We Can’t Live Without Hope

by Karen Porter

The human body can survive about 3 weeks without food but not more than a couple of days without water. Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, we can’t live without hope. Hope that tomorrow the sun will shine and take away the dreary gray clouds. Hope that the doctor will discover the right medicine. Hope that a prodigal child will call. Hope that a strained relationship will be changed to forgiveness and love again.

An ancient Roman saying states, “Where there is life there is hope.” Sounds good, but shouldn’t the statement be as Warren Wiersbe said? “Where there is faith, there is hope.” As believers, our hope is not in sunny days tomorrow or medical technology or the sudden change of heart of a person. Our hope is in Jesus. Peter said, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (I Peter 1:3 ESV, emphasis mine).

A living hope is a great expectation. But Peter is quick to point out that the anticipation is based on the completed work of Jesus. Each of us is born with a sin nature that separates us from God. Jesus provided rescue and redemption from that separation by paying the price for our sins on the cross, and His resurrection offers new life to us. His resurrection means that we may live too. And not simply live, but live with hope.

Our culture does not understand hope in Jesus because we are conditioned that we must do something instead of sitting around waiting for something to happen. Work hard enough and your future is bright. But the Lord said through Isaiah, “Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 NLT). That’s the difference being a believer makes, because faith fuels hope. Faith is believing even when the evidence says otherwise. Faith is trust in God, not in circumstances, because of who He is.

We will face disappointments and tragedies, but we must never give up on hope in Jesus. Faith is for today…trusting no matter what the doctor or the news said.

One friend’s future changed instantly when her child made a wrong and deadly decision, but faith has sustained her and given her hope for the difficult years that she has faced since then.

One friend’s reputation was destroyed by lies and half-truths. His dreams and opportunities seem ruined forever. But faith gets him through the day and hope assures him that God knows what is in store in the days and weeks to come.

One friend’s daughter was killed in a terrible accident. Yet my friend’s faith was so strong that she shook her fist at the devil and said, “If that’s all you got, you’ve failed. I’ll trust God.”

“Job said, God might kill me, but I have no other hope. I am going to argue my case with him” (Job 13:15 NLT).

Hope is trusting in the character of God even if the worst has happened. God is here today, and He is in tomorrow too. Whatever you face tomorrow, will your response be hope?

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT

karen-porter-About the Author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. In her spare time, she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Get Ready, Practical Ideas to Prepare You for Ministry,  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 holding on to hope helped you in the past?

The Fog in Our Lives

by Ginger Sanders

Sitting out on our back porch, early before daybreak, coffee in hand, I watched as the silent fog crept across the waters. It started out on the main river, at the base of the mountain, then crawled into the lagoon by our home.   As I watched, the docks across the way quietly disappeared. It was almost smoky at first, then cloudy, then became a heavy mist and finally a total whiteout.

As I looked around, the lightness of the fog encircled the very place I was sitting. The screens on the porch dripped rivulets of water. The stillness of the moment was overwhelming. I was so reluctant to somehow break the beauty, I barely breathed.

I am not sure how much time passed as I sat, watching and waiting. It was then I noticed the dock across the lagoon was slowly reappearing. The fog’s lifting was just as subtle as it had descended, slow and quiet. Finally, the sun broke through the trees as the birds started to chirp.

The day had awakened, offering a new start, a new beginning for everyone.

I was reminded, as I sat in the stillness, of things that can gradually surround our being and soul, things like sin or depression. The takeover begins quietly, but eventually isolates us and makes clear vision nearly impossible.

The only sure remedy for things of that nature start creeping into our lives, is to give it to God. Jesus called Himself the Light of the World. He brings light to our spiritual darkness. When we bring Him what is overwhelming us, He will guide us through it. He is more than just a friend, He died for you and would do it again. He loves you that much. Be still, listen, let Him be the SON that comes upon your life and push away the fog of sin or depression.

Do you feel the call of God to give it all to Him? Don’t waste another minute sitting in the fog! It is time to let Him shine into your life and let your heart start singing to Him. He is waiting on you and has a plan for your life. Respond to His call today!

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13 ESV

Step out of your own fog and find Jesus. If you need help doing this, please contact me at gingersanders0@gmail.com. If you have a praise or make a decision, please comment or let me hear from you so I can pray for you. In the meantime, I am already praying for YOU!! 

Ginger SandersAbout 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. She has authored He Goes Before Us, which features chaplains’ stories of God at work in disaster, and two children’s books: Round 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.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a51DSWZH5AcL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Ginger’s book, He Goes Before Us,  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 the things that are “fogging up” your life?

 

 

Tapping into God’s Power

by Sheri Shofield

I had meant to pray. Every night that week I had tried to stay awake and pray for someone’s healing. But every night I had fallen asleep after just a few minutes. Now it was the fourth night. I opened my Bible and looked down. The words leaped off the page! “Could you … not keep watch with me for one hour?” (Matthew 26:40 NIV).

These words were wrung from Jesus’ heart the night he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane as He awaited His arrest and crucifixion. But I felt that Jesus was asking me the same question that night.

God has chosen to pour his power out into our world through those of us who love him and who are willing to pray. One evening a few years ago, my husband and I were attending a prayer meeting at a near-by church. We did not know many people there but were friends with the pastor. Before giving a short, encouraging message, the pastor asked for prayer requests. A number of requests were given, and then a woman asked if we would pray that God would heal her shoulder. It had been injured years before and had never healed properly. The pain was difficult to bear.

In that moment, I sensed that the Lord wanted us to go to the woman, lay hands on her shoulder, and ask for healing. But the pastor simply listed the request and moved on. Afterward, I asked if he believed in laying hands on people and praying for healing. He did. I said, “That woman with the injured shoulder – I think we are supposed to do that for her.”

The pastor’s eyes twinkled and he said, “Okay, Sheri, go do it!” I felt hesitant. I told God that I had no authority! This was a job for the pastor! For the elders! But I would obey what God had asked. I went over to the lady and asked if I could pray for her. She agreed. I placed my hand on her shoulder and began to pray that God would heal her. Suddenly, a warm jolt that felt like electricity shot down my arm! I started to lift my hand up in surprise. What was this? Ah! It must be the Holy Spirit! I put my hand back and kept praying. Afterward, the woman looked at me strangely. I smiled and left. If that was indeed the Holy Spirit, and he had healed the woman, we would know by the next week.

The next Wednesday when we arrived at the meeting, the woman rushed to greet me. “God healed my shoulder when you prayed!” she exclaimed. “A warm jolt of power hit my shoulder as you prayed! I am completely free of pain!”

God does not reserve his power for the “professionals.” He pours out healing power through all who trust and obey him, whether we feel it or not. This is how God changes the world. Is it any wonder that Jesus cries out to us, “Could you not keep watch with me for one hour?”

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16 NIV

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.

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Join the conversation: Have you ever seen God work through the prayers of someone?

God’s Love Game

by Cheri Cowell

“I love you more than vanilla ice cream with hot fudge,” my friend will say to his daughter, to which she will reply, “I love you more than kisses from a puppy.” Instead of sharing the usual I love you, they share in this lighthearted game. Each time the other tries to top what was named.

God plays this game with us, too. He gives us a breathtaking sunrise, and then whispers in our ear, “See this? I love you more than that.” He sends someone into your life with an unexpected blessing and then whispers again, “I love you more than that.” God’s love is so great there is no way we could have ever comprehended it—until He sent Jesus so there would be no doubt.

Do you still have a few doubts? Read today’s scripture carefully. The word used in the Greek for inner being means in the secret depths of one’s soul. God longs for us to know Him deeply, intimately, from our most personal, private place. To love from this place requires a depth of vulnerability and trust.

God knows this so He demonstrated His love and vulnerability to us first in the life and death of Jesus. Now, everyday of our lives, He continues to send us reminders of His love and His desire for a deep relationship with us. The challenge for us is to be tuned in to the game enough to keep from missing God’s often subtle communication. The world tries to tell us we are too busy, or that these things are coincidences. But when we slow down and look, we’ll see God saying He loves us everywhere we turn. May you and I have eyes today to see His call, and Hear His whispers of, “I love you more than this…”

In your prayer time today, praise God for His great love expressed in the life and sacrifice of Jesus. Thank Him for the work of the Holy Spirit in your life that continually woos you and seeks to draw you closer to Him. Express to God your willingness to join in His love game by noticing the blessings He puts before you today. Then return the favor by adding your own, “I see that God, and I love You more than ___________.”

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV

cheri cowellCheri Cowell’s book, 365 Devotions for Peace, is available through bookstores everywhere. To learn about Cheri’s other books visit www.CheriCowell.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 Cheri’s book, 365 Devotionals for Peace , 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.

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No Plug-Ins, Please

by Debbie Taylor Williams

 As Valentine’s Day approaches, we have been bombarded with suggestions of gift ideas. We choose our gifts carefully for this day, because whether the gift is a card, a phone call, or flowers, the gift says something about the giver.

The first gift I received from my husband, Keith, after we were married was at Christmas.  My family gathered in the den, as was our tradition. Like lovebirds, Keith and I sat close beside each other near the warm fire.  All eyes were glued on me as he placed a wrapped box on my lap.  Keith grinned as I slowly unwrapped the present.  Mama, Daddy, and my sisters leaned forward to see what I was opening.

Perhaps a drum roll would have been appropriate.  As the wrapping paper opened, a box with a picture of an General Electric iron was revealed.  I wondered if that was what was really inside.  However, when he gleefully explained, “I thought you could use this,” any hope that there was a piece of jewelry tucked within vanished. For the first time, my talkative family had nothing to say. Keith, noticing the silence, hurriedly explained that his family always gives practical gifts.

He meant well. But my new husband learned a lesson that day: the gifts that spoke to my heart were not those that required work.

God gave us that kind of gift. He gave His only begotten Son, a gift of salvation that cannot be earned.  It is a gift given without requirements on our part; it is a gift given in unconditional love.

Keith’s gifts to me have come a long way since that first year.  These days, our favorite gifts to one another aren’t roses or candy.  They’re spending time together, speaking encouraging words, holding hands, and taking walks. Those are the best gifts; for they are gifts of the heart.

Do you wish you had someone with whom to spend Valentine’s Day?  Remember, there is someone who loves you dearly.  He gave His most precious, only Son in order that we might have a personal, intimate relationship with Him. It was a priceless gift from His very heart. And requires nothing in return. His name is Jesus.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. Help us always be mindful of how much you love us. 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV 

debbie taylor williamsAbout the author: Debbie Taylor Williams is the author of seven books and is a national keynote Bible teacher; known for her passion and joy-filled teaching. She’s the founder and President of Hill Country Ministries whose mission is to spread the Word and love of Jesus. Debbie has held her P.R.A.Y. with Passion Across the Nation Conference, that is based on her book, Pray with Purpose, Live with Passion in thirty-three states and is booked to take it to five more. She is a faith columnist for the Kerrville Daily Times, is a charter blogger for the Bible Gateway Blogger Grid (BG²), and served on faculty for the Marantha Writers Conference. She and her college sweetheart, Keith, are blessed with two children and five grandchildren. When Debbie’s not writing or teaching, you’ll find her at a kickboxing class, hanging out with family and friends, reading, golfing, hiking, fishing, and traveling.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner51fVlwbF-3L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_ from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Debbie’s book, The Plan A Woman in a Plan B World , 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.

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Returning to My First Love

by Cindi McMenamin

I’ll never forget the day I was cleaning through my top dresser drawer and found a treasure.

I almost threw out the stack of aged, yellowed papers, weathered by time and slightly torn on the edges. When I unfolded the papers and read through them, I instantly realized why I’d kept them all those years. They were love letters from my husband that included phrases like “I love you beyond expression.” “You complete me like no other.” And “I love you desperately.”

As I read through them, my eyes teared up. And then my heart dropped.

I haven’t had a letter like this from him in years.

All of the letters dated back to the first few years that we were married. Nearly 30 years ago! And they all described the captivating woman he saw me as – the woman I had hoped in my heart of hearts that I still was in his eyes.

How I would have loved to believe that I hadn’t changed a bit through the years. How easy it would have been to believe that he was the one who had become distant, more critical, less interested, and less passionate than he was the day we married. It was a little tougher to put that magnifying glass up to myself and ask if I was the one who let resentments build up or baggage get in the way.

That night, I lie awake next to my husband, who was sleeping in sweet oblivion, and wondered how to turn back the clock and make him see me the way he once did – as the captivating woman he fell in love with. Before busy schedules, distracted days, careless words and mounting baggage. Then I realized there was only one way to recapture his heart: be the woman I was and do the things I did when he first fell in love with me.

The apostle John recorded a vision of Christ saying to a first-century church, “You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:4-5 NIV).

While that can be applied to our tendency to grow complacent in our relationship with God, it can be applied to our marriages as well. God is not the only One who recognizes when our enthusiasm for Him has waned. Our husbands recognize when our enthusiasm for them has waned too. They once received our admiration, our smiles from across the room, our focused attention, our constant giggles, our full vigor. Then life happened. Kids came. Work called. We gained a few pounds and a million distractions. And before we knew it, complacency set in.

The next morning I asked God to help me look to Him first as my spiritual husband and then begin responding to my earthly husband the way I did when we were first married. As I began looking to God as my first love, it wasn’t difficult to begin cherishing once again all that God has given me – including my husband.

Lord, don’t let me forget my first love – YOU and the man you have given me to share life with. As I look to You daily to fill my heart and meet my needs, give me an extra amount of love and tenderness for my husband so I treat him the way I want to be treated. Forgive me for the days I put my needs, my hurts, my convenience, and my schedule ahead of him. Help me to love him as faithfully as You have loved me.

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and author of 16 books who has been married 30 years to a  pastor and introvert. Her newest book, 12 Ways to Experience More with Your Husbandreleased Feb. 1 from Harvest House Publishers. For more on her resources to strengthen your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

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Join the conversation: What are the things that made you fall in love at the start of your relationship?

Mommy Guilt

by Julie Coleman

When you are a mother, guilt is a state of being. I personally am plagued with guilt every time I stop and think about my effectiveness as a mother. There are a thousand things I would do differently if I were to relive the years of raising my children. I would pray for them more often. Spend more one-on-one time with them. Make them do more chores. The list goes on forever.

A working mother has an extra portion of guilt.  Trying to maintain a teaching career while raising a family was definitely a challenge. Sometimes my children got the short end of the stick.

I taught at the Christian school where my children attended. One day my daughter’s fourth grade teacher came into the faculty lounge at lunchtime. She sat down next to me and said, “Julie, you have to hear what Melanie gave as a prayer request this morning.” This couldn’t be good. I braced myself. Doris continued, “She said: ‘Would you please pray that my Mom would cook us a homemade meal? It’s been soooo long.’”

The entire table erupted into laughter. That particular week, my husband had been gone for business. Most nights we had stopped at McDonald’s on the way home, so that I didn’t have to face cooking and homework while solo parenting. I sat up straighter in my chair. “OK,” I promised. “Tonight, I am going to make meatloaf, potatoes, and green beans. Comfort food. My days of being a bad mother are over. At least for this week.”

That afternoon, we had a faculty meeting after school that went until 5 PM. I wearily gathered up the papers from my desk and headed down the hall toward the parking lot. On the way, I stuck my head in Doris’ room. “Keep praying,” I told her. “We are going to Wendy’s.”

Yes, guilt is a burden. Most women I know exist in a state of guilty feelings. We never can do enough or do it well enough.

What does the Bible have to say about guilt? You might be surprised.

Guilt is never referred to as a feeling. In Scripture, guilt is a condition. It is the condition into which we are born. We inherited it from our ancestor, Adam. Romans 5:18 tells us “through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men….” One bite of the forbidden fruit, and we were all doomed.

Of course, thankfully there is more: “… Even so, through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men.” (NASB) When Jesus suffered and died on the cross, the Heavenly Judge banged the gavel, and those who believe are set free. One man’s act condemned us. The other One’s act paid our debt in full.

So technically, we are not guilty any more, at least in God’s sight. Yet we do sometimes feel the crushing weight of guilt upon us. When this happens, we need to discern the source of the thoughts that put it there.

One of the many benefits to our salvation is that the Holy Spirit resides within us as a guarantee of our salvation. He does more than inhabit us. He guides us and teaches us. This includes letting us know when we are in the wrong. His conviction for our sin is a healthy thing. It prompts us to repentance and to make peace with those we have wronged. But once we have confessed the sin, and, if necessary, have gone to those we have offended, it is over. Water under the bridge. Time to move on.

Yet still, we may hold tight to guilt, refusing to forgive ourselves. Satan loves this. The Bible calls him “The Accuser.” Guilt is an extremely effective tool of his. It makes us focus on ourselves and our frailties, instead of on Christ and His sufficiency. Guilt can be paralyzing. We are loathe to repeat the same mistake, so in our shame, we stop trying.

Recognize the difference between conviction and guilt. Conviction is redemptive in nature. But guilt: not from God. Let the forgiveness that has been so freely given wash over you. Bask in His grace. Because you are free. Even if you eat at Wendy’s.

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.”                                                                                                                                                     Romans 8:1-2

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. 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.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  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 makes you feel guilty?

Words that Last

by Delores Liesner

Have you ever noticed the words we remember the most?  We hopefully will remember the kind words, compliments, and undeserved words of grace. They encourage us and think in wonder that others see God in us despite the truth of our failings.

But there are other kinds of words also stored in our minds– dark whispers, angry shouts, and words that poke like thorns upon remembrance. Words said to us without kindness or grace. Those words are hard to forget.

Yesterday I hurt someone with my words. What I said did not represent what I truly thought of them. I care for that person! I worry those unkind words may well stick in their hearts the same way others’ thoughtless barbs have stuck in mine. I hope my apology and future actions and words can someday override my thoughtlessness.

Ephesians 4:29 tells us to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” NASB

My first failing was even before the first word came out of my mouth. It was the first word in that verse… I let.  I could have stopped the cruel words before they ever hit the air waves, instead remembering to use life-giving words. Why? Because I did not go to God before I opened my mouth.  I let emotion, not the Spirit, rule my response.

They say hurting people tend to hurt others. I found that true in myself as I lashed out in response to the hurt I was feeling. The irony was, as I spoke unkindly, I actually was stirring up the same emotions in them that would make them want to respond back in anger to me. Choosing that path will never end well.

Practicing giving God control of our tongues involves remembering to stop, ask for grace, and to determine to speak only words that build up. Words that will last in a positive way. Even the hardest truth can be delivered with compassion and grace.

Imagine if we all made Ephesians 4:29 our standard! How different so many of our conversations would be. What if we took a few seconds and asked God to help us season our words with grace? When I remember to ask for God’s perspective, I can see my potentially damaging words for what they are—an emotional reaction. When we determine to follow His lead, an amazing thing will happen: people will respond with grace in return.

Stopping to ask God what we should say next may cause some quiet (and possibly uncomfortable) moments, as He helps us sift out unwholesome communication. But wouldn’t you rather those speaking into your life take the time to remove the thorn before they hand you the rose?

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIV 

delores liesnerAbout the author: Delores Liesner loves to reveal the dynamic hope and confidence found in the heritage of our personal God. She writes from Racine, WI., is a CLASS graduate, 21st Century Grandma and Life Tales columnist. She has published hundreds of stories and articles. Check out her Amazon Author page!

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Join the conversation: Do you remember a time when your kind words disarmed a potentially damaging conversation?

Set Him Always Before You

by Twila Belk

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.     Psalm 16:8 AMP

Do you ever forget anything? I do. Sometimes I’ll get on an elevator and wonder why I haven’t reached my floor. And then I’ll discover it’s because I hadn’t remembered to push the button. I forget where I’ve put things. I forget the names of my kids. I forget why I went to the other room. And if I’m not careful, I’ll forget meaningful dates or events. If I don’t keep a sticky note or some sort of reminder in front of me, I’m in trouble.

Several years ago on an August day, I realized how important those reminders were to me. I went about my business as I normally do, but I had a niggling feeling that I was forgetting something. Halfway through the day, I came across a significant document while sorting a stack of papers on my table. It was the first day of school, and I had forgotten to take my kids! Yikes!

Because I hadn’t kept that important information at the top of the pile and smack dab in front of my face, I had to put up with friends and school personnel who laughed at me and questioned my mental stability.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a clichéd expression, but it’s proven to be true in my case.

Unfortunately, that’s also often the case with many of us regarding our relationship with God. If we don’t keep him at the “top of our pile,” we forget that he’s with us. We forget that he wants to help us. We forget that he is I AM. And because of our forgetfulness, we’re troubled needlessly with a load of care.

David wrote the words in Psalm 16:8 shown above. He knew the key to being still or (unshaken) was to have a constant awareness of the Lord’s presence. Here are some of the ways he kept the Lord continually before him:

  • Talked honestly with God and carried on a running conversation with him
  • Meditated on God’s words
  • Journaled his thoughts and prayers to God (see the Psalms)
  • Passed down his God stories to the next generation
  • Sang praises to God
  • Proclaimed God’s goodness
  • Talked to others about God
  • Danced before God
  • Opened his eyes and heart to notice God at work
  • Immersed himself in the truth of God’s Word

As with us, life wasn’t always easy for David. He faced storms, dealt with wicked people, confronted giants, had to make difficult decisions, and wrestled with inner turmoil. But because he knew God intimately and kept him at the “top of his pile,” David was able to trust him. God proved himself to David again and again and will do the same for us.

I have problems with forgetfulness, Lord, but I don’t want that to happen when it comes to you. Help me to learn from David and to keep you continually before me. If I do that, I won’t be shaken by the worries and cares and troubles of life. With you at the “top of my pile,” I’ll remember how big you are, how good you are, and how trustworthy you are. Thank you for being at my right hand.

(This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.)

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, 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 kinds of things shake you? How would setting God always before you help you keep from being shaken? What are methods you could use to help you have a constant awareness of God in your life?

 

Engraved on His Hands

by Tammy Kennington

The familiar ping of the cell phone alerted me to a new message. A hurting friend and I had been discussing the razor-edged struggles of the hard in her life. A loved one had said things. Done things. She wanted to know–could the relationship recover?

I paused before responding. I didn’t see the way. I didn’t know how the hurt could be redeemed. But God did. The words I chose? With God, all things are possible.

Tears blurred my miniature screen when this dear one answered. I feel worthless.

I understood these words. I had owned them for years. And I wonder…how many of us have been in that place? How many of us have felt the thrust of the enemy’s arrow digging into our hearts with messages that overshadow the love letters from God in His Word?

Maybe you’ve believed the lies, too. The messages burning in your heart may have been lodged there since childhood—words spoken by a parent, a teacher, or peers. Perhaps you were burdened with the weight of worthlessness when a marriage begun with promises ended in betrayal. Is it possible that your past—the sins you can’t seem to forget—deems you worthless?

Not in God’s eyes. Jesus wants to affirm you. What He offers is no mere positive mantra for personal repetition or word of false praise. He wants to give you so much more.

Jesus is calling us to follow him. As he called the disciples away from their fishing, He shouts out your name–a personal invitation to leave your own nets behind–those things that entangle and threaten to drag you into dark waters. He calls us to leave them in the sand, Friend. Like refuse scattered along the water’s edge after a storm, you can shed your hurts, cast off the lies, and release your burdens.

I’m not suggesting that Jesus is an easy answer. The world is still a place of broken people. Suffering continues. Tears still flow. Certainly, Jesus didn’t mince words when he said, “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world” (John 16:31-33 MSG).

The God of the universe and creator of all things loves you so passionately that when He spread His arms wide on the cross He was dying for you. You are that valuable. “Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for a child she has borne? Even if that were possible, I would never forget you! See, I have engraved your name on the palms of my hands” (Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT).

With Jesus, it is very personal. Even in all of our difficulty and doubts, let’s respond to His grace and love. Will you follow after Him in your present? Because one beautiful day in the future we’ll celebrate a heavenly homecoming and fully understand just how much He loves us.

 “So the LORD said to Moses, “I will also do this thing that you have spoken; for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:17 NKJV

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 leads 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 the messages embedded in your heart that you need to cast off?