leviticus 26:3, 4 ESV).

This does not negate mankind’s responsibility to tend to the earth, but we should not view ourselves as at the mercy of nature. Jesus said that our Father in heaven “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45 ESV). It likewise follows that too much heat and too little rain are shared conditions since sheep and goats dwell together in our world.

But during prolonged heat and drought, our bodies languish, and we may wonder if our region is a test site for Revelation 16, when the fourth angel will pour out his bowl of wrath—fire and scorching heat. The turned-up temperatures bring up the dross in us. We complain, and our better perspective droops. While the unjust might not repent, we may need to.

As a remedy, we can offer praise to God for water that still gushes from our faucets. We can thank him for electricity that provides air conditioning and ice cubes. And we can shout “hallelujah” over God’s reassuring promise:

While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease. Genesis 8:22 ESV

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at with more than four hundred published articles.

Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: Are you in a spiritual drought right now?

Spiritual Sluggishness

by Nancy Kay Grace

Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV

The heavy air and sweltering heat felt oppressive. When I stepped outside from the air-conditioned house, the summer heat and humidity fogged my glasses, blurring my vision. The heaviness of water vapor in the air even made it hard to breathe.

Temperatures over ninety degrees mixed with high humidity make us sluggish, quickly draining our energy since our bodies have to work harder to cool us down. Sweat does not evaporate when the air is saturated with moisture. As a result, we feel sticky and uncomfortable.

I once experienced spiritual mugginess from carrying a heart burden. I yearned for closeness to the Lord but felt distant from him.

Just as humidity affects us physically, sluggishness in our spirits affect our walk with the Lord. It drains our joy. Conflict, worry, unforgiveness, and bitterness sap our spirits. We feel sticky and uncomfortable in our relationships with others. We also become listless and stagnant in seeking the Lord.

How can we overcome the uncomfortable condition of spiritual sluggishness in our hearts? We need the fresh wind of the Lord to blow upon us.

Looking upward to God changes our perspective. Psalm 51:12 says, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me” (NIV). By looking up, we remember God’s great mercy and unfailing love for us, and that He knows the condition of our hearts, yet still loves us despite our waywardness.

Then, by looking inward, we can confess the sin that blurs our spiritual perception. The palmist David prayed, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin” (Psalm 51:1-2 NIV). God works to cleanse and change our heart as we become open to receive the grace of forgiveness.

Oh, how we need God’s forgiving love and grace! When we seek God through confession, He exchanges refreshing peace for our sticky spiritual sluggishness. God clears our vision so we can see our next steps to Him.

God re-energized my spirit after I looked upward and inward. His forgiveness brought a new perspective to my situation. My spirit felt lighter and joyful.

Do you struggle with spiritual sluggishness? Seek the Lord and embrace His forgiving love. He will once again restore the joy of salvation.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of peace in the face of turmoil. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God. As a cancer survivor, she writes about hope, perseverance, and God’s grace. For relaxation, Nancy enjoys hugs from grandchildren, playing worship songs on piano, hiking, and travel. Her website, blog, and GraceNotes newsletter sign-up are found at

Join the conversation: How have you overcome spiritual sluggishness?