Time Keeps on Ticking

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…”        Psalm 31:14-15 NIV

In her declining years, my mother struggled with a variety of health challenges. The combination of fragile bones and unsteadiness on her feet led to a number of falls and breaks. Following surgery to repair a vertebra fracture, and a too-brief sojourn to recovery in physical therapy rehab, I stayed with my mother when she came home.

The first night, after I finally got Mama settled—a box of tissues on the bed, a bell on the nightstand, enough (but not too much) covers, the door cracked just the right amount—I crawled into the guest bed, exhausted. On the bedside table perched an old wind-up clock. No other time indicators were in the room (this was before cell phones dominated our lives). I contemplated winding the clock, but hesitated, thinking of the potential intrusive noise, then decided to wind it anyway.

Big mistake.

For hours, I lay there listening to something akin to the sound track of 60 Minutes.

TICKTICK-ticktick. TICKTICK-ticktick.

After a while, I began to imagine little rhythms in my head to fit the ticking. Even with a pillow over my head, sleep was impossible. I considered taking the clock across the hall to the 1950’s-era tile bathroom, but decided the ticking would only be magnified in there. Finally, I buried the clock under a quilt at the foot of the bed. Although the sound diminished, I could still feel the pulse of the ticking through the mattress.

That night, I had ample opportunity to ponder time, and the fact that except for one incidence recorded in the Old Testament book of Joshua, time doesn’t stand still. Time marches on with each tick of the clock, continually moving us forward. Whether we approach the progression of time with fear or faith is our decision.

The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews lists Bible heroes whose faith was notable. Noah is among them. When God told Noah he was going to destroy the world with a flood and that he needed to build an enormous boat, Noah believed Him. Instead of quaking with fear about the impending deluge, or focusing on the time necessary for the task before him, Noah got to work. Doubtless, others scoffed at him for building a boat nowhere near water and the fact that it was taking so many years to build, but Noah stayed focused and finished the job. He looked beyond the obstacles, saw the future through eyes of faith, and trusted God.

Those who gaze into the future with fear are often troubled by the what-ifs: there’s so much that could happen in the unknown. What if I lose my job, run out of money, receive an incurable diagnosis, an aging parent requires full-time care, my teen rebels, or adult child fails to launch? Allowing anxiety and fear to be in charge of our lives is like shackling ourselves to a heavy ball and chain.

It’s hard to move forward when you’re dragging worry and projecting tragedy with every step.

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith believes God is all-knowing, present everywhere at once, and cares about the circumstances of our lives. If we believe God, and trust him, future is not so scary. We can view the ticking of time with anticipation rather than anxiety, knowing, despite what comes next, God will be there to hold our hand and lead, comfort, help, and sustain us.

So the next time you hear a ticking clock, let the rhythm in your head be a song of praise to God for provision, protection, and the courage to move forward with confidence.

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Time Keeps on Ticking – insight from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy ArringtonAbout the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: What scares you the most about the future?

 

 

When Our Greatest Need Turns into Our Greatest Blessing

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

What if your greatest need, your greatest challenge, strategically leads to your greatest blessing?

My mind likes to shoot straight to fear. When our car breaks down, or our daughter struggles, or someone I love experiences a health challenge, I’m tempted to forget. To forget that God is with me, with us. To forget He’s ever present, certain and true. That His love is big enough to cover every need and hurt. But most of all, I’m tempted to forget that He is in my difficulty, using the situation to reveal hidden lies lurking in my heart. Shining His light on what is diseased in order to bring life and light to what’s gone dead.

For years, I felt food-insecure. Even with a full pantry and well-funded savings account, financially, everything felt uncertain. I remembered my time wandering the street of Tacoma, eating potatoes, and let’s be honest, consuming large quantities of malt liquor.

My vision from that time was selective, distorted. I remembered the hard more than God’s hand. And so, I lived in fear. Fear that, at any moment, the life I’d created—that I thought I’d created—would unravel.

In essence, I made much of myself and little of God. I placed my husband’s paycheck, or working car, or our checking account in place of my faithful Provider. Yet, in the deepest recesses of my fearful heart, I intuitively knew that none of those things had the power to carry me. But in focusing on all those lesser, powerless, ever-shifting provisions, I forgot who has always been holding me.

My focus on the “bread” hindered my view of the “Baker,” and this kept me from resting firmly in His embrace.

This was precisely what happened some two thousand years ago, when Jesus and His disciples encountered a large crowd of hungry people. We likely miss the magnitude of this situation as most of us have never truly been food-insecure. When we want something to eat, we run to the store or hit the nearest restaurant. But for ancient humankind, hunger was a real and pressing concern.

And so, seeing the crowd was hungry, Jesus said to Philip, one of His disciples, “You feed them.”

To which Philip replied, in essence, “Um, what?”

“Philip answered Him, ‘It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!’” (John 6:7, NIV).

Peter responded in much the same way, saying “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:8, NIV).

In that moment, their need felt huge, and, it appears, their God felt small.

Have you been there? I have, but the Lord never chastises me or turns me away. Instead, He draws me close and says, “What you have is enough, because I, Who always am enough, will make it enough.”

That’s precisely how He responded to His disciples. He told them to have everyone sit down. Then “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish” (John 6:10-11, NIV, emphasis added).

Notice: Jesus didn’t just feed the people enough to hold them over until they could find another meal. He gave them as much as they wanted, an over-abundance, because He is the God of abundance. He alone, not our jobs or our paychecks, will meet our needs.

In the middle of your struggle, what lies are rising to the surface? That God doesn’t care? That He won’t provide for or protect you? That He’s distant or not listening?

What does truth say?

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? and yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear: you are more valuable than many sparrows.  Matthew 10:29-31 NASB

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When Our Greatest Need Turns into Our Greatest Blessing – @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: What are you facing today? What might God be showing you through it?

Where to Find Hope When You Fear the Future

by Tammy Kennington @TammyKennington

I can’t sleep. Anxiety has wrapped its vice-grip around my stomach and presses hard on my chest. My turbulent thoughts spin and quicken my pulse. Bile rises in the back of my throat as one silent, dooming message after another ticks across the screen of my mind. Help me, Lord! I don’t utter the words aloud, but they pour from my soul, thick with worry and fear.

I know I’m supposed to pray for the dear ones on my heart. But I can’t even imagine a good outcome. How could anything worthy or beautiful come from an ugly, sin-ridden situation like this one? How can God possibly bring something beautiful from the rubble?

I persist in whispering prayers to the heart of my Father as the day moves on. The situation continues to be on my mind, still preoccupying me at times. But eventually the anxiety begins to fade as He reminds me about His faithful provision to His children, repeated in history time and time again.

When Naomi lost hope, God gave her Ruth.

When Mary heard of Christ’s impending birth, God sent her to Elizabeth.

When David faced the sword of the king, God offered protection through Jonathan.

When Shadrack, Meshack, and Abendego walked through the fire, the Lord stood with them.

When the waves washed over Peter, Jesus pulled him from the depths.

When the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome, Christ rose from the grave.

We all experience both ends of each spectrum: joy and sorrow, celebration and grief, delight and despair. Because we live in a world designed by God but polluted by the enemy, our experiences will oscillate between glimpses of heaven and encounters with hell.

For. A. Time.

Then Christ will scoop each of His children up into the arms of eternity. The sorrow? Destroyed. The grief? Overcome. The despair? Decimated. Instead, we will only know and remember the love, mercy, and grace of the God who brought us through it all.

I long for the timelessness of all that is good and beautiful, don’t you? In the meantime, though, our wrestling with worry, anxiety and fear can take a back seat to the faithfulness of God.

If He extended grace before the cross, what will He do for you now? Oh, Friend, you are safe beneath His wings.

Perhaps you’re struggling this week in the same way I have. Why not recite these words of hope as a proclamation of God’s love for you? Complete the blanks with your name as a reminder that you are beloved by Him:

When _______________ was without hope, God gave her new life in Jesus.

When ________________ faced impending trials or accusations, God was her shield.

When ________________ walked through the fire, the Lord stood with her.

When the waves washed over _________________, Jesus pulled her from the depths.

While the enemy laughed because He’d thought he’d overcome __________________, Christ had already won her victory.

Print off this list of verses to pray over and recite when the enemy comes at you with fear and anxiety. And fight Satan’s lies with the truth.

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Where to Find Hope When You Fear the Future – insight from @TammyKennington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Tammy KenningtonAbout the author: Tammy Kennington is a writer, speaker, education workshop presenter, and child abuse awareness advocate. Familiar with the impact of trauma, mental illness, and parenting in the hard places, Tammy leads women toward a deeper understanding of themselves and their relationship with the God who loves them. The author of five children’s nonfiction books, Tammy has Moving From Pain to Peace: A Journey Toward Hope by [Kennington, Tammy]also written articles and devotions for Thriving Family, The Upper Room, MOPS and several other publications.

Does emotional pain and suffering hold you back from experiencing joy? Moving from Pain to Peace provides hope and healing through hands-on study of Biblical truths, journaling and prayer. Why not take the first step toward recovery from your wounds today?

Join the conversation: What helps you the most when you are consumed by anxiety or fear?

Kicking Out Worry

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27 NIV

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?

Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.

And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?

What if I lose my job?

What if I can’t pay this?

What if it’s not benign?

What if my worst fear is realized?

But you don’t have to live with worry anymore. At the root of our “what if” questions and greatest fears is what you and I really believe about God’s character. When our minds play through the various what ifs, the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

And that is not an attitude, question, or mindset I want dwelling in my home. And I don’t think you do either.

So, it’s time to kick it out the door.

God’s Word tells us: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 CSB).

As you and I give God all of our what ifs and worries He can calm our hearts and remind us that He is in absolute control. Then His peace comes to dwell with us, instead of those fearful thoughts.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to those around us: “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine,” modeling trust and faith before them.

Give God your concerns today and by doing so, you’ll be kicking worry out of your home and welcoming a new family member: trust.

Lord, my worry factor is directly related to how well I know You. When I truly know You and understand all that You are capable of, I can’t help but trust You. Grow my faith and my relationship with You so I can know You intimately.  There is no more room for worry in my life. Only trust.

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Kicking Out Worry – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Every mom is concerned about her children and teenagers. But when does legitimate care cross the line into fear and worry, which Scripture commands us to avoid? 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom will start you on the path to worry-free parenting and a positive relationship between you and your kids.

Join the conversation: What characteristic about God is most helpful to you when you start to worry?

Got Stress?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  (Philippians 4:8).

What stresses you out?

Knowing there’s a misunderstanding that you’re not able to clear up?

Wondering about something that hasn’t yet happened?

Hearing a half-truth that was said about you and not being able to defend yourself?

Looking at your finances and trying to figure out how to make it all work?

Stress is clearly a result of worrying about what might be, dwelling on something that isn’t true, or being anxious about something we can’t change. And God doesn’t want you to stress. Stress and anxiety sends a message to Him and everyone else that He is not capable.

You and I don’t consciously think that, nor would we actually say that to others, but our actions display it every time we wring our hands, pull out our hair, or need to leave the room to let off steam.

In Philippians 4:8, we are told to dwell on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, and commendable. That means we are not to dwell on what hasn’t yet happened, the worst of what might happen, or what we’ll do if something doesn’t happen.

We are to live in the here and now and experience Christ’s peace in it. Not in the what ifs of tomorrow and worry about what we can’t control.

In Philippians 1:27, followers of Christ are instructed to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” regardless of your circumstances. In fact, in the New International Version that verse is preceded by the words “whatever happens.”

Whatever arrives in the mail. Whatever is said to you at work, whether you deserved it or not. Whatever your bank account says. Whatever comes your way in any given day, you and I are to live in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.

The Gospel of Christ proclaims that Jesus is capable. Our stress says He’s not.

Whatever happens, whatever comes to your mind to cause you to worry, whatever stresses you out, live a life worthy of Christ by dwelling on whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely. As you do, you’ll experience God’s peace, not worry and stress.

Lord, when I begin to fear, worry or stress, help me to say aloud the word “whatever” – knowing that whatever happens, You are in absolute control.

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Got Stress? – Thoughts on God’s Peace from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, Women on the Edge: Turning Desperate Times into Desire for God, (upon which this devotional is based), offers wonderful encouragement to women longing for a change, for a new direction, or ways to make a difference. Frustration can drive us away from God…or toward Him. Cindi helps women turn their negative longings into positive ones, as they pursue God in exciting new ways.

Join the conversation: What stresses you out the most?

 

 

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Are You a Butterfly or a Slug?

by Doris Hoover

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.                                                                                                                                                    Matthew 6:34 NIV

 A Monarch butterfly flitted from one flower to another. Then it lifted on the breeze and fluttered through the garden, light and carefree. Enchanted by its graceful movement, I got lost in its happy world. The tiny creature seemed to be dancing on air currents, free from any kind of worry.

I wished I could feel as weightless as that fluttering beauty, but a family situation weighed heavily upon my shoulders. I felt more like a slug than a butterfly. I was creeping beneath a load of concerns. Even though I knew the Bible instructs me to cast my cares on the Lord, I was so consumed with my burden, neglecting to look up to see Jesus offering to help me.

Jesus said, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life…” (Matthew 6:25 NIV ). He directed his disciples’ focus onto the birds. They never plant seed or harvest crops, yet they have food to eat. God faithfully provides what they need. Each day they wake up singing delightful melodies, content in where God has them. In fact, they seem as happy and unburdened as butterflies.

Certainly, you and I carry legitimate burdens. Some issues, like health problems or the loss of a loved one, are so intense we can feel overwhelmed with distress. Life can be a challenge, but the Lord doesn’t want us weighed down with worry, crawling about like a slug. He doesn’t want us obsessively mulling over our problems, analyzing them from every angle, fearing the worst that could happen.

The Lord asks us to look at Him instead of our grim scenarios. The future is not for us to control. The only one who has that kind of power is the One who holds the future. He wants us to hand Him our heavy hearts. He can bear the weight that crushes us. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 NIV)

So how can we take hold of the rest Jesus offers? Through prayer. By giving our burdens to Him as we sit in His presence. Prayer is a divine passageway that brings our worries into God’s realm in exchange for peace for our troubled hearts. And as we do, choosing to trust Him with every concern, the Holy Spirit fills us with a sense of wellbeing. We feel lighter knowing we don’t bear our troubles alone. The One who has power over our circumstances is sharing the load.

As I watched the Monarch butterfly flit among the flowers and listened to the birds sing that day in the garden, I thought about the power of prayer. Closing my eyes, I asked the Lord to take care of the issues that weighed me down. I leaned into His strength. My shoulder and neck tension relaxed and I could feel my spirit rising above my burden. I was no longer a slug. As I released my worries to the Lord, I felt as light and carefree as a butterfly dancing on the breeze.

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Are You a Butterfly or a Slug? insight from Doris Hoover on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

doris HooverAbout the author: Doris Hoover lives in Florida, but she also spends time along the coast of Maine. Her passion is discovering God’s messages in nature and sharing them with others. You can visit Doris at captivatedbythecreator.com. 

Doris’ book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional invites you to step outside to discover the treasures God places around you. She leads you to beautiful places in her home town. Her poetic descriptions and beautiful photography draw you into moments that will stir your heart.

Join the conversation: Is something weighing you down today? How can we pray for you?

Do You Have a Right-Hand Man?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

I have set the Lord continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.                                                                                                                   Psalm 16:8, NASB

I sat down on the floor of my office and cried. My inner circle around me was falling apart. And I felt so alone.

My assistant in ministry and close friend for the past two years had just informed me that she had to step down from her position in order to take care of priorities at home. I understood her reasons. I wanted to be supportive. But all I could think about was losing her. She would no longer be there to help me. No longer be there to be my sounding board, my prayer support, my “other half” in a very real sense.

I felt like I was losing my right hand.

Hours earlier, I had spoken to a large group of women about the seasons of our lives in which we need to be pruned. I talked about how rose bushes need to be pruned. They look choppy after the pruning, but come spring, the roses come back brighter and more beautiful than ever before.

But here I was, being pruned in my own life, and feeling like I was losing my right hand!

“God, this doesn’t feel like pruning,” I prayed. “This feels like my right hand is being chopped off!”

Desperate for His presence and His comfort, I turned to the Psalms. I read Psalm 16 aloud and stopped suddenly at verse 8.

“…because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”

“Lord,” I prayed, “I’m complaining that I’ve lost my right hand, but You are the One who is truly at my right hand. You are the One who helps me, counsels me, encourages me. You are the One who never leaves my side.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry I didn’t see it before. You truly are my Right-hand Man.”

As I read through the rest of the Psalm, I smiled at how it ended: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever” (verse 11, NASB emphasis added).

God was telling me in my moment of fear and anxiety that not only was I never alone, but I never would be. And with my God at my right hand, there is abundant joy in His presence and pleasures forever. He was making it clear to me that there’s no one else I would rather have at my right hand.

I got up off the floor, walked out of the room with my Bible in one hand, my head held high, and my Right-hand Man at my side.

Thank You, Lord, for the reminder in Your Word that I never walk alone. You are always at my side.

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Do You Have a Right-Hand Man? – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including her best-selling titles When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart. For more on her books and resources to improve your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, or for a free consultation to see if she can help you write your book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Do You Long to Hear God’s Whispers on Your Heart? “You willcindi mcmenamin God's Whispers to a Woman's Heart seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Do you want to know His thoughts of you, His plans for you, His comfort and His presence? Get Cindi’s book, God Whispers to a Woman’s Heart.

Join the conversation: Pruning can be an uncomfortable process. Have you ever felt the Lord was pruning you? Did a time of growth follow?

Facing My Fears by Learning to Look Up

by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.                                                                                                                                   2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV   

Acrophobia, the fear of heights. And the curse of a woman whose husband and offspring seemingly fearless.

They do, however, get a mutual enjoyment out of tormenting me by dangling themselves from high places. Of course, it’s not the height that scares me, so much as the possibility of falling from the height. The landing is the real issue.

But I have found that it is good to challenge myself by facing some of our fears. When we do, we often experience something we would have otherwise missed, and we allow God to grow our faith.

That’s why a couple of years ago I found myself on the entirely too wobbly and far too high platform for a zip line at a women’s retreat. I didn’t want to do this, and I was sure God would still love me even if I backed out. But ever since I had registered for the event, knowing it was a completely optional activity, I had the unmistakable feeling this was something I was supposed to do. I felt God was extending an invitation to experience something new. I waited until the last minute praying the feeling would pass. But God seemed to keep whispering in my ear, “Do you trust me?”

I harnessed up, climbed the unstable steps, sat, and yes… scooted myself inch by inch to the edge. I knew my legs completely freeze up when my fear kicks in, so there was no way I’d be stepping off the platform like all the fearless people were doing.

It wasn’t a pretty launch, but I managed to lean forward enough to let gravity do what I couldn’t. I won’t lie, the instant I left the platform was nothing short of sheer terror. But in the next moment, I was flying and free. And I was aware that as long as I kept looking up to God, the distance between me and the ground would no longer concern me. For a few moments, I was swept away in a moment of surrender to the Lord. Yes, Lord I trust you.

God had not given me the fear of heights, but He would use it to teach me.

Recently I had another opportunity to do something that scared me—a helicopter tour of the island of Kauai. I had never flown in a helicopter before, and I’m not a fan of flying (the acrophobia thing again). But I knew my husband wanted to, and that he wouldn’t if I didn’t. So being the Proverbs 31 wife that I am, here I went again.

And it was spectacular. I saw parts of the island I never would have seen, had I not done this. Beautiful, breathtaking scenes that could only have been created by the hands and creativity of the Master Creator. Things that could only be seen from a sky view.

We can’t avoid every disease, accident, job loss, or loss of a loved one. We will face things that scare us, whether we want to or not. I believe God gives us opportunities like ziplining and helicopter rides to teach us to trust Him. Taking a risk is an opportunity to build our faith muscles. By trusting God in facing some of these fears, we learn to trust Him in those we don’t choose.

Facing the things that frighten us, we step off the edge and let go, and God brings us to places of victory we wouldn’t have otherwise known.

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Facing My Fears by Learning to Look Up – insight from @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori AltebaumerAbout the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.

Join the conversation: What fears have you faced head-on?

Sustaining Grace

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

 I woke in the middle of the night and the rawness of it all washed over me again. Our family faced a serious situation. I tried to fix it, but it seemed hopeless. I knew sleep would not come easily. I had no words left for prayer. I was prayed out.

Anxiety welled up and I reached for God. The Holy Spirit began to bring Scriptures to mind, so I began to “pray” them. Soon peace started to push out the anxiety until it was gone. Somewhere in the first chapter of 1 Peter I drifted off to sleep.

At the time, I was away from home staying with my oldest daughter. My grandson was just a few days old, and I was helping out. The next morning, Kelley reported on how Micah slept the night before. Then almost as an afterthought she added, “The second time I came back to bed, Jeremy asked me to pray with him. He felt strongly we should pray for you right then.”

“What time was that?” I asked.

“About 3:15, 3:20,” Kelley replied.

That was the same time I lay awake in bed with anxiety threatening to take over. I know because I had looked at my phone. God did not fix the situation like I’d hoped, but He was not idle. He saw my need and He cared. He poured out His grace through the heart of my son-in-law and gave me the peace and strength I needed to keep going.

Sometimes God intervenes in our trials in physical ways. He heals. He frees. He delivers. But not always. Often God works in far more miraculous ways. He pours out His grace to cover our soul needs.

The apostle Paul wrote about how he experienced God’s sustaining grace in the midst of his trials, after he had pleaded with God multiple times to remove his “thorn.”

“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 weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10, NIV

Like this instance in Paul’s life, God may not change our difficult circumstances. But He will strengthen and sustain us with His grace.

God also used my experience to teach me more about Himself and His ways. First, this experience changed the way I respond to prompts by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit prompted my son-in-law to pray. Jeremy obeyed and God answered His prayer by filling me with peace. Now, when the Spirit prompts me to pray for someone or urges me to call someone or send a card or give something specific, it’s because He wants to use me as a tool for His grace. I want to be a part of that!

Also, anytime I am tempted to think God doesn’t see my need or doesn’t care, the Spirit brings this moment to mind. And I know, God does see me. He knows my need. He does care. And He will graciously provide what I need in the midst of the trial.

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Sustaining Grace – thoughts on walking through the trials of life from @KathyHHoward on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy HowardAbout the author: A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher and speaker Kathy Howard now lives an unshakable faith for life and encourages women to stand firm on our rock-solid God. The author of eight booksKathy has a Masters in Christian Education. She and her retired husband live outside the Dallas/Ft Worth area with their miscellaneous assortment of dogs. Find free discipleship resources on her website, http://www.kathyhoward.org and connect with Kathy on FacebookInstagramor Pinterest

This post was adapted from Kathy’s book “Embraced by Holiness.” Do you long for a deeper, more intimate walk with God? Embraced by Holiness is a focused six-week Bible study that will take you on a guided, deep, and consistent look at biblical principles on holiness.

Join the conversation: When has someone’s obedience to the Holy Spirit blessed you?

Password: Truth

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

Password anxiety. I’m pretty sure that’s a thing. You’re compelled to choose seven un-guessable characters, throw in some capital letters, add the name of a dead pet, sprinkle in a few lower-case letters, include some numerals, and, on the whole, the password should eventually grow and evolve into an even better password. Essentially, it should ultimately be able to beat up all the other passwords—make them run crying from the yard.

Anytime I have to choose a new password, my fingers hover over the keys for a solid five minutes. My sweaty fingers. Though I do try to hide any fear. Because I’ve heard the most evolved passwords can sense it.

It’s not that I’m a fearful person. Okay, as a child I might’ve been the only kid whose blanket fort had a panic room. But as an adult, fear isn’t such an issue.

Maybe that’s because as a follower of Christ, I know the password for conquering fear. Truth. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what you capitalize or how many numbers you add. Anytime we’re afraid, we find strength as we remember what is true, and by faith we hold onto that truth.

Isaiah 41:10 holds the no-fear message: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you; I will hold on to you with My righteous right hand” (HCSB). The truth is, God gives us the strength for no-fear living as we remember and believe that He holds onto us. Combine the password of truth with faith and trust, and then fear? It runs crying from the yard.

David wrote, “When I am afraid, I will trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” (Psalm 56:3-4, HCSB).

Fear, worry, anxiety. They’re emotional responses. Our emotions can be sneaky. It often feels impossible to reason with the rascals. And they’re insistent. It’s not like we invite fear to take us over. It just does. But our emotions must be taught the truth. By faith, we must believe that despite what our emotions are telling us, the indisputable truth is that we don’t need to fear.

Think of the things that cause you anxiety. Is there anything you’ve thought of that’s too big for God? Anything that’s too hard for Him?

Financial stresses? He owns everything. Health issues? He knit your body together. Too much to do? He holds time in His hands. Whatever the source of your stress, the Father loves you and it’s His loving desire to shoulder your burden and squelch your fear. “Casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]” (1 Peter 5:7, AMP).

Our mighty God, the One who lovingly cares for you, is bigger than anything you could ever fear. He is the firewall of all firewalls, as it were, protecting your soul. Wrapping our minds around that truth in faith will delete fear every time. By faith, remember, understand, believe the password:  Truth.

As for your other passwords? You might as well also understand that when you finally choose one that’s remote enough to be secure, the chances of you remembering it are even more remote than that.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.                                            Philippians 4:8 HCSB

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Password: Truth – insight on #followingGod from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and a humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLife, Leading Hearts, The Pathway and many more. She is the author of 12 books, including Fix-Her-Upperco-authored with Beth Duewel, and a hilarious novel, Turtles in the Roadco-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea. Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for a new book and TV series titled, Messy to Meaningful—Lessons from the Junk Drawer. Rhonda enjoys speaking at conferences and events from coast to coast and serves as a consultant for Bold Vision Books. She lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown, mostly-coffee-drinking children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: With what fears do you struggle? What truth can help you overcome that fear?