Is Love All We Really Need? Or is There Something Else Missing?

by Lee Ann Mancini

I love music! When I hear an old familiar song, it brings back memories of when I first heard it. But sometimes the words suddenly take on a new dynamic, even though I’ve heard them hundreds of times before. Like the other day, when after listening to one of the Beatles’ blockbuster hits, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. And it’s no wonder: at the very end of the song, “All you need is love” is repeated twenty-five times! As it continued to echo in my mind, I found myself wondering: is love all we really need?

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 lists the benefits of true biblical love: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”  Colossians 3:14 states that love binds all the virtues together in perfect unity. God commanded us to love one another as He loves us (John 15:12). And remember, love covers a multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8).

We all exhibit love in some capacity. Most people love their families, friends, and neighbors. But obviously, love has not been enough to keep us from family problems, political division, or racial conflict. On its own, love cannot bring peace. So what is the missing piece of the puzzle?

We need more grace.

Grace can bring peace to any relationship. Grace is practicing unconditional favor towards those who don’t deserve it. Grace is love in action. It chooses others over ourselves. We’ve been given abundant grace by God—Paul described the grace of God as lavish (Ephesians 1:7-8). It was grace that enabled us to receive salvation (Ephesians 2:8).

The thing is, grace and intended retribution cannot simultaneously exist in our hearts.

All we need is love and grace. John Newton, who wrote the song Amazing Grace, was once a slave trader. It was God’s grace that changed him. In gratitude, he wrote,

“Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found: was blind, but now I see.”

As racial tensions and anger unfold this spring, I’ve been examining my heart. Where am I blind to the needs of others? How can I reach out and bridge the gap that stubbornly continues in this country? Why can’t love be enough?

I would say that love is crucial to all of us understanding each other. But we need grace as well. Grace says I have done nothing to earn favor with God. Recipients of grace know: “I was lost but now I see. I was hopeless and now I have hope. I am unworthy but God has made me His daughter. I was helpless to fix my sin, but Jesus paid my debt.”

The important thing to remember is that spiritually, we are all coming from the exact same place. We are sinners in need of a Savior. None of us can be righteous on our own. We all need Jesus and owe everything to Him. We all need God’s unconditional love.

When we understand what we have been given, in spite of our failures and sin, we can let the abundant love and grace we have been given spill over into the lives of others. Forgiving those who have wronged us becomes the only reasonable option. God’s grace can set us free to love as He loves.

The two really do go hand in hand.

Then summoning him, his lord said to him, “You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you? Matthew 18:32-33 NASB

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Is Love All We Really Need? Or is There Something Else Missing? – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author:  Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the executive producer of the Sea Kids animation series https://seakidstv.com that helps children to build a strong foundation in Jesus.

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Lee Ann’s books, The Sea Kids series, has won over 25 awards, and is a favorite among teachers, parents, and especially children! In I’m Not Afraid!, Susie and her friend go to the Undersea Amusement Park. After  saying a prayer to Jesus, she rides the roller coaster and her fear turns into faith! She learns that praying to Jesus during difficult times and having faith are all she needs to overcome her fears!

Join the conversation: Of the two, which is more challenging for you–giving love or giving grace?

Freedom Leaders

By Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

As a writer, I’ve always wondered what it was like to pen something as significant and monumental as the Declaration of Independence. Did Thomas Jefferson welcome the challenge? Did sentences form in his head faster than he could dip quill to ink pot? Or did he sit and stare at blank parchment, as he considered the magnitude of what he was about to write?

His mother’s family was one of the most prominent in Virginia. He studied at the College of William and Mary to prepare for the practice of law. Jefferson entered the Virginia House of Burgesses just as the rumble of opposition to British taxation was increasing, and in 1774, he wrote a pamphlet about the rights of British Americans.

At the second Continental Congress, in June of 1776, Jefferson was appointed to a 5-member committee, along with John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Robert Livingston, and Roger Sherman. Although an awkward speaker, Jefferson had already distinguished himself as a gifted writer and was chosen to draft the Declaration of Independence by the other committee members, who read, made suggestions, and agreed to the document before it was presented. Jefferson, however, was the primary author.

Moses was also a freedom leader. Like Thomas Jefferson, he was a son of privilege, the adopted son of the Egyptian Pharaoh’s daughter. Both Jefferson and Moses had issues with verbal communication, but as is often the case, had strengths in other areas.

Like Jefferson and Moses, all leaders possess strengths and weaknesses. They also had huge failures: Moses committed murder. Jefferson was a slave owner. Yet God used these faulty men to further the cause of freedom.

God may not have given you an assignment like penning a document that alters the course of history, but your task may still involve leading captives—those living in bondage to sin, shame, and guilt—to freedom by sharing the Good News of the Gospel.

“It was for freedom that Christ set us free,” Paul wrote the Galatians (5:1 NASB).. Thanks to the saving work of Jesus, we were set from the condemnation that our sinfulness would have earned us (Romans 8:1). We were released from the yoke of sin, which previously ruled our hearts, will, and minds (Romans 6:8-14). We were rescued from death and raised with Christ to live forever (Colossians 2:12). We are free to rest in the work of Christ and know there is nothing we can do to add to His gift of salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is freedom worth sharing to those still living in bondage.  And like Jefferson and Moses, God can use us even with our weakness and failures to give the news to everyone who will listen. The greatest liberty one can experience is the freedom we receive when we believe and are given salvation through Him.

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV

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Freedom Leaders – encouragement & insight from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy Arrington

About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: For what freedoms are you thankful on this holiday?

Torn Between Two Fathers

by Ginny Dent Brant @ginnybrant

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV

I grew up a card-carrying daddy’s girl who followed wherever her father went. For me that meant political rallies, the Capitol, and eventually the White House; my father served a Senator and three Presidents. He taught me how to dance, and we cut the rug to the same beat for many years.

That rug was pulled out from underneath me, when my father’s career caused me to move again. This devastating move motivated me to look beyond myself for answers to life’s disappointments. I got involved in Young Life, gave my life to Jesus, and began to grow in spiritual ways my parents did not understand. My father felt my dedication was misguided. He feared I might become a “gosh awful missionary” who lived in poverty.

Motivated by love, he blocked my path. He forbid me to attend a Bible College I felt God was leading me to. I was torn between my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. I wanted to please my father, but how should I deal with my spiritual promptings?

In the midst of my tears, my Heavenly Father brought Matthew 6:33 to comfort and guide me.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (NKJ).

I’d grown up in a life doused with worldly success. I’d never been at a crossroads where my faith in God and doing His will put me at odds with my own father. Yet this verse was instructing me not in man’s ways, but in God’s ways. His Kingdom and his desires must be first in my life—not my father’s worldly definition of success. This verse gave me the courage to step out in faith in obedience to God. It also gave me assurance that God would take care of “all these things”—in this case my concerns as I obeyed.

As I continued down the forbidden path and attended that Bible College, my dad continued to express his disapproving warning: “You’ll never be success in this world.” It was hard to say no to a man who advised presidents. It was devastating to realize my father and I were no longer dancing to the same beat.

My Heavenly Father was teaching me to dance to His  beat—a radically different definition of success. The dance with my Heavenly Father was so wonderful, I wanted my father to share in the joy and eternal significance I had found. Yet, we continued to twirl in different directions.

In desperation, I barraged the gates of Heaven for my dad. I endured subtle persecution. I sought the counsel of a wise professor. He advised me to keep praying, live my life as a witness and allow God to work in my dad’s life. I heeded his advice, prayed daily, and strived to let Dad see Jesus in me.

Looking back, I now realize God was working from the first moments I began to pray. One night, I left a plaque under his pillow that read, “The purpose of life is to serve God.” In 1978, my father surrendered his life to Christ. He gave up his political career to enter full-time ministry. The logo of his ministry came from that plaque. To get his training, my father entered the same Bible College he had forbidden me to attend!

When my father put God and His Kingdom first, He transformed my father from a political strategist to a Kingdom strategist—a man who would help the underground churches and the Romania come to freedom after Communism. My father became that missionary he’d once forbidden me to be.

My father and I were finally dancing to the same tune again. I was no longer torn between two fathers. We’d both learned the eternal significance of putting God and His kingdom first and dancing to His beat. It’s a lesson we struggle with daily. My heart continues to overflow with praise to God—even after my father’s passing to Heaven from Alzheimer’s disease. One day, we will dance again in eternity.

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Torn Between Two Fathers – encouragement for #FollowingGod from @GinnyBrant on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate,

and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Learn more at www.ginnybrant.com.   

Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a conflict in guidance between the Lord and someone you respected? What did you do?

Should I Love Those Who Do Things I Hate?

All who fear the Lord will hate evil.   Proverbs 8:13 NLT

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

On Saturday, May 30, 2020, my husband and I strolled down Fayetteville Street from the State Capitol Building to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium. We stopped to get fresh juice on a side street before returning to our car. After weeks of silent streets, it was a joy to see families enjoying the spring day. While restaurants were still closed or taking only sidewalk orders, life promised the return of normal. Little did we know that in a few hours this peaceful street would erupt in chaos as rioters smashed windows and destroyed property.

We live in a time when hate flows easier than tap water.

Is Hate Ever Right?

It may surprise you to know hate is not necessarily wrong. God hates.

“There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies, and a person who stirs up conflict in the community” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NIV).

This list doesn’t give us permission to judge others. Judgment and punishment belong to God alone (Romans 12:17-21). The Bible lists these so we won’t do them.

If we hate the things God hates, we’ll run from them—not to them. This list shows us what not to do. He grants us self-control, not other-control.

Speaking of Running

The division in our country reminds me of the prophet Jonah. When God sent him to Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, to warn them about God’s pending judgment, he ran the other way. Assyria was a ruthless nation and enemy of Israel.

God captured Jonah’s attention—literally. While in the belly of a big fish, Jonah submitted to God’s commission. He went to those he hated and preached a one-sentence sermon. As a result, “The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth” (Jonah 3:4-5 NIV).

Was Jonah ecstatic that God used him to bring about one of the biggest spiritual revivals in history?

“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live’” (Jonah 4:1-3).

Jonah didn’t believe the Ninevites deserved God’s mercy. He wanted God to punish them, not forgive them. God used a plant and a worm to expose his unrighteous anger.

Nineveh can be a word picture to us for those who do things that we hate. The book of Jonah reminds us God wants all people to find mercy and forgiveness through Jesus. He wants to use us to reach them.

Review the things God hates and pray with me.

Lord Jesus, help us to be more like You. We need Your grace to hate evil so that we won’t practice it and love the people who do practice it.

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Should I Love Those Who Do Things I Hate? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]


About the author:
 Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big Godand Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: How do you express love for people doing the things that you hate?

Strengthened in Prayer and Lion-Aware

by Kelly Wilson Mize @KellyWilsonMize

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5: 8 (NLT)

Most people either love cats or despise them. I am most definitely a cat person: I love small cats, big cats, house cats, and wildcats. Cats are strong, independent, and beautifully graceful creatures. 

One species of big cat especially fascinating to me is the lion.  No zoo visit is complete without seeing the King of the Jungle. But while captivating to observe from a safe distance, this extraordinary creature has the power to be deadly.

Did you know that male lions weigh around 400 pounds, and can reach running speeds of up to 50 miles per hour? A lion’s roar can be heard from up to five miles away! As intriguing as they are, I would never want to share personal space with a hungry lion.

Peter warns believers that our enemy, Satan, is like a roaring lion. He roams around just looking for someone to attack, devour, and utterly destroy. A lion attack is horrific; the process is graphic and violent.

Have you experienced a season in your life when you felt you were under attack?

Peter prefaces the above verse with words of comfort and encouragement–to prepare us for the inevitable times in our lives when we will experience attack from our enemy. He writes: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7 NLT).

Then, only after we are assured of God’s great love and care, we read the warning: “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). 

Here’s another interesting fact about lions: they hunt for food mostly in the dark hours between dusk and dawn. How many times do we wake in the middle of the night, plagued with worry, doubt, loneliness, or fear? The lion is most dangerous at a time when there is an absence of light. 

So what can we do to protect ourselves from the enemy’s powerful attack? We welcome the Light! God’s word continues by telling us exactly what to do! Verse 9 says:

  • Stand firm.
  • Be strong in your faith. 
  • Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

Don’t you just love it when God’s word gives us clear, step-by-step instructions? We are to stand firm, be strong, and remember that we are not alone. Through God’s Word, His presence, and the accountability of other believers, we are able to withstand the violent attacks of the Prince of Darkness. Together.

But verse 10 offers the best news of all. After we have suffered through the pursuit, we will be restored, supported, strengthened, and given a firm foundation upon which to stand. Through His amazing grace and power—a power that is exponentially stronger than any roaring, prowling enemy—God will redeem us. Because even the King of the Jungle is no match for the King of Kings.

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Strengthened in Prayer and Lion-Aware – encouragement from @KellyWilsonMize on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kelly Wilson Mize is a wife, mother of two, educator, and freelance writer with a master’s in education and 20 years of published writing experience. She has written numerous articles, interviews, and curriculum projects, and has contributed to seven books. Credits include LifeWay, Bethany House, Guideposts, Group Publishing, (in)courage, and many others. You can find out more about Kelly at kellywilsonmize.com.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced an attack from the enemy recently?

Make the Plunge

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake… Philippians 1:29 NASB

The water was COLD. Driven into the ocean after becoming overheated in the hot sun, I stood in it up to my knees, wincing as the periodic waves drenched me a little higher with each step forward. I knew a quick dip would put an end to the painful, slow progression. But I just couldn’t do it. Avoiding the shock, I continued to inch my way in. I couldn’t bring myself to make the plunge.

We all hate pain. We’ll do anything to avoid it.

Paul told the Philippians that God had granted them suffering. Granted? Could providing an opportunity to suffer be some kind of benevolent gesture, a giving of something desirable?

Wait…what?

No one likes to suffer. Neither did Paul! Yet he regarded his suffering as a favor from God. He looked past the temporary to the eternal. Paul saw suffering as a means to invaluable and eternal benefits.

1. Suffering is a path to knowing Jesus better.

“I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death…” (Philippians 3:8 NASB).

We follow a suffering Savior. It only makes sense that walking in his footsteps will involve suffering in our journey as well. Sharing that common experience will develop an intimacy in our relationship with Him that would not have possible without it.

Paul saw sharing the sufferings of Christ as a means to intimacy with Christ.

2. Suffering produces glory.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison…” 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB

God has purposed to conform all believers to the image of Jesus Christ. Transformation requires change, but change does not come easily. Suffering can force us to abandon old habits or ways of thinking and move us forward into the new.

The end result of sharing Jesus’ suffering will be sharing in his glory as well! Romans 8:17 (NASB) tells us “if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”  

3. Suffering teaches us how to access the power of Christ.

“He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB

God makes His amazing power available to us. Sometimes accessing that power can only come after finding our own resources insufficient. Paul saw his “thorn in his flesh” as a means to that end and so embraced his weakness. Suffering reveals the reality of our insufficiency and drives us deeper in our sense of dependency on God. When we are weak, then we are strong in the Lord.

4. Suffering makes us more effective for God’s Kingdom.

“[God] comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted…” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NASB).

My daughter was blind-sided four years ago with a debilitating illness. For three years, her life was completely interrupted. As our family crawled through that torturous time, we clung to two facts: the pain would enable us to know Jesus far better, and our experience would give us insight (and a resulting empathy) into other people’s pain. She is now able to minister to people I can’t touch, because she has been in their shoes.

When suffering comes along, and it does more often than we wish, it can be overwhelming. But instead of thinking “Why me?”, we must choose to keep our eyes focused on the Savior, who, through suffering, made a relationship with God possible for us. Now God is using pain once again, this time to bring us further along in that relationship.

We must look past the temporary to the eternal. We must choose to trust in His good intentions. Taking that plunge will not only give relief but peace throughout the process.

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Make the Plunge – encouragement on #FollowingGod from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a revealing look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: How has suffering or hard times changed you for the good?

YOLO? Well, Yes and No

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12: 2 HCSB

There may have been a few other things I squeezed onto the day’s itinerary that didn’t exactly start out there. But those make-up tips on Pinterest are not going to pin themselves. And also, that word game on my phone keeps my brain sharp. Probably. Who needs a mind-sharpener more than I do? I’ve finger-swiped a lot of words in that game. Miles. I’m sure that’s why my mind is a steel trap. I can’t explain how the otter got in the trap. But still, I do think every now and then I hear him hollering, “YOLO!” It’s about as cute as a puppy. But not cuter than a puppy and a baby.

Not that I’m big on throwing my time away, because I had plans for accomplishing something great today. But you have to understand, that video said I wouldn’t BELIEVE what happened next. “BELIEVE”—it was in all caps just like that. It’s not like I had a choice anyway, but I could see that this video had a baby in it. And a puppy. Only a monster could just scroll down like it wasn’t a baby and a puppy.

Of course, that “You Only Live Once” philosophy is not all that biblically sound. Frittering my time away isn’t any too biblical—even if my brain-otter says it’s okay. At the end of this life, I wonder how many of us will say, “Sure wish I’d played more dragon games on my computer.” Or maybe, “If only I’d spent more time looking at my phone.”

It’s not that recreation is a bad thing. There’s often restful, rejuvenating purpose in a couple of “kick back and relax” items on the itinerary. But we do only live once here. We need to spend our fleeting time wisely. I think if someone translated “YOLO” into Latin, it would be, “carpe diem.” Every day is one that’s begging to be seized.

Despite its familiarity, I still read Romans 12:1-2 regularly. “Therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God” (HCSB). Though I read it routinely, it never fails to inspire me to seize the day. It does so much more for my heart than any word game could ever do for my brain. It’s like a heart-soul-and-mind-sharpener.

At every point I allow His word to be my mind-sharpener, change happens. It’s a renewing of mind that doesn’t simply result in a nice word score, but one that can reveal “the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” There’s simply nothing I want out of this one and only physical life more than I want to know and do His will.

Live once in the physical—sure, YOLO. But for those of us who’ve been born again, life here is followed by an eternity spent in the glorious presence of Christ. Every time we think of that glory, we’re inspired all the more to live each day like it’s our last, loving Him with every minute we’re given.

Incidentally, no matter how many minutes you’re given—no matter how many make-up tips you pin—don’t even try to be as cute as a puppy sleeping on a baby. Now that’s a waste of time.

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YOLO? Well, Yes and No – insight & humor about Following God from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rhea


About the author:
 Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: How does knowing our life here will be followed by eternity impact your here and now?

A Time Like This

by Christina Rose

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish.  And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?  Esther 4:14 NIV

When young Esther became queen, she may have felt like she won the lotto with life in a beautiful palace and all the fancy clothes and food she could ever want. But she was soon faced with a life-saving decision. She needed to go before the king and plead for the lives of her people. If she chose to approach him without a summons, he could kill her. Her courage to speak up spared her life and that of many thousands across the land.  

The Bible tells us “the tongue has the power of life and death” (Proverbs 18:21 NIV). Our tongue can save people, or it can tear them down. Most of us live with the regret of saying what we shouldn’t have, or not saying something we wished we had. “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19 NIV).

Writing our thoughts down can often help formulate what we want to say. As the ink flows across the paper, subconscious thoughts come to the surface, revealing secrets we may have kept from ourselves. This happened to me recently as memories of a hurtful betrayal from many years ago flooded me with rage. As I sat there stewing, the still small voice said, “Speak up,” but I pouted, “No, I will never forgive them!” With God you can run, but you can’t hide. I thought I had buried this long ago, but He knew it was still festering. 

“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven—if there was anything to forgive—I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 1:10-11 NIV).

I suddenly realized that Satan had trapped me in my anger and refusal to forgive. He may have fooled me for a while, but now his game was over. I went on a brisk walk by the lake to consider how I would speak to my friend. The good Father counts His kids, and when anyone is missing, He relentlessly pursues them until they are safely back in the flock. As my thoughts unfolded, I saw that God’s promptings were not only about forgiving my friend, but He also wanted to use me in saving His lost child, my friend who did not know Him.

At a time like this, when the world has been put on pause by the pandemic, there is a lot of fear and loss. Those who don’t know God may be feeling everything is spinning out of control. Just as Esther spoke up to save her people, this is a perfect time to speak up to those who are lost, to help them find comfort and peace in the Father who is waiting with open loving arms to welcome them into the fold.

As for my friend? I spoke up, and we are friends once again.

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’” (Luke 15:4-6 NIV)

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A Time Like This – insight and encouragement from Christian Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina rose

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What is God calling you to do at a time like this?

Live Free…Your Best Life is Yet to Be

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13 ESV

Life may seem a little off right now. In Fix Her Upper language, it’s been a bit of a demo time.

But that’s the good news. There will be a day we can look back and marvel at all God’s done. Today even. We can pray together, because we know prayer changes everything.

Jesus knew this. In Scripture we see Him step away from the crowds. Walk off quietly to pray. He takes walks with His Father and declares, “Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me” (John 14:11 ESV). No matter what happened to him on this earth, He remained in perfect peace. It’s prayer and the presence of God that fixes this anxious life.

Now that I’ve had 8000 moments to catch my breath, I can see how frequently I forget to pray when life is moving quickly and noisily.  

The enemy would love us to stay overwhelmed with crisis and underwhelmed with Jesus. But while the world tells us one thing—God tells us something different: “My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness” (Galatians 5:16 The MSG). I love this verse and the future it holds for us. God encourages us to live our best life freely, dynamically, and sensitive to the nudging of the helpful hand of the Spirit.

Apparently, I wasn’t living my freest life, though. Not at all. Because when the pandemic arrived, I was reassigned to work in our hospital Emergency Room with many of my coworkers. My dynamic was gone. My fear? The same as everyone else’s with the forecast of what the virus might do to our world, my family, and…me. I started to self-preserve and hold back; I noticed my preoccupation with the ability of my N95 to save me from all things germy.

But I’ve realized there’s no freedom in fear. None. Fear is selfish. It causes our spirits to retreat in an effort to ensure our own survival, protect ourselves. All this time, I’ve tried to play it safe.

A safe life is not our best life—because faith makes us live for something more.

This assurance came as I sat with a patient who was dying—my N95 pooling with snot and tears—my heart so full of prayer for the other person that I couldn’t safeguard my soul. Suddenly, I felt fierce and full of hope. Apparently, we don’t feed the compulsions of self-preservation or worry when we’re in all-out prayer for someone else. Galatians 5:16 reminds us “the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness.” Prayer is the freedom that overrides fear, selfishness, and self-preservation. Prayer is the dynamic that protects the ones we love, and those we don’t know but love anyway. Prayer places the future in the best hands.

Seriously, we don’t have to be consumed with the thought of staying safe in order for God’s loving intent to protect us. He just does. In fact, the very definition of Sovereignty means to be free from external control—God’s perfect purpose protects even when we can’t shield ourselves. You deserve the freedom in this thought. I do too.

We can live free. 

It’s okay to be afraid. It really is. It’s smart to be cautious. It really is. But Romans 15:13 (above) tells us that it’s by the Holy Spirit we have power and hope. It’s my guess that this power makes us more alive today than ever before.

Remember: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” (Gal. 5:1 ESV).

In Christ, our flesh is released from sin. In prayer we’re energized with LIFE. Friends, this is good news! Because in the beginning the world was great, and then it wasn’t. And maybe today is good, and then it’s not. There is freedom when we live in the Spirit and have conversations with the Father. In this new day we can pray.

Lord, we want to live our best life with You. Stripped down, sanded of all the things we once felt important, we can feel full and undeserving of Your joy. We can only look back and marvel at what You’ve done and praise You for what You are about to do. May we settle into Your hope and stay totally dissatisfied with self or fear. For freedom You have set us free. Amen.

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Live Free…Your Best Life is Yet to Be – encouragement from @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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fix her upper reclaim your happy space

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

Join the conversation: What have you found to help manage your fear in these uncertain times?

Yellow Rose Surprise

by Ginger Sanders @GingerSanders

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…  Philippians 2:14-16 NASB

This afternoon I had pleasant surprise when I went out to water my roses. I had planted them two years ago in a different spot, but they had failed to thrive. We had recently transplanted them in hopes that a sunnier location would give them a second chance.  

Since then, they have perked up, reaching upward as the sunrise catches them each morning, rising to the noonday sky. Then they cool for a bit in the shade of the trees until the setting sun again peaks through and bathes them in its golden light. 

Today, as I walked around the house lugging the hose pipe (water hose for those of you in the north!) to spray them with the cool water, I almost tripped over what awaited me. There among the little red rose buds and some weeds bloomed a beautiful yellow rose! Now how in the world did that yellow rose come up from those transplanted red roses? I was so excited!! For you see, the yellow rose is my very favorite rose of all!! 

The yellow rose stands tall and proud…any rose can be a red rose, but it takes something special to stand out from the rest. My daddy only gave me one rose in his lifetime. I was riding around with him one day and he had to stop at Roper’s Florist, because he had been doing some work for Mr. Roper. He told me to stay in his truck and he would be right back out. He came out with a tissue paper and handed it to me. I unwrapped it to find a long stem yellow rose. It was a moment I will never forget. 

As I stood there today, enjoying this beauty among the ordinary, I thought about how we as Christians live among the thorns and weeds in this world. There were other roses there, ordinary red roses, budding and blooming as they do. But then, there among them was one that was different, standing out with its glow and grace.

Paul told the Philippians to “do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom  you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16 NASB). The Philippians were living in a pagan society, where the true God was not recognized. They regarded Caesar as deity, and found those who did not troublesome.

But rather than advising the Philippians to withdraw from this antagonistic population, he wanted them to live among them, holding fast to the truth of the gospel. They were to conduct themselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel; standing firm in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27 NASB). They had something to offer to those living in darkness. And as they followed the example of Jesus’ humility and love (2:5-8), they would stand out from the crowd like lights in an otherwise dark sky.

We should be like that rose; we should bloom right where we are planted. When we live out our salvation, following Jesus’ example, we will stand out by reflecting the light that shines on us. Like an unexpected yellow rose blooming among the ordinary.

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Yellow Rose Surprise – encouragement & insight from  @GingerSanders on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Ginger Sanders

About the author: Ginger Sanders has been a Chaplain Coordinator with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team since 2008. Ginger and her husband, Denny, have responded to many disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and storms, as well as the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings.

Ginger’s book, He Goes Before Us, features chaplains’ stories of God at work in disaster. She’s also written, and two children’s booksRound Eyes: An Adopted Child’s View of Love, and the award-winning Fireflies, which explains death to children with hope and love. Ginger also co-hosts a Christian television show and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. She and her husband of 50 years have four children and eleven beautiful grandchildren.