Fear not, for I am with you;
      Be not dismayed, for I am your God.
      I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you,
      I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Isaiah 41:10

This is absolutely one of my favorite verses…so much so that I even set it to music. Think about it…how many times a day do we have the opportunity to be dismayed? Webster defines dismay as, “to cause to lose courage or resolution; to upset or perturb.” “The thief (Satan) comes to steal, kill and destroy” and might I add, to cause us to be dismayed. (John 10:10) Steal, kill and destroy what? Whatever he can…our peace, our joy, our health, our finances…just our general well-being. Does he do it by cataclysmic occurrences that permanently alter our life? Ninety-nine percent of the time…No! He does it by seemingly insignificant, little nit-picky annoyances that never seem to come one at a time, but in duplicate or triplicate form! Let me give you a perfect example and one that prompted this devotional. (“By the way Lord, why do you keep giving me personal examples? Can‘t I just use someone else‘s?”) Anyway, one morning I was absolutely determined to get to work on time. (Those who know me know what a challenge that is in itself!) I was really doing quite well time wise and so I decided to do something I’d been meaning to do for a while…set off some flea bombs under my house. Yes, you read that right… flea bombs. Although I have no animals in my house, I have a number of cats outside and have surprisingly found a few of the pesky critters trying to invade my domain. I thought since the cats often take refuge under the house, the fleas might have come up from there. I decided I would set off the bombs right before leaving for work. With bombs in hand, along with all of my other paraphernalia, I shut the back door. The open soft drink bottle in my hand slipped and fell on the ground. Before I could retrieve it, half of my morning Dr. Pepper was watering the grass! I picked up the drink, found some Kleenex and wiped off the dripping bottle. “Oh, well”, I said to myself, “I will not be dismayed. I didn’t need but half of that sugar anyway.” I put the remainder of my stuff in the car and refocused on my mission…the flea bombs! It was no easy task since my house is enclosed with siding, but I found a small breach, pulled back the excess panel and after practically standing on my head was able to activate the first can and throw it under. I was making progress. I took the second can, got on my knees to see what I was doing, activated the can and threw it under. It hit one of the air conditioning ducts, bounced back and was thoroughly spraying the cement support nearest the opening. I retrieved it to try again! I have to stick my whole head under the house while holding my breath to keep from inhaling the poisonous fumes. I grab the spewing can and try to take aim so that I don’t hit something else and have it boomerang back in my face. I close the door (with no little effort!), get up off the ground (with no little effort!), dust off my knees and say, “I absolutely refuse to be dismayed!” I then make my way to the car and head off for work. When I look at the clock, I know I will be at least ten minutes late…again!!!

Do you think I meant this to be funny? Of course I did! I thought you could use a laugh today. But do you get the moral of the story also? We have opportunities each day and usually very early in the day to allow “the thief” to steal our joy and peace. It is entirely up to us whether or not he is successful. I could have fussed and fumed and stomped and kicked the cat! (And I’m not saying I wasn’t tempted.) But my day would have pretty much been ruined. So, when the enemy comes bringing circumstances the size of elephants, OR fleas…stand up…look up and declare...“Lord, I will not be dismayed!”



Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil

walks about like a roaring lion,
seeking whom he may devour.

Resist him, steadfast in the faith.
I Peter 5:8-9a

Here begins another exciting anecdote from the archives of Nancy’s everyday life! You obviously are familiar with my cat family by now…you know…the one that keeps growing as the word gets around that there’s this crazy lady that offers free food just for the taking. Anyway, I wrote not too long ago about the cat fight that ensued between two male cats vying for territorial rights at my place. They were rolling around the yard with fur flying in every direction while I stood on the porch yelling for them to stop! (You can just imagine how much that helped.)

So the other morning, I went out to feed the cats. There, on the steps of my back porch sat the skinny yellow cat who won the fight. He reminded me of a sentry standing watch…ears honed like glistening antennas; eyes peeled searching the horizon for any sign of intrusion by the enemy. He felt like he had won the territorial rights, now he had to diligently preserve them!

It immediately came to me that we, as Christians, should be as vigilant in our watch for the enemy of our souls. Indeed that is exactly what Peter is saying in this verse. Now if we are born again, we should not fear Satan, for the Lord says, “Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.” (Luke 10:19 AMP) But even though an opponent does not fear his enemy, he wants to be ready and prepared in case of an attack. How many of you know that Satan doesn’t announce himself at his arrival? Remember he disguised himself as a serpent when he came to Eve in the garden. And when he acted through Judas to betray Jesus, he even disguised himself as a friend and greeted Him with a kiss. My point is this…we have to be ever alert to the tactics that Satan uses to put stumbling blocks in our walk with God. It doesn’t always have to be big things. Someone can speak a discouraging word. Things just didn’t go right at the office. Someone talked you into doing something that didn’t turn out for your good. Maybe an old habit just keeps cropping up, trying to get you off course. “It’s the little foxes that spoil the vines.” Often Satan doesn’t come at us with big dilemmas, but with multiple little irritations or disappointments, one after the other. He is not overt, but very subtle.

Sometimes the thing that he tempts us with is not necessarily sinful, but is not what’s best for us. If he can get us to make choices that are not in God’s will for us, he can get us into discouragement and even depression.

Learn to recognize his attacks and resist them in the power of the Holy Spirit within you. Like that cat guarding his territory, we need to stand sentry over our souls! If there’s one thing Satan hates, it’s for us to recognize his strategies!

No weapon formed against you shall prosper,
And every tongue which rises against you in judgment
You shall condemn.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
And their righteousness is from Me,”
Says the Lord.
Isaiah 54:17 NKJ




Take delight in the Lord and He will give you
the desires of your heart.
Psalm 37:4

Our God is such an awesome God! I am ever amazed at how He cares about the smallest things in our lives. Sometimes I think to myself, “Lord, you must think I am so silly at times. I can obsess about the most trivial things!” But no, if it’s significant to us, it’s significant to Him. That’s how much He loves us.

Think about a small child. Many times, something very trivial to us is so important to them. When they start looking for their favorite blanket to sleep with, do you say, “You don’t have to have that! Just lay down and go to sleep.” Of course not! You tear the house apart if necessary to find it for them. That’s how much you love them. Why would our Heavenly Father be any different? Do you feel childish at times about the things you desire? You ARE a child! You are HIS child!

Now don’t get me wrong, Our Father is not going to do something just because we desire it if it would not be good for us or harm us in the end. But you know the difference and so do I. Let me give you the perfect example. (It’s another one of my cat stories! I have many.)

I have several feral cats who have grown up at my house. Their mother is wild and she either had them on my covered back porch or brought them there shortly thereafter. I have fed her and them since that time. On occasion they allow me to pet them very briefly, but are still very wary of any human presence. As they are now grown, I did not want to have an influx of wild kittens running around. So I figured the humane thing to do would be to take them to the Spay and Neuter Clinic. But the problem was, since they wouldn’t willingly go into a carrier, I had to catch them in a trap in order to take them. That in itself was not an easy task! But with much perseverance and patience I was able to trap the mother and two females and take them to the clinic. When I brought them home I kept them in my guest bathroom for about three days where I talked to them, petted them, fed them and provided bathroom facilities (a litter box). Now what cat, wild or tame, wouldn’t be completely grateful for such royal treatment! But as soon as I let them outside again, they were gone with the wind! Never mind that I had spent my hard earned money to try to give them a better life. Forget the fact that I had tried to bond with them and nurture them back to health. What ungrateful creatures! I was upset, frustrated and hurt at their indifference. (I know…weird, right?)

Several weeks after their disappearance, I was feeling particularly down one day about something totally unrelated that had transpired in my life. And when you’re down, you start pondering everything else sad that you can think about…for me, it was the cats. Where are they? Are they okay or has some wild animal eaten them? (I live in the country.) Do they absolutely hate me now? (Silly, silly…AND sillier.) At that point I was looking to the Lord for comfort and said, “Lord, please bring the cats back. I really miss them and I need to know if they are okay.”

I was driving home from work at the time. When I turned the corner of my house, I saw Fluffy standing on the steps waiting for me. When I went out to the back porch, there was Midnight too. But where was Cherise, my favorite? I don’t see Cherise! (My daughter-in-law thinks that’s a hilarious name for a cat!) At that moment, Cherise came crawling out of a nearby box. After several weeks of no-show, they were all there. We were united once again! (A little drama for effect!) A little thing…even a silly thing to most people, but not to My Father. He cares about me and everything that touches my life. He cares about you too! Never doubt it! Delight in Him and He WILL give you your heart’s desires, even if it’s just bringing your cats home.