God Save America

by Sheri Schofield

Yesterday I had to have one of my paintings scanned at a local print shop. It was a picture of Jesus on the cross. When the young man doing the work accidentally sent the jpeg to a wrong email address. I said, “I wonder what that person will do when they get this picture?”

The man smiled and said, “Maybe they will find Jesus.”

I asked if he was a Christian. He was not, but he believed Jesus was a great teacher, and he approved of Jesus’ teachings. I said, “Did you know that Jesus claimed to be God?”

He blinked. Clearly, he had never heard that. I told him this was the rationale the Jews gave for crucifying Jesus, though they were clearly doing it out of jealousy. He agreed with the jealousy. I could see he was perplexed. I had given him something to think about. I will see him again, after he has thought about this for a while. There will be a follow-up conversation, for I feel he will give this some thought. Maybe those few words will open the door to his heart next time we speak. In the meantime, I will be praying for him.

Our world is lost. At the founding of America, George Washington was chosen to be the first President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he pointed out a truth: “…the propitious smiles of Heaven, can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained…”* 

As I listen to the news and the immoral agenda being pressed upon our nation, I am grieved. This is not the nation our founders had in mind when they dedicated their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to fighting for independence. Confusion and sin is rampant. Witchcraft and New Age religions are increasingly predominant in our culture. A large portion of our people have turned their backs on God, and many Christians are hesitant to speak out about the salvation found only in Jesus, for fear of ridicule and rejection.

Can God’s smiles be expected? Can God bless America as we have become? No. But the great fact remains: God can still save America, if we, his people, called by his name, will come together again and pray, seek his face, call on his name, and reach out to the lost people around us with God’s truth. Mankind is born into sin, slaves to Satan, and can only be rescued by crying out to Jesus for help. The lost people around us will not turn to Jesus unless we pray for them then speak up about the salvation he offers.

The fate of America and the world in which we live depends upon our prayers, our sharing Jesus with others, and the Holy Spirit’s power. We are drawing closer every day to Christ’s return. The only question I have is this: Will there be one final harvest of souls in America and around this world before God calls an end to time? My lifework is dedicated toward that end.

A question has been passed down in recent times: If it were illegal to be a Christian, and you were arrested for being one, would there be enough evidence to convict you?

If that ever happens, I want the evidence of my faith to be overwhelming to those around me! Let there be witnesses wherever I have walked. I do not care about the personal cost. I have taken up my cross. I’m going all out for this.

God save America!

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 NIV

*From National Archives and Records Administration, Washington’s Inaugural Address of 1789.

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

sheri schofield

About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.

Her first book on salvation, “The Prince and the Plan”, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, “God? Where Are You?,” tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read. 

Join the conversation: Has God given you an opportunity to share Jesus with someone lately?

A Father’s Perspective on Hard Times

by Patti Richter

My usual weekly phone call to my elderly parents opened with a question I’d never before asked: “Do you have plenty of toilet paper?” Isolated during the early weeks of COVID-19, they depended on my time-challenged sister’s weekly grocery run.

My father assured me they were well stocked, then added, “There are worse things than being without toilet paper.”

Hard times helped shape Dad’s outlook on life. My parents were both born into the deprivation of the Great Depression, and they grew up during World War II hearing horrific reports and seeing images of its atrocities. But Dad’s rural Arkansas family had an even harder row to hoe than some. His family home  had no indoor bathroom or plumbing. Their outhouse offered no toilet paper, but either a Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog, and a house rule: only one page per visit.

My father doesn’t recall feeling terribly deprived as a child. He knew his forebears, homesteaders, had endured their own big challenges. However, the descriptions of his early years seem incredible today—such circumstances would equate to severe poverty in modern America.

It’s interesting how the tables can turn on us. After weeks of seeing too many empty grocery store shelves, we’re gleaning a healthy bit of context to relate to the trials of previous generations. And my dad’s perspective on life is now sage advice.

Gaining wisdom is a life-long pursuit, and, personally, it took a few decades to get over my self-focus. By the time my parents retired, I was occupied with my own family. I regularly called Mom and Dad to update them on our busy lives, but it took some close calls with health concerns for me to consider their well-being, to ask how they were doing and what they might need, and become more interested in their stories.

My latest reordering of priorities has centered on Mom’s hospitalization in an intensive care unit—under sedation, with breathing and feeding tubes. Though her condition is unrelated to COVID-19, the “no visitors” restriction has applied. My father, despite heartache, reassures me that he and Mom are at peace as their nearly 90-year-old bodies are failing. He wisely reminds me that we all have to accept the ravages of old age if we live long enough.

Adam and Eve, after their sin, received notice of their earthly composition. The Creator of Heaven and Earth said, “For dust you are and to dust you will return” (Genesis 3:19, NIV). This  offers a sobering perspective: If COVID-19 doesn’t take us, we still remain 100 percent susceptible to death. The young and healthy among us have no more guarantee on tomorrow than the ICU patient.

However, God has shown his mercy to humankind. The psalmist David wrote, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:12 – 14 NIV). For those who do not fear God, “He is patient… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).

Our Father’s good plan was made perfect through his Son, whose atonement for sin yields a not-to-miss offer: eternal life to “whoever believes in him” (John 3:16 NIV). For me, this promise is yielding genuine comfort as I prepare to say goodbye to my mother. And I look forward to seeing her again in a much better place.

There is wisdom in my Dad’s acceptance of old age and the inevitability of death. But thanks to the saving grace of God, it’s not the end for those who believe in Jesus.

There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain. Revelation 21:4 NIV

A Father’s Perspective on Hard Times – encouragement from Patti Richter on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Patti Richter headshot 2017-1nAbout the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She writes and edits global mission stories for The Gospel Coalition and her faith essays appears at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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

Join the conversation: Have you noticed your perspective changing as you grow older?

Extraordinary Intervention Through the Power of Prayer

by Sheri Schofield

“Why don’t you stop and ask for directions?” I was totally exasperated with my husband. We had been driving around for an hour trying to find my sister-in-law’s new house. I don’t think we were even in the same Southern California city anymore! But Tim wasn’t about to ask for directions. He had a GPS in the rental car, man’s ultimate toy for avoidance. He finally did pull over and ask a passing male how to find the street. Presto! We arrived at our destination within ten minutes.

I find that avoiding asking for directions is a universal spiritual problem, too. Vast numbers of people on this earth do not want to ask others how to get to heaven. They have their own theories, and they are not about to let anyone else tell them differently!

One day I received a call from a good friend. She asked me about my own prayer life and experiences. I shared a few things that God put on my heart in prayer and how, as I acted on his instructions, He answered my prayers.

My friend asked if I would please pray for her mother who was ninety years old, an atheist who was born and raised in China. My friend had been praying for her and sharing her faith for fifty-one years. But her mother had firmly resisted Jesus.

I agreed to pray and to especially ask God to speak to her mother through visions and dreams, since she had resisted all human intervention. After a week of intense prayer, I knew that God had said, “yes,” to my request. He was at work. That was less than six months ago.

Yesterday I received an email from my friend. Her mother had been tormented with dreams of fire and snakes and impending death, and Jesus had appeared to her. She was desperate to give her life to Him! She called my friend’s pastor for the first time. He and his wife lead a Chinese church and speak the mother’s heart language.

When the pastor arrived, my friend’s mother asked for Jesus to save her. She wants to be baptized, too.

The pastor’s wife had discretely recorded the mother’s prayer and had sent it to my friend, with no explanation. When my friend realized what was happening in the conversation, she began crying for joy! Her mother, age 90, is now a believer in Jesus!

The mother’s first request from her daughter was for a Bible. My friend brought her the Chinese Bible she had given her mother as a gift ten years before. The mother’s faith is fresh and real, and like a newborn baby, she desires the milk of the Word.

If you have a loved one who has resisted asking for directions to heaven, or who refuses to respond to Christ, it is not too late to turn them over to Jesus for extraordinary intervention.

Saul was a man just like that. Acts 9 (NIV) tells us, “Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’ disciples . . . As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’

“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.

Saul gave his life to Jesus and became Paul the Apostle.

Maybe it’s time to pray that God will give your precious friend or relative a Road to Damascus intervention.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9, NIV

Extraordinary intervention through the power of prayer – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Join the conversation: What do you pray for your loved one who is yet unbelieving?