What’s Your Favorite Recipe?

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Taste and see that the Lord is good… Psalm 34:8

Our noisy family was gathered around the table for Sunday dinner and everyone was complementing me on my meatloaf with tomato gravy. So, I had to admit that I’d never heard of tomato gravy until Lacey, my daughter-in-law, said it was a family favorite, and shared her recipe with me.

When the conversation shifted to Lacey’s great cooking, Michael, her six-year-old son, declared very loudly so everyone could hear, “My mama is the best cook in the whole world!” Impressed, everyone stopped talking and he continued, “She can make ANYTHING ‘cause she’s got recipe cards!” Michael loves to eat and that was no small compliment.

Kids are great, right? We love giving them good things. Well, we are God’s kids and he has some pretty tasty dishes to serve up for us as well. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Like Lacey, God has His own “recipe cards.” The Bible is filled with wonderful recipes.

 Just looking into this one psalm, Psalm 34, we find the necessary ingredients for deliverance from fear, for provision, for comfort and peace for a broken, contrite or remorseful heart. We even find the recipe for redemption. This psalm even tells us when we trust in God we won’t be condemned. And in order to taste these good things from God, we are provided with the necessary ingredients. A little of this and a lot of that—like humility, trust in and respect and reverence for God (fear of God), watching what you say and looking for peace, just to name a few. And this is just one psalm, and one passage of Scripture! There are thousands of recipes and promises of good in the Bible.

But a recipe is only good if we choose to follow the instructions, combining all the necessary ingredients.

I once made a beautiful loaf of bread from memory. Because it was familiar and I made it often, I didn’t bother to look at or consult the recipe. The bread rose beautifully and when it was baking, it smelled wonderful. Taking it from the oven, I couldn’t wait to taste it. But after biting into a slice, it was immediately evident that I’d forgotten a key ingredient—salt.

Sometimes we approach God’s tasty recipes the same way. We try to get the good things of God by doing what seems right: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but is end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 NASB). But inevitably, when we leave out a key ingredient, like forgiveness, repentance, or trusting God, we’re left with a bad taste in our mouth.

Are you hungry for something good?  Peace? Provision? Comfort? Hope? Let’s browse through God’s recipes, allowing the Holy Spirit to measure out and stir the ingredients deeply into our hearts, and then submit it all to God by baking it in prayer. Once you’ve tasted the goodness of God, do like Lacey did with her meatloaf and tomato gravy recipe, share it with someone else, so they too can taste and see that God is good.

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What’s Your Favorite Recipe? – encouragement from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri Clark

About 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 are the spiritual recipes that have had an impact on your life?

Citizens of Heaven

by Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” Philippians 1:27 NLT

Katie Davis, a vivacious, passionate young woman, was just eighteen years old when she first went to Uganda on a mission trip. While she was there, God called her to go back. Forsaking college, her parents’ plans for her, a long-time boyfriend, and friends who thought she was crazy, Katie settled in Uganda and began a ministry. She also adopted thirteen Ugandan orphans.

Katie told her story in the 2011 bestseller Kisses from Katie, a book which continues to inspire millions of people to say “yes” to God, just as Katie did–wherever it leads. She writes, “Human beings long for a place to call home, a nest, a sanctuary of their own. I have many and none…But God whispers to me that I really have only one home, and that is with Him. I will never be content on this earth. I will always be a nomad. It was meant to be that way. My heart was created with a desire for a home, a nest, a sanctuary, and that can only be found with Him in heaven.”

Katie’s dedication to follow God wholeheartedly makes me wonder if am too comfortable. Have I forgotten that my permanent citizenship is in heaven, and not in any particular country? And what would my life look like if I took that to heart, every single day? I bet I wouldn’t feel as anxious about my paycheck (or lack of it). Certainly, the small frustrations I encounter would be put into an eternal perspective.

Paul urges the Philippian church—and today’s believers—to conduct themselves as citizens of heaven; to stand together with one purpose; to war together for the faith. When we forget that God deserves our first allegiance, we let all sorts of opportunities slip by us, and we begin to focus on unimportant details instead of the big picture.

Our purpose is to live out our faith in such a way that glorifies the Father and draws others to a relationship with him. It surely grieves God to see Christians fighting with one another instead of together. He must shake his head in frustration when we let small problems rule our thoughts, instead of focusing on his grace and love.

I want to be more like Katie—and the Apostle Paul. How about you?

PRAYER: Lord, give me the perspective shift I need to remember that I am a citizen of heaven. Remind me continually, Lord, of your truth and majesty. And help me to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel—not on my own strength, but through yours. Thank you for the beauty of the earth and the joy that you give me through my family, friends, purpose, and accomplishments. But let me never forget that all of it is temporary. Creator of all things, I so earnestly desire to be more like you. But my humanity gets in the way. Forgive me for putting too much stock in earthly treasures, relationships, and status. And thank you for the forgiveness you offer, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Citizens of Heaven – encouragement from @DenaJDyer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

dena headshot


About the author:
 Dena Dyer is an award-winning author, speaker, and non-profit leader. She loves encouraging hurting, harried women with humor and hope. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook, or at her website.

Dena’s book, Grace for the Race,  uses real-life stories, Scripture, and gentle humor to soothe the souls of frazzled females. By being honest and vulnerable about the ways God has shown Himself to her as she’s struggled with motherhood, Dena hopes to help moms realize that they’re not alone, and they’re not crazy!

Join the conversation: How does being a citizen of heaven impact your life here on earth?

The Importance of Trust

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” John 2:5 NASB

In John 2, Jesus and His disciples attended the now famous wedding at Cana. Mary approached Jesus about a horrible problem their hosts were having. In Jewish weddings, which lasted seven days, running out of food or wine was a shameful mark against the family. Mary told Jesus, “They have no wine.” Whether she believed her son would provide miraculously or just be resourceful enough to find more wine, we don’t know, but she trusted that Jesus could somehow help.

Jesus gave a somewhat surprising response: “Woman, what does this have to do with me?”

First, we need to understand why Jesus would call His mother Woman (John 2:4). In today’s world, this might be regarded as disrespectful and even mean-spirited. But we can be assured it was actually an endearment, from a second time Jesus addressed Mary from the cross: “Woman, behold, your son!” (John 19:26). In that moment, He was lovingly telling her that His apostle, John, would provide for her.

But then what does Jesus mean when He says, “What does this have to do with me?”

The meaning of this idiomatic phrase in other contexts in the Bible is, “We aren’t on common ground.” Or “Your perspective is entirely different than mine.” We can identify five reasons Jesus may have needed to point this out to His mother.

Motive. Mary desires to spare the couple embarrassment. Jesus has a bigger picture in mind: He desires his Father to be glorified.

Timing. Mary wants the wine problem to be solved immediately. Jesus was waiting on the Father to let Him know it was the right time to do His first public miracle.

Quality. Mary assumes he will merely replace the same kind of wine. Jesus provides something so superior the wedding coordinator is amazed.

Method. Mary tells the servants to do what he says. She trusted Him to do exactly the right thing. Her instruction to the servants was an expression of faith in the One who lived in consistent obedience to the Father. It was exactly what Jesus was waiting for.

Feelings. Based on her request, we must conclude she feels anxious. Is Jesus showing her a better way? The literal Greek of His response reads “What is that to me and to you?” He may have meant, “It’s not your responsibility, and it’s not mine.” Jesus was perfectly calm. He didn’t feel pressured by anyone, even His beloved mother. He would only do what His Father wanted. In that obedient relationship with Him, Jesus was filled with peace, confidence, and guidance.

We can learn a few things from Mary on this occasion:

  • Like Mary, we can bring our concerns and cares before God. We can trust God will do the perfect thing.
  • Like Mary, we can have faith Jesus can do anything. We don’t need to help Him, only follow His directions.
  • Like Mary, we can direct our anxiety to God. He can bring us peace even in tense situations.

What God wants is for us to trust Him. He will respond to us with the same understanding that He did Mary, even as He calls us to deeper faith and godly living.

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The Importance of Trust – insight from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to assure God’s people of His understanding nature. She is a wife, mom, grandma, author, speaker, and lay counselor and lives in Southern California. Kathy has more than 55 published non-fiction books in genres like Bible studies, commentaries, Christian living and compiled books. She has spoken in more than 35 US States and 9 foreign countries. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com

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

Join the conversation: What principles or other stories from the Bible support your assurance that God is understanding?

Precious Gifts

by Cindy Sproles @CindyDevoted

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Psalm 23:1 NIV

I think I have bloody knees. No, I know I have bloody knees. It’s the second time I’ve boogered them up. I made a nice dive to catch a runaway cart when we helped our friends move. But the bloody knees I have now are scared and scrapped from praying. Things like my husband’s cancer diagnosis tend to force our prayer lives beyond the usual.

Even as I prayed for others, I found it trying since my first inclination was to pray for ourselves. We are human after all. Still, I did my best to continue to sort through my prayer bowl, talk out loud to God in the car, in the house, in the yard. I have found when I spend my time in prayer for others, then God has space in me, to work.

Then, of course, there’s timing. His time is certainly not the same as mine. I want a fast answer. Fix it. After all, You’re God. Snap your fingers and make him well! In my imagination, I can see his sweet hand go up, giving me the “wait” sign. Refocus. Regroup. Get back to real the servanthood of praying for others. Make that necessary room for God to be God.

I look at where we started this walk months ago. Several of those were spent simply waiting. That was practice for what was to come. God knows my weakness is waiting. We’ve learned…I’ve learned…that God places folks around us who want to help us while we wait. It might be through their prayers, a meal, a text, a call…there are tons of ways. The fact is clear, many want to wait with us through the storm.

I felt like I was a burden to accept the help and then I started looking through those folks and the things they’ve done and shared with us. Like my dear friends who, if I didn’t call immediately after a doctor’s appointment, were calling me. Guiding me. Praying for me. Another wonderful friend, who when I called to tell him about Tim’s cancer, sobbed out loud on the phone as he prayed in that instant for us. That is called sharing the burden.

Who am I to look God in the face and say, I don’t want the help you sent? I couldn’t do that so I swallowed what pride was left and received the blessing. God taught me it’s okay to accept the love and help of others and not feel like a burden. When I look at their help through God’s lenses, I see the support and help He sent were precious gifts.

Recently, we were on the phone with the Ostomy nurse at Vanderbilt. The phone kept beeping in my ear and I couldn’t see who was calling until the current call ended. When we finished talking to the nurse, Tim asked if the doctor had called.

“Not that I saw. Why?”

“His number is on the phone.” He said.

Rats! We were waiting for the final pathology report. We called the doctor’s office back, but the call back number went to voice mail. The office was closed. We’d missed talking to the doctor because he makes his calls after office hours. Here we were again…waiting.

God knows what is best for us and He guides us by that amazing love. He insisted we wait again. So we waited.

The next morning the nurse returned our call. “Dr. Payne is here and he wanted me to call you. He didn’t want you to wait any longer. Tim’s pathology report came back clear. There are no signs of cancer. No malignancy.”

We both burst into tears. The path to becoming cancer-free had involved a permanent, radical surgery that forever changed how Tim would live daily life, with no real guarantee.

God proves His love for us daily. We need only to accept it. The great Shepherd leaves the ninety-nine to find the one – a vital part of our relationship with Him we so easily forget. We, as the one, are just as important to God, as the rest.

Today we celebrate the waiting and provision that has not only refined us but cleansed us. The result was good and the waiting was over. Tim had beaten the odds. To say that we are blessed is an understatement but to recognize the precious love and care from the Father easily shows, He is our shepherd, and we lack for nothing.

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Precious Gifts – encouragement from @CindySproles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

CindySproles

About the author: Cindy K. Sproles is the co-founder of Christian Devotions Ministries. She is a best-selling author and a speaker for writers and women’s conferences across the country. Visit Cindy at her website and check out her two latest books, Mercy’s Rain and Liar’s Winter.

Cindy’s newest book released this month! Worie Dressar is 17 years old when influenza and typhoid ravage her Appalachian Mountain community in 1877, leaving behind orphaned children with no way to care for themselves. Plagued with two good-for-nothing brothers–one greedy and the other a drunkard–Worie fights to save her home and the orphaned children now in her care. Along the way, she will discover the beauty of unconditional love and the power of forgiveness.

Join the conversation: How has the Good Shepherd shown His loving care for you?

Fathers’ Day at a Distance

by Tina Yeager @TYeagerWrites

“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Ephesians 2:17-18, NIV

I wonder how my father will spend his Father’s Day this year. My thoughts reach out toward him from a distance in these strange and uncertain times. I try to picture a peaceful celebration of the holiday for him.

My dad might settle into his recliner and rest for Father’s Day. He may tell stories of yesteryear to those visiting him. His once-ruddy hair could glow with a hint of its old hue in the afternoon rays. Perhaps he’ll enjoy his favorite ice cream atop a slice of preacher’s chocolate cake, like the dessert I used to bake for him. I won’t see him in person this year, so I’ll have to settle for memories and imagination from these many states away.

My imagination has taken me to negative thoughts for dad at times, though. I’ve worried for my father these past months. He questions the rules, drives a bit aggressively on his volunteer missions, and seems to forget things more often. I remind him to wear protective gear even if he doesn’t understand the risk. I encourage him to stay home. But mentioning concern over his forgetfulness seems less than helpful.

When I call, I’ll avoid sharing my fears over age and miles. Instead, I will listen to his repeated stories. Perhaps he’ll tell one of his tales I heard so often as a child. My brother and I groaned at these embellished memories and warned one another when we foresaw an incoming “WYWYA” (When I was your age)…”

But one charming tale brings me a smile today. He claimed his trips to school forced him to walk through six feet of snow uphill (both ways, as the story goes). However ridiculous, the story highlights the value of perseverance toward what matters most. Despite the challenges of distance and age.

The verse above reminds me how God overcame the greatest distance for us across all time and space. Jesus poured out His own blood in undeterrable veins which crossed all ages, seasons, and regions of our existence to unite us in His heart.

His Spirit traversed a more forbidding distance than steep snow-covered hills when he came to dwell within me. Yet he saw my heart as an important place to bring learning and new life through the heart-calming gospel of his love.

Such an all-powerful Lord draws us together and covers us in peace. Rather than fretting over my dad, I can consider him well connected and closer than I imagined. For my sovereign Father draws us close to Himself. And we can share no sweeter moment to celebrate on this Father’s Day, with or without a dollop of ice cream.

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Fathers’ Day at a Distance – encouragement during difficult times from @TYeagerWrites on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Tina Yeager

About the author: Award-winning author, speaker, licensed counselor, and life coach, Tina Yeager encourages audiences to fulfill their potential. She offers writing workshops through Serious Writer Academy, hosts the Flourish-Meant podcast, and is a mentor with Word Weavers International.

Tina’s book, Beautiful Warrior, empowers you to break free from the insecurity that has you trapped. Pick up your shield―the Word of God, your identity in Christ, and healthy thought patterns―and become the divine heroine you were destined to be.

Join the conversation: What are your favorite memories of your father?

The Perfect Father

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 NIV

My older brother dared me to climb the big poplar tree in our front yard. Its branches were the perfect distance apart for my little five-year-old legs to reach and climb. Once off the ground, I felt brave and accomplished. The wind rustled through the leaves around me, and I was carefree.

However, the joy of the moment did not last long. A huge bee began flying around my head. Soon several buzzed around me. My carefree attitude blew away with the breeze and I was now downright scared, screaming for help to get out of the tree.

Paralyzed with fear, I clung to the tree trunk.

My brother was no help; he went off to play with friends, abandoning me in the tree.

“You’ll be O.K.! Dad will be home from work soon,” Mom called from the porch. Her words didn’t calm me.

Long minutes passed. I cried for Daddy to come home to help me.

Relief came when my father arrived. Hearing my cries, he dashed from the car and rushed to the tree. Stepping onto the lowest branch, he coaxed me to let go of the thick limb. Slowly, shaking in fear, I put my foot onto a limb where he could pull me from the tree. I sobbed in the security in his arms.

My dad heard me and rescued me. That day he was my hero.

The Bible promises many times that when we cry out to God, he hears us. He is a loving, caring father.

The Word of God demonstrates how our heavenly Father deeply loves us and will not leave us. He has rescued us from the perils of sin and death. Even in times when God seems far off, we can remember that he is the loving Heavenly Father. Jesus taught us to pray to God as our Father.

For some people, the relationship with their father brings joy. For others, it may not be so positive. The experiences from our family of origin can affect how we view God as our heavenly Father.

Throughout my life, I did not have a particularly close relationship with my father. He was often distant, a man of few words. There were many times I longed for his support in the void of father-love. Yet, I still remember how he rescued me as a little girl in the tree.

When Dad passed away, I grieved, even though we were not close. My heavenly Father gave me peace with my relationship with Dad. For good and for bad, he is a part of me. God comforted me in my sorrow. He did not remain far off, but embraced my heavy heart with steadfast love and compassion. I awakened to realize a greater beauty of the fatherhood of God, which filled the void of earthly father-love.

If your heart needs comfort, look to God who is the perfect Father. Imagine crawling into His arms as a child needing consolation. He will reach out to you with lavish love that accepts you right where you are.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 NIV

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The Perfect Father – encouragement from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: How has your earthly father influenced your view of your heavenly Father?

 

 

Let Go

by Rhonda Dragomir @RhondaDragomir

I collapsed on the floor of the Romanian hotel room and wept. The next day, my husband, Dale, and I would finally receive a miraculous answer to prayer. Shouldn’t I be happy? I wasn’t.

Our agonizing twelve-year quest to become parents had led me to seek help from doctors, endure multiple tests and surgeries, and ingest expensive drugs with terrible side effects. Every month we hoped to learn I carried a child. Every month we were disappointed.

Instead, God ordained a different route to parenthood for us—through Romania, the homeland of Dale’s grandfather. We navigated a maze of obstacles, each one overcome by prayer, and after five grueling weeks of effort, we planned to adopt a five-month-old girl in a Romanian courtroom.

The night before the adoption, unease troubled my stomach. I had hit a wall which yet needed to be scaled. Emotion-charged hours of prayer revealed I had not completely relinquished my own will. I still wanted to give birth to a baby, and I was angry with God because that petition had not been granted.

The realization stunned me.

Our dilemma was not unlike the three Hebrew children who faced the wrath of King Nebuchadnezzar. Who wouldn’t rather live than die in a fiery furnace? They surely petitioned God for his protection from the king’s edict commanding them to worship his image. Obedience to God should spare them Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath, right?

Wrong. Their defiance stirred the king to greater anger, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced certain, painful death in a fire heated to seven times its normal intensity. Even their last words spoke their heart’s desire: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

We tell this story to our children not only because of these men’s faith or courage, but also because of their absolute surrender to the will of God. They let go of their very hope of staying alive and consigned themselves completely to the will of God. When they did, God showed his love and power by walking through the flames with them and ultimately sparing their lives.

Common wisdom dictates, “When you reach the end of the rope, hang on.”  My pathway to motherhood taught me better wisdom: “When you reach the end of the rope, let go.”

That night in the hotel, I confessed my resentment to God—He knew it anyway. I surrendered to his superior wisdom and quit struggling against his will. I let go of the baby I would never conceive to receive the baby he chose for me. I jumped right into the arms of my eternal God, who waited there to catch me.

A few days later, Dale and I looked into the wide, brown eyes of our new daughter with wonderment and joy. She was perfect! God answered our prayers in his flawless way, which was much better than we could have imagined. That daughter, Jana, has been a delight every day since.

Jana’s presence in my life reminds me every day: God’s ways are best. His blessings sometimes only come when I let go of my own desires and fall into his everlasting arms.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms… Deuteronomy 33:27a NIV

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Let Go – encouragement when #FollowingGod is hard from @RhondaDragomir on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: An avid reader and writer, Rhonda Dragomir lives in the heart of idyllic horse country in central Kentucky. Her degree in Social Work from Asbury University prepared her for more than forty years of ministry as a pastor’s wife.

Rhonda writes both fiction and nonfiction, and she was named 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc. Learn more about Rhonda on her website: www.rhondadragomir.com.

Join the conversation: Can you remember a time when you fell into the arms of God?

 

Aging and Sickness: How Can You Have Hope?

by Lee Ann Mancini

Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.  1 John 3:2 NASB

Does the news scare you? It frequently scares me—especially what I read on the Corona virus pandemic or many other serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, etc.

In 2021, I will turn 62. While I can no longer be considered young, neither will I be considered that old. After all, isn’t 60 the new 50? But if I can be completely honest, there are many ways in which I am beginning to feel my age. For one, I am starting to experience slight hearing loss along with other typical aches and pains. Sometimes I suffer from insomnia, waking up at 3:00 AM on the dot. Finally, I do not have the strength or endurance that I used to. Not to mention how hard it has become to lose weight!

How can I have hope when my life seems to be on a downward trajectory? Many women in my aging shoes can look to the faithfulness of God in their younger years for encouragement. Maybe He was your strength in bearing children or your wisdom as you raised them. Maybe He used the pain in your life to draw you closer to Him. Maybe He has taught you to forgive more easily and love more deeply, all because it brings glory to Him. If He was all that to us before, why would we not trust Him for what lays ahead?

As we’ve aged, we have also matured in how we set priorities. Outside appearance matters much less than it once did. We now value what is in the heart and mind of a person. Our earnest prayer is that we will continue to grow in our ability to be a living testimony of the love and greatness of our Lord and Savior. We are determined to continue in our faithfulness until our very last breath. This is our living testimony.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) declares, “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” That promise is so much more relevant today than it was in our youth, back when we felt invincible. In our weaknesses, we now recognize our complete dependence on Him. He is enough to provide for our need and strengthen us in our older years.

Do you grieve your youth? Think about this: Paul wrote, “Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him…For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:11-17 NIV). 

Remember that every day we are getting closer to seeing Jesus face to face! That promise alone should give us all the hope we need to endure until the end.  

There’s something else we should always remember. John wrote that “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John3:2 NASB). Not only will the Lord one day give us a brand-new body that will never grow old, but one day we will become his beautiful, eternal bride! What greater hope can we have than that?

Will you praise him through your present pain for the future hope you have? How amazing that day will be when we see the Lord’s face! We can look forward to the day when He will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It will be worth every hard thing we endured on this earth.

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Aging and Sickness: How Can You Have Hope? – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lee Ann Bio Picture


About the author:
 Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Sea Kids book series and an executive producer of the new Sea Kids animation series.

Lee Ann’s book, Forever with Jesus, teaches children how wonderful heaven is: no more tears, pain, or suffering. When their neighbor passes away, the children in the story learn that they do not have to fear death, because their belief in Jesus guarantees they will live forever with Him.

Join the conversation: What keeps you going in suffering and pain?

The Science of the Servant-Leader

By Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who…by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity… Philippians 2:5-7 CSB

Did you ever get a note from your child’s school and secretly hope it was about anything but a project?

Minor behavior infraction. Please let it be a minor behavioral infraction.

Oh, that four-word note that casts dread deep into the heart of a parent: SCIENCE NOTEBOOK DUE MONDAY. Because bye-bye, weekend.

It’s funny how we try to convince ourselves that it’s NOT going to require more from parent than from child. Denial is interesting that way. I would eventually work through the stages and make it to acceptance. Acceptance that it’s a weekend of glue—and lots of it. And some researching, some clipping, some labeling and some Extra Strength Tylenol. Maybe also some crying. Not sure whose.

Those assignments do require much of us. But there’s a lovely science involved when we experiment, observe and conclude that in even the smallest life minutiae, as we lead responsibly, we’re teaching how to become responsible leaders. At the same time, as we serve well, we’re demonstrating how to be selfless servants.

How do we lead responsibly? The truth is, I can only lead well as I’m God-led.

How can we model servanthood? It’s an undeniable fact that I can only serve well as I’m God-empowered by my Servant-King.

Paul’s “schooling” in Philippians 2 has inspired and convicted me regularly since I was a teen (and working on my own science notebooks). “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others,” (vv. 3-4, CSB).

Everyone should look out not only for his own science notebooks…

I do think one of the best tests of how “servant-y” my heart is at any given moment is my willingness to lead in not expecting to be treated as a leader. By not insisting on status or recognition or payback or anything at all in return. By not asking for even a free weekend or an A+. The real question: Am I willing to serve when it’s probably going to cost me—even when it’s going to cost me deeply and dearly?

The next verses in that Philippians 2 passage reveal my assignment—my motivation and my empowerment. It’s all in Christ Jesus.

“Adopt the same attitude as that of Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God as something to be exploited. Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity” (Philippians 2:5-7 CSB). It was a servanthood that took a King all the way to a humiliating cross. And when I “adopt the same attitude,” and allow this glorious Servant-King to work in and out and through me, I can bypass the denial and the crying and any other misdirected response. Bye-bye, pride.

No hypothesis about it, in raising our kids, those times pride was in check, weekends were grand—project or no project. You should also know that I’m mostly kidding about the projects I did with my children. Because in the middle of a lot of tears, toil and Tylenol, we had concentrated time together on a project weekend we might not have had. In essence: Hello, weekend. We explored a sweet handful of topics together. I had five kids, so that does mean my fingers were a little bit glued together on a lot of Mondays. That’s okay. Especially since on that last science notebook, I got an A. I mean my son. My son got an A.

TWEETABLE
The Science of the Servant-Leader – encouragement from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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 novel, Turtles in the Road, co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Rhonda and Kaley have just released a new novel, Off-Script and Over-Caffeinated. When the Heartcast Channel Movie division announces they’ll briefly be allowing submissions for new Christmas movies, Harlow finds herself paired with a reluctant co-star. Jack Bentley may be the biggest Heartcast Original Movie name in the business, but he is anything but formulaic. 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.

Join the conversation: What lessons have you learned about leadership?

Taking Heart in the Heartache

by Beth Duewel and Debb Hackett 
@DuewelBeth
@debb_hackett

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NIV

Debb: My family is in a season of uncertainty as my husband’s current role in the military comes to an end, and we wait to see where we’ll go next. After years in our present location, it’s hard to start living through the ‘last time we’ll do this, go there, see them’ moments, especially as we don’t have anything to run toward yet. I look around at the families who are rooted in this community we have loved and think how different their predictable lives seem to ours.

I acknowledge this is solidly a first world problem. We aren’t in danger, hungry, or homeless, and we have no major health concerns. But each day, the not-knowing gets a little harder. I don’t want to waste these last few months in this mood.

Beth: I get this! When my daughter was first diagnosed with a brain tumor, I found myself living in the space of “She may never graduate, drive a car…” It was a crowded place to dwell, and I must have been some kind of delirious to worry about such temporary things. The not-knowing kept me anxious. Moody. Makeup-less. Then one day her neurologist said, “You may want to at least try to look optimistic, because we really don’t want to make her think she is not going to be okay.”

That’s the thing: Jesus didn’t put on a face and pretend it was going to be okay, but assured that we can expect peace even though it’s not. Just imagine, in the early chapters of John, Jesus tells the disciples what will happen. He will go away. They will suffer. But, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33 NIV). He knew that in His absence their tired hearts could know the home of His presence.  

Deb: So Beth, how do we do it? Even in the short time of writing this, we’ve seen our lives change. A lot of those ‘lasts’ have been taken away. How do we find peace and take heart in heartache? Even as streets and grocery store shelves are eerily empty, when schools and playgrounds are closed and everything, even church, looks different? When so much we knew in life has shifted? No one’s shooting, but the military folks I know agree we are at war.

Beth: Just like any battle, the not knowing is the hardest. Eventually, we exhaust ourselves. We have somewhere to run to though, a destination, a home even. Because Jesus says this in verse 32, “A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me” (John 16:32 NIV).

The thought of Jesus abruptly leaving had to have been a frightening thought for His disciples. The anxious worry of being scattered to their own homes, of being truly alone, would have been a shock after the security of traveling together for three years.

We now know this was one of the last conversations between Jesus and His disciples. Although Jesus knew what waited ahead—trouble then triumph—He offered harmony in the middle of both. His promises give comfort a voice. I am not alone. In me you will have peace. I have overcome the world. These truths, re-read after a makeup-streaked day of work in the ER, tell me it’s going to be all right. This connection is vital to our fierce, soul-filled peace. Life may shift and change, but we can expect the best because “…my Father is with me.”  

Debb: And that’s how we make it through whatever life throws at us—uncertainty, fear, anxiety, illness, or heartbreak. My family has always known and lived the trouble, but now more than ever, we need to claim the promise: we can take heart because Jesus has been to each of those hard, emotional places before us, and we know that in the end, The Story concludes in victory. He wins. And so do we.

TWEETABLE
Taking Heart in the Heartache – an encouraging conversation between @DuewelBeth and @Debb_Hackett on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

beth duewel (2)
fix her upper reclaim your happy space

About the authors: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their new book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.

Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Debb Hackett  has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives just outside Washington D.C. with her husband and children. She’s having lots of fun working on an inspirational contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass, or skiing. Also, if you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would be a win. She blogs at: http://debbhackett.com

Join the conversation: How does knowing the end of the story help you live in the here and now?