Confidence in God: A Tick Tale

by Patti Richter

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 NLT

My adolescent niece sat cross-legged atop her grandparents’ kitchen counter. Head down and fists clenched to pull her thick hair forward, Alana tried to remain still while my father worked to remove a large tick burrowed into the back of her skull.

Dad straightened up and wiped away the beads of sweat from his forehead. The parasite, however, remained unmoved by his efforts, which included the old-school remedies of a freshly extinguished match stick and a pair of metal tweezers.             

I stood across the room that day as a quiet spectator, hoping my two young children would stay out of the way. They peered around the corner of the brick fireplace to check on their cousin, perhaps wondering if ticks had also invaded their heads while playing tag around their grandparents’ oak trees the night before.

Having raised six children, my father had experience in extracting ticks. My siblings and I all believed he could fix anything, maybe even save a sinking boat with duct tape like the suggested image on a greeting card I once gave him.

But this time I grew conflicted about Dad’s sufficiency, as I sensed that we should pause to ask for God’s help. I knew my father might not welcome the suggestion.

At that time, decades ago now, my father viewed verbal prayers as strictly for the dinner table or during responsive readings at church. After I’d become a born-again Christian some years before, I tried to discuss my faith with Dad—without success. I learned to avoid such conversations with him.

The guidance of the Holy Spirit had been a great blessing to me, and God had shown me his power and love on so many occasions. However, I was slow at learning to share my faith effectively, especially with family members.

Now, as I watched my niece’s growing distress, I wanted to boldly call on the Lord. But Dad wasn’t my only concern; young eyes were also watching. What if God didn’t answer my prayer?

When Alana suddenly cried out, my father stepped back in frustration. And I stepped up.

“Dad, I think we should pray.”

He turned his head toward me with a look of exasperation and replied, “Go ahead.”

I closed my eyes and uttered a short plea to God, something like, “Creator of all creatures, please command the tick to let go, in Jesus’ name.”

With hardly a pause and without an Amen, Dad grabbed the tweezers and bent over Alana’s head to try again. Then he abruptly straightened up and held the tweezers high to view the tick—alive and kicking.

My father passed away last year, and I never asked him if God’s very present help that day strengthened his faith; I only know it boosted my own confidence in God. But I can also report that Dad eventually came to a deeper faith in Jesus Christ, and he was happy to talk about it!

To you who believe in the Son of God…. We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for. 1 John 5:13-15 NLT

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

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

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

Join the conversation: Has God answered a prayer like that for you? Please share!

No English Garden

by Janet Holm McHenry

Yesterday I mowed the back yard…then thatched it…then mowed again to pick up the thatch.

As I pushed those contraptions, I bemoaned the fact that I never got my English garden in my back yard. When we first started the landscaping process, I planted 42 rose bushes. I had hoped for a hedge that would bloom all summer long with abundant pinks and reds. I had dug the holes for all those bushes and planted and cared for them myself—arduous work.

My husband Craig wasn’t crazy about the idea. “You’re hemming in the kids’ whiffle ball field.”

The next spring all those rose bushes were dead—nothing but easily pulled-up dry sticks. However, a clear outline of the whiffle ball infield remained.   

No English garden. Just a whiffle ball field.

In another season I thought I’d try a variety of perennials. My youngest and I dug up a large kidney-shaped area and planted all kinds of plants that were guaranteed to come back season after season.

But the next year they looked worse than the previous one, and eventually I was just left with a couple in my kidney-shaped rock garden that was mostly rocks. Craig had been right when he had said, “It’s never going to work, Janet. Your garden is right in the middle of left field.”

No English garden. Just a whiffle ball field.

But as I looked over a massive area of thatch that I’d pulled from the sod, I realized that I did indeed have a back yard garden. Every time my grandkids came over and played whiffle ball with my husband—their “Pop”—they were blooming in not only their physical and mental abilities but also their relationship with their grandfather. And he was blooming too–with the joy of hanging out with six (or even ten when the others are visiting) young people who begged him to play ball. My prayers for a garden had been answered—just a bit differently than I had pictured.

Scripture teaches us that God hears our prayers. He knows our wants and desires, so it can be confusing when our prayers are not answered in the way we want. However, His view is longer and wider than our limited vision. We see the here and now, but He knows exactly what will truly meet our greatest needs and make us more loving, faith-filled, and generous of spirit. 

I can always visit flower gardens elsewhere. For now I’ll look over my back yard whiffle ball field and be thankful that God did indeed answer my desires for a garden of life.

Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see. 2 Kings 19:16 NIV

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

About the author: Janet McHenry and her husband Craig raised four pretty good whiffle ball players at their home in the Sierra Valley of northeastern California. A national speaker, she is a former educator and the author of 24 books—six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. More about Janet, including her writing coach business, can be found at janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: Has God ever changed your plans? Please share!

The Grace of God’s Love

by Christina Rose

” As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:16-17 NIV

The dove has been a symbol of peace, purity and devotion across many cultures for thousands of years.  As a symbol of the Holy Spirit in the Baptism of Jesus, the dove represents God’s peaceful, gentle and beautiful love. His presence in us produces qualities that show God’s character and grace.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)

God called Noah to build an ark when he sent a great flood to cleanse the earth.  Once the rains had stopped, Noah sent out a dove to search for dry land. The dove returned the first time without a sign of finding land, yet on the second occasion the dove returned with a fresh olive leaf in its mouth.

“When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth. He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.” (Genesis 8:11-12 NIV)

The dove had found a new home on earth and thus became a symbol of God’s peace with the earth following his judgment.  Just as the earth was cleansed during Noah’s time by a flood, our earth today is being cleansed by the trial of the pandemic. We are growing in humility, forbearance, faith, and love as we turn to God more than ever in these uncertain times.

When my little daughters begged for a puppy, I said no, as I knew its care would fall on me. When they became tweens, I ran out of ideas for cool presents, so we got the puppy. While tiny Lily weighed just two pounds, the love and joy she brought to us was giant. As I suspected, much of the care for Lily fell on me for the next 19 years. I didn’t mind as she taught us so much about love and devotion.

Lily was used to waiting long hours for me to return from work, but the Pandemic brought a silver lining in that I could work at home. For the last six months, we spent every day together as she battled blindness, dementia, confusion, and other disorders. All she wanted was for me to be with her, and thanks to God’s grace, I rarely left her side.

Just a few weeks ago Lily left for heaven. She was laid to rest on my brother’s ranch in a beautiful spot with other beloved family dogs. Facing each day without my devoted companion of 19 years has been unbearable. One day I prayed, “God give me something, anything, to show me that Lily is okay.”

One hour later I headed to the park where I walked with Lily every day. As I approached the stream where we would stop to watch the ducks, a beautiful white dove landed on the grass and stared at me intently. In the hundreds of times I have traveled this path, I have never seen a white dove. The dove continued to look intently at me for quite some time, then spread his beautiful white wings to fly towards heaven. I felt God had answered my prayer, by sending the white dove to assure me that Lily was safe with Him.

In these turbulent trials of the pandemic, we are being tested, humbled and stretched. We may be experiencing loss on several levels. God is waiting on us to humble ourselves and call on him. He answers our prayers in signs and wonders, like the white dove that was sent to give me peace.  He never leaves us nor forsakes us.

“ If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)

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

TWEETABLE
The Grace of God’s Love – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

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

Join the conversation: Has God ever given you confirmation through a sign from heaven?

What Is the Prayer of Faith?

by Sheri Schofield

“If God wants me to have more faith, why doesn’t He answer my prayers for healing?” an elderly man recently asked me. He reasoned that if God wants us to have faith, then God should give us some miracles to show that faith really works.

During Jesus’ earthly life, he told people about God the Father and salvation. He healed a lot of people, he supernaturally fed multitudes, and he raised the dead. He wanted his disciples to do the same works. To do these things, they would need to pray, asking God for the miracles.

Jesus knew that persistent prayer was necessary for miracles to be granted. So he told them a parable about a widow who kept going to a judge pleading for justice. But the judge kept refusing her request. Day after day, the widow kept going to see the judge. Finally, just to get her out of his hair, he gave her justice.

Jesus said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.”

Then, as though he were asking himself a question, Jesus said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8, NIV).

Yet, the Apostle Paul, a man of prayer and great faith, asked the Lord to remove a “thorn” in his flesh, but God told him no. Paul wrote, Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, (2 Corinthians 12:7-9, NIV).

In one example of prayer, the request is granted. In another, it is not. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? What does God want of us? Can we ever know whether or not God will answer our prayers?

The answer is: Yes, God will always answer our prayers. Most of the time, the answer will be to grant our request. But there will be times that, for reasons of his own, God will say no.

The prayer of faith is one of trusting God’s answer. We pour out our hearts, we persist, then we leave the results to God. We place our request but do not tell God how to do his job. With faith, there is no “why”.  Like a child who runs to his father for comfort, we cling to our heavenly Father. We trust that his answer will be for our eternal good and for his glory. We do not push him away if he does not give us what we want! By faith, we continue clinging to the One who comforts and strengthens us.

Like a loving parent, God will say “yes” much more often than “no”. If you are experiencing unanswered prayer, try listing all the “yes” answers that God has given you. You may run out of both time and paper! Post that list where you can see it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Then trust his wisdom concerning the request he has not chosen to grant you . . . yet.

When Jesus returns, let him find faith in our hearts!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart,” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

TWEETABLE
What Is the Prayer of Faith? – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: What do you do to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you?

Springs in the Desert

by Rebecca Price Janney @rebpricejanney

The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs. Isaiah 41:17-18 NIV

In his late 90s, in declining health, legally blind and stone deaf, my dad wasn’t shy about discussing death.  I planned to be with him when the time came, holding his hand, singing a favorite hymn, reading from his worn Bible.

We didn’t see Covid-19 roaring down the pike.

I usually visited Dad on Thursdays, but on Wednesday March 11th I couldn’t shake a thought, “Go now.” I went. The following day the facility closed to all visitors. Not until April 15th did I see Dad’s face again, on a video call. His face brightened upon seeing me, but his listlessness and sallow complexion were concerning. The following day an ambulance took him to the hospital. The doctor told me, “Both lungs are filled with fluid. His heart and kidneys are failing.” Dad tested positive for Covid-19. He said he didn’t want them to try to save him. He wanted to go Home.

“I want to see him.”

“No visitors are allowed, but let me see what I can do.”

I found myself in a desert with no water. God’s Word, however, promises to make a way in the wilderness and streams in the desert. Isaiah 41: 17-18 (NIV) says, “The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst. But I the Lord will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.”

True to His Word, the Lord answered my desperate thirst to be with my father. That Friday my son and I donned masks and stood outside Dad’s hospital room, speaking to him over house phones. Dad told me, “I think my time’s about up. I’m not afraid, and you don’t be afraid either. I’m ready for the Lord to take me.” I wanted to say a prayer or the 23rd Psalm, but I was in the hallway shouting because he didn’t have his hearing aids. Not the final conversation I’d imagined.

I did say, “I guess I’ll see you in heaven Dad.” He answered, ” That will be nice.”

The next day we spoke briefly on the phone, and on Sunday I called again, but he didn’t answer. He was by then on heavy pain medication. A few minutes later, however, my phone rang and to my amazement, it was Dad! “Did you just call me?” he asked, his mind was clear, although his voice was slurred.

“Yes. I’m so glad you called me back.”

“What’s up?” I had to smile; he always asked me that at the start of a phone call.

“I’m wondering how you are.”

“I don’t know why I’m still here,” he said. “Why doesn’t the Lord take me?”

“As you always told me,” I said, “you’re a tough old bird.” Then growing somber, “You’re walking through the valley of the shadow, and I can’t be with you, but Jesus is.” Dad spoke of Jesus’ suffering, and I said, “Look how that turned out.” After ten minutes we told each other “I love you.”

He died the next morning.

I couldn’t get that phone call out of my mind. There was something otherworldly about it. I asked a nurse on his floor about the phone he used. “They’re very basic,” she said, ” no caller ID or automatic redial.”

“Did someone help him make the call?”

“No.”

Often when I’d called Dad before, he had difficulty even hearing the ringer. At the hospital he didn’t have his glasses or his hearing aids, yet somehow he heard that phone ring, sensed it was me, and made what humanly speaking was an impossible call to speak to me one last time.

God had arranged for us springs in a very dry valley.

TWEETABLE
Springs in the Desert – encouragement from @RebPriceJanney on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Rebecca Price Janney is the author of 23 published books including Golden Scroll Historical Novel of the Year, Easton at the Crossroads, and her newest, Sweet, Sweet Spirit, a story of revival during a time of crisis in America. Her podcast, Inspiration from American History, can be found at Anchor.fm.rebeccapricejanney, and information about her books at www.rebeccapricejanney.com. Rebecca lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Rebecca Price Janney Author Photo 2018About the author: Rebecca Price Janney is the author of twenty-three books including the Golden Scroll 2019 Historical Novel of the Year, Easton at the Crossroads, and her newest book, Sweet Sweet Spirit: A Woman’s Spiritual Journey to the Asbury College RevivalShe shares her love of American history and the Lord at speaking engagements and through her podcast, “Inspiring Stories from American History.” She lives in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley with her husband, teenage son, and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Join the conversation: Has God ever unexpectedly supplied a spring in the desert for you?

What Do Our Kids See in Us?

by Janet Perez Eckles

Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.             Philippians 4:6 NASB

I sat at the kitchen counter, wrinkled tissue in hand. I thought I had no more tears to cry. But still, they flowed. With no warning, an incurable retinal disease had robbed my eyesight. I had sunk into a dark pit of gloom and desperation. With no treatment surgery or medication available, my hope had vanished along with the motivation to continue with life.

At 31, everything had turned upside down. Tormenting thoughts about my inability to care for my three-, five-, and seven-year-old sons kept me awake at night.

I dabbed my tears with the edge of my pillow case, and asked God for answers. I begged Him to heal my blindness and for a hint of hope to return.

He answered. He granted what was important. And He did so in an unexpected and a beautiful way.

One morning, I ran my fingertips along the side of the bed to find my way out of my bedroom. I followed the wall toward my three-year-old’s room. His whimper echoed in the hallway. I can’t find my puppy,” he said.

Once in his room, I extended my arms toward him, and kissed his chubby cheek. “We’ll find him.” I lifted his blanket and my fingers found the soft stuffed animal.

But finding a simple item didn’t compare to the needs my sons would have as they grew up. They needed a Mom who could see.

Lord, help us, I prayed.

God heard my cry. The day after that incident, Mom came to visit. She sat beside me on the couch. “This is what we’ll do,” she said. “I’ll move in with you.” She squeezed my hand with her thin fingers. “I’ll be your eyes,”

Her words caressed my aching heart, filling it with gratitude.

She left her comfortable condo and moved in a room in our home. With her loving flexibility, we established a routine. Years swept by. Her hair is now snow white, and at 90 lbs. and 4’9”, her love is as big as the city in which we live.

More than taking on some chores for the family, she taught me the value of selfless love.

She recently turned 91 and hasn’t lost the spark in her voice that exudes confidence in the Lord. It’s even more evident now, as we face the current circumstances that have shaken our world. Her mind is sharp, and her faith is strong. Her trust, peace and joy remain.

And what remains in my heart is the desire to give that same gift to my own sons. In the midst of adversity, I want to imitate my Mom, living out Philippians 4:6 (NASB) before them: “Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near.”

My prayer has changed. Asking for a healing of my blindness isn’t my main priority anymore. I place these requests before the Lord instead:

Lord, grant me enough faith so my sons can see me praising God even when all falls apart. Help me to express gratitude for big and small things. Show me, Lord, how to erase fear and worry with my words that echo Your promises. Even when I cannot see tomorrow, will you show me how to embrace Your peace for today? And as my sons grow up and lead their own families, will You remind them life is not about seeing our surroundings, but about allowing others to see your love in us.

TWEETABLE
What Do Our Kids See in Us? – encouragement from Janet Perez Eckles on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

janet perez ecklesAbout the author: Janet Perez Eckles is an international speaker, author and founder of J.C. Empowerment Ministries. Through her books and conference messages, she empowers thousands to overcome fear, conquer worry and live triumphantly.

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: Is there someone in your life who has expressed love through their service?

 

The Father of the Heavenly Lights

 by Christina Rose

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.  James 1:17 NIV

There are few things more dazzling than the splendor of the night skies illuminated by the stars, the moon and the vast mystery of the galaxies. I was born into a family of happy campers, and we had great adventures traveling in our Volkswagen bus. We loved to sit by the campfire at night, toasting marshmallows, drinking cocoa, and watching the shooting stars. Sitting together and gazing in awe at the heavenly night sky always felt like praise and worship to me. “Look up into the heavens. Who created the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing” (Isaiah 40:26 NLT).

Years later, I had my own family of happy campers. We purchased our own Volkswagen bus to travel the California coast. Our annual summer camping trips to Carmel and Big Sur were awaited with great anticipation. Each evening we sat by the campfire, gazing in wonder at the heavens, telling stories, toasting marshmallows, and drinking cocoa just as I did when I was a little girl. “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known” (Psalm 19:1-2 NLT).

After many wonderful camping trips, the bus started breaking down, and we needed a new car.  I was now a single mom with limited resources and knew it would take a miracle to get the car we wanted. One Sunday Ashley and I shopped for cars and she spotted a Honda Odyssey SUV with a DVD player that we could not afford. Her little legs barely reached over the passenger seat as she looked up at me with big blue eyes and said, “Mommy, we must have this car.” I looked at her precious, earnest face and wanted with all my heart to buy it for her. We took the brochure home to show her sister Remy who agreed that this was the perfect car for us. We placed it on the dinner table with hopeful hearts.

That evening, I was overwhelmed with despair that I would have to tell my daughters we could not afford this car. The thought of disappointing them was unbearable to me. Once they were asleep, I headed to the backyard to confer with the Father of heavenly lights. I spent many hours under the stars that night praying for His help to buy this car for my daughters. I knew that God delighted in giving His children good things. I chose to trust him on this request. “Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?” (Matthew 7:10-12 NLT)

The next morning, I took the brochure to the office where I worked as a property manager.  I taped it to the wall next to my computer so I could pray over it while I worked. Just a few hours later, the owner of the building walked in. He said, “A friend of mine leases a car for his property manager, and I would like to do the same for you. Is there any car you have in mind that you would like to have?” I took the Honda brochure off the wall, handed to him and said, “This is exactly what we want, in starlight silver with leather seats and a DVD player.” “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” (John 14:13-14 NLT)

Just a week later, we picked up our new starlight silver Honda with leather seats and a DVD player and headed for Disneyland. In the rearview mirror, I could see both girls deliriously beaming with joy as they decided which movies they would watch in the car on the trip. We have had so many wonderful adventures in our “movie car” for which I have the Father of heavenly lights to thank. Every good and perfect gift comes from above from the Father, who does not change like shifting shadows.

“Give thanks to him who made the heavenly lights—His faithful love endures forever. The sun to rule the day, His faithful love endures forever.  And the moon and stars to rule the night. His faithful love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:7-9 NLT)

TWEETABLE
The Father of the Heavenly Lights – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

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

Join the conversation: Has God ever sent a priceless gift in answer to your prayer?

Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts?

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

One summer, our four-year-old son drove a friend’s battery-powered three-wheeler. Watching Brant’s joy planted an idea. This would make the perfect Christmas gift.

My husband and I located a red one that December on sale. We stretched our seminary student budget and bought it. I smiled every time I imagined Brant’s surprise on Christmas morning.

Christmas Eve we set the gleaming three-wheeler beside the tree. I went to bed anticipating the excitement of the next morning.

But Brant didn’t like his gift. It wasn’t blue—like the one he’d ridden that summer. “But red’s your favorite color,” I reminded him. Didn’t matter, Brant wanted blue.

That year, his friends and sister scooted around on the three-wheeler. But Brant. Wouldn’t. Even. Touch. It.

The next summer we visited my friends again and Brant anticipated riding the blue three-wheeler. He was surprised at how much smaller and more worn it was than his three-wheeler. His attitude toward his vehicle changed. But by this time, because of Brant’s lack of interest and our coming move, Larry had already promised it to a man for his grandchildren.

Our good gift to our son never benefited him, because he rejected it.

I wonder how many times I’ve repeated my son’s story. I missed the joy of a good gift because it didn’t look like what I imagined or wasn’t the color of a friend’s. Worse, how many times have I’ve questioned my Father’s wisdom and love?

When God’s gifts don’t look like we imagined, we feel disappointed or rejected. We can’t imagine that His gift is better than what we asked for.

One year, I had a roommate who didn’t get anything I said. I felt frustrated trying to connect with her. One night in my journal I came across a prayer I’d written earlier to become a better communicator. I laughed to myself. God was answering my prayer, just not in the way I’d imagined. While I’d pictured an easy exchange of ideas, He was teaching me how to listen and express myself in ways that didn’t come naturally.

Do you have prayers that seem to be unanswered? Could you have overlooked the answer because it came wrapped in a blue bow when you expected pink?

It’s not too late to change our attitudes and enjoy God’s good gifts.

  • List the “gifts” you wish were different. Include experiences, personality traits, and people in your life. God already knows your thoughts, so be honest.
  • Ask Him to open your eyes to see them from His perspective.
  • Go down your list and, by faith, thank Him for His promise to work even the bad things together for your good and for the good of all who love Him (Rom. 8:28).

When our four-year old dismissed his Christmas gift, he wasn’t the only one who missed out. Our family missed the joy of him enjoying his gift. Remembering God gives good gifts helps us look for the good. The treasure may be hidden, but we know it is there.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights.  James 1:17 NIV

TWEETABLE
Are You Overlooking Your Best Gifts? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: Has there been a time when you failed to recognize what God gave you as a desirable gift?

Discovering that God Answers Prayer

by Doreen Hanna @DoreenHanna

My husband, Chad and I moved from the beach cities of California to Beaufort, South Carolina in the early years of our marriage.  It was a season of adjustment for us: Southern culture, a new home, new babies, and a new church. In the midst of all that, my husband chose to start a new business with a friend.

Their first year was quite successful. However, both men, young and lacking in wisdom, made some unfortunate choices and soon found themselves in serious business debt. One morning, Chad went to his partner’s house to pick him up only to discover he had completely vacated his home, taken his family, and left town. He also took all their tools and cleaned out the joint business account.  We were left with no money.  Chad came home to tell me what had transpired, and my heart filled with fear.

I admired my husband’s humility as he quickly began looking for work. Within three weeks he had a secured a job doing carpentry for the local school district.  He would receive his first paycheck in three weeks.  This was a long time to wait, since we had already been in financial straits for some time. Our food pantry was just about empty. The phone had been disconnected.  The water company had notified us that our water would be turned off soon. It was a very frightening few weeks.

One morning, in pondering on our desperate situation, I knew we needed a miracle. I hadn’t been living for the Lord, but I got down on my knees and said, “Lord if you will provide the $1,995 that we need to pay to get all our bills to date, I will live for you the rest of my life.”   I got up and called our debtors telling them with God’s help we’d pay them up to date by the end of the month. I never told anyone, even my husband, my deal with God.

The end of the month was two days away, and there was no sign of an answer.  On the 29th, my friend Emilie came by to check on us, since the phone had been cut off. She wanted to take me home to her house to call my mom, since she might be worried about me. When we arrived, I called my mom. Then I walked into their living room, where Emilie and her husband were standing together.  They said, “Doreen, we felt the Lord leading us to give you and Chad this. It isn’t a loan; it is a gift.”

I didn’t open it up in that moment. I just accepted it gratefully. Of course, when I got home, I tore it open immediately.  I could hardly believe my eyes. It was a check for $2,000!  I ran back to that spot by the couch where I had prayed and wept tears of humility and joy.

I had just discovered for the first time in my life that God truly did answer prayer.

I have been living for him since.  Not perfectly, but knowing that He does answer, always according to His plan and will for my life; sometimes sooner, sometimes later. Sometimes it has been a protective “No.” But whatever the answer, it has always been given through His grace.

Are you new in your walk with God?  Or maybe you have never stepped out to ask Him for a need? Don’t hesitate. He is trustworthy. His word says:

“Call on me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know.”  Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

TWEETABLE
Discovering that God Answers Prayer – insight from @DoreenHanna on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

doreen hannaAbout the author: Doreen Hanna is the Founder & President of Treasured Celebrations, the non-profit umbrella for Modern Day Princess ministries. She has been a Bible Study teacher for more than 35 years. She was married for 43 years to her husband Chad. Their two daughters, Brandy Corea, and Kamy Hanna assisted in writing the MDP curriculum. She has four grandchildren: two by birth, two by adoption. Additional information about Doreen can be found at: www.doreenhanna.com or www.moderndayprincess.net. She is also on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, and Instagram.

Join the conversation: Do you have a story about an answer to prayer? Please share!