They Come That Way!

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness. Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Have you ever admired someone and wished you could be like them? Maybe a good friend who somehow always seems to have it all together? Maybe you’ve known someone who’s faced incredible odds or trials and managed to land on their feet—faith and sanity intact? Perhaps you know someone who seems to have the Midas Touch—everything they touch turning to gold?

Have you admired someone with amazing talent, a great singer or musician, perhaps a powerful preacher, or even someone in great shape or athletically gifted? For me, I admire people with great organizational skills and those who manage their time well—they’re never late for anything.

By comparison, we’re nowhere close to that person. We love them, but can’t help but being a little envious. I know I should never compare myself with other people, but sometimes envy does creep into my thoughts.

Realistically though, those we look up to and admire didn’t come that way.

On one of my Ugandan missions, I shared the Gospel in a small church in the bush. Relaxing with my friend during lunch, we noticed two little girls behind us. They were watching my every move, whispering back and forth in Luganda, their native language. After they left to get their food, my friend, Monique, was chuckling under her breath. She leaned over and asked, “Do you know what those little girls were talking about?”

Of course, I was clueless, since I didn’t speak their language. Monique told me the girls were admiring me, the muzungu (white person). Neither had ever seen a muzungu before. The younger one, who was about four years old, pointed out my red fingernails.

In response, the older, wiser, and more observant five-year-old explained, “Did you also see her toes? They are the same. And then, with all the confidence in the world, she declared, “Muzungus come that way.” Silly as it might be, many of us are like those little girls. We see someone and conclude; they came that way.

We might think we don’t have the same value as the one we admire. But if we were to pull back the curtain on their lives, we’d see ordinary people—whose lives include hard work, study, practice and/or preparation that coexists with failures, rejections, heartache, and disappointments.

No one just comes that way. People are people. We all have our issues in life. We all have our failures and flaws. I didn’t come with painted nails and neither does anyone come into this world having it all together.

The good news is what we DO come with—God’s immeasurable love. Our real value is not in our accomplishments and talents, these are external add-ons. Jeremiah 31:3 God says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

His love for you is relentless, immeasurable, and infinite. Ephesians 2:4-7 says “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ”. Your heavenly Father has planned a magnificent, never-ending future for you, and it doesn’t matter if you can sing, preach, wear a certain size pants, write a book, throw a football, climb Mt. Everest or be on time for every appointment.

It would be wonderful to be able to claim all those things, but it would never be what measures your value. We can’t earn God’s love, we just come that way, possessing His love.

Pray and ask the Lord to open your eyes so you can see yourself the way He sees you. You might be surprised.

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They Come That Way! – encouragement from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: How does seeing yourself through God’s eyes change your perspective?

 

 

 

Why Do I Keep Procrastinating?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.                                                                                                                                               Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Just the other day I figuratively shook myself by my lapels and asked, “Kathy, why do you let the dishes stack up? It looks so messy!”

As I faced my problem of procrastination about messiness and other challenging tasks, the Holy Spirit led me to make some commitments.

Institute the 30 Second Rule. Even though so much can get done in 30 seconds or one minute, I still put things off. For instance, I pull up my email account on my phone and receive a message that I could easily answer in 30 seconds or a minute. I tell myself I’ll wait to answer when I get to my desk. But then when I get to my desktop computer, so many emails have added up I have a big job—and I delay responding!

That’s why I’ve been telling myself if something can be done within 30 seconds or a minute, even two minutes, do it right then. Sometimes we don’t recognize the value of little things but God does. He says in Zechariah 4:10: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin” (NLT).

 Recognize your motive for wanting to put things off. I often wondered why I neglected doing the dishes. After all, instead of putting a dish into the sink or onto the counter, I could have used the same energy and time to stick it into the dishwasher—and it would be done!

Then one day after loading the dishwasher, I paid attention to my emotions. I recognized the sense of achievement in that moment. It felt good to transform the kitchen from messy to clean. But in a sense that anticipation of satisfaction was keeping me from acting in the moment at other times. I knew I if I waited for things to pile up, my accomplishment would yield a higher reward.

To combat procrastination, pay attention to your emotions. Look to God for your satisfaction and joy. Anything that replaces Him is an idol. His approval is what we should seek because He wants to tell us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).

Acknowledge any fear about the response you’ll receive for your actions. Whereas we just talked about the satisfaction of success, we can also procrastinate because we fear the potential “pain” that will result from taking action.

Maybe you’ve been putting off responding to that email because you’re convinced whoever receives it will become angry. Or you don’t know exactly what to say to your friend and so you delay—waiting for just the right words to show up in your mind.

But in avoiding these things we aren’t trusting God. We’re leaning on our own ideas and expectations, which is contrary to Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths” (ESV).

If we recognize our procrastination as not trusting God, then we can see our faulty thinking, that He isn’t in charge of the results. Since He’s sovereign and therefore in charge of everything, He could literally bring a good result from our poorly worded correspondence and bring an unexpectedly positive result. We can’t control what happens, but we can seek Him for wisdom. Then as we take action, we can trust Him for the resulting “straightened path.”

Which of those three insights could help you to resist procrastination? For me, they have been instrumental in recognizing God at work and empowerment in me, as I have learned to take action and increase my trust in Him.

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Why Do I Keep Procrastinating? – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to help women trust God more through her 55 books and her speaking in over 30 states and 8 foreign countries. Her website is www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Join the conversation: What keeps you procrastinating?

 

Undos and Do-Overs

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

I love the “undo” button. You know the one on the computer—that little arrow that curves to the left. When you click it, the last thing you did magically reverses. Make a mistake? No problem. Click, it’s fixed! Accidentally deleted something? Not an issue. Click, it’s back!

But “undo” isn’t an option for everything. Like Christmas morning, when I got distracted and “overcooked” the cinnamon rolls. Sadly, it’s not possible to uncook something.

Wouldn’t it be great if life had an “undo” button? I could click it to magically erase the unkind words I blurted. Or wipe out my selfish behavior. Or eliminate the wrong decision that proved to be oh, so bad. I could “undo” all those things that brought unwanted consequences or now weigh heavy on my conscience.

“Do-overs” would be another great life tool. For instance, it would come in really handy when the trials and difficulties of life pile up around us until we’re overwhelmed. When every path forward is blocked we’d just call a do-over. We could simply start over like on one of those puzzle apps. No more moves? Okay, let’s just begin a new game.

Yep. I think undos and do-overs for life would be very popular. When everything is messed up, when nothing is right, we could get a clean slate. Then we could start fresh.

It might sound too good to be true, but for Christians, that’s exactly what we received when we entered into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. A clean slate.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 2:17, NIV

Our “old” life seriously needed a do-over. It looked like the ungodly world around us. We were burdened with the weight and consequences of self-centered living, bad decisions, and poor choices. But our “new” life is radically different from the world, holy and set apart to God. A life of holiness brings glorious freedom and joy. Freedom from the weight and consequences of sin.  And joy in a deeper intimacy with our holy God.

Sometimes Christians living the new life of faith can still get off track. We may fall back into old habits or allow the things of the world to distract us from following Christ. But praise God, He continuously invites us to repent and return to Him.

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB

We will not be perfect in this sinful world. Even as we grow spiritually to be more like Jesus, we will sometimes fall into temptation. But our faithful God will continue to give us second chances, undos, and do-overs until Jesus returns. Then we won’t need them ever again.

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Undos and Do-Overs – insight from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the Author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight books, Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagram, or Pinterest.

Kathy’s book “Before His Throne” will lead you on a 9-week journey through the book of Malachi to discover what godly fear looks in our daily lives and how this biblical attitude will help you find deeper intimacy with God.

Join the conversation: How does the possibility of a do-over affect your walk with Jesus?

 

To Make a Long Story Pie

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Isn’t it great when someone says, “to make a long story short…”? Because then you know to cancel your plans for the rest of the day.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking I’m not one to talk about long stories or the people who tell them. I’m known for being more than a little on the wordy side. And still, even in a personal conversation, I sometimes have trouble listening to others whose presentations are longer than three minutes. Especially if they don’t have visual aids.

People. Give me a cartoon. Flannel board, maybe. A graph or a nice pie chart even. Not necessarily because of my inability to focus or anything but it’s always good to be—hey, now I want pie.

Speaking of the abrupt segues of people with short attention spans, I opened the microwave the other day and found a piece of pie in there. I thought, Where in the world did that come from? Then I remembered. I put it in there two days before. Wow, bet that thing is done now.

All focus deficits aside, I really am trying to learn to listen better. Even without the pie chart. Or the pie. James 1:19 tells me that “Everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak,” (HCSB). And boy oh boy, can I get those backwards.

So how can we be “quick to hear” and “slow to speak”? Listen faster, speak slower? Actually, I’m quite sure it’s not a matter of speed. More often we need to simply replace the speaking with the listening.

How many times have I already been putting together some kind of “impressive” response in my mind while someone was still talking? All too often I should still be listening when I let my words take control of my brain and my lips. Letting our words take control is letting our flesh take control. And you can bet sin won’t be far behind.

Words out of control can lead to anger and all kinds of sinful responses on both sides of a conversation. James connects words and the angry responses we need to avoid in that very verse when he calls us to be: “quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger,” and the next verse explains that “man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteousness” (James 1:19, 20, HCSB).

Proverbs 10:19 says it well. “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise” (HCSB). If we desire to live well—to “accomplish God’s righteousness”—maybe we don’t need to be as concerned about an attention deficit as we are about giving our attention to the right things. We’re not walking in righteousness, nor encouraging it in others, when we let our me-focused words run wild, when we focus on having our say rather than finding ways we can use our words to build up another, and when we let our focus slip away from genuinely caring for the people the Lord has called us to love.

O Lord, may my focus be always on You. Use my words to love others in Your name.

I do want to love others with sweet words of grace, Proverbs 16:24-style. “Pleasant words are a honeycomb: sweet to the taste and health to the body” (HCSB).

And forgive me if it’s the ADD talking here, but to me, that sounds a whole lot like pie.

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To Make a Long Story Pie – @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

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

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

Join the conversation: Have you found ways to make yourself a better listener?

Peace Like a River

by Lane P. Jordan @Lane_Jordan

For thus says the Lord, “Behold, I extend peace to her like a river. And the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. Isaiah 66:12, ESV

Oh, that you had paid attention to my commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18 ESV

I just got back from a reunion at my childhood camp. It is my favorite place in all the world. I’m not sure if I love it so much because it’s located on the top of a beautiful North Georgia mountain, or because the food is so good, or the activities stupendous, or just because my memories cannot be daunted.

Either way, I love, love this camp and try to get to the reunion each year. At this year’s get together, we of course sang around the campfire with the standard songs sung every night, ending in a tight friendship circle.

And one of the songs we always sing is “Peace I ask of Thee, O River”. I thought, “How can a river give peace?

And then I remembered. There are verses about rivers in the Bible!

The source of a river, typically small mountain streams, depicts the beginnings of life, and its meeting with the ocean symbolizes the end. The river is also used as a metaphor for both boundaries and roadways. In the first Scripture above, I believe God is saying that His peace is as gentle as a slow-moving river, but as strong as a river with a swift current. Its never-ending movement pictures the kind of care and presence He will always provide.

But if we don’t follow Him and seek other places in which to place our security, we cannot rest in His peace. We may waver, but our God will never change. He and His peace are always there for us.

I love Romans 8:38-39. Paul explicitly says that nothing will ever be able to separate us from God’s love: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” NIV

That makes me want to jump for joy! These promises are so rich and so large—how could I ever not have peace in my life?

God loves us so very much. And He wants to give us His peace for every second of every day until we are with Him in His eternal home. That is why Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you: My peace I give to you.” John 14:27

Don’t you just want to have this peace too?

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Peace Like a River – encouragement from @Lane_Jordan on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lane Jordan - High ResolutionAbout the author: Lane P. Jordan is a writer, best-selling author, international motivational and inspirational speaker, singer, artist, Bible teacher, and professional life coach. She lives in Frisco, Texas with her husband who partners with her in ministry and waits impatiently for daughters and granddaughter to visit!  Lane’s desire is to encourage, support, and motivate women of all ages to be better wives, mothers, and women of God by organizing their lives and time. You can find her at: http://www.LaneJordanMinistries.com and her blog at http://www.PathwaysToOrganization.com.

Lane’s book, 12 Steps to Becoming a More Organized Woman, is an invaluable resource for every woman–from soccer moms to single grandmoms. It combines practical information on managing a fast-paced life with biblical wisdom and assurances that even when life seems overwhelming, the Lord is our keeper, our father, our husband, and our shepherd.

Join the conversation: What does God’s peace mean to you?

Things I Otter Do

by Sheri Schofield

The first time I heard of the playful otters, I thought of my grandmother. She grew up in Arkansas and had a southern accent with a faint “r” sound at the end of certain words. She often used “ought” to suggest a course of action to our family. Her advice would begin with, “We ought ter do this . . .” Otter. So of course, I associated that little sea creature with her!

During the past decade since my daughter moved to Alaska, I’ve learned a lot of fascinating things about wildlife in the far north. The sweetest thing I’ve heard is about otters. These little creatures hunt in the ocean. When they get sleepy and need a nap, they find a friend and hold hands. This keeps them from drifting away from the group. Sometimes their groups have hundreds of otters, all holding hands, napping peacefully! Scientists call this a “raft”. In this way, the otters protect one another when they are the most vulnerable.

Those little darlings are onto something very special! They are worth mimicking. So in the year ahead, I’d like to take a moment to think of a couple of things I “otter” do.

Jesus provided a great foundation on this subject. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 NIV

 That kind of love is very hard to duplicate! What would that even look like? I’m not sure, but one thing it might mean is that I ought to listen to others better and extend more compassion, because listening with compassion demands that I put myself in other people’s shoes, to see with their eyes and feel with their hearts. It means dying to myself for the sake of entering into another person’s joys and sorrows.

Yes, both joys and sorrows! I know it is easier to feel another’s pain than it is to feel their joy. But joy must be shared if it is to last. I’m fairly quick to reach out my hand to comfort another. But when they are rejoicing? I nod, smile, listen for a few moments then move on. Too many times I forget that joy gives people strength to endure the hard things in life that we all suffer. I ought to do the happy dance with them!

The Apostle Paul gave us some great “Otter Verses”:

 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:23-25 NLT

Doesn’t that sound like “raft” building?

Many believers are growing weary of the battle between good and evil. We often hear of other Christians around the world who are driven out of their homes or killed because of their faith. Here in the United States, we are struggling to preserve freedom to believe and worship as we choose, for we can see what happens when that freedom is lost.

This is a moment in time when we need to hold onto God for faith and strength, a time when we ought to be holding onto one another so that we do not drift away on the ocean of life, alone and vulnerable. So here’s my hand. Let’s make a raft!

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Things I Otter Do – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: What ways have you found to “hold hands” with fellow believers?

Dressed for Withstanding

by Brenda Poinsett

Brrrr! I shivered just listening to the weather report: three degrees below zero with fierce winds making the chill factor fifty-three degrees below zero! “Don’t go outside unless you absolutely have to,” cautioned the announcer. “Just a short exposure to the wind can cause frostbite. If you must go out, make sure all your skin is covered.”

My son Jim, a first grader, had to walk two blocks to where he waited for the school bus to arrive in our subdivision. I couldn’t believe schools didn’t close because of the weather, but they didn’t, so I dressed him to endure. I made him wear an undershirt, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweater, a coat, a ski mask to cover his face, gloves for his hands, two pairs of pants, heavy socks, and tall boots. Surely, I thought, with all these clothes on, he could wait for the bus, even if it were late, without getting frostbitten.

“But, mom, I feel so heavy,” Jim complained as he squirmed under the weight of the extra clothing.

“I know, dear, but that’s not what’s important. What is important is your being able to withstand the wind.”

Hmmm, I thought, something about this conversation sounds familiar. As I opened the door for Jim to leave and felt a blast of cold air, it hit me. This is like getting ready to deal with evil! We need to be dressed for the fight. Here’s what the apostle Paul recommends in Ephesians 6:14-17.

  • A belt of truth so we can gather up any hindrances that we are wearing which would keep us from moving freely. We don’t want to trip or fall in the fight against evil.
  • A breastplate of righteousness or you might say uprightness of character. To neglect to live by what we know to be right and true is to leave a spot open for being infected by evil.
  • A pair of shoes shod with the gospel of peace. These shoes prevent slipping and falling. They give us firmness in walking, standing our ground and moving forward without fear.
  • A shield of faith to resist fiery darts of temptation. With a faith shield, we can quench the fire of the darts and deflect them when they come hurling toward us.  A large shield is recommended because darts can come from various directions and hit high or low.
  • A salvation helmet. This headgear reminds us repeatedly that Christ saved us from past sins, present sins, and future sins. Wearing it reassures us that we are forgiven and loved.
  • A sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. This is not actually something we “put on” like the other items listed here. Rather it is a hand-held weapon for fighting evil. We can use it to defend ourselves or as an offensive weapon to fight wrong in the world.

It’s important that we put on the whole armor of God as we daily enter a challenging world. To miss putting something on would leave us venerable to attack just as an uncovered part of Jim’s skin would have made him vulnerable to frost bite.

I’ll admit dressing like this to fight evil often feels as uncomfortable to me as my protective items did for Jim. It’s heavy! I’ve never gotten up in the morning and said, “Yippee, I get to put on the armor of God today and go out and face the world,” and yet I do. I do it because I want the same thing I wanted for Jim. I want to be able to withstand.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Ephesians 6:13 KJV

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Dressed for Withstanding – encouragement from Brenda Poinsett on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

brenda poinsett (2)About the author: Brenda Poinsett works with women who want a new lease on life and with adults who want to know Jesus better. She does this through writing, speaking and teaching. She’s the author of more than 20 books.

Her book, When Saints Sing the Blues, examines depression from a biblical perspective with the study of eleven prominent individuals in the Bible who felt sad, hopeless, and overwhelmed. It points to hope and healing by showing that growth from depression is possible.

Join the conversation: How do you dress to withstand?

 

What Are You Wearing?

by Karen DeArmond Gardner @kgardnerwrites

So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.                                                                                                                                    Colossians 3:12-14 NASB

I love clothes. And not just clothes, but everything that completes my entire look: shoes, jewelry, and other accessories! I am purposeful in what I put on when I go out. Do I want to be comfortable or dress to impress?

Let’s face it−we women don’t dress for the attention of men, but dress in hopes of impressing or gaining approval of other women. Have you been the recipient of the once over from another woman? Their look either says, I like what you are wearing or, did you really walk out of the house in that outfit? Have you ever found yourself just staring at another woman’s outfit? My husband has caught me staring or doing the once over a few times and indicated so with a tiny nudge.

Like it or not, we are judged by what we wear. Have you ever been under-dressed or over-dressed for an event? Awkward! Like it or not, what we wear matters.

There’s another way we can dress for success. In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us to throw off our old nature and instead be renewed by the Spirit in our thoughts and attitudes, conforming what we wear with our new nature. We are to take off our old ratty clothes and don the new.

In Colossians 3, Paul gets specific about what to put on. Our clothing is to be tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and above all, love. And let’s not forget about forgiveness!

Expressing my new nature by my behavior is something I determine, just as I choose what clothes I wear. By not choosing mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and love, we are choosing meanness, violence, pride, agitation, blame, punishment and hatred. That is not the wardrobe fit for a daughter of the King!

Tenderhearted mercy is soft-hearted compassion towards someone who has hurt or offended me. Kindness is the act of being considerate towards others. Showing humility happens when I put others above myself. I wear gentleness by not being severe, rough, or violent. Patience keeps me steady and even-tempered.

Paul takes it one step further and tells us to make allowance for others’ faults and forgive. I refrain from showing my annoyance, choosing to love the one who has offended or hurt me. And just in case I think this is more than I can do, Paul reminds me that Jesus did all this and more for me.

If I am not purposeful in how I dress each day, I am like the Emperor in Hans Christian Anderson’s story The Emperor’s New Clothes, who thought he was dressed in all his finery, but was really parading around in his boxers. I am only fooling myself. Everyone around me will clearly see where my priorities lie and whom I am living for.

What are you wearing today?

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What Are You Wearing? – encouragement from @KGardnerWrites on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

karen dearmond gardnerAbout the author: Karen DeArmond Gardner is a 30-year survivor of domestic violence. She has spent 15 years on her own healing journey and nearly that long helping others find freedom, restoration, and redemption.

Karen is a facilitator in Freedom Ministry/Sozo and directs the Women’s Ministry at Catch the Fire DFW Church. She also facilitates Mending the Soul, a group that leads women through the trauma of their past into healing and wholeness. She serves on the Board of Directors for Arukah House, a transitional home for women coming out of sex trafficking and abuse.

Karen blogs at Crack the Silence and can be found at her Crack the Silence Facebook page. She continues to be a helpful contact and resource for abused women in her church and community.

Join the conversation: Which of Paul’s “garments” seem to you the most important to wear?

The Father of the Heavenly Lights

 by Christina Rose

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 NIV

There are few things more dazzling than the splendor of the night skies illuminated by the stars, the moon and the vast mystery of the galaxies. I was born into a family of happy campers, and we had great adventures traveling in our Volkswagen bus. We loved to sit by the campfire at night, toasting marshmallows, drinking cocoa, and watching the shooting stars. Sitting together and gazing in awe at the heavenly night sky always felt like praise and worship to me. “Look up into the heavens. Who created the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 NLT).

Years later, I had my own family of happy campers. We purchased our own Volkswagen bus to travel the California coast. Our annual summer camping trips to Carmel and Big Sur were awaited with great anticipation. Each evening we sat by the campfire, gazing in wonder at the heavens, telling stories, toasting marshmallows, and drinking cocoa just as I did when I was a little girl. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known” (Psalm 19:1-2 NLT).

After many wonderful camping trips, the bus started breaking down, and we needed a new car.  I was now a single mom with limited resources and knew it would take a miracle to get the car we wanted. One Sunday Ashley and I shopped for cars and she spotted a Honda Odyssey SUV with a DVD player that we could not afford. Her little legs barely reached over the passenger seat as she looked up at me with big blue eyes and said, “Mommy, we must have this car.” I looked at her precious, earnest face and wanted with all my heart to buy it for her. We took the brochure home to show her sister Remy who agreed that this was the perfect car for us. We placed it on the dinner table with hopeful hearts.

That evening, I was overwhelmed with despair that I would have to tell my daughters we could not afford this car. The thought of disappointing them was unbearable to me. Once they were asleep, I headed to the backyard to confer with the Father of heavenly lights. I spent many hours under the stars that night praying for His help to buy this car for my daughters. I knew that God delighted in giving His children good things. I chose to trust him on this request. “Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:10-12 NLT)

The next morning, I took the brochure to the office where I worked as a property manager.  I taped it to the wall next to my computer so I could pray over it while I worked. Just a few hours later, the owner of the building walked in. He said, “A friend of mine leases a car for his property manager, and I would like to do the same for you. Is there any car you have in mind that you would like to have?” I took the Honda brochure off the wall, handed to him and said, “This is exactly what we want, in starlight silver with leather seats and a DVD player.” “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:13-14 NLT)

Just a week later, we picked up our new starlight silver Honda with leather seats and a DVD player and headed for Disneyland. In the rearview mirror, I could see both girls deliriously beaming with joy as they decided which movies they would watch in the car on the trip. We have had so many wonderful adventures in our “movie car” for which I have the Father of heavenly lights to thank. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father, who does not change like shifting shadows.

“Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—His faithful love endures forever. The sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.  And the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:7-9 NLT)

TWEETABLE
The Father of the Heavenly Lights – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

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

Join the conversation: Has God ever sent a priceless gift in answer to your prayer?

Shining Brighter in the New Year

by Patti Richter

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.  John 1:4-5

I heaved a sigh of relief as my husband, Jim, pulled a chunk of splintered wood from the palm of my hand. A small piece remained behind, however, and weeks later, though I couldn’t see it, the splinter still smarted if I touched the right spot.

Jim’s own little splinter was more elusive. He’d rubbed one eye for days after using his drill to repair a mailbox. A doctor’s bright light revealed an embedded metal shard, which he successfully removed.

Illumination is so helpful in spotting hidden issues—like mold. We signed a contract to buy a house that had everything we’d been looking for, but an inspector with a high-intensity lamp found this problem. We learned the mold could be removed for a hefty sum of money, and also how to avoid the threat of mold in the future. How much easier and less expensive these preventative measures would have been!

Today’s technology includes the blessings of tests, machines, and lights that reveal abnormalities and dangers otherwise unseen, especially regarding physical maladies that might lurk within. Some people, like me, put off health checks. We’d rather not know what might be amiss; we prefer to wait in blissful ignorance unless our bodies signal an alarm. So, for the present time, we avoid anxious hours of awaiting test results. But we might later regret this head-in-the-sand outlook.

At the dawn of each new year, we may tend to prioritize self-improvement—mostly physical health and fitness. Spiritually, however, our fix-it list requires more than resolutions. But while the thoughts and intentions of our heart are not hidden from God, we may delude ourselves that we can deal with any dark spots on our own.

Luke’s Gospel includes a scene of Jesus teaching a crowd about the need to have a life full of inner light, “no part of it dark” (Luke 11:36-42 NIV). Afterward, a Pharisee who’d invited him to dinner expressed concern that Jesus did not wash up before the meal, as their custom dictated. (I wonder if Jesus passed by the water bowl to spark a needful conversation.) Jesus responded by saying it’s foolish to cleanse the outside parts while ignoring corruption on the inside, such as “greed and wickedness” (vv. 39 – 40). Jesus further rebuked the Pharisees and teachers of the law for performing righteous acts while neglecting “justice and the love of God” (v. 42). God could see right past their self-righteousness to their dark hearts.

Serving God without nurturing a relationship with him—through prayer, Scripture study, worship, and the fellowship of believers—never worked out for the saints of old. Israel’s glory years during the reign of King Solomon went bust soon after his son, Rehoboam, inherited the throne. Rehoboam “did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord” (2 Chronicles 12:14). This was likely a sin of neglect since Rehoboam surely knew God’s greatest command to his people, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5 NIV). We allow His light to shine in our dark places when we seek Him.

“Light has come into the world,” through Jesus Christ, and we are justified—made right with God—by faith in his name. Our sanctification process, however, requires that we continually yield those dark recesses of our hearts to the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit. His work in us will bring effective remediation.

TWEETABLE
Shining Brighter in the New Year – Patti Richter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Patti Richter headshot 2017-1nAbout the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits global mission stories for The Gospel Coalition and her faith essays appears at BlueRibbonNews.com.

Patti is the co-author of Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of SufferingIt is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: How do you “seek the Lord” as you walk with Him?