We Don’t Have What it Takes to Care for Our Parents

by Kathy Howard

When my husband and I were young parents, our church friends had an ongoing joke that reflected the challenge of raising little humans. We designated that carefree time of life before the arrival of the first offspring as “BC” – before children. Before children we enjoyed spontaneous outings, a little extra spending money, and a good night’s sleep.

But after the children’s arrival, all that changed. Grocery store trips required hours of preparation. Paychecks often ran out before the next payday. And we regularly navigated our days in a sleep-deprived state. Caring for little ones was tough. Then they grew to be teenagers and parenting stretched us to new lengths.

Now, with our children grown, we can look back and clearly see how God sustained us with His grace through every stage of parenting.

Then we totally skipped the empty-nest stage. The summer our last child left for college, my 80-year-old father-in-law arrived. One young birdie flew out and one old birdie flew in.

Granted, Pappaw only needed a little assistance during the first years he spent with us. Then his health began to decline and he experienced one major problem after another. As doctors, medication, lengthy hospital stays, surgeries, and rehab dominated his life, he needed us more and more.

For a season, I was helping both my husband with his father and making regular trips to care for my own parents. I desperately wanted to do the right things, but the responsibilities felt heavy, draining.

I quickly realized I don’t have what it takes. I’m ill-equipped to make good decisions for my parents. I lack the spiritual strength to love and care for them unconditionally. One minute I want to hug them and tell them everything will be alright and the next I want to force them to “listen to reason.”

Many of you are there now – overwhelmed with the needs of your parents. With the responsibility of caring for them. Like me, you don’t have what it takes to do it well.

But I know Someone who has everything we need and more. Caring for aging and ill parents challenges us daily and can stretch us to the breaking point. But, by His power and grace, God will give us everything we need to care for them and live a life that pleases God “through our knowledge of Him who called us” (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).

As we abide in Jesus, God’s powerful provision flows through this life-giving connection. The power is Christ in us, working through us to minister to our parents. Caring for our parents is a joint venture with God. As we step out in obedience, God provides the power to fuel our efforts. God doesn’t promise the task will be easy. But He does promise our efforts in Him will make a difference.

Today, let’s take a deep breath and settle into the amazing truth that our powerful God will provide everything we need for this journey. Let us draw close to Jesus and hold tight.

“And 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

Kathy HowardAbout the author: Struggling to navigate the parent/child role reversal? Kathy Howard’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, explores God’s Word to find hope and encouragement for the wide range of physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual challenges the adult child caregiver may experience. Each of the 30 devotions – which can also serve as a guide for a daily quiet time – includes a Scripture passage, a real-life illustration, biblical commentary/application, and questions for reflection.

 Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 30DaysHope_AgingParentsCover 300RGBfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Kathy’s new book, 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents, 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 can you do each day to purposefully stay connected to Jesus? How will abiding in Jesus strengthen you for your God-given task?

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Praying for Our Offender

by Jennifer Slattery

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 NIV

When I’m afraid and feel threatened, and especially when I sense those I love are in danger, I’m diligent—fervent!—in prayer. I beg God to intervene.

I certainly don’t want to pray for the offender. But when, by God’s grace, I put aside my will, and, out of obedience, I do pray for those causing myself or my loved ones pain, something happens internally.

My heart softens. The anger lessens. The fear and stress that had me all worked up and distracted are abated. Perhaps that is, in part, how to experience the peace that is beyond anything we can understand (Phil. 4:6-7). In that moment, I become more like Jesus, who, as He hung on the cross, prayed for the very ones who were persecuting Him (Luke 23:34).

We can see this same love in Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 2. Recently released from prison, he told his young friend to pray for their political leaders: those who were persecuting them and the entire Christian community. Paul knew those leaders would never change unless they came to know Christ, and maybe, he remembered that he was once just like them.

Paul and Timothy were living under the authority of Nero, a cruel and insane leader. Each day, as they walked the streets of Roman-ruled land, fears had to arise. Would this be the day they’d be imprisoned? Stoned, flogged, or even executed?

Had I been in that situation, I probably would’ve gone into hiding. I would’ve prayed—a lot! For myself, my protection and safety.

Not Paul. Instead, he focused on others, and not just those he loved, but on all people—the betrayer and betrayed. The oppressor and oppressed. Those who followed Christ and those who didn’t. And he didn’t just ask Timothy to pray for them. He urged him to do so. Can you sense his passion, his love for the lost?

It was this kind of love we see in Jesus when, on the night He was betrayed, He prayed for those closest to Him: the men He’d poured Himself into, day in and day out, who would abandon Him during His darkest hour.

Maybe you’ve been there. I have, and it hurt.

I’d walked beside a woman, prayed with and for her, and had done all I knew to help her grow and succeed. But then she turned against me and the relationship turned ugly. The injustice of it all pricked against my pride. So, I stewed, growing more and more indignant. More and more angry, all the while sensing God’s gentle but persistent tap on my heart: Forgive. Love. Pray.

Still fighting negative thoughts and emotions, I closed my eyes, and out of obedience did what God asked. At first, it felt unnatural, like words forced through gritted teeth. But the more I prayed for this woman, the softer my heart became toward her. I began to see her and the situation differently, not through the lens of my pain but instead, through the lens of hers. I caught a glimpse of the healing and growth God wanted to bring about in her.

Suddenly, I understood—this wasn’t about me. It never had been. It was all about Jesus rescuing and transforming our broken world. Paul understood this, and this understanding gave him the strength to keep pouring himself out for others, so that God’s glory could be seen and lives could be saved. Paul longed for his dear friend, his son in the faith, to have that same focus and passion.

I believe God has the same desire for us.

Jennifer SlatteryAbout the author: Jennifer Slattery is a writer and international speaker who addresses women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and other writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog. Jennifer has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Join the conversation: For what unlikely person is God moving you to pray?

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A Stone’s Throw From Grace

by Edie Melson

When they persisted in questioning Him, He stood up and said to them, “The one without sin among you should be the first to throw a stone at her.  John 8:7 CSB

Imagine with me the scene that day. A woman has been caught in the act of adultery. In first century Israel, it’s a crime punishable by death—death by stoning. The men and women drag her into the public square. I can hear the voices of her accusers, raised in hatred and condemnation.

  • “You’re nothing but filth.”
  • “You knew what could happen when you made your choice.”
  • “Get rid of her. We can’t have someone like her contaminating our town.”

She’s thrown at the feet of a famous teacher, for him to pronounce the death sentence. Why did they bring her to him? Because he’s known for his compassion. By bringing her crime to his attention they can literally kill two birds with one stone. They can get rid of a sinner and either expose him as a liar, or a lawbreaker.

Instead, Jesus introduces them all to the concept of grace.

And He does it without compromising the law or the heart of compassion he’s known for.

Back in the viewpoint of our sinner, I can imagine her laying there at His feet, covering her head with her arms as she tries to make as small a target as possible. Every muscle is tensed, waiting for the first stone from the angry mob.

As the crowd begins to quiet, instead of the sound of stones whistling through the air, she hears the words of the teacher. His pronouncement takes them all by surprise—even her. And I can imagine that the next sounds she hears are the thumps all around her as the stones drop to the ground as the crowd disperses.

Those in the crowd learned a valuable lesson as did the woman. They learned that they have a choice when it comes to confronting sin. They can be stone-throwers or stone-droppers.

It’s a choice we still have today. Starting today I’m going to make a conscious effort to drop those stones and be an instrument of grace.

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether 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: What kinds of things tempt you to throw stones?

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No Conflict

by Julie Zine Coleman

In the week following 9-11, at faculty devotions we heard several stories of friends or relatives who had miraculously escaped death on that terrible morning. A Pentagon employee someone knew was out of his office when the plane hit. Someone’s friend missed the morning bus, causing her to be late for work in the Twin Towers. Many teachers responded to what they’d heard by praising God for His goodness to those individuals.  No one doubted one bit that God would somehow use the previous weeks’ events for His glory.

Yet after the meeting, I couldn’t help but think of how those grieving their loved ones that were killed in the tragedy were feeling about the goodness of God. Would God bring Himself glory at their expense?

We tend to equate the idea of God’s goodness with His acting in ways we feel is appropriate. The truth of the matter is that God is always good, whether He is doing what pleases us or not. He cannot be anything but good. Goodness is an essential and uncompromising piece of His character.

When the Israelites arrived in the wilderness, it didn’t take long for them to reveal their true colors. While Moses was up on the mountain receiving the Law, the people were in the valley below fashioning an idol out of gold. They had already rejected the One who had just brought them safely across the Red Sea.

God reacted in swift judgment: three thousand men fell that day. In desperation, Moses pleaded for God to forgive and not abandon them. God responded by promising His presence would remain with Moses and the people. Possibly needing further assurance, Moses then made a request of God: “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

God responded, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.” (Exodus 33:19 NASB) Note the change in nouns; Moses asked to see God’s glory. God told him he would be shown His goodness. You see, by showing His goodness to Moses, God would be revealing His glory. (The two words are used interchangeably throughout the rest of the account.)

Did you notice how God defined His goodness to Moses? Yes, God was good. But Moses needed to trust Him no matter how He might appear. The goodness of God did not stand in opposition to His justice, wisdom, and righteousness. All of these existed in perfect harmony together in God. No conflict at all.

When difficult circumstances come into our lives, they make us wonder if we must choose between believing in the goodness of God or in His ability to bring glory to Himself. Romans 8:28 promises us, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God. . .”  All things. Planes careening into the twin towers, a tsunami dragging thousands out to sea, and an earthquake trapping hundreds of students under a crushing pile of rubble will all be used to bring glory to God. “My glory I will not give to another,” God proclaims in Isaiah 48:11 (NASB). Yet He also promises to work only toward our good in the worst of times.

God’s concerns for our good and His glory are never at odds. They mutually exist in a God who loves us wholeheartedly yet works to demonstrate His glory to the world at the same time. One does not preclude the other. We can trust Him to do the right thing even in the small details of our lives and run the universe at the same time. His goodness is just another compatible dimension to the glory which is His.

“Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.”                                                                                                                             1 Chronicles 16:24 NASB

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 Womenwas 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 difficulty has God used for your good? How did He reveal Himself through it?

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The Transforming Breath of God

by Edie Melson

“Your name will no longer be Abram, but your name will be Abraham, for I will make you the father of many nations . . . God also said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah.”  Genesis 17:5, 15 CSV

So often we become God’s children long before we allow Him to breathe life into our lives. Our hearts belong to him, but we fight against the changes He wants to make in us.

I think the same thing was true of Abraham and Sarah. They followed God for quite a while before they actually let Him make the changes He wanted. These verses are the outward evidence of the changes they finally allowed God to make.

The changes God made to their names held great significance. He added an H to both their names. If you make the sound that an H makes, it’s an exhalation of breath. It’s a great picture of the fact they had finally allowed God to breathe life into their lives.

When He filled them with His breath, they were transformed.

God also breathes into our lives. In this day and time He speaks to us in many ways. We have much more of Him than those we read about in the Bible. We have His Holy Spirit, and we have His Living Word. But the truth is, if we don’t allow Him to make some much-needed changes, it’s just head knowledge.

Without transformation, information is just extra baggage.

It is our responsibility to apply the things God speaks into our lives. This realization has caused me to think more about how life would change if I allowed Him to breathe His life into my current circumstances.

I believe allowing Him to fill every space in my life with His breath would bring so much. I would be able to experience peace beyond circumstances, joy in the midst of sorrow, and live out love no matter the hatred that surrounds me.

This is becoming my prayer and the thing I’m seeking. Every day I ask God to reclaim a little bit of the atmosphere inside me and fill it with His life-giving breath. Care to join me?

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether 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: What in your life needs the breath of God?

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Trust

by Sheri Schofield

It was a late autumn afternoon when our family piled into the stations wagon and waved good-bye to Aunt Pat and her family. It had been a fun weekend, but we had a long drive ahead, and Grandpa wanted to get on the road. With four kids in the car, plus Grandma and Mama, he figured it would be easier to drive at night when all of us noisemakers were asleep. I was eight at the time.

The last thing I remembered was counting the blackbirds sitting on the electrical wires alongside the highway. Three days later, I awoke in a hospital. Dad was sitting back in a chair next to my bed, eyes closed, a look of exhaustion on his face. “Daddy?” I said.

Dad instantly sat up and leaned forward to take my hand. “Sheri! Sheri!” he said. He told me I was in a hospital about an hour and a half from home. The next thing I remembered was riding in an ambulance to the hospital two blocks from our home. I was still groggy with drugs to dull the pain of a broken arm and head wounds.

The hospital where I was taken was the one in which Mama worked. But Mama wasn’t there. The church where we attended was next to the hospital. The next afternoon, I heard the church bells ring. That only happened when there was a funeral. I suddenly became anxious. I rang for the nurse. When she entered the room, I demanded, “Where’s my mama? I want Mama!”

The nurse turned away, but not before I saw the tears in her eyes. She said, “Sheri, your mama can’t come right now,” and hurried out the door.

I was terrified. Suddenly, a man with curly black hair, wearing a long white robe appeared at the foot of my bed. Though he did not have wings, I knew at once that he was an angel. He came over beside me and sat down. “Sheri,” he said, “your mama and Donna and David are in heaven with Jesus now.”

Through a mist, I saw Mama walking across a beautiful, green lawn, carrying my baby brother, with my little sister, Donna, walking beside her, holding her hand.

The angel continued, “You are going to have to look after Mikey from now on. He’s going to need his big sister because he doesn’t have his mama anymore.” Then the angel held up a large, white Bible opened to Revelation 21. He showed me the letters, and they were pure gold. He read about how someday God would live among us, and he will wipe away all tears, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. He ended with “These words are true and faithful”.  Then he vanished.

Losing my family was not easy. But I never asked God why he took them, because I had seen them in heaven, where Jesus lives. I have not been afraid of death since then. Result? God has given me some difficult assignments that have required unshakable trust in him.

There is strength and power available to those who have faced tragedy and have chosen to trust God through it.  They become strong warriors to defeat evil in this world and to bring many to Jesus. They stand between the world and the schemes of Satan. Those who are not afraid of death are unstoppable.

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap on behalf of the land . . . ” Ezekiel 22:30, 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. Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, will be launched June 1. It is designed to help parents lead their children into a saving relationship with Jesus.

Join the conversation: What has God shown you to prepare you to serve Him?

Living in the Cage of Familiarity

by Michelle Lazurek

“Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Galilee. It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (also known as Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. ‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said, ‘We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.” (John 21:1-4).

Staring at the paperwork in my lap, I scribbled my name on the bottom like a zombie. As I continued through the other short sale documents on our home, just one thought ran through my head: how did I get here?

At that moment, it seemed all was lost. My life was spiraling out of control and I had no way to stop it. No matter how hard we had tried to keep the doors of our church plant open, it was no longer financially feasible. Facing the possibility of having no place to live, my husband had taken a new pastor position. This may have seemed like good news to some, but to me, it was not.

I actually felt more like Jesus had betrayed me. For sixteen years I had faithfully served Him, but toward what end?  Possible homelessness and seemingly no help from Him no matter how much I begged and pleaded? I wanted the church plant to continue: not because I thought it was in God’s plan, but because it was what I knew. I couldn’t bear the risk of moving to a new state, attending a new church, and starting over.

I’ll bet the disciples felt this way, too.  The events of recent days were nothing less than spectacular. They saw Jesus beaten, tormented by His enemies, and finally die a criminal’s death on a cross. Then, in an amazing turn of events, He had appeared to them resurrected from the dead. But now, after traveling to Galilee to meet Him as they were told, there had been no sign of Him. And as the days passed, they began to wonder: had something more happened to Him? Or had He forgotten them?

When we’ve stepped out in faith, it can be difficult to feel God’s presence or to see His hand at work. At points we might even feel abandoned. In that disillusionment, it is a temptation to retreat back to the familiar that we left behind. It is easier to live in the cage of the cozy familiar than step out into the boundless space of the unknown.

That’s what the disciples did. Permanently leaving their old livelihood as Jesus had called them to do suddenly felt like a stretch. So they moved away from the looming uncertainty went back to what they knew. Like many of us, the familiar can feel as good as slipping on a comfortable old pair of slippers: much more pleasant than facing the gaping unfamiliarity of the unknown.

But to abandon what God has called us to is to abandon the great blessings He has in store for us. As difficult as circumstances may be, He intends to use them to draw us into a deeper relationship with Him. To learn on a new level how worthy He is of our trust. To experience His goodness in ways we have not yet experienced.

Although I couldn’t see it that day, God did soon reveal plan far greater than my ideas for the future. He provided a new ministry, with a loving church family and a parsonage which not only provided us with a home, but cut our financial costs in half. This gave us room to pay off our mounting debt and purchase the essentials we desperately needed.

We’re never sorry when we trust in the character of God over our present circumstances. Are you reverting back to the familiar in your life because it is easier than stepping out in faith?

Lord, help me to trust you enough to step out into the unknown instead of living in the cage of familiarity.

michelle lazurekAbout the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an award-winning author, national speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. A member of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, she loves to help people encounter God and engage with the world around them. When not writing, you can find her enjoying a Starbucks latte and collecting vintage records. For more info, please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com

Join the conversation: Has God asked you to step out into the unknown?

Lasting Fruit

by Pam Farrel

I had two new books published over the past year. When you release a new book, your publisher wants you to send a complimentary copies of the book to the women of influence who believe in you and in the ministry God has given to you.

Doing these mailings always takes me down memory lane, remembering the many amazing mentors God has given me. So many have poured wisdom, truth, strength, and common sense into me, and built up and blessed me. I would not be who I am had God not brought each of them across my path at just the right moment.

All I had to do was keep my heart hungry receptive to all He meant for me to learn.  A few of the Psalms in my new Bible study further define the kind of heart God values.

God is looking for thirsty hearts.

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God.  Psalm 42:1-2 ESV

This word picture is of a deer searching, longing, desperate for living water to quench her driving thirst. Jesus spoke of this quality in His Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matt. 5:6 ESV). Being mentored necessitates cultivating a receptiveness to the wisdom of others.

God is looking for contrite hearts.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. Psalm 51:17 ESV

Broken in this verse means to “be shattered into tiny pieces”; contrite is “to be crushed.” Tiny pieces of stained glass in the hands of an artist can become a magnificent work of art, more beautiful and even more valuable after being broken. In the same way, many of my mentors have been used by God as artisans, helping me put my broken life back together.

God is looking for grateful hearts

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:4- 5 NIV

People with grateful hearts seek out others who want to thank and praise God for His goodness.  I have learned how important it is to appreciate every moment of time someone has spent on me in helping me to know God better.

So, this fall, I looked for opportunities to go in person to thank many of my mentors:

  • Tina, the Campus Crusade staffer, who mentored me in the basics of the Christian walk
  • Nora, who mentored me in my role as a mother
  • Bev, who mentored me in my role as a Pastor’s wife
  • Pat, my mentor in my role as a Women’s Director
  • Jill, my mentor in my speaking ministry.

There are many more, and in the coming months, I plan to go and give each a copy of my book to express my gratitude for each minute they spent pouring wisdom into me. The seeds these faithful women planted over the years have produced lasting fruit around the world. I’m confident that one day in eternity, they will all meet women who began a relationship with God and grew into reproducing leaders as well—all because they once cared and shared as mentors.

When we are open to serving God in that way, desiring a chance to pour into the lives of others, God will be faithful to reveal those who are thirsty, contrite, and grateful, waiting with ready hearts to hear what He has to say though His obedient servants.

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an international speaker,  Co-Director (with her husband, Bill Farrel) of  Love-Wise, and the author of  45 books including bestselling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti . Her newest release, co-authored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher, is Discovering Hope in the Psalms.

Join the conversation: Have you been on the receiving end of mentoring? Or have you mentored others? Please share something you gained from that relationship.

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Whom Do You Fear?

by Cindi McMenamin

It occurred to me, as I was writing my book, Drama Free, that most of the drama we experience in life is a result of fearing people more than we fear God.

For instance, I was recently stressed out because someone was believing something about me that wasn’t true. But did I really fear what people thought more than I feared the God who had my back and could clear my name?

The Bible tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom….” (Psalm 111:10, NASB). To fear God is to have a wholesome dread of ever displeasing the Lord. It implies love, reverence, and caring more about what God thinks of us than what others might think.

I find that verse in the Psalms interesting because I’ve come to realize the opposite of wisdom is drama. When we exercise wisdom, we use discretion and we don’t make a scene. When we demonstrate wisdom, we don’t bring distress to others. When we display wisdom, we are not putting ourselves on display.  If fearing the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, which negates drama, then fearing anything other than God is likely to trigger drama.

In my own life, I find that, instead of fearing God, I can sometimes fear:

  • being misunderstood
  • being treated unfairly
  • being embarrassed (by appearing weak or incapable)
  • being rejected
  • being in a situation where I am not in control. (My daughter has a fear of flying because she fears not being in control. And let me tell you, there can be drama on the airplane because of it!)

Sometimes we simply fear the worst. That is still a fear of something other than God. It is giving more power to what we fear than to God, who can handle those concerning things.

In Exodus 14:14 we are told: “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (NIV) That is one capable God, able to do far more than our fears, worries or drama can accomplish.

The more you and I get to know who God is and what He is capable of, the more our worries, fears, and freak-outs can be stilled. We can be full of drama, or full of trust in an all-capable God. I know which one I want to be. Don’t you?

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

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number Screen Shot 2017-12-24 at 9.01.28 PMgenerator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Cindi’s new book, Drama Free,  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: Does what people think of you have a negative impact on your peace?

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How God Delivered Comfort When I Was Afraid

by Debbie Wilson

My doctor’s office called to tell me I needed an MRI on my stomach. A previous sonogram had revealed a large mass. Having lost both my parents to cancer, this news alarmed me. While I waited for my appointment, God comforted me in three specific ways.

1st Comfort

After receiving my doctor’s report, I emailed some praying friends. My sister immediately called and prayed for me over the phone. Peace washed over me. The prayers of God’s people wrapped me in a blanket of supernatural calm.

2nd Comfort

Our 85-pound poodle suffers with Addison’s disease and other chronic health challenges. Even though he was only four at this time, some days he lacked the energy to climb out of bed before mid-afternoon. My heart hurt when he wagged his tail at me but couldn’t get up. But this week he played with the exuberance of healthy dogs his age.

I told a friend, who was laughing with me at my two dogs’ antics, “When Max feels well our whole family smiles. Max has helped me appreciate 3 John 2.”

The next morning, as I raised the kitchen shades to welcome the morning light, God gave me an unexpected hug. “Debbie, that verse is for you,” I sensed Him say.

I grabbed my Bible and read: “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2 NIV).

No matter what the MRI said, God had spoken. He wanted my best.

3rd Comfort

I’d agreed to speak at a Sunday school class at a neighboring church that Sunday. I’d picked the subject I planned to address. But, in my sleep during the wee hours of that Sunday, I sensed God nudging me to a different topic. In my semiconscious state I replied, if you want me to talk on that then wake me up in time to prepare and help me find my notes.

It had been well over a year since I’d spoken on that topic. The ink for our printer hadn’t arrived, so I needed my hard copy notes. At six thirty I awoke. I started to go back to sleep but remembered my promise. Okay, I’ll get up. But what about the notes?

The first file I opened contained handouts for the talk. Wow! I had forgotten I’d even created them. And there were enough for the group. Now I was awake! In less than a minute, I found my notes. Since I wasn’t sure I’d even kept a hard copy of the talk, I knew God was guiding me.

I scanned my notes. The opening story stunned me. I’d completely forgotten about discovering a suspicious lump at the age of 36 and my failed human efforts to secure peace. I marveled to think how peaceful I was feeling this time.

The point of my talk was Good News + Faith = Rest. God had given me good news in 3 John 2. But without faith it would not bring me rest. By God’s grace I believed His Word, and He gave me rest. His leading me to that talk reminded me His hand is on my life.

My MRI revealed I needed surgery. Thankfully, the surgeon was able to remove the mass, and it was benign.

What problem is threatening to steal your peace? Ask God what He has to say about it. Then put your faith in His Word—and find rest.

 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13 NIV).

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Join the conversation: What problem threatens your peace?

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