Baby, It’s Cold Outside! By Barb Witt

He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth,’ and to the rain shower, ‘Be a mighty downpour.’”(Job 37:6 NIV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

It was a very cold, snowy, wintery day. The school bus couldn’t make it up the hill to my house. So, I began the five-mile walk with a friend of mine. As we walked, the snow fell more heavily. My feet were frozen in my boots. I huddled deeper into my coat and pulled the hood  tighter around my head. Up and down the hills we trudged, the wind blowing the snow into our faces, causing noses to turn red. I didn’t think we were ever going to make it, but we did.

When we got to the school we peeled off our wet coats and boots and warmed ourselves by the radiators in the classroom. We had a feeling of triumph as we held our hands close to the warmth. We had made it to school, in spite of the snow and cold!

Isn’t it amazing that God created the different seasons and how they work together? The snow falls in the winter on the sleeping earth, soaking the ground so the trees and flowers will still receive the much-needed moisture. The rain falls softly in the fall and the winds blow the beautiful, multi-colored leaves off the trees so they can nestle in for their winter nap. In the spring there are gentle rains and breezes and warm sunshine to wake up all the sleeping vegetation so they can pop out their leaves and catch the life-giving rays of sunshine. And the summer is time for swimming and sunbathing and resting up for the fall harvest.

God has given us an amazing world. It works well. Our Creator-God certainly knew what He was doing when He put it all together. And I can’t wait to get to heaven and thank Him for being so very amazing.

And now we pray…

Lord, thank You for this earth. Thank You for the seasons, and yes, even the snow. We look around and everywhere we see the wonder of You, and we thank You from the bottom of our hearts for all You have done.

In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside! (© Barb Witt 9/17/2019)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

Whiter Than Snow by Catherine Hershberger

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalms 51:7 ESV)

When I lookout my breakfast nook window after a snow I see a snow-covered hillside garden. (pictured above) The scene always puts an old hymn into my mind—“Whiter Than Snow” (circa 1872). As I admire the snowy beauty, glad that I don’t have to get out in it, I find myself  humming the tune and marveling at its words.

If you aren’t familiar with the song, whose lyrics were written by James L. Nicholson, you can hear it on YouTube. Online,  I found six verses to this hymn, but my favorites verses are 1 and 6, and, of course, the chorus. These two verses, in my opinion, sum up a Christian’s assurance of heaven—our confession of faith in the Lord, our baptism, and God’s response to our surrender.

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul;

Break down every idol, cast out every foe—Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The blessing by faith, I receive from above; Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love;

My prayer has prevailed, and this moment I know, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow

Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow,
Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

The song’s inspiration was most likely Psalms 51:7: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (ESV)

As much as I love the beauty of a fresh snowfall, its glory will diminish as time goes by. Children will roll snowmen in the front yards, exposing the brown grass and mud beneath the snowflakes. Cars will splatter gray mush onto the pure white edges of the road. And eventually the sun will come out and melt away winter’s glory. The picture perfect moments that have drifted from the sky aren’t permanent. 

But when God washes us and makes us whiter than snow, that purity won’t fade as long as we are His.  In the book of Revelation, Jesus said, “..and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of Life.(Revelation 3:4-5 ESV)

I don’t know about you, but I take great comfort in knowing that my walk with the Lord has made my soul whiter than snow.

So, the next time a winter storm comes your way, remember this old hymn and celebrate the storm’s beauty—even if you have to shovel ten inches of snow. Because as the song says, The blood is applied, I am whiter than snow. Oh, glory! my soul is made perfect in love. And that’s something to celebrate.

Whiter Than Snow (© Catherine Hershberger 2/17/2020)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Fancy-Schmancy Walkers © by Barb Witt

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16 NASB)

Oh, how she hated this walker.

“Fancy-schmancy my foot,” Edna muttered as she scooted down the hall pushing her wheeled walker embellished with a seat and a horn. “I’d rather have my own two legs without any help. I hate getting older.” She continued to mutter as she headed to the cafeteria for breakfast and then to morning Bible Study with a group of her friends.

As she walked into the room for Bible Study, Edna waved at her friends Bonnie and Caroline. Edna looked around the room saw someone she hadn’t seen in quite a while. Josie had come to Bible Study. Oh, it was so nice to see her again. But Josie was in a wheelchair. And she had an oxygen tank attached to her chair. She seemed to be having trouble breathing.

When Josie turned, she lit up like a Christmas tree. She smiled the biggest smile and said, “Hello, my friend. I’m so happy to see you.”

Edna toddled over as fast as she could and gave her friend a hug. “Oh, Josie! What happened to you?” she asked with a tear in her eye.

“Well, you know, we’re all getting older, aren’t we?” Josie answered, a tear in her own eye.

“I hate it, don’t you?” Edna inquired.

“Well now, these bodies are frail. They only last so long. But my mind is clear and I’m here to praise my Lord above. If it weren’t for Him, I’d have no hope. I can fill my mind with His praises and He fills my heart and soul with amazing joy. So, no, I don’t mind getting older, because I know I’m that much closer to going to my eternal home, and I can’t wait. ” She smiled, and her eyes sparkled like Edna had never seen.

“I’ve never thought about it like that before,” Edna said, wrapping her mind around what Josie had said. “You’re right. This body is only temporary. My true home is in heaven.” Edna smiled as it finally sank in and she hugged her friend as tight as she dared and said, “Thank you, my friend, for opening my eyes to the truth. This world is not my home, I’m just passing through, as the old hymn says.” They sat together through the Bible Study and praised their Lord above with joy in their hearts.

And now we pray…

Dear Lord, thank You for the hope You give us. This world is truly not our home, our home is with You in Your kingdom. Help us get through this life as best we can and praise You along the way. Help us to spread Your hope to all we know. Thank you Lord, for everything.

In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

We’re a Team, Me and God by Catherine Hershberger

“You are my friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing…”  (John 15:14-15a ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

My husband and I often sing duets at our church. One of the songs we’ve sung was Josh Turner’s gospel song “Me and God.” You can click on the following link to hear Josh sing the song after the YouTube commercial. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGZV2Sr1sTg

The song is a fun sing, upbeat and catchy. The whole week we practiced, I was reminded daily that God and I are teammates. Sure, God could work here on earth without me, or you, but that’s not the way He wants things to be.  He wants to work with us.

  • He made us to be His friend and teammate: “You are my friends, if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing…”  (John 15:14-15a ESV)
  • He made us for good works: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”  (Ephesians 2:10 ESV)
  • He made us to do His will: “And the world is passing away, along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17 ESV)
  • And His strength complements our weaknesses: “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4: 13 ESV)

There’s a saying in our house: Work like everything depends on you and pray like everything depends on God.  It’s a great tenet that showcases teamwork with God, just like Josh Turner’s song. But sometimes I don’t work as if God and I are a team. I run ahead of Him. I lag behind Him, ignoring the Holy Spirit’s nudge. I forget to call on Him. And sometimes I just flat out say, “I’m not going to do that!”  

Perhaps you do the same thing. So, the next time life’s day-to-day challenges or hard-hitting trials come your way, remember the words to “Me and God.”  Take comfort in knowing the Lord who rules all is part of your team—the most important part that you’ll ever need.

We’re a Team, Me and God (© Catherine Hershberger 9/17/ 2018)

About the Author:

Catherine is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. She is also an award-winning author of sweet and inspirational romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle.  Many of her devotions have appeared on various places on the internet. You can find her books on her Amazon Author page or at Barnes and Noble.

Code Blue by Barb Witt

“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD,

who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)

photo courtesy of Pixabay

I was nineteen years old. I was in a new city. No friends. No family. I had just been hired on at a

local hospital. It was small but seemed large to my nervous eyes. I was a Nurse’s Aide assigned to the OB-GYN floor. I knew absolutely nothing about OB-GYN. But there I stood, being introduced to the RNs on the floor, my new bosses.

I said a little prayer, “Father, help me in this new place. Help me to learn and grow in this position. Help me find some friends and not feel so alone, please.”

I did learn and I loved my job.  I learned a lot. And I got to know people. Lucy was my favorite RN. She was from Cuba. She always had a ready smile. She taught me many things about more than just nursing. And she believed in my instincts.

One afternoon I had a patient brought back to her room from surgery. I was doing vitals, and one of the things we were to look for was patient response. She wasn’t responding the way I thought she should. I went to one of the nurses and explained, and she didn’t pay much attention to me, said I was over-reacting.

I knew something was wrong, and I said a little prayer, “God, please tell me what to do.”

So, I found Lucy. She went straight away to the patient’s room and the next thing I knew she had

pulled the “Code Blue” cord attached to the wall near the bed. The patient had stopped breathing.

Lucy trusted my instincts and acted on them, and the patient survived.

And so, when we find ourselves in a place where we know we need help, to whom do we turn?

“My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)

Tell Him when you’re not sure what to do. He will guide you. Tell Him when you’re afraid. He will send help. Tell Him when you’re lonely, He will send angels in the guise of friends to comfort you.

The Lord “who made the heavens and the earth” loves you with an unfathomable love, and He is there for you always.

And now we pray…

Father, we thank You for always being there. We sometimes find ourselves in situations where we don’t know what to do. And You are there to guide us, to comfort us, to love us. Thank You, Lord for everything.

In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

Code Blue (© Barb Witt 8/23/2019)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

God Has a Sense of Humor by Catherine Hershberger

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Proverbs 17:22 (ESV)

Have you ever noticed that God has a sense of humor? If you haven’t then all you need to do to see it is look around at nature. Consider these quirky creatures:

All photos © by C.Castle

Only someone with a sense of humor could create such funny looking creatures.

But God’s humor doesn’t just show in his creations. You can find examples of his humor in the Bible, too. Consider the donkey who spoke to Balaam after being struck three times because he would not move toward the angel of God that Balaam could not see. (Numbers 22:28) God chose a pretty unusual vehicle to use to address Balaam. Why didn’t he just make that angel visible to Balaam? Perhaps because it would have been a whole lot less interesting, and funny, if you ask any third-grader.

Or how about where Jonah ended up when he didn’t do what God asked. (Jonah 1:17) I mean putting a grown man in the belly of a whale, then causing the giant mammal to spit him out. You have to admit that’s got some humor in it. And when a petulant Jonah went to sulk after the Ninevehites repented, God made a giant plant bloom tall enough to shade Jonah from the sun. Then He sent a worm to kill the plant so it withered and died. (Jonah 4: 6) I can just see that plant blooming in time-lapse cartoon animation as Jonah sighs with relief when the shade hits him, then groans in despair as the plant withers around him. Yes, there was a lesson in both of those acts, but they both make pretty humorous stories.

And then there is the story of the Philistines capturing the Ark of the Covenant and placing it in their temple beside their god Dagon. (1 Samuel 5:1-5).) Not once, but twice, God laid Dagon on the floor, prostrate before the Ark of the Covenant.  The Philistines probably didn’t think it was too funny seeing their god on the floor in front of the Israelite’s Ark of the Covenant, but I bet the Israelites did when they heard the story. And the humor gets even better because the Philistines gave the Ark to other cities, which ended up with plagues being visited upon them. Once word got around about what had happened, the Philistines couldn’t pawn the Ark off on anyone. They ended up having to take it back to the Israelites with an offering of golden images of the plagues the Lord brought upon the various towns.  Another lesson, but one in which those watching from the outside see humor.

Proverbs 17:22 says, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

I don’t know about you, but I’d always prefer a good laugh and a joyful spirit over dried bones and a crushed spirit. That’s the thing about humor, no matter what your circumstances in life, if you can find something to laugh about, you’re always better off.

What about you? Have you laughed today?

God Has A Sense of Humor ( © Catherine Hershberger 9/13/2017)

About the Author:

Catherine Hershberger is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. Music, gardening, and writing are a few of her passions, all of which she shares with her husband.  She is also an author who writes sweet and Christian romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. You can find her award-winning books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon

A Coin in My Pocket by Barb Witt

“By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me—a prayer to the God of my life.”

(Psalm 42:8 NIV)

Linette put her hand in her pocket and clutched the coin she kept there. She traced the outline of the cross with her fingers. Her pastor had given her the coin. He told her it would remind her that Jesus was right there whenever she needed Him. And she needed Him now.

She had been standing in line for quite a while now, clutching the required paperwork as if it would jump out of her hand and run away. She peeked around the person in front of her. She was number five from the front of the line. She had just gotten her certification as a Nurse’s Aide, and the local hospital was hiring. Currently, she worked at an Assisted Living facility but wanted to broaden her experiences. She planned to go to a local Nursing School in the near future and wanted to get the feel of a hospital environment before she started her studies. This would give her good understanding of the ins and outs of patient care. She was particularly interested in surgery, and heard that there were a couple of spots in the O.R. to be filled that she qualified for.

Finally, she was next. She handed her paperwork to the lady behind the table and smiled. Her nametag read ‘Sara O’Malley, RN’.

Sara looked at Linette, smiled and glanced down at her paperwork. “I see you’d like to work in the O.R. We can use someone with a good, eager attitude in there. Think you can do it?”

“Well, I’ve never worked in the O.R. before, but I do work in an Assisted Living Facility now, so I have some experience. I am attending the local Nursing School in the fall, and I am very interested in surgery. I thought this would help me understand what I would be getting in to. But I’m willing to work anywhere I can be useful. I have so much to learn.” Linette’s eyes sparkled as she thought about her nursing future.

Sara noted that sparkle. She liked this young woman. “We’ll be contacting you in the next few days. You have a great afternoon now. It was very nice to meet you.”

Linette clutched the business card Sara had given her and smiled all the way home. When she walked in the door, she immediately went to her bedroom, knelt beside her bed, and prayed earnestly to the Lord of her life. “Father, thank You for being with me today. If this is where You want me to be, please open the door for me. You know how much I want to be a nurse, but I want to do what You want me to do, so if this is it, please let it happen.”

The next day, Linette received a phone call from Sara, offering her a position in the O.R. She accepted and made an appointment to go in and sign the paperwork and do Orientation. She was so excited she didn’t know what to do. So she bowed her head and prayed, “Thank You Father. I promise to do my very best and learn everything I can. Please walk beside me through this journey. I will most definitely need You with me all the way. Thank You again Lord. You’re the best.” She opened her eyes and jumped up. “I have to tell the pastor, oh and my mom, too.” She grabbed her jacket and ran out the door a song in her heart and a skip in her step, rubbing the coin she carried in her pocket.

And now, we pray…

Lord, through all the journeys and adventures in our lives, we need You. You are our guide and counsel in all things. Without You, we have nothing. Always walk beside us in everything.

In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!

A Coin in My Pocket (©Barb Witt 2/17/2020)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.

God and New Year Resolutions by Catherine Hershberger

A couple across the row from me was loading groceries into their vehicle in my local Kroger’s parking lot at 6 p.m. January 2nd and I heard this:

“Well, we’ve already broken our New Year’s resolution about pop and junk food.”

I glanced over in time to see the gentleman setting several cases of soda into the back seat. Their resolution lasted about 30 hours. I wouldn’t call that the fastest breaking time for a resolution, but it ranks close to the top.

This is one of the reasons I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I break them almost as fast as the couple at Krogers. Sure, I’d like to have the resolve to exercise daily, not eat anything bad for me—ever, clean the house weekly, empty the dishwasher as soon as it stops, do the laundry before it piles up as tall as me, save up a million dollars, clean out the closets and the medicine cabinets, lose weight until I’m back at my high school weight, give up chocolate, finish all those UFO crafts floating around in the basement, clean the old stuff out of the file drawers (some is so old the paper has yellowed.) My hubby wants me to turn it ALL into digital files. Like I can find the time to do that! If I listed all the things I needed to change or resolve to do in my everyday life, the list would go on forever.

It’s no wonder we break resolutions as fast as we can make them. The stuff we need and want to do can be overwhelming.

But is all that resolution stuff really important?

As I thought about this I wondered what God’s word has to tell us about resolutions. I know He wants me to be resolute in my faith, but does God care about how resolute I am in my everyday life? Does my list of New Year’s resolutions matter to him?

I dug into my Bible resources looking for an answer. Although I couldn’t find any direct commandments about New Year resolutions, I did come up with four interesting commandments about faith I think can be applied to New Year resolutions to make them more successful.

  • Following through on your resolutions requires preparation“Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:13 NIV)
  • To succeed you must get rid of obstacles. “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witness, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”( Hebrews 12:1 NIV)
  • You’ll only get back what you put into the job. “He who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” (2 Corinthians. 9:6 NIV)
  • Being resolute helps us grow stronger. “… the righteous will hold to their ways, and those with clean hands will grow stronger.” (Job 17:9 NIV)
  • Persistence pays off. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians  6:9 NIV)

I’m not certain God cares one way or the other about my New Year’s resolution list—unless I’m directly disobeying his commandments. What I do know, after searching His word, is He has provided guidance to conquer that list should I decide to tackle it—next year.

What about you? Do you make New Year Resolutions?

About the Author:

Catherine Hershberger is a member of Greendale First Church of Christ. Music, gardening, and writing are a few of her passions, all of which she shares with her husband.  She is also an author who writes sweet and Christian romance under the pen name of Catherine Castle. You can find her award-winning books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon

I’ve Got the Joy by Barb Witt

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NASB)

Christmas. She used to love Christmas.

 Until this year. She hated this place. She wanted to go home. But her son had sold her home. Just because she fell off the ladder and broke her hip. He had scolded her. Well, he wasn’t around, and she wanted to fix that curtain. So, she got the ladder and climbed up and did just that. But then her foot slipped when she had only two steps before she was back on solid ground. She had laid there for several hours because she couldn’t move. He had given her a 911 necklace to wear, but she didn’t like it and she had foolishly left it on her dresser. Fat lot of good it did on the dresser.

She had been here six months. Her hip was healed, and she could walk just fine. The other folks here were very friendly. She even had a couple of friends. But it still wasn’t her home. She sat pouting in her rocking chair. A knock sounded on her door. She toddled over and opened it.

 Her two friends shouted, “Merry Christmas Edna!” as loud as they could and laughed their way into her room. They had on silly sparkly Christmas sweaters and packages in their hands.

 “Where’s your Christmas sweater, Edna?” Bonnie said. “We came to take you to the party with us.”

Caroline chimed in. “Yeah! It’s gonna be fun!”

 Scowling, Edna said, “I don’t have any ‘Christmas sweaters’ and I don’t want to go to a party.”

The nurse had come in behind them and said, “Yes you do Edna,” and she went to her closet and pulled out a nice red sweater with pearls sown around the neckline.

“Well, I don’t have a present,” she said as she crossed her arms in front of her.

“Look, I brought an extra one!” Connie said in a sing-songy voice.

 “Humph. Guess I don’t have a choice,” she grumbled as the nurse shoved the sweater over her head.

 “Nope,” said Caroline handing over the gift she had brought for her.

They made their way to the dining room where the beautifully decorated and lighted Christmas tree stood. Everyone was there. Christmas music and laughter spilled out into the hallway. Edna stopped in the door and looked around. All her neighbors were enjoying snacks and punch and singing along with the music. Some were dancing. Colorful lights blinked on and off playfully.

 A chorus of, “Hi Edna! Glad you made it!” rang out as she stood there.

 A tear rolled down her cheek. I never would have had a party if I were at home. I wouldn’t have these friends surrounding me, if I were at home. I would be all alone and sad if I were at home, she thought. “I’m a stubborn old woman. I guess my son was right. This is where I need to be. Thank You God, for loving an unhappy, grumpy ol’ lady. I sure don’t deserve it. Thank You for giving me hope, even though I couldn’t, or wouldn’t see it,” she whispered as Caroline and Bonnie pulled her into the room and showed her where to put her gift.

You are too good to me, Lord, she thought as she began to sing Christmas songs with joy in her heart and a smile on her face.

And now we pray…

Lord, sometimes we don’t understand Your ways. Well, most of the time. Help us to trust You to guide us down the right path in all things. Thank You for loving us even when we’re stubborn and grumpy. Thank You, Lord, for everything.

In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN! 

I’ve Got the Joy (© Barb Witt 12/23/2019)

About the Author:

Barb Witt is a Christian wife, mother and grandmother who loves gardening, quilting, crafting, writing poetry and devotions, and is working on a children’s book. She has created an email devotional and prayer warrior ministry that she sends out daily. If you’re interested in being added to her email list let us know.