What Message Do You Have For Me, God?
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“Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “What message does my Lord have for his servant?” ~Joshua 5:14b

This portion of scripture depicts a scene during a time of battle. Joshua led the people of God across the Jordan River and into the land promised to them. They were claiming it. And this was a time of bloody war.

Of course, it’s not easy to take something that’s yours if someone’s occupying it.

“Uh, excuse me, you’re in my seat. Look, see my ticket.” Fine when it’s assigned seating, but this was occupied land. And the Canaanites weren’t just standing on the land, they were living in it.

Joshua and the tribes of Israel went day by day, month by month, year by year over the course of many years battling to take what God had promised them.

Life can be like that, don’t you think?

A war to simply live in what’s already been given, but feels like you can’t quite own it. Like your life, for example.

It’s February. That’s a month where - depending on where you live and your disposition to cold weather - you may easily feel defeated. Down. Heavy. Like you’re in the middle of a cold war.

Ok, while you’re down there on your back, roll over. Put your face to the ground like the great warrior Joshua and inquire of the LORD.

Is there a message for me? This is hard. I’m struggling. What would you have me do? Where do I go from here? I submit myself to you. I submit my will. My temper. My attitude. I submit my deepest desires, my dreams, my all to you, O LORD.

Out of reverence for God, in a world that barely acknowledges Him, let alone is astonished and worships Him, ask God: what message do you have for me this day, dear God?

Help me hear and obey.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

If you’re in a place of gloom, do what I share above. Don’t just read about it. Do it. And if you know someone who desperately needs to hear from God, send them this devotional with my love.

Nancy Hicks
This I Call to Mind
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“… this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.” Lamentations 3:21,22

When I was first married, I made the mistake of not being as gracious as I could be in receiving gifts.

Poor Cam hated shopping and when he did, he didn’t shop at the stores I liked. So trying to get something for me - and feel like he got it “right” - was stressful.

We’ve had to work through that lovely little mind-maze over the years. The demonstration of our love and gratitude through gifts got a little bent.

Think about when you’ve tried to express your love and it fell flat:

  • Maybe the friend didn’t appreciate the effort you went to to be there. To show up.

  • Maybe your spouse took your availability for granted.

  • Maybe you tried to do something really nice for your son or daughter and they whipped in, then whipped out with barely a “thank you.”

  • Maybe you gave your all, and your parents picked out the one thing you didn’t think of: Not. Quite. Right.

  • You weren’t feeling the love.

And so, with the people of God as recorded in the book of Lamentations, we “lament” the situation. But just for a moment. Don’t indulge, dear one.

Go for the hope!

Call to mind the great love of God. Call to mind the love that consumes every disappointment (Chocolate? Doesn’t he know I’m on a diet? Ugh. Carnations. Why would he bring me carnations? All the way to: Right. I wish I had a love in my life to bring me chocolate or flowers. )

We are not consumed by any of it. Why? Because we’re filled by the boundless, never failing love of the Great Lover.

Happy Valentine’s Day, dear friend.

~Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

Be grateful for any effort made to celebrate love. If there is no effort made by another toward you, then you, being filled with the love and hope of God, demonstrate love to someone today.

Nancy Hicks
Bambi Legs
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Any time Cam and I have a situation where one of us is learning to become the person the other’s been praying for and helping (okay, fighting) to become, we have this little phrase we use:

“I’m doing my Bambi-leg thing.”

You may not know who Bambi is. Bambi’s a Walt Disney baby deer character. When he’s born all the forest creatures come out to welcome this new prince.

Then we all watch the little guy with the long, lanky legs try to get up. He’s awkward. His legs wobble and vary in angles and positions. Whoa, he teeters and nearly falls.

Cam and I call our getting used to something that’s not comfortable or familiar to us “getting up on our Bambi legs.”

When either of us says this, immediately we’re both softened. We smile and there’s a deep understanding:

I’m trying here. I know it’s not yet pretty, but give me time, and lots of grace, please.

That’s what we’re all doing when it comes to, well, just about anything that’s new, foreign and unfamiliar. It’s not graceful and elegant. It’s awkward and messy. For both of us.

For those daring to get up on those Bambi legs, regardless of the issues - well done! Keep going. It takes grace to admit you’re the one with the Bambi legs.

For those who’ve waited patiently for the one to finally see, never mind to actually do something - be patient. Be an encourager. It takes grace to embrace the process.

Extra grace is required on both ends.

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thessalonians 2:16

~ Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

If you don’t have a phrase or symbol to diffuse a potentially volatile or isolating situation in your marriage, or in particular relationships that are deeply meaningful to you, try ours. “Bambi legs.” Maybe Bambi’s outdated. But the concept isn’t.

Nancy Hicks
Worth Living
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I just read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning. It’s a classic my son, David, handed me after he’d read it over Christmas.

“Mom, this is right up your alley. Read it.”

So I did.

And David was right. Viktor Frankl, a psychiatrist, was a man who understood the theory of humanity’s psychology from a knowledge standpoint, and the experience of humanity - its beauty and strength, and extreme degradation - as a survivor of Nazi concentration camps.

Here’s one nugget:

“…often it is just such an exceptionally difficult external situation which gives man the opportunity to grow spiritually beyond himself. Instead of taking the camp’s difficulties as a test of their inner strength, they did not take their life seriously and despised it as something of no consequence. They preferred to close their eyes and to live in the past. Life for such people became meaningless.” (Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, page 72).

How many people do you know who figuratively close their eyes and live in the past? ‘Because the past is so much better than any possibility for my future,’ they think.

I get an eerie chill at the words: “Life for such people became meaningless.”

I pray this is not you! But just in case, here are three things to take into your head and heart today:

1. Take your life seriously. Your life is a gift. It’s valuable, rare and precious.

2. Know there’s meaning in your suffering. These are not trifling times.
They are full of meaning and purpose and opportunity. Don’t waste them.

3. Look forward. Set a date/time to do something special to look forward to.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10

You have a life worth living!

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

If you’re struggling right now to just make it, to push through, every day hold open your hands, palms up to God, and pray again and again: “Give me this day, my Daily Bread. God give me what I need to live this life, this day, in you.”

Nancy Hicks
Whatever’s on the Other End
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“These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” ~1 Peter 1:7

January’s a good time to check your faith. How strong is your faith in God?

There was a time when I wouldn’t pray certain things. I didn’t want to put them out there in case God would do something God-esque crazy! Like take my children from me or move me to Africa. (No offense, my African friends.)

In my early years of marriage when Cam would travel, I used to feel afraid when going to bed. Truth be told, this carried on until our boys headed into their teen years. Seriously. And Cam travelled a lot! 

Of the very few people who knew I struggled with this fear, I’d get the obligatory: God will protect you. He will watch over you. Just pray.

Of course, I knew that from Scripture. And, of course, I’d pray for protection over our home, our children and myself. “God, dispatch your angels. God, I know you’re here,” I’d habitually pray.

But something inside me also knew that lots of people pray for these things. God loves them. And still bad things happen. Houses burn down. Women get attacked. Children die.

That’s called a theodicy. God is good. God is all-powerful. And yet bad stuff still happens. 

So, I kept praying protection. Kept feeling afraid. And kept a weapon by my bed (no guns - I’m Canadian!). And kept trying to figure this out with God.

My friend, Dianne Balch once told me, “Whenever the phone rings, I say to God, ‘thank you for whatever’s on the other end of that line.’”

That’s it. It’s taken years, but that’s the posture of faith I want to have. And trust me, it takes practice to have this kind of faith.

So, I know anything can happen. I pray for protection and power, of course. And yet, I’ve lived long enough with God to also pray: “God, you’re growing my faith. I trust you so much that no matter what happens, I know you’re good. I know you’re with me. I know you’ll see me through. I trust you. I really, really do.” 

I think that’s a good January challenge:

Thank you, God for whatever’s on the other end of this month. This season. This year.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

Calling

I’ve heard people say, “If this happened, I couldn’t live. I couldn’t believe.” What would shake your faith in God?  It’s just helpful to know what you really feel/believe. Then tell God. And let Him continue to build your faith in Him, come what may. 

Nancy Hicks
Strong Hands
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But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”  ~Nehemiah 6:9b


What work is before you this year? Are you moving? Is your family expanding? Are you working on a new initiative at the church or in your business?

Nehemiah prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.” 

Every time I quote this Scripture, I want to add “O, God” to the end. “Strengthen my hands, O God!” That’s me: dramatic and earnest.  And at the start of the hardest work of my life to date (neck-in-neck with rearing kids and loving my husband).

Plus, maybe you’re like me and know God has called you to something you can’t deny. You can’t fritter away time. Sometimes you’d like to just go to lunch but God’s got you working on something bigger than you can handle. To go easy just feels…absurd. Like, your kids are in grave danger and you run an errand on the way to their aid. As if!

“Now strengthen my hands,” the great leader Nehemiah prayed as he led the people of God to rebuild the temple that had been destroyed by surrounding enemies. 

The enemies tried everything to weaken their hands as God’s people built. But Nehemiah looked up and depended on God:

You’ve got what it takes. I don’t. You make me capable. You make me diligent. You make me unwavering. You make me strong.

And God did. And He does still.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


Calling

Place your hands in His hands. Pray Nehemiah’s prayer for whatever God has set before you. “Now strengthen my hands.”


Nancy Hicks
New Year’s Resolution
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Can you remember any resolutions you’ve made in years past?

I resolve to lose the weight.

I resolve to stop biting my nails.

I resolve to fix my marriage.

I resolve to… (fill in the blank)

How have you done with these? I’ll admit, I can’t even remember a resolution I’ve made. Apparently they weren’t such a “whoopdie do” to me.

But I do believe in examining our lives. 

“Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.” ~Lamentations 3:40

My only aunt said to me for years, “Nancy, I’ll get right with God once I get my life in order.” I’m not kidding. She told me that quite a number of times over the years. I would say to her, “Aunt Betty, come to God and let Him get your life in order for you. Come just as you are.” She never figured that out. She just wouldn’t believe me. Then with loads of money and material things around her, she took her own life. I wonder how many New Year’s resolutions she made, but just could not keep.

And isn’t that the bottom line to any New Year’s resolution? “I resolve to get my life in order.” It is, isn’t it? We take stock and get whatever is not up to snuff, up to snuff! In line. Resolved. We bring order to our lives.

Whether you make a resolution or not, it’s a good time to do a New Year’s analysis. We don’t want to live an unexamined life! 

But look at the end of that verse: “Let us return to the Lord.” 

Here’s one resolution I can boldly suggest. By God’s power at work in us, let’s join with the great 18th century American preacher, Jonathan Edwards in his resolutions: 

Resolution One: I will live for God.
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will. 

Now there’s a resolution! 

Love to you, my friend.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

Calling

Take stock of your life, a New Year’s analysis if you will. What needs attention? Start with your relationship with God. Everything - absolutely everything else - hinges on it.

Nancy Hicks
Welcome to 2019!
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Welcome 2019!  Welcome New Year! Welcome to your life in a whole new time. A clean slate. A new notebook.  A fresh start. 

Welcome to you if you’re just joining the NancyHicksLive community. Welcome in and stay a while. We aim to breathe courage and life into your souls because of our deep love of God.

Coming off of Christmas and holiday times can be tough. It can feel like a bit of a let down. But it doesn’t have to. To let down is good, of course. Phew! That was wonderful. Full and wonderful. Even the mounds of laundry and work of relationships was wonderful in their own gritty, get-your-hands-dirty kind of way. 

But to be let down or feel down isn’t necessary. 

Let me share three tips to help keep your spirits bright this New Year:

  1. Every decoration except the Christmas ones stay up. In my house, everyone knows the trees, the lights, and everything evergreen and wintry, (including smelly pine and balsam fir candles), stays up! (Through March in our home. Now, if you live in the Philippines, this is not an issue for you. ☺)

  2. Get in the wintry game! Go snow-shoeing. Get some ice skates and find your local (indoor or outdoor) rink. Put on practical boots and go hiking in the snow! It’s invigorating!  If you live somewhere hot, go find a winter wonderland. (Might I suggest Canada? ☺)

  3. Draw near to God.  This is not a New Year’s resolution. “I resolve to read my Bible and pray. I resolve to go to church.” No. That will take you to mid-February at best. Of course, these are the three main things that help us draw near to God. But, don’t start with a “chin up, tough-it-out” attitude. Just draw near to God. 

But how?

If you, like so many people, struggle to take the time to be with God, start small. Sit still every day for one minute. Pick a place in your home, and sit still early in the morning (or at night if you just CANNOT do the morning). Say to God, “I want to be close to you.” Just start with one minute a day.

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” ~James 4:8  

Use this as your New Year verse if you don’t have another one.

So we pull together and welcome the New Year. We draw near to each other and to God. 

I love that you’re with me. I’m grateful you’re reading this and engaging with me in the newness of this time.

So much love to you…and Happy New Year!

Nancy

Nancy Hicks
Watching and Waiting: Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
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Merry Christmas, dear friend!

I’m not sure if as you read this, the kids are playing or sleeping, or if you’re sick and the house is a mess. But, I simply want to bless you and your friends and family today.

I pray that your time of Advent - your watching and waiting  - has been full of peace and wonder. Of course it seems impossible sometimes, but I know you can experience the presence of Jesus - the baby born, the radical Rabbi, the resurrected King - in everything you do. I pray you’re simply and unhurriedly aware of Him. 

He is near. God is so very, very near to you.

I pray as we’ve connected over the Advent time, in one way or another, you’ve grown in patience and understanding, in love of God and others.

Maybe you’re still watching and waiting this season. 

  • Waiting for the phone to ring.

  • The husband to show

  • The child to turn 

  • The Yorkshire to rise 

God is near. 

And of course, let’s always remember, this first watching and waiting, which for this year is now past, is against the backdrop of Christ’s second coming, for which we constantly watch and wait.

Come Lord, Jesus. Come.

My deep love to you this Christmas,

Nancy

Nancy Hicks
Watching and Waiting: Doing Their Thing
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“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night…” Luke 2:8

A couple of years ago, I served in Albania - speaking live, training female leaders, and working on-air for Christian radio/TV. While I was there, I heard the story of a family of shepherds (women) who all came to know of God’s love for them in Jesus, via radio. Media 7, http://radio-7.net the largest Christian media outlet in Albania and Kosovo, shared the great news of God’s love over the airwaves.

Can you picture shepherds today hearing the gospel (or good news) while they’re just doing their thing in a field? One shepherd believed it. She told her sister about God’s love and she believed, and then that sister left the radio on her bed one day. While she was out (probably running after a wayward sheep or something), their mother picked up the radio and heard the gospel. You got it. She also believed!

I met the whole line of shepherdesses. Seriously. 

Two thousand years ago, shepherds lived out in the field “keeping watch over their flock by night” Luke 2:8

These early wait-watchers weren’t sitting around twiddling their thumbs, dum, de, dum, dum….

No. They were living their lives, in their roles, and they were positioned for His arrival.

Doing their “shepherding” thing, they kept watch, cared for, protected the ones God had entrusted to them. And not just by bright, clear days, but by long, dark nights. 

I love you for doing your thing, dear friend. I encourage you to keep:

  • Running the business

  • Building the ministry

  • Cooking

  • Doing laundry

  • Preaching

  • Teaching

  • Wiping bums

  • Christmas shopping

Do your thing!  God loves to surprise us at the most normal times.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real. 


CALLING

Do your thing. Wrap your gifts, bake, work, train those children… and pray. In it all, pray: God thank you for where you’ve placed me at this time. Now and always, please help me to watch for you.















Nancy Hicks
Watching and Waiting: You Can’t Microwave a Turkey!
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You may have heard of the recent prank played on unassuming mothers everywhere (well, everywhere there are microwaves).

My darling Aaron (son #2) texted me a few days before Thanksgiving in a panic:

“Mom, I have people coming over for ‘Friendsgiving’ and my oven broke. How do I cook a 25-pound turkey in the microwave?”

My ninja-Nancy instincts kicked in. I texted with rapid fire: 

“You CAN’T cook a turkey in the microwave!”  I then picked up the phone and coaxed him to try anything but that. He finally laughed and told me the whole thing was a joke. Nice, Aaron.

This wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility. We’ll butcher just about anything to have what we planned for, or what we want here and now. Quickly!  We live in a microwave world.

You know how especially at Christmas, some things you bake will be ruined if you open the oven before they’re fully baked? Like Yorkshire pudding (OK, Americans call these pop-overs, but they’re Yorkshire pudding☺) If you open up the door of the oven before the Yorkshires are baked, they’ll flop. 

So, you patiently gaze through the glass, watching and waiting for them to puff up just right in all their pudding splendor. They’re SO worth the wait!

As it is with God.

Repeated throughout the Christmas accounts, we see the phrase “when it was time,” or “the time came.”  As in the birth of the long-awaited for Messiah:

While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born…Luke 2:6

God entered our time, rearing His God-head exactly as planned. At the perfect time. God’s timing is impeccable. Not a minute early. Not a smidge late. So be patient. There’s no rush.

And as Christmas Day approaches, here’s a fun, tangible reminder of God’s perfect timing: my family’s Yorkshire Pudding recipe. (We’ll be eating these babies on Christmas day!)

Be patient and enjoy every timely moment this Christmas, dear friend. 

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


Nancy’s Yorkshire Pudding Recipe

(Makes 12, so I double it, ‘cause we love them!)

  • 1 1/2 cup milk 

  • 1 ½ cup white flour

  • 3 eggs

  • ½ tsp. salt

  • Vegetable oil

MIX

In a bowl, mix flour and salt. 

Gradually stir in milk.

Mix in eggs one at a time. 

Tip: Make the batter in advance, cover and refrigerate. (Anywhere from over night to 1 hour. It’s best chilled.)

HEAT oven to 450 degrees.

POUR approximately 1 tsp vegetable oil into medium-size muffin or pop-over pans. Tip: If using muffin pan, oil the sides of each muffin section.

PLACE pan in the oven for a couple of minutes. (Get that oil and pan hot!) 

REMOVE heated pan from hot oven.

SPOON chilled batter into each slot. 

BAKE approximately 15 minutes (ovens vary). Don’t open that oven door ‘til they’re done. (Puffed and golden.)

REMOVE from oven and serve immediately. 

The perfect side to roast beef. Eat with hot gravy. 

ENJOY!



Nancy Hicks
Watching and Waiting
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Merry Christmas (Happy Holidays) dear friend!

Advent is the four weeks that lead up to Christmas. It’s for those who are watching and waiting for Jesus, the Christ, or Messiah to arrive. Of course, today, we remember that first arrival. Today, we call that the first “Christmas.” As we prepare for Christmas 2018, we join with the early Jewish community in the watching and waiting. 

When I think about watching and waiting, I get antsy. My MO isn’t to watch and wait. It’s to move! Truth is, while driving, if I see a red light or a bit of traffic up ahead, I’ll turn and zig-zag more slowly through back routes, just so I can keep moving. Do you relate? Stand-stills can be hard. 

Zechariah the priest knew what it was like to watch and wait. He and his elderly wife, Sarah, couldn’t have children for decades. In an honor-and-shame society, having children meant great blessing and honor. Having none was excruciating. They must have begged God for years to have a baby.

While performing his priestly duty, Zechariah was visited by an angel who announced to him, “your prayer has been heard…” Luke 1:13

While he was having this life-altering encounter with an angel, just outside “the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple…” 

Everyone was watching and waiting.

If you’re watching and waiting for God to show up in some way, my love, you’re in good company. Trust me, God always shows up.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


CALLING

Sit quietly and ask yourself: What am I really waiting for? Sometimes in the quiet, you’ll hear the deepest longing - the true desire - that often gets missed.








Nancy Hicks
Are You Full?

I’m full! We’ve all just come off a lot of family, friends and food. Hopefully you’re full, too.

All around, I, like you, see a lot that causes my heart to sing, “Thank you! Thank you, Lord.”  Thank you for:

  • The father-in-law that moved his whole family to a whole new level of kindness and generosity 

  • Nana, that still shows us how to play board games and laugh herself silly.

  • The newest member of the family that arrived just in time for the season.

I just feel full.

At our place, you never know who’ll be around the Thanksgiving table. I’m from Canada so our family - all still back home - doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving this time of year. On any given year we have a wonderful mixture of visiting family, my boys and Rachel, close friends and others.  What others, you ask? Depends. Honestly, we just pray and see who God brings. It’s never the same and it’s always good. People fill me up.

Maybe the only “full” you feel is in your stomach. You may be coming off a time of pain. Maybe you were pinched with reality - ouch! - and it hurt.  Sickness, job loss, weight issues, church issues, relational trauma. You’re not “full,” you’re fed up!

But, now that the Thanksgiving turkey’s been turned into soup, I want to remind you: still…there’s so much to be thankful for.

I love Nehemiah. What a leader. I like a guy with guts who knows how to take charge if he’s in charge (getting chills).

Here’s what he says to the people of God who start to grieve and mourn when it wasn’t time for that:

“Do not mourn or weep... Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our LORD. Do not grieve…”

Nehemiah 9:10

There is a time for grieving of course. But surely, as we move into this season of deeper, fuller hope, you can heed the great leader’s advice:

Do not grieve. Celebrate! 

If you missed it last week…December dawns. Get full, my friend.

Giving thanks,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING:

Sit quietly with God and allow Him to fill you by praying this way: God, fill me with you. Fill me with as much of you as I can take. Turn my mourning into music making, I pray. Amen.

Nancy Hicks
Give Thanks for Her?
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Here in the U.S. Thanksgiving is tomorrow! (Which is weird ‘cause my second-born arrived on Thanksgiving Day in October. In Canada.)

As you hop in the car or on a plane or over to the grocery store one last time, think about this:

Think about the ones that will be sitting around the table. Aren’t you so grateful for them? Sweet nieces and nephews, fun big-brothers, and grandma that makes the best pumpkin pies!

Now, think specifically about the one you’re not all that excited about. The one you find difficult. Maybe it’s an obnoxious cousin, a picky mother, or a child that’s so disruptive.

I thank God He didn’t give us lofty ideas about how to “just feel good. Just be nice. Just get along.” He gave us practical steps in handling these situations:

Pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.  1 Thessalonians 5:17,18

I want to challenge you:

Today, and all through tomorrow as the family gathers:

Pray for that difficult person. Give thanks for every good thing about them. Don’t quit praying about them, even as they “go off” or do their thing. 

Pray. Giving thanks.

Blessings to you, and each one around your table this Thanksgiving season.

Much love,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

Identify that person. Write down their name if it helps. Sometimes the people that struggle with these kinds of exercises are the ones that know what to do (yeah, yeah, yeah, I know), but just will not do it. Don’t be that one. Pray. Give thanks. 

Nancy Hicks
Note From Nashville: Some Wisdom
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Just home from a conference in Nashville, and was thinking: 

The more I move into this world of Christian speaking, the more I’m learning about landmines. You know, the traps and trip-wires I have to navigate. 

Here’s something I’m learning: be careful. Be careful of triggering words (names) that lead to barriers. The climate in the U.S. is tense and skittish.

Here’s an example: When you write a book, it’s a good idea to get people to endorse your work. Of course depending on who endorses you, you can label yourself and in the blink of an eye, be deemed irrelevant. This happens everywhere, but it certainly happens among Christians. 

What I find frustrating is I’m not only one thing. 

“Oh, she reads this author. She’s this.”

“Oh, she’s friends with this person. She’s that.”

Liberal. Conservative. Republican. Democrat. Evangelical. Heretic.

It’s all just so darn annoying!

Someone recently heard me say one thing, and went off on what he assumed I therefore felt and believed about everything. Wrong. Flat out wrong. 

Now, just because I don’t grand stand on any of these labels doesn’t mean I have a grab-bag theology. Every issue I continue to wrestle with through prayer, engaging with Scripture and people, all kinds of thinking, living, loving people.

I’ve got you in mind, ‘cause you’re gonna be facing the same issues over turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. Know what I mean?

The division in society, in families and in the Church around politics, or just a totally different world-view, is real. So what do we do?

  • Pray before you show up. Ask God to give you a humble, loving heart.

  • Listen. Seek to understand where people are coming from. Even forfeit your need to be understood.

Finally: 

Turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.  (Proverbs 2:1-6)

Just thought I’d share what I was thinking.

Much love,

Nancy


I’m real because God is so real.

Worship: Part 5 - Get Up and Go!
 
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Why is it such a hassle to go to church?  

I know there are a boat-load of reasons - emotional, big, real reasons why it’s such a hassle sometimes. But, there are also an equal number of nasty little issues that get in the way. Let’s begin with the nasty little issues, then go after the bigger stuff in other Nancy’s Notes.

Showing up for church is half the battle. Today, in North America, it’s a tough part of the battle. Church competes with sports, speedy lifestyles, shuffling kids back and forth, work as usual on Sundays, etc. But in it all, you have choices. 

How can we make church (meeting together) a priority this fall?

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Find a church. Church is not listening to a podcast. It’s not pulling up another YouTube video of Tim Keller or Andy Stanley (as much as we love you, guys!). That’s hearing a sermon, and it’s powerful, but it’s not church, my love. You need to mix and mingle, meet and share with the people of God. Your gifts are missing. YOU are missing. And YOU matter. Church can be a pain, I know. People can be pains. I’m a pain! (I write this with the backdrop of politics creating genuine schisms in families and church communities, but THAT’s a bigger, separate, but related issue.) Still, we come together in it all, and declare: we need you, God! We want you!

    Look for a church that does three things: 

    • Holds high the name of Jesus. 

    • Shares the Bible as God’s written and reliable word to us, and 

    • Loves all people. (Of course I hear the sneers. But these are the things to unpack with the people of God, not without them.) 

  2. Put it in your calendar. Basic, right? If going to church (whether you meet in a field, a home, a movie theater, a coffee shop, or a “traditional” building), isn’t a regular habit, everything will push it out. Have you noticed? Especially if group worship is not a regular habit, put the stake in the ground around where and when. Like sex with your spouse. If something so important is getting pushed out, then schedule it.

  3. Ditch the excuses. 

    • I’m tired. 

    • It’s the only day I get to…

    • I don’t like…

    • My kids have…

      Would you do this with your children’s education? Your employment? Oh, I see, those are valuable and risk-free? Face your excuses and handle the Life suckers. (No, I’m not talking about your kids!)

4. Prepare.

  • Prepare your heart and mind all week so that you come ready to offer up all that you are to God’s service and glory.

  • Prepare your kids, “We’re getting up earlier, so …” (You’re the parent. You’re in charge.)

  • Prepare your clothes. (This from a fashionista.)

  • Prepare your body. (Get to bed at a decent hour.)

If I came across in this post as a bossy pants - sorry. I’m not trying to. I’m trying to nudge us to respond to God’s call to LIFE. 

Much love in Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

What’s the hardest barrier I mentioned (or missed) for you and/or your household? Face the issue. God in you has what it takes to face it and handle it.

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 4 - Roaring Rocks!
 
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What do you yell about? What gets you going? Good or bad, does anything call out a voice in you?

Sometimes we can surprise ourselves at what prompts a visceral response. An image on T.V. (another sex abuser?), your mom who picks and picks and picks one too many times until something comes out of you that shocks you both! And what about politics? Does this get you fired up enough to express something above a gentle word?

Don’t forget the good stuff, too. Your kid on the soccer field will get you going. She finally has the ball. She’s running. Pony tail is flying! And you, the doting parent just sit there on your hands, right?

Right.

I watched the Philadelphia Eagles win the Super Bowl last year while sitting in a pub in New Zealand. Even the mostly non-Americans cheered and made some noise. But back home in Philadelphia?

Puh-lease. WILD! Parades, high fives, body slams, kissing, community and noise. Lots of good noisy noise.

Even if you’re the docile type - quiet, unassuming, tame - does anything, good or bad, get you to roar?

But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples!”

“I tell you,” He replied, “if they remain silent, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:39,40)

The disciples (people following Jesus), saw Him and praised Him. They were loud and joyful. They’d been with Jesus and seen Him do so much. They were beginning to get the picture of just who Jesus was. 

Today I sit wondering: Are earthquakes what Jesus meant about the rocks crying out? 

Quaking. Splitting. Roaring: Somebody’s gotta praise Him! 


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

What excites you about God? Anything? If so, think about that. Sometimes, you just gotta’ ditch the decorum. Read a Psalm until your pores pour out praise.

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 3 - Let ‘Er Rip
 
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Can I get your opinion on something?

Let me describe a dilemma:

Say God’s given you a great singing voice. Like, not only a voice that mama says is “real nice” but others affirm (as much as we love our mamas, they can be a bit biased in these things).

Now, say you love, love, love God. Like crazy love Him. You enjoy His company regularly, you go wild when you see Him move in people’s lives. You know and have proven His promises. Tested them. You’re sure those promises are sure.

Now comes Sunday, or whatever day you gather with people who celebrate God. 

So you - the one with the singing voice - are singing and feeling alive and bold. You imagine you’ve somehow found yourself among the angelic beings. They’re letting it rip, so you do, too.

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:2,3)

Only, you’re not actually in the heavenly realms, are you? (Or are you?) You’re on earth. In your church. 

And you’re standing out. It’s for Him, but you’re not alone. And some sitting around you love it. But, your family’s laughing, or embarrassed and nudging you to pipe down.

But you’ve got passion and God’s given you a voice.

Do you sing full voice and let ‘er rip? Or do you not? Do you hold back the force of your adoration and expression of it? 

Of course, if you’re only and always fully out there, I suppose you want to check that. We are after all a group of worshipers. And each of us, after all, is prone to wander (at the worst times), into see me, hear me. Or, God are you happy? Do you see how much I love you? Are you happy with me?  

How it can so easily become about us.

Still. It’s a dilemma, don’t you think?


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

We want to praise God with everything we’ve got, but we don’t want to distract, do we? What say you?

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Worship: Part 2 - The War For Worship
 
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We’re made to worship. And worship we must. Everything in us desires, craves, longs to worship God.

And we see a battle, a war in us when it comes to worship.

We place our adoration, attention and praise on people: kids, parents, spouses, friends, heck, even our pets (ok, they aren’t “people” but sometimes we treat them like they are). I don’t know what I’d ever do without you, we think or even say.

We accidentally worship things, too: trees, stars, jewelry, special places, etc. 

We revere them. Our admiration is high.

God built us to find our everything in Him. And He knows we misplace our worship, too. It’s why He set the standard for His people (notice, for HIS people not for everyone), right after He brought the Israelites out of slavery: 

“ No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am GOD, your God …”  (Exodus 20:3,4)

That’s the first commandment. Look how it’s reiterated in Deuteronomy:

“Deeply respect GOD, your God. Serve and worship him exclusively… Don’t fool around with other gods, the gods of your neighbors …” (6:13,14)

Then drawing on these passages while rumbling with Satan in the wilderness, Jesus shoots back, 

“Worship the Lord your God and only the Lord your God. Serve him with absolute single-heartedness.” (Luke 4:8)

Now, if you don’t worship the God of the Scriptures (Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit) you may be thinking: God sounds demanding. Insecure even.

Not at all. He knows there’s always a war for worship. And He’s showing us where to find the culmination of our cravings. 

Worship of God is truly life’s climactic experience! 

In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

Notice the language you use and longings that rise up in you when you’re around certain people and/or things. Are they potentially warring for your worship?  Just notice. 

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships
Well, Well, Well
 
Well, Well, Well

Well, Well, Well

[Jesus] told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”

“I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 

John 4:1-18

I don’t know about you, but most of what I’ve ever heard about the woman at the well involves her sleazy past. Five husbands! And living with a guy now.

It’s often read with inflection that conjures up raised eyebrows, slight head shaking, tsk, tsk, tsk. Who would dispute Jesus’ unearthing her checkered past? If you read beyond verse 18, you’ll notice she changed the subject to the topic of worship, and sort of takes a jab at Jesus.

When I studied performance and sang for years back in Canada, one thing I learned: always read a script or a lyric in loads of different ways. Put emphasis on different words, like 

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

I have no husband.

This is the woman’s response when Jesus brings up her current living arrangement.

Also, consider the context. Does the context allow sadness? Anger? Pride, shame, etc.? Thinking through historical, literary and theological contexts, what makes the most sense? This is one among loads of moments from the Bible, where we wish we could see her face. Hear her tone. But we can’t. So we do our best, and sometimes make assumptions.

Think about this:

This woman at the well has a past, but maybe everything is not as it seems. 

Remember, women weren’t the ones who had power in first century. They were property. They were subject to divorce for any little thing. And when they were divorced, they were destitute. A man could make or break a woman’s reputation.

Perhaps her husbands died. (But five? Probably not.)

Perhaps her sin wasn’t a “love-them-and-leave-them” attitude. Perhaps it was more she had undesirable traits (anger, resentment, who knows?), creating issues in her marriages that caused men to send her away.

The point:

Be very careful to not make assumptions about people based on only raw facts. Be very careful to not make assumptions about the voice of Jesus speaking into these things.


In Christ,

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

 

 

Your Calling For Today

Is there someone in your life you’ve made assumptions about? Even if you are correct, is it possible that you could be making assumptions about the way God is speaking into the situation?

 

 
Nancy HicksRelationships