Recognizing Jesus’ Voice

by Sheri Schofield

Winter storms have covered Montana with snow. In many places, it is so deep that the cattle cannot paw through to reach the grass beneath it. If it were not for the rancher who owns them, the cattle would starve.

Every day, the rancher brings a big roll of hay to the field and spreads it out on top of the snow. When the cattle hear the sound of the familiar tractor, they all head toward the gate, eager for the food. If another truck or car drives by during the day, the cattle will ignore it. They only respond to that one tractor’s engine, for it represents their lifeline through the long winter months.

Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me … [The shepherd] goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice” (John 10:14, 4 NIV).

Many new believers in Jesus wonder how they can recognize Jesus’ voice. While Jesus is no longer on earth, He has sent us the Holy Spirit to give us instructions. The Holy Spirit speaks the words of our Shepherd to our hearts, for He lives inside each person who belongs to Jesus. But how do we know when the thoughts we have are from the Holy Spirit and not from our own emotions?

I have found that memorizing Bible verses, sometimes entire passages, has helped me learn to discern the source of my thoughts, for the Holy Spirit will never tell me to do anything that is not in agreement with the Bible. It is God’s love letter to us that tells how He has communicated and dealt with mankind from the beginning.

I have learned to recognize my Shepherd’s voice very well! It is as different from my own thought patterns as apple juice is from lemonade. It is distinctive, instructive and holy. Many times, when I am busy with my life, a thought will come to me that is not like my own thoughts. It will feel like it comes from another source. It is my Shepherd.

I was recently depositing some money at the bank, and my Shepherd said, “Tell this young teller about your book for children on salvation.” I did. The young man turned out to be a Christian who had fifteen nieces and nephews, and he immediately wanted some of these books for them. So I gave him a book for each separate family, and one for himself. He began sharing the book with others at the bank, and they wanted the books, too. With that one brief conversation, I was able to reach multiple hearts for Jesus.

Once I was talking on the phone to a friend when my Shepherd said, in no uncertain terms, “GO TO KAREN!” It was so powerful that it overwhelmed all my other senses. I excused myself and went to Karen* immediately. She had recently lost her husband, and a known, New Age witch was at her house, trying to influence her while she was vulnerable. My timely intervention amazed Karen and put her on guard spiritually.

When we learn to listen to the Lord’s voice and obey Him, He will speak to us more and more, for He knows He can accomplish His goals through us, goals that bring life and healing to a lost and dying world. The joy that Jesus gives us when we hear and follow His commands is unequaled! It is living water that satisfies our deepest thirst.

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.                                                                John 7:37-39 NIV

* Not her real name.

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Recognizing Jesus’ Voice – 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: Have you experienced the Holy Spirit speaking to you?

Make a Choice, Make a Difference

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.                                                                                  Hebrews 5:14 NASB

We’ve lived in the same house almost 15 years. That means I’m on about the 5,375th consecutive day of turning on the garbage disposal instead of the light. Oy, habits.

I was working on forming better habits though. Breakfast, for instance. Surely I could at least pull together a bowl of cold cereal, right? Not as easy as you’d think. That first cardboard flap of a new cereal box? Major box-opening stress there. One wrong rip and the tab will never fit in the slot. You could hardly convince me I was not cutting diamonds.

Fast-forward to my discovery that I should never cut diamonds. The box looked like it had been opened by ferrets. Who probably don’t even eat bran flakes. I wanted to quit—and that was before I got to the titanium-reinforced bag inside.

Seriously, what are those bags made of? While I’m asking questions, is bag-rage a thing? Because I may have had that. When you finally find the one weak spot in the forcefield that IS that bag, how many times does the cereal just explode all over the kitchen?

People. If I was really meant to make this breakfast choice, wouldn’t a box of cereal be easier to open than a bag of Oreos?

We make choices every day. Often, we can make a mess, make an excuse, make a scene, make a get-away—or make a difference. Sometimes we only get to pick one.

The fact is, good habits don’t necessarily come with a switch to flick. We don’t make good choices according to how easy they are. They’re built with perseverance—and I need to be reminded often. Peter obliges in 2 Peter 1:12-13 (CSB): “Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have. I think it’s right, as long as I am in this bodily tent, to wake you up with a reminder.” This? It’s a worthy wake-up. Breakfast of champions, really.

I love looking at the verses right before in the Amplified version: “Therefore, believers, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you [be sure that your behavior reflects and confirms your relationship with God]; for by doing these things [actively developing these virtues], you will never stumble [in your spiritual growth and will live a life that leads others away from sin]” (vv. 10-11, AMP).

The word “diligent” here is from the Greek spoudasate, which means to labor over an endeavor—quickly and with earnestness. My natural selfishness encourages me to choose garbage habits—the easy way. Flicking all the wrong switches.

Yet my God will give me the want-to to choose well, and then He will give me the ability to persevere in it. Paul said in Philippians 2:13 (CSB), “For it is God who is working in you both to will and to work according to his good purpose.”

Paul offers a great testimony in 1 Corinthians 9:26-27 (CSB): “So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” It’s an entirely different kind of “boxing,” I know. But I want to take on the challenge implied here with everything I’ve got. I want to make a difference.

Father, empower me to choose well. Work in me to accomplish Your good purpose, I ask. Grant me the discipline to stay at it with perseverance—all for the glory of Your kingdom.

That’s my prayer. And I’m going to make a habit of praying it.

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Make a Choice, Make a Difference – encouragement and wisdom from @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 novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated: A Novel by [Rhea, Kaley, Rhea, Rhonda]

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie 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: How do you train yourself to make better choices?

Persuaded  

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee…when the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”                                                                                                                 John 2:1-4 NASB

The supply of wine had been depleted. Not one drop left. And the party was still going strong.

Mary shuddered at the embarrassment the oversight would bring on the hosts. She instinctively turned to her son to relate the news. He would know what to do. But Jesus seemed impervious to the problem. “Woman, what does this have to do with me?” he queried. “My hour has not yet come.”

Unfazed, Mary turned to the servants. “Do whatever he says,” she simply told them. And Jesus turned the water into wine.

This story has its puzzling moments. But one big question towers over the rest: why would Jesus refuse to help, even going so far as to state his reason for not helping, then turn around and do the miracle anyway?

There were other times Jesus refused to perform miracles.

We are told in Mark 6 that in his hometown of Nazareth, Jesus “could do no miracle there except that he lay his hands on a few sick people and healed them.” Why? “He wondered at their unbelief.” (Mark 6:5-6 NASB).

Several times, religious leaders (and also Pilate) asked Jesus to perform a miracle for them. He flatly refused, for they had not asked in faith (Mark 8:12 NASB).

His miracles were not meant to create faith; they merely served to confirm it. Faith is a necessary component to any request we make of God. Jesus would not perform a miracle without it.

When two blind men asked for healing, Jesus asked them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” When they affirmed their trust, Jesus gave them their sight (Matthew 9:29). He asked a father to confirm his belief before ousting a demon that controlled his son. Why? He explained, “All things are possible to him who believes” (Mark 9:23).

In these and many other cases, belief in Jesus’ mercy and power was required before He would help them. When faith is expressed, God responds.

Mary’s instructions to the servants at the wedding of Cana were brim-full of faith. Whatever he says, do it. She trusted Jesus would do the right thing. Jesus responded by turning water into the finest of wines.

The Greek verb pisteuo, translated as believetrust, or to have faith often carries the qualifying connotation of being persuaded or convinced. The Greek lexicon defines it as “to cause to come to a particular point of view or course of action.” Trust comes as a result from what one has found to be true.

Mary raised Jesus. He had always lived in unfailing obedience to the Father. What she had observed of him in the past persuaded her to trust him now.

When God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, He demonstrated his power and faithfulness to them over and over, first with the plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, provision of water and manna, and the dramatic giving of the Law. In short, he was teaching them to trust him. But the months they spent in the desert weren’t enough—they balked at entering the Promised Land, refusing to trust God for his provision.

So God spent the next 40 years proving to the new generation just how trust-worthy he was. And when it again came time to go into the land, they were ready to follow Him anywhere. Knowing truth about God is foundational to trusting Him.

Trust doesn’t come naturally to us. So God brings along hardship, times when we struggle to perceive his presence or guidance, times when everything seems hopeless or overwhelming. We hate those times and dread their appearance. But He will use them to give us a deeper understanding of just how faithful He is. We will emerge from the darkness with a better capacity to trust him. And the conduit of trust opens the way for his blessing and mercy.

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Persuaded – thoughts from @JulieZColeman when trust doesn’t come naturally, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. 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.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: What do you know about God that gives you the ability to trust Him?

Trusting God in a Season of Uncertainty

by Lee Ann Mancini

I have heard your prayers. I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you.  2 Kings 20:5 NIV

“Hi, Mrs. Mancini,” I heard a faint voice saying. Slowly, I opened my eyes and began to register that, once again, surgery was finished. This time, I had required a complete removal of my thyroid. Only three months prior, I had undergone surgery for avascular necrosis of the third metatarsal. What is that, you ask? It is when the bone in the middle toe of your foot begins to die.

I was carrying a large biblical commentary when, all of a sudden, I somehow managed to drop it on my foot. Unfortunately for me, the book did not land on its flat surface, which would have allowed the weight to be evenly distributed. Instead, the corner of the massive book struck my middle toe like a sharp-pointed knife! Wincing in pain, I told myself with resignation, “Well, that’s going to hurt for a while.” Little did I know that, only eight months later, I would require surgery.

Why do I mention my surgeries?

Well, I suffer from anxiety. Normally, just the thought of having to lie in bed for two weeks with my foot propped up above my heart—or the thought of possibly never being able to talk again should my vocal cords accidentally be cut—would normally have sent me into full panic mode. However, I am thankful to say the Lord was gracious to me, and this did not happen.

We all go through seasons of tests and trials, however, during those two recent health issues, I decided that I would earnestly focus on learning to trust God completely first and foremost. I wanted to rely on the Word of God, pray to the Lord in confidence, and trust in His promises without reservation.

Whenever a fearful thought began creeping into my mind, I would take that thought and bring it directly to Christ. “We demolish arguments and ever pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV).

Do you earnestly seek the Lord in prayer during difficult times? Do you recite a particular Bible verse to help ease your mind as you feel anxiety creeping in? Or do you focus on the situation and dwell on the problem?

This time I didn’t dwell on the problem, but told my Father that I would accept whatever outcome He had planned for me. I was determined to praise Him no matter what the result. The Lord rewarded me by giving me peace and comfort through the entire process both surgeries entailed.

May the Lord protect and guide your hearts and minds during these very stressful days. May you be drawn closer to the Lord, trusting him and praising him. He promises to give you peace that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7)!

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Trusting God in a Season of Uncertainty – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lee Ann Bio PictureAbout the author: Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Sea Kids book series and an executive producer of the new Sea Kids animation series.

Lee Ann’s book, Forever with Jesus, teaches children how wonderful heaven is: no more tears, pain, or suffering. When their neighbor passes away, the children in the story learn that they do not have to fear death, because their belief in Jesus guarantees they will live forever with Him.

Join the conversation: What has helped you in dealing with anxiety?

 

Finding True Love

by Louise Tucker Jones

Recently, I watched a movie where a young woman was talking with an older gentleman who had been widowed after a lifetime of marriage. “You found your one true love,” she stated.

I love the man’s response. “I know that now,” he said. “But it wasn’t always so clear. Loving someone is the hardest work there is. We messed up plenty…disappointed each other…but never let that keep us apart. It wasn’t true love because it was easy. It was because we worked at it. We fought for it.”

Now that’s love! The kind of love that lasts “till death do us part,” as stated in most wedding vows. And isn’t it interesting that God set the precedent for this kind of love with the forgiving, merciful, selfless love of his Son, Jesus Christ, knowing that “true love” would also require a selfless sacrifice. Otherwise, how could marriage possibly last?

God knew that many of us would need not only His love, but also that of a partner in life. Someone to hold us when this broken world in which we live falls apart and shatters our spirits. Times when we need the arms of human flesh to surround us, even as we hold onto the divine love of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who promises to never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV).

Love. It makes us feel safe and secure. It’s starry-eyed romance bound by deep commitment. It’s the arm around you when no one is looking and the sweetness of knowing you belong to each other.

Real love doesn’t come with a Webster definition. It’s a verb—an action word—as well as a noun. And this kind of love…well, it never dies. It doesn’t even grow old. It simply…grows. True love takes us to worlds beyond anything we ever imagined. It trudges through the dark times, races though the ordinary and soars through the extraordinary. It tiptoes quietly into hospital rooms and sits silently in cemeteries when that forever love is carried to heaven on angels’ wings. Love lasts. Love holds. Love lifts.

The Bible tells us that one of the names of God is “I Am,” (Exodus 3:14, NIV), meaning He was, He is and He will be forevermore. Past. Present. Future. Love is like that. True love is precious, like a pearl in an oyster, waiting to be opened and cherished. And if you treat love the way God intended, then you will have a treasure to hold in your heart forever.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.                                                  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV

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Finding True Love – wisdom from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker Jones ProfileAbout the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist and author of four books, including The Gift of Christmas. Her poignant life stories will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly HusbandsLouiseTJ@cox.net http://www.LouiseTuckerJones.com

Join the conversation: What other qualities does true love have in your experience?

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.                                                       1 Corinthians 5:21 NASB

Have you ever wondered why Jesus had to die on the cross?

An old photograph of our son covered in mud documents the special affinity my toddler had with puddles. Of course, the caked dirt didn’t change my love for Brant. But it did affect how I treated him. He wasn’t allowed to roam the house while muddy. I held him at arm’s length when I carried him to a tub of running water. After he was clean, we snuggled close, and he gained free access to the house again.

Who benefited from my child’s bath? Bathing him was work for me, but it was also joy. Removing his grime restored the pleasure of cuddling together.

Some people avoid God when they mess up. They think He doesn’t want to see them. But Jesus died to remove the stench of sin that separated us from Him. He wants to share life now and throughout eternity.

Before sin entered the world, there was no need for sacrifices. After sin, animal sacrifices provided a temporary remedy so people could enjoy closeness with God. From the skin garments God made for Adam and Eve to the blood sacrifices required in Mosaic Law, blood was God’s provision for removing guilt and restoring fellowship with Him (Leviticus 17:11). “In fact, …without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22).

Like bathing with body wash, the effectiveness of animal sacrifices was temporary. These Old Testament sacrifices pointed to the future sacrifice of God’s perfect Lamb, who would become sin on our behalf.

  • “With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever” (Hebrews 9:12 NLT).
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  • “Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins” (Hebrews 9:14 NLT).
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  • “But now, once for all time, he has appeared at the end of the age to remove sin by his own death as a sacrifice” (Hebrews 9:26 NLT).

From the Garden to the cross, those benefiting from an offered sacrifice increased. Abel offered one lamb for himself. At the Passover, one lamb was offered for a family. The Day of Atonement included offering one lamb for a nation. But at the cross, Jesus, the spotless lamb, was offered for the sins of the world.[1]

When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) many in his Jewish audience understood. This was the long awaited One first promised to Adam and Eve (Gen. 3:15).

While we look back in history to the cross, Old Testament sacrifices pointed to His coming. Faith in God’s promised One is the basis for righteousness for both Old and New Testament believers. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin, we gain nothing less than God’s eternal approval.

Based on an excerpt from Little Faith, Big God © 2020, Debbie W. Wilson

[1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur New Testament Commentary Hebrews (Chicago: The Moody Bible Institute, 1983), 301.

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Why Did Jesus Have to Die? – insight and encouragement from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her walk with Christ, and years as a Christian counselor, coach, and Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson helps women give themselves a break so they can enjoy fruitful and grace-filled lives. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. Her latest book, Little Faith, Big God, is to be released Little Faith, Big God: Grace to Grow When Your Faith Feels Small by [Wilson, Debbie]February 2020. She and her husband Larry founded and run Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit counseling, coaching, and Bible study ministry. She is an AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) certified speaking and writing coach. Debbie enjoys a good mystery, dark chocolate, and the antics of her two standard poodles. Refresh your faith with free resources at debbieWwilson.com.

Join the conversation: What does Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross mean to you?

Impossible Faith: Powerful Provider

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 111:5

One of the prayers I often pray is Lord we look to You for your power, protection, and provision. I know we can ask this because God offers his character to back up his promises.

My favorite name of God is Jehovah Jireh, meaning “the one who will see to it.” When God provided a lamb for Abraham’s sacrifice on Mt. Moriah, rescuing his son Isaac from death, Abraham called that place Jehovah Jireh: the Lord will provide (Genesis 22:14). He not only provides for us in the present but will provide in the future as well. It is a part of His character.

And if God sees, he also foresees. In Names of God, Nathan Stone writes: “As the One who possesses eternal wisdom and knowledge, He knows the end from the beginning. As Elohim, He is all knowing, all-wise, and all-powerful. From eternity to eternity He forsees everything. But another word for seeing is vision, from the Latin word video—to see. So, it’s like God has the video for your life! Not only does he have the video, he is the director!”

Our actions in life directly reflect our view of God: A.W. Tozer says in his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”

What we think about God will determine how willing we are to step out in faith. Abraham knew God keeps His promises. Hebrews 11 tells us God had previously told him, “In Isaac, your descendants shall be called.” Abraham knew God was able to raise people even from the dead. So, he willingly walked Isaac up that mountain, fully expecting God to keep His promises.

And in doing so, Abraham discovered another character trait of God: that the Lord was Jehovah Jireh. The God who provides.

Henry Blackaby and Claude King agree. In Experiencing God, they write, “How I live my life is a testimony of what I believe about God.”

I like to say, “Show me your God, and I will show you your ability to achieve. Small God—small life. Big God—big opportunities and potential await.” His character never changes. We can trust Him for provision because He is the God who provides.

God has never let us down. We married young and followed hard after God to complete our education and go to seminary, all while working in a ministry with the youth. And God unfailingly met our needs. He sent groceries when our cupboards were bare. He sent a car for under $100, after we rode bikes for a year. He sent supportive families to contribute toward our seminary education, because they were thankful we were shepherding their teens. He sent wise mentors to help us think through the buying of our home, and faithful families who jumped in and helped build the one we built when we moved into the senior pastorate.

God provided every step of the way, both in small and large ways. We worked hard, yes, very hard. But when our compensation fell short in providing for our needs, He moved circumstances or the hearts of people to accomplish many answers to prayer—in ways that were pretty miraculous.

God does not change. He will always act in ways that are consistent with His character. He will always be Jehovah Jireh: the God who will provide. You can trust Him to do that for you. His actions will always be within the context of His grace. “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11 NASB).

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Impossible Faith: Powerful Provider – insight and encouragement from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrelAbout the authorPam Farrel. author of 50+ books, is an international speaker and co-director, with her husband, Bill of Love-Wise.comHer newest book is Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience (co-authors Jean E Jones and Karl Dornacher) from Harvest House.

Join the conversation: How has God provided for you recently?

Five Ways to Be an Older Woman Younger Women Can Hear

by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.                                   Titus 2:2-3 ESV

They won’t listen.

Women of a certain age worry about the generations coming up behind. We know we have a biblically ordained responsibility to teach younger women, but we flounder.

There’s a lot I don’t know about reaching the next generation, but we must start somewhere.

Here are five ways to be older women younger women can hear.

  • Live a Great Story – If the only Jesus-story or testimony you share is three decades old, it’s time to update your God-card. If you’re living for Jesus, there should be fresh stories. If there aren’t, check in with a mature believing friend and ask God to refresh your assignment. Genuine, mature faith deepens like wine. Religious practice alone, like old bread, grows stale. Younger women yearn to be part of a great story. Older women living one will earn their attention. Invite them to join you.
  • Vision Forward, Not Back –Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.” Refuse to walk in the path of Lot’s wife – so busy looking back you risk being left behind. Travel light into tomorrow. Jesus is in this day and where He is is where we need to be, even when times are hard. God designed you and assigned you to be an older woman in these times. If your focus is the eternal adventure stretching before us, your eyes will be full of light. We may not share a similar past with younger generations, but we share today, and we could be friends into eternity, so keep your vision focus forward.
  • Know Something About the Culture – Seriously, watch a movie made in the past five years. Check out a television show that’s not on TVLand or MeTV. Read a best-seller. Explore modern happenings. If God called you to the mission field, you’d explore the culture. He’s called you to the next generations. Explore their culture – and not like it’s a smelly fish – like it’s a fascinating puzzle. Invite younger women over to binge watch a show or listen to their favorite musical artists. Trade off watching one of their favorite movies followed by one of yours. Start a book club. Be teachable, accepting, and curious. That’s a combination that is the foundation of role models. Laugh easily. Love generously. Re-invent old age.
  • Be Vulnerable, Available, and Present – No matter how old we get, we’re sinners saved by grace alone. As we mature, we begin to get some things right, but we still fail. We don’t know everything. Forget the fake. Park your pretense. Let your vulnerability surface. Be emotionally available and wholly present. Listen. Ask questions. Younger women don’t want someone who’s perfect, they want someone who’s present.
  • Finally, keep growing up. We may be seniors, but in the light of eternity, we’ve only just begun. In 2 Peter 1:1-10, Peter lists eight qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love) that if we have them in increasing measure, they will keep us from being ineffective and unfruitful in our knowledge of Jesus. Make every effort to grow in these qualities and we’ll be effective and fruitful with the generations on the rise. We lose a lot as we age. Here are some things to intentionally lose for the sake of building the kingdom in younger women – fear, a critical spirit, inflexibility, arrogance, hypocrisy, and pretense.

No matter our age, we each contribute to the culture of women in the kingdom of Christ. What does it look where you stand for Him?

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Five Ways to Be an Older Woman Younger Women Can Hear – tips for impacting the generation from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Join the conversation: Were you ever mentored in your younger years? What meant the most to you from that time together?

 

Have a God Day

by Crystal Bowman

In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you
and wait expectantly.                                                                                     
Psalm 5:3 NIV

For several years I was prayer partners with two mutual friends. Every Monday morning, we would email each other to share our personal requests and praises. We had a deep level of trust and could share whatever was on our hearts. Prayer requests for health issues, difficult decisions, and the challenges of raising kids filled the content of our emails.

Knowing we were praying for each other and our families created a unique bond of friendship. We prayed through countless doctors’ appointments, business meetings, parenting difficulties, extended family concerns, and more. Anything and everything could be shared with no rules or boundaries other than confidentiality.

As the months and years went by, we carried each other’s burdens and celebrated each answered prayer. We truly lived out the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 12:15 (ESV):  Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

One Monday morning, as I finished typing my email, I closed with a typo. Instead of saying, “Have a good day” I typed, “Have a God day.” My friends responded with delight, assuming my closure was intentional rather than a typo. We all had a good laugh, but from then on, we always ended our prayer emails with “Have a God day.”

I have come to love that phrase, even though its origin was a typo. I’ve thought about what it  means to have a God day. We often ask God to be with us throughout the day, but the truth is that He already is. Rather than asking God to be with me, I’ve learned to pray, “God, make me more aware of your presence.” If I begin my day with prayer or reading God’s words in Scripture, I am aware of His presence. When I look at the glory of a morning sunrise or hear the melody of cheerful birds, I acknowledge my Creator. As I face my to-do list, I ask God to give me the wisdom and energy to accomplish  my tasks. As I think about my loved ones, I ask God to give them health, strength, and protection for the day.

King David lived in full awareness of God’s presence. Many of his Psalms are songs of praise and thanksgiving to God. In Psalm 19:1-4 (NIV), he writes: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. David recognized that all of creation basks in the fullness of God’s presence and shouts His name. If God’s creation acknowledges and praises Him day after day, how much more should we, who are created in His image, live in daily union with Him.

The more we communicate with God throughout the day with praise and admiration, the more we will be reminded of His continual presence. And when we give Him our requests and concerns, we can eagerly anticipate His answers. God is with us all day, every day. May we live in a greater awareness of dwelling in Him.

Have a God day!

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Have a God Day – encouragement from a typo – Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Crystal BowmanAbout the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids. She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

Ten percent of women struggle with infertility. Mothers In Waiting—Healing and Hope for Those with Empty Arms contains 30 hope-filled stories from contributors like Valorie Burton, Katie Norris, and Shay Shull, whose journeys through infertility and miscarriage to adoption and miracle births will buoy your faith. You don’t have to suffer alone.

Join the conversation: How had you noticed God’s presence today?

 

The Hope of Today

by Linda Rooks @Linda_Rooks  

In my upstairs hall, family pictures line the wall, photos tracing our genealogies into past decades. I stand looking at a picture of my great-great-great grandmother. I try to recall her name, but must refer to the big family Bible to remind me of it. In another photograph, of my husband’s ancestors, I gaze upon a large family grouping of young and old. As was common in that era, no one sports a smile. But on the inside that day, they were alive with hopes, disappointments, and ambitions, with their future stretching out ahead of them.

Their future has now become our past, and I look upon their likenesses to us and wonder what their lives were like. Did they ever achieved their dreams? They lived and breathed from year to year in a world that was palpable and real . . . in an expanse of time that was THEIR time. They probably felt it would go on forever. It was their generation. But eventually their lives ended and a new generation took its place.

Now it’s our turn. And it’s our time. But like every generation that came before us, our lives have a beginning and an end.

When we are in our prime, we feel we will live forever. There is so much life to live and so much to achieve. Dreams rise up before us and beckon us to follow into the future. But time marches on, and before long, we wake to find new aches and pains and realize we are getting older. Whether or not we manage to surmount our obstacles and attain our dreams, another generation is coming along behind, dreaming new dreams and looking to conquer fresh frontiers.

“All people are like grass,” says Isaiah, “and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever”  (Isaiah 40: 6, 8 NIV.)

In this finite window of eternity that we call our lives, each of our days is brand new, beginning with a sunrise unlike the one before. Regardless of whether these are happy or difficult days, each one is a gift that God has given to grow us and enlarge our vision of who He is.

Sometimes we will praise Him in the happy, glorious days of success and fulfillment, and other times we will seek him from the valleys of despair; but whichever place we find ourselves on any particular day, it is a part of the journey of our life God gives us for TODAY. And it’s a gift.

When we live today to the fullest, not in fleeting pleasures or empty and futile worry, but by submitting our lives to God’s bigger picture, today can become a jewel in our crown. Our challenge is to seek God each and every day as a gift from Him and let Him use our time on earth to the utmost of His highest calling.

Perhaps, one day in the future, a great, great grandchild will find my picture in a photo album and not recall my name. But even though our names may eventually be forgotten on this earth, our hope transcends this temporary world. For on a future day, as God’s children before the throne, we will find our names remembered and recorded in a living book, the Lamb’s Book of Life. We will join with past and future generations to celebrate God’s bigger story, the story we can choose to be part of today as we make choices now to live the part He created us to play.

And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”                                                                                  Isaiah 40:5 NIV

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The Hope of Today – encouragement from @Linda_Rooks on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda rooksAbout the author: Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her award winning books walk with those in the midst of marital breakdown to bring hope and practical guidance to those desiring reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida and thank God for the many reconciled marriages they witness through their ministry.

Linda’s recent release, Fighting for Your Marriage while Separated, dives into topics such as relationship dynamics and healing, protecting children, and praying for restoration, to deciding on boundaries and learning to live with the same spouse in a new marriage, Rooks illustrates what reconciling and rebuilding a marriage looks like—and how the sweet intimacy of Christ is in the waiting.

Join the conversation: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?