And Walk in Love

by Christina Rose

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV

Jesus gently nudges us to walk the earth as he did, in a place of intimacy with God, knowing that He knows our needs, loves us unconditionally, and will always provide for us. Even though Jesus was often surrounded by those who often were anxious and fearful, He stayed calm. He refused to be pressured by people or circumstances. He gave his time selflessly by stopping to genuinely care, heal, and listen to others.

We live in a fast-paced world where we think we never have enough time. I was in this place five years ago, which severely challenged my health. I was called to leave California behind to slow down, spend time with family, and grow in faith. When I recently returned to California, I was unprepared for what had changed. After those years away, people and places looked so different. I discovered my faith walk had changed me as well. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT

Now that I could see with new eyes, I realized some of my relationships needed mending; there were those I did not treat well and others I needed to forgive. Some of my past decisions had been made out of pride or insisting on doing everything my way. I had been living in a world where our looks and what we owned determined our worth. It was all a lie.

The past five years of leaving everything behind and learning to trust God for provision made me realize that Christ is our only firm foundation. All the rest can vanish in an instant. How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 14:14 NLT

One night I had a dream that I was at a big party. The room was full of people having an enjoyable time. A gentleman in the crowd kept smiling and waving at me. I thought, “I know him, but I can’t remember from where.” Finally at the end of the party as people were dispersing, he walked towards me and handed me a beautiful long stem red rose. I thought, “How does he know my name?” As he smiled at me, I looked in his eyes and saw the markers in his hands and realized, “Of course, it’s Jesus!”  I then knew He had always been waiting for me to notice him and give him my time. He never pressured or pushed me to see Him, he waited patiently for me to invite Him into my life.

My home church has welcomed me back warmly and now I never miss a service. Now that faith, friends and family are my foundation, I have found peace at last.

The world today may want us to race and stress, to over-plan our days and then be impatient with others, but when we walk in love as Jesus did, taking time to meet people’s needs, we encourage others to walk with us. Sometimes all it requires is slowing down to see people with the heart and mind of Christ. Love is our highest calling, as it leads us into His glorious light.

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT

This article brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: How do you love people that God has put in your path?

Love on Autopilot

by Rhonda Rhea

… an even better way. 1 Corinthians 12:31 CSB

Confession time. Sometimes when I’m driving and realize I’m lost, I automatically turn down the radio. It’s not so I can hear the GPS. I turn down the radio even when there’s no GPS. Why do I do it? Honestly, I don’t know. Maybe it’s so I can more clearly hear what “lost” sounds like. Of course, if I had to guess what lost sounds like, I’d guess it makes an I-should-pull-in-here-for-coffee sound. If I listen hard enough, I can hear extra whip.

Want to know what else I do without thinking? I’ll be looking in the fridge for something to eat, finding nothing. So, I close the fridge and move to the pantry. Nothing there either. Then—and I can’t explain why, but—I go back to the fridge. I open it up and study every shelf again. Like I think something new will have materialized while I was in the pantry. And if that’s not ridiculous enough, I then repeat the process. Why? Fridge, pantry. Fridge, pantry. I guess my subconscious thinks that if nothing magically appeared the first couple of times, surely somewhere between the fifth or sixth round, I’ll swing open the door and: TACO.

Oh, the things I do without thinking. I’m also a notorious knee-bouncer. And a pen-clicker. These basic fidgets are part of my no-thought default setting. It makes me wonder how many other things I do on autopilot.

I’m praying the Lord will grow me to a place where those things I do without thinking will have substance, meaning, blessing—lovein exactly the right volume. In 1 Corinthians, after Paul teaches about spiritual gifts, he ends chapter 12 with the teaser, “And I will show you an even better way” (v. 31 CSB).

GPS or no, I want to head that better way. The Amplified Bible expounds on that verse: “a still more excellent way [one of the choicest graces and the highest of them all: unselfish love].”

Paul launches next into a beautiful description of that unselfish love—the kind of love that, in and through Christ only, can happen as naturally as a bouncing knee or an unconscious pen-click.

Look at God’s “better way:”

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (CSB).

The ever-satisfying love we hunger for is not in the fridge. Not in the pantry. Not anywhere else. Only in Christ.

The very first verse in chapter 13 tells us that sacrificial love is vital. “If I speak human or angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (CSB). Loveless language? That’s exactly what lost sounds like. And I want to turn down that volume. Consciously.

Meanwhile, as I’m learning to love through Jesus—a little extra conscious of the think-y part—another confession: I’ll probably still pull in for that coffee. A little too conscious of the whippy part.

Lord, teach me to listen, search for—even hunger for—opportunities to purposefully love unselfishly, simply because I love You—all and only in You. May Your love be my default as I learn to sound more like You.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About 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. 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.

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Got baggage? Ever find yourself lugging around messy spiritual baggage like so much purse clutter? Rhonda’s latest release, Messy to Meaningful: My Purse Runneth Over, will help you stop holding on to what you don’t need and start fighting for what you do. Learn to walk out your faith life less weighed down, lighter, and freer that ever!

Join the conversation:

One Last Petunia 

by Sandra Kay Chambers

I have one last petunia still growing in my flower boxes along my back porch railing. It doesn’t seem to realize it’s winter. It has survived several frosty mornings, below freezing nights and wind whipping around the corner of the porch. Two other flower boxes on my railing are more sheltered, but all the flowers in these have already died. They were all planted in good soil and grew beautifully during the bright, sunny days of summer. So I ponder: why does this one single flower continue to flourish?

Perhaps this flower has grown stronger because it has weathered the harsh wind and extreme temperatures and thus developed stronger roots. As Christians we, too, tend to grow deeper and stronger in our faith when we have to endure adversity, and experience God’s faithfulness in the process.

. . . We know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5 NIV)

Something else I noticed about my flower is that in spite of its vulnerability to the wind and cold, it is positioned to get the best sunlight—morning rays from the eastern sky. As Christians, we are able to endure the dark, cold nights of doubt, fear and trials only when we bask in the light of God’s promises and His continual faithfulness.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life (John 8:12 NIV).

Even though I stopped watering the other planters long ago, the single thriving petunia does get rain showers that tend to drench that end of the porch. Likewise, in our Christian walk, it’s important that we continue to drink the Living Waters that Jesus promises to provide for us if we desire to keep growing.

. . . but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life. (John 4:14 NIV)

If you’re experiencing tough times in your life right now—take heart! Learn from my brave petunia. Adversity will make you stronger and God’s faithfulness enable you to keep blooming.  Just remember to bask in Jesus’ light and drink of His eternal water.

I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. John 15:5 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Helping Christians develop a creative and joyful prayer life is Sandra’s passion. She has served as Prayer Coordinator at two churches, leads small group Bible studies, speaks on the topic of  prayer, and teaches an online class at based on her book, Lord, It’s Boring in My Prayer Closet (How to Revitalize Your Prayer Life), available at Amazon at You can follow Sandra on her author website at  and her prayer blog at

Join the conversation: How has adversity made you stronger?

Hoping and Waiting

by Dyann Shepard

Do you ever get tired of waiting? I do. I am impatient once I know what I want and when I want it. Not one of my admirable qualities.

Scripture is full of hoping and waiting. Abraham and Sarah waited 40 years for Isaac. The Israelites waited 430 years for freedom from Egypt, then another 40 years to see the Promised Land.

What are you waiting for? Are you tempted to assist God in fulfilling His promises when He is too slow? Abraham tried to bring about God’s promise of a son by impregnating Hagar. The Israelites tried to realize their hope with the golden calf when Moses seemed to linger too long at Mount Sinai. We live in an impatient world, expecting things to be resolved quickly and cleanly without rough edges. When life does not cooperate, we lose our patience and hope, often taking events into our own hands to “help” God fulfill His promises more quickly.

I want to be like Jesus. But I forget this requires presenting myself daily to God as a living and holy sacrifice, as my spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1). It requires renewing my mind and conforming to His will. God is the potter who does the molding and transforming.

I want to be the potter without the kiln’s fire, the hand’s pressure, and the palm’s kneading. I fancy the shortcut version with the long-term effect. My hope is misplaced as I depend on my abilities rather than God. I must allow the Lord to work in me to will and to do His good pleasure. He will complete the work. Again, I must wait.

So we live as the Israelites did, waiting expectantly, participating with God but with the tension of not taking steps to fulfill the promise before the appointed time; a fine and delicate balance. God knows me well. My loving Father also waits. He waits for me to turn back, give up control and see the work and glory of God, in His time, in His way.

Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 9:6: For to us, a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

The wait was almost 700 years before Messiah Jesus was born.

We are in good company as we wait with hope.  Waiting was modeled for us by Mary and Joseph after the angels promised that Mary would birth the Messiah. Elizabeth and Zacharias waited for the son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. Simeon waited after the Holy Spirit revealed that he would not see death until he saw the Lord’s Christ.

God gave each a word and a promise. Each waited to experience fulfillment. Mary and Joseph trusted God in a way I cannot fathom. When Simeon’s hope was fulfilled, he held the baby Jesus in his arms and declared with praise to God, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (Luke 2:28–31).

It is easy to fix our eyes on the baby in the manger: quiet, sweet, peaceful, and uncomplicated. We must look past the manager and to the cross: loud, painful, tumultuous, and complicated. Look up, and give glory to God, our creator. He chose to take on the form of a vulnerable human being for our salvation. Jesus is our hope, the hope of our salvation.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:8 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Dyann Shepard is a wife, mother, grandmother, author, speaker, Bible teacher, former staff member of CRU,  Stephen’s Minister and retired CPA. Her passion is writing about God’s transforming power in our daily lives as we open our hearts to Him. Her Bible study “Wisdom: Capturing the Power of our Words” was released in 2022.  She is a contributing writer for Just Between Us magazine and writes a monthly blog.

Join the conversation: For what are you waiting today?

Where’s The Beef? Assessing Your Spiritual Growth

by Debbie Wilson

A friend introduced me to Burger Fi. I love their grass-fed cheeseburgers. I’d clobber my husband if he promised to bring me one and showed up with a carton of milk. Oops, that attitude kept the church in Corinth on milk and hindered their spiritual growth!

Paul wanted to serve the Corinthians filet mignon, but they could handle only milk. Their quarreling and jealousy showed their lack of maturity and inability to digest deeper truths.

“And I, brothers and sisters, could not speak to you as spiritual people, but only as fleshly, as to infants in Christ. I gave you milk to drink, not solid food; for you were not yet able to consume it. But even now you are not yet able, for you are still fleshly. For since there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not fleshly, and are you not walking like ordinary people?” (1 Corinthians 3:1-1 NASB).

God has given believers His own Spirit “so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us” (1 Corinthians. 2:12 NLT). Those who walk by the Spirit have access to the mind of Christ. But those who continue to live powered by the flesh (their old nature) can’t understand the things of God.

Steak would have been wasted on this church. They had no spiritual teeth.

This group of believers argued over worldly matters. (Of course, that never happens in our homes and churches.) Their mindset effectively shut down their ability to receive deeper spiritual truths.

Unfortunately, they weren’t an isolated case.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the actual words of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unacquainted with the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to distinguish between good and evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14 NASB).

Adults who live on just milk end up weak and malnourished and unable to feed others. Thankfully, God has provided a better way.

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16 NASB).

Sadly, the flesh didn’t lay down and die when we became Christians. It continues to crave the worldly cotton candy that hinders spiritual growth. We must consider ourselves “dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:11 NLT). Only the Holy Spirit provides the power to overcome the controlling drive of the flesh.

It’s not too late to add a juicy steak to the menu. We can shed our worldly mindset and fleshy impulses by choosing to live moment by moment yielding to God’s Holy Spirit. Then we will be able to receive all God has for us and become all that He intended.

So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.  Galatians. 5:16 NLT

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman with an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie writes and speaks to connect sojourners to the heart of Christ. She and her husband Larry founded Lighthouse Ministries, a nonprofit ministry offering life and relationship counseling and Bible studies. Despite time in Boston, the Midwest, and Southern California, she still says y’all. Her family, which includes two mischievous standard poodles, calls North Carolina home. Find free resources to refresh your faith and connect with Debbie at

Join the conversation: Are you living on milk or solid food? What steps can you take to ensure your growth into maturity?

The God of Much More

by Sue Likkel

Amaziah asked the man of God, “But what about all that silver I paid to hire the army of Israel?” The man of God replied, “The Lord is able to give you much more than this!”  2 Chronicles 25:9 NLT

Somewhere between being a naturally frugal person and struggling with financial fear, I sit snuggly. Not deviating from those two spaces, I weigh purchases carefully—sometimes with trepidation. Growing up, I wasn’t poor, but I remember things being tight and the anxiety it caused my parents.

Our third child’s birth necessitated my taking time off work, and at the same time, a job opportunity came for my husband that he couldn’t pass up. However, this meant our checking account was dangerously low for years. I watched my spending even more closely, and many times the Lord provided just what we needed on the very day we needed it.

During that time, my gas tank was once on fumes and I didn’t know where the money was going to come from to fill it, but then I was asked to make something for someone who was willing to pay more than it was worth. (My gas tank was filled because of a quiche that day.) Many times, my debit card was declined at the grocery store, yet we never were without food. Sometimes a friend just showed up with gallons of milk. Thankfully my kids could wear hand-me-downs from relatives, and my boys were blissfully unaware of the brand of shoes they wore.

I can relate to Amaziah having spent lots of money but getting no return. Seems a reasonable question to ask: What about the money I spent? But the response is so beautiful: You have no idea how much more God can give you.

In my lean years, I often visualized an enormous heavenly warehouse. The floor of the warehouse had a huge trapdoor and frequently God would rain down material needs. I saw it in real time, not just with me but with others, too. He is a God of bounty.

I admit that every once in a while, I forget that visual. It’s true that I don’t always need to “get.” The Lord knows when a “no” is the best answer, but He also knows that I think too small most of the time. He is able to give “much more” than I expect.

Authors and speakers encourage us to dream big! It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s awfully scary, isn’t it? I mean, what if we fail? Or we’re rejected? Maybe these things will happen, but God has our back there, too. Mostly, we think too small, and God is wanting to give us the world.

A lovely image has floated around the Internet for years. A little boy is clutching his teddy bear, face down, saddened that the man kneeling in front of him wants to take it. But we can see this is Jesus, and behind His back is a bigger, newer teddy bear, one of great value.

Jesus stretches out His hand to us, too. He has something wonderful for us, if only we’ll trust that what we are clutching isn’t all He has in store for us. Maybe it’s not raining teddy bears, but certainly, whatever it is that we’re clinging to, He wants to give us much more.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Sue Likkel is a reader, writer, speaker, and teacher. A lover of words, she has spent decades in the classroom teaching English to middle and high schoolers. A child of God, she’s humbled and grateful for all He has done for her, like guiding her through challenges and blessing her with rich experiences. Native to Michigan but residing most of her life in the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys both the beaches and mountains with her husband, kids, and grandkids.

Join the conversation: What can you turn over to the Lord, so He can do exceedingly more than we can think to ask?

Unexpected Forgiveness                                                           

by Toni Campbell

I rounded the corner, approached the crosswalk, then saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A woman had just stepped into the roadway. I tapped my brakes, making a split-second assessment of the situation. Judging the distance between myself, the pedestrian, and a car behind me, I decided it was safest to proceed forward.

I glanced in the rear view and was surprised to see the other car follow me through the walkway. The pedestrian almost walked into it. Yet another backward glance and my heart sank at the sight of flashing lights.

“License, registration and insurance card please.”

“Can I ask what I did?”

“You went through the crosswalk with the pedestrian in it.”

“I saw her, and even tapped my brakes, but there was a car behind me. Can I ask why you didn’t pull them over instead?” I was trying to politely defend my actions.

“I felt you had the better field of vision.”

A protest of It’s not fair went through my mind, but I held my tongue. Instead, I prayed, Please God, let him come back with a warning. No such break. As he walked away, my eyes welled with tears at the cost of the fine: $230!

I thought about challenging the ticket, but I kept coming to the same conclusion. The judge might ask, “Was there a pedestrian in the crosswalk?” and “Did you drive through the crosswalk?” And I could only answer “yes.” By the letter of the law, I was guilty.

A few days later, I went to the payment website and saw something strange. When I plugged in my information, this popped up: “Fee: $0. Ticket addressed.”

As I dialed the court for clarification, I thought, Are you crazy? If it’s a clerical error, you’re alerting them to the mistake! But I informed the clerk about what I’d seen.

A few minutes later, she returned. “That’s correct. You owe nothing. The officer rescinded the ticket.”

“Really? I…I really am a good driver” I said weakly.

“Well, the officer must have decided not to pursue it,” she said.

The mercy and forgiveness extended to me was unexpected and undeserved. Likewise, God’s gift of forgiveness, offered freely through His Son, is undeserved. And His continued mercy to us is renewed each day.

By the letter of God’s law, we are guilty. We can try to compare our sins to the person behind us and think, I’m not as bad as they are! But we all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and deserve to pay the penalty (Romans 6:23). We can try to blame our circumstances on the actions of others, but we are responsible for our own actions. We can even try to justify ourselves with, I’m really a good person. But we can never be perfect 100% of the time.

When we finally come to grips with the fact that we’re guilty and can’t escape the penalty for those sins on our own, God hears our tears of repentance. He exercises His mercy when we acknowledge that Jesus died to take on our guilt and act as the sacrifice for our sins. Then He rescinds our ticket to hell and grants us admission to heaven. It’s not a clerical error, oversight, or mistake. God deliberately decides not to pursue it.

I am forever grateful for the love and mercy extended to me so that the Book of Life reads, “Fee: $0. Ticket addressed.”

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Toni Campbell is passionate about serving others and is employed full-time as the Benevolence Director at her church. She loves to share ideas through speaking engagements and her award-winning book: Jesus Has Left the Building, which is filled with ideas any church can adopt and adapt to impact their community for Christ. Visit to learn more!

Join the conversation: Have you ever been given unexpected forgiveness?

Wrestling for Blessings in the Dark

by Tina Yeager

A sentry of pines and brush obscure my view of the horizon from home. If I wanted to rise early enough to observe the sunrise, my shrouded lot would not allow it. Rather than greeting the morning, I’m more inclined to pull the covers over my head, telling myself I might as well put off my futile struggles for purpose until noon.

The dawn of a new year approaches during a similar wrestling match with the darkness. Despair over past disappointments fights the calling in my heart. Risk of another failure threatens to overtake my desire to serve the light. The shadows behind me declare I don’t have what it takes to succeed. I shield myself from the dangers of hope and avoid facing the unseen future as long as possible.

Only a power greater than my emotions can wrangle my soul to move forward.

Like Jacob in Genesis 32, I find myself wrestling with the Lord at the threshold of a new land. I cannot see whether peril or potential await. I want a word, prophecy, or some sign I will succeed this time. Yet memories of unmet goals, profitless work, and deferred dreams beat back my motivation.

Flawed like that patriarch, I worry the Lord has lost patience with me. Perhaps the next part of my journey holds consequences for my frailty instead of hope. The threshold of 2023 terrifies me. So, I dig in my anxious heels and refuse to budge until Christ promises to bless me.

My demand could result in a limp. I might lose everything, even myself, in the struggle. Yet I also realize I have nothing of true worth to hoard when facing the presence of Almighty God. Just as Jacob released all of his belongings to the Lord’s will, so must I.

With all laid out before Jesus, I ask for his mercy. I plead for a measure of hope he will bless me to fulfill the calling he put on my heart. His response to my struggle differs from the ways he has answered others. I do not receive a word of the year, a prophecy, or a clear sign.

Instead of signs or prophecies, the Lord offers an end to the wrestling match. Like he did for Israel, he can permanently change my walk and identity. The Holy Spirit declares his covenant with me by reminding me of the promise in his word. In Ephesians 1:3, the Lord reveals he has no need to give me a blessing when he has already given “every spiritual blessing.” It is up to me to live in the power he has already granted to me.

I had assumed success meant income or outcomes. Neither are measures of a faithful heart or accomplishing the will of Christ. My worldly perspective on achievement had limited my faith potential. It’s time to let go of my old battle strategies. No more shrinking back or striving for the wrong things and calling them goals for God to bless.

Instead, I will rise to meet the dawn of 2023 with confident peace. Though I cannot see what lies ahead, I believe in the heart of the Father who called me to meet my destiny. This year, I move forth in victory over the darkness. Abundantly blessed.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author, speaker, and life coach, Tina Yeager hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast and Flourish Today on Christian Mix 106 and publishes Inkspirations Online, a weekly writers’ devotional. She has been licensed as a counselor since 2005.

Her book, Beautiful Warrior: Finding Victory Over the Lies Formed Against You, helps women fulfill their Christ-centered purpose. Check out her newest release, Upcycled: Crafted for a Purpose (Bold Vision Books).

For life coaching tips or to book her as an event speaker, check out

Join the conversation: How is God changing your walk and identity?

Choosing to Trust God in Tough Situations

by Grace Fox

The blizzard that swept across the continent at Christmastime paralyzed the international airport near my home. My husband and I had purchased airline tickets to travel to our youngest daughter’s home for the holidays, but as the news told of countless delayed and canceled flights, we began to wonder whether we would be able to go.

We went to the airport on the morning of our scheduled departure, checked in, and seated ourselves near our gate. Hundreds of other passengers waited for their flights, too. One by one, those flights were either delayed or canceled.

One woman, stranded for five days, shrugged her shoulders and said, “There’s nothing I can do.” Her eyes brimmed with tears.

A young man said, “I’m going to charter a bus and fill it up with other passengers trying to get to the same destination.”

Many people handled their disappointment and stress well. Others, not so much. They expressed frustration with the airlines and accused gate attendants and crew members of being irresponsible.

Life being what it is, we encounter tough situations over which we have no control. We observe the goings-on around us and make judgments. Trouble is, we can’t see or know everything that’s happening behind the scenes to affect our situation. So, based on incomplete information, we develop incorrect assumptions that lead to bad conclusions. Worse, in the stress of the moment, we forget that God is sovereign over every detail of our lives. We focus only on our immediate circumstances that are not going well, and we end up frustrated, angry, dejected, or hopeless.

This happened in the Bible story about Jairus, the father of a little girl who became ill and died. When faced with tragic loss, Jairus’ family and friends focused only on the circumstances beyond their control and lost hope. But Jesus had a different perspective. Here’s what the passage says:

“While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, ‘Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher anymore.’ But Jesus on hearing this answered him, ‘Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.’

“And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child.And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.’

And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, ‘Child, arise.’ And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given her to eat.” (Luke 8:49-55 ESV)

Jairus’ friends and family focused on the facts as they saw and understood them. The little girl was dead. End of story.

But Jesus knew what the people didn’t. He knew every behind-the-scenes detail involved in this situation, and He had a plan.

The next time we face difficult circumstances, let’s pause to remember that God knows infinitely more about them than we do. He knows what’s happening behind-the-scenes in the spiritual realm, and He has a plan. Nothing can thwart His purposes. He is wise, good, and sovereign over every detail of our lives, and we can trust Him.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)ber of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries, and co-host of the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse.” Her new devotional Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journey is available wherever Christian books are sold.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Grace Fox is a career missionary, the award-winning author of 13 books, and a popular Bible teacher at international women’s events. She’s a member of the “First 5” writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and co-hosts the podcast “Your Daily Bible Verse.” Her new devotional, Fresh Hope for Today: Devotions for Joy on the Journeyis available wherever Christian books are sold. Visit Grace’s website to subscribe to her monthly update and receive free printables to enhance your Bible reading and prayer time at

Join the conversation: Have you ever made incorrect assumptions about a difficult situation? What did you find out later the helped you make sense of it all?

God Goes Ahead of Us

by Susie Crosby

Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

(Part one of this story is titled: HELP, God. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here:

In HELP, God, I shared how my husband and I were recently rescued from a rip current in Kauai. The memory is still fresh, my heart is still tender, and I’m still discovering things through all that happened about the way God takes care of his people.

Whenever I think about how differently our near-drowning story could have ended, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude and relief. And a bit of guilt, too. Hundreds of people have drowned in rip currents–several even at that very beach. Why some people get a miracle rescue and others do not is always going to be a hard question for me.

And angels? Aren’t they supposed to have a bright or holy aura about them? I just don’t know what to think anymore. I refer to Jeff as our “angel,” but he seemed like an ordinary (yet heroic) kind of guy. He even had a beer and went back to reading his book after it was all over.

As I reflect and question and share about our experience, I’m learning that God is so much more involved, so much more powerful and creative and compassionate than I let myself imagine most of the time. Everything that happened shocked me into realizing (once again) that God is in control, and I am not.

You see, I like to worry about things quite a bit. I’m pretty good at thinking about all the things that might possibly go wrong so that I can prevent them. My kids tease me, but I know I’m not alone in this struggle (and its almost debilitating anxiety) to keep everyone I love safe and close. It’s my job to keep everything in control, right?

I’m learning (often the hard way) that it is actually God’s job–not mine. My worrying, my planning, and my own strength is never going to be enough. When Bob and I were in those waves that day, there was nothing I could do to save us. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I should worry about needing to be rescued from a rip current, but God knew ahead of time. He knew we were going to end up in trouble, and he prepared a rescuer in advance for us. God went to that spot before we did, and I absolutely believe that his presence was further out and deeper down in the water than we ever were.

He had everything under control, and He always will.

As He told the prophet Jeremiah: “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too difficult for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NASB). The loftiest ideas, the greatest thing we can imagine about God, are woefully inadequate to describe Him. He is able to focus on the big things yet pay attention to small seemingly insignificant details. 

So when we get anxious about the people we love or worried about all the things that might go wrong, we can remember that God is going ahead of us. He knows what is going to happen, and he knows exactly what we are going to need. The above promise reminds us, too, that God will never leave us on our own. We really can count on him.

Thank you, Jesus, that everything ahead of us is in your hands, and you are already there. Amen.

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Susie Crosby has loved books and Jesus for as long as she can remember. She writes because life is often harder than she’d like it to be, and faith can sometimes be a struggle. By sharing God’s Word in simple and relatable ways, Susie pours refreshment nd hope into discouraged hearts.

Susie has taught children in grades Pre-K through 8 for over 33 years. She currently teaches music, physical education, art, and technology at an all-kindergarten school. She is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In (Harvest House, 2018), and the children’s poem Moon Wonder (Mighty Kind Magazine, Issue 2, 2020).

Together with her ministry friend Angie Baughman, of Steady On Ministries, Susie enjoys co-hosting Bible Talk, a monthly podcast where they have way too much fun discussing one word and one verse at a time. Susie is a member of the Northwest Christian Writers Association, the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and the Red House Writers Collective. Her weekly blog and more encouragement can be found at Instagram:  @susiecrosby, Facebook: /susiecrosbyauthor

Join the conversation: How has God exceeded what you have imagined about Him?