Posted on 12.14.2020 by Jody Noland
How would you feel to hear those words about your Christmas gift to someone you dearly loved?
The best gift EVER? Yes, ever.
Was the appreciation based on the extravagant cost of the gift? Definitely not.

Was it for an exceedingly rare and hard to find item? Not in the least.

Then what sort of gift could possibly elicit that kind of response?

Posted on 11.26.2020 by Jody Noland

Missing being with those you love this Thanksgiving? Me too. There are millions of us across America who are staying home, sequestered and “safe.” Perhaps it’s because we are in the “at risk” age group or perhaps we don’t want to risk infecting a loved one who has underlying health conditions. Whatever the reason for your Thanksgiving isolation in 2020, I think we’d all agree: it stinks!

What do we do with the loneliness, sadness, even depression of having a very different kind of Thanksgiving this year? Here’s are my thoughts about surviving the day:

Posted on 10.25.2020 by Jody Noland

“God’s agenda is change. Your need is change. The promise of grace is change. The hope of eternity is the completion of the work of change.”
That was the heading this morning from one of my favorite devotionals. (New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp) Reading those words literally made me laugh out loud.

Posted on 10.18.2020 by Jody Noland

Amidst the countless trials of 2020, have you wondered if God has forgotten you? 
When prayers go unanswered, when illness strikes, when businesses fail, when other heartbreak happens...or it’s 2020...we can come to that conclusion.
And that conclusion couldn’t be more wrong. 
2 + 2 ≠ 5.
Like everyone, I’ve had my share of times when life didn’t turn out as I had hoped and prayed. 2020 has just served up different “flavors” of disappointment and questions for us all. 

Posted on 10.11.2020 by Jody Noland

Back when we were able to freely gather for significant life events, did you ever have this thought after attending a Memorial Service?  A life, no matter how long or well lived, is summed up in about 60 minutes.
When the service ends, most of us just shuffle out and go back to “business as usual.” 
Yes, in some ways, that’s a very depressing thought. But in other ways, it’s a meaningful challenge. 

Posted on 10.04.2020 by Jody Noland

“I’m so excited about turning 60! (or 70, 80, 90)” said no one, ever. Why is that? Why do we anticipate our early birthdays with such excitement yet dread the milestone birthdays in our later years? 
All too often, aging is viewed as a synonym for loss. Loss of health, loss of abilities, loss of loved ones, loss of life’s work. Yes, the climb does seem to get steeper and more challenging as we approach the summit of life.

Posted on 9.29.2020 by Jody Noland

Imagine writing 300 love letters that remained unopened. 300! What kind of person would do such a thing? An incredibly devoted husband and widower, that’s who. A man who once said: “passion is momentary; love is enduring.”

Posted on 9.21.2020 by Jody Noland

Oh, the potential power of a metaphor.   Amazing how a seemingly unrelated example can often provide a “lightbulb” moment to awaken someone to a really important truth.  Jesus used them all the time. (Check out the red letters in the Gospels if you don’t believe me.)
As I have thought and shared about the life-changing impact of affirming words, I’ve often used the analogy of a watering can. The water that comes from a watering can helps plants to thrive, just as our words of encouragement can do in another’s life. 

Posted on 9.15.2020 by Jody Noland

Have you ever tried to put toothpaste back in the tube? If so, then you know it’s a hopeless endeavor. Once it’s out, it’s out. The damage is done.
Hurtful words are like that too. Once said, we can’t take them back.

 Oh, we might try to make excuses. But excuses don’t work.

“You know I say things I don’t mean when I’m angry.”

“I was just kidding.”

“What’s the big deal? You’re too sensitive!”

“My father said the same thing to me.”

Posted on 9.06.2020 by Jody Noland

Do you have a theme song for your life? 
My signature tune has changed many times over the years. More often than I care to admit, My Way by Frank Sinatra most aptly reflected my life choices. (That refrain never turned out too well, by the way.)