The Power of the Cross
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“God rescued us from dead-end alleys and dark dungeons. He’s set us up in the kingdom of the Son he loves so much, the Son who got us out of the pit we were in, and got rid of the sins we were doomed to keep repeating.” — Colossians 1:13-14, The Message

 We’re still living in the reverberation of this and the very first Easter. I don’t know about you but I not only want to constantly live in the reverberation of Easter, but the reality of it!

 Stop and really think about what has been secured through the cross of Jesus Christ. Life. Power. Peace. And so much more. And ultimately these “things” we so long for are found in God. He is Life. He is Power. He is Peace.

I snagged this snapshot from my book, Meant to Live, which you’ll be able to hold in your hot hands this September:

“Look at the cross. As we live aware of distance between God’s perfection and our own, we get desperate until we realize that’s precisely why Christ came—to bridge that gap! The awareness of the divide habitually connects us to our need.

Remember the lyric from ‘Amazing Grace’: ‘’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear (the gift of our awareness of sin), and grace my fears relieved’? (God’s gift of the cross!)”

This. This is the power of the cross!

“As we’re honest about our sin, and about who God is in His unrivaled glory, the cross increases more and more. It’s not actually enlarging. It’s already full size. Its work is full and complete. But as we continue to access it in our lives, we realize more of its power.

When you get this, it’s what makes you throw up your hands in worship: ‘Hallelujah!’ That’s the power of the cross!

My former pastor, the late Rich Craven, would often say, ‘For every one look you take at yourself, take nine at the cross.’ That ratio keeps God and His saving power always front and center.”  (Meant to Live by Nancy Hicks)

 You, my dear friend, can have the power of the cross in everything— absolutely everything you think, say, and do.

 The power of the risen Christ in you is not a nice idea. It’s real.

 And it can be a reality in your life today.

I’m real because God is so real.

 ~ Nancy

 CALLING

 Where are you seeing a rut in your life? A relationship? A rotten habit or attitude? See it. Name it. Then ask God to breathe resurrection power into that situation.

Come, Lord Jesus, come here and now.

Nancy Hicks
I Know That My Redeemer Lives
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In 2013, Cam and our two sons, David and Aaron, headed into Philly just days after Christmas to hear Handel’s Messiah. Christmas and Easter are the times for that fabulous musical work. 

I’d sung the soprano repertoire for years, including of course: 

“I Know that My Redeemer Liveth.”  

I can honestly tell you that solo in 2013 meant more to me than any other time in my life.

My mom had just died—two weeks before Christmas.

Just before the four of us entered the Kimmel Center in Center City Philadelphia, a woman stopped me and asked for money. I looked at her and felt deep compassion. We chatted for a bit, and I have no idea what I said, but what I do remember was that whatever she said to me just before my family and I left the sidewalk and mounted the steps into the concert hall, had the two of us - this woman and I - crying in each others’ arms. 

“I know,” I remember saying, “Life can be so sad. So hard. So disheartening. I’m just so sorry.” We hugged and cried for maybe a minute. I gave her the money, then joined my family who stood back to give me some space with her.

An hour later and well into this most beloved oratorio, the soprano sang like an angel:

I know that my redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand upon the earth.

And though worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God…  
— Job 19:20

Sitting there, wrapped in the fresh warmth of two hearts honestly grieving the sometimes harsh realities of this life, mixed with the beauty of the music and God’s holy, reliable, timely Word, I never believed that truth more.

I know Jesus Christ lives. And because He lives, we, too, will live! I mean really, really live. 

Thank you Jesus!

I’m real because God is so real.

~ Nancy

CALLING

Easter’s message is that this great God is alive! He’s not dead. And dear friend, because He lives—in all things and then when we breathe our last—we, too, will live! Do you believe this? If not, why not?

Nancy Hicks
How Unexpected
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Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!

Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!

See, your king comes to you, righteous and victorious,

lowly and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

— Zechariah 9:9

I love the fact that this prophecy, spoken approximately 500 years before Jesus walked planet Earth, was directed to a people who: 

  • Were in big trouble (they were in exile after the decimation of the Temple)

  • Had demanded they be like the other nations and have a king. (Boy, was that trouble throughout their history.)

  • Had their expectations turned upside down, ultimately with a very different kind of King. 

At the time this prophecy was lived out—a time we now call Palm Sunday—you’d think they’d be putting two and two together:

“Oh, look at this! A king. A humble, lowly king. Yep, he’s riding on a donkey. This could be the guy!” (Oh, they knew their prophecies.)

And I wonder: How often do I have set in my mind just how God’s going to be? How often does God lay things right out before me, but I just will not let go of what I assume and demand? Listen, I have my expectations of this great king.

But this Palm Sunday, 

  • I’m rejoicing greatly that this king is rarely what I expect. 

  • I’m rejoicing greatly because that humble king cared for the likes of me.

  • I’m rejoicing greatly because I flat out adore Him! 

King of Kings. King of the universe, WOW! Should be on a royal steed!

And…

King of my heart. 

That’s donkey talk. How unexpected.

I’m real because God is so real.

~ Nancy

CALLING

In what ways have you demanded or had expectations of God lately? Ask God to help you keep an open mind, knowing this King knows no box and no bound.

Nancy Hicks
Grace: Unmerited, Undeserved Favor
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There but by God’s grace, go I.

I’ve gotten really good at saying that. It may not always be out loud.  Sometimes I say it under my breath. Sometimes a silent nod to my incredible God who knows me so well.

There but by God’s grace, go I.

When I hear of an affair. …by God’s grace go I.

A stupid comment that makes another feel cut down...by God’s grace go I.

A remark cloaked in humility, but is intended to elicit a compliment…by God’s grace go I.

I think this way whenever I hear of some horrible thing someone’s done - those who have “fallen from grace.” And make no mistake, it’s not like I’m doing the false humility thing.

I just really believe I’m capable of that and far worse.

Look back at the Last Supper for a moment:

When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining at the table eating, He said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.” They were saddened, and one by one they said to Him, “Surely you don’t mean me?” - Mark 14:17-19.

Actually, he meant all of them. Yes, Judas would betray Him overtly.

And Peter, with all his manly fisherman strength and chutzpa - “Even if all fall away, I will not!”  - would have to lock eyes with Jesus and hear the plain truth: “Today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.”

Peter—like I, and all the others close to Jesus—can’t stand it and insisted emphatically,

“Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” - Mark 14:27-31

But Peter did. They all did.

Until we’re able to see ourselves as the betrayer, the cheat, the liar, the gossip, the murderer, the adulterer, the racist, the hypocrite, the arrogant, the self-centered, the oppressor—all that and so much more—we will never—NEVER—see our need of a Savior. So, we will never be truly amazed by God’s grace.

God’s grace reveals this truth to us. And God’s grace deals with it at the cross.

I hope you, like I this Easter, are clinging, actually clinging to God’s amazing grace.

I’m real because God is so real.

~ Nancy

CALLING

Can you be brutally honest about the stuff you see in yourself that maybe no one else sees? Be amazed and flat out grateful for God’s unmerited, undeserved favor on your life.

Nancy Hicks
Always Winter, Never Christmas

Today’s blog is written by my friend Leslie Eichhorn is married to her college sweetheart, Christian, and is mom to 3 little ones who always keep life interesting.  In her spare time, you can find her nose in a book or her eye behind a camera.

______

In The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, one of the children meets a fawn named Mr. Tumnus when she first enters Narnia.  Mr. Tumnus tells her about the reign of the White Witch (the current ruler in Narnia):

“Why, it is she that has got all Narnia under her thumb.  It’s she that makes it always winter.  Always winter and never Christmas; think of that!”

As I read this to my five-year-old daughter, she was shocked.  

“Mommy, if there’s no Christmas, then Jesus can’t be born!  Then there can’t be Easter.  And if there’s no Jesus…we’re lost.”  My heart both swelled and ached at my little one’s insight.

As I write, it is almost the end of February.  Winter has long overstayed its welcome.  I look out my window and see grey and brown trees, a grey sky, and brown grass.  No signs of life.

Then…

Just when I think winter will never end, spring creeps in – crocuses break through the frozen ground.  Buds on the trees bloom.  Birds sing, bees buzz and the world comes back to life, just as our Savior Jesus did.  Praise God!

When Narnia’s savior, Aslan the Lion, returns to Narnia, everyone notices the snow melting and spring returns.  “Aslan’s on the move!” announces Mr. Beaver.

And so is Jesus. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16

~ Leslie

CALLING

If you’re a follower of Jesus, think back to a time before you followed Him.  How different would your life be today without Him? Thank Him for His great love!  If you don’t follow Jesus yet, think through why that might be the case. Pick up a Bible, and ask God to show you who He is and how much He loves you.

Nancy Hicks
Meant to Live - Update!
Meant to Live Coming Soon

Dear Friend,

It’s always our pleasure to serve you! I hope you’re enjoying - and stretching your heart, mind and body because of - the weekly devotionals we send out.

Today, we have some exciting news:

Meant to Live is on Amazon!

Meant to Live: Living in Light of the Good News is my first book. It took a while to navigate the world of writing and publishing, but we pushed through and now the book’s a living reality. (Well, almost.)

Here’s the scoop as seen on Amazon:

“Meant to Live unpacks how Christians can live in the power and glory of the Gospel―the Good News of Jesus Christ―and celebrate God’s glory in themselves, and the Church and beyond.

Inspirational communicator Nancy Hicks describes four ‘camps’ of Christians who wallow in the bad news (our fallen-ness), while disgruntled Christians and non-Christians alike are watching and thinking: If that’s what it means to be a Christian, no thanks! Frankly, these versions of the Gospel aren’t good. So, those watching are left wondering: How are we to live?

Meant to Live offers a vision on humanity’s calling and a way to live a genuine life gloriously into the Good News! Nancy combines personal stories with biblical wisdom and offers a revisit of the Gospel. She offers a fresh view on humanity’s glory as seen in the Gospel and an honest diagnosis of the four main “camps” often found in the Church. Nancy also helps readers identify an honest assessment of self. Meant to Live is a practical guide to living in light of the Gospel and is an inspired and energized focus on the core calling in our lives.”

Meant to Live will come out in e-version this June, then in paperback this September.

BIG time celebration will ensue. (Hear the soaring firecrackers, the cymbals and cheering and trumpets.)

Thank you for any and every part you’ve played in encouraging me - financially supporting, ordering the book, praying, you name it - in the ongoing life of this ministry.

I’m over-the-moon grateful for you, dear friend!

~Nancy

P.S. That’s the timeline, but you can get a jump on things and pre-order on Amazon now if you like.

Nancy Hicks
Women: Zero-Sum Game
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“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 The Message

It’s funny to me to think about the zero-sum game when it comes to men and women, let’s say in the Church.

Right at the outset, let me inform or remind you that I have a very strong husband and two alpha-male sons. I adore and celebrate all three of these extraordinary men.

Now, back to the matter.

The idea that there’s a finite amount of pie to go around is absurd!

That if you have some said portion of pie it leaves only so much for me.

Now, if we’re talking actual dessert pie, this is true:

“Hey, you have more pie! That leaves less for me!”

But not in God’s world of infinite pie. Think about the kingdom of God. Only so much pie to go around when it comes to work, impact and influence? Impossible!

A friend of mine, a male leader in the Church, told me:

“My mother always said, ‘If the women lead, the men leave.’”

To which I responded, “Well, your mother was wrong.”

I said it as lovingly and respectfully as I could, though I’m sure there was a glint in my eye.

Genuine leadership (and let’s just use leadership as a euphemism for confident, impact-playing individual) sees the riches in people and calls them out. We give space for people to flourish. Being threatened, and so protective of turf or jealous for fear of losing, alerts you that you’ve bought into the zero-sum game.

There is room for all in the space appointed us by God. There’s a freedom and effervescence that exudes from anyone who understands, as you are called up, we are all the better for it.

Men rise. Women rise.

We all rise.

~Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

If you’re a man, what woman can you strengthen in a practical way? Ask her if something doesn’t come to mind.

If you’re a woman, remember: the zero-sum game can be worse among women. Go easy, women.

Nancy Hicks
Women’s Freedom
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So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

These words of Jesus were said to people - religious people - who were in a match with Jesus about what makes you, and whether or not you are - free.

On multiple levels this applies to us as we look ahead to International Women’s Day.

There’s a lot of responsibility to keep free that which Jesus has made free.

My husband works in HR. As a Human Resource leader, his role is to develop leadership and drive sound ethics across his company. Cam does this. And he does it well.

He’s also a senior leader at our church, just outside of Philadelphia, PA, in the U.S. As a white man, he’s constantly growing in his awareness of the issues of power and privilege. The male/female thing is just one of those issues. (Have I mentioned we’re in a complementarian church? Meaning, women cannot hold roles such as preacher/pastor/elder.)

As Cam’s wife, I’d be lax in not bringing up the topic of Jesus and His declaration of what makes us free. Jesus quite clearly states: I declare who is free.

International Women’s Day is Friday.

If you’re a man, take your freedom and use it to understand and generate freedom. Get out in front of the issue of women’s freedom.

Ask God what that may mean for your church, your work place and your home.

Because “if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” means more than a spirit-filled life that will guarantee heaven. Genuine freedom as granted by Christ Jesus has immediate and obvious outcomes now. It’s agreeing and cooperating with what Jesus has said and done.

Let me wrap up this week’s devotional with a great suggestion from psychiatrist Viktor Frankl:

“I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.”

What a great idea.

~Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.

CALLING

Do you see your freedom as coupled with responsibility? Ask a woman you know and love how she feels around the issue of freedom in the church.

Nancy Hicks
Arizona - Lift Off
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I’m writing from the airport in Phoenix, Arizona here in the U.S. I was in Arizona with a group of women from across the U.S. who want to take their gift of speaking to the next level. Danielle Strickland, a total powerhouse preacher, spearheaded this Women’s Speaker’s Collective. Her vision? A Boot Camp to equip and encourage female preachers. She’s been a preacher for over twenty years.

I was there for two reasons: 

  1. To take my own speaking to the next level and 

  2. To teach and coach other women

Having this time to hone the craft of speaking, to discuss the pitfalls of what’s become the Christian Speaking “industry” (Lord, help us), to figure out this whole thing with loads of advice and hands-on experience, was a trip. 

Now post Arizona Boot Camp, I’m sitting at the airport and I should be on a high. But truth is, I’m not. I’m conflicted and a bit sad.

There are some reasons for that:

  1. Plenty of women still feel so small and scared in forums like this. They shared their stories. They shared their fears. Some still stayed noticeably quiet. And yet, they were there.

  2. There’s still a lot of weird “woman” stuff, like comparison and competition, which makes me sad for us all. Danielle shared it may not be as much of an innate female thing as much as it is a systemic social issue that sets us up. (I wondered why? Only so much time, men, room, space, etc. to go around, perhaps?)

  3. Here we are in 2019 and we’re still having the conversations about how to navigate our places as female preachers. 

Stuff like this still gets in the way of allowing us all to soar. 

So for every woman who still struggles for lift-off:

“I constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness, and your every deed prompted by faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you and you in him…” ~(2 Thes. 1:11,12)


“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” (2 Thes. 3:5)


Gotta go.

I’m about to take off.

Nancy

I’m real because God is so real.


CALLING

As a woman, what hinders you from lift-off? As a man, if there’s a woman in your life - daughter, sister, wife - who’s held back, what do you think may be grounding her?





 

Nancy Hicks
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