Angel in a Pickup

by Penelope Carlevato @TeaTimePen

Being a tour guide on my Taste of Britain Tea Tours is one of my greatest joys. I escort women on ten-day tours throughout England, experiencing the glory of England and afternoon teas in many different venues. The first day is always the toughest, getting everyone settled in their hotel rooms, converting their dollars to British pounds, and explaining English terms.

On one of my tours, we had the privilege of seeing Queen Elizabeth twice on our first day. The ladies were thrilled at the chance sightings, and I knew it was one of those “God things”. It was their first trip to England, and I wanted it to be perfect.

That evening, relaxing in the tub in my London hotel room, I decided it was a good time to catch up on my Bible reading.  A verse grabbed my attention…”Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 NIV).

Why was it so important to me that this trip be perfect? Was it so everyone would have a good time, or was I trying to make myself look good? I wanted everyone to believe I had it all together. I didn’t want to be thought of as a failure when things didn’t go as planned. I realized I would be walking on eggshells during the tour if I didn’t trust God with these women and all the details of the journey. I turned it over to Him, as I had done my homework, and now I needed to rest in his goodness and provision.

At the end of our ten days in England, I was pleased that everything went so well.  No injuries, illness, or complaints. God was in control, and it had been the perfect trip – up until we traveled to the airport.  We were late.

As we left the motorway and entered the roundabout leading to Gatwick Airport, our van suddenly stopped dead…right in the middle of two exit lanes.  We were blocking traffic at rush hour. Drivers began to blast their horns and shake their fists at us. I immediately went into panic mode instead of trusting God to take care of the situation. But one of our sweet ladies in the group suggested we pray. What a brilliant idea! 

We prayed, “Lord, please send us an angel to help us in this situation.” 

As we concluded our prayer, a small pickup pulled in front of our van. A tall, good-looking man in a dark blue uniform jumped out of his truck and came to our driver’s window. “Oh no,” I thought, “a traffic warden (the English name for a policeman) is going to issue us a ticket. Just what we didn’t need! We’ll miss our flight home for sure.”

He came to the driver’s window, and instead of issuing us a ticket, asked if he could help pull our van off to the side of the road. He used a tow rope he had in the bed of his pickup and pulled us out of traffic.

Walking back to our van, he peeked his head inside and asked, “Which terminal and airline, ladies?”

All of us shouted over the head of the driver, “South Terminal – British Airways to Denver.”

“Great,” He replied, as he tipped his cap, “I’ll see you on board. I’m your pilot.”

God whispered in my heart, “See? I am in control. Trust me. I’ve got this.”

We all cheered like a bunch of teenagers. In a short while, the Automobile Club arrived to help us with our van. We had a broken gas gage. We had run out of gas!

I learned a great lesson on that trip.  God went before us, and He was in control. It wasn’t a coincidence that our British Airway’s pilot passed us on the roundabout at that exact time. We made our flight on time, and once onboard, the pilot gave us all an exclusive visit to the cockpit.

This Scripture is not just words on a page, but God’s promise to us:

So not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.  Isaiah 41:10 NIV

Penelope Carlevato -5About the author: Penelope Carlevato is a Christian author and speaker and a contributing author for numerous compilation books. She serves as a regular columnist for Leading Hearts, the award-winning magazine for Christian women, and also writes for Innovative Health and other medical and wellness magazines. You can find out more at PenelopeCarlevato.com

Penelope has written several books: Tea on the Titanic, First Class Etiquette, The Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic, Tea Lover’s Journal, and Happy Family Tea Time. Whether planning a Birthday Tea, a Christmas Tea, a Christening Tea or even a themed DownThe Art of Afternoon Tea: From the Era of Downton Abbey and the Titanic by [Penelope Carlevato]ton Abbey Tea, the pleasures of sharing tea time come alive as Penelope shares her enthusiasm, knowledge, and inspiration. 

 

Join the conversation: Has God ever rescued you from a difficult situation? Please share!

Are You Zealous?

by Crystal Bowman

Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14 NKJV

The word zealous can be found a few times in the Bible depending on which translation you read. It’s not a word we use much these days, especially in casual conversation. To be zealous means to be dedicated and committed to something with all your heart. It means you have a great desire or passion to be part of something you believe in.

Some people are zealous about sports and competition. Olympic hopefuls train 25 hours a week for 10-20 years before qualifying for an event. Others may be zealous about music and performing. Becoming a professional singer involves a long career path. It takes years to properly develop a voice and many begin taking voice lessons as children. Still others may devote their time and energy to an organization or worthy cause.

The Apostle Paul was an enemy of Jesus until Jesus spoke to him while he was traveling to Damascus. Paul soon became a Christian and spent the rest of his life telling people that Jesus was the Savior the Jewish people were looking for. Paul was zealous about sharing his faith in Jesus with everyone he met. 

Titus was one of Paul’s followers and a leader in the church. The book of Titus in the Bible is a letter Paul wrote to Titus to help people understand more about Jesus and how he wants us to live. Paul tells Titus that as we wait for Jesus to return, we should be zealous about loving others and doing good deeds in the name of Jesus. That message is for us too, and as I reflect on my commitments, priorities, and activities, I try to identity what I am zealous about.  

I’m zealous about spending time with my grandkids and making the most of every opportunity I have with them. My heart is filled with joy as I indulge in creative play, reading stories, or snuggling on the sofa. I’m also zealous about writing. I am usually well aware of what time it is, even without looking at a clock. But when my fingers are on the keyboard, I get so immersed in my writing that hours seem like minutes. 

As I examine my life during this pandemic season, I pray that I can be zealous about sharing my faith and doing good deeds in the name of Jesus, even if it means doing things differently. I can read a Bible story or picture book to my grandsons in Texas over Facetime or Skype since I cannot visit them. I can leave a bag of kids’ books on my neighbor’s front porch so she can read them to her preschooler and new baby. I can send a card to my sister-in-law who was unable to have a funeral for her mother who passed away. And I can call my friend in Florida who is a recent widow to help fill a lonely Saturday evening with some long-distance conversation.   

As we wait for this pandemic to pass, and as we wait for the return of Jesus, there are many ways we can share the love of Jesus with others. We can be zealous—even if it’s a word we don’t use anymore.  

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Are You Zealous? – insight and encouragement from Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)  

About 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: What are you zealous about in your life?

You’ll Never Attend This Kind of Wedding

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy. Zephaniah 3:17 NASB

You are at a wedding. After the bride and bridegroom are pronounced husband and wife, the groom turns and with a solemn face announces, “Now we all will mourn. Don’t expect any food at the reception, because we will be fasting.”

You look around to see confused and sad looks on the guests’ faces. A dirge fills the church as the bride and groom drag themselves down the aisle. After the dreary reception where there’s no food, dancing, or singing, everyone is given a little baggie of dirt. As the newly married couple leave the reception, everyone throws dirt on them.

No way! And yet the metaphor is a modern explanation for what John the Baptist’s followers want when they arrive at a party Matthew is hosting (Matthew 9:9-17). Jesus, his disciples, and other party guests are feasting and having a great time. Even those terrible “tax collectors and sinners” are joining in—at Jesus’s invitation. Can’t you just envision Jesus having the biggest smile of them all?

But the disciples of John the Baptist aren’t rejoicing. They look over the crowd with a judgmental scowl and demand, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?” (Matthew 9:14 NASB). Wow, they are on the prowl to let others know everyone should follow the rules as they do.

We can understand the question considering their teacher is in prison, and they are mourning. They could be thinking everyone should be mourning along with them. They might be thinking Jesus should especially be concerned, because John is his cousin. Plus, John was the one who launched Jesus’s ministry as Messiah with an announcement as he baptized Him. Might they even be thinking Jesus wouldn’t have been successful without John? We don’t know.

Jesus interjects, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (Matthew 9:15 NASB). Jesus reminds them who he is. He tells them that while He is with them, everyone should rejoice. He completely trusts his Father’s plan for his cousin. Plus, Jesus wants to enjoy the party because he is truly joyful in nature.

For many years, starting in childhood, I never pictured Jesus laughing, partying, and having joy. I believed he was a demanding taskmaster who was always on the prowl to squash any fun.

But as I began studying Jesus’s attributes in the Bible, I realized he is joyful. After all, the fruit of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 includes joy. It’s impossible for Jesus to not be joyful since the Holy Spirit and Jesus are one along with the Father: the same in essence and character. As I realized this, my perspective began to change and I could actually visualize Jesus having a great time—with the biggest grin!

Adapted from God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature, copyright 2020, Kathy Collard Miller.

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You’ll Never Attend This Kind of Wedding – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to study God’s attributes. As a result, her latest two books are devotional books about God’s nature: God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature and God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature. These are co-authored with her husband, Larry, and make a wonderful couples’ devotional study. Kathy is also the author of 55 other books and has spoken in 9 foreign countries and over 35 US states. Check out her website: www.KathyCollardMiller.com and YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2SwiL03 or Facebook.

Kathy’s most recent book is God’s Intriguing Questions: 60 New Testament Devotions Revealing Jesus’s Nature from which this devotion is excerpted. Kathy and her husband, Larry, of 50 years, co-wrote God’s Intriguing Questions.

Join the conversation: What other words would you describe for Jesus’s joyful nature and is it easy or hard for you to envision Jesus as joyful?

Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.    2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NLT

Pain is weakness leaving the body.

At least it used to be. Now that I’m inching closer and closer to 40, pain is just part of the daily routine. You know, lower back pain. Knees that crackle like popping bubble wrap. Achy muscles. Foot cramps. Pain is just part of life, right?

I hate being perceived as weak. I hate admitting that I need help. I hate people believing that I can’t do something (even if I actually can’t do it).

As much as I despise admitting it, weakness is a factor in my life. Just like it is in yours. There’s no shame in it. The best thing we can do with our weaknesses is accept them. Right?

The Bible even tells us to rejoice in our weaknesses. In my mind that meant I had to accept the weakness in the first place, but that might have been because I was pathologically opposed to admitting it existed. I’m slowly beginning to realize, however, that accepting my weakness and rejoicing in it are two very different concepts.

What makes them different? It’s the heart behind the choice.

Why are you choosing to embrace your weakness? Is it because you believe it will never change? Or is it because you believe God can actually use your weakness in His big plan?

For me, when I accepted my weaknesses, they became part of my identity.

I’m asthmatic. I’m a stress eater. I’m overweight. I’m disorganized. I’m bad at math. I can’t find my way out of a paper bag. I’m single.

Y’all, that’s not who I am. My weaknesses don’t define me, but somewhere along the line, as I accepted them, they began to do just that. So when I tried to correct them, it became like amputating part of myself, and I lost the motivation to change.

To a certain extent, you MUST accept your weakness. If you don’t, you’re deceiving yourself. Everyone has weaknesses, but the moment we embrace them as defining characteristics of our lives, we lose sight of who we truly are. We stop growing.

Rejoicing in your weakness looks very different. Rejoicing in your weakness is accepting that you are limited but God is not.

That’s the difference.

When we rejoice in our weakness, we aren’t accepting that it defines us. We’re recognizing that it CAN change, but only if God changes it. And that if He doesn’t take it away, God will use our weaknesses for something bigger than we are.

Admitting that you need help isn’t weakness. It’s character. When we set our limited human strength aside and trust in the limitless power of God, there’s nothing we can’t do.

Being weak isn’t part of your identity. Being weak is an opportunity to do something through God’s strength that would be impossible otherwise.

Feeling weak functions like an indicator light on your car’s dashboard. It signals you need help to overcome it. Don’t despair when weakness creeps up on you and threatens to overwhelm you. Don’t give in because you believe it will never change. Rejoice. Celebrate. You can’t conquer your weakness alone, but you have a personal, intimate relationship with the God who can.

So ask Him for help. He always will. Give Him the chance to use your weakness to prove His strength.

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Rejoice in Your Weakness, But Don’t Let It Define You – encouragement from A.C. Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams
Finding Fireflies

About the author: A.C. Williams is an author and entrepreneur who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks will never match. She prefers Trixie Belden to Nancy Drew, wears her watch on the wrong wrist, and Mr. Darcy is her love language. Follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: How has God used weakness in you?

Godly Disagreement

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

Years ago, my teenage son fell asleep at the wheel and sideswiped our neighbor’s parked car. Not huge damage, but an inconvenience to be sure. Since it was the middle of the night, he left a note. I saw my neighbors outside the next morning and walked over to apologize and assure them my son would come over after work to get the insurance details straight. Another neighbor was there, actually far angrier than the neighbor with the damaged car. Incensed at my son’s blunder, he blamed my lack of parenting skills for the incident. “When my boys are teenagers,” he stormed, “I will never allow them to be so careless and cause this kind of trouble.”

Good luck with that one. Obviously, he had not yet experienced the challenge of raising teenagers. Everyone is an expert on parenting… until they actually become parents. It is so easy to judge when you have never walked in someone else’s shoes.

Passing judgment without regard to your limited understanding of someone’s situation has become pretty common these days. On social media, a culture has developed in which judgment on others has become the norm—even within the Church. It’s so easy to leave a snide or angry comment, then move on. But words like that are not from the Lord.

Jesus called us to unity. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:5 NASB). When debate over issues accelerates into mud-slinging, we can inflict serious damage, on more than the other person. God intends to reveal himself to the world through the way his Church interacts. When we judge and condemn our brothers and sisters in Christ, our effectiveness as God-reflectors is seriously compromised.

It’s one thing to disagree with a doctrinal position. It’s another to assassinate character.

Is there a godly way to disagree within the body of Christ? Yes. But it involves a purposeful mindset.

1. Keep in mind how much you have in common with the one with whom you disagree. You were equally guilty and saved by the unmerited favor of God (Romans 2:4). You are both adopted children of the King with the Holy Spirit residing in you as a guarantee of your shared inheritance.

2. The Holy Spirit is at work in both of you to perfect what was started on the day of your salvation. Neither one has reached that perfection yet! (Philippians 1:6) But we can trust that the He will continue His work in us. Paul recognized this when he wrote the Philippians: “…If in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you” (Philippians 3:15 NASB). It is not up to us to convict people–state your position but then trust the Holy Spirit to lead them to His truth.

3. Just as you hope they will do for you, choose to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. Jesus told His disciples, “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you…” (Matthew 7:12 NASB). You don’t want to be written off because of incorrectly assumed bad intentions or motivation. So extend that courtesy to them first.

Understand, like my angry neighbor, you have not walked in their shoes. We all carry baggage from the events in our lives. This person’s position or actions may well have been influenced by trauma or negative experiences you have never experienced. As Hillel, a rabbi who lived several decades before Jesus, wisely said, “Judge not your fellow man until you yourself come into his place.”

4. Stick to the issue at hand and resist the mud-slinging. We are on the same team! Our spiritual gifts were given to build up others in the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:7).When we go for the jugular, we don’t build up, but tear down. It is easy in the heat of the moment to forget the all-important goal of contributing to our brother’s growth.

5. Recognize the possibility you are (gasp!) in error. I’m embarrassed to admit just how many issues I have hotly debated over the years for which I now hold a different conviction. Humility is never a bad thing.

It’s OK to disagree. Iron sharpens iron. But make it a clean “fight”. When we purpose to interact in a godly way, we reflect an important characteristic of our heavenly Father: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” (Luke 6:36 NASB). And leave it to the Lord to do the judging.

“Therefore, do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians 4:5 NASB

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Godly Disagreement – insight and encouragement from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300

About 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 revealing 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 have you learned about handling disagreement in a godly way?

What the World Needs Now

by Christina Rose

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness
.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Our world needs everlasting love and unfailing kindness more than ever as we face the fear of the global pandemic. Having faith during this time is a protective shield against the waves of panic that threaten to steal our peace. We take comfort in knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us.  When we trust that He loves us with an everlasting love, it cancels out all fear.  How can we fear when we believe that God is sovereign and rules above it all? By walking in God’s love, we can help everyone around us to choose faith over fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love  (1 John 14:18 NIV).

My journey to find peace was long and tumultuous, yet I am grateful to share my testimony. My parents married young and came from broken homes. They had the best intentions to create the healthy, loving family that they never knew, but our lives were marred by the damage of their unresolved childhood wounds. Abuse, addiction and abandonment were constant themes in our family. I learned that hurting people hurt other people, yet God is the restorer of the broken. Nothing is impossible for Him; not only can he restore anyone and anything, He will bring you out better than before. As I learned to turn to God for guidance during my trials, I found peace in nature where I felt enveloped in His love and greatness. Hiking, camping and surfing in God’s magnificent creation makes me feel free and safe. 

Now that I work at home, I have time to enjoy a daily two hour walk around the nearby lakes. In the last three months four geese couples have given birth to a total of 9 goslings. I marvel that both parents never stray from their babies as they continuously nurture and protect them. In the almost 200 times over the last few months that I have strolled around the lake, I have never seen either parent take a break to wander off on their own for a swim or to feed. Both parents work together as a devoted team to care for their babies.

When the geese enter the lake to swim, the moms lead the babies while the dads bring up the rear, always on the alert for a predator. The moms teach the babies to feed while the dads stand protectively by, standing guard. While each of the four geese couples gave birth to their goslings in different parts of the lake, recently the little families found one another and are now inseparable. They feed, nap and swim together in perfect harmony. I have never witnessed competition or quarreling among them, just perfect peace and serenity. They intuitively know that they were designed to live together in harmony and cooperation.

God shares beautiful stories like the geese family to show us how he intends love to be and how we are to take care of one another. Just like the geese families seek other geese families to create community, God created us to seek one another for community. He created us to live in peace with one another and to love each other the way he loves us. Demonstrations of God’s everlasting love and unfailing kindness are all around us in his perfect creation.  When we walk in the perfect love of God, we cast out fear wherever He may lead us.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

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What the World Needs Now – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina rose

About 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. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino- loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs, as well as auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Have you seen other examples in nature that demonstrate the love of God?

Safe and Secure from All Alarms

by Lilian Elizabeth De Silva             

 “For He shall give His angels charge concerning you, to guard you in all your ways.  Psalm 91: 11 NASB 

It’s not always obvious when angels are present, as they can appear in human form. Hebrews 13:2 (NASB) warns us, “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.”  I’ve personally experienced instances when a stranger turned up to assist me at a time when only God could help.

In June 2019, I was recovering from heart surgery in the ICU. At dawn, as I was waking up, I saw four angels attending me. Smartly dressed in pure white trousers and shirts, they were swift and agile in performing their tasks. I remembered Scripture which spoke of angels: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation?” (Hebrews 1: 14 NSAB). Later, as I went to sleep that night, I saw another angel drawing a net over me, and still another watching over me.

There are many accounts in the Bible of angel visitation. While sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day, Abraham saw three men standing opposite him. He rushed to provide for their needs (hospitality—even to strangers—was important in his culture) and received word from them that the son promised by the Lord would arrive in the following year. The strangers then moved on to nearby Sodom.

Joshua, on the eve of the attack on Jericho, saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword. Joshua wasn’t sure why he was there, so he asked: “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” The man explained that he was the captain of the host of the Lord. He had come to assure Joshua that the Lord and His army would go before the Israelites in the battle, just as He had promised before they ever entered the land.

There are many other examples of angelic interaction, both in the Old and New Testaments. Jacob was given a vision of angels on a stairway to heaven before leaving the land that he loved. Gideon was visited with a message from God. Samson’s mother was given instructions on how to raise her son by an angel. David encountered an angel just after a plague had been released on his people. Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph heard the news of the coming Messiah through an angel. At the beginning of the Church, angels visited Cornelius with instructions and brought Peter out of prison.

Hebrews 13:2 assures us that God is still using His messengers today.

As I was regaining my normal health, my younger son’s family, who were in Melbourne, invited me to their home for a stay. I did not know much about travelling overseas. I was travelling alone, so I asked my children to describe, step by step, what would happen on the journey. Upon arrival, my son would pick me up. He assured me he would see me as soon as I emerged from baggage claim.  

After collecting my bags, a steward helped me push my trolley. She walked with me from one end of the terminal to the other several times – but we could not spot my son. Finally, a man overheard our conversation and asked: “Do you need to make a call to someone?” I gave him my son’s number.  He called and my son answered. I looked back and I saw my son, and we waved from a distance. A connection had been made. But when I turned to thank the helpful man, he was gone.

Psalm 34: 7 (NASB) tells us, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and rescues them.” We may not always recognize or even see them, but God’s messengers continue to minister among us.  

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Safe and Secure from All Alarms – encouragement from Lilian DeSilva on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Lilian DeSilva is the founder of several women’s ministries, including a Pastors’ Wives Fellowship, which represents over twelve denomination is Sri Lanka. She is known for singing praise songs while engaged in whatever work the Lord has given her to do.

She is the author of three books: The Promised Messiah, Be An Overcomer, and Sing with Me. She also has a Song CD, A Ray of Hope, available on Amazon. 

Join the conversation: Have you experienced an angelic visitation? Please share!

Wanted: Antidote

by Sheri Schofield

My Gramma Jewell and Papa Carl loved gardening. They lived on the side of a steep hill that they terraced and filled with flowers. One day when they were weeding the garden, Gramma saw a baby rattlesnake coiled up, rattling its tiny tail.

“Carl,” Gramma called. “Come see this!”

When Papa arrived, Gramma was laughing. She pointed to the tiny little snake and said, “Isn’t that cute?”

Papa, a man of few words, calmly killed that baby rattlesnake, raised his eyebrow at Gramma, and went back to where he had been working. Cute? Was she kidding? It was a rattlesnake, for crying out loud! Its bite would be serious! There’s no such thing as a “cute” rattlesnake!

We all have another kind of snake in our lives, no matter where we live. It’s called sin. Our children unfortunately inherit sin natures like ours. But they may sometimes do naughty things in such a way that we want to laugh because it seems so cute! In our own lives, too, sometimes a sin may seem too innocent and sweet to squelch. But like that baby rattlesnake’s bite, its venom in our heart is deadly . . . even the seemingly small sins.

King David wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you . . . How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:9-10, 103-10 ESV).

People who do not want to follow God, or those who claim to be Christians but who do not want to abide under godly discipline, usually hate the laws given in the Bible. But those who walk in a love relationship with Jesus discover that those laws are precious. They are sweet in our lives, for they show us the path of life and grant us freedom from the ravages of sin.

Some Christians seem to love the ways of sin. When confronted, they say, “But other Christians are doing the same thing! It’s okay!

No. It is not okay. It is like allowing rattlesnakes to live in their gardens. Sin bites them often. It’s makes their lives miserable. They have not yet found the freedom of obedience to God. Sin has become a habit.

Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh, this thing in my heart is just a little sin! I can ignore it.” Thankfully, my Lord keeps bringing it up until I deal with whatever it is. As I read the Bible, the Holy Spirit shows me a better way – the path of obedience. It applies God’s cleansing antidote to sin’s bite and I am healed. I find that the Word lifts me up and rescues me from that which holds me back. The Word is sweet to me! It brings me victory. Through the Word I find supernatural strength to overcome the power of temptation and sin. It helps me keep the snakes out of my life’s garden!

Today, let’s lift our faces and hearts to the sweet, healing rain of God’s Word and let it wash us clean! How refreshing it is!

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 ESV

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Wanted: Antidote – insight from author Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About 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!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: Is there a sin you have become comfortable with?

Freedom: Is It Safe?

by Stacy Sanchez

Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”

“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”…

“Safe?” said Mr Beaver …”Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

 (C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

Is he safe? No, but he is good. The first time I read these words as a child, they leapt off of the page and resounded in my being. They became somewhat of an unofficial motto that I have chosen to live by. It’s right up there with “How hard can it be?” My friends won’t even let me finish that sentence anymore. They know what will be coming next–-something very, very hard.

I am a bit of a rule breaker. If there is a sign marking a trail that I’m supposed to stay on, I see that as a mere suggestion and forge my own. Nothing was ever discovered by staying on the path.” I assert, as I grab my reluctant niece’s hand and tromp off  into the desert. (I may have got a text from her mother the next time I took her hiking, asking if we could please stay on the path.)

I could have been an explorer–-except in cold climates. I’m daring, not stupid. I’m more of a warm weather, beach explorer. More than once, my husband has had to reel me in. The echoes of his warnings still ring in my ears: No, Stacy, you can’t do that. Don’t taste that! There might be parasites. Get off of the lava!! Don’t swim after the sharks! Moray eels don’t like you all up in their face. You went where? By yourself? Are you crazy?

This dare-to-be-me personality of mine has come at the cost of other people’s judgment. When I became a pastor, I was called sinful, uppity, and a woman with an agenda to take over. That’s a lot of names for someone that just wanted to love God’s people.

As the only female to play and coach in a baseball league, I was labeled with words that would today be considered homophobic and sexist. Even now, when I stand up for a righteous cause, I learn a whole new set of words that describe how others think of me.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36 NIV

In him and through faith in him, we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 NIV

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 NIV

I guess I just take these verses to heart. If the Bible says we are free, ’nuf said. We have the freedom in Christ to be all that He has created us to be. Why don’t we act like it?

Freedom isn’t always safe. Quite the opposite. It can be messy. It costs us something. It cost Christ everything to give us our freedom. He definitely didn’t live a life of safety. If you think about it, a safe life isn’t a free life. We’re bound to be held captive by something or someone—maybe even our own fearful desires for safety.

When we are doing what God has called us to do or be, it can be scary. People will judge us. They will make their opinions known. It can hurt. But God is much more concerned with our character than our comfort. It is scary to step out into the great unknown of his calling. Nope, it might not be safe out there, but it is good because God is good. His ways are good. His plans for us are always good. And sometimes we find out that even though scary, it can be a lot of fun.

I prefer a dangerous freedom over a peaceful slavery.” –Thomas Jefferson

Amen! Me too! We are free! We have been set free from religious laws, opinions, judgments of others, and the lies of the enemy, because of the unsafe thing Christ did for us on the cross.

No, He is not safe, but He is good! 

Father, sometimes You call us to step out into the great unknown. You want to stretch and grow us into the people you created us to be. It can be scary out there. Forgive us for not trusting You. Just like You grew a little shepherd boy into a great king, You want to make us into something great. Help us to trust that the plans You have for our lives are good and we don’t have to be afraid.

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Freedom: Is It Safe? – encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: What scary thing has God asked you to do?

Unexpected Applause

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3 NIV

The noise in the crowded airport prevented much conversation as I waited by my gate. People dragging suitcases rushed past. Parents entertained antsy toddlers. Teenagers remained oblivious to those around as they listened to music or played electronic games. Business travelers worked on laptops.

Suddenly, in the midst of all that noise, the atmosphere changed.

One person started clapping slowly. Applause began with one person, and then spread to another and another. Startled, I looked around for the reason for this. Someone pointed in an upward direction. Through a walkway above the terminal, men and women entered in army fatigues and carrying duffel bags.

Soon everyone in the crowded gate area joined the applause. More and more soldiers entered the walkway. I was witnessing the return of heroes. The applause continued, growing louder and louder with cheers and whistles.

Hundreds of soldiers—heroes—had returned from deployment. My heart was stirred with a mix of gratitude, unity, and patriotism.

Now in line to give the ticket agent my boarding pass, the spontaneous applause continued. Soldiers streamed into the airport. Some waved to the crowd below. Outside, more deplaned. I wish I could have stayed to applaud for every last one, but I needed to board my plane. As I stepped into the jet bridge, I glanced over my shoulder for one last look at the returning defenders of freedom with gratitude in my heart.

The scene in the airport reminded me that we are the benefactors of the courage of many who defend our country. They deserve a heroes’ applause everyday.

The apostle Paul wrote “I thank God every time I remember you” in his letter to the Philippians (1:3 NIV). He’d opened his letter expressing gratitude for their participation in the spread of the gospel. They had welcomed him with open arms and financially assisted him throughout his ministry. Even though they’d never left their city, in light of their continual support, Paul considered them his partners.

This gratitude reminder came to my mind that day in the airport.

Not everyone may be able to serve as a soldier, but everyone can strengthen the spiritual fiber of our nation through grateful prayer. In this important way we can partner with those who serve on the frontlines.

For those who have served or are now serving the country, I thank God every time I remember you.

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Unexpected Applause – encouragement from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. She loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. To learn more about her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly GraceNotes devotional.

Join the conversation: For what causes have you dedicated yourself to prayer?