“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




Jehovah takes pleasure in them that fear Him,
In those that hope in His lovingkindness.
Psalm 147:11

Do you ever get angry with yourself for doing goofy things…things that you should have known better than to do? Picture me raising BOTH hands! Having a bent toward perfectionism, I am harder on myself than most people. But did you know that even when we do goofy things, God is not the One who is hard on us. As a matter of fact, when we call on Him, He will deliver us over and over again, even when the dilemma we are facing is of our own making. What a faithful, merciful and long-suffering Father we have! And the more we trust Him, the more eager He is to intervene on our behalf.

Now those of you who have been following my devotionals for a long time know that I am infamous for telling on myself. I tell you, because first of all, it’s usually funny and can add a laugh to your occasional mundane day…and secondly it may help you to see that we all do foolish things and God loves us anyway!

The above being my preface, I will tell you what prompted this particular devotional. I am an animal lover and feed a number of stray cats. The three I am feeding now are the grown litter of a stray, two of which are females plus the mama cat. I determined that if I did not do something to control this kitty population explosion I would soon be overrun. I found a place that would do spaying on feral cats for a fraction of the usual cost. I managed to trap the mother cat and one of the now grown kittens and have them spayed. But the one I named Cherise, who is my favorite, was much more wile than the others. One time she even followed the trail of food into the trap just up to the bowl where the spring is set, then backed out without tripping it. I was getting desperate, being aware of the fact that spring is the season of new beginnings and new kittens! I prayed, “Lord, please help me catch Cherise, even if you have to send your angels to put her into the trap.” (Okay, I know it sounds a little far out to some of you! But as I’ve said before, God is concerned with any and everything that concerns us.)

I reset the trap although there was no food in it because it was devoured by the neighbor’s cat who had gone in, eaten it, stepped on the trap and wailed until I let it out. But not Cherise…no, not Cherise!

That Friday I came home from work expecting to see the cats sitting on the steps of the side porch waiting to be fed. The neighbor’s cat was there and one of the others, but no Cherise. “Hum,” I thought. “Unusual. Wonder where she is.” At this point I go inside, put down my things and walk out on the back porch and there is Cherise…IN THE TRAP! There was no food there to entice her, so you figure it out. Now what was it I prayed?

Immediately I said, “Thank You, Lord!” But then the wheels of my analytically programed mind started turning and I thought, “I can’t keep her in the trap until Monday. Maybe I could put her in one of my bathrooms…but all weekend?” And before I could even mentally process the entire scenario, I opened the cage and she ran like a turkey without even looking back! Now how goofy can you get?

I went inside and after trying to kick my own behind for several minutes, I called my daughter to vent my frustrations at my own impulsive action. You can just imagine what I was saying! After listening to me for several minutes she said, “Mother, just calm down. The Lord helped you to catch her once, He can help you catch her again. He knows everything. He knew you were going to let her go even before you did it. Stop beating yourself up. Trust Him! He’ll help you again if you ask.”

Not fully convinced that the Lord would give me a second answer to prayer after I had blatantly thrown the first one out the window, I asked Him to please help me catch Cherise again.

The next morning when I went out to feed the cats, Cherise came up to me to be petted. She had never allowed me to pick her up before, but I thought why not try. The most I can get is a few stitches! I picked her up, stroking her and started toward the bathroom. The closer I got the more agitated she got…but I made it! I serve a God of second, third and fourth chances! From the confinement of the bathroom and with the help of my granddaughter, I was able to get her into a cage on Monday and take her to the vet. God is good ALL the time! Don’t ever think that He doesn’t care about even the minutest details of your life. And don’t ever think that He won’t give you a second chance!

For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hearts are blameless toward Him.
2 Chronicles 16:9a




Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared
For those who love Him
1 Corinthians 2:9

That verse just makes me feel good all over. My Heavenly Father has awesome things prepared for ME! How do I know that? Because I’m one of those who love Him. And if you also love Him, he has great things prepared for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Things may not appear to be going great in the present moment, but hold on to this promise and say, “My Father is preparing things for me that are more wonderful than I can even imagine!” Remind the Lord of His promises and thank Him that He is working to bring them to pass. After all, “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” Numbers 23:19 TLB

I have heard numerous stories about how God turned situations around for people because they held on to his promises in faith. Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again.” Maybe you feel like this is your seventh time and like the commercial you’re saying, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” But let me tell you, with God’s help you can! Listen to these words from God Himself and take heart.

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed,
for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10




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!