DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Seven, Day Six

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Seven, Day Six:


“8For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life.” Ephesians 2:8-10 (HCSB)

Punishment is what each and every heart deserves due to our moral and spiritual conduct. But, praise be to God above, that all who trust in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior does not get what we deserve. Jesus Christ stepped down into His own creation to ransom humanity from the punishment we each merited (John 6:40). Jesus Christ did this by taking our flaws and blemishes upon His spotless life as He died on a cross and rose from the dead in victory on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). As we recognize and acknowledge our utter dependency upon our Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, we are able to extend grace and mercy to others who have caused harm against us. Ephesians 2:10 states that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, were created to do good works for the glory of God. He has prepared these tasks for us and it is our great honor to fulfill God’s calling for our lives so that we may be used by God to help testify to others of the salvation that is freely available to each heart, from every culture, every language and every country (John 3:16).

Prayer For Today:

Lord, I want to bring you honor in each season of my life. I want to do Your will and follow You in faithfulness. Give me the grace to accomplish the tasks that You have placed before me. Help me to use kind words when interacting with (name)____________. I want to represent You well. Give me a heart that is filled with Your grace and Your mercy. Thank You for extending this same mercy and grace to my life. I am lost without You and thank You for Your daily guidance in my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Five, Day Three

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Five, Day Three:


Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6 (HCSB)


With honesty and sincerity, our souls approach the LORD for righteousness. When we hunger for the things of God, as a child who is hungry for food, God is faithful to answer our request—each and ever time. The Law of the Old Testament was fulfilled through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Therefore, as we submit to Jesus Christ, inviting Him to be the LORD of our lives, we are clothed in his righteousness (Romans 10:4). It is through Jesus Christ that we receive righteousness and our souls experience true satisfaction as we bring our desires to the LORD.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for giving me righteousness. I am keenly aware of my own faults and shortcomings, yet as I admit the ways I have missed the mark and take the necessary measures to change, You welcome me into Your presence. Please help (name)________ in the midst of this terribly painful time. You see (name)________tears. You hear (name)________ cries for rescue. Please teach us what righteous living looks like in this specific situation. We trust You and thank You that we are heard by You when we pray. In Your name I pray, amen.


DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor” Week Four, Day Five

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley Of Achor”

Week Four, Day Five:


“Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief official gave them other names: he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.” Daniel 1:6-7 (HCSB)


Daniel and his three friends were among those captured by the Babylonians after Jerusalem was taken over (Daniel 1:1-7). In an attempt to make the hostage Israeli youth forget their heritage, their very names were changed—seeing as their names reflected names or aspects of the God, Yahweh that they served. In the same way, when we are captured by fear, doubt, depression or trauma, our identity may also seem changed. Remember, you were ransomed and rescued for the ultimate price and your eternal name was forever changed to reflect the one and only King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Isaiah 62:4). As a follower of Jesus Christ, when your identity feels threatened in the midst of captivity, claim truth about who you really are and where your strength comes from (1 John 5:1).


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that my true identity is found not in my sorrow, my bank account or relationship status, but in something eternally concrete. Thank You that my identity and sincerest strength is found in You alone. Help (name)_________ to come to realize this pivotal truth as well. Our identity will forever be shaken and tossed by emotions and changing situations, if we do not know who we are in You. Help (name)__________ to rest in this today and accept Your love.

Seeing Through True Sight

Have you ever realized how little time is actually spent in sincere quiet? Not only is there the noise of sound, but also that of light. How many times have you noticed an update come across your device screen late at night, only to realize that once you read the notification, you were not able to easily go to sleep? I know I have been there; many times.

The Lord has really been placing upon my heart the need to live only for Him. Not to care what others say on social media or in real life, but rather to focus solely on knowing Him. I am one to talk and share stories, but lately, the Lord has been challenging me in this. “Remember when I was enough?” He whispered to my heart this morning. I nearly burst into tears as I pulled away from morning school drop off for our kids. I was absolutely shattered in the truth of these words.

This was the second time this morning the Lord had spoken clear as day to my soul. As I had looked into the mirror and saw a tired woman staring back at me, complete with the reality that youth was beginning to wave good-bye, the Lord spoke clearly to my heart. “The more you let go of the world, the more you will find Me.”

Feelings of inferiority can sweep into our souls for a variety of reasons at a moment’s notice. Remember, the devil is good at finding ways to steal, kill and destroy our joy, our hope and our ability to follow hard after God (John 10:10). Yet, the Lord brought truth to my soul that did wonders for my anxious heart this morning. Despite what I can see, God does not look at the exterior—period. The human eye can only grasp perspective from the exterior, but God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). Oh what deception our human eyes report! Our eyes see an ocean of sorrow, our faith in God will allow us to see that same ocean part to reveal a way through it. Our eyes see devastating fire of chaos, our faith in God will reveal that we will be sustained through the blaze and we will not be burned. Our eyes see giants, too big to defeat, standing between us and the promises God has given to us; our faith in God reveals to us that God has already given us the victory…now it is our honor to walk in it.

Regardless of what may be weighing you down today, ask the Lord what He would have you focus on. Ask Him for spiritual sight to reveal your freedom through Jesus Christ from the ways of the world. Without the Lord Jesus, we are all spiritually blind. There is so much more going on around us than what we can see with the mere naked human eye. Ladies, I don’t care if you have been a Christian since you were only a few years of age or if you have just come to faith this very day, the moment we begin to take our eyes off of Christ and become focused on the things around us, we will find our spirits downcast and our vision blurred. Why? Our focus was never meant to be on anything other than Christ when seeking lasting satisfaction. Praise God for His redemption and love! How valuable is the One, Jesus Christ, who took my punishment of rebellion against God upon Himself and gave me His righteousness in return (2 Corinthians 5:21). May we pray for our eyes, as well as the eyes of those around us, to be opened to the myriad of ways in which God is working and moving in and through our lives. This very same thing was prayed by the prophet Elisha for his anxious servant, and suddenly, the servant was a gasp at the number of heavenly warriors fighting on their behalf—whom had all been veiled from his earthly sight. Yet, now that the servant could see these angelic warriors, ablaze with fire, the fact that they were surrounded by enemy soldiers no longer caused fear (2 Kings 6:16-17). The battle is the Lord’s! Allow God and His heavenly armies to fight the battles of inferiority, anxiety and silent need on your behalf…our victory is found in HIM.

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Three COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” week three

Theme of Week Three: God Will Revive Me


Week Three, Day One:


11For 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.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)


When sin entered the world, suffering was on its heels. The plans of God were never for us to suffer or experience heartache. In fact, Adam and Eve experienced perfect communion with God—and even walked together in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:8)! Sin has infested all aspects of this world, and suffering is one of its first fruits. When we find ourselves and those we love battling hardships and deception, may we recognize it for what it is—the products of a broken world. The perfect rescue, the ultimate salvation from the spiral of destructive living—is found in Jesus Christ alone.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that suffering was not intended for any of our lives. Thank You for providing a way out of the suffering that brings tears to our eyes and anxiety to our hearts. Thank You for the hope and future that I have in You. Thank You that You have a hope and future for (name)_________ as well. In this very day, please help this ascending truth to soak into (name)________ heart. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.




Week Three, Day Two:


“ 6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NASB)


Humility can be the furthest thing from our minds as we are looking for something, apart from a current tragedy, to occupy our thoughts. Yet, as we live out 1 Peter 5:6-7, and humble ourselves under the awesome and mighty hand of God, we will find comfort. It is there, under His hand that we will experience shelter for our soul. It is there, under submission to His just leadership, that we will discover lasting hope. And it is there, that we are encouraged to throw our troubles at the feet of God—because He cares for us.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for the protection of Your mighty hand. LORD God, You are so powerful, the Bible tells us that You have measured the waters of the oceans in the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 40:12). What an incredible fortress, we can find under the protection of Your hand. Please help (name)_______ to experience Your protection. Help (name)_________ to awaken to the reality that (name)_______ can truly bring all sorrows and grieves before You as 1 Peter 5:7 assures us, because You sincerely care. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.





Week Three, Day Three:


“The One who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns darkness into dawn and darkens day into night, who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the earth– Yahweh is His name.” Amos 5:8 (HCSB)


The famous constellations of the Pleiades and Orion are referenced here in the book of Amos to serve as a powerful reminder. How truly sobering to consider that these awe inspiring creations, that silently circle our globe, were made by an even more awesome Creator. When silent storms rage on in our personal lives or of those we cherish, may we not simply look to the stars for guidance, but rather look to the very One who made the stars—Yahweh the LORD is His name.



Prayer for today:

Dear LORD, You are God and there is no other (Isaiah 43:10). You have demonstrated Your reign and rule over Your creation. Thank You for not only taking interest in humanity as a whole, but for caring individually for me. Thank You for caring for (name)________. Thank You that no challenge is too great for You to clean up. Allow these famous constellations to be a forever reminder to (name)________ that You are God and You have power over all created and uncreated things. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.





Week Three, Day Four:


“This is My Servant; I strengthen Him, this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him. I have put My Spirit on Him; He will bring justice to the nations.” Isaiah 42:1 (HCSB)


Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of this prophesy in Matthew 12:17-21. May our hearts come to the unshakeable reality that salvation is found through Jesus Christ alone. He is the one and only Son of God; second part of the triune Godhead. He was the atonement for the failures of all mankind. And after He rose from the dead on the third day, Jesus promised the coming of the Holy Spirit, the third part of the trinity. The Holy Spirit dwells in the hearts of every believer. Through Jesus, we are promised that no matter our circumstances, we are truly overcomers, if we anchor our hearts in the everlasting security of Jesus Christ.


Prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, I come to You with sincere need. The Bible assures me that the Holy Spirit is the advocate for the soul (John 15:26). Please bring justice to the situation unfolding in (name)__________ life. I am out of ideas of where to go from here. Help me to give You the details and prayerfully follow Your lead. In Your name I pray, amen.



Week Three, Day Five:


14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens — Jesus the Son of God — let us hold fast to the confession. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.” Hebrews 4:14-16 (HCSB)



As Solomon so beautifully put it, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). How encouraging to recall that civilizations of centuries past and present societies alike have all faced the same temptations and shortcomings. Even more encouraging, is the reality that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is able to sympathize with our weaknesses and shortcomings. He was tempted and tested with every kind of sin this world can offer—yet never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). Amazing. It is then by Jesus’ perfect life, that we all are able to boldly come before God’s throne in prayer, to receive mercy and find grace for the shortcomings that have stained our lives.


Prayer for today:

Dear Lord Jesus, thank You that any life can be power washed by Your ultimate act of love on the cross (Isaiah 53:5). You paid the penalty that each and every person on this spinning globe deserves. Thank You that no one—no matter how heinous the crime or depraved the situation—no one is beyond Your redemption. Thank You for redeeming my life. Thank You for offering redemption to (name)____________ as well.




Week Three, Day Six:


25My life is down in the dust; give me life through Your word. 26I told You about my life, and You listened to me; teach me Your statutes.” Psalm 119:25-26



How wonderful to recall that we can receive words of life through the Bible (Psalm 119:25). When we feel lifeless due to deepest sorrow and agonizing pain, how beautiful to remember that we can come before the Lord, just as the psalmist did, and pour out our hearts before a listening God. In the midst of chaos and grief, may we pray for a teachable spirit, as the psalmist indeed did, in order to better align our will to His perfect will.


Prayer for today:

O LORD, this is hard. This is excruciatingly hard. I do not know what else to do at this point. I feel like I am down in the dirt. I do not know what next step is best. Thank You for listening to me share what’s on my heart. Thank You for listening to (name)_________. Please teach me Your ways. Please teach me what would best please You in (name)__________ current circumstances. I thank You that we are heard by You, an all-knowing and all-loving God. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.




Week Three, Day Seven:


“For I will pour water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your descendants and My blessing on your offspring.” Isaiah 44:3 (HCSB)


In this life, each soul experiences seasons that much resembles deserts. The realities of sandstorms in this already dry and desolate environment further highlight the irreplaceable value of water to sustain life. How beautiful that Jesus Christ Himself assures us that He is the “living water” to quench the thirst of our souls (John 7:38). When we claim the words of the Bible for our own life, our souls will experience refreshment that comes from the Spirit of the Living God on all who call upon the name of the LORD.


Prayer for today:

Lord Jesus, please teach me to need You in the midst of this pain. Teach me to need You to the point that I sincerely see my dependence upon Your guidance and favor as water for my own body. Thank You that we are never left in the desert, but that You pour out Your refreshment to each one in need. Help (name)_________ heart to experience Your living water within the tired and dry seasons. Help me to be faithful in lifting up (name)__________ to You by name. You can refresh any situation—even (name)___________. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.




**Week Three in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. How great is His love for us! How grateful I am that I do not have to go through this excruciating time alone—and girlfriend, you do not have to go alone either. Thank the Lord for His ever-present love.



**Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): Bless someone else by making them a meal and dropping it off at their door. Now, it doesn’t have to be a seven coarse meal, but it is best if it is indeed made by you. There is something about working for the betterment of another that has a way of lifting our spirits. As you make your meal, pray for the Lord to bless them and reveal His will in their lives. Now, if you really do not feel confident in your cooking, dropping off a meal is great, too…just remember to pray over the person who will be receiving the meal.



DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Two COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week Two COMPLETE


Theme of Week Two: God Will Restore My Hope


Week Two, Day One:


I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1-2 (HCSB)



Often times, when we are plagued with a heavy heart and no solution is in sight, our gaze and thoughts grow downcast. The phrase “chin up” captures this beautifully. If our focus is solely on the disappointments and chaos of a given trauma, we will miss out on the rescue that comes from above. Psalm 121:1-2 reminds us to lift our eyes up to the mountains—far above our current circumstances—and recall that our help indeed comes from the Lord, the Maker of both heaven and earth. What a sincere assurance for the believer that the Creator of all things, the LORD, is our help in times of trauma.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, forgive me for allowing worry to prevent me from fully coming to You sooner. I ask for Your forgiveness of this today. Please help (name)_______ to look above the current trauma to find help in You. Thank You, Jesus, that You are willing and ready to minister to (name)_____ even now in the midst of the chaos. Thank You, Jesus. In Your name, amen.




Week Two, Day Two:


“Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” Isaiah 40:26 (NASB)


There is a sincere wonder that comes as we stop and look up into the night’s sky. The sheer complexity of rotating constellations and myriad of stars, makes one realize how vast creation is beyond our spinning planet. Yet, although vast, God Himself calls each star by its name and takes care of it. With this knowledge, rest in the assurance that as another day goes by with saddled sorrow, through God’s immense power and strength, you can experience true refreshment in the midst of this present darkness.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for the night’s sky. Thank You for a constant reminder that You are in control and attentive to all of Your creation. Thank You that You call (name)________ by name, just as the stars. Please allow Your presence to be felt by (name)________ today in a fresh way. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.



Week Two, Day Three:


“Oh, Lord GOD! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!” Jeremiah 32:17 (HCSB)


No circumstance or real life issue is too hard for the LORD to bring rescue and divine solution to. Cancer is not too difficult for the LORD. HIV is not too difficult for the LORD. Separated families are not too difficult for the LORD. Rebellious and destructive attitudes are not too hard for the LORD. Feelings of apathy, vengeance and lust are not too hard for the LORD. At times we hold the deepest pains silently in our souls, with fear that the LORD will not choose to come through on that one. Reject this lie from the pit of hell and stand on the promise of Jeremiah 32:17. In His perfect way, God will indeed bring a solution to each and every heart in need.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that nothing is too difficult for You to handle. Thank You that (name)_________’s situation is not too hard for You to restore. Please provide (name)_______ with the needed strength to get through today as the battle for truth wages on. You are trustworthy Jesus. Help me to model this as I lean on You anew today. In Your name I pray, amen.




Week Two, Day Four:


“We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (HCSB)


When we put our hope and trust in the LORD, Jesus Christ, we gain a strong anchor amidst the storms of life. As the winds and waves rage, and our life seems dwarfed by the turbulent waves all around, we can claim Romans 8:28. When there are no words to express our pain, claim the truth of God’s Word. When a positive outcome to heartache cannot be found, hold fast to Scripture. When it seems that there is no way to find restoration, recall that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.



Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, You are perfect in all Your ways. You know things from beginning to end. Help (name)_______ in this time of turbulence. As the waves of turmoil continue to cause panic, LORD, I plead that (name)________ will find refuge in You. Allow the truth of Romans 8:28 to lodge deep within (name)_________ heart in this time and forever more. Thank You for working all things for the good in the lives of each one who loves You. In Your mighty name, Jesus, amen.




Week Two, Day Five:


“You Yourself have recorded my wanderings. Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your records? Then my enemies will retreat on the day when I call. This I know: God is for me.” Psalm 56:8-9 (HCSB)


Praise God that the living God, Jesus Christ, knows all things. He not only saw our rebellion and defiance, but also our deep sorrows. The Bible reminds us that He keeps diligent track of each detail of our lives. And praise be to His name, it was the LORD Himself who would provide the eternal ransom for our hearts when He went to the cross for you, me and the rest of human history (1 John 4:9). Although the devil desired to destroy us, eternally, God stepped in—as only He could—to bring us into the safe place and fulfilling presence of Almighty God. And if we agree with the psalmist, and declare that God is on our side as we submit our lives to His calling, we indeed will be rescued and redeemed for His eternal purpose and our ultimate pleasure.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that my suffering is not hidden from Your sight. Thank You that You indeed care about (name)______ life and are attentive to the details there within. Help (name)________ to remember that when we call upon the powerful name of Jesus Christ, the devil and his minions will retreat to the place You tell them (Psalm 56:8-9). Thank You that caring for (name)__________. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.




Week Two, Day Six:


2Our mouths were filled with laughter then, and our tongues with shouts of joy. Then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” 3The LORD had done great things for us; we were joyful.” Psalm 126:2-3 (HCSB)



When the LORD delivers us, we need to document it in some way. By sharing the event and outcome with others and writing it down, we are then able to reflect on such times of deliverance when future problems arise. In Psalm 126:2-3, the Israelites are recalling how happy they were once they were delivered from harm by the power of the LORD. In doing this, they recall His goodness and His mercy over their lives. As we experience times of hardship and heartache, may we take time to declare God’s power in our own stories—reminding ourselves, just as the Israelites did—God has done it for me in the past…and He will do it again in His perfect time!





***Have sketches of a few picture frames. These are to be “framed moments” that we look back on from within our own stories and thank the LORD for His deliverance from. Whether a word or simple sketch, take a moment to actually stop and focus on recalling the LORD’s faithfulness in your own story.


“O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, Plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.” Isaiah 25:1 (NASB)




Week Two, Day Seven:


7The LORD will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life. 8The LORD will protect your coming and going both now and forever.” Psalm 121:7-8 (HCSB)


In the midst of a tornado within our lives or of those we love, it is important for us to remind our hearts of Biblical truths. The LORD is the defender and protector for all who trust in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. This is not to state that we will not experience hardship in this life—in fact Jesus Christ assures us of such difficulties within the believer’s life (John 16:33). Yet, Jesus Christ Himself assures us, in that same passage that we are to be encouraged realizing that He has overcome every form of heartache and temptation that this world throws at us—as He rose from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:4). Let this sink in personally today—you are going to make it through this by the power of the LORD Jesus Christ.


Prayer for today:

LORD Jesus, I repent for trying to look to other ways to make the pain of this situation go away. It is only You who can bring me through this extremely difficult time. It is only You who can reach (name)________ and bring healing. Your Word tells us that You will keep us from all harm and be with us always (Psalm 121:7-8). Help me to see Your protection and provision within my own story. Help (name)_________ to see Your protection and provision within their own story, as well. In Your powerful name I pray, amen.



**Week Two in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. How beautiful to recall that God’s original plan was for humanity to enjoy perfect communion with Him in Eden. Once we missed the mark, God provided redemption for us through the rescue of Jesus Christ for each of our souls. What a gracious God we serve! Thank Him for His endless grace.








** Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): Everyone loves to share a story. This week, call a local retirement home and see if you could do something to bless them with your time. Sometimes just being present is all someone needs to receive the needed boost to endure under their own present challenges. Remember, just because one is enduring hardships by no means makes them unable to be a blessing to others. Quite the contrary, often times, it is when we are at the end of ourselves that we find the blessings of God.

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE

DAILY DEVOTIONAL by Katie Messer: “Through The Valley of Achor” Week One COMPLETE


Through The Valley of Achor


Prayers for a change in direction drive us to our knees as the calendar ticks down to the unwanted day of departure. Blessings Through The Valley of Achor will remind you that heartache and cries for mercy are woven into the tapestry of all believers. Whether military or millionaire, ditch digger or diplomat, married or single—each life reaches a point where we all fall to our knees and cry out to God. Each day we will meditate on a passage to help us bloom in seasons of great transition and perceived gloom. This book is a devotional for the days that hurt and an encouragement that with God you will make it through (Jeremiah 29:11-13).










After six years of marriage, two precious children and a steady expectancy of the unexpected in our “soldier-diplomat” lifestyle, I had grown a bit comfortable as to what life would look like for us. I was now united to my best friend in marriage. God had worked miracles to ensure our union (read Mirrors to Windows: Change your view to see God’s true romance to see the full account unfold). Phil and I had traveled much of North Africa, the Middle East and parts of Europe together during our first year of marriage for his profession. God had then honored our prayers for children. God even allowed my husband to be brought back from war in order to be present for our son’s birth—nearly unheard of within the military community. After the birth of our son, we were able to spend time with Phil’s parents before his mama went home to be with Jesus. We had so much to be grateful for. Although we moved every twelve to twenty-four months, I knew that Phil would always be with me to see our family through. He was a man of God and a man of sincere prayer. God had really blessed my children and me. Then, we stepped into a new terrain within our marriage and family. We experienced, more fully, what the Valley of Achor (meaning trouble) really was.


With four years in the Middle East and three years previous bouncing across the U.S. and the Arab World as a whole, our roots never sank too deep into any one place. In terms of the heart, since the age of six, my roots and strong standing were in Jesus Christ, my Lord and personal Savior. How blessed I was to have married a man, who also from a very young age, had submitted to Christ. My husband shared my same heart for global adventure and reaching those in need of the eternal security that Jesus Christ brings to the soul.


For our six years of marriage and the year prior during our courtship, Phil had always been the cool-headed one in our relationship; the logical, the planner. Well, in short, this is not the type of person he married! If there was something to fret about, more times than not, I was first in line to fill the role. If there was something to rejoice about, more times that not, I was the one waving the biggest pom-pom. And in the midst of it all, we knew that the Lord would see us through all the silliness and sorrow in between.


Although I saw military family after military family deeply challenged by the separation that comes with deployment, I was certain that the Lord would not allow me and my family to walk through the hellish experience of being a “married-single parent” as so many do while their loved one is deployed for a year or longer. When we got the news of Phil’s next U.S. Embassy assignment—coupled with the fact that we could not accompany due to safety concerns—I felt as though a horrible joke had just been played on me. In many ways, it was as though I was flashed back to the heartbreaks from my own past. As a young girl, I had always told myself that my family was safe from destruction—but had been proven wrong as divorce gripped the family of my youth. Yet, God provided in the midst of that heartache and used it for His ultimate glory.


Fast forward to the present, I was now married to the man I loved, the mama of two precious toddlers whom we loved and completely reeling all over again as I faced a new earthquake within my family. The very man God had led me to marry was now being ripped away from our children and me for an extended time due to his professional dealings with foreign governments. I silently asked the Lord in earnest, “Haven’t I gone through enough?!” [Perhaps, you too can relate to similar internal questions as the earthquakes within your own story disrupt your perceptions of security and what it means to be “safe”.] I could not bring myself to be angry with God—I just could not. I knew, even at that moment—as was true during my youth—that God is good (Nahum 1:7). So, my anger, rage and feelings of betrayal were then directed towards the very one I love most on this earth; my husband.


Ladies, allow me to assure you, the devil hates marriage. The Bible often references a marriage to most closely reflect the relationship of Jesus Christ and His body of believers, called the Church or the Bride of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:25-27 & Revelation 19:7). Thus, Christian marriages are often attacked as a way of sidelining those looked up to by singles—be they believers in Jesus Christ or not. May we pray for our marriages both while residing under the same roof as well as for periods when we are separated geographically by zip codes and even distant time zones. Take stock in this truth Ladies, the God of perfect love is bigger than our suffering and aching hearts (Romans 8:38-39)! I can testify that this has been the case for us and it now can be the case for you, too.


This study is unique in the fact that it has been written in response to the nudging the Lord has put upon my own heart—to counsel my own heart for not only the year apart from the man I love most in the world—but then the return of our family to the Middle East in response to the Lord’s leading. I would love to say that my children were spared of the stress, the chaos and the heartache that has been associated with this traumatic season of saying good-bye, hello and good-bye again to Daddy for an extended time and later friends, but that simply has not been the truth. If you too, are a parent who has felt that you have “missed the mark” to represent Jesus Christ under the current pressure you are living in, may I encourage you this very day. God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our blow-ups, and bigger than our deepest pain (2 Peter 1). Listen to me now, do not give up! You are not a quitter. You were made for so much more than this heartache and turmoil. Keep pressing into the Lord; you may not be able to see the end in sight yet, but rest assured, the best is yet to come!


Begin by confessing your shortcomings to the Lord (1 John 1:9-10) and ask for His help in walking through this Valley of Trouble with Him (Psalm 23). This will actually make you stronger and more stouthearted through the reading and meditation on the Word of God; the Holy Bible (Psalm 119:50) and daily bringing your requests and sincere heart before the Lord in prayer (Philippians 4:6).


The Word of God is where our hearts can be encouraged and redirected back to the Lord in times of chaos and great turmoil (Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 6:23 & 2 Peter 1:19). Hold fast to the biblical knowledge that with Jesus Christ, He will faithfully lead you out.



“The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,

He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.


Planted in the house of the Lord,

They will flourish in the courts of our God.


They will still yield fruit in old age;

They shall be full of sap and very green,


To declare that the Lord is upright;

He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”


Psalm 92:12-15 (NASB)


To my LORD Jesus Christ, Who has been faithful to walk my precious family through each mountaintop and valley of this great adventure. May praise and hope in Jesus Christ alone be gleaned from these pages.


Christ is the answer



Theme of Week One: God Hears Me


Week One, Day One:


“The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18 (HCSB)


There are times in our lives when we cry out to God, with nothing left to say. Our hopes seem dashed. Our prayers appear unanswered. And, deep down, we may even fear that God simply could not fix the situation at this point anyway. On days like this, soak in the truth of God’s Word. The words of Psalm 34:18 beautifully reminds us, that not just today, but each day, the LORD is near and saves those who are crushed. What a comfort to recall that in such seasons of our lives, regardless of the duration, the LORD is near and indeed saves.


Prayer for the day:

Dear LORD, help (name)_____. You see the pain. You see the complexity of the situation. Thank you that Your Holy Bible is trustworthy and true. Please give (name)______ the assurance that this very day, You are providing comfort and presence in this incredibly difficult time. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Two:


“For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:” I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.” Isaiah 57:15 (HCSB)


Royalty dwells in palaces with elegance and lighthearted living. Yet, praise God that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, wanted to have fellowship with each of us. The Bible assures us that each life is so treasured to God that even while we were still involved in crazy living, Jesus paid our ransom (1 John 4:9). Rest in the reality today that your life is so precious to God that He stepped out of His royal living in order to revive each heart that becomes oppressed by sorrow, guilt and pain.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for caring for each of our lives. Thank you for caring for (name) _________ life. Thank You that Your Word, the Holy Bible, assures us that we are never alone in our sorrows. It is You, the High and Exalted One who revives our hearts. Help (name) _______ to claim this truth for today. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Three:

“The God of old is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. He drives out the enemy before you and commands, “Destroy!” Deuteronomy 33:27 (HCSB)


Have you ever just needed someone to back you up? When we belong to Jesus Christ, as we call upon His name, we are tapping into the eternal power of God. The same God that created the world (1 John 1:1), delivered the Israelites from the hands of Pharaoh (Exodus 14:29-31) and raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Matthew 28:5-7) is the same God you can call upon this very day. As we learn to find comfort and refuge underneath the powerful arms of Almighty God, we will see that it is God who will destroy our problems, in His perfect timing.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You for being all knowing and all powerful. Thank You for not only seeing the problems in (name) _______ life, but also destroying these problems, in Your perfect timing. Help me to claim this truth for today. You are trustworthy and Your timing is perfect. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Four:


“Be a rock of refuge for me, where I can always go. Give the command to save me, for You are my rock and fortress.” Psalm 71:3 (HCSB)


When the diagnosis is worse than expected, call on the LORD to be your rock. When the relationship appears forever shattered, call on the LORD to be your fortress. When you no longer feel in control of your life and wonder if there is a point to continue on, call on the name of the LORD to be your rock and fortress. Regardless of our situations, no matter how deep the pain, there is always hope in Jesus Christ. Take a deep breath today and hold fast to this prayer of Psalm 71:3. This verse is a plea for God’s help. Make it your own today—God is waiting for your permission to intervene in the story. In faith, put the name of the one in trouble on the rock of Jesus today.


***Have a picture of a rock sketch here.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, please be the safe house of refuge for (name) ___________. Thank You that at Your word, rescue is realized within any situation. Help (name) ________ to grant You the permission to intervene into this situation today. Please be the rock for (name) ______ in a special way this day. Thank you, LORD. In Jesus’ name, amen.




Week One, Day Five:


2Let my prayer come before You; Incline Your ear to my cry! 3For my soul has had enough troubles, And my life has drawn near to Sheol.” Psalm 88:2-3 (NASB)


There are seasons in life that simply leave us numb. Yet, no matter how mad we get, no matter how many nasty words we speak, the outcome does not change. When we feel overwhelmed by helplessness and inadequacy, may we cry out to the LORD in an unvarnished way. The God of the Bible, Jesus Christ, has broad shoulders. Bring your pain—the situations that have numbed your heart—to the LORD today. He is ready to rescue you in the midst of it all (1 Peter 5:7).


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, help (name) ________ with feelings of being numb and overwhelmed. Thank You, Jesus, that we can come to You with honesty and know that You care about even the smallest details of our lives. Help this truth to be made clear to (name) ______ today. In Your name I pray, amen.



Week One, Day Six:


“I have called upon You, for You will answer me, O God; Incline Your ear to me, hear my speech.” Psalm 17:6 (NASB)


In sports, there is a moment when only the best of the best can save the play or win the game. The psalmist is making a similar plea. He acknowledges that God is the one who has always come through for him. May we take time today to speak this truth to the Lord from our own personal stories. Not only will it bless the Lord, but it will be a sincere encouragement to our own hearts as we recall the various ways God has saved the day in the past. If you are new to the faith, know that God is ready to do the same for you that He has been in the business of doing for all of humanity since inception—saving the day—with the perfect play.


Prayer for today:

Dear Jesus, thank You that I can approach You with my needs. Thank You that (name)_______ can approach You with needs as well. Please minister to (name)_______ heart today. Help (name)______ to lay the heavy burdens down because You really do care for (name)________. In Jesus’ name, amen.



Week One, Day Seven:
“O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.” Daniel 9:18 (NASB)


This prayer in Daniel is one that echoes that all are helpless to restore what is needed—apart from the Lord’s help. With humility to God’s greatness and openly stated need, Daniel earnestly presented his requests to the Lord. In the midst of our own chaos, may we be a Christian people who are marked by this trait of running to God with both humility to God’s awesome power and acknowledgement that He indeed is more than able to come through in any situation.



Prayer for today:

Dear Lord, hope is found in You alone. Please minister to (name)_______ as the battle wages on today. Thank You that you see the destruction and will bring rescue to the situation, through Your great compassion, at Your perfect time. Help (name)_________ to cling to You in a new way today. In Jesus’ name, amen.




**Week One in review. Please write down the most meaningful verse from this past week below. As you do, please take the time to thank God for His Word. There is such a depth of strength that we are able to tap into by praying the Lord’s promises back to Him. He is faithful to sustain us in all our sorrows. Thank the Lord for His faithfulness.









** Optional Service Project (Acts 20:35): This week, find someone to bless with a small assortment of flowers simply because Jesus loves them. It could be a neighbor, co-worker, friend at church, etc. In doing this, pray for this individual to feel the love of God in a new way this week.



“Pray, then, in this way:

‘Our Father who is in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.


‘Your kingdom come.

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.


‘Give us this day [a]our daily bread.


‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.


‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [b]evil. [c][For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]



Our Heavenly Father, set apart and most special is Your name. May Your desires (kingdom) and Your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us the things You see as necessary for us to accomplish Your will for today. And forgive us from the wrong and hurtful things that we do, as we forgive others who have also done wrong and hurtful things. And do not lead us into temptation, but help us to overcome naughty things that will not make You happy. For the Kingdom, the power and the glory belong to God alone forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13

HOMESCHOOLING in COVID…Counting in the Bible

Number Counting from 1-12—This could be used to help remember the clock numbers, too

One. There is one God (1 Chronicles 17:20).

Two. The Bible has two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament (Psalm 119:105)

Three. God has three parts: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16-17)

Four. The first four disciples of Jesus were Peter, Andrew, James and John (Matthew 4:18-22)

Five. A little boy was used by Jesus to feed over 5,000 with his lunch of two fish and five barley loaves (John 6:1-13)

Six. On day six of creation, God made every animal that crawls and walks as well as mankind (Genesis 1:24-31).

Seven. On day seven of creation, God rested (Genesis 2:2).

Eight. Josiah was eight years old when he became king (2 Kings 22:1).

Nine. Jesus healed ten men, but nine did not say thank you (Luke 17:17).

Ten. God gave Moses the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 4:13).

Eleven. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared to His eleven disciples (Mark 16:14-15).

Twelve. Jesus told His twelve disciples that anyone who wants to be first in God’s kingdom, must be the very last and the servant to all (Mark 9:35).

HOMESCHOOLING in COVID…Play dough activity to illustrate FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness lesson with playdough

  1. Give each child a lump of play dough. Let them play with the play dough as you give the lesson.


  1. List many things that we do that do not make God happy (not sharing, gossiping, lying, cheating, etc.). With each thing stated, roll a little ball out of play dough and stick it together.

When we tell God that we do not want to do things His way, but rather our own way, we make Him sad. We don’t want to make God sad! When we choose to hurt other people, not tell the truth and forget that we are very loved and important to God, we are missing out on God’s best for us!


  1. Have the children look at the pile of lumps from the play dough.

When God looks at us, this is what we look like to Him, before we ask for His forgiveness. We look like a big pile of yuck! But, thank God, the same God who knows our hearts, our thoughts and minds the most is the same God who wants to clean us from the filthy things we do, say and think. How great is that?! J


  1. When we ask for God to forgive us, He squishes and blots out each and every one of our hurts. He does not remember them any more.

Take your hand and squish your play dough lump pile until it is flat. Remove your hand for the children to look for the lumps. Ask them what they see instead of lumps. Some may not see anything initially, but encourage them to come closer to look.


When the Lord forgives us, not only has our disobedience been wiped away, but He leaves His mark on us (reference the lines from your own hand print on the play dough). It is not by our own goodness that we have been forgiven, but because of the fact that Jesus Christ took the big timeout for us (dying on the cross of Calvary) so that we would not have to. What an amazing God we serve!


“It is I who sweep away your transgressions for My own sake and remember your sins no more.” Isaiah 43:25 (HCSB)


“And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.” Hebrews 8:12 (NLT)


“And just as it is appointed for people to die once–and after this, judgment–so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.” Hebrews 9:27-28 (HCSB)