Refresh Your Faith,
Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible
Welcom Lori! This sounds intriguing. Why did you write about “uncommon” devotions?
The dirty little secret in Christian circles is that many of us are bored with our devotional time. We know we shouldn’t feel this way. It’s important to read our Bibles every day. After all, it’s God’s Word, the source of truth, and life, and hope.
While some have successfully built the discipline of Bible reading into their lives, others struggle. Even those who regularly read their Bibles find it a bit dry at times. Many of us also read devotionals, not to take the place of Bible reading, but to help us discover unfamiliar passages and stories and benefit from a godly writer’s perspective.
I wrote Refresh Your Faith because I was frustrated by many of the devotionals I read. They seemed to focus on the same basic verses I’d memorized with my children twenty years ago. John 3:16, Romans 8:28, Psalm 23, Matthew 3:5-6. Same with the Bible passages and stories. Don’t misunderstand me. I treasure the familiar verses and stories. I’ve held them close to my heart during some of the darkest times of my life.
But I knew there was more to the Bible than these well-worn favorites.
I reached a point in my spiritual life when I needed something new. If something didn’t change, my spirit was going to wither up. My time with God shouldn’t be something I did out of duty. I wanted to delight in God and His Word.
So I asked God to help me. I needed something to refresh my faith and energize my Bible reading. Wow, did He answer. I’d been reading through the Bible every year for more than a decade, but all of a sudden, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to passages I’d never noticed before.
These uncommon verses sparkled like gems. The more I read, the more I spotted them, tucked into obscure stories and buried under genealogies and census reports. I found some hiding out in plain sight—golden nuances and nuggets in the shadows of the more familiar stories.
Refresh Your Faith, Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible is a collection of the treasure I unearthed during my year of searching. Each story-driven devotion contains an unusual verse, a real-life application, and an uncommon faith step.
I hope my book will energize your faith, inspire your devotional time, and make you say, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before!”
You’re right. We do tend to search the same Scriptures, and often settle for the familiar. I can see how that leads to boredom. So, who will enjoy Refresh Your Faith?
People who love God and know it’s important to spend time in God’s Word every day, but they’re are bored with their quiet times, and those who would like to experience EVERY book of the Bible, not just the most familiar ones.
What God Is Doing in Your Crazy, Frustrating Life
Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him!
But the thunder of His power who can understand? (Job 26:16)
Do you ever wonder what in the world God is doing in your crazy, frustrating life?
God, what good does it do to keep reaching out to difficult people when they don’t seem to care?
God, why is that ministry thriving and mine just limping along?
God, why did I spend half my life teaching my kids to love you only to have them turn their backs on faith?
God, why should I keep praying when nothing ever changes?
God, if I’m obeying your call, why is it so hard?
God, what are you doing in this crazy life of mine????
If you can relate to any of these questions, there’s hope. Hope that comes, of all places, from the book of Job.
God is laughing already.
Who would think a man who had lost ten children in a tragic accident, went from millionaire to pauper in a day, and was married to a cruel, faithless woman would have any hope to offer? But in God’s upside down economy, it’s not surprising at all.
In the twenty-sixth chapter of the book that bears his name, Job rehearses for his “miserable comforters” the might, power, and majesty of God.
“He hangs the earth on nothing,” he says. “He binds up the water in His thick clouds . . . He stirs up the sea with His power . . . By His Spirit He adorned the heavens . . . (v. 7-13)”
Then he concludes with this awe-struck realization:
“Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, And how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
The mere edges of his ways.
I grew up on the rocky shores of Narragansett Bay in Bristol, Rhode Island. I’d often sit at the shoreline, wade in the shallows, or swim out until my feet barely touched the bottom. Because I had lived around the sea all my life, I thought I knew it well.
Then one day I boarded a ship that took me hundreds of miles off shore, where the water stretched from horizon to horizon and the ocean floor lay miles beneath me. Only then did I begin to understand the true nature of the ocean. Before that, I had experienced the mere edges – and how small a whisper they had been.
After pointing out our nearsighted perspective, Job lifts the fog on the ocean of God’s ways: “But the thunder of his power, who can understand?”
Paul, in First Corinthians, says it like this: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (2:9). And, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (13:12).
As Christians bound to the earth by our mortality, we glimpse only the mere edges of His ways. And hear only small whispers of Him.
But one day we’ll sail out into the vast expanse of no-time life. We’ll hear the clarion call of his mighty voice. We’ll witness the thunder of his power. And we will understand.
Every Bible verse you taught your children? Seed for the harvest.
Every hour spent responding patiently to difficult people? Sandpaper smoothing the edges of your soul.
Every late night and early-morning prayer time? A fragrant offering.
Every kind deed done in Jesus’ name? Stepping stones on the journey toward righteousness.
Job can speak into our angst and impatience because he, too, wondered what in the world God was doing. How could anything good be happening when he saw so few results?
But Job clung to his integrity, remained faithful to God, and never stopped believing that somehow, somewhere, God was using his suffering to bring about a mighty harvest.
“I know that my Redeemer lives,” he declared triumphantly, “and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God” (19:25-26).
Because of the gift of Scripture, we know what Job didn’t – that God was using the panorama of his life – the pain and the pleasure – to script a faith story so genuine that it would encourage believers for millennia.
We know none of Job’s heart wrenching experiences were wasted. Even today, thousands of years later, God continues to use his insight and example to encourage us along our journey.
Perhaps God will use (is using?) our lives to do the same.
“God is not unjust;” the writer of Hebrews promises, “he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them” (Heb. 6:10).
Today, if you’re wondering what in the world God is doing in your crazy, frustrating life, be encouraged. These are only the edges of his ways. The vast ocean lies before you.
As Christians bound to the earth by our mortality, we glimpse only the mere edges of God’s ways. And hear only small whispers of Him.
Sometimes we can look back at times in our lives and see how God used our hardships and trials to accomplish something amazing. Other times the curtain remains closed. When you think about Job and others from Bible history (Moses, Joseph, David, the widow from Elijah’s day, Naomi, Hannah), do you think they knew fully how God was going to use their difficulties for his glory?
Is it safe to assume, then, since the same God who ordered the events of their lives also orders ours that he is similarly at work in our lives? Although it may be hard to conceive how anything good could come out of a dark time, imagine for a few moments how God might use your struggles to bring about something amazing. If what we see is only the edge of his ways, what might the whole ocean look like? Ponder this.
Read Job 26:7-14.
Lori, thank you for sharing such a timely “uncommon” devotion. I’m sure this will be a blessing to many.
About the Author
Lori Hatcher is a pastor’s wife who lives delightfully close to their four grandchildren in Lexington, South Carolina. She’s the author of several devotional books including Refresh Your Faith – Uncommon Devotions from Every Book of the Bible (Our Daily Bread Publishing) and Hungry for God … Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women , the 2016 Christian Small Publisher Book of the Year. The editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, she’s also a blogger, writing instructor, and inspirational speaker. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time .
Connect with Lori
Pinterest (Hungry for God)