Hold On to the Greatest Power   

by Dana Peters-Colley                                           

 Have you ever had two relatives push you to the edge by competing for your attention?

Well, what if those relatives are named Winter and Spring? What if you finally got Winter to stop the nonsense, and Spring arrives with flowers and sunshine? She promises to stay, and you sing and do a happy dance! Then, screech! In the dead of night, Winter breaks in again. There he is, first light of dawn, parked on your couch, freezing you out—and in his pajamas, no less. Will this unwanted guest ever leave?

What do you do when the season is over—when something should leave?

If you’ve caught on, I’m not sharing about seasons at all but something greater. Some things come that we might welcome at first, but later their time is up.

Maybe you’ve given the boot to something, only to have it return to vex you. Maybe it was a habit you stopped, but suddenly, you were again in its clutches. Maybe an addiction or a situation you formerly escaped has snared you again.

We fight a spiritual war, not flesh and blood. James 4:7 tells us to “Submit yourself to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (NKJV).

Often this is super hard since spiritual strongholds are created by a repeated wrong response in a given situation. These can be derived generationally or be due to our own making.

However, Jesus died to give us a better life. We must hold on. He is stronger than all things and can break every stronghold. Our part is to truly repent and turn this struggle over to Him. We can’t be half-way in this surrender. Jesus really must become fully Lord of our lives.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (KJV). Notice, this version does not say “would have” but “might have.” So, that’s what I thought it meant. I found that more literal translations of the Bible use “may have.” The Greek word for “may have” is scheo, meaning “to hold,” such as: possession, ability, contiguity, relation, or condition (Strong’s Concordance 2192).

We must hold on to Jesus and possess the abundant life he brought us. It’s our possession. We are given the ability to hold it through our continuous connection and close relationship with him.

Through Jesus, whatever we face is never impossible.

All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth. Matthew 28:18 KJV

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

About the author: Dana Peters-Colley is a creative who loves Jesus. She has been tucked away developing a brand of Christian parable books, faith-based fiction, and inspirational books as well as screenplays. Dana holds a B.A. in journalism, studied screenwriting at U.C.L.A., and is a former long-time Disney creative leader and producer. When the Lord got ahold of Dana everything marvelously changed. She is developing a heavenly-inspired brand line that brings stories to build family, inspire discovery, and teach kingdom ways. See danapeterscolley.com to connect to her spiritual blog and gaze at her adventures.

Do you have a friend you want to receive Jesus into their lives? Do you want to receive how much God loves and values you? Do you want to be empowered to do the impossible? Then, you have to know who you are! Treasure will take you into the realization of God’s love for you as you discover you are His treasure.

Join the conversation: How do you keep a close connection with Jesus?


The Spice of Life

by Nan Corbitt Allen

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV

When was the last time you were looking for one thing and ended up finding something else—maybe something you thought was lost? I know I have.

We were watching a TV show recently on historical world events. One of the topics, called “The Age of Discovery,” was about “The Silk Road,” a trade route overland from the Far East to the West that began maybe as far back as biblical times. Spices were the main goods in high demand in those days. When I heard that, I thought, “Really? Not goods and services that are required for sustenance, but items to entertain our taste buds?” I decided to do some research on this topic.

Once long-distance shipping became popular, the trade routes, like the Silk Road, took to the sea. Apparently whole empires were established and toppled for the love of spices. However, ships that set sail to find and bring back clove, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, and cinnamon, also discovered lands that had not been mapped before. Men like Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama found the places we now call home.

What began as a quest for wealth in the spice trade brought monumental discoveries that changed the world. History tells us that the Age of Discovery ended when monarchs and explorers believed that most portions of the globe had been explored. In other words, they thought they had found everything to be found, so they quit looking.

My passion these days is to find profound discoveries in the mundane. I feel as though God has something to say to me, and through me (and I’m not likely to have a burning bush or Damascus Road experience), so I figure it’ll be in the minutiae of life—everyday things that will reveal Him and His message to me.

Jesus said, “…Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things [What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’] …will be provided to you” (Matthew 6:31 NIV).  Generally He was telling us not worry about temporal things, but He also said to keep on seeking. To me, that means I should keep exploring and continue my daily search for the Kingdom. He will lead me to new discoveries during those everyday ventures.  

It is believed that explorer Sir Francis Drake wrote this prayer in 1577:

Dis­turb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with our­selves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too lit­tle,
When we arrived safe­ly
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Dis­turb us, Lord, when
With the abun­dance of things we pos­sess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Hav­ing fall­en in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eter­ni­ty
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heav­en to dim.

Dis­turb us, Lord, to dare more bold­ly,
To ven­ture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mas­tery;
Where los­ing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.

We ask You to push back
The hori­zons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

If we don’t keep seeking, we’ll never find everything that He has for us. And I’ll bet that we’ll find plenty of spice along the way, as well.

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

Nan Corbitt Allen

About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 45+ years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books. Nan and Dennis retired in 2020 from full time teaching at Truett McConnell University. They now live south of Nashville. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

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Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: Are you ready to be “disturbed”?

Spring Clean Your Mind

by Dr. Mel Tavares

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2 NASB

Spring cleaning and renewal is in full swing at my house. I’ve seen and saved ideas on Pinterest, but there is no possible way to accomplish all that I have in my mind. Rooms to paint, floors to refinish, and cabinets to polish. Seedlings to start, gardens to till, and rows to plant.

I’m also thinking about painting the old carriage house, which would look amazing painted red with a beautiful American flag on the side of it. My mind scurries to the topic of flags, and I remember I need a new one for the front porch. Right! The front porch! Furniture to scrub, new cushions to purchase…oh! I’ve been meaning to do a DIY pallet project for the porch.

You get the gist, right? These are all activities that would serve to renew and transform my home this spring.

But I need a regular spiritual renewal, too, and this transformation begins in the mind, according to Romans 12:2. Just as there are steps that we can take to transform our homes, there are steps we can take to renew our personal walk with Christ.

Taking a quick inventory will reveal any clutter that has accumulated in our minds. Perhaps current events have occupied our attention and weighed us down. Negative thoughts may have crept in, causing distraction, doubt, or even despair. Sometimes we repeat mental monologues that are little more than self-defeating babble.

It would serve us well to take time to “spring clean” our minds by intentionally refocusing on the Lord and all He has done for us. We are spiritually renewed when we  come to Him in prayer and ask Him to cleanse and guard our minds and hearts from the things of this world.

Left to itself, our mind may naturally gravitate away from the positives and back to the negatives. We can control our thoughts, despite the enemy of our soul trying to deceive us into thinking otherwise. In Philippians 4:8, Paul reminds us to think on things that are pure, lovely, and noble. Reading Scriptures is a great way to do this, as is listening to worship music.

Remember that where our mind goes, our lives will follow. Just as my mind had followed a path from rooms and gardens to the front porch, my mind can choose a positive path, and my life will follow as my passions and purpose are refreshed.

Lord, thank you for your Word, which renews my mind and clears the debris collected from dwelling on the things of this world. I ask that you help me to stay focused on you and all that is pure and lovely.

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

About the author: Mel Tavares is an accomplished award winning author, speaker/teacher, and coach and counselor both in ministry and in her career. She has invested decades in equipping women from all walks of life to thrive in the midst of their circumstances.

Mel holds a Doctorate of Ministry, is a Board Certified Mental Health Coach, a Certified QPR Suicide Prevention Instructor, a member of the AACC (American Association of Christian Counselors), AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association).

In addition to writing for Arise Daily, she authoring books, is a contributing author to several books, writes for multiple ministries, including the Word of Life Global Youth Ministries. She teaches digitally and in person, conducts Facebook Live series, and is a frequent media guest. Mel is a wife, mom to seven, and grandma to ten. You can find her materials and learn more about her ministry at her website: drmeltavares.com

Join the conversation: Are you ready for some spiritual spring cleaning? What do you need to purge?

Contentment That Lasts

by Crystal Bowman

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.  Psalm 90:14 NIV

When my hubby and I finished grad school, we moved to a small apartment and lived there through the birth of our first child. It was fine for a while, but when our son was two years old, we needed more room. We built a walk-out ranch in a nice neighborhood but only finished the main floor. We wanted to “grow” into our house and stay within our budget.

Our home felt enormous compared to our little apartment. We couldn’t afford a washer and dryer right away, so my mother-in-law was happy to share hers. At first, I didn’t mind driving to her house with my toddler and baskets of dirty laundry in tow. But after a while, I began to long for that washer and dryer.   

When our laundry room was finally finished, I smiled as I tossed smelly socks, sweaty gym clothes, and stained toddler T-shirts in the washer and transferred them to the dryer. I hummed as I folded clean laundry and distributed the clothes to their proper places. I was happy and content in our home. At least for a while.

“Our son needs a playroom,” I told my husband. I was tired of tripping over his cars and trucks in the kitchen and stepping on Duplos with my bare feet—ouch! I begged my hubby to please finish off the room in the basement so our son would have a place to play. So, we finished the playroom, and it was wonderful! My little guy loved zooming his diggers across the floor and bouncing on his rocking horse. I was content now that we had a playroom. At least for a while.

Our small living room was nice, but we had space for a family room on the lower level. It even had a fireplace. So, we finished the family room. Then I wanted to finish the bathroom downstairs, so we didn’t have to race upstairs every time we needed to “go.” And besides—I was potty training our son and sometimes the need was urgent!

One day I finally realized that no matter how many rooms we finished, or how many appliances we acquired, there would always be one more thing I’d want. Then God taught me a lesson through the Apostle Paul.

Paul traveled from one country to another, sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and encouraging new believers. It is believed that he traveled more than 10,000 miles throughout his ministry. Paul was a “low maintenance” guy. He got by on what he had and was dependent on God to provide for him through the people he met and stayed with. He trusted God to take care of him and knew God would give him the strength he needed regardless of his circumstances.

In Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV) Paul says, “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”   

Paul knew the secret to contentment did not come from material possessions or living in a certain place, but rather dependence on God and embracing His love. It’s the same for us today. Possessions can’t give us lasting contentment—only God can do that.

We built that first house 43 years ago. We have since lived in several different homes and in different states. Whether we had a lot or a little, we always had enough. I’m finding the older I get, the less I need. I pray that I may become more like the Apostle Paul and be content with what I have—trusting God to supply all my needs.   


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

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 eight huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation. Have you learned to be content?

The Bronze Pole and the Greater Cure

by Patti Richter

He was despised and rejected by men . . . But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities. Isaiah 53:3, 5 ESV

A woman who approached our small group at church shocked us after someone asked her how much weight she had lost. “Fifty pounds,” she answered—with no enthusiasm.

This poor soul had suffered the severe effects of a deadly superbug. Her cure was harsh as well: high-power antibiotics for weeks. The treatment worked, though afterward the woman might have resembled Lazarus coming forth from the grave.

Her illness reminded me of the warnings that come with prescription drugs. The possible side effects are listed and usually followed by an emphatic statement, something like: The potential benefit of this drug outweighs the risks.

In the book of Numbers, there’s a story that involved a snake as a cure. The brief account likely inspired the familiar staff and serpent symbol used to represent medicine—long before Greek or Roman mythology adopted the image.

The incident happened at the end of the Israelite’s 40 years of wandering in the desert, as they neared the Promise Land. They longed for real food instead of the manna God had provided to sustain them all those years. They grew frustrated with roadblocks in their journey, and they ran out of patience. Speaking against both God and Moses, they referred to the bread from heaven as “this worthless food” (Numbers 21:5).

Our earthly father might have taken us out to the woodshed for such complaining, but our heavenly Father has more effective resources. Deserts have snakes, and God sent in the troops—fiery serpents. When some of the complainers died, the survivors quickly came to their senses and asked Moses to pray for them.

In response to Moses’ plea, the Lord provided unusual instructions: “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live” (Numbers 21:8 ESV).

That serpent image was formidable in itself, but it also represented the very punishment for the people’s sin. So, we might wince at Jesus’ analogy regarding the bronze pole: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life” (John 3:14-15 ESV).

We might also react wrongly to some of Jesus’ other hard-to-understand statements. His more impulsive follower, Peter, did this after the Lord warned the disciples of his coming suffering and death. Peter took Jesus aside and said, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22 ESV).

Like Peter, we would prefer that Jesus died on a cross adorned in Easter lilies with no great suffering involved and no horrific images to recall.

The comparison of Jesus’ crucifixion to Moses’ bronze pole goes beyond the fearsome images. Both represented the punishment for sin. And each held the same promise of a cure: whoever looked to it would live. The bronze pole offered deliverance from imminent physical death; the cross offered—and still offers—redemption from looming eternal death.  

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

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

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.

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

Join the conversation: Have you looked to the cross for your delivery from eternal death!

A Legacy of Justice

by Kathy Howard

 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10 NIV

Harriet Beecher Stowe was born in 1811 into a family of faith. Her father, Lyman Beecher, was a well-known minister who preached anti-slavery sermons and encouraged his children to make personal commitments to Jesus. His faith, beliefs, and convictions left their marks on his children. All seven of his sons became ministers and Harriet challenged the thinking of America with a pen.

Although opportunities for women were limited in the early 19th century, Harriet was well-educated and fell in love with writing. Bolstered by her husband’s encouragement, Harriet published more than 30 books and numerous articles during her lifetime. But one book in particular sent shockwaves around the world.

 The injustice and immorality of slavery burdened Stowe, so she sought to make a difference using her God-given talent of writing. Her most famous work, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, exposed the harsh realities and cruelty of slavery in America. Published in 1852, the book fostered empathy for slaves and encouraged others to add their voice to Harriet’s in the growing anti-slavery movement.

In a time when women could not hold office or even vote, Stowe expressed her thoughts and beliefs through her writing. She acted as an advocate for the voiceless. And her voice was heard in that generation and beyond.

In the first century, Paul acted as an advocate for a man who belonged to a mistreated segment of society. Onesimus, likely a runaway slave, met Paul and came to faith in Christ through his testimony. Paul wrote to Philemon, the slave owner, and boldly encouraged him to be gracious, to accept Onesimus back as brother in Christ.  

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. Philemon 1:15-16a NIV

Paul not only challenged the societal norms but also appealed to Philemon to do the same. Paul asked him to reject the consequences he had the legal right to inflict on Onesimus and instead embrace mercy and grace. Paul used his voice to fight for God’s justice.

Like Paul, we must advocate for those in our world who are mistreated and marginalized. We must speak out for justice. And we must teach our children and grandchildren to do the same.

Let’s talk with our families about injustice in the world around us. Let’s teach them about the God-given inherent value of all people. Together, consider ways that you can speak out and fight for justice in a particular area as a family. For example, you can volunteer, give, and write to your representatives.

[This post is adapted from Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith, Kathy Howard’s new, unique devotional that combines stories of faith with practical tips for spiritual legacy and helps for genealogy research.]

Kathy Howard is a treasure hunter. She hunts for the creamiest chocolate, richest coffee, and cherished stories of faith. She also digs deep into Scripture, mining God’s eternal truths. Kathy has a Masters in Christian Education and has taught the Bible for more than 30 years in a wide variety of venues. She is the author of 12 books, including Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith and the “meaty” devotional series Deep Rooted. Kathy and her husband live in north Texas. They have three married children, six grandchildren, and two accidental dogs. Find free discipleship resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Heirloom: Living and Leaving a Legacy of Faith tells stories of the past that will impact our faith today. These 52 heart-felt reflections reveal the seeds of our faith―seeds that sprouted and took root, growing through the centuries to today. Heirloom weaves these stories of faith and family history with Scripture, beautiful artwork, and ancestry research tips and techniques. Through these stories of persevering faith, you’ll discover the potential your story has to impact future generations. (See Heirloom on Amazon.)

Join the conversation: How have you taught your children to speak up for justice?

If You Can’t Be Kind, Be Quiet

by Deb DeArmond

Gentle words are a tree of life; a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:4 NLT

Did you know there is a celebration each year entitled National Say Something Nice Day? It made me think of my mama. It would have made her happy.

Mama often stated her belief: “If you can’t say something nice, say nothing at all.” It wasn’t just a slogan for her; she lived it every day. I never heard her utter a mean or critical word about a single person—except for her second cousin Hattie. “That girl had a mean streak,” Mama had said. (Hattie once bit my mother hard enough to draw blood; so, I think Mama’s observation was valid.) But with this one exception, Mom was a gentle and generous soul. She looked for the goodness in others, and as a result, she almost always found it.

But it’s easier said than done.

If you have family, you already know that looking for the good in others can be a tough duty. Especially in the face of what we often call at my house, “an intense moment of fellowship.” If you overheard our discussions, you might think we’re engaged in an argument. The two are quite similar, and we prefer the friendly term. Semantics aside, when our discussion gets heated, something nice might not be the first thing to roll off my tongue.

And the tongue is often the problem when it comes to conflict, isn’t it? James 3:2 says, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way” (NLT).

Every other way? Does this mean that if I could manage my mouth, I’d also be able to resist the call of Cappuccino Crunch ice cream? Now that’s motivation!

Over the years I’ve become more aware of the need to be intentional when conflict arises—specifically, more grace-filled. Mostly because God’s Spirit has been persistent to point out my missed opportunities, little slips, and major mishaps of the mouth. (I’m working on it.)

God asks us to be sincere, never deceitful. And he expects us to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) when we’d prefer to give others a piece of our mind. Making our point cannot be more important than making our Father in Heaven happy.

Today, take the opportunity to say something nice—something genuine, not manufactured—and smile when you say it. And if you want to make a super-powerful, positive impression, write down your words and slip the note in his pocket, the kids’ lunchbox, or her purse. The compliment or encouragement you give is a prize, especially sweet when it’s unexpected.

You might just make someone’s day. (And make your mama so proud!)

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

About the author: Deb DeArmond is an award-winning author, speaker and writing coach, helping others to achieve their goals whether in marriage, family relationships, at work, or in ministry. Her books reflect that path. Her newest release, We May Be Done But We’re Not Finished, encourages and informs women 50+ how to make the rest of their life the best of their life.

Join the conversation: How has the truth been a catalyst in your life?

Emergency Room Obedience

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance. Proverbs 1:5

My grandmother’s confusion and lack of memory alarmed me. “Did you fall, again, gram?”  Her heavy makeup almost covered the bruise over her eye.

“Cherrilynn, her voice slurred, nothin’ gets past you.”

“I’m calling the ambulance.”

‘”I’ll be fine. You worry too much.”

I followed the red flashing lights to the Emergency room where I met with the doctors, who rushed my grandmother to another area of the hospital for tests. The organized chaos as nurses and doctors hurried into the room of a motorcycle accident victim, sent me into prayer mode. I asked God to help the medical staff save the injured man, and to also use me to bring hope to anyone.

In the corner of the ER, stacking the gauze, towels, and other supplies was a volunteer.  She looked tired and worn. “The doctors and nurses would be lost without you,” I said as I tried to make eye contact.

She looked at me with confusion.  I repeated the statement.  She gave me a shy smile. Over the course of our short conversation, I learned that she volunteered a few nights a week after her day job.  I told her how much we appreciated the volunteers at the hospital.

“I have been to this emergency room with my grandmother more times than I care to mention. Volunteers are the glue that holds this emergency room together.”  

She turned to me and said, “You are the first person to talk to me today.  I work in a large building with many others and I was so very sad and angry. I felt like my life didn’t matter.  I was going to go home and just cry.  Thank you.” She told me she volunteers because her grandmother took her last breath in this hospital.

“God bless you,” I said.

“He has, you took the time to talk to me.”

She turned and finished stocking the shelves. God knew this women’s loneliness. God notices everything and everyone and wants to use us to reveal His love to them.  I praised Him for the opportunity to show someone the love of Christ.  May I always be ready to listen to the Spirit and obey Him..

My grandmother did have a concussion and they kept her a few days. Over the next year my grandmother was treated three more times at the same emergency room . We never saw the volunteer.

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

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. She is honored to be a member of AWSA.You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation. Has God used someone in your life when you were lonely or sad? Or has God used you to bring love and joy into a person’s life?

You Are Seen

by Cheri Cowell

Have you been overlooked, dismissed, or maligned simply because you are female? Junia’s story reminds us of some critical things about womanhood and ministry.

Who is Junia?

Junia is mentioned in only one verse in Romans 16:7, where Paul declares, “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was” (NIV).

While the early church fathers never questioned that Junia was female and an apostle, it seems later translators found it difficult to imagine a female apostle and thus added an “s” to her name, making her masculine. Yet, Paul says that this cousin of his, who was married to another apostle, Andronicus, was in prison with him. He boldly states they were prominent among the apostles.

We don’t know when Junia received Christ, but it was before Paul’s conversion. It is assumed she and her husband were eyewitnesses to the crucifixion and/or resurrection events and could have been present at Pentecost; we don’t know for sure, but we do know the timing is there. What we do know is that the exercise of her and her husband’s faith made them targets for the Romans. They were imprisoned with Paul, suffering persecution and imprisonment for the sake of the Gospel.

Paul recommends Junia and her husband to the Roman church as ‘apostles with high regard.’ No matter how you translate the word apostle and what Paul meant by using it here, he clearly respected the work of Junia and her husband. Their work may have caused persecution for them, but God saw them and His respect and honor endured.

The marginalization of Junia endured over several centuries, from the mistranslation of her name into a male name by Bible translators. Even Junia’s recognition by Paul was diminished. You may be marginalized in our world today, but your efforts are still recognized and remembered by God.

Your ministry work may not be well received by some simply because of your gender, but your sufferings for the sake of the Gospel will always be received by the One who suffered for your sake. He sees you.

And finally, whether you are known as prominent among the greats or only to those with whom you faithfully serve, if you have believed in the Risen Christ, then you are like Junia, and are, therefore, commended to the ministry to which you are called—even as a woman.

Junia is known to us today by only one verse in the Bible. Yet, God knows her whole story. God knows every step she made and every hair on her head was counted by her God (Mathew 10:30). The same is true for you. No one may write about you or erect a statue in your honor, but if you put your faith in Him, your name is written in God’s book. “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them” (Isaiah 34:16 NKJV).

The truth is, your story is a part of His story. Your life is precious to God. He knows your name and your story, and you matter to Him. That is what Junia teaches us today: you are seen!

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

About the author: As an author and sidewalk theologian, Cheri Cowell writes and speaks from a refreshing vulnerability about her own struggles with the deep questions of faith. A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, she shares her passion to help others apply biblical principles to the sidewalk issues of life.

Cheri is also a publisher (owner of EABooks) and writing coach. She is passionate about helping others see God’s Word come alive, and she is excited to expand that mission by helping fellow authors take advantage of the new publishing trends. For a list of where you can meet or hear Cheri, or to learn about publishing your own books visit http://www.eabookspublishing.com/

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt marginalized in your ministry at church?

Build an Altar

by Dr. Sharon Norris Elliott

Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.” Genesis 8:20-21 NIV

The very first altar mentioned in the Bible was built by Noah when God allowed him to exit the ark after The Flood. Noah did this before God gave him a cool new diet (people could eat meat and fish now, see Genesis 9:3), and before God made him an amazing promise—a covenant—never to flood the earth out again.

It seems the reason for the altar was simply the outpouring of overwhelming thankfulness, for having lived through the event that devastated the earth and wiped out every other living land animal and person. You think?

Our knee-jerk reaction to God’s blessings should be immediate, demonstrated thanks. Noah didn’t just say, “Hey, thanks God.” No, he thought it appropriate to go much further and celebrate what God had done in an open display others could see. He spent time and energy building an altar and offering a sacrifice that God could openly appreciate.

The LORD “smelled a sweet savor” of the offering and accepted it, leading Him to respond to do even more for mankind.

“Grace” means “getting what we don’t deserve.” God has designed His grace toward us to start a blessing cycle that need never end. God blesses us, we thank Him, He responds to our thanks with another blessing, we thank Him, He responds… you get the pattern.

So, the next time you realize God has blessed you, build an “altar” to Him. Write a note about it in your journal, light a candle, or paint a small rock to keep as a remembrance and place it in your rock garden. Or for a week, keep a log of blessings you receive from God. Whatever way you choose to build that altar, let it be accessible for all to see.  

God, I thank you for the many blessings you bring into my life. Help me to thank you openly for what you have done. May people know you better by my response to your goodness. Amen.

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

About the author: “Live significantly!” That’s the inspiring message of Sharon Norris Elliott, award-winning author, editor, agent, engaging speaker, and licensed minister. Author of 15 books, and associated with several prestigious organizations such as AWSA, ACE, and HSBN.tv, Sharon is also co-director of the WCCW conference. She is founder/CEO of AuthorizeMe® Consulting, Coaching, & Editing Firm and Literary Agency. www.AuthorizeMe.net

Sharon’s latest release, Didn’t See That Coming: When How They’re Living’s Not How You Raised Them does its best to encourage parents of adult children when those grown folks make announcements about lifestyle choices that throw those parents for a real loop. Through introducing “care-frontation,” Dr. Elliott eases parents into the conversations they’d like to have with their adult kids. This book is heartfelt, timely, and scripturally sound.

Join the conversation: Find more instances in the Bible when people built altars. What were the circumstances?