“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh.
Is there anything too hard for Me?
Jeremiah 32:27 NKJ

When I started to get ready for work this morning, I noticed a granddaddy spider in my bathtub. It is a huge “garden tub”, so I was wondering how he got in there. But soon it became obvious to me that HE was wondering how he was going to get out! I watched for a moment as he tried unsuccessfully to climb the slick walls of the tub only to fall back down again after a few steps. My next thought was to rescue this poor creature from his almost certain doom. So I tried over and again to grab one of his long legs, but he always scrambled from my grasp. Finally I just said, “Hey, I’m trying to help you here!” I grabbed him with my entire hand, took him to the front door and released him into the wild! : ) (How is that for melodrama?)

No sooner had I accomplished my dangerous rescue effort than I heard the Lord speaking to my heart saying… “That’s how it is with my children sometimes. When you have hardships or even get yourself into a predicament of your own making, instead of running to me for help, you start running scared in the other direction. I want to help you! I’m trying to help you! But you are running from me rather than running toward me. My hand is outstretched, but instead of grabbing onto it, you are trying to come up with a solution yourself while climbing the slick wall of circumstances and falling back down again and again.”

I have a two year old granddaughter and she is a great illustration of our human tendency toward self sufficiency. She will be trying to do something with much effort…something very difficult for a two year old. But when I ask, “Do you want Meme to help you?” Her answer is an emphatic “No!” Now, unlike the spider, she usually succeeds in the end through sheer determination. But sometimes it would be so much easier if she would just accept help.

We adults have the same stubborn tendency toward our Heavenly Father at times. Instead of humbling ourselves and going to Him in prayer and dependency, we trudge on with the weight of the world on our shoulders when He has told us to “cast all our care on Him”. (1 Peter 5:7) And Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Wouldn’t it be so much easier to go to the Lord at the first sign of trouble instead of trying and trying on our own to remedy the situation. But often we make calling on the Lord our last resort, after we have exhausted all of our own resources. Have you ever heard someone say, “Well, I guess there is nothing left to do but pray?”…as though it is an admission of hopelessness and defeat. At the first sign of hardship we should not be saying, “God, look how big my problem is!” Instead we should be saying, “Problem, look how big my God is!!!” I’m just saying it makes all the difference in our perspective. And acting on it, makes all the difference in the outcome!

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28




I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.
Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!
Psalm 27:13-14

Don’t ever give up!!! It’s a choice YOU make, you know! Even if you can’t justify hanging on to God’s promises simply because it’s the right thing to do, do it for this reason…“There’s just no way I’m going to allow Satan to win!” As I look back over the years (many for me!), I see that Satan has tried to destroy me from the time I rolled out of the comfort of my mother’s womb. (I’m telling you…someday I’m going to write a book!) But I have just enough of my dad’s tenacity and my mom’s stubbornness to say…“No way, Devil! Get behind me, Satan!” Now if I’m totally honest, which I try to be, I will admit that there were times I was tempted to give up. I felt like the picture of that little kitten hanging on a rope with only one paw and one claw! But by the grace of God and drawing on His strength another picture flooded my mind. Probably you’ve seen this one too. It’s a picture of a frog in the mouth of a huge crane that quite apparently has plans to have him for breakfast. But with every ounce of strength within him, the frog manages to free his two front legs and is choking the crane with all of his might! The caption reads, of course, “Don’t Ever Give Up!!!”

Needless to say, just like that crane with the frog, Satan would love to have us for breakfast! The Bible plainly tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” (John 10:10a)  Did you get that? The only reason Satan even comes around is to steal, kill and destroy…YOU!  It is his sole purpose on this earth. And you actually wonder why you are having problems?   But let me tell you, God didn’t have a thing to do with it! “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 1010b)  “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone…Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17) Our Father God never changes. He is always good! Neither does Satan ever change. He is always bad!

Well are we going to just hang on by our last claw for the rest of our lives? Absolutely, unequivocally, undisputedly, irrevocably not! But the one thing that determines our success or failure is this…We can NEVER GIVE UP! Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” Don’t let Satan defeat you! He is not stronger than God, therefore he is not stronger than you, for God is in you in the presence of the Holy Spirit! Let me give you a few verses to hold on to. Speak them out loud. They will put a chokehold on Satan! And before you know it, just like that little frog, you’ll be jumping right out of those difficult circumstances. I’m personalizing the verses for you!

Lord, I will hold fast the confession of my hope
without wavering,
for You promised and You are faithful.
Hebrews 10:23

Lord, grant me, according to the riches of Your glory,
to be strengthened with might through Your Spirit
in the inner man.
Ephesians 3:16

Thank You that “No temptation has overtaken me
except what is common to mankind.
And You, God are faithful;
You will not let me be tempted beyond what I can bear.
But when I am tempted,
You will also provide a way out so that I can endure it.
I Corinthians 10:13

I thank You, Lord, that I am strong in You
and in the power of Your might!
And above all, I will take the shield of faith
with which
I will be able to quench
ALL the fiery darts of the wicked one.
Ephesians 6:10,16

Lord, I WILL NOT fear, for You have redeemed me;
You have called me by Your name;
I am Yours.
When I pass through the waters, You will be with me;
And through the rivers, they will not overflow me.
When I walk through the fire, I will not be burned,
Nor will the flame scorch me.
You are the LORD my God,
The Holy One of Israel,
my Savior!
Isaiah 43:1-3

And I WILL overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of my testimony!
Revelation 12:11





When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you…I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—
for she loved much.”
Luke 7: 35-47

Over sixteen years ago now (my how time flies!), just after a divorce from my husband of twenty years, I was going through a very difficult time. I didn’t feel like going to church or even doing much praying. But I knew I had to keep holding on to the things of God for that was the only thing that would sustain me. And although I felt like the picture of the little kitten that is barely holding on to a rope with one paw, I WAS holding on!

So in lieu of going to church on Sunday morning, I tuned the TV to a Christian station. A well-known pastor was teaching on this passage from Matthew about the unnamed woman who anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. She, too, was broken and contrite. She knew that Jesus was her only hope for salvation and she refused to let anything or anyone stop her from reaching Him. She was met with criticism and disdain, but only from those who didn’t matter. Her eyes were fixed on Jesus. Then her confidence in His unfailing compassion was greatly rewarded, for He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Not only so, but in the same account in another one of the gospels, Jesus said wherever the gospel is preached, the story of this woman would be told as a memorial to her.

This message of hope in the midst of dogged despondency was just what I needed to hear. The Lord immediately gave me a song. A portion of it is as follows:

You have a vase of ointment…it’s right there at your hand, But you have to reach inside you to find it once again;
Then you have to break it open and you have to pour it out, But there’s deliverance and there’s freedom as its fragrance drifts about.

Jesus is waiting for you to break through your pain and pour out the fragrance of your praise on Him, so that He can say, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”




God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
Psalm 46:1

A friend of mine said to me this morning, “Nancy, every time I think I have myself pulled up by my bootstraps, someone comes along and unties them!” I started thinking about what she said and thought, “Now that would make a great theme for a devotional! (You know the Lord gives me ideas in the most unusual ways.)

First I looked online to see if I could find the origin of the saying…perhaps some old proverb or witty Southern quip. But the dictionary of phrases said that it had no specific origin. However, the meaning is quite clear. It means “to improve one’s position by one’s own efforts.” It refers, of course, to boots and their straps (laces or pull tabs on Cowboy Boots) and to the imagined feat of lifting oneself off the ground by pulling on one’s own bootstraps. This impossible task is supposed to exemplify the achievement in getting out of a difficult situation by one’s own efforts. It is a great source of pride in this country to say that someone pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. It usually means that they came from a very humble background and made a place for themselves in the world.

My father was such a man. He grew up very poor. He told of going to school with ragged clothes and no shoes and getting in many a fight because his classmates made fun of him. He told about his mom cooking green apples because there was no food in the house. His father was very irresponsible and to put it mildly had no work ethic. My father quit school at the age of fourteen to work in the coal mines to help provide for his mom and siblings. But because he had such a difficult start in life, he determined that when he had a family of his own, he would never allow them to want for any necessary thing. He kept that promise. He literally worked day and night to provide for our family. I am a third child and by the time I came along, we lived in a nice brick home on 130 acres of land. We were not rich, but we were definitely not poor. I never knew any of the want he suffered. He truly “pulled himself up by his own bootstraps.”

But sometimes because of the circumstances that life affords us, we are not able to do it alone. I have always been a self-sufficient person. I think it was ingrained in me by my father. But there have been times in my life when I just couldn’t make it on my own. As a matter of fact there have been times when I couldn’t even make it with the help of others. I needed supernatural help! I needed the help of my Heavenly Father! The chorus in a song I wrote in one of those difficult times says:

“Lord, nothing less than a miracle will do.
I can’t depend on others, I must depend on You!
I’ve tried to work it out…It’s not enough to see me through;
Lord, nothing less than a miracle will do!”

And thank the Lord…He IS a God of miracles! The Bible is full of people who tried every means known to man to solve a problem to no avail. Then they called on Jesus! One man brought his son who had seizures to the disciples for help, but they couldn’t help him. Then he called on Jesus. Jesus said, “Only believe. All things are possible to those who believe.”  The man replied, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!” Even when we don’t think we have enough faith, we can depend on His faith. And He is always faithful to help us in our time of need. If someone has untied your bootstraps, call on Him. He can help when no one else can!




There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

“As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”
Genesis 8:22 NLT

And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly
and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap,
if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint.
Galatians 6:9 AMP

Yesterday I was thinking about the seasons. Actually I was thinking about the fact that fall is almost gone and winter is fast approaching with its dreary skies and cold weather.  The time change has just gone into effect and now it will be dark when I get home from work. To put it mildly…I really dislike winter!  It’s my least favorite season of the year.

But then, I have to admit, winter has its perks…Thanksgiving with its proverbial feast of roast turkey with dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Then comes Christmas, the most wonderful holiday of the year when we celebrate our Lord’s birth with gift giving and receiving and fellowship with family and friends. So the dilemma is evident… will I enjoy the season I’m in or will I spoil the good times by dwelling on the bad? The choice is entirely up to me.

It is an indisputable fact that we cannot control the seasons, neither the natural seasons nor the seasons in our lives. But it is also an absolute fact that we can trust the God who created them and who has complete control over them. And He promised, after the great flood described in the Book of Genesis, that as long as the earth remains, the seasons will come and go as usual. And even though there may be one that we prefer, each season has its own joys and sorrows. I love the spring and summer, but along with the sunshine and flowers comes the mowing of grass and trimming of shrubs. I don’t particularly like the winter, but I do like snuggling beside a crackling fireplace with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate.

I’m certain you get my point by now. Learn to enjoy the season you’re in! Don’t let negative thoughts surface and drown out the positive aspects of each season. I don’t know who originated this saying, but it is one of my favorites…”Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain!” If I had waited for all of the storms in my life to pass before enjoying it, I would have had a dismal existence. In order to survive the storms, I had to learn to dance in the rain…and I’m still dancing! I refuse to let the devil dampen my spirit. He may try to rain on my parade, but I have the umbrella of God’s promises at my disposal. He may whip up the winds and turn my umbrella inside out. But if he does, I won’t miss a step as I continue to dance in the rain!



…Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin [temptation or trials].

Hebrews 12:1b-3

“This too shall pass.” How many times have you heard people speak those words when they are going through hard times. Or maybe someone has spoken them to you in that situation. Actually the words hold only small comfort if we aren’t looking to a better future after we have made it through. I know you’ve heard the old saying, “They’re just jumping from the frying pan into the fire!” In other words, folks are just passing through one bad circumstance only to encounter something worse! I’ve known people whose lives seem to reflect this philosophy. They never seem to get a break!

When I lived in Florida, some years ago, I was recuperating from a physical and emotional breakdown. I was diagnosed as having Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Sounds dismal doesn’t it. Well, it was! My future didn’t appear to be very promising in the natural. But I refused to look at the natural. I spent my days focused on the Word of God and His promises to me. I kept my eyes looking toward Jesus and I knew that He wanted to bring me through. I considered the fact that He endured many things such as I was going through and much, much more when He was here on this earth. And the Bible tells us that when He was on the cross, He took all of our sins and sicknesses upon His body. This is not figurative, it is literal! That means He felt every pain that we would ever feel…physically, emotionally and spiritually. He even ended up losing His life…and I had no where nearly gone that far! He also promised me this…”No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 The Message Bible)

After I was well on my way to recovery, my pastor, a lady who was also my good friend gave me a framed photo that she said reminded her of the trial I was passing through. It was a photo of a pier extending out into the water in Cedar Key, Florida where we had visited several times. The boards of the pier, especially toward the end, were broken and in disrepair. You couldn’t actually see the end of the pier, for over it and the water beyond, was a dense fog. If you were walking on it, each progressive step would be a step of faith into the unknown. There was no way to see through it to the end. You just had to trust that your steps were ordered by the Lord…and “look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.”

Pastor Retha gave me the picture to encourage me at that particular time in my life. And every time I looked at it, I pictured Jesus there with me, holding my hand, guiding me through the fog of an uncertain future. But I must tell you I’ve never completely gotten through the fog. The life of faith is an on-going experience. There may be a time when the fog lifts temporarily, but it will always come back, as long as we’re living on this earth. And when it does, we have to reach once again for the Master’s hand and take one step at a time, totally trusting in His guidance to see us through. We should never worry or fret, but rest in the fact that He has gone on before us and He knows the perfect way for us!