Making Choices Wisdom’s Way

by Cheri Cowell

Have you ever struggled in making a decision? Wonder what God’s will might be? After making what I thought was a God-led decision, which ended with a painful and messy situation, I wanted to know if there was a better way for making godly decisions.

Saint Augustine said of making wise decisions, “Love God and do whatever you please.” Loving God with the kind of love the Bible speaks of—fully, wholly, and unconditionally—makes no room for anything less than desiring to do as He pleases. So the first step, then, is to turn to His Word.

The Bible tells us the Nation of Israel had all they needed to become God’s people, to shape their hearts and minds after God. They had the Law, or Torah, with its stories that declared God’s character, but they also had something else: Wisdom Literature. This group of books consisted of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.

I’ve heard the Wisdom books described as ‘godliness in working clothes.’ They showed the people of God how to put into practice what the Torah was teaching, namely, how to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. Unfortunately, much of the power of the Wisdom Literature has been lost on us today. We use parts of it as comfort food at funerals and weddings, as pithy quotes for calendars and trinkets, and in words to pop-chart songs, but as far as shaping our lives—we can neglect the wisdom they offer for daily living.

I must admit that I once viewed the book of Proverbs as being too secular and not spiritual enough. But, when I understood that the Jewish nation had all they needed within the Torah and the Wisdom books to become all God called them to be, I figured I should re-examine them. And boy, did I learn a lot.

Much of Proverbs teaches how we are to “fear the Lord,” in our everyday life. Fearing the Lord is not being afraid of God, but instead it involves humility, acknowledging God’s authority, and guarding against idols usurping God’s place in our hearts.

Another key teaching in Proverbs is that we must have the right attitude in order to receive the knowledge coming from wisdom. This includes a having a teachable spirit, willingness to accept correction, and respecting earthly authority as training for respect of God’s authority.

Jesus not only showed us how to apply Wisdom’s teachings, He showed us a higher way: God’s way of living. Therefore, knowing wisdom as taught in the Wisdom books gives us a foundation for a full understanding of many of Christ’s teachings.

The truth is, when we know God’s ways, we’ll know how we should walk and make good choices that are aligned with His Word.

When I looked at my painful and messy situation from the lens of wisdom, I could see what I should have done differently, but more than anything I saw my messy situation as a training ground in Wisdom’s ways–God’s ways.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”   Proverbs 9:10 NIV

cheri cowellAbout the author: Cheri Cowell is the author of Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life. To connect with Cheri visit www.CheriCowell.com .

Join the conversation: What have you learned in God’s Wisdom Training Grounds?

 

 

IMG_7617

Shine Like a Star

by Michelle Lazurek

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure “children of God, without fault, in a crooked in a crooked and depraved generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.     Philippians 2:14-15 NIV

Opening up my Facebook page one day, in my news feed, I read:

“Those dummies in government, they should be fired!”

“I can’t believe Kim Kardashian…”

“I had another terrible day…”

I wouldn’t have minded reading these status updates on occasion, but for the second straight week, I had had enough.

“Isn’t there anything good going on in people’s lives?” I asked myself.

Depressed and frustrated, I contemplated closing my Facebook account down permanently. I didn’t need any additional negativity in my life. I hadn’t had the best week, either. It would have been easy to post my own rant for all my friends and family to see. But instead, I chose to redeem the situation rather than quit altogether.

I wrote a post on how proud I was of my kids and husband. And you know what? I found that my attitude about how bad my life had all but disappeared. Moving from self-centeredness to others-centeredness made it almost impossible to wallow in my own misery. As I began to count my blessings, I quickly realized there were more of them than I originally thought.

In the midst of difficult circumstances, we need to go to the Lord with our concerns and complaints rather than to social media. He will remind us of His deep love for us. We will no longer need to go to social media for that fleeting moment of praise or attention. The inward love we have for God will eventually pour out in every thought and subsequent action, including what we write on social media.

Stars can’t shine if they are hidden behind thick clouds or fog. Yet, even one star can reflect light in a darkened sky. As God’s children, we are not immune from trials in our lives. However, how we choose to react to those circumstances can make the difference in whether people see Christ in us or not.

Protect your heart from the sin of anger and resentment by opening your heart to open and honest communication with the Lord. We can choose to shine our light to the world both on social media and in real life by allowing God’s love to overflow out of us and into the lives of others.

michelle lazurekAbout the author: About 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: What kinds of things do you post to keep things positive on Facebook?

 

IMG_7617

Circle the Wagons

by Rhonda Rhea

Coffee and donuts. They go together like love and marriage. Someday I’d like to write a poem and I’d like to start it with the line, “Coffee and donuts, sittin’ in a tree.” I’m not sure where to go from there. I get that far and all I know is that I want to be in that tree.

I confess I’ve had a few too many donuts. Sad to say, the bough on that tree would be bending pretty low about now. That’s why I decided to go on yet another diet recently. Also sad to say, I’ve already fallen off the wagon.

I’m thinking of putting up a sign on that wagon that says, “Please keep body inside the wagon at all times and please stay seated until the wagon comes to a complete and final stop.”

You know, if someone would think of bringing fudge along on the wagon ride I would be a lot more motivated to stay on it. Okay, I suppose a really good friend would probably give me a nudge to stay on the wagon. Nudge or fudge. Tough call on which is best, friendship-wise.

In our spiritual lives, we all need a little nudge now and then too. It’s good to have people in our lives we can count on to nudge us in the right direction, wherever the wagons are heading.

As pioneers were settling the west, when they were threatened by an enemy, circling the wagons was part of their defense strategy. The circle provided a protected cover they could get behind to fire at their attackers.

We need to rally with those who travel this life’s journey with us in the same way. We have a common enemy. Peter reminds us to “be alert” because our “enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NIV). Circle the wagons! Our church family is part of our defensive plan against our enemy. The next verse in 1 Peter says, “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings” (vs. 9 NIV).

We’re in this together. Let’s not neglect circling the wagons. “Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together as believers, as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25, AMP).

I’m so thankful the Lord has placed godly church buds and godly leaders in my path all through my life via the church. People with just the right nudge at the ready. There are pastors, teachers and leaders who stay alert to our spiritual supervision, keeping watch the scripture says. And Hebrews 13:17 instructs us to be responsive to them. “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.” (NIV)

Less burden. More joy. It’s a good choice.

And in other choices, I’m considering choosing to keep the extra 20 pounds and just get myself a bigger wagon. One with really good shocks.

“Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 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 for 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.

Join the conversation: How have your brothers and sisters in Christ enabled you in the journey?

IMG_7617

Designed for Community

by Julie Coleman

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 NASB

It might not be a great idea in June, but I love a warm fire on a cold winter’s night. My husband Steve is an excellent fire-builder. He often makes a nice crackling fire for me when we relax in the evenings or entertain guests during the cold winter months. But inevitably, when Steve leaves the room for more than a few minutes, his roaring blaze begins to sputter and die. It’s not for lack of effort on my part; I add new logs and juggle what is already burning to the best of my ability. But in the end, I prove inadequate for the job.

I finally asked Steve: “What am I doing wrong?”

He informed me I was mistaken about the logistics of a fire. I thought that the logs should be separated, to allow a free flow of oxygen. Big mistake. To keep a fire going, the logs must remain in close proximity to each other. When the pieces are separated, the fire will quickly die out.

What I learned that night became a metaphor for another kind of struggle I was having. I had been deeply offended by someone at our church. And rather than continuing to struggle with the blinding anger I was feeling, in my heart, I yearned to walk away from the community.

The problem is we are not created to go it alone. There is a reason the writer of Hebrews admonished his readers to “not give up meeting together…” Simply put, we need each other.

Even the Son of God felt a need for fellowship. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He begged His disciples, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

We are created for community. This is most evident in the Spirit’s distribution of spiritual gifts. We have received differing abilities, which, when combined, make us a complete and effective entity. Another benefit of community is in the potential perspective and wisdom available from those traveling the same road. Spending time worshipping and praying together flares our spiritual fire as well. Fellowship is as vital to spiritual health as food is to our physical bodies.

Seeing those logs burn brightly together gave me resolve to work out my differences with that offending person. We are commissioned to be lights in the darkness. That light will be exponentially brighter when we choose to join forces with like minds. Though our fellowship may be imperfect, and even at times undesirable, in the end as we persevere in our relationships and work through our differences, the reward will be great. We are meant for community.

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.

Join the conversation: What benefits have you experienced through the fellowship of fellow believers?

IMG_7617

Forgetting God

by Peggy Cunningham

“Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while. “ Mark 6:31 NRSV

What day is it? Maybe it’s a day to remember. At times, I forget God. I forget to pray. I rush remembering my schedule and forgetting His schedule. Classes this afternoon, a writing deadline, a newsletter to write, emails to answer, all the things that are constantly on my schedule. But, did I forget anything today? Yes. God’s schedule–a time with Him.

Has He forgotten me? Not a chance. With God, forgetting is a one-way street. I’m the one heading in the wrong direction.

When life gets so busy, it’s easy to not spend time with the One who gives us all blessings. This last week, I daily asked the Lord for many things–understanding in all I’m learning, health to do it all, and provision for our ministry and us––along with all those prayers for family, friends, and safety. And, I kept telling the Lord I wanted to spend more time with Him––but I had Him on hold. Yes, I had devotions, and yes, I meditated on Scripture but had I blocked out everything so I could hear His voice? Not really!

But this morning, God gave me that time. I hadn’t made time for Him, so He arranged a deserted place to be with Him. He said to them [me],”Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while” Mark 6:31(NRSV).

Our internet server’s tech guy had finally arrived to find and fix the problem we were having with our speed. They had to cut our service to work on the issue. No internet, and so many things to do! After pleading with God that He hurry those men along, I again heard Him say, “Come with Me.”

I closed my computer and opened my Bible. I began reading in Psalms where I had stopped yesterday, and this is what it said…

“Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle” (Psalm 144:1 NIV). I have been in a battle. Any time we are giving God’s Word out, we engage in battle against a powerful enemy. He will do anything to keep God’s Word from spreading. Now I am writing to get God’s Word out, and I feel that opposition. Never before have we had so many unresolved internet problems. And some days I feel like my head is going to explode from all the new things I am putting into it. But God is using those things to train my hands and fingers so that I can write His message.

After spending time in God’s Word, I was no longer uptight about how long it was taking to get my internet up and running again. I took a walk with God up the mountain behind our house. There were no camels there in my desert, only two ponies and what seemed like thousands of birds singing to Him––a little bit of heaven, a refreshing time with my Creator. I didn’t have to travel to an exotic faraway place to get away from it all (I already live in one). I just needed His refreshing presence.

I know God will teach me what I need to know so that I accomplish the work He has for me. He is at work in me, to enable me to be effective in my service and in my writing. Today when I walked with Him, God confirmed that He is training my hands and fingers to write for Him.

What day is it today? Today (and every day) is a day to remember God. He never forgets you and me. Will you walk with Him in a deserted place today?

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also an author. Her children’s books and devotionals are available on Amazon.com, including her latest book Shape Your Soul, 31 Exercises of Faith that Move Mountains, a women’s devotional.

Join the conversation: What has God been teaching you in your times alone with Him?

IMG_7617

 

Can We Honor and Parent Our Parents?

by Kathy Howard

“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise.” Ephesians 6:2 NIV

My father was hospitalized with a urinary tract infection and sepsis. Due to my mother’s worsening dementia, she could not stay alone. Each day we drove to the hospital to spend the bulk of the day with Dad, and then I took her home for the night.

During the drive one morning, I saw Mom rummaging in her purse in my peripheral vision. At a stoplight I glanced over in time to see her touch a mascara wand to her lips.

“What ‘cha doin’ Mom?” I asked casually.

“I need a little color on my lips,” was her reply.

Seriously, what do you do with this? I could let her walk into the hospital with black lips, setting her up for possible embarrassment. I could stop her with a quick rebuke. Or I could ask God to help me do the right thing, the right way. I quickly asked God for wisdom and words.

“Mom, I’ve got some lipstick in my purse that would look great on you. Want to try it?”

Mom dropped the mascara in her purse and used my lipstick. Her feelings were spared and she was satisfied. I’d like to tell you every encounter is similar, but sadly it’s not. Too often I react from my own resources instead of God’s.

As our parents age, as illness takes its toll, they increasingly require more help. It may require financial guidance, help at home, emotional support, or even constant health care. Whatever your particular situation, as the parent becomes more like a child in many ways, the child must take on the parenting role.

Although the specific circumstances will look different for each family, God’s Word leaves no doubt – caring for our parents is our God-given responsibility. When God gave the people His Law in the desert, one of the first ten commandments was to “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you” (Exodus 20: 12 NASB). Doing this pleases God and should be a natural result of our relationship with Him. But is it possible to both care for and honor our parents at the same time?

Honor means to hold in esteem, or place value on someone or something. God wants us to respond to our parents as people of worth and to treat them in ways that best meets their needs. Whatever care they may require, we can do it in a way that demonstrates our value for them, treating them always with kindness and respect.

I’ve learned – the hard way – that so much depends on my attitude and tone. If my heart isn’t right with God, if I’m in the middle of a pity party, or if I’m all wrapped up in self, I end up doing exactly what Paul warned Timothy against: “Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father” (1 Timothy 5:1 NIV).

More than once I’ve caught myself trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. Impatience, selfishness, and frustration can easily foster harsh words. The end result isn’t all that matters. The words and actions we use to get there should comfort, encourage, console, and strengthen our parents.

Honoring our parents while caring for them is definitely not child’s play. But it pleases God and He stands by ready to supply everything we need to do the right thing, the right way.

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.

Join the conversation: Think about some of your recent interactions with your parent. In what ways, if any, could you have improved on the outcome?

Why Can’t I Be Perfect NOW?

by Kathy Collard Miller

Some time ago, I rejoiced in the Lord’s work in my life because an area of personal struggle seemed to finally be conquered. I felt victorious and knew the Lord had worked mightily. Praise the Lord!

As that wonderful realization dawned upon me, a thought quickly popped into my mind: “Could it be I’ve reached … perfection?” That realization energized me! Could it be that I’d actually reached what I’d been seeking all my life?

But within moments, I sensed the Holy Spirit gently tapping on my spirit’s shoulder. He smiled and said, “Kathy, you have done well in my power. Now here’s the next area I want to work on in you.”

“No! Don’t say that! I want to be perfect!” I cried out in my heart. “I don’t want something else to be a challenge. I just want life wrapped in a pristine white gift box with a pristine perfect white bow on top!”

But I knew that couldn’t be. I needed to be needy so that I would need God.

How do you feel when you read verses like Philippians 1:6?

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NASB).

It’s saying we won’t be completed and perfect until we reach heaven. That can be frustrating. And maybe even confusing, because if the Holy Spirit is in us, we should be perfectly empowered all the time, right?

We want that verse to say: “He who began a good work in you will perfect it…yesterday!” Unfortunately, when our hearts think that’s what God really meant to say, we can easily envision God impatiently tapping His foot while His arms are folded across His chest. “When are you finally going to be perfect?” He would cry.

But that’s not the truth. The Apostle Paul wrote that we wouldn’t be perfect until the day of Christ Jesus–when each of us dies or Jesus returns. Until then, God will always be working on something in our lives. Yes, we will gain victory over areas of struggle…and then He’ll move on to the next thing He’s working on.

Does the thought of always having something to work on seem comforting or overwhelming? I hope it can be comforting, knowing God doesn’t expect you to become perfect on this earth. He knows He’ll always be working on something in your life.

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him…” 1 John 3:2 NASB

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Indio, CA, where she blogs, writes, and schedules speaking engagements. She is the author of over 50 books and has spoken in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Her latest book is No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Join the conversation: How do you deal with any feelings of wanting to be perfect on this earth?

IMG_7617

You Have to Break A Few Eggs to Make An Omelette

by Deb DeArmond

“That’s really gross. You can’t serve that. Just dump it and redo it,” I said.

My sister-in-law stared at the blobby mess in the pot on the stove. “Really? You can’t fix it?” she asked.

“The only way to fix it, is to start all over again, and this time, follow the recipe,” I said, reaching for the cookbook.

As a newlywed, she was a beginner in the kitchen. She had tried to improvise when a recipe directed her to do something she preferred not to do. And now her husband and his boss were due for dinner before long, and she had nothing to serve them.  We hastily threw something together and hoped her sunny personality would make up for the ruined meal.  It did.

Sometimes, there’s just no way to resurrect something without tearing it down, throwing it out, or starting all over again. An omelette cannot appear without changing the original form of the egg.

That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t try to patch us up and apply a little spackle to improve on our imperfections. He made us new:

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV).

Who we have been must go that we may become new and whole in Him. The recipe is quite clear but may require great determination to achieve: “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30 (KJV).

The process may at times can be messy. There may be telltale signs that suggest the recipe needs adjusting. Just follow The Book. It’s time-tested and backed by a reliable author.

Go ahead. Break those eggs.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.   Ezekiel 36:26 NASB

DeArmond-29 copyAbout the author: Deb 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 ChoiceI 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.

Join the conversation: What needs to decrease in you?

IMG_7617

Tracking Our Spiritual Fitness

by Edie Melson

The first quarter of this year I had the opportunity to join a fitness centered group. Our local radio station chose a group of people and spent twelve weeks—in partnership with our local YMCA—guiding us to better health and wellness.

For me, this was life-changing. Outside of hiking and occasionally walking the dog, my idea of exercise has been . . . well . . . limited. I never considered myself athletic and hated exercise.

Now all that has changed. While I’m not where I hope to be, I’m finally on the right path. And one of the things that has helped has been keeping track along the way.

Everywhere we turn fitness tracking is all the rage. And gadgets and gizmos to do just that are everywhere. We’re wearing jewelry that tracks our steps, our heart rate, and even how many stairs we climb. Beyond that, it reminds us when we need to exercise or at least get up and move.

Thinking about all this accountability has turned my mind to spiritual accountability. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had something to track our spiritual walk? Can you imagine how helpful it would be if, when we slacked off on spiritual fitness and discipline, there was something that would tell us it was time to get back on track?

There is—and He’s the Holy Spirit.

He’s always with us—to teach us, interpret Scripture and circumstances, and remind us when we get off track. But He’s the ultimate gentleman. He doesn’t force us back on the path, and if we ignore Him often enough, He’ll just be quiet.

Beyond that important personal of the Trinity who lives inside us, are those fellow believers that surround us. Scripture encourages us to be accountable to one another. But we so often ignore that admonition. It’s scary to be honest enough with someone else to enter into an accountability relationship.

Accountability is good thing to help us stay physically healthy. It’s even more important to have the same sort of accountability to stay in shape spiritually.

So that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God.  Colossians 1:10 (HCSB)

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.comand on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: How do you track your spiritual fitness?

IMG_7617

Noticing When God Says “I Love You”

by Sheri Schofield

Life has been challenging lately. First, my children’s picture books were misprinted in black and white. “Oh, Noooooo!” I told the Lord. I wandered around the house for about twenty-four hours in a state of anxious prayer. The usual method of dealing with misprinted books is to destroy and replace them. But these were books on the plan of salvation. The black and white pictures were still nice, though not saleable. “What should I do?” I asked.

Gradually, the Lord showed me his answer: I was to give those books to the pastors ministering on our Montana Native American reservations – for the children – where unemployment is 80%. Jesus was clear: This misprint was NOT a mistake! He had planned it!

My thoughts went to the printer, who would take a loss over the misprints. Surely Jesus would not let her suffer if HE was behind this! I asked the printer what she would need to recover her losses. She said she would need $4,180, money we didn’t have. I told the Lord, “If you will provide the funds to salvage those books, I will give all two thousand books away.” God is now providing the funds as the requests from those pastors pour in.

The stress from that incident may be over, but more stress is on the horizon.  I keep giving it to Jesus. My new books have arrived, and the boxes weigh much more than I can lift. I wondered how I would ever get them into Walmart for my book launching party. I could just picture myself grunting and groaning, trying to manhandle those boxes! What should I do? I have a book carrier on wheels, but it was insufficient for a two-hour Walmart launch party.

For those who live in the cities, this may not seem like a big problem. But I live in the wilds of Montana! The stores rarely carry this type of thing. I talked with God about it. He showed me a picture of the Goodwill store, the right-hand aisle at the back of the store, the merchandise on the left-hand side of that aisle. I sensed His voice: “Sheri, that is where you will find what you need.”

Wow! Pretty specific, eh? So I hopped in the car, drove down the mountain, over the meadow, and through the woods to Goodwill. I went into the store and walked to the place God had shown me, wondering if there was a book carrier in that place. There was not.

“Where is it, God?” I asked. I walked around the backside of the aisle and returned to the same location.

“Look harder,” he said. And there it was, tucked away behind some other things: a light-weight, collapsible dolly. That, along with smaller boxes for the books, will provide a more professional way to move them, a way that will not hurt my back.

Isaiah 64:24 (NASB) says, “It will also come to pass that before they call, I will answer; and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” I’ve always looked to the Lord for guidance and provision, but lately I feel as though I were on a sailboat being blown across the water by the Holy Spirit’s breath. It is such an awesome place to be! God is saying, “How I love you! Let Me count the ways! Listen to My voice! I will stand at your shoulder and tell you what to do if you will stay close to Me. In this way, you will feel My love poured out on you.”

Could there possibly be a more peaceful place to be? Listen for his voice! He will take you to some incredible places . . . and not just Goodwill!

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go. I will counsel you with My eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8, NASB

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: Have you heard from God lately?

IMG_7617