The Battle for Freedom

by Christina Rose

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 10:27 ESV

It was a brisk but refreshing ride on the morning commuter ferry across San Francisco Bay. I stood outside to enjoy the sea breeze, hoping to catch a glimpse of dolphins and whales. Once we disembarked, I would brace myself for the walk up Market Street through dozens of dirty homeless people who would often cry out for help. Their numbers and shabby tents increased every year. As I walked, I would often look upwards towards the blue skies and see American flags boldly waving from the tops of buildings. I prayed that God would help me stay strong in this battle.

My ancestor, Captain William Blackler, was the commander of the boat that took General George Washington across the Delaware River on Christmas Eve in 1776. This was a pivotal time in the war. Turning back meant certain defeat and crossing the icy river in the middle of the dark night through a blizzard could cost many lives.

The patriots were close to starving and their clothes were tattered, yet they pressed on with the faith and determination that freedom for our nation was worth risking death. Their goal lay above and beyond the storm to reaching the shore where they could safely land, so that George Washington could lead our country to freedom. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

If Captain Blackler and all the patriots could see the homeless and corruption I was now witnessing, they would have been disappointed. They might wonder if all they had fought and died for had been for nothing. Many generations have followed who also fought and gave their lives for freedom. Yet others have become so complacent that they have forgotten that the battle continues, and that we must pick up the torch and carry it every day for future generations just as our ancestors did for us. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:10-12 ESV

Sometimes we get so distracted by our earthly life that we are like little ants scurrying to and fro, forgetting to look up to see the signs of freedom that are everywhere. The flags, the cross, birds, butterflies and babies, skies, sunrises, sunsets, and rainbows are heavenly messages that God created us to be free, and we must have faith in Him. He can set us free from any oppression – whether it be physical or in the mind. And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 15:13-14 ESV

The battle is real. We have a choice in either focusing on our limitations, or we can look towards heaven and pray that with God all things are possible. We can draw on the strength of those who have gone before us as they did in the Revolutionary War of 1776, to cross those stormy seas in the middle of the night to reach the shores of freedom, knowing that God is on our side, and he always wins.  The battle belongs to the Lord.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9  ESV

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

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: What battle are you fighting today?

When the Lost are Found

by Christina Rose

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.  Matthew 18:12–14 NLT

One beautiful summer morning long ago we drove to Lexington, Massachusetts, to watch the Fourth of July parade. My cousins, siblings, and I were all young, so we held hands tightly as we made our way through the crowds to sit on the curb—a front-row seat. Minutemen with fifes and drums, people in period costumes, and horses and floats rolled by as the crowd cheered and clapped.

Suddenly my mother shrieked in panic. My three-year-old younger brother was missing, lost in the crowds. The atmosphere shifted from cheering to terror as we called out frantically for him, and others soon joined us in the search until at last he was found. Mom swooped little Chuckie up her in arms, planted him with kisses and wouldn’t let him go.

We might not understand how a shepherd would leave his flock of ninety-nine to go after the one that is lost. Yet, if our child or someone else goes missing we won’t rest until they are found. God relentlessly pursues us to restore us back to the safety of the flock.

The Father sent His Son, Jesus, on a mission to find those who are lost so that they will one day join Him in eternity. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost” (Luke 19:10 NLT). 

When the prodigal son took his inheritance and moved away, he lost all his money and began to starve. He returned home to his father who gratefully welcomed his lost son home. For your brother was dead and has come back to life! He was lost, but now he is found!” (Luke 15:32 NLT)

The parable of the lost coin likens how God’s angels rejoice when someone lost has been found:

Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won’t she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbors and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.  Luke 15:8-10 NLT

When Hagar felt lost and abandoned in the wilderness, God saw her, healed her broken heart, and led her back to the safety of the flock. The woman at the well felt scorned, alone and abandoned; the Good Shepherd sought her out. Jonah tried to run from God’s purpose, but God chased him down and steered him back to his calling.

God’s love and mercies never fail us.  “‘For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you” (Isaiah 54:10 NLT).

We have all been lost at one time, but the Good Shepherd relentlessly searches for us. He pursues us, woos us, and at times places challenges in our paths that we might surrender and return joyfully to the safety of the flock.

God values every individual. In His quest that everyone might be saved, He enlists other flock members to assist in the search for the lost. Without this initiative, some may never realize they are lost and otherwise will never know the peace of salvation.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand. John 10:27-29 NLT

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

Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace: Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily.

Join the conversation: Have you witnessed the Good Shepherd seeking and finding the lost?

The Quiet Place of Faith

by Christina Rose

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat. Mark 6:31 NLT

The apostles had returned from their ministry tour to share with Jesus all they had done.  The crowds were so great that Jesus suggested they find a quiet place to peaceably eat and talk. This would enable them to draw closer to God without distractions.  Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:25 ESV

When I left my high-pressure life in San Francisco for Denver a few years ago I felt like Jonah who had been spit out by a big fish.  He had landed exhausted on the shore and was ready to surrender to God’s plan.  When my sister asked me to join her one Saturday morning for prophetic word and prayer at Resurrection Fellowship church in Loveland, Colorado, I said yes. I needed hope. Linda and Joy were assigned to me; while we had never met before, I instantly sensed the peace of Christ on them.

We settled into the sofas by the fireplace, and Linda gave me a word that perfectly described the book I had just written. “You wrote a book?” she exclaimed? “Join my writers’ group!” Joy then gave me encouraging words about the refining gold of the wilderness test.  And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10 ESV

Linda Evans Shepherd, founder of Advanced Writer’s Speakers Association (AWSA) and Joy Schneider, a board member of AWSA, gave me fresh hope that day as they made time for me in that quiet place of faith to prophesy and pray with me. I then joined AWSA and have been a member now for five years where I have learned, laughed and loved with this wonderful Christian sisterhood. Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 ESV

One Sunday morning, while strolling around the lakes, I saw two gentlemen sitting in lawn chairs on a quilt with Bibles. They sat under a tree with a large sign, “Wanna Talk About Jesus?  Need Prayer?” This began a weekly tradition of stopping to talk with Jay and friends to share our faith, Scripture, and encouraging words.  As I learned to say yes to spending time with these faithful brothers and sisters, my patterns of stress began dissipating.  I began to feel peace at last.  Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 ESV

When I was expecting my first child, my doctor told me, “The greatest thing you can do for your children is to spend time with them. They will forget the things you gave them, but they will never forget the time you spent with them that made them feel loved.”  Some of my greatest memories are the thousands of hours I spent rocking my babies, singing to them, praying over them, reading to them, sharing birthday parties, Christmas and going to the park and the zoo. Even though they are now young adults, old movies of those special times still melt my heart and brings me to tears today.

Giving our time and attention to others makes them feel worthy, valued, and loved. It shares the heart of Jesus, who selflessly gave his time, teaching and healing thousands, but always included those who were thought to be hopeless and unworthy. When we spend time in the quiet place of faith with others, we lead them to the love of Christ; love that surpasses knowledge so that we may be filled with the fullness of God and walk the earth for his glory.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen   Ephesians 3:20-21 ESV

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

christina rose

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, as well as 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How have you benefitted by spending time in fellowship?

Mysteries to Miracles

by Christina Rose

You formed my innermost being, shaping my delicate inside and my intricate outside, and wove them all together in my mother’s womb, I thank You, God,  for making me so mysteriously complex!  Psalm 139:13-14 TPT

When we learned our first baby was on the way, we were not prepared for how dramatically our lives would change. When pregnancy complications arose, requiring bed rest, I became downright grumpy. I felt guilty for being impatient and thought if only I could see my baby’s face, then I would have more peace in the waiting. Our baby’s identity remained a mystery for nine months; then a miracle happened when our daughter finally arrived. She was exquisitely perfect and beautiful in every way.

If I had had more faith, I would have trusted that not only did God create my baby, but he was able to perfectly knit her together in my womb. God is the father of miracles, and when we can’t see an outcome, or circumstances look impossible, we can remind ourselves of all the miracles God has done in the past and continues to do today. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation”  (Hebrews 11:1-2 ESV)

The Israelites also became grumpy in their journey with Moses out of Egypt. In their forty years in the wilderness, God miraculously provided for their needs while strengthening their faith.  “The Lord went ahead of them.  He guided them during the day with a pillar of cloud, and he provided light at night with a pillar of fire.  This allowed them to travel by day or by night”  (Exodus 13:21 NLT).

When the Israelites became trapped between the Red Sea and the advancing Egyptians, God supernaturally parted the seas so they could safely cross. When they grumbled about having no meat, the Lord sent millions of quail to rain down upon them; in the mornings he covered the ground with a bread they called manna. When the Lord commanded them to move from place to place, they settled at a camp that had no water and complained again. The Lord heard them and provided water out of a rock!  “ I will stand before you on the rock at Mount Sinai. Strike the rock, and water will come gushing out. Then the people will be able to drink.” So Moses struck the rock as he was told, and water gushed out as the elders looked on. Moses named the place Massah (which means “test”) and Meribah (which means “arguing”) because the people of Israel argued with Moses and tested the Lord by saying, “Is the Lord here with us or not?” (Exodus 17:6-7 NLT).

At times, we may feel tested like those weary Israelites who wondered if the Lord was still with them and if they would ever reach the promised land. They may have wanted to quit many times, like I did when I was sent on a wilderness journey seven years ago.  The testing was so severe,  one day on my prayer mountain I cried out, “God, why are you doing this to me? When will it end?”

He gave me a vision of mountaintops around the world with many people praying, and I heard, “I’m about to shake the world! Many will lose everything and that is where they will find me. I will restore everything greater than before. Share the good news.”  

When we face a mountain so high that it makes us weak in the knees, we must fall on our knees and pray. When God answers us with a vision that seems impossible, and we ask ourselves, “How in the world will this happen?”, we must remember that we are not of this world. “They do not belong to this world any more than I do”(John 17:16 NLT). With God anything is possible. “Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible” (Matthew 19:26 NLT).

Life is full of mysteries that are a setup for miracles to display God’s glory, such as wondering who will our children be? What will the future hold? Who will be joining us? When we become impatient with an “Are we there yet?”, we can remind ourselves that our father in Heaven goes ahead of us, just as he did the Israelites. The Lord provides for us and strengthens our faith as he leads us to the greatest miracle of all.  

Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 NIV

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

christina rose

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, as well as 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Has God ever changed what seemed impossible in your life?

The God Who Sees

by Christina Rose

She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”  Genesis 16:13 NIV

When the Lord told Abram that his heirs would be as numerous as the stars in the sky and he would have a son, it seemed impossible. He and his wife Sarai were childless and well beyond child-bearing years. Their son Isaac would eventually be born, but they became impatient, so Sarai told Abram to sleep with her slave, Hagar, thinking to build a family through her.  

Hagar conceived and the two women started bickering out of pride and jealousy. When Hagar ran away to the desert, the Lord saw her lonely, wounded heart. He sent her an angel who told her that her unborn child was a son, whom she would name Ishmael (which means “God hears”),  for the Lord has heard of your misery.  Genesis 16:11 NIV.  Then he  told her to return to Sarai and promised that her descendants would also be as numerous as the stars.  

When my daughters were young, we frequently enjoyed a picnic at the Zoo. One day we were at the ground level gorilla enclosure, where only a pane of glass separated us from the animals.  I was holding my baby on my hip and my toddler by the hand, when a gorilla mom with her baby on her hip sauntered over. She stared deeply into my eyes as if to say, “We’re the same, we’re mothers.” My eyes popped open as I felt I heard her heart and then hers popped open in surprise as if to say, “This human mama sees me!” We showed off our babies to one another and she sweetly stared into my eyes a last time before wandering off.

On another occasion, a juvenile chimp pressed his face against the glass in front of a group of children. He was moving his mouth rapidly, and the children were laughing at him and slapping the glass. It occurred to me that he saw our mouths move while talking and possibly thought if he moved his mouth like us he could talk to us, too.  I told the kids to stop teasing him; the young chimp just wanted to be our friend and talk to us.

When we see with the eyes of our hearts, we are better able to see the hearts of all God’s creatures. 

Each year we journeyed down the California coast to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. One year, as we entered the Aquarium, I sensed extreme panic and fear. It was so intense that I couldn’t ignore it, so I asked my daughters to follow me as I led them in the direction it seemed to be coming from. We made our way through the tightly packed crowds and I then spotted a tiny, terrified toddler hiding under a stairwell, crying in desperation and curled up in a ball. I didn’t want to alarm her so said, “I know your mama is searching for you.  I’m a mama too and these are my daughters. May we stand here to make sure you’re safe while you wait for your mama?” She sniffled and nodded, and within minutes, screams of “Emily, Emily!” resounded through the building.  Little Emily then scampered out from under the stairwell and raced towards her very relieved family.

If all the world could open the eyes of their hearts to see as God sees, there is no limit to the good works we may do for his glory. The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free (Luke 4:18 NIV).

The God who sees meets us in the desert, in the valley, at the Zoo and the Aquarium and anywhere else he chooses. God sees each of us and chases us down when we feel unloved, lost and unworthy to lead us into his marvelous light. He knows our hearts and works continuously to help us grow in faith, so that we may help others see the glory of his riches in Christ Jesus.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. Ephesians 1:18-19 NIV

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

christina rose

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, as well as 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had a moment when God showed you His perspective?

A New Life of Love

by Christina Rose

So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.   Colossians 3:12-14 MSG

After my commute on the ferry across the San Francisco Bay, I waited for the next streetcar that would take me up Market Street to my law firm. A block away I could see a woman running towards me, waving and smiling as if she knew me. Who could that be? As the streetcar arrived, we both boarded, and the woman took a seat across from me. She was still panting after racing down the street yet gave me a big smile. I then recalled I had complimented her on her beautiful coat the week before. She had remembered me for this simple act which seemed like a little thing to me, yet it appeared big to her. Little acts of kindness can make someone’s day.

In Jesus’ day, lepers were shunned by society. His act of kindness in healing a leper broke societal rules by touching the untouchable. Jesus gave the man a new life of love where he was completely restored, redeemed, and free to embrace his loved ones.

When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  Matthew 8:1-3 ESV

The tax collectors were hated outcasts, as they were Rome’s henchmen who often added a surcharge that they kept for themselves. When the tax collector Zacchaeus heard that Jesus would be passing by, he scaled a tree hoping to see him. He may have felt a need for something greater than the money he had based his life upon, and Jesus may have sensed this need.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”  Luke 19:5 NLT.

The crowds thought it scandalous that Jesus chose to go to a sinner’s home, but it was just another act of Jesus’ kindness to spend time with the rejected. Zacchaeus was so honored that he offered to give half of his possessions to the poor and give back four times as much to anyone he had taken too much from.

The woman with the long-suffering issue of blood thought if she could only touch Jesus’ hem she would be healed; she pressed through the crowds to touch his hem. Rather than reprimand her for touching him, Jesus responded in kindness and called her “daughter” as a term of endearment (Matthew 5:34).

When my daughters were in school our lives were a nonstop whirlwind of sports, practices and tournaments. When I wasn’t working or doing laundry, I spent long hours on the sidelines watching the games. One day it occurred to me to serve by offering to sit next to whoever needed someone to talk to. From then on, before each event, I would say a silent prayer and then wait for God’s prompting of who I should sit next to. Most of the time they were strangers I had never met.

There is a need in our everyday lives for acts of kindness. When we see the world as our family rather than strangers, it is easy to reach out and touch lives. We must dress in the garments of love that God picked out for us and never be without them. When we live God’s way he will richly bless us as we choose to be a blessing to others.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, and serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.  Galatians 5:22-24 MSG

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

christina rose

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, as well as 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What opportunity have you been given to show love recently?

Let There Be Light

by Christina Rose

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other  five were wise enough to take along extra oil. Matthew 25:1-4 NLT

The ten lovely bridesmaids were on their way to meet the bridegroom, but half of them were about to get lost in the dark. Only five were wise enough to carry extra oil for their lamps. When the bridegroom was delayed, the bridesmaids got sleepy and took a nap. They were awakened at midnight by a cry that the bridegroom had arrived. The wise bridesmaids arose to light their lamps with the extra oil they had carried, but the foolish bridesmaids had none. When they asked the wise ones for some of their oil, they were told to go buy their own.

But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, “Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!” But he called back, “Believe me, I don’t know you!” (Matthew 25:10-12 NLT).

None of us know the hour or day that Jesus will return, but until that time, if we walk in the light, he will recognize us as his own and open the door for us. In the book of John, Jesus tells us that he is the light of the world and whoever follows him will never walk in darkness. He came to this world so that the blind may see. He asks us to follow him, to walk in the light and help others do the same. “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden” (Matthew 5:14 NLT).

I have an extensive collection of mini flashlights that I keep in pockets, handbags, gym bags and my car. I keep one with my Amplified Bible at the foot of my bed so that I’m prepared to explore the mysteries of the Bible in the middle of the night when my restless mind seeks answers. “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path” (Psalm 119:105 NLT).

Five years ago, I was called to leave my home in California, just as Abraham was called to leave his home and everything familiar so that God could change him. Sometimes we don’t want to leave those comfort zones, but it is often necessary to let go of our old ways that no longer serve us. The last five years have been full of challenges that severely tested my faith, but they have transformed me. I’ve landed in a large community of believers that have shown me amazing grace; where I once was blind, I now can see. When I walk into church the room and all the people are full of light. The light is so obvious to me that now, wherever I go, I notice others who shine.  “If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light” (Luke 11:36 NLT).

When we seek to walk in the light our days can be full of amazing grace, signs and wonders. We can inspire others to walk alongside us so that we can all shine like the sun for his glory. Like the bridesmaids on their way to meet the bridegroom, we must be willing and prepared.

For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: How do you consciously walk in the light?

Winner or Lizard?

by Christina Rose

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.  Mark 10:15-16 NIV

Tears of frustration rolled down three-year old Ashley’s cheeks. I had just picked up my little blond angel from preschool, and she was upset.  Her tiny hands could not open the bag of goldfish crackers I had packed for snack time. Once settled in her car seat, I finally opened the crackers, and she happily snacked away. Wiping away her tears I asked, “Did you learn anything special at school today?”

She answered, “Yes mama, my teacher told me I could be a winner or a lizard.”  No losers in Ashley’s world, only winners or lizards.

When my daughters were young, their innocent world was full of joy. Each day was another chance to play, dress like a princess, dance and sing. One day I got a call that Ashley had fallen into a mud puddle at recess and wanted me to pick her up. I took her back to work with me where she sat nearby drawing with crayons.  She then handed me a picture of the world with my face in the middle and the words, “I love you mom.” Children have a powerful gift of teaching us about the heart of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus called a little child to him and put the child among them. Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So, anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.”  Matthew 18:2-5 NLT

Small children have no ambition, pride or haughtiness, so they set a good example of being humble and teachable. They embrace each day with joy, honesty and wonder. Just as children trust their parents that they will love and provide for them, we should also trust our Father in heaven.

Once my daughters grew up and left home, I found myself worrying where they were and what they were doing. I missed those days when I could walk by their bedrooms each night to tuck them in, read them stories, and kiss them goodnight.  While I was happy they now had lives of their own, at times anxious thoughts crept in. One sleepless night I lay in bed praying for their safety and salvation. “God, I’ve been praying for years that my girls would turn to you, but at times they don’t seem to hear me, and they act like they don’t care to know you. How can I get through to them? This pains my heart.” 

I waited in the silence of the dark night and then heard the still small whisper, “Now you know how I feel.”  These words came with a love and longing as deep as the oceans, as high as the heavens and as great as the stars. God has billions of souls around the world that he is trying to reach and when he goes unnoticed it also pains his heart.  He pours out his spirit on all of us, but not everyone recognizes him. He created us to soar like eagles, but when we do things on our own and don’t follow in his footsteps, we miss out on the amazing life he has planned for us.  We fail to notice the signs, wonders and miracles with which he wants to bless us.

While lizards can be cute, I would rather be a winner and soar on wings like eagles.  I would rather be a winner of billions of souls for the Kingdom of  Heaven. By choosing to trust God with childlike faith, we can embrace each day with joy and lead others to the everlasting peace of salvation.

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.  Matthew 6:31-33 NLT

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

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Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: What have little children taught you?

A Promise of Angels

by Christina Rose

For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.  Psalm 91:11-12 ESV

We are so loved by God that he will command his angels to watch over us in all our ways. Angels are mentioned throughout the Bible as spiritual beings created by God to serve him, to deliver messages, to wage spiritual battles and to transmit his word. These Bible stories teach us of angels’ unwavering, unquestioning obedience to God.

The angel Gabriel first appeared to the prophet Daniel to explain a vision; then to the priest Zechariah to announce the impending birth of John the Baptist; and then to Mary to tell her she would conceive and bear a son who would be the Savior called Jesus.

An angel ministered to the prophet Elijah when he was so weary that he wanted to die: “And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again” (1 Kings 19:5-6 ESV).

We moved to South America when I was 12 to explore the continent in our VW bus. Both my parents were devout believers; otherwise, we might not have survived. (I still treasure the worn family Bible full of Mom’s notes.) As I straightened up the tent one day, I found a machete under Dad’s sleeping bag. He knew he might have to defend his young family of six from the dangers of the wilderness. One time we were bunked down in the Colombian jungle when we heard screams and clanging. The groundskeeper had broken into the kitchen to attack our young maid—until Dad knocked him out with a cooking pan.

As a 16-year-old, I left a ballet class in the city of Montevideo and found the dark streets full of people screaming. A woman offered me her phone, so I called my dad, who explained this was a revolution. He directed me to walk towards the ocean and our church, where he would meet me. This meant traversing the worst crime-ridden parts of town. I hummed the words of Psalm 91as I walked right into hundreds of troops and tanks heading into the city, and I was instantly redirected by an unseen force. Dad found me behind the church columns—without a scratch.

He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday. Psalm 91:4-6 ESV

Finances were small when my girls were young, but my faith was big. One day on a snow outing, they became thirsty, but we were far from the car, and I had no money. While we waited for their dad, I looked at the sky and said a silent prayer. The wind whipped up a new $20 bill that landed at my feet, and we bought drinks and snacks. Another time, I was outside having coffee and praying for funds to take the kids to a movie. My two-year-old was nearby singing and dancing without a care in the world when a $50 bill floated down from the sky into her hands; and we went to the movies.

Being saved from danger and provided for in supernatural ways makes no sense from an earthly perspective. Yet God promises these things to his people.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him   and show him my salvation.  Psalm 91:14 – 16 ESV

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

christina rose

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, as well as 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, redemption and restoration. Christina hopes her story will encourage others who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Do you have an angel story to share?

A Light for Our Paths

by Christina Rose

“Let the dawning day bring me revelation of your tender, unfailing love. Give me light for my path and teach me, for I trust in you.” Psalm 143:8 TPT

Learning to hear and discern God’s voice takes time and devotion. Unless we set aside quiet time alone with God, the cries of the world may drown out what He is trying to tell us. Each day, in the early hours of dawn, I study Scripture, pray, listen, and write in my journal. Wise words from God prepare me for the day. King David also sought God’s direction in the morning just as a general would ask advice of his commanding officer.

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”  Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who never gives you a chance to say anything?  I had such a friend who would call and talk at me for half an hour or more and then hang up.  She just wasn’t interested in what I had to say and only wanted to hear herself speak. We went on a road trip once and after several days I thought I would lose my mind. My head was so full of her constant chatter that it drowned out my every thought. While I tried to be patient as she obviously needed someone to talk to, it taught me the importance of being quiet long enough to let others speak.

God is ever present to listen to our prayers, but we will never hear Him if we do all the talking.  Communicating with God is a two-way street.  If we speak to Him, we must allow Him the chance to answer us. Being silent and focused on what He is saying honors Him and blesses us.  The more I have learned to hear from God, the more I understand what a privilege it is to receive a message from Him.

Abraham listened to God who told him he would be the father of many nations; Noah listened to God who told him how to build the ark; Moses listened to God who gave him the Ten Commandments and the Song of Moses to share with the people.

“Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say! Let my teaching fall on you like rain; let my speech settle like dew. Let my words fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants. I will proclaim the name of the Lord; how glorious is our God!” Deuteronomy 32:1-3 NLT

Every summer we drove down the California coast to camp at Big Sur. This event was the highlight of the year and my daughters’ friends all clamored to join us. Preparation had taken weeks but at last the VW bus was loaded up and we were to leave first thing in the morning. I arose very early in the dawn before the drive to ask God for his protection and provision. This year as I prayed, I heard, “Call the park.” At the time California was having many wildfires but when I checked the night before there were no fires near Big Sur. Again, I heard with urgency, “Call the park.” I dialed the park service who informed us that overnight a huge fire had descended upon Big Sur, and they were evacuating everyone. 

If I had not prayed and obeyed, our day could have been a disaster of driving for hours, gridlock and roadblocks, only to be forced to turn around and return home at the end of the day. It was painful to share the disappointing news with the girls, but God provided one of the last sites at a nearby campground, which was a miracle.  We pitched the tent under the redwoods by a trickling stream and soon were happily roasting marshmallows by the fire.

Taking time to listen to God is truly a light for our paths. He is the great I AM, way maker and miracle worker.  He wants to guide us to an abundant life that is far greater than we can imagine on our own, if we will just listen and trust.

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, made it livable and lasting, known everywhere as God: ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own.” Jeremiah 33:2-3 MSG

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

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker with the John Maxwell Team. She is a DAR whose patriot ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War.  

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story.  With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina appeals to heaven for hope and freedom just as her patriot ancestors did hundreds of years ago. She is a contributor to the Arise to Peace Daily Devotional and a frequent blogger for Arise Daily Devos.

Join the conversation: Are you taking time to listen to God?