Feeling Out of Your Element

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10 ESV

Deep sea creatures are fascinating, and they have a story to tell.

If I could overcome my raging claustrophobia long enough to enter a submarine, I’d travel beneath the sea to observe giant squid, octopi, and lantern fish in their own habitat. I believe they have a lot in common with us Jesus-followers.

Creatures that dwell in the deep sea are perfectly designed to survive in their surroundings. (Like us, when we become new creatures in Christ.)

They have large eyes especially designed to see in the dark, lightless depths. So, too, do followers of Jesus have eyes designed to see in dark, lightless places. Like Father Damien, a priest who volunteered to work, and eventually to die, on the Kalaupapa leper colony in Hawaii. He did not see disease; he saw human beings who craved the loving touch of God.

Deep sea dwellers are designed to glow in the dark – they have their own inner light that shines in the depths where no sunlight penetrates. So, shines the light of Jesus-lovers. Consider Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who hid Jews from the Nazis and was eventually captured and imprisoned with her sister in a concentration camp (Ravensbruck). She was able to shine the light of Christ even there. Her sister, Betsy, died at Ravensbruck, but not before she told Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Sea creatures are beautiful and graceful when they are in their element. They were designed to live surrounded by deep saltwater that exerts immense pressure and helps to give these creatures their form and flow. Followers of Christ are meant to abide in Him, our Living Water, and when we do follow Him into the deep heart of God, it is in the immense pressure we experience from outside sources that we find our actual form and flow. We cease to flop about on the surface of spirituality or deflate and rot on the shore gasping to breathe air we’re not equipped to utilize.

Out of their element, stranded or washed up on shore, deep sea creatures are ghastly, odiferous, and subject to quick death. So do we, apart from life in Christ, become distortions of our intended design, continually given over to death of the soul, spirit, and eternal life.

Feeling out of your element? You are. You were meant to dive deep, to travel deep, to dwell deep—salt, water, light…it’s in your re-born DNA. If you are in Christ, you are a new creature according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. You must discover your new element – which is only found in Christ.

Feeling the pressure of life in Christ? You were made for the pressure. It will shape you, support you, and free you. You were designed to inhale water—Living Water.

Go ahead! Dive into the heart of God. There’s nothing to fear. It’s what you were made to do.

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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: Are you under pressure right now?

Mended With Gold

by Amy Williams @free2Bfearless

I broke my favorite mug the other day. I’d finished my morning coffee and set my mug on the precarious stack of paper next to my desk. I had to set it there because my desk was covered in projects and folders and protein bar wrappers. And before I knew what was happening, my beloved mug slid off and shattered on the wood floor.

The mug had been a gift from my best friend. She had one just like it. Handmade. Ceramic. Dark blue. And when she left for England, where she lived for three years, we would send each other pictures of our matching mugs whenever we were lonely. No matter where I go, no matter where I lived, I always took that mug with me. And just like that—because of my own actions no less—the mug was in pieces. What once had a use was now useless. What once had value was now worthless.

As I gathered up the fragmented pieces of my favorite mug, I couldn’t help but compare it to my life. Many times, I’ve felt like my life has been broken into pieces, mostly due to my own poor choices. Some of the consequences of those choices rise up and taunt me on a daily basis. I’ve disappointed people who were counting on me. I’ve hurt people I love. I haven’t been there for the people who needed me when they needed me. If it were up to me, my life would be jagged pieces on the floor—shattered and scattered by my own hand.

But it’s not up to me.

When I was seven years old, I decided to believe what Jesus said about Himself and about me, and from that point on, I’ve been one of His many works in progress. Since that day, I have been on a journey with Him where He is keeping His promise from 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

I hadn’t heard about Kintsugi until a handful of years ago in a random Pinterest post during a pinning binge (you know, you’ve done it too). Kintsugi, which is roughly translated “mended with gold,” is a Japanese pottery technique where the pieces of broken cups or pots are rejoined using gold lacquer. It’s gorgeous work. Instead of an old broken pot, now you have something beautiful. Something new. Kintsugi takes a broken vessel that had lost its inherent worth and makes it more valuable than it had been before—not because it was broken but because of how it was pieced back together.

Sound familiar?

We all have broken pieces. We all have scars and wounds, whether we let the world see them or not. But you can’t hide your broken pieces from Jesus. He knows each one, and He offers redemption for each scar. Only He is big enough to take the broken pieces of your life and turn them into something beautiful that can be used to help others. That is the true worth of your scars and broken pieces. Not that you have them—but how God can redeem them for His glory.

What broken pieces are you hiding today? What scars are you afraid to reveal? Don’t let the enemy convince you that your brokenness has made you worthless. Listen to Jesus, the Master Potter, who is able to take your broken life and make it new and whole again.

As for me and my favorite mug, I’m going to go find some gold lacquer. Because that old piece of handmade pottery still has lots of new stories to tell.

…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6 NIV

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Mended With Gold – encouragement from A.C.Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williamsAbout the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on Finding Firefliesa mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.

Join the conversation: How has brokenness been a part of your spiritual journey?

TRANSFORMED!

by Fran Caffey Sandin

“Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5: 17 NASB).

 Humpback whales cavorting in a feeding frenzy, soaring bald eagles, and a brown bear with two cubs climbing on the shoreline rocks were among the many wildlife sightings on our Alaska Dream Cruise. A small ship with 40 passengers sailing from Ketchikan to Sitka stopped for a brief tour of Thorne Bay. The small town of 473 currently featured seasonal residents plus those employed in the Forest Service and public education. Our tour guide explained its colorful history.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s Thorne Bay was the largest logging camp in North America and boasted 1500 residents at its peak. During that time, the city outgrew the sanitation plant from the early days, so they built a new one. The city wanted to sell the old site. Some adventurous members of a local church decided the location was great for the right price, so they bid on the property and won.

Today, the lovely Church at Thorne Bay is a beacon of light overlaying an old sewage dump. Isn’t that a perfect picture of what Jesus does for us when His blood covers our sins? Thinking about the comparison just made me smile. Jesus covered the stench of our sin with the beautiful fragrance of his holiness. Hallelujah! What a Savior!

During our trip, my husband and I met Roxy, a lovely, vivacious brunette who had majored in media and communications in college. After graduation, she moved to Hollywood to become an actress.

She did. But God had more in store for her. Her eyes sparkled as she related a life-changing encounter. On a movie set, she met a couple who asked two simple questions, “Do you believe the Bible?  Do you believe Jesus is who He said He is?” Startled at first, she began meditating about the questions. In younger years she had attended church but had never seriously considered the claims of Jesus. She enjoyed the social gatherings but never really knew Jesus in her heart.

After meeting the couple, she began reading her Bible, confessing her sins, and received Jesus as her personal Savior. She asked Him to help her start a new life. Acknowledging her anger and controlling ways, she contemplated the words of Jesus. God began to change her. She developed a desire to serve others, rather than to be served. As a result, she sold or gave away most of her belongings and moved to Alaska to work at a Bed & Breakfast. Unfortunately, a short time later the B&B closed.

She prayed and asked the Lord. “What do I do now?” His promptings led her to a large, beautiful house where Roxy took a deep breath and rang the doorbell. Her heart pounding as she waited, a kind woman opened the door and listened when Roxy explained that she needed a place to work. Roxy did not know the lady was a founding member of the Alaska Dream Cruise line, but God did.

Roxy left with a sigh of relief and a spring in her step. The lady, a believer, offered her a job as an on-board steward—to serve meals, clean rooms, and do other chores. Roxy obeyed God’s nudges and He provided. She is excited and happy for me to write her story because she wants to share her joy.  In her own words, “I have been transformed!”

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit’s power to conform us to becoming more like Jesus. Thank you that our old thoughts, ways, and habits turn completely around when we take His words seriously and apply them to our lives. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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TRANSFORMED! – insight from Fran Caffey Sandin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

fran sandlinAbout the authorFran Caffey Sandin is a retired nurse, wife, mother, and grandmother in Greenville, Texas. She enjoys baking, flower arranging, hiking, and traveling with her husband, Jim. Fran is a church organist, a core group leader for Community Bible Study, and author of See You Later, Jeffreyand Touching the Clouds: True Stories to Strengthen Your Faithand has co-authored othersJim and Fran are parents of two sons awaiting them in Heaven; a married daughter and son-in-law, and three fabulous grandchildren. Visit Fran at her website:  www.fransandin.com.

Join the conversation: What are evidences in your life that God is transforming you?

A Fresh Start

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17, CSB

By noon today I was wishing I could have a do-over.

Because I woke up late, I was running behind all morning. Then, because I was running late, I didn’t go to God’s Word first to soften my heart and settle my soul before interacting with others. It was all downhill from there. As a result, I spoke a harsh word, instead of letting gentleness flow out of me. And I found myself complaining instead of seeing the best in a situation.

“God, is there any hope for me?” I prayed.

It’s a good thing that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings.

Second Corinthians 5:17 tells me that the past is forgotten and everything is new when I am in Christ. That doesn’t just mean I become “new” when I initially come to Christ and surrender my life to Him. It means I can experience new beginnings every day – every time that I blow it. Every time that I see the need to start over. Every time I want to make it right with Him again.

Because we are human, we still sin. Even when we love God and set out to do what’s right, we still mess things up at times. Yet, a new start awaits. It’s available for the asking.

“God, create a clean heart for me…” David prayed in Psalm 51:10, after a pretty disastrous series of events that included lusting after a married woman, committing adultery with her, murdering her husband, and then continuing in his deception to save his image as king. Yet, as his sin found him out, this broken man cried out to God:
“Renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit” (verses 10-12 CSB).

King David asked for a new start after messing up big time. And God, in His mercy, gave him one. When you and I ask God for a fresh start, He gives one to us, too. And He makes everything new. Everything. Our minds– to think pure thoughts. Our bodies – to live purely once again. Our mouths – to speak words that heal, not wound. Our hearts – to seek after a path that is straight and right.

Do you need a new beginning today? Would a fresh start put a fresh wind in your sails? Then ask God for a fresh start and a new beginning, as David did, and watch Him create a new you, right before your eyes.

Lord, please cleanse my heart and give me a fresh start in You. Make me new and spotless in Your eyes once again.

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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 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When You’re Running on EmptyFor more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts.is written for women who are dealing with wounds from the unresolved issues in their past. Readers will find gracious, biblical counsel on how and where to finally find healing and peace.

Join the conversation: What do you wish you could do over?

 

 “I hate change!”

by Sharon Tedford @61Things

I sat surrounded by piles of full cardboard boxes and wondered what on earth I’d done. I’d agreed to this move. It was a decision my husband and I made in unity, after fifty billion prayers and discussions. Yet in this moment, I questioned our decision to move four thousand miles away to America.

I was home with our youngest son, who was four at the time. There was great delight in his world. He had this empty house to play in, and three enormous cardboard boxes his big brother had built into an airplane, complete with wings and windows.

Everyone else was out, leaving me at home to unpack boxes.  I began to feel overwhelmed by questions which pushed their way to the front of my mind. “Why are you here? Are you crazy? This is too much for you!”

I flopped on the couch. “You’re right! It is too much. What was I thinking?”

Moving across the Atlantic Ocean was an opportunity too good to pass up. It was a good idea, in fact it was a great idea. But today it seemed questionable. You see, the people here drive on the wrong side of the road, and they also walk down the wrong side of corridors and staircases! They use funny money and talk in nonsensical phrases with an unusual cadence. They don’t use “tins” they use “cans”, and I can’t find a single swede, which is my favourite vegetable.

I was alone in the house with my sweet child—whose penchant for intellectual conversation had yet to develop. I had no friends and was cut off from family until our Internet connection was accessible. I couldn’t go to a local coffee shop to check my email because that would mean driving my new American car with a steering wheel on the wrong side!

It took two years before I finally recognized my problem.  We needed to repaint the inside of our home. There were swatches painted on almost every wall, and we’d finally narrowed it down to “greenish.”

So, why couldn’t I call the painters to get the project started? The day came when it dawned on me; what I feared was change.

Change.

Fear of change had been secretly impacting my life for many years.

For too long I’d allowed fear to sidle up to me and whisper nonsense in my ear. I’d let it tell me change was bad, difficult and filled with painful challenges. It was time to send this six-lettered beast on its way!

God says this about change:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)

To act on God’s will, I need to have my mind changed. If I want to be more like Jesus, I need to think differently from how I am right now, and He will use that “renewing of my mind” to change me. It became clear to me: change is a beautiful and powerful thing. It enables us to live the way Jesus called us to live. In fact, our life with Him begins with a wonderful change: Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)

I don’t say, “I hate change” anymore because change has led me further into the freedom only Jesus can give. Change is making me more like my King. How about you?

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 “I hate change!” Honest insight from Sharon Tedford, @61Things, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Sharon tedfordAbout the author: Sharon Tedford is an experienced British storyteller who uses her gifts as a singer, author, worship leader, and speaker to connect with her listeners, inviting them into a revitalized relationship with God.  Her humorous stories always end with an invitation to action. Mother to three teenagers and the wife of an Irishman, Sharon encourages people to live a God-focused life. You can connect with her at www.61-things.com.

Sharon’s book, Stand, is a devotional based on the stories behind her songs. Readers will be drawn into a deeper personal experience with God and learn how to stand on the truth of a Heavenly Father who loves them. 

Join the conversation: How do you deal with change?

 

Souls as Clean as Snow

by Debb Hackett @Debb_Hackett

It’s that time of year. For anyone living in the northern two-thirds of the United States, the weather seems to lurch from near-Armageddon amounts of snow or ice, and frostbite causing temperatures, or beautiful spring-like warmth that offers a welcome respite from the full-on days of winter.

We are a family of skiers. Every Saturday sees us up at 5 a.m. to get to our favorite resort in time to make “first tracks” and be the ones at the front of the line when the lifts open. During a recent trip, conditions were particularly beautiful. The trail-groomers and snow makers had done an outstanding job and the slopes were adorned with fresh powder. As my skis swished down the mountain, I was struck by how like God’s grace a ski trail is.

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
 they shall be as white as snow; (Isaiah 1:18, NIV)

First thing in the morning, the surface of the trails is white and smooth, perfect for skiing. But as the skiers come, the snow gets chopped up and marked. Sometimes there are deep ruts or slash marks, and over time, moguls or bumps form. By the end of the day the snow can be dirty with mud, and pine needles or twigs mixed in. Isn’t that a little like us? We wake up to a day with no errors… yet. Then there’s a poor thought, maybe a sharp word or some other type of mistake and we are off. Sin makes it’s “first tracks.”

We go through the day with all the challenges life throws at us and we can find our closeness to Jesus slashed, or perhaps our faith hit some bumps. By the end of the day we might well be a little less than pristine, feeling the weight of our sin.

But even as I skied and contemplated this, the Lord was quick to reassure me…

 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17, NIV)

It doesn’t matter how dirty our snow gets, we know the ultimate groomer. Unlike a ski slope, Jesus doesn’t bury the mess in more snow so it’s hidden. He cleanses us from it and leaves us forever washed white.

Be reassured today that there’s no sin so great or mistake so big that Jesus can’t forgive it or redeem it. That’s just how much He loves you.

Take a minute to ask for that love and grace work in you and shine through you today.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, NIV)

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Deb HackettAbout the author: 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 DC 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 has God’s grace impacted your life?

A Cinderella Story

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

When I was a little girl, my favorite fairy tale, hands down, was Cinderella. You remember: Cinderella spends her youth scrubbing floors and catering to the demands of her nasty stepmother and stepsisters. When an invitation comes to the prince’s ball, the privileged of the household go off to attend, leaving Cinderella alone and dejected. But the fairy godmother arrives in the nick of time, and with a wave of her wand, changes Cinderella’s clothing from itchy, woolen homespun rags into a dress of finest silk. Cinderella effortlessly wins the prince’s heart, but then must hurry out before midnight, leaving a glass slipper behind in her retreat.

You know the ending, of course: the prince uses the glass slipper to find his one true love again, and whisks Cinderella away to live as his princess happily ever after.

I used to pretend I was Cinderella. I wasn’t so hot on the housework part, but I did love catching the eye of the handsome prince. Wearing the ball gown ranked right up there as well. The transformation process of going from drab and needy to dramatically beautiful has great appeal for many of us. All of the makeover shows now playing, from fashion to homes, is evidence of this. We all love a good Cinderella story.

Assuredly, the best Cinderella story on record is the very real transformation that God has accomplished in us. We were destitute and without hope when He reached down and grasped us from the jaws of death. Like the father welcoming the prodigal son, He replaced our rags with the finest of robes, befitting of our new status as sons and daughters of the King.

Isaiah puts it this way: “My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10 NASB). We who were once alienated and hostile toward God now are presented as holy and blameless (Colossians 1:21-2 NASB).  He transformed us from being slaves of sin to the bride of Christ. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).

What an amazing transformation! In light of this, it is hard to understand how we so easily turn our backs on what God has given us, only to invest our time and energy on opposing interests!

Paul instructed the Christians in Colossae: “Consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed . . . Put aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth” (Colossians 3:5, 8 NASB) Instead, he urges: “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience . . . beyond all these things put on love” (Colossians 3:12, 14 NASB).

Too often, we exchange our new, costly garments for the old, scratchy sackcloth we discarded at our salvation. But we are new creatures! The old garment just doesn’t fit right anymore. It is certainly not befitting to our new title of prince or princess of the King.

Can you imagine if Cinderella, after marrying her prince, decided to shed her princess-befitting gowns of finest silk to don the old rags she wore as a scullery maid? The servants in the palace would think she had lost her mind. Why would anyone choose rags over the finest garments? Did she not understand that she was a princess now?

The angels think the same of us each time we choose our own agenda over the opportunity to participate in the Kingdom of Light. It is no less than absurd that we would ever willfully choose the old over the new, especially in light of what we have been given.

“Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering an a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma. . . For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of the Light.”  Ephesians 5:1, 2, 8  NASB

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Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Join the conversation: What is your favorite piece of the new wardrobe that God has given you?

A Diamond in the Rough

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

I stared in horror at the empty setting on my engagement ring. My diamond was gone.

This called for immediate action. I turned to my classroom full of second graders. “I will give five dollars to the person who finds my diamond,” I promised. Twenty-five children scrambled across the carpeted floor, determined to locate the prize. It wasn’t three minutes before one of the boys shouted, “I found it!”

I handed the reward over gratefully. Getting my stone back was well worth the incentive price. Of course, its value to me was sentimental, but replacing it would have been beyond what we could have afforded at the time. Diamonds are not cheap.

There’s a reason that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. They are the hardest natural substance found on the earth. They can only be scratched by other diamonds and hold a polish indefinitely. Their ability to reflect light has always made them highly desirable gemstones.

Diamonds were originally carbon-bearing material which was chemically changed by heat and pressure one hundred miles beneath the surface of the earth. This means the atoms which formed the original substance formed new chemical bonds within each molecule. The change is permanent. Many diamonds have imperfections, which are actually pieces of carbon which remain unaltered from their original state.

Scripture tells us that at the moment of our salvation, a tremendous change takes place in us as well. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV). We have been permanently altered from our old state. We used to walk according to the flesh, but now we walk according to the Spirit, because He dwells within us. We went from slaves to sin to adopted sons of the Living God (Romans 8).

But God is not yet finished with us. The point at which we became a new creation was only the beginning. Just like with a diamond, there are imperfections, left-over parts of us that He is transforming into the image of Jesus Christ. Paul told the Philippians, “He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:6 NIV).  Like a skilled diamond cutter, God is continually chipping off our rough edges, cutting facets in His precious “stones” to allow His glory to be reflected in ever-increasing volume.

Sometimes those cuts can be painful. We don’t like the process. But eventually we can look back to the circumstances which contributed to our sanctification and marvel at how God worked to change us. “He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:10-11 NASB).

And the beauty of what He is creating far surpasses even the most brilliant of diamonds, because the result will be the ability to perfectly reflect the brilliance of His glory.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB

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Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to
understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her award-winning book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Womenwas published in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Join the conversation: What changes have you seen in yourself that are a result of God at work in you?

You Have to Break A Few Eggs to Make An Omelette

by Deb DeArmond

“That’s really gross. You can’t serve that. Just dump it and redo it,” I said.

My sister-in-law stared at the blobby mess in the pot on the stove. “Really? You can’t fix it?” she asked.

“The only way to fix it, is to start all over again, and this time, follow the recipe,” I said, reaching for the cookbook.

As a newlywed, she was a beginner in the kitchen. She had tried to improvise when a recipe directed her to do something she preferred not to do. And now her husband and his boss were due for dinner before long, and she had nothing to serve them.  We hastily threw something together and hoped her sunny personality would make up for the ruined meal.  It did.

Sometimes, there’s just no way to resurrect something without tearing it down, throwing it out, or starting all over again. An omelette cannot appear without changing the original form of the egg.

That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t try to patch us up and apply a little spackle to improve on our imperfections. He made us new:

“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (KJV).

Who we have been must go that we may become new and whole in Him. The recipe is quite clear but may require great determination to achieve: “He must increase, but I must decrease,” John 3:30 (KJV).

The process may at times can be messy. There may be telltale signs that suggest the recipe needs adjusting. Just follow The Book. It’s time-tested and backed by a reliable author.

Go ahead. Break those eggs.

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.   Ezekiel 36:26 NASB

DeArmond-29 copyAbout the author: Deb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb addresses topics related to the family and women. Her books include: Related by Chance, Family by ChoiceI Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last and Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers, whether engaged, newlywed, or long-time married, create the life God meant marriage and family to be. You can read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb.

Join the conversation: What needs to decrease in you?

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A New Identity

by Delores Liesner

Isaiah 62:2 says that … “you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow…”(NIV)

I was the kid who always wanted to be somebody else.  I would practice my new voice, my strut, and my style before the mirror.  When fashion did not make me into something new, I’d change my name – sometimes weekly, on my school assignments.  That abruptly ended when my 7th grade biology teacher, quietly grading papers in class, suddenly held one up and mused – rather loudly I thought – “Hmmmm Terri – who would that be?  I don’t have a Terri in my class… oh, well,” and let all my hard work glide through her fingers into the trash.

Many adults practice identity deceit as well.  Our tricks are more sophisticated, of course.   Whether hiding our inability to read, pretending financial success, using so many beauty enhancements our spouses don’t know whether to sleep on the bed or the dresser, or ditching the evidence of habits or addictions when caught, there is One whom we cannot fool.

Ironically, this very One– the Lord Jesus Christ – has what we long for –– a fresh new start. Isaiah 62:2 says … “you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow,” and 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new is here!” (NIV)

When God changed my heart, my spiritual understanding changed too. I knew!  Finally, I knew! I had a new identity! Despite who I had been or what anyone else said I was, I was now adopted into God’s family –I was in Christ! God’s Spirit was now living in me and leading my life. Nothing I could do would improve or finish HIS perfect gift. The Bible says wages of sin is death, but Jesus paid my debt in full. It was SO awesome to realize that I did not have to live in guilt or fear anymore.

You know, being convinced that God cares for you will enable you to trust Him through any trial you might face. Life takes on new meaning.  To rightly see myself as God sees me is not about self-esteem, but a reality check: realizing God has forgiven and wiped away my weakness and sin. As I looked into His Word daily, I saw my new identity as clearly as I’d looked into a mirror and seen Justified (legally cleansed of all charges) at the top of the mirror, and Sanctified (set apart for service to God) at the bottom. It truly was a brand-new life.

Have you ever wished for a new start? A new identity has been planned for those who would believe in Christ since the beginning of time. Have you found yours?

delores liesnerAbout the author: Delores is a storyteller. Her passion, whether writing or speaking is to be the miracle for others. Her grandchildren discovered when they spent time with Gramma, something unusual often happened, resulting in another story.

 Over a thousand of those stories, devotionals, and articles are published in print and online and a compilation of 31 stories and life-changing challenges make up her devotional, Be the Miracle! (Elk Lake Publishing). Many other items are listed on her Amazon Author page.

Delores is often spotted reading (3-5 books at a time), trying on shoes, or munching dark chocolate and orange peel. Her personal ministry is to benefit children with life-threatening illness via Fullness of Life Foundation, Scottsdale, AZ

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Delores’s book, Be the Miracle,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What facet of your new identity in Christ do you appreciate the most?