A Mother’s Day Surprise by Catherine Hershberger

 “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Proverbs 30:29 (ESV)

I got a visit from my mother this Mother’s Day. As we pulled out of the garage on our way to church Mother’s Day morning, Mom waved to me from the iris bed at the corner of the house.

Iris bed in Catherine’s garden

The thing is, she’s been gone for nearly 35 years—resting in the bosom of Abraham in the angelic kingdom.

Catherine’s garden–snowball viburnum and lilac bushes

Before you pronounce me nuts, let me explain. My mother resides in my garden through the plants I’ve installed to remember her by. In late April, when my snowball viburnum blooms, I see her smile at the giant snowball flower ‘bow’ I placed on a Mother’s Day gift to her when I could find no ribbon in the house. In early May, the scent of lilacs wafts up from the bushes at the end of my patio to the balcony deck, filling my senses with her signature lilac perfume.

Catherine’s garden–Mom’s triple-layer day lilies

 

In July, my orange, triple-layer day lilies burst into bloom all over the yard. No matter where I look in my garden, from July through August I see the day lilies she carried from house to house and even boxed up and sent to me when I lived in the southwest. I planted them and they bloomed in December, which was a glorious sight for a homesick daughter.

Catherine’s garden–a single Mother’s Day iris bloom

This Mother’s Day, one perfect iris, also originally from her garden, bloomed, and waved in the breeze to me. I don’t ever remember these flowers blooming on Mother’s Day. Where they are planted they normally bloom in mid-May. And because our spring has been cold and full of frost warnings, I expected this year’s blooms to be even later this year.

It isn’t only Mom’s flowers that make me think of her. I’m reminded of her every time I accomplish something new, because she always told me I could do anything I set my mind to do. I only had to work at it. I’m reminded of her whenever I get or give an honest compliment, because she always praised me for a job well done. I’m reminded of her when I’m tempted to speak unkindly or gossip, because she always admonished me to never say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to their face.

But most of all, I’m reminded of her in matters of faith. Whenever I open the Bible, I can see her sitting in our living room, her feet tucked beneath her in her easy chair, reading God’s Word. I’m reminded of her when I praise God, because she, and my father, took me to church whenever the doors were open and made sure I knew the Lord. She instilled her faith in me, and  “…a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 30:30 (ESV)

This year make sure you tell your mother how much you love her, not just on Mother’s Day, but every day. Give her the praise she deserves. And if you can’t find something to praise her for, look harder, because every mother needs to know she’s loved by the children to whom she gave life. Our time here on this earth is short and unpredictable, so don’t waste an opportunity to express your love and thankfulness.

A Mother’s Day Surprise (© Catherine Hershberger 5/10/21)

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.

A New Baby in the House by Barb Witt

“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11 NIV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

She gazed into the face of her sleeping child and her heart plummeted. She was responsible for this tiny human. His life was quite literally in her hands. It was up to her to meet his needs. All of them. To the best of her ability. She sat down heavily in the rocking chair beside his crib and continued to regard the child who was now her whole world. She began to pray.

“Father, what am I to do with this little thing? I don’t know if I’m up to this. I guess it’s a little late now to think such thoughts. I’m going to need Your help Lord. How will I know what to do and when to do it? How do I teach him? He is so beautiful, Lord. I thank You for this blessing. And I will need You to help me bring him up to know You. Please give me guidance and show me what to do. Help me to make wise decisions and choices for him. Direct me, Lord, so that I do for this child what You would have me do. Thank You, Lord, for the honor of being his mom.”

I wonder if Mary felt the same as she gazed into the infant face of Jesus, God’s Son. She was responsible for His very life. He had been entrusted to her. It was up to her and Joseph to meet His needs, teach Him and guide Him. How overwhelming was that? The Creator of all things placed this most precious gift in her arms.

And Mary and Joseph did a fine job. Jesus, the Son of God grew into an amazing man. He spread the love of His Father everywhere He went. He made lowly fishermen into “Fishers of Men” and showed and taught them things that they would never have believed possible.

And He gave Himself up as a living sacrifice so that each and every one could choose to believe or not. He died. A slow horrible death on a cross. And then He rose again on the third day, victorious over death. And all we must do is believe and obey His word.

So, when you look into the face of that beautiful child, know that there is a place for him or her in heaven. And do everything you can to teach them about the wonders of the Creator of the Universe.

And now we pray…

Lord, what a blessing and honor it is to be a parent and grandparent. It’s not always easy, and we all make many mistakes because we are all human. With Your guidance, and through prayer, we do the best we can. Lord I ask that You touch the heart of each parent today. Give them wisdom and insight into raising their children to love and honor You. Touch each of their children and grandchildren and open their eyes and hearts to the teaching of Your will.

In Jesus’ name we pray. AMEN!

A New Baby in the House (© Barb Witt 11/13/2019)

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.

Running the Race by Catherine Hershberger

 “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.”

(2 Timothy 4:7 ESV)

Photo courtesy of Bill Brine

May 1, 2021 is the scheduled date of the next Kentucky Derby. My husband and I usually watch this famous horse race. A couple of years ago as I was watching, it occurred to me that an awful lot of time and money is spent on getting these animals ready to race. It costs over $51,000 to enter the race. According to a 2014 survey, the yearly average maintenance on a racing horse is about $45,000 a year. The cost of purchasing a race horse is between the low six to low seven figures in dollars. That’s a lot of money to spend on a two minute race, where only one horse will be the winner. 

In many ways this cycle is sad, because the thrill of winning and the resulting fortune only lasts a while. The high from the win can quickly become a low, especially if you lose the next race. The flowers on the winner’s wreath fade. The prize money gets spent, and eventually the horses are put out to pasture, old and has been.

Human athletes suffer the same cycles, too. They strive to become the best, and, if they are lucky, they may achieve that status for a while. But, like the winning race horse, the thrill of the win and their abilities eventually fade. And they are left with memories, medals and trophies, and bodies that can no longer do what they did in their youth.

Even those of us who are not athletes will see the same fate befall us and the successes we achieved. Time is not kind to us. The excitement from our achievements fades over time. Our earthly bodies wear out, whether we are athletes or not. Heaven knows I can attest to that, as I’m sure many of you can, too.

I’m glad that, unlike the horses that run their races and then decline, when my race on earth is done I will be claiming a prize that never fades.  God’s Word assures me, and you, of this in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (ESV)

I believe an eternal prize that never fades beats a temporary one any day. Jesus paid our entry fee. He made all the sacrifices necessary to ensure we all can win. All we need do is give the Lord our love, devotion, and obedience. How hard is it to love a Father who loved us before we were even born? Running the race He set before us is, in my opinion, something worth striving toward.

What about you? Are you running the race of good faith?

 Running the Race (© Catherine Hershberger 5/14/18)

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.

Celebrate God’s Earth by Catherine Hershberger

And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to their kind, on the earth. And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:11-12 (ESV)

Catherine’s Garden 2011

As a gardener, I’ve often wondered what early earth was like, especially the Garden of Eden. I’m pretty certain there wasn’t any pollution in the garden air. No thorny weeds to scratch Adam and Eve as they plucked juicy berries from the bushes. I imagine the sun wasn’t too hot or the nights too cold. The bees probably ignored Adam when he reached into the hive for some honey. The water in the river they drank from was surely crystal clear. In short, it was a paradise. After all, God created it, and said it was good. What better guarantee of perfection could you get that that?

But somewhere along the way, Adam and Eve sinned and messed up that idyllic home. They disobeyed God and ate from the Tree of Knowledge. God punished them for their disobedience by throwing them out of the garden, and he set an angel at the gates to keep them from reentering paradise.

Once mankind sinned, God’s beautiful creation, outside Eden, was never the same again.

Thanks to Adam and Eve’s sin, thorns and weeds sprang up to crowd out the perfect landscaping God had created. Adam’s job description changed from tending the garden to toiling in the ground to provide for his family.

I understand tending a garden. It’s like reaping the fruit of someone else’s labor. You just go into the garden and fill your baskets with fresh fruit and veggies that someone else planted. Along the way, if they appear, you casually pluck out a few young, shallow-rooted weeds, or crush a tomato hornworm onto the garden wall and let a bird feast on it.

I understand toiling in a garden, too. That is the back-breaking work of tilling the soil; planting the seeds; watering; hoeing the deeply rooted, stubborn weeds; running away from the ground bees’ nest you disturbed; spraying for bugs and fungal infestations; chasing away the deer, cats, raccoons, and dogs; digging up the dead plants and weeds; and starting the whole process over again next spring.

When God set Adam and Eve in the garden, he gave them the task of being caretakers. That chore falls to us, too. We are stewards of the beautiful home God gave us in which to live our mortal lives. We may not be able to take care of it in the most perfect manner, because after all we are human and have our failings. But until God comes to take us to our new forever home, we ought to do the best we can to take care of our earthly home.

Tomorrow April 22, 2021 is Earth Day, the largest secular observance in the world, and it’s centered trying to protect our planet from harmful, manmade issues. This year let’s add celebrating God’s creation of our world to that list. Because “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” AND “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:1 and 1:31 (ESV)

Prayer: God, we thank you for the magnificent world you have given us. We are so blessed to live among the beauty you created. Help us to be good stewards of the gift you’ve bestowed on us until that time when we will reside in our new forever home where the glory of your everlasting light will be more beautiful than any earthly gardens we can imagine.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Celebrate God’s Earth (© Catherine Hershberger 4/14/21)

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.

A Horse of a Different Color by Barb Witt

“Do you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck with a flowing mane?” (Job 39:19 NIV)

Picture courtesy of pixabay  

Anna sat on the fence and watched as her dad worked with her horse. He was a yearling and their veterinarian had given the ‘okay’ to start training him under saddle. She couldn’t wait to ride him.

Her father raised Appaloosas. When he had bred the mares, he promised the next foal would be hers. She had been on pins and needles until her dad woke her up one morning, almost two years ago, and told her one of the mares was foaling. She jumped out of bed and threw on some warm clothes (it was early spring and cold outside) and sprinted to the barn. She watched the whole process and was amazed. And suddenly, the foal was born. It was a colt (male), and both he and mama did great. While his mama was still cleaning him, he stood up on those shaky little legs and started looking for food. He found his mother’s teat and began suckling with gusto. That made Anna smile. He would grow strong because he was getting nourishment.

He was a Blue Roan. She had named him Pepper, because his face was blue, his back was white, and his hind quarters were peppered with blue spots. He was beautiful! His mane and tail were dark with white mixed in. They flowed stunningly behind him when he ran. He was a sight to behold. And he was hers. She had cared for him as he grew, brushing him and mucking out his stall daily. She walked him around the ring so he could get used to being led, as her dad had taught her.

As she watched, she pondered the wonder of a horse. Those skinny legs didn’t look like they could hold the horse up, much less carry a human and run the way they do. She whispered to her heavenly Father, as she often did, “Lord, horses are amazing. How did You think of them? How did you know how to make them? And they are so incredibly beautiful. Stubborn, too. You made them smart as well. I sure do love horses. Thanks for creating them.”

After about an hour, her dad called it a day on Pepper’s training. Anna walked him around the ring to calm him and talked to him. Then she took him to the barn and brushed him down, talking the whole time and telling him how beautiful and smart he was. He snorted at her a few times and nuzzled her hands. After she took care of him, she turned him loose in the fenced in pasture so he could be with the other horses for a while. She watched as he interacted with his horse family. It made her smile. He pranced around and ran back and forth. He was happy. And that made her happy.

As she stood there, she looked up into the heavens and smiled and said, “Thank You again, Father. OnlyYou could build a horse from scratch and make it so amazing.”

And now, we pray…

A horse is an amazing creature, Lord. Everything You have made is amazing. Thank You for doing the awesome things You do. Every day is a blessing, a gift from our Father in heaven. And we thank You for it, Lord. Thank You for everything. In Jesus’ name we pray.

AMEN!

A Horse of a Different Co (© Barb Witt 8/17/2020)

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.

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A Missing Day by Catherine Hershberger

“Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1 ESV)

Picture courtesy of Pixabay

A few years back I came across this article on the internet. I found it the other day while searching through my computer files. Unfortunately I didn’t keep the website URL. Knowing that I found it on the internet a bunch of years ago, please read this article with a grain of salt and a skeptical mindset, because many internet stories are not based in truth.

“For all the scientists out there, and for all the students who have a hard time convincing these people regarding the truth of the Bible, here’s something that shows God’s awesome creation, and that He is still in control.

Did you know that the space program is busy proving that what has been called ‘myth’ in the Bible is true? Mr. Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore, Maryland, and a consultant in the space program, relates the following development.

I think one of the most amazing things that God has done for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking out where the positions of the sun, moon, and planets would be 100 years and 1,000 years from now. We have to know this so we won’t send up a satellite and have it bump into something later on in its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down. They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries, and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong with either the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out, and they said, ‘What’s wrong?’

Well, they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time.

They scratched their heads and tore their hair out. There was no answer. Finally a Christian man on the team said, ‘You know, one time I was in Sunday School and they talked about the sun standing still.’ While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so they said, ‘Show us,’

He got a Bible and went to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with ‘common sense.’ There they found the Lord saying to Joshua, ‘Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before Thee.’ Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy! And if darkness fell, they would overpower them. So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still! That’s right… ‘The sun stood still and the moon stayed and lasted not to go down about a whole day!’ (Joshua 10:12-13)

The astronauts and scientists said, ‘There is the missing day!’

They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes, not a whole day. They read the Bible, and there it was about [approximately] a day. These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes, you’ll still be in trouble 1000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.

As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARD. The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings that told of the following story: Hezekiah, on his death bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die. Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said ‘Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees ?’ Hezekiah said, ‘It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees.’ Isaiah spoke to the Lord, and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD!

Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty-three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe! Isn’t it amazing? (References: Joshua 10:8 and 12, 13 and 2 Kings 20:9-11)”

After rereading the article I thought, Wow! This would make a great devotion, if it’s true! So I did some research. This story originated on the internet in the 70s and spread quickly through chain emails. (Personally, I hate chain emails and chain letters. But that’s a story for another day.) What I found indicates this account is an Urban Legend. In other words, this story about scientists discovering a missing day,  is not true. Multiple arguments on the internet agree with the story’s falseness, as does Answers in Genesis.

Would it be wonderful if this Urban Legend did substantiate the Bible? Of course it would. Backing up the scriptures with science would be great. A true story like this might cause persons who would never consider God to think about Him in a different way.

But does it really matter to believers if the account of finding lost time in space is an Urban Legend? Not really, other than the spreading of a false story to substantiate a truth Christians believe. That’s something we as Christians wouldn’t want to do.

Why do I say it doesn’t matter if we can’t scientifically prove the sun stood still? It doesn’t matter because of our faith.  As Christians we believe a lot of things the rest of the world laughs at. I wasn’t there when God created the world out of nothingness. Nor was I there when God stopped the sun from moving in the sky or when He turned back the sun at Hezekiah’s request. I didn’t hear Balaam’s donkey talk, or see Jesus walk on water or calm the raging sea. I didn’t watch Jesus heal the lame and the blind, or drive demons from the possessed. I didn’t see Christ after he rose from the dead, and I’ve certainly never seen Heaven or Hell. But do I believe in all those things? Absolutely!  After all, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?…” (Genesis 18:14 ESV)

And if we believe in the things the world doesn’t believe in, or won’t believe in because they can’t substantiate them through science, then we are completely in line with what God’s Word teaches, for “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”(Hebrews 11:1 ESV) And our faith in things we can’t see, but believe in anyway, leaves us in a special position in God’s eyes. For Jesus said, “Blessed are those that have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29 ESV)

While it would be great to have science back up every miracle in God’s Word, it really doesn’t matter to me. I know God’s power, and I believe in what He can do. And I rest assured that my belief in things I can’t see makes me blessed. That’s enough for me.

What about you? Do you believe in things of faith that are unseen?

Prayer: Father, thank you for all we can see that proves your existence, and thank you for blessing us even more when we believe in what you’ve done that we can’t see. Amen.

A Missing Day (© Catherine Hershberger 1/30/21)

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.

Mmm, Mmm, Good! By Barb Wit

‘For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” (2 Corinthians 2:15)

 Picture courtesy of Pixabay

As you’re walking through the mall, the aroma of fresh bread baking hits you right in the nose. You find yourself following the aroma and you just can’t stop. It smells soooo good. And you wind up in front of a bakery. The aroma is strong and so irresistible. So, you buy a donut. You munch on your donut as you walk along, savoring the aroma and now the taste. Mmm, mmm, good!

And so it is with Christ. We who are in Christ give off an aroma. An aroma of Christ. The Holy Spirit lives in us and His aroma drifts around us. Others notice you are a little different. Sometimes they will make a comment to you about how different you seem to be. You can’t see it. You just are who you are and do what you do. You smile. You open doors. You hold elevators. You buy someone’s lunch. You are polite and kind. And people notice. They are drawn to you as you are drawn to the bakery. The aroma is irresistible. And you are given the opportunity to share Jesus.

So, go ahead and let the aroma of Christ surround you, and spread His love everywhere you go. Teach others how to taste the scriptures, the word of God, so they can also say,“Mmm, mmm, Good!”

And now we pray…

Father, we thank You for the aroma You surround us with. Allow us to spread Your love everywhere we go. Help us to know what to say and what to do. We thank You for all You have done for us and given us

In Jesus’ name we pray.AMEN!

Mmm, Mmm, Good! (© Barb Witt 8/5/2019)

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.

Age Doesn’t Matter by Catherine Hershberger

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)

Laura Ingalls Wilder at age 18, circa 1885 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

I got a text from my daughter a while back. It read, “You’re kind of like Laura Ingalls Wilder. She didn’t get published until 65.”

I took a bit of umbrage to that statement, and pulled a bit of pride from it as well. I’d love to be an internationally well-known writer like Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was one of my favorite authors – as well as my daughter’s favorite author, now and when she was young. Laura’s first book, Little House in the Big Woods, was published in 1932.

I wasn’t so crazy about the 65 bit, however. I was under 65 when my first book was published, and well under 65 in how-young-you-feel-and-look years. (And isn’t that what really counts?)

However, my daughter’s statement got me to thinking about how our accomplishments aren’t limited to age. I was actually in my early 40s when I began writing professionally as a stringer for our local town newspaper. I’d always loved to write and had filled a notebook full of poems, written dozens of short stories that never made it past the Mom-thinks-it’s-wonderful stage, and composed countless school essays that always made great marks. The writing assignments that other students groaned about, I relished. I loved everything about them, from the research, to the actual writing, and even the editing—things that serve me well now as a published author.

Writing and reading have always been my passions, along with singing and acting. As a teenager I wanted to be a rock-and-roll singer or act on stage. At the time, writing never even entered my realm of careers. It was only a hobby I loved. I never made it to the limelight of center stage, in spite of the many times I tried out for school plays or musicals. I got chorus parts, but never the starring roles.

Ahh, but never give up. As the scriptures say, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)

There is a time and a place for everything and, for some of us, that time comes later in life. Today, I’m a published author—both as a solo author and co-authoring with my husband. I sing onstage at church, praising the Lord who gave me my voice. I’m also co-writing plays for our church (with my husband), acting and co-directing in plays for our church. In spite of not making my youthful goals, I have achieved them in a different fashion, at a different time in my life and I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to. Along the way, I’ve discovered doing what you love, at any age, is satisfying beyond belief. When you do it with the Lord in mind it’s even better.

Here’s the interesting thing about how everything turned out: I believe I’m right where God wants me to be, at the time of my life he wanted me to be there. After all, if he could give Sarah and Abraham a child in their old age, at just the right time to begin His plan of salvation for the world, who am I to question why my life is where it is at this particular time?

Mine is not to wonder why, but just to do and be satisfied. So, if you’re bemoaning the fact that you haven’t “made it” yet in your chosen field, or with any other goal you’ve set for yourself, don’t. Just keep working toward that goal and relish the success, no matter how big or small, whenever it comes. For “…we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28 ESV)

What about you? Are you right where God wants you in your life, no matter your age?

Age Doesn’t Matter (© Catherine Hershberger  3/8/2018)

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.

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Be Courageous by Barb Witt

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NIV)

Edna was nervous. It had been a long time since she was in front of an audience. She had been practicing but was still a bit rusty. She didn’t want to disappoint anyone. These were her friends. She sighed deeply and got up to finish getting ready. This was the big day. One she had looked forward to and dreaded at the same time.

Just then, a knock sounded on her door and Bonnie and Caroline bellowed, “Ready or not, here we come!” as they burst into Edna’s room. She smiled. She loved these two. They filled her days with joy and she never knew what would come out of their mouths.

Bonnie stared at her friend. “Wow! Don’t you look nice.”

“Yeah, you got a hot date or something?” Caroline asked as she grinned at Edna.

Of course not, silly.” Edna giggled nervously under her breath.

“Oh, I know,” said Bonnie, “It’s your ‘debut’ at the Chapel today.”

Caroline chimed in.  “I had forgotten about that. You’re playing the piano for church service today. That’s why you’ve been practicing all week, right?”

Edna’s cheeks warmed. “Yes, that’s right. I’m really nervous about it. I used to play all the time, but it’s been a few years. Maybe I should just be sick today and not go.”

“Oh, no you don’t,” Bonnie and Caroline said at the same time.

“Now Edna,” Bonnie said, “Your God given talent is needed today. You don’t want to let everyone down, do you?”

Caroline got Edna’s sweater and shoes from the closet and held them out. “Time to put on the sweater of courage, and the shoes of strength,”

As Edna slipped her arms in the sweater and her feet in the shoes, she smiled at her friends. “You two keep me going. I thank God for you every day. You help me do things I haven’t done in many years because I was afraid. Through you, God has shown me that I can still share His love and do what He wants me to do.” A tear rolled down her cheek, and Bonnie and Caroline looked at her and smiled their beautiful smiles.

Then Bonnie said, “Ok, do you have everything you need? Music, a water bottle? Anything else you need?”

“Well, I do need my walker. And I have my two best friends. And I know God is walking beside me, too. What else could I need?”

As they reached the door, Caroline exclaimed, “How about your glasses? You might want to read the music, unless you have it all memorized.”

Edna stopped mid-step, looked at Caroline and burst out laughing, “My glasses would indeed be an important item. Can you please get them off my bedside table?”

Caroline zipped back into the room, procured the glasses, and they all headed to chapel, chatting excitedly as they went.

And now, we pray…

Lord, sometimes we need encouragement from others. We get nervous and afraid and doubt ourselves a lot. Please help us to help others find their courage and know that anything done for You and Your glory is worth the knot in the belly we sometimes feel. Thank You for everything.

In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN!

Be Courageous (© Barb Witt 2/18/2020)

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.

A Sunrise Song by Catherine Hershberger

“Awake, awake, break out in song.” (Judges 5:12 ESV)

I heard my first robin of spring last week. After the cold weather we’ve had in southern Ohio, his song was welcome. He was singing outside the front window. Click on the following link to hear the robin’s songs. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/american_robin/sounds When I looked out, there he was on the porch railing, his red breast a welcome spot of color against the dull concrete driveway.

I always thought robins were migratory birds, but when I did a Google search I discovered while some migrate, many remain in the same place year round. In winter they form nomadic flocks that travel to where there are fruits and berries left on trees and shrubs. When spring comes, the flocks break up and the robins choose a territory, often where they were the previous year, and begin defending it in preparation for courting and raising chicks.

While researching the migratory habits of robins I also discovered some else I never knew. Male robins sing upon reaching the territory they’ve chosen as their new home. They don’t usually sing when they are in the winter flocks, because hearing other male birds sing stresses them. Birds sing and call for a number of reasons: to attract a mate, defend a territory, keep in touch with family and flock members, warn each other of predators, announce they have found food, and to welcome the dawn. In fact, near sunrise birds often sing more loudly and vigorously than they do at any other time of day.

I found this last tidbit of information very interesting. I’m not usually up at dawn, but I have been awakened on several occasions in the summer by the birds singing outside my window. In my opinion, it’s a hundred times better than the alarm clock.

As a vocalist, I can imagine no greater way to express myself than through song. I wonder how much better our day would go if we, like the robin, started it with a song. Breaking out in a joyful melody to greet the day might lift our hearts, soothe our souls, and would, I’m sure, be appreciated by the Lord.

When we get to the place God’s preparing as our new home—heaven—I know we’ll be singing as joyfully as the robin greeting the sunrise. After, all we’ll be experiencing our own Son Rise. We won’t have to endure long cold winters. There will be no more sorrow, no more pain, and our lives will be filled with peace and praises sung to the King of Kings.

Are you singing a sunrise song to the Son? If not, try starting your day with a song of praise.

A Sunrise Song (© Catherine Hershberger 3/16/15)

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. Sunrise Song is a devotion from Catherine’s unpublished book Lessons From Nature—A Gardener’s Devotional by Catherine Castle