Winter Has Arrived!

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  Psalm 23:4 (NLT)

My back yard is blanketed in white and the cat’s water bowl is frozen over. I don’t need a weather report to tell me winter has arrived. Sometimes I find it hard to adjust to the changing seasons. I want it to stay warm a little bit longer. But after the first frost hit, I knew it was time to pull out the heavy coat, sweaters, boots and gloves, and put away the sleeveless shirts and shorts.

Seasons change and we have no choice but to go along with them. In life, we go through seasonal changes as well. In fact, I’m going through one right now, and there’s nothing I can do about it. My dear friend just moved away—nearly 1,000 miles from here. She and her husband moved to be near their three daughters and grandchildren. Having my own family around me is one of my greatest joys, so I completely understand and I’m happy for them. But it doesn’t make the season any less cold.

Nancy and I have known each other for decades and have traveled across the globe many times together. She knows my bad habits and I know hers—and we’re fine with them. We talk easily about just about anything; family, ministry, missions, cultural challenges, or family. Of course every conversation was always over a steaming cup of tea—some we brought from other nations. My husband jokingly calls us tea snobs, and we’re okay with that too. A friendship like ours is a gift.

Seasonal changes occur in everyone’s life from time to time; job changes, loss, divorce, remarriage, retirement, caring for aging parents, health challenges, and good friends moving away. But God is there for us in every season. I love the picture of comfort and protection Psalm 23:4 paints for us: “Even when I walk through the darkest [or coldest!] valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me” (NLT).

We can be encouraged by the fact that we are on God’s mind. Jeremiah 29:11 (AKJV) says, “I know the thoughts that I think toward you, said the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” I love that God is thinking good thoughts toward us, thoughts of peace. He’s not trying to pull the rug out from under our feet—even when it feels like it.

For me, this season feels as cold as the frosty air outside, but I am confident that it is just a season, and seasons change. Spring follows winter. I’ve had many winter seasons in life, some colder than others, but God always brings an unexpected positive end. The key is in bundling up in the warmth of His love, meditating on the promises of His Word, and in taking just one day at a time until you begin to thaw.

It’s like a good book: as one chapter ends, another begins. Each chapter builds upon the last until the whole story is told. If you’re feeling the chill of a winter season in your life, be encouraged, fix a cup of tea, and warm up in the love of God.

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Winter Has Arrived! – encouragement from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: What season are you in right now?

 

 

How to Resist A Donut

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 ESV

On a recent morning at 6 a.m., as I walked home from our neighborhood work-out room, I felt drained by the unusual humidity along with the 90-degree temperature (yes, I live in the desert). Tomorrow morning, I’ll have to drive the car. And then the most delicious thought entered my mind.

After I finish, I’ll go get a donut.

Oh! What motivation to drive the car to the gym. I felt delightfully sneaky. I could already taste my favorite donut—the sugar cinnamon spice. What does it matter I’m trying to eat healthier? I deserve a donut!

Then my spiritual eyes were opened and 2 Corinthians 10:5 came to mind: “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” ( ESV).

I saw Satan’s ploy to destroy my self-control by using a tactic of mine I developed in childhood. I often felt like the possibilities offered me were promises. Most often they were not fulfilled. I shared a room with my sister and always wanted my own room. At one point, most likely when I was a pre-teen, my mother mentioned, “Daddy and I are thinking of making the garage into your own bedroom.” What great news! I felt important and valued.

Emotionally, I waited on the edge of my seat for the next mention of the coming transformation. But my parents never brought up the idea again. In my insecurity, I didn’t ask about it because I feared hearing, “We aren’t going to do it.” Such an answer would feel like rejection, affirming my mistaken belief that I didn’t deserve anything special.

My hope died a slow painful death. I’m sure my parents thought I’d forgotten. I’m not even important enough for them to tell me they changed their mind.

Somehow in my complicated way of thinking, I began to hate being disappointed, even by myself. I believed “a broken promise equals rejection.” My warped need for self-control made sure I kept any promise to myself—like getting a donut—even if I couldn’t control other people.

All this was involved on that morning when I promised myself a donut. But I was willing to allow God to empower me to take every thought captive to obey Christ. 

Kathy, if you continue to promise yourself this donut, by tomorrow morning, it’ll be even harder to resist. Praise God, I saw the lie and refused to be caught in Satan’s web.

As I studied the truth of 2 Corinthians 10:5, I began to envision any thought as an arrow headed toward my heart and mind. I could take each thought “captive” and examine it whether it aligns with Scripture and its the truth. Then I could reject the lie and receive the truth.

By commandeering our thoughts and evaluating them, asking for the Spirit’s power, we choose obedience, resulting in God’s power being seen by others—to his glory.

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How to Resist A Donut – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller is passionate about teaching how to trust God more. The author of more than 55 books, one of her most recent is Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory. Her books include Bible studies, Bible commentaries, and Christian living topics like parenting, spiritual transformation, marriage, and God’s nature. She is a popular women’s conference speaker who has spoken in 35 states and 8 foreign countries. www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Her latest latest release is , Heart Wisdom, a part of her women’s Daughters of the King Bible study series. Heart Wisdom includes ten lessons about the different topics included in The Proverbs, and is perfect for individual or group study. Reach Kathy at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

Join the conversation: Do you have a lie that keeps running through your mind?

The New You in the New Year

by Pamela Christian @plchristian

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a hew creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.  2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB

Breaking a pattern is not an easy task. Patterns in our lives are developed as we repeatedly experience a certain sequence of events. Because patterns are so familiar, we are not usually conscious of them until something crashes against it to expose it for what it is.

For me, as a young woman seeking to find the love of my life, the pattern was feeling attracted to men who were very much like my dad. On the surface such a quest might seem admirable. However, my dad was abusive, alcoholic, and unfaithful. Because of my experience growing up in this environment and knowing none other, it was familiar to me. So, without any objective thought, I found myself attracted to men who were also abusive, alcoholic and unfaithful.

It wasn’t until I experienced the heartbreak of a third chaotic relationship that I realized I was the one bringing this heartache upon myself. My reality was illuminated with Proverbs 11:15: “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise” (NKJ). I finally realized I needed wise counsel to help me break this destructive pattern.

It took three years, but I gained a proper self-identity through learning my value in Christ. I learned we all seek to operate in the familiar, which can be a good thing, but in many cases is harmful. The transformation of my life through wise counsel has been gloriously overwhelming.

I learned each of us are made in the image of God, yet every one is unique. It’s similar to the facets of a diamond: every individual is yet another facet of Him, with our unique splendor and His radiance shining through us.

Once I learned we are uniquely created, God revealed yet another pattern—the pattern of comparing myself to others. I’d habitually compared myself to other women, which always resulted in dissatisfaction. Whether it was age, weight, style, career, or relationships, whenever I compared myself to others, I always concluded they had “it” better than I.

The proverbial light bulb lit up as I realized since we are each unique, there is no comparison! How can one unique being be compared to another unique being? It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

The tenth commandment is “Thou shall not covet.” When I realized comparing myself to others was a form of covetousness I was taken back. Making comparisons had become a pattern of life without any conscious thought. Comparisons were habitual. To break this pattern the wise counsel of Scripture came to bear.

Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others as better than himself” (NKJ).

1 Corinthian 15:58 “Therefore my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (NKJ).

Galatians 5:26 “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another” (NKJ).

Having learned the importance of examining patterns, and understanding our unique beauty and purpose in God’s plan through faith in Christ, not only have I been set free to become all God has created me to be, I cherish helping others discover the freedom for which they long.

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The New You in the New Year – encouragement from @PLChristian on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam christianAbout the author: For over twenty years Pamela Christian has compassionately helped people discover and live in, life-giving truth. She is an award-winning author, radio and television host, keynote speaker, and award-winning blogger. She is ordained and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity from the HSBN International Fellowship of Ministries Apostolic Center, holds a certificate in Christian Apologetics from Biola University, is a member of the International Society of Women in Apologetics, and a Board Member with Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Pam is available to speak for your Revive Your Life!: Rest for Your Anxious Heart (Faith to Live By Book 3) by [Christian, Pamela]church/organization.

Pam’s book, Revive Your Life! Rest for Your Anxious Heart, will help you to discover life’s meaning and purpose, and enable you to step into a reformation that will change the world for the better. The significant impact you long to make is possible. You can become all you were meant to be.

Join the conversation: What unhealthy patterns have you recognized in yourself? How did you discover them?

The Sacred Word

by Nan Corbitt Allen

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. (Psalm 119: 105 NIV)

It was another time—a time when the reading of scripture and prayer were not only permissible but encouraged in the public school. Miss Mary Dell Ard was my fourth-grade teacher, and she was an old-fashioned schoolmarm. Never married, she dedicated her life to teaching children. She called every student “precious,” even though she may be at the same time applying the rod to the child’s backside. (That was permissible and encouraged in those times as well.) Every morning our teacher would read from the Bible, and hers was so overused that she had to hold it together with a substantial rubber band.

One of the few times she embarrassed me by reprimanding me in front of the class was a morning after I had been assigned to take the lunch money to the cafeteria. I had left the room after the Pledge of Allegiance and had re-entered while she was still reading from the Bible. My desk was a mere two steps from the classroom door, and so when I re-entered, I went directly and sat down.

Big mistake. I had forgotten that it was a sacrilege to move about at all during the reading of the Word. The rule: If one enters a room as the Bible is read aloud, one must stand perfectly straight and still until the end of the reading and throughout the following prayer. This was the law, and I never broke it again. Because of this lesson, I still feel the need to be reverent and still whenever the Word is read.

Psalm 119 is a LONG song included in the psalter. No one knows who wrote it, but some believe that it was a priest from Old Testament times. The entire 176 verses are dedicated to the importance and sanctity of God’s Word. The synonyms the psalmist uses for the Word are precepts, laws, decrees, and statutes. The Word is described as eternal, firm, and enduring. This lyric emphasizes that God’s Word is for direction, for teaching, for understanding. It is mostly addressed to God, so it is functionally a prayer. The writer commits to obeying it, hiding in his heart, meditating on it, and delighting in it.

I’m sorry to admit that I haven’t always done this regarding the Word. I’ve read it and believed it most of my life, but have I always consulted it when I needed instruction or consolation? No.

Verse 28 says, “My soul is weary with sorrow: strengthen me according to your word…”  In times of sorrow and frustration, the Bible is often the last place we want to go for help. Why? “[We] have strayed like a lost sheep…” (Psalm 119: 176) Most of the time, the Word will tell us things we don’t want to hear:  trust Himobey Him, and surrender to Him. When we’re suffering, often we don’t want to do any of those things.

When I resist the instruction of the Word, I remember Miss Ard and how she taught me that the Bible is sacred, worthy of my respect, and my go-to for everything I need.

Read it, cherish it, and embrace its truth.

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The Sacred Word – encouragement from Nan Corbitt Allen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Nan Corbitt AllenAbout the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 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 live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

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: What does God’s Word mean to you?

Are You Afraid of Missing Out?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.   Matt. 11:28 NIV 

My young friend ticked off the activities her family crammed into Christmas. They had more holiday traditions than the Okefenokee has mosquitoes. With the approach of a holiday, FOMO—Fear Of Missing Out—can hook the unsuspecting. We think more is…well, more, and less means—bless your heart; you missed out.

Someone defined busy as:

Being

Under

Satan’s

Yoke

How do we throw off this unholy bondage?

Come to Jesus.

 The first step is clear but not easy with a crowded schedule. Come to Jesus.

There’s a strong temptation when we are busy to lay aside our personal time with the Lord. All we have to do makes finding one-on-one time with Jesus feel impossible. But here’s the thing. Jesus wants the pleasure of your company. He will help you make time for Him.

This may require being flexible. But if you were young and in love, I’ll bet you’d squeeze in time for your sweetheart.

Sometimes I eat lunch with an open Bible or turn off the radio on my drive to work so I can converse with Jesus or listen to a Bible app. The time of quiet reflection refreshes my faith and recalibrates my focus.

If a time of busyness is hampering time with Jesus, ask Him to help. Look at your calendar and schedule time for Him.

Bring Him Your Burdens.

Jesus invites the “weary and burdened” to unload on Him. A burden is anything that weighs you down.

One season my responsibilities crushed me. Not only did I have holiday baking and gifts to buy, wrap, and mail, I had to prepare a workshop for the week after Christmas. One afternoon, I wrote down every crushing burden, then I pictured handing them to Jesus. The process alone lifted my spirit. But what happened next astounded me.

That afternoon an appointment unexpectedly canceled. I zipped to a nearby mall. It was like an unseen guide directed me to just the right gifts for all my out-of-town family–in an hour. And the stores gift-wrapped!

Link and Learn.

 At the end of Jesus’ life, He prayed, “I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do” (Jn. 17:4 NIV).

What? Didn’t Jesus know about all the people who were still sick? What about those who hadn’t yet heard about Him? But notice–Jesus didn’t say, “I finished all the work.” He said He’d finished the work His Father had given Him.

How can we know the work He has for us each day? We come to Him and learn from Him. Then, when we feel pressured, we can say, “Today I only have to do what God wants me to do today.”

When we live in sync with Jesus, we not only find rest for our souls, we glorify our Father. And dwelling in His presence brings us peace.

TWEETABLE
Are You Afraid of Missing Out? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with being overwhelmed by your to-do list?

Deep Sleep, Deep Faith

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.” Psalm 127:2 ESV

Nights come when we just can’t sleep, right? Like awake at three am playing spider solitaire and watching documentaries on the History channel not sleeping. It makes a person think. Usually about sleep.

Ever look up “sleep” in the Bible? There are a bunch of verses where “sleep” has nothing to do with the act of sleeping but rather directions with whom we should NOT sleep. Not the topic of this post. Then there are verses where sleep has to do with death, as in “we shall not all sleep”. Also not the topic of this post.

There are, however, actual verses about people sleeping – where people of the Bible lie down at night, close their eyes and rest. That’s what this post is about. Actual sleep. Because, if we lie awake and think about it, sleep was quite an act of faith in Biblical times.

Lying down to sleep could result in death and disaster.

While Samson slept, Delilah tipped off his enemies about his whole hair secret (He might have done well to pay attention to those verses about who we should NOT sleep with). While King Saul slept, his enemy crept close enough to kill him. A military leader named Sisera was lured to sleep by Jael, and she drove a tent peg through his head (again, should have checked the passages on acceptable bed partners!) And a young man in the New Testament fell asleep during a sermon – falling out of a window and needing to be revived by Paul (I think I’ve heard that sermon). Anyway, sleeping was risky business.

Men of faith, however, not only managed to sleep, but God was active in their lives as they slept.

When Adam awoke from deep sleep, God had fashioned a woman for him! It was while Abraham slept that God introduced Himself and gave him the orders to relocate to a prime piece of real estate by the sea. When Jacob slept, He dreamed of a stairway to heaven – thus blessing future generations (and Led Zeppelin). When Joseph, Mary’s betrothed, slept, God let Him know His girl had been true and gave Him the green light to trust her crazy story.

Even Jesus slept. As a dangerous storm raged around the boat carrying the men with whom He’d entrusted the gospel, He napped in the bow. Of course, He woke up, spoke up and ended the weather event before disaster – one of the coolest miracles recorded! But, my point is, that He was able to sleep in the midst of turmoil, high seas, and seasoned fisherman screaming like little girls!

You and I don’t have to worry about tent pegs or barbarian invasions while we sleep, but with all the pressures of our lives, sleep can feel like an act of indulgence.

We stay up late and rise early, trying to keep our lives afloat in very stormy seas, and we get irritated with God because He never seems to get uptight enough about the impending doom on our horizon. More times than not, Jesus says (I’m paraphrasing), Have faith and catch some Z’s. You don’t keep the world spinning, I do. That’s why I invented sleep, so you’d have a nightly reminder that there is a time to rest and let Me work.

Ultimately, sleep is an act of faith even now. Others should be saying about us: “Who are all those well-rested people? How do Christians have time to rest?”

Want to exercise your faith today? Go take a nap.

TWEETABLE
Deep Sleep, Deep Faith – insight from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: Do you ever struggle with sleep?

Step into the Future

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).

The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.

God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.

Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.

A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.

We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.

TWEETABLE
Step into the Future – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: When have you experienced God’s care and protection?

 

Moving Toward Greatness

by Christina Rose

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.”  Genesis 12:1-2 NLT

When God asked Abraham to trust him by leaving all he had ever known to take his family and travel to a foreign land, it required enormous faith.  “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”  (Hebrews 11:8 NLT)

God promised Abraham a great inheritance because of his trust. “And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 ESV).

As I approached my 60th birthday, I knew a big move was in store for me, but I didn’t have the details. I was repeatedly moved out of my comfort zone, so that I would be ready to leave when I was given guidance. I sold or gave away almost everything I owned. Then suddenly, through synchronistic events, it became clear that I would be moving to Florida.

My elderly Aunt Joan was in declining health and needed someone to help her. I did not want to leave my adult daughters in California. But God started shutting doors quickly to show me that it was time.

The evening before my long drive to Florida, I stared at the tiny pod that held the remainder of my meager possessions. Panic and fear gripped me as I cried to the sky, “I can’t believe you’re making me start over at 60!” A soft whisper answered, “I can’t believe you’re giving up at 60.”  God continued to reassure me that He was with me.

Abraham would never have achieved greatness had he not obeyed God’s call to move. As I tearfully waved goodbye to my daughters the next morning, I prayed for the same faith that Abraham had when he left the life he had always known.

For five months I cared for Aunt Joan, taking her shopping, making her meals, caring for her yard and home. During those months there was plenty of time to pray and ponder on the beach.  It was the first time in many years that I wasn’t juggling a long commute to a stressful job, and managing a house, bills, and kids on my own.

I had accepted being worn out and weary as my normal state of being. And like me, Aunt Joan was still trying to find peace with her divorce, relying on her tiny dog for company while she waited for her two adult daughters to come home.  I had never seen these things about myself until I saw them in Aunt Joan.   

Once my assignment in Florida ended, I moved to Denver to live with extended family. As the sun sets over the mountains each evening, I think of my daughters in California and know that I will be returning to them soon. Our lives will be restored, better than before.

While sometimes life is confusing to us, it is never confusing to God. He is a God of strategy and is our constant companion as He moves us towards the greatness of His mighty plan. He is worthy of our trust and rewards those who choose to believe Him.

TWEETABLE
Moving Toward Greatness – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Has God taken you to places that required you to trust Him?

 

God’s Gift of Power

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

…I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  John 10:10, ESV

This morning I found myself focusing on what I don’t have.

I hate it when I do that.

I have been given so much. A roof over my head. A family that I adore. A job that I love. Yet it is in my human (sinful) nature to focus on what I don’t have, rather than to count my blessings.

Do you ever do that? Do you ever start thinking about an opportunity that hasn’t come your way, places you haven’t visited because you don’t have the money, a certain measure of success you haven’t yet attained, or a relationship or position in life you don’t yet have?

Jesus said “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10, ESV).

You and I do have life in abundance when we focus on what God has given us – gifts in the spiritual realm that can help us through the physical realm. One of those gifts is His incredible power.

Scripture says, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7 ESV). That means we have His Spirit to help us be bold when we would otherwise be fearful or timid, to help us love unconditionally when we otherwise could not, and to help us exert self-control.

And on days you and I feel especially weak, 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that Christ’s power is perfected in weakness.

Do you know why you and I tend to worry and stress? We forget God’s power. Do you know why we give up when we could otherwise succeed? We forget He is capable. Do you know why we shrink back when we could be moving forward?  We forget He can do all things.

Why else would we start in with our “what ifs?”

What if I can’t get this done?

What if this bill is not something I can pay?

What if we can’t work through this situation?

Approach this day remembering you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13). Tackle any project that comes your way knowing God is able to do through you what is beyond you. And remember all that you do have today because you have His power. It is there for the asking.

Lord, thank You for giving me the power that resides in You. Thank You, too, that I am never left to my own devices, but I can call upon You at any time.

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God’s Gift of Power – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of several books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 145,000 copies sold), God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced the power of God when facing a challenge?

 

Ignore Those Raised Eyebrows

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

My pride can get in the way of my love—for others and for Christ. Though I long to be one who continually gives of herself without expecting anything in return, or who cares little about how I’m perceived, too often my insecurities overshadow my obedience.

I lead my church’s single moms’ group, and like most ministries, we have a budget to which we must adhere. Stretching every dime means seeking out bargains, making use of what we have, and when necessary, returning the surplus.

This is an issue for me, because I have a strange anxiety when it comes to returns. Standing in that line with my receipt in one hand, my bag of unused items in the other, I feel nervous and judged. I worry that the cashier will think I stole the items or that I’m being petty in bringing them back, especially when my bags of unused product contain things like $2 bags of flour. I suspect my jumbled emotions come, in part, from a time when, decades ago, I had shoplifted, and sometimes I can still wear that false identity.

Granted, I do receive a few raised brows and some huffs and eyerolls from the clerk. I’m sure they’ve encountered countless shoppers like me—some who really have hot-fingered the items and others who fight with them over every penny. So I get it. This past Monday, standing in a long, slowly moving return line, I remembered my why. I knew I could later use every dollar I spared to bless, in some way, the women I served.

Considering this, perhaps I should’ve stood taller. After all, serving others, however we do so, is a noble, eternally-glorious act. But I didn’t. Instead, I wanted to shrink inside myself. To explain to the others in line and the woman who gave me my refund why I was there and why I brought back so many—five bags worth—baking supplies.

And in that moment of unwarranted shame, I robbed myself of a precious, holy moment. Of an opportunity, in some small way—granted, very small way—to experience the joy of humility with my Savior. The One who endured ridicule and emptied Himself completely, for me.

So often, it’s not the big sacrifices that most hinder my love, but those small yet important choices to either protect myself and my image rather than surrender all I am to reveal God’s grace.

In John chapter twelve, we learn of a woman so overwhelmed with love for her Savior, she entered a room full of men to anoint the soon-to-be crucified king. Scripture tells us: “Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume” (John 12:3, NIV).

She used two very precious things, items that would’ve created a startling picture of love, to all in that room. First, she poured her expensive perfume, which may have been her dowry, upon Christ. Then, she lowered her hair, something dignified women would never do in that culture, and used it, her “glory”, to wipe dirty, smelly feet.

In other words, she brought the best of herself to the lowest possible state in humble praise and adoration. And yes, people scoffed, and I imagine some were even speechless. But Christ was pleased.

“Leave her alone,” He told the scoffers. “She’s done this for Me” (my paraphrase, John 12:7-8).

When we bring all of ourselves and humbly bow at His feet, whether that means picking up trash after church, returning bags of cheap flour, or tenderly washing the feet of the homeless, God is pleased. And to the scoffers, to those who raise eyebrows, misunderstand, or perhaps question our motives, He says, “Leave her alone. She does this for Me.”

Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.   Colossians 3:17 NASB

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Ignore Those Raised Eyebrows – @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer SlatteryAbout the author:  Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Hometown Healing and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

Do you ever feel insignificant or unseen? As if what you do or even who you are isn’t quite good enough? If so, this seven week Bible study, Becoming His Princess, is for you. Based on the remarkable life of Sarah, you will find a grace that will prove sufficient for all your failures and insufficiencies.

Join the conversation: What anxiety do you have that can get in the way of your love for Christ?