Nothing Too Small

by Joy Anisa

The lights were off, and my little boy was tucked under his covers. As I picked up a few things in his room I heard him say, “Mama, I haven’t prayed for our new house.” As a single mom facing a move out of state, I had a tight budget and limited time to find a place to live. I had mentioned to my two children that we needed to pray that the Lord would provide the perfect house for us.

I teasingly said to my son, “What are we going to live in, a tent?”

He giggled and then said, “I have prayed that God would give me a creek.” Immediately I felt the tears rush to my eyes. Little did he know, the only house that was available for us to look at had a creek running beside the property.

I scooped my son into my arms and said, “I want you to always remember that God cares about little boys and creeks.” By the grace of God, the house with the creek became our new home. For the next year and a half, every time I heard the bubbling of that creek, I was reminded that our God cares about every part of our lives.

Sometimes we can underestimate our Heavenly Father’s interest in the small things. That we should only bother Him with our “big” requests. How often do we “shrink wrap” our trust in Him by what we choose to ask?

The simple faith of a child has taught me nothing is too insignificant to bring before Him. (And truth be told, what request of ours would ever be “big” to God, anyway?)

I often think back to that night with my son and wonder if his unassuming child-like faith gave him insight that His loving, Heavenly Father would not let us be homeless. Maybe he assumed God would handle the big details, so he prayed for the “little things”.

His example set the tone for my own prayer life, and I began to pray about everything. I stopped shrink wrapping my trust in God by limiting what I thought He cared about and what He didn’t.

We can trust God with it all. As He told Isaiah: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9 NASB) We can bring all of our concerns to Him, and trust Him with even the smallest details.

A young boy prays for a creek.  A young girl prays her dog will get well. A father prays for the healing of his daughter. A mother prays for her wayward son. A pastor prays for unity within his congregation. A missionary prays for the gospel to penetrate the darkness of the people group he serves. A wife prays for her marriage to be reconciled. He hears all of it, big and small. Prayer is a conversation with God that is rooted in confidence that He will accomplish what concerns us (Psalm 138:8). We can trust Him to answer our requests with nothing less than wisdom and love.

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20a NASB

joy anisaAbout the author: Joy Anisa speaks for women’s retreats, MOPS, and Single Mom conferences. Her book, Identity Crisis: Moving from Crisis to Credibility,  offers an invitation to hope in the God who loves deeply, heals wounds, and offers His joy when life around us crumbles. You can find Joy on FB, Twitter, and Instagram. Joy lives with her husband, Jeff and their son, Caid, in Conyers, GA.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Joy’s book, Identity Crisis: Moving From Crisis to Credibility,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How has God blessed you in the “small” things?

Advertisements

When God Steps In

by Cindi McMenamin

Have you ever considered that some of the drama in your life could actually be God saving you from a more dangerous situation somewhere down the road?

It occurred to me recently that since God knows the entire script of my life – and yours – He can save us from what we never even knew was a threat.

I was reading Psalm 71 recently and highlighted verse 15 in particular, where the psalmist sings:

“My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,

of your saving acts all day long –

though I know not how to relate them all” (NIV).

I started reflecting on God’s “saving acts all day long” and how many I might not even know about. I then started wondering if that is why some of the drama happens in my life. Could God be saving me from more dramatic and dangerous circumstances I never even considered?

I recently complained to God when I missed my turnoff on the way home from a speaking event and was inconvenienced by a detour in my attempt to get back on the freeway. Yet as I came upon a multi-car accident near home I found myself thanking God that I wasn’t on the freeway minutes earlier when it had happened.

How many times might God have saved you all day long and, like the psalmist says, there were too many incidents for you to sum them up?  Or maybe, like me, you were so caught up in the drama of not getting what you wanted that you failed to see what God had ultimately saved you from?

How many times have you seen Him at work:

Wow, it looks like that job I really wanted could have turned out to be a disaster. I’m so glad that it didn’t work out.

If I hadn’t forgotten something back at the house, I would’ve missed that important call.

 I’m so glad now that he never called back. I may have been spared from a troubled relationship.  

 I was upset that my car wouldn’t start that morning, until I saw on the news about the ten-car pileup on the freeway. I could have been in that accident if I had left the house on time.  

Yes, the Writer of your script and mine may allow unforeseen circumstances to come our way, but instead of stressing out because we’re inconvenienced, let’s instead thank Him for the bigger drama that He just might be protecting us from. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

 Prayer: Lord, how many times have I complained about my circumstances when you were really protecting me from something far worse? Help me to trust You with all that I cannot see, knowing You are in control and You have my best at heart.

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including her newest, Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and ministry, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Cindi’s book, Drama Free, Finding Peace When Emotions Oerwhelm You,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Are you aware a time when God has saved you from a lesser, or even terrible thing?

 

Working with God

by Edie Melson

 I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5

I am constantly amazed that the God of the universe has chosen to work through us. I don’t know about you, but I’m totally unworthy and unequipped for the honor. And looking at the condition of our world, I have to occasionally throw my hands up in frustration and ask, “What were you thinking?” Obviously, if He were doing the work Himself, we’d all be a lot better off…

…or would we?

Growing up, some of my fondest memories were times I spent in the kitchen with my grandmother. She’d back a kitchen chair up to the counter, wrap one her old aprons twice around me and together we’d spend the afternoon cooking. My grandmother never used recipes and I don’t ever remember seeing her open a cookbook. All her skill—and it was impressive—was completely intuitive. No matter how many dishes she had on the stove, or in the oven, she always knew when one needed a pinch of salt, an addition of bacon fat or to be plucked—perfectly done—from the oven.

But with all her skill, she always found a way to include me and make me a vital part of the process. There was no doubt that she could have gotten the meals on the table much faster without my childish help, but I know she enjoyed our time together as much as me. I’m certain of this because I did the same thing with my boys. I included them, not because I needed their help, but because I wanted to spend time with them and maybe teach them something in the process.

God does the same thing with us. He doesn’t need our help or our resources, but he includes us because we’re precious to him.

And, just maybe, we’ll learn something in the process.

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, no matter if she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction, or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Edie’s book, While My Child is Away,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: To what work is God calling you? What are you learning as you fulfill that calling?

Life Reborn

by Tammy Kennington

\In the still of the morning, my small world is quiet and peaceful. The muffled whir of the washing machine and rhythmic inhale and exhale of my old, sleeping dog just behind my chair are the only sounds. A few breakfast dishes litter the kitchen counter and I ignore a freshly dried pile of darks perched on the couch.

Enfolding a warm cup of tea in my hands, I pause and whisper a prayer of thanks. For a new day. For family and friends. For safety.

Yet, my thoughts continue to focus elsewhere—returning again and again to the images I’d seen splashed across the television screen. People franticly veering left and right, desperate to escape a madman’s deadly rampage during a country music concert. Mental footage of homes laid waste by raging winds and water like a child’s scattered set of broken Lincoln Logs. The eerie, glowing skyline of a city poised above the charred remains of what had once represented the lives of hundreds of people. A human right’s activist gripping photos of a recent Syrian massacre in which babies gasped helplessly for elusive, life-giving air.

Suddenly, my peaceful morning transforms and I’m overcome with feelings of helplessness.  Hopelessness. Grief.

What hope is there for a world that destroys itself? For people brought to their knees by forces beyond their influence? For victims of the evils of terrorism and hate?

I’m reminded of a moment of vulnerability and, perhaps, even accusation when Lazarus’ sister, Mary, runs to meet Christ as he approaches her home. “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Mary held Jesus responsible for her brother’s death. Why didn’t you come, Jesus? All of this pain—my pain—could have been avoided if only you’d done something.

Can you hear the unspoken words? Have you ever thought them yourself? Why, God? This just isn’t right.

But, the beauty in this story? Jesus wept.

He felt Mary’s pain. He felt death’s presence. He grieved the brokenness of a world meant for more.

The story doesn’t end there, though. With the trail of tears still wet on his cheeks, Jesus called Lazarus from death to life.

“Lazarus, come out!”

Healing cannot go any deeper than life reborn and that is what the Life-Giving God shouts out—to you and me. To the men and women crying out for hope. This isn’t the sort of Pollyanna, feel-good hope borne of positive thinking or some falsely produced, happily-ever-after emotion from within.

Hope is real, dear Friend, and His name is Jesus.

He sheds tears over the pain of His people, but He is powerful enough to break even the chains of death.

There is a forever tomorrow.
There is refuge in Someone.
There is Light in the darkness.

Do you hear Him calling you today? “Child, come out!”

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 NIV

Tammy KenningtonAbout the author: Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, and child abuse awareness advocate. Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy hopes to lead women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them.

The author of five children’s nonfiction books, Tammy’s work has also been featured by Thriving Family, The Upper Room, Light from the Word, and others. You can meet regularly with Tammy at Mercy Multiplied.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Tammy’s children’s book for 8 to 11 year olds, Penguins,  (Exploring our Oceans: 21st Century Skills Library), please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What are things that have challenged your ability to hope? How has God responded to your cry for answers?

God Records His Name

by Brenda L. Yoder

“….In all places where I record my name I will come unto thee, and I will bless thee.” Exodus 20:24 (KJV)

I opened the inside of the hymnal and saw her name. It was written in the cursive handwriting I’d known to love. The simple, clean lines which spelled Lois Yoder made me feel she was somehow with me, though my mentor and mother-in-law had passed away several years ago.

This hymnal was important to her. She recorded her name on it.

I felt the same feelings when I read Exodus 20:24, “in all the places where I record my name I will come to thee, and I will bless thee.” In a flash, I pictured Jesus’ name written on people’s hearts. I thought of Cindy, who’s in an abusive marriage, and who knows God’s name is recorded on her heart. It gives her strength when others misjudge her for terminating her marriage.

I thought of the orphaned children my daughter works with who don’t know to whom they belong. She crouches down, looks them in the eyes, and tells them Jesus loves them. She calls them by name, letting them know they are also seen, known, and loved by those who minister to them.

I thought of my children who have chosen Christ as their Savior. His name is recorded on their hearts, and it’s that promise I take in prayer as I pray for their protection. How many times I have interceded for them, declaring in the heavenly realm that my children belong to Christ and the enemy has no authority over them.

This verse is a visual promise of God’s imprint and engagement in our lives. When we accept Jesus’ death as payment for our sins and gift of eternal life, His name is written on our hearts, sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13). Not only does He record His name on us, marking us as His own, but He comes to us and will bless us.

Just like the hymnal with my mother-in-law’s name recorded on it, God records His name on our lives. This is our mark of protection again the enemy. God commanded the Israelites to mark their doorposts with the blood of a flawless lamb that would save them from death. So is Christ’s blood the mark that saves us from death and destruction. Our lives are then sealed by the Holy Spirit.

How precious of God to tell us His Name is scripted on our lives. His Name seals us. It says we are His. Let that be a comfort when you feel lost, abandoned, or forgotten.

Prayer: Dear God, show me where you have recorded Your name, where you have come to me, and where you have blessed me. Thank you for this promise of hope, security, and protection. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Brenda YoderAbout the author: Brenda L. Yoder’s newest book, Fledge: Launching Your Kids Without Losing Your Mind releases in 2018. She’s been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Washington Post, and has a mental health column in her local paper. Her first book, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All released in 2015. Her ministry, Life Beyond the Picket Fence, is found at brendayoder.com  where she authentically writes about faith, life, and family beyond the storybook image. Brenda speaks on a variety of mental health topics. She is a certified trainer by the Faith Trust Institute and an advocate for intentional parenting, children, and healthy relationships. You can connect with Brenda on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Brenda’s book, Balance, Busyness, and Not Doing It All,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Where in your life has God recorded His name?

 

Between Some Math and a Stuck Place

by Rhonda Rhea

When I was in junior high, anytime I felt like I needed a good cry, I’d just ask my dad to help me with my math.

I’d like to say something about the “sums of the fathers” right here, but any way you pun it, it was actually all me. Even in high school, I remember going up to my algebra teacher’s desk saying, “Mr. Showalter, I’m stuck on number 5.” At which point he would do the problem for me with a smile. Mind you, I was also stuck on numbers one through four, but I didn’t want to overwhelm the man.

From early on, I understood that there was a reason they were called math problems. The stages of grief over math ineptitude went something like this:  1) Denial. 2) Trying to bargain—but let’s face it, bargaining can require math, so… 4) Realizing there was probably a missing step. What number are we on again? and 7) I really want a sandwich.

There was always something I would rather do than math problems. And those somethings were big-time distractions. I wish I’d thought to call them “weapons of math disruption” but I was probably too distracted. Sometimes I had a choice between picking up that math book and finding myself stuck on number 5, or instead…sandwich.

Ever feel a little stuck? Sometimes it’s about studying a problem long enough to decipher what to do next. It seems like it’s even more often that we’re stuck because we know what we’re supposed to do next, but we’ve lost count and allowed someone or something to move us in the opposite direction. Stuck.

God’s chosen people have a recorded history of more than a few instances of that “stuck-ness.” Many of their rock-and-a-hard-place kinds of experiences were a result of not being obedient to what the Lord had commanded them to do. One little distraction, then one little compromise that turned into another, that turned into another, and—well, you get the math. One compromise after another turns into…stuck.

Compromise is trading God’s will for us for something that our flesh wants instead. Our sin nature often loves to adjust the equation, trying to force God’s plan to fit our own selfish desires. Talk about not adding up. It’s just plain sin.

Our call is to obey Him. When we choose to follow distractions of compromise, we’re denying His grace. Paul said, “For the grace of God has appeared with salvation for all people, instructing us to deny godlessness and worldly lusts and to live in a sensible, righteous, and godly way in the present age, while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for Himself a people for His own possession, eager to do good works.” Titus 2:11-14 (HCSB).

How can a list of instructions like this come from God’s grace? Grace is undeserved favor—there’s nothing we can do to earn God’s love and salvation. So why all the directives in how we should walk with Him?

They are given to us to keep us on a healthy path, focused on the author of our salvation. The same grace that saved us? It’s that very grace that trains us to say no to compromise. No to sin. Yes to cleansing. Yes to good works. Choosing to live in light of God’s precious gift of grace.

Training in refusing to compromise is an integral part of living well (even though “integral” sounds a little “math-y!”)

Maybe this is all a good reminder that the infinite God who created numbers and who fits them together in all kinds of creative ways uses math to show us Himself. Even me.

And I can honestly say that I use math all the time as a writer. For material.

Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.” Romans 6:13b-14 (NASB)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant on the publishing team of Bold Vision Books. She 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.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Rhonda’s book, Fix HER Upper: Hope and Laughter Through a God-Renovated Life,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt “stuck”? How did you find your way out?

Beauty is in the Heart of the Beholder

by Deb DeArmond

“The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” 1 Samuel 16:7b (NLT)

 “Bless her heart! She clearly doesn’t have a friend in the world or they’d have told her never to wear that outfit again!”

Meet my “inner judge.” She’s escaped and is on the loose again. Even when she’s captured, it’s like trying to stuff a jack-in-the-box back down inside and out of sight.

I try to rationalize: I’m not really judging —I’m merely expressing an opinion. But traveling that critical path soon becomes a slippery slope, opening us to the enemy’s work. God’s desire is always to see us build up. The enemy’s goal is to tear down. Working the wrong side of the street is to further his agenda of hurt and discouragement. I can’t choose that and honor Christ at the same time.

Jesus was clear. In John chapter 8, He cautions others not to judge Him. My pastor recently said, “Jesus couldn’t get hired today in His own church. He had no divinity degree, never attended Bible school, owned anything of value, traveled with misfits, and hung out with sinners and prostitutes. He needed a haircut and He never married.” That resume surely would have landed in the reject pile!

Because we wear the righteous of Christ, God has judged us as clean. In light of what He has done for us, we can choose to give grace to others. He loves each person with unconditional, abundant love. Can you see them through His eyes? When you view others through His love, it’s possible to give grace.

So, how do we tamp down the judge in us and keep her shoved her back in the box? Don’t carry the box around! Burn it on the altar of your heart! It’s not my job to pass sentence on others’ fashion, spirituality, or lifestyle. It is my job to love and pray for them, declaring that God is transforming them —as He is us. It’s up to Him to address things that He’d like to change. And I’m willing to bet He’s not concerned that those shoes don’t go with that dress.

The Father is protective of His own, and I’m certain He doesn’t like folks judging His kids. He’s used some pretty odd folks along the way. I’m sure John the Baptist’s wearing animal skins in the wilderness set lots of tongues wagging.

Prayer: Lord, I choose to see others through your eyes as You chose to see me as beautiful, worthy of Your death on the cross. Remind me today Lord: You alone are qualified to judge. Help me “burn the box!”

DeArmond-29 copyAbout the authorDeb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb addresses topics related to the family and women. Her books include: Related by Chance, Family by Choice,  I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last and Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers whether engaged, newlywed, or long-time married create the life God meant marriage and family to be. You can read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Deb’s book,  I Choose You Today,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: When are you tempted to judge others? What need does it satisfy in you?

Freedom from Performance

by Kathy Collard Miller

I cringed and thought, “Oh, no,” when I saw my friends were using an online source to sign up for the latest Meal Train. I knew God didn’t want me to participate because of my care-giving responsibilities, yet still I worried, “What will they think if they don’t see my name on the list?” I keenly felt the conflict of wanting to obey God but risking being misunderstood if I didn’t sign up.

It’s a tendency of mine, to put myself under pressure to do what other people might think I should do. But is that what should guide my decisions? Of course not.

The world, especially the American culture, screams its messages: be productive, look good, keep it together. Yet God’s way is different, beckoning me to rest in Him and find my contentment and value in Him.

One area in which we Christian women often strive to “look good” is hospitality. Sadly, we drive ourselves crazy—which doesn’t glorify God—by thinking we will be exalting God with our show of being all together with the gourmet meal or perfect centerpiece. But in reality, who are we really glorifying?

I’m learning to ask myself questions like:

  • Am I joining this committee because I’ve seen how disorganized the leader is and they need me to straighten it out?
  • Do I feel compelled to ‘like’ this post on Facebook or pass along the next online chain letter because otherwise my friend won’t think I’m supporting her?
  • Am I working hard on the church event so everyone will see how creative I am, rather than looking to God for his approval and applause?

In each decision I ask the Holy Spirit to evaluate my heart. He exposes my muddy motives so I am able to discern when it is truly God that is leading. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, whether I sign up for the meal or not, if He has not impressed on me  to do a thing, I can know I’m obeying Him.

That’s the freedom God offers us all. His eyes of love see us in Christ. We wear His righteousness and no longer need to worry about performance (Philippians 3:9). In Christ we have worth and value—which is never based on how we look to others. As we are set free, we will see Paul’s challenge fulfilled in our lives: “filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:11 ESV)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller has spoken in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. She is an author with over 50 published books including her two latest: Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory and Never Ever Be the Same (co-authored with husband Larry). She lives in Southern California and is a wife, mother of two, and grandmother of two.

Join the conversation: Has a need for pleasing people kept you from peace? Can you think of a specific example?

When Things Seem Impossible

by Sheri Schofield

“Father, how am I supposed to handle this?” I asked God. Our family had just gone through a year of incredible trauma. It was so bad that nobody in our new town believed us. They did not think this type of event could happen in the United States. Now our enemy had taken one final swipe at us, and my husband, Tim, couldn’t handle it. He broke down completely and quit his job as a physician.

Day after day, Tim lay on the couch staring at the ceiling. When night came, he tossed and turned and cried out or screamed in his sleep. We had two children, both attending Christian schools, which we felt was necessary for their emotional states at the time. With no income, unable to leave Tim alone in order to work, how was I supposed to get our family through this disaster? How could I put food on the table and ward off debt? I was struggling with post-traumatic stress myself!

I did the only thing I knew would work: I cast myself upon God. I cried buckets of tears as I poured my heart out to my heavenly Father, pleading for help. As the months wore on, I came to desire God’s presence even more than my own requests. He met with me, filled me with joy, and kept me close to His side. The results of those prayers were amazing!

The Christian high school principal paid my son’s tuition so we did not have to put him in public school. Whenever we had a household bill to pay, a check from a Christian friend would arrive in the mail with a note that said, “God told me to send this to you.” Every physical need was met.

Then God asked me to pray for other people suffering from diseases. Many terminally ill people were completely healed. Others received three or four extra years of life.

Gradually, my husband began to recover. A man from church coaxed Tim into helping at his lube and oil shop. Between jobs, the man talked with Tim and drew him out. It didn’t bring in very much money, but working with a fellow Christian man helped Tim gain confidence. He had fallen ill in February. By October, he was able to begin a desk job evaluating disability claims for the government.

My lacerated heart began to heal. During that year, God helped me to stay calm in front of our children and to provide the security they needed. By watching my example, they learned that God answers prayer.

Those stormy months taught me to rest in Jesus like never before. I would not trade that year of prayer for anything! It worked a revolution in my heart and taught me the power of waiting on God for all things.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31, KJV

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Children’s ministry veteran Sheri Schofield was unexpectedly called on to save her husband’s life, a battle that took her to the Pentagon, Congress, National Security and the President of the United States. At her website, www.SheriSchofield.com, she shares this journey in her book One Step Ahead of the Devil then continues her ministry with the children’s book The Prince And The Plan.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Sheri’s book, One Step Ahead of the Devil,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What needs has God met for you when you were in the middle of crisis?

Beyond My Control

by Afton Rorvik

I like order. I like lists. I like knowing what tomorrow holds.

Many years ago when the company I worked for merged with another company, I flailed. My position was being threatened by the powers that be. I knew this job, these people. I worked minutes from my house. There was a lot to lose. But more than anything, I hated sitting and waiting for someone else to make decisions about my life.

During that time, I discovered an Old Testament passage that has since become my go-to story when life throws me a challenge beyond my control. This account, found in 2 Chronicles 20, features Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He received news that a huge army was about to attack his kingdom. When Jehoshaphat heard the news, he was alarmed. Who doesn’t feel alarmed when unexpected situations come flying at you?

Jehoshaphat, however, did not wallow in panic or fear. And he did not start drawing up a battle plan or gathering troops. Instead, he gathered the people together to fast and pray. His subjects came from all over Judah to jointly pray and seek the Lord’s help.

Jehoshaphat stood among them and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”  (2 Chronicles 20: 6, NIV) He went on to recite all of the ways God had proved Himself faithful in the past to His people. He ended the prayer by pleading, “For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV, emphasis added)

God responded to their cry. He spoke through a prophet right then and there, and gave reassurance to the people. The prophet told them “Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but Gods’.” (2 Chronicles 20:15 NASB)

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord as well.

So . . . a vast army lurked. And Jehoshaphat did something seemingly illogical and impractical. He worshiped.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t fight life-threatening battles with worship. My knee-jerk response to the unexpected usually involves crawling into myself and focusing on private prayer that goes along the lines of “God, please fix this!”

I need to follow the example of Jehoshaphat in spending time reminding myself of God’s steadfast, powerful, and never-changing character as well as remember the weakness and ineffectiveness of any human effort. And be drawn not into despair but rather into worship.

Worship might take the form of fasting or congregational singing; or it might look like a woman sitting alone in a comfortable living room chair thanking God every morning that He sees, He cares, and He is at work in situations far beyond my control.

I did eventually lose that fabulous job and went on to face a lot of other life challenges. And I’m sure I have many more such challenges ahead of me.

And that is why I return again and again to the story of Jehoshaphat. It pulls me back to worship and helps me make Jehoshaphat’s words my own: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20: 12 NIV)

afton rorvik.jpgAbout the author: Part of the publishing industry since 1987, Afton Rorvik enjoys her roles as wife, mother, friend, editor, and writer. She loves shaping words, reading books by contemplative authors, listening to music, drinking coffee with friends, traveling, and savoring the words in her favorite book—the Bible. In 2014 Afton published Storm Sisters, a story-filled book on how to be present when storms hit a friend’s life. You can learn more about Afton and her ministry on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Afton’s book, Storm Sisters, Friends Through All Seasons,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What unexpected situation have you faced that might have been helped by Jehoshaphat’s story?