Stuck Like Glue

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

We have three, geriatric, special needs dogs. Boone, our 12-year-old yellow lab, is deaf. Cooper, the 11-year-old chihuahua we inherited when my father-in-law passed away, is blind. And then there’s Remi, a 10-year-old rescue dog. Remi belonged to our son Mark. When Mark went away to college eight years ago, we kept him temporarily while he lived in the dorm. But then we refused to give back when he asked for him. Don’t tell anyone, but Remi is my favorite.

Remi is a mutt descended from mutts. We actually had his DNA tested. (Yes, we are “those kind of people.”) We wanted to know what all was in his genes, because he’s such a great dog. He’s super smart, energetic, affectionate, and athletic. For instance, he loves jumping in the air for a ball and doing twists and turns on the way down. In case you care, we did get some information from the DNA test. He is 12.5% Miniature Pinscher, 12.5% Chihuahua, 12.5% Poodle, 12.5% Pekinese, and 50% too much mutt to identify.

Remi’s been healthy until recently. A few weeks ago, he fell off a chair and hurt his back. The vet checked him out and assures us it’s all muscular. She put him on steroids and muscle relaxers and it helped. But this morning, he reinjured it.

He is clearly in pain and can’t get in a comfortable position. He’s been clinging to me or my husband constantly. He gingerly follows us around, sitting on our feet when we stop moving. He needs help and believes we can help him. So, he’s sticking to us like glue.

As I watched him lean on my husband, I remembered something I heard at a funeral a few years ago. The pastor encouraged the family to allow their grief to press them into God rather than let it push them away from Him. That has stuck with me. I pray this for others going through grief, loss, and pain. I pray it for myself.

Too often when we are hurting, we allow our pain to wedge in between us and God. We may wonder why He isn’t fixing things, what’s taking Him so long, or why He would allow us to suffer. But over and over in Scripture, we see encouragement to do just the opposite.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.”  Psalm 121:1-4, ESV

When trials, grief, or troubles hit, that’s the time to press in even closer. To cling to the One who loves us most. To stick like glue to our all-powerful, sovereign God. Even if He doesn’t change our circumstances, He promises to walk through the trials with us. To comfort, encourage, and strengthen us. To be closer than our very breath.

For you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:7-8, ESV

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Stuck Like Glue – thoughts on moving closer to God when life gets hard from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book, God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times, provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: Have you allowed grief or pain to come between you and the Lord?

 

The Case of Mistaken Location

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

It had been a busy and unusual year. A death in the family, the arrival of two grand babies, our son’s wedding, and my parents’ severe health struggles had kept me on the road. A lot.

One particular week included two trips back-to-back, with no going home in between. I went straight from my parents’ home in Louisiana, where we had been packing for their move to Tennessee, to my daughter’s home in Dallas to help with the baby while they unpacked after a recent move into a new home.

I had seen the house once before they moved in, but still needed to use Google Maps to find it again. I drove into the neighborhood and spotted what looked like their home on the next corner. As I turned onto the street in front of the house, Google announced “You have arrived at your destination!” Great!

As I parked on the street in front of the house I took note of the cars in the driveway. I didn’t recognize either of them, but since friends and family had been helping them move earlier in the day, I surmised they belonged to them.

Since I didn’t want to cause more work for them, I got all my stuff out of the car and up to the front porch. When I travel by car, I don’t travel lightly. I had a suitcase, a shoe bag, a snack bag, my rolling briefcase, and two king-sized pillows.

As I got the last of it on the porch, I knocked on the door and looked around. Although it looked just like the house I’d visited before, there were a few things that gave me pause – the potted plants, the door mat, and the multiple dogs that began barking at my knock.

Hmm. Could I possibly be at the wrong house? I texted Sarah. “Am I at the right house?”

Meanwhile, I heard a woman’s voice inside talking to the dogs, just inside the door. “Who’s out there guys?” It was not my daughter’s voice.

I envisioned the home owner looking through the peep hole. What did she see? Unknown middle-aged woman with baggage.

What should I do? What would she do?

About that time Sarah texted back. “No.”

My fear was confirmed. I was at the wrong house.

Okay. Well, I decided that when the woman opened the door, I would explain my mistake with a laugh and apologize.

But the woman didn’t open the door. She must have thought I looked too dangerous. Or crazy.

Either way, it was time for me to go. I wanted to run and not look back. But I needed all my baggage. And it took two trips to get it all back to the car. I wondered if the woman watched out the peep hole the whole time.

Sarah’s house was exactly one block to the south. Same corner. Same layout. But the residents were much more friendly. They even helped me haul in my bags.

I love how God works. In the midst of an overwhelming, chaotic time in my life, he used a case of mistaken location to give me a laugh and relieve some anxiety.

Is your life a little chaotic right now? God cares about your daily struggles, big and small. He will give you strength when you are weak and peace when troubles shakes your life. He is “the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions” (2 Corinthians 1:3b-4a, ESV). And He’s got a great sense of humor.

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The Case of Mistaken Location – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. Kathy, who has a Masters in Christian Education, is the author of eight books, including “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents.” She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Join the conversation: What comic relief has God given you recently?

A Father’s Good Gifts

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:13 ESV

When I was a girl, I took my parents’ provision for granted. I always had enough food to eat and nice, new clothes to wear. They provided me with a reliable used car when I began my last year of high school. They paid my college tuition and room and board. And although I did have to work for spending money and extras, in hindsight, I know Mom and Dad used that to teach me a valuable life lesson.

I didn’t know – and honestly may not have cared at the time – that Mom and Dad went without things they wanted in order to give to me. They even went above and beyond my basic needs to give me things I simply wanted. For instance, my mother didn’t buy clothes she needed so I could have a fancy prom dress. And my parents sacrificed years of vacations so I could get an education. It wasn’t until later – until I had children of my own – that I began to understand what my parents had done for me.

When Wayne and I started a family, we naturally began to make the same kinds of sacrifices my parents – and Wayne’s parents – had made. Date nights and dinners out dwindled. We set aside much of our own desires, and even some needs, in order to provide and bless our own children. We did it because we love our children. And it gave us joy to give to them. And now we get to see our own children love our grandchildren and sacrifice to provide for them.

Not all earthly parents properly care for their children. Far too many are neglected and abused. But most parents do treat their children with kindness and love. Most desire to abundantly provide for them. If that’s how we treat our children, even with all our sin and imperfections, how much more will our perfect heavenly Father respond to our petitions with kindness? How much more does He long to give us good gifts?

Jesus taught His disciples, and us, to pray to God as “Father” (Luke 11:1-4). If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have access to God because you are His child. On the basis of this relationship, you can boldly bring Him your every need. Every longing of your heart. Every hurt and grief and pain.

Yes, God knows our needs before we ask, but prayer is an expression of relationship. Through prayer we acknowledge our trust in the God who not only can provide for our needs, He also wants to provide abundantly.

God is a good, good Father and the giver of good, good gifts. Let us pray expectantly, trusting in God’s good provision.

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A Father’s Good Gifts – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book God is My Refuge: Twelve Weeks of Devotions and Scripture Memory for Troubled Times. It provides the direction women need to discover, understand, and tap into the ”ever-present help” that only God can give.

Join the conversation: How has our Heavenly Father provided for your needs in the past?

 

Rusty Mailboxes, Aching Bones, and the Overcomer

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? 1 John 5:4-5 ESV

My parents lived in the house where they raised my brother and me for almost 50 years. When we moved onto Dianne Street, I was eight and my brother was just five.

When my parents’ health severely declined, we moved them closer to my brother. But, during the last few years they have lived there, every time I make the four-hour drive to visit them, I am keenly aware of the passage of time and the toll this physical life takes on physical things.

For instance, once when I was there for a visit, I noticed the mailbox. I mean, I really took note of it. It’s the same mailbox they’d had for decades. The same one I mowed down with my mother’s Lincoln when I was a young driver. The post wedged under the car and Dad had a hard time getting it free. But even then, Dad didn’t replace the box; he just replaced the narrow iron post I had mangled with something a bit sturdier.

The day we moved my parents’ belongings, I studied that mailbox. It displayed the wounds of standing unprotected for decades at the end of the driveway in all kinds of weather. Although the numbers, 6413, still bravely cling to the side, rust dominated the exterior, and the lid didn’t quite close all the way.

Time has marked my parents as well. Joy and grief. Success and failure. Fullness and loss. Just like anyone who lives in this world for very long. Dad went to heaven late last year and Mom suffers with the last stages of Alzheimer’s. I miss my father; and though my mother is still here physically, we feel we lost her years ago.

Some days I wish I could change things. Or turn back the clock.

Yet God graciously reminds me that none of this takes Him by surprise. He well knows the effects this broken world has on His children. Sin has subjected this physical world and all that live on it to decay. We all groan inwardly while we eagerly wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises to His children (Romans 8:20-25).

We can replace rusty mailboxes with new ones, but they would soon rust again. The world would still get the last word.

But, praise God, the world does not get the last word in my parents’ lives. Or my life. The world does not have to have the last word in your life.

God gets the last word. The victory will be and is His, for everyone who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. His victory is our victory. We are overcomers! 

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Rusty Mailboxes, Aching Bones, and the Overcomer – @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight booksKathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagramor Pinterest

In 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, author and fellow caregiver Kathy Howard offers encouragement and wisdom on giving your parents the kind of care that pleases God, providing the honor and respect that will allow them to maintain their dignity.

Join the conversation: What challenges are you facing lately?

 

 

Sustaining Grace

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

 I woke in the middle of the night and the rawness of it all washed over me again. Our family faced a serious situation. I tried to fix it, but it seemed hopeless. I knew sleep would not come easily. I had no words left for prayer. I was prayed out.

Anxiety welled up and I reached for God. The Holy Spirit began to bring Scriptures to mind, so I began to “pray” them. Soon peace started to push out the anxiety until it was gone. Somewhere in the first chapter of 1 Peter I drifted off to sleep.

At the time, I was away from home staying with my oldest daughter. My grandson was just a few days old, and I was helping out. The next morning, Kelley reported on how Micah slept the night before. Then almost as an afterthought she added, “The second time I came back to bed, Jeremy asked me to pray with him. He felt strongly we should pray for you right then.”

“What time was that?” I asked.

“About 3:15, 3:20,” Kelley replied.

That was the same time I lay awake in bed with anxiety threatening to take over. I know because I had looked at my phone. God did not fix the situation like I’d hoped, but He was not idle. He saw my need and He cared. He poured out His grace through the heart of my son-in-law and gave me the peace and strength I needed to keep going.

Sometimes God intervenes in our trials in physical ways. He heals. He frees. He delivers. But not always. Often God works in far more miraculous ways. He pours out His grace to cover our soul needs.

The apostle Paul wrote about how he experienced God’s sustaining grace in the midst of his trials, after he had pleaded with God multiple times to remove his “thorn.”

“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.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV

Like this instance in Paul’s life, God may not change our difficult circumstances. But He will strengthen and sustain us with His grace.

God also used my experience to teach me more about Himself and His ways. First, this experience changed the way I respond to prompts by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prompted my son-in-law to pray. Jeremy obeyed and God answered His prayer by filling me with peace. Now, when the Spirit prompts me to pray for someone or urges me to call someone or send a card or give something specific, it’s because He wants to use me as a tool for His grace. I want to be a part of that!

Also, anytime I am tempted to think God doesn’t see my need or doesn’t care, the Spirit brings this moment to mind. And I know, God does see me. He knows my need. He does care. And He will graciously provide what I need in the midst of the trial.

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Sustaining Grace – thoughts on walking through the trials of life from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight booksKathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagramor Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When has someone’s obedience to the Holy Spirit blessed you?

Captured by His Holiness

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?   Exodus 15:11, NIV

The power of the ocean surprised me. I had heard stories of rogue waves, dangerous currents, and destructive tsunamis, but I had never experienced them. That was before the Pacific caught me in its pull.

Our family was vacationing on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. We rented boogie boards earlier in the day and I eagerly wanted to try mine out. When we hit the beach, I didn’t hesitate. I jumped right in and paddled out to catch the waves. Unfortunately, by the time I realized they were breaking too far out for boogie boarding, I was in over my head. So with my upper body on the small board, I began to kick my way back to the beach.

Despite my efforts I couldn’t make any progress. In fact, after several minutes of trying I was farther away from the beach and farther down the shoreline. The board was strapped to my wrist so I let it trail behind me and began to swim. I swam until I was exhausted and swallowing water, but I was even farther from shore.

Powerless against the riptide, all I could do was cling to the board and holler for help. My dear husband, who came quickly to my side atop his own boogie board, talked me through riding out the current. Soon we were safely on the beach.

That experience gave me new respect for the ocean. I had heard of its power, but without first-hand knowledge, I treated the water too casually. My new attitude does not prevent me from enjoying the ocean, but I approach it differently than I did before. The personal encounter with its power changed everything.

Likewise, intellectual assent to the holiness of God is not the same as personal experience. We can mentally agree to the truth that God is holy, but when we come face to face with His holiness we are forced to respond.

You can experience our holy God in a real way. For instance, God can reveal His holiness to you when you are enjoying a magnificent sunset or reading His Word and praying. Sometimes we simply don’t wait before Him long enough. We see His glory in nature or we read of His majesty in Scripture, pause long enough to say, “Wow,” then we’re off and running again. I’m guilty of that.

Let’s take time today to contemplate the glory and holiness of God. Ask Jesus to overwhelm you with His divinity, power, and holiness. Let His majesty envelop you like a bright cloud. Now sit, be still, and know. He alone is worthy of all our worship and praise!

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come… You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:8, 11 NIV

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Captured by His Holiness – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: Have you ever personally experienced the power of God?

Do You Hear the Song?

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

My friend Lisa longed to see Old Faithful ever since she studied the geyser in her sixth grade geography class. Artesian springs were abundant around her southeast Texas home, but their gently flowing waters could not satisfy her desire to witness the power of Yellowstone National Park’s most famous natural site.

Unfortunately, Lisa’s family did not have the resources for many vacations, so almost three decades passed before she stood on the viewing platform next to Old Faithful. Lisa, her husband, and their five children had started their trip at the northern end of the park. They enjoyed the hot springs, canyon, mud pots, and wild life. But she purposefully saved the geyser for last.

Lisa knew the geyser would be impressive, but the depth of her reaction surprised her. The eruption built until water and steam reached more than 150 feet into the air. The power of nature demonstrated by the Old Faithful geyser turned Lisa’s heart and mind to the power of its Creator. The holiness of God overwhelmed her as she witnessed His majesty revealed in His creation.

“All I could think of was the majesty of God; how holy and mighty beyond my imagination. He had created this spectacular display of power, yet it is minuscule compared to His power. I could stand safely on the viewing platform and witness the power of the geyser, but I knew I could never stand in the presence of God except by His grace through Christ. I worshiped God in that moment. He had given me a glimpse of His majesty.”

Have you heard the songs of praise?

Before the stars dotted the heavens and the waves crashed on the shore, God existed in all His holiness. Divine, perfect nature witnessed solely by the Triune God Himself. Then God spoke, and His majesty burst forth in visible wonder. He splashed His glory across the skies and spread His power in the ocean depths. Now all creation sings a clear, unbroken chorus of praise about the holiness of God.

Since the beginning of time, what has been made testifies to the unlimited power and worthiness of its Maker. Nature beckons us to seek God, bidding us turn our eyes and hearts to the Creator. It is beyond comprehension that this powerful, majestic, holy God desires us to know Him. And yet He does.

The psalmist David responded to God’s handiwork. As a shepherd, he spent many nights under the stars with the sheep, where creation’s song fostered his own praise:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Psalm 19:1-3, NIV

Creation reveals the power and majesty of God. No language difference or cultural barrier can hinder its message. No government or law can silence its voice. The complex beauty of the heavens and the earth reflect the holiness of God to every person, of every language, in every place. Without exception.

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Do You Hear the Song? – Thoughts on the Majesty of God from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When was the last time something in God’s creation filled you with awe and worship for its Creator?

Stuck Tight in a Turnstile

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

We all have them – those funny family stories. The stories, when retold, bring peals of laughter from everyone. Well, almost everyone. Sometimes one family member simply responds with an embarrassed chuckle. That’s the way it is with our daughter Sarah and the turnstile story.

It was the last week of summer and time to get ready for a new school year. Back then we lived in a small town about 25 miles outside Calgary, Alberta. The kind of shopping we needed to do required a trip to the city. So the three kids and I piled in the mini-van and headed off for a day in Calgary.

We had almost hit the city limits when the smallest voice from the backseat announced he had gotten into the van without any shoes. Mom made a quick decision. We would not return home; six-year-old Mark needed new shoes anyway. Our first stop would be the sports store not far into the city.

It didn’t take long to pick out a nice pair of sneakers and socks and get to the check out. While trying to explain to the checker why I was paying for an empty box, I heard a familiar scream close behind me. Sarah, our 9-year-old, had somehow managed to get herself caught in the turnstile at the store entrance.

I can’t even explain how she did it, because I didn’t see it happen. The best I can determine is she tried to push through the turnstile on the wrong side where it spun under a crossbar. When she discovered she couldn’t get through that way, she tried to back out, but instead wedged herself between the turning tripod and the stationary crossbar. Head and shoulders hung out one side and lower half out the other. (I know you’re probably thinking I’m a horrible mother, but honestly, I only took my eyes off her for a second.)

She wasn’t hurt, but she was mad. While she continued to scream, the rest of us couldn’t help but laugh – while trying to help her, of course. But she was stuck fast. Her release required the manager and a special turnstile key.

Have you ever been trapped with no hope for escape? Held in slavery and in need of salvation? Just like Sarah’s turnstile prison, we’ve all been caught fast in sin with no way to save ourselves.

Yet, while we were still held captive, God called us out of the bondage of sin and into the freedom of holiness. Loosed from sin, we are free to be bound to God with cords of love and righteousness. Free to embrace the holy life to which He calls us. Free to embrace the Holy One Himself.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.   Romans 6:22 NIV

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Stuck Tight in a Turnstile – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book, Embraced by Holiness. Have you longed for a deeper walk with God, but you seem to lack the intimacy you desire? This book is a focused, six-week study dealing with the biblical principles of holiness and includes life-changing opportunities to apply those principles to your life.

Join the conversation: Is there something still keeping you in bondage?

One Example that Proves God has a Sense of Humor

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

The lights went out. And when the lights go out in the country, it’s really dark. I had gotten into my pajamas, washed my face, and brushed my teeth, but I wasn’t quite ready to crawl into bed just yet.

I had only been back in my room at the Christian camp about ten minutes. It was the second night of a weekend ladies retreat where I was speaking to a church group about God’s extraordinary grace. That night I shared how we are to be grace-givers. God wants us to be channels of His grace to others, not merely receptacles. Great truth, but also challenging. Apparently God decided I needed some practice.

I managed to locate my cell phone then used its light to find the number for the front desk. Assuming the whole unit was down, I reported a power outage for the K Building. Instead, the desk clerk said my key had been turned in. So, as per their policy, they had shut off the power to my room. What??

In moments like these I can picture God sitting on the edge of His throne. The Father turns to the Son and says, “Let’s see if she paid attention to what she told those ladies tonight. This should be good.”

I tried to calmly assure her that I was still in the room – and would remain in the room – all night. She apologized and said they would get the power right back on. I thanked her then waited in the dark.

No power means no lights or air conditioning. It began to get stuffy. After all, it was mid-September in southeast Texas and the humidity was about 125%. I checked the time on my cell phone. Five minutes had passed. I decided I would wait five more and then call again.

Five minutes later, still in the dark, I picked up the phone and dialed the front desk. I could feel the battle inside me. This graceless girl wanted to say “Just how long does it take to flip a switch?!” But I had just boldly taught a room full of women from Ephesians 4:29:

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (NIV).

So, I began to pray that gracious words would flow. Although I could have done worse, I also could have done better. Even a hint of irritation is not very gracious. And I know how I was feeling inside even if the desk clerk didn’t.

Not long after the second call the power returned and I finished getting ready for bed. As I settled in, God and I had a little “post-game” chat. I really do love that He gives us opportunities to apply what He’s teaching us.

After the retreat session the next morning, I returned to my room to gather my things, make the check out time, and head home. I opened the door and flipped the switch. Yes, you guessed it. No power. Oh well, no problem. I opened the curtains to let in the sunlight and smiled.

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One Example that Proves God has a Sense of Humor – @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Find out more about how to treat others with grace in Kathy Howard’s Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing, Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Easters Past

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

Recently, I came across some old photos from long ago Easters. It was a bit like opening a time capsule. The black and white images captured me, my younger brother, and my parents as we looked on Easter Sunday. Circa 1960’s. Mom dressed me in frilly dresses, lacy socks, and patent leather shoes. In one photo, I even sport an Easter bonnet. In two, we posed in front of Dad’s Ford Fairlane. In the photos, my parents were about the age my grown children are now.

Memories  I hadn’t thought about in many years rushed to the surface. For instance, in a few of the pics, young Kathy held an elaborate Easter basket. Mom purchased that basket from a charity that operated in our home town. Adults, who had lost their sight, made elaborate baskets decorated with tulle, ribbon, and lace. Mom had taken me there and let me pick out the one I liked best. I loved that fancy basket!

Then I thought about the egg hunts at my maternal grandmother’s house. Aunts, uncles, and cousins from out-of-town gathered for the holiday. The highlight for the kids was always the Easter afternoon hunt in my grandmother’s backyard. Grandma didn’t hide eggs, she hid candy. And that was better! What kid really cares about boiled eggs anyway?

I even found a few Easter Sunday photos taken at our church. When I was young, our church always held a sunrise service on Easter with a pancake breakfast afterward. We sat in rows of cold, metal folding chairs in the small parking lot facing east. As the sun crept above the horizon we sang the old Easter hymns I still love. Songs with words like:

“Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph ‘or His foes. He arose a victor from the dark domain and He lives forever with His saints to reign. He arose… He arose… hallelujah, Christ arose!”

And…

“He lives! He lives! Christ Jesus lives today!”

Then, about the time I felt thoroughly frozen, we all moved to the warmth of the fellowship hall to feast on sausage and pancakes with plenty of butter and sweet syrup.

Times have really changed. I don’t see many Easter bonnets anymore. I don’t hear much about sunrise services. Some of our Easter traditions have changed, and we sing different songs. But the glorious truths we celebrate on Easter have not changed.

Jesus’ sacrifice is still the only one we need for our sins. Jesus still lives today. He is still Lord over all. He still reigns now and for all eternity.

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Remembering Easters Past – thoughts from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.   1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV

Let us celebrate these eternal truths this Easter.

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Find out more about how to treat others with grace in Kathy Howard’s Bible study Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing.Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Join the conversation: Do you have favorite memories of Easters past? Please share!