Bread, Salt, Wine, Food, Flavor, Joy

by Nancy E. Head @NancyEHead

 “Bread, so that this house may never know hunger. Salt, that life may always have flavor. . . Wine that joy and prosperity may reign forever.”

In the movie It’s a Wonderful Life, George and Mary Bailey offer the housewarming gifts of bread, salt, and wine to the Martini family. A large family, the Martinis purchase their home only because of George Bailey’s friendly business dealings.

George heads a wobbly savings and loan, spending his days in a shabby little office believing his life has no value. Recipients of George’s generosity know better. In the end, George realizes the magnitude of his Wonderful Life.

As a single mother of five, I frequently received “bread” from the generous hands of others. Some days were lean, some, dreadful. But many memories from those days reflect the well-flavored life.

One Thanksgiving, a Sunday school class provided our feast. Another year, a fellow churchgoer signed our family up for her company’s Christmas outreach. Sometimes, we would find a box of food on our front porch. But it wasn’t just food and goods. People gave us the opportunity to sit together and enjoy bounty. There was joy in knowing others cared, joy in celebrating our blessings.

After I remarried, life became more financially secure. Now we can be George Baileys to others, offering bread to enhance their lives. But giving never goes in one direction. Giving adds flavor to our lives too.

With ten grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, we decided a few years ago that our dining room table was too small. We yearned for extra room for side dishes and elbows. So we found a carpenter to build a new table with removable leaves to expand or contract as needed.

But in order to use furniture, you first must get it into the house.

Even in its smallest state, the table was too wide for our front door. We would have to hoist the table over the back rail deck. And that seemed impossible unless we could get someone to help.

The best candidate seemed to be the young man who had just moved in next door. He was strong, and he was home. Upon asking for his help, we learned that he is a mover by trade. How perfect! The old table went out the back door and the new one came in.

We had planned to put the old one on the sidewalk with a “Free” sign on it. But we learned this neighbor and his wife had no table. Now they do.

He blessed us by helping. We blessed him by filling a need we hadn’t realized existed. Now his family can break bread as they sit together. Blessing comes in receiving and giving.

We know from Scripture we’re to love our neighbors. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, and James all tell us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s hard today for many of us to know our neighbors, let alone love them. Maybe a quick conversation as we come and go will reveal a need we hadn’t been aware of. And perhaps the need is just that bit of time we give to show we care enough to ask how someone is doing and wait for an answer.

We can make a difference in our neighborhoods, in our communities. Christ has made us the salt to bring flavor and life to our world. In our giving, He gives back a flavored life.

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.                                                Hebrews 13:16, NIV   

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Bread, Salt, Wine, Food, Flavor, Joy – insight from @NancyEHead on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)                                                                         

nancy headAbout the author: Nancy E. Head is the author of Restoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ’s Love Through the Church in One Accord. Once a single mother with five children under the age of 14, she now teaches middle school through college classesRestoring the Shattered: Illustrating Christ's Love Through the Church in One Accord and works in her community to lift those in need toward independence. Nancy is also a speaker at Christian Women Speakers.

Gift Wrapped…for You

by Shirley Brosius

Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.                                                                                James 1:17 NKJV

My grandson Scott gave me two bugs. Oh, not real ones. They are ornamental bugs with a terracotta look. One is dark red; the other, orange. Both sport bulging eyes, multicolored spots, springy metal antenna, and hooks for feet.

One bug hangs on the handle of a mason jar filled with clear yellow balls with a solar lid that lights at night; the other sits by the jar.

The bugs warm my heart because Scott picked them out for me himself. He knows my love of nature and wanted to give me something that his little boy heart loved as well.

I love the gifts I get from grandchildren that reflect their knowledge of who I am.

Perhaps we might view the people, things, and situations in our lives as special gifts God has picked out just for us. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV). God loves us and is for us. He wants nothing less than His best for us. So we can look around with His eyes, from His perspective. We may not expect certain circumstances, but we can accept them as permitted by God, Who loves us and walks with us through them.

We may take people for granted. Our spouses will always be there to bring home the bread and milk, to take out the trash. Our children may annoy us with antics more often than delight us with cuteness. Our neighbors may be ordinary people whom we rarely see and make little effort to do so. After all, we don’t have that much in common.

Then there are the people with whom we work. Do we know anything about their families? Their cares and their concerns? Their joys and their pleasures?

People in our churches come and go Sunday after Sunday. We say “Hi” and “See you next week.” We may offer friendly greetings, but do we ever invite them into our homes?

But what if God brings people into our lives for specific purposes? What if He means for them to enrich our lives and for us to enrich theirs? We may be missing out by failing to appreciate or get to know them.

We might also look at situations in our lives as provided by a loving God. That burnt dinner. That challenge at work. That car that won’t start.

Challenges bless us with the gift of patience, one of the spiritual fruits listed in Scripture (Galatians 5:22). Challenges force us to rely on others, to work together to solve a problem. And as we do, we serve as God’s image-bearer to a watching world.

Take a second at the people and situations that touch your life. They are God’s gifts to you. How do you feel about them? Is there anything you might do to enhance that relationship?

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 NKJV). Perhaps that means we shall stop wanting what’s on the other side of the street and accept what’s in our own backyards as God’s gift.

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Gift Wrapped…for You – encouragement from Shirley Brosius on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Shirley BrosiusAbout the author: An author and speaker from Millersburg, Pennsylvania, Shirley Brosius has written Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference and coauthored Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. She speaks at women’s events as a member of Friends of the Heart, three women who share God’s love through messages, skits and song. Shirley has a daughter waiting in heaven, and she enjoys pass

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ing on her faith—and cookies—to two married sons and five grandchildren.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with accepting certain people or situations in your life as God’s gift to you?

 

Bulldozer Mom

by Sharon Wilharm @SharonWilharm

We’ve all heard the term helicopter mom. It’s used to describe those parents who hover too closely over their children, working to the extreme to protect their kids from experiencing failure or harm. As the homeschooling mom of an only child, I wouldn’t say I was a helicopter mom. No, I went way beyond that. Instead, I’m afraid I was more of a bulldozer mom, pushing my way in front of my child to pave the way for her, then standing between her and anyone or anything that might cause her discomfort.

At the time, I thought I was helping her. Eventually, however, God got my attention and showed me that I needed to back away. In my efforts to protect my daughter, I had totally taken God out of the equation. As her Mama Bear, I felt it was up to me to make sure no harm came to my young one.

I had forgotten that she was not just my child. She was God’s child. And as hard as it was for me to comprehend, He loved her even more than I did.

Once I loosened my grip and gave her to the Lord, she was able to grow in ways she’d not been able to before. God had amazing work in store for her, but I had to relax my grip in order for her to go where God was calling.

As a mother, Jochebed was quite the opposite of me. She had every reason to hold tight to her newborn. The king was trying to kill all the baby boys, so she hid her precious son as long as she could. But the time came when she had to step out in faith and put him in God’s hands.

She carefully put together a basket made of reeds, placed her sweet baby boy in it, and shoved him off into the Nile River. I can only imagine the prayers she sent forth as she watched the basket weaving its way down the river towards Pharaoh’s palace. And God answered her prayers, working out all the details for Jochebed to not only get to care for and nurse her baby boy, but to get paid to do so.

Then the time came again for her to give him up, this time for good. Once he was weaned, Jochebed took Moses to the palace where he was to remain for the rest of his growing up years and early adulthood.

I’m sure that in Jochebed’s plans for her son’s life, she never imagined co-parenting with an Egyptian princess, but look at how God used each of these women to impact his life. Jochebed provided the spiritual training, teaching him the ways of our Lord. But Pharaoh’s daughter also helped mold him, providing him a quality education and influence. God knew that Moses needed more than just one Hebrew mom. He needed the influence of both women in order to fulfill the mighty task God had in store for him.

How often do we think we know what our children need, when in reality, we have no clue? Fortunately for Moses, Jochebed was strong in her faith and trusted God with her beloved son. She allowed God to work in ways that made no sense to her, but took life day by day in obedience to Him even when that meant handing her precious child over to a pagan princess.

We, too, need to trust Him even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”     Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

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Bulldozer Mom – encouragement on #FollowingGod from @SharonWilharm on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Sharon Wilharm headshotAbout the author: Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, Christian speaker, and ministry leader and podcast host. Sharon’s motion pictures have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the world. She’s been recognized with the “Shibboleth Award for Visionary Leadership in the Field of Christian Filmmaking”, four ICVM Crown Awards, and dozens of “Best Director”, “Best Writer”, and “Best of Fest” awards. She is a popular guest on radio, television, and podcast shows. You can learn more about Sharon at her websiteFacebookTwitter, or Instagram.All God's Women | Sharon Wilharm - Christian Storyteller

Sharon’s podcast All God’s Women is a journey through the Bible one woman at a time. She brings to life their stories and shares,  life lessons from each of the ancient women, applying them to our modern day lives.

Join the conversation: When have you had to trust God even though you didn’t understand what He was doing?

Note from Heaven

by Janet Holm McHenry @LookingUpFirst

Yesterday I was so frustrated.

No, it wasn’t teenagers. They’re long gone. No, it wasn’t my dear rancher husband. He’s working from 6 a.m. to close to 10 p.m. right now.

Yes, it was technology. And I started bashing myself, as I typically do. I’m not smart enough. I can’t figure this out. I’m too old for this stuff.

And then, as I turned a page on the yellow pad I was using to take notes for an online conference, a tattered little note fluttered out. It said in familiar handwriting, “Nothing can shake [You] . . . and me.”

I remembered. My friend June had written that little note to me at our favorite writers conference many years ago and slipped it to me just when I needed it. My dear friend June . . . who has been gone from this earth now for many years.

And there it was slipped to me again, seemingly from the skies, this time from God, to give me assurance, a bit of tears, a lot of smiles, and much joy.

June’s little quote on the note comes from Psalm 16:8 (GNT), which says, “I am always aware of the LORD’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.” Though David was anointed king of Israel, his life consisted of one battle after another, even from his own son. It was his relationship with God, though, that saw him through the many challenges of his life, and he wrote many psalms out of his struggles and pain as worship songs.

When we are in the midst of a difficult circumstance, it can seem as though God is far away. Sometimes I allow myself to dwell in pity as though someone or something has done something to me. Sometimes I resort to self-blame because I feel inadequate. Neither place is a good spot to hang out, and neither spot reflects the truth of the situation.

The truth is three-fold. First, God is near me. He is as close as his Word or the earshot of my prayers to him. He cares, he sees me in my struggles, and he invites my running to him with my problems.

Also, my difficulty is really not too difficult. If God has set a challenge before me, he can equip me for that very task. If I do not have the particular skill to accomplish something, I could ask God for wisdom, I could research my options, and I could ask someone for help. Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” My negativity about situation I think is impossible will only be an impediment. A looking up posture gets me geared for the possible.

And lastly, knowing that God will help me one way or the other means that I need not be shaken or rattled. I can approach him with confidence that he will guide me and then approach the task with confidence that the impossible will be done.

May our great God slip you a note of love today . . . and perhaps this is actually it: you are loved!

 I am always aware of the LORD’s presence; he is near, and nothing can shake me.” –Psalm 16:8

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Note from Heaven – encouragement from Janet McHenry, @LookingUpFirst on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Janet McHenry

About the author: Janet McHenry is a national speaker and the author of 24 books, including the best-selling PrayerWalk, which has encouraged tens of thousands to pray for their communities while they walk. Her business name is Looking Up! because she encourages others to seek the Problem Solver, who can do the impossible. She would love to connect with you : https://www.janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: Has God slipped you a note of love lately?

More Than Conquerors

by Sheri Schofield

“Hey, Jim, want to go on a rattlesnake hunt?”

“I’d love to!”

So our friend, Jim, and his buddy went out and had a blast hunting rattlesnakes and shooting their heads off. Afterward, Jim put his catch of headless rattlers into a plastic shopping bag, tossed it under the front seat of his truck and headed for home. (For some reason, guys like to take all their trophies home to show their wives. Eeeew!) The problem was that he forgot that rattlesnakes have reflexes. The headless snakes began crawling and rattling around in that bag under his seat!

Now, Jim knew the snakes could not harm him: they had no heads – no fangs with which to bite him. But it still unnerved him!

In the Garden of Eden, after the serpent – the S-N-A-K-E – talked Adam and Eve into disobeying God, bringing mankind under slavery to Satan and sin, God cursed it. In his first prophetic clue about how he would save mankind, God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 NIV).

Satan did not know what that meant. When God sent Jesus into the world to save mankind, Satan tried many times to get Jesus killed. He finally succeeded at Calvary. He gloated! He cheered! The forces of hell rose up in a roar of applause! What Satan did not understand was that he had merely struck the heel of Messiah. . . and signed his own death warrant.

When Jesus died on that cross and rose from the dead three days later, he crushed Satan’s power over mankind. The snake was now powerless – its head was crushed – its fangs were powerless against all who believe in Jesus and have committed their lives to him. Satan no longer has the power to drag us down into hell for eternity. We are free because of Calvary!

But Satan, like the snake he is, still crawls around making noise, scaring people, and creating havoc on earth. His reflexes are not dead yet. Only his fatal bite is gone. He can still wriggle into the hearts of mankind and drag them down. He can still wrap his coils around their emotions and squeeze. He gets people to live according to their fallen natures, the flesh.

Paul wrote about this in Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV): “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

When we choose to follow Jesus, he helps us to overcome these things. He frees us from the coils of the headless snake, Satan. He gives us the Holy Spirit to wash our hearts clean from Satan’s poison.

Paul goes on in verses 22 and 23 (NIV): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This is the kind of life Jesus wants for us – a life free from the power of Satan’s still active reflexes. The devil is a headless foe – but watch out for that tail! We can live free of Satan’s power. Just don’t hold onto that snake! Hold onto Jesus instead.

…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor 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.    Romans 8:37-39 NIV

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More Than Conquerors – encouragement from 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?

 

Hope for the Unseen Hurt

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 NIV

Have you ever had an annoying injury that took a long time to heal?

One vacation, my husband Rick and I decided to go zip lining. It would be an adventurous break from our usual pace of life, pushing me out of my comfort zone as I flung my body on a cable high through the treetops. Previous zip lining experiences were energizing from the adrenaline rush. However, what happened this day was not so pleasurable.

The first zip was a short one to gain confidence. No problem. My second zip started out fine, but midway I turned around on the cable. I flew backwards toward the next platform, unable to judge my speed or stopping distance.

Smack! I hit the platform with force. Pain radiated through the back of my left calf to my toes. Regaining my balance on the platform, I wondered how seriously I had injured my leg.

Moments later, Rick landed his zip with an exuberant smile. He didn’t witness my ungraceful, painful landing.

I finished the remaining course, pushing through pain and the light rain. The zip lining experience was miserable, disappointing, and disheartening.

That night I iced and elevated my leg to alleviate pain and swelling.

Although I didn’t walk with a limp, a deep purple bruise surfaced on my calf during the next days and weeks.

Almost two months later, my calf remained painful to the touch, although no dark discoloration was visible. Internal healing continued long after the surface bruise disappeared.

That zip-lining experience eventually was no more than a distant memory.

Often we need healing from unseen emotional or spiritual wounds. We might seem healed on the outside, but pain remains deep within our hearts. Unhealthy family patterns, such as blaming or shaming, can lead to lifelong emotional pain. Hurtful words damage relationships. A wounded person can go through life looking fine from the outside, but feeling despair on the inside.

God’s word promises that he “heals the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV). This verse has brought comfort to me in many situations, when I’ve felt hurt by an unkind comment or grieved a relationship loss. Turning to God in prayer, I know He is near; I am not alone in my pain. God’s comfort binds my bruised heart with His love. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV

Like physical healing, emotional healing takes time. When the hurt heart intersects with the ultimate Healer, the burden is eased. In his time and through his grace, the Lord heals the brokenhearted. Hope is restored. Internal healing begins. Joy returns. God transforms the painful wound into a scar. Scars are a natural part of the healing process.

The scar may be unseen, but the memory serves as a reminder of the restorative work of God.

On a later vacation, I mounted another zip line platform, determined to try again. The flashback of the injury came to mind. With hands perspiring, I grabbed the harness and took a deep breath. I had to go forward, pushing past the painful memory. Stepping off the platform, I sailed through the trees, landing without injury.

There is hope for the unseen hurt.

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Hope for the Unseen Hurt – encouragement from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She 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. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: Is there an unseen wound in your heart that needs healing?

It’s Okay to Be Wrong

by A.C. Williams @free2Bfearless

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

Did you know that the Earth is flat?

I knew people believed it back in Columbus’s day, but it’s still a thing. People can believe what they want, of course, but when you encounter a Flat-Earther and attempt to prove them wrong, you’ll end up in a debate. No amount of evidence, facts, or shouting will change their minds.

It’s the same with almost every other belief or standard. Even if you can logically prove another person’s beliefs contradict the truth, many times they won’t accept it.

Why?

Well, do you like being wrong?

I don’t.

Nobody does. Being wrong means that we’ve built our lives on a lie. Or that we’ve defined ourselves by something that’s false. Being wrong can hurt others, wreck relationships, and separate friends. But being wrong is the only way we learn what’s right.

We’ve all been wrong at some point in our lives. Maybe we acted on principles that were later proved false. Maybe we treated someone badly because of lies we’d been told about them.

Want to know the truth? It’s okay to be wrong.

So why do we fear it?

Well, social media hasn’t helped us, transforming everyday bullying into an Olympic-level sport. Being wrong is terrifying. And I’m pretty cowardly, to be honest. I don’t like facing the chance that I could be wrong. I hate conflict, and I hate being wrong because somewhere in my soul, I need to always be right.

But I’m not, and neither are you, my friend. No matter what side of the religious or political line you’re standing on. No matter what you believe about the current state of our country and the world. Everyone has the capacity to be wrong, but the truth will always win. Can we just embrace that and give ourselves the space to be wrong so the truth can transform us?

Think about the Apostle Paul. He killed Christians, intent on wiping Christianity off the map, but after an encounter with Jesus, Paul became one of the greatest leaders of the faith. He was wrong. Jesus changed his mind, and Paul changed his direction. The truth transformed him. He wrote: “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant, with the faith and love which are found in Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:12-14 NASB).

What could you be wrong about today?

A person? A relationship? An action? Could you be wrong about what you believe? If you can’t be wrong, how do you know?

Let’s all leave room for the possibility that we could be wrong about what we believe. Don’t give in to the emotions that call us to lash out in fear. Instead, let’s reason through the issues. Let’s test the problem. Let the truth be known honestly, and let the truth transform you.

And you, Jesus-follower, be a safe place. You have access to strength and love that surpasses understanding. Use it and do what you can to live peacefully with the people you don’t agree with.

Everybody in the world has screwed something up. Let’s stop throwing stones at each other and start listening. We all have a lot to learn, but thanks to Jesus, there’s grace enough to cover it.

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It’s Okay to Be Wrong – encouragement from A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williams

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 Finding FirefliesNancy 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: Do you remember a time you were proven wrong? How did you respond?

Springs in the Desert

by Rebecca Price Janney @rebpricejanney

The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. Isaiah 41:17-18 NIV

In his late 90s, in declining health, legally blind and stone deaf, my dad wasn’t shy about discussing death.  I planned to be with him when the time came, holding his hand, singing a favorite hymn, reading from his worn Bible.

We didn’t see Covid-19 roaring down the pike.

I usually visited Dad on Thursdays, but on Wednesday March 11th I couldn’t shake a thought, “Go now.” I went. The following day the facility closed to all visitors. Not until April 15th did I see Dad’s face again, on a video call. His face brightened upon seeing me, but his listlessness and sallow complexion were concerning. The following day an ambulance took him to the hospital. The doctor told me, “Both lungs are filled with fluid. His heart and kidneys are failing.” Dad tested positive for Covid-19. He said he didn’t want them to try to save him. He wanted to go Home.

“I want to see him.”

“No visitors are allowed, but let me see what I can do.”

I found myself in a desert with no water. God’s Word, however, promises to make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Isaiah 41: 17-18 (NIV) says, “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”

True to His Word, the Lord answered my desperate thirst to be with my father. That Friday my son and I donned masks and stood outside Dad’s hospital room, speaking to him over house phones. Dad told me, “I think my time’s about up. I’m not afraid, and you don’t be afraid either. I’m ready for the Lord to take me.” I wanted to say a prayer or the 23rd Psalm, but I was in the hallway shouting because he didn’t have his hearing aids. Not the final conversation I’d imagined.

I did say, “I guess I’ll see you in heaven Dad.” He answered, ” That will be nice.”

The next day we spoke briefly on the phone, and on Sunday I called again, but he didn’t answer. He was by then on heavy pain medication. A few minutes later, however, my phone rang and to my amazement, it was Dad! “Did you just call me?” he asked, his mind was clear, although his voice was slurred.

“Yes. I’m so glad you called me back.”

“What’s up?” I had to smile; he always asked me that at the start of a phone call.

“I’m wondering how you are.”

“I don’t know why I’m still here,” he said. “Why doesn’t the Lord take me?”

“As you always told me,” I said, “you’re a tough old bird.” Then growing somber, “You’re walking through the valley of the shadow, and I can’t be with you, but Jesus is.” Dad spoke of Jesus’ suffering, and I said, “Look how that turned out.” After ten minutes we told each other “I love you.”

He died the next morning.

I couldn’t get that phone call out of my mind. There was something otherworldly about it. I asked a nurse on his floor about the phone he used. “They’re very basic,” she said, ” no caller ID or automatic redial.”

“Did someone help him make the call?”

“No.”

Often when I’d called Dad before, he had difficulty even hearing the ringer. At the hospital he didn’t have his glasses or his hearing aids, yet somehow he heard that phone ring, sensed it was me, and made what humanly speaking was an impossible call to speak to me one last time.

God had arranged for us springs in a very dry valley.

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Springs in the Desert – encouragement from @RebPriceJanney on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Rebecca Price Janney is the author of 23 published books including Golden Scroll Historical Novel of the Year, Easton at the Crossroads, and her newest, Sweet, Sweet Spirit, a story of revival during a time of crisis in America. Her podcast, Inspiration from American History, can be found at Anchor.fm.rebeccapricejanney, and information about her books at www.rebeccapricejanney.com. Rebecca lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Rebecca Price Janney Author Photo 2018About the author: Rebecca Price Janney is the author of twenty-three books including the Golden Scroll 2019 Historical Novel of the Year, Easton at the Crossroads, and her newest book, Sweet Sweet Spirit: A Woman’s Spiritual Journey to the Asbury College RevivalShe shares her love of American history and the Lord at speaking engagements and through her podcast, “Inspiring Stories from American History.” She lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Join the conversation: Has God ever unexpectedly supplied a spring in the desert for you?

Bright Light and Covered Eyes

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

Mask, gloves, hand sanitizer. Yes, I am prepared to enter the local grocery store.

I have tried my best to follow the current rules and regulations concerning staying safe from the Corona virus. My husband, Alan, and I wash our hands frequently; we don’t touch our faces and wear masks when needing to be in public. Yes, we are rule followers. We want to stay safe and healthy.

A shock came when Alan went for routine testing before a surgery and was told, “Sorry, the surgery has to be postponed. You’ve tested positive for the virus.”

He is one of the people who has no symptoms and he feels great. I immediately called the prayer chain at church. Prayers from family, friends and strangers began and kept going.

Our official quarantine began. We stayed inside, watched more movies, read more books, tried new recipes with food we had delivered from the local grocery store. Hours and days passed. We stepped outside onto the back porch from time to time to watch the wild life in the forest behind the house. Alan and I often remark how blessed we feel to see turkeys, deer, ducks, herons and egrets out back. Even the occasional coyote will quickly pop out of the forest on the journey to find food.

But recently, I noticed something unusual when I opened the back door and stepped outside. My eyes hurt. I instinctively covered my eyes as the bright sunshine was actually causing me pain. I squinted and blinked as my eyes began watering like a bad allergy attack. I tried to stay outside on the back porch, but finally gave up. The sunshine-induced pain would not quit.

Back inside the house, I wondered if other people were experiencing the same trouble. Glancing out of our front window, I saw several friends coming out of their homes. The first thing I noticed was that each person was covering their eyes from the bright sunshine.

One the first day of creation, God created light. He said “Let there be light,” and there was light. He “saw the light was good and He separated it from the darkness” (Genesis 1:2-4 NASB).

Then, many, many years later, God sent a different kind of light to the earth. John wrote: “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 NASB). The great light that Jesus shone while on earth had those who preferred the darkness shrinking back into the shadows. But while it illuminated with truth, His was not a harsh light that revealed every flaw and failure. His light was, and still is today, a warm, welcoming glow that beckons us out of the darkness.

We do not need to cover our eyes from His light. The light of the world came to save us.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.                              John 3:17 NASB

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Bright Light and Covered Eyes – encouragement from Melissa Henderson, @MiMiOnLife on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Melissa HendersonAbout the author: Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages. Her first book for children, Licky the Lizard, was released in 2018. She also has a story in the compilations “Heaven Sightings” and “Remembering Christmas”. She contributes articles and Licky the Lizard by [Melissa Henderson, Mark Brayer]devotions to various magazines and websites. Her passion is in helping her community and church. Melissa is an elder, deacon and Stephen Minister. The family motto is, “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons”.

Join the conversation: What does Jesus’ being the Light of the World mean to you?

 

 

 

 

When Words Aren’t Enough

by Louise Tucker Jones

We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself, intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26 (NIV) 

I was attending a weekend immersion trip to become more fluent in Spanish. We were given only one rule—absolutely no English! It seemed simple enough as we ordered hamburgers and Cokes for lunch at a fast food restaurant on the way to our destination. But once we arrived, things quickly changed.

Suddenly, we were on our own in an unfamiliar grocery store, shopping for our weekend menu. When we couldn’t find an item, we had to ask in Spanish. Store personnel would shake their heads and move on. At the hotel lobby I often had to use charades and gestures to help the desk clerk understand me. And in our cabin, when the chitchat with my roommates turned serious, I struggled to find the Spanish words to express my thoughts and feelings.

It was a marvelous learning experience. Not just because I became more fluent in Spanish, but I learned first hand what my son, Jay, goes through when he tries to communicate. Being developmentally disabled and having a severe speech articulation disorder, Jay struggles daily with communication, often resorting to sign language and gestures. People often just stare at him and walk away. Sometimes he becomes frustrated, but he never gives up. Yet even with his tenacity, Jay often needs me to translate what he cannot say for others.

As Christians, we sometimes find ourselves in this same situation. We try to do things in our own strength and wonder why it doesn’t work. It’s not that we leave God totally out of our plans, but we often forget to invite the Holy Spirit to do His part.

In much the same way that I intercede for my son, Jay, when he can’t express his needs in words, the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us. When we are in the depths of despair. When we can’t find direction. When our hearts and souls are crushed and we feel totally abandoned. When we don’t have the words to explain our grief or even our joy, the Holy Spirit breaks through and intercedes for us.

What a gracious heavenly Father, to accept our pitiful, prayer petitions, even our groaning, when our hearts are wrenched with pain, then cover us with His awesome, holy love!

Father, thank you for the constant intercession of the Holy Spirit; for hearing our requests when we don’t even have the words to describe our needs. Amen.

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When Words Aren’t Enough – encouragement from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker Jones ProfileAbout the author: Louise Tucker Jones loves to touch hearts. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. 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 Husbands.

Join the conversation: How does knowing the Holy Spirit is interceding for you affect how you pray?