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).

christina rose
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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?

God’s Gift of Living Water

by Christina Rose

Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes afresh bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.  John 4:13-14 NLT

On his way to Galilee, Jesus and his disciples had to pass through Samaria. They came to the village of Sychar around noon and Jesus sat by Jacob’s well while his disciples went into the village to buy food. When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus asked her to give him a drink. Jews did not speak with Samaritans, so she questioned why he would ask her for a drink. Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water” (John 4:10 NLT).

When the woman asked to receive this living water, Jesus told her to go get her husband; she replied that she did not have a husband. Jesus told her that he knew she was not married to the man she was living with, and that she had had five husbands. So, she became curious and questioned him further. “Then Jesus told her, ‘I Am the Messiah!’” (John 4:26 NLT).

Jesus purposely chose to reveal himself as the Messiah to an outcast woman who was scorned by her own people, a race the Jews despised. He showed how God values and actively seeks each one of us despite how bankrupt our lives may seem. Only someone like the Samaritan woman who felt unloved and unwanted could understand the magnitude of such grace. She was now set free to share her joy with the nearby village.

Shame is not always obvious. I’ve come to learn there are many thirsty people in the world who need the grace of God’s living water.

Sydney was one of the greatest windsurfers on San Francisco Bay. She fearlessly flew across the waves, barely skimming the surface with her speed and agility. Clumsy beginners like myself would watch in awe as she mastered the waves and never missed a jibe.

One day Sydney noticed my starstruck admiration and gave me some tips. We became fast friends, and she told me she had grown up in an abusive home. Her father had broken her nose when she was a little girl, and her mother admonished her for getting in his way.

On Sydney’s birthday, I brought a cake to the beach, and she dissolved in tears. Her parents had sent her to summer camp for her birthday every year, so she rarely had a cake. Sydney hid her shame of feeling unloved by being strong and free among the waves.

One day on my way to the chapel, I ran into Sydney and invited her to join me. We quietly chatted in the sanctuary, enjoying the beauty of the stillness, and sharing lessons. That was the last time I saw her. She died of a sudden heart attack a few weeks later at age 42. I am grateful for our last meeting in the chapel, where we were blessed by God’s amazing grace.

Just as Jesus reached out to the Samaritan woman who hid from others in shame, he reaches out to each one of us to share that God loves us despite the choices we may have made or how others may view us. As we grow in the intimacy of our worship with him, we can share the gift of living water with those we meet, so that none of them need ever thirst again, and that all might have eternal life.

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: Do you know someone that needs a drink of living water? How can you reach out to them?

All Things New and Beautiful

by Christina Rose

“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new.”  2 Corinthians 5:17 TPT

The Christmas season was upon us; I sat in the rocker by the fireplace, enjoying the peace of early dawn while the twinkling lights of the San Francisco skyline appeared on the horizon. My first baby was due to arrive any day and my thoughts went to Mary, who, many years ago, was about to give birth to Jesus. A season of waiting and laboring would be rewarded with a new baby to make all things new and beautiful.

Another season of waiting and laboring happened at Christmas two years later when my second daughter arrived. Again we were blessed with all things in our life made new and beautiful. Seasons of great blessing can often begin with waiting and laboring.

A monarch butterfly starts life as a hungry caterpillar that hatches from an egg. It feeds off leaves until large enough to molt and shed its skin. It then hangs upside down from a twig or leaf and spins itself into a cocoon called a chrysalis (a Greek word for gold). Inside the protective case, the caterpillar radically transforms and then emerges as a butterfly or moth.

Creation is often preceded by a quiet time of seclusion, stillness and patience while the creator is at work. He knows when the time is right to call forth his new creation, even though the wait may seem long to us. Recently, I was in a place thousands of miles away from my home. My daughters are now grown, and I was tucked away in a tiny penthouse with a view of the Rockies. I nestled among fluffy white comforters and pillows by the fireplace to study Scripture, pray, write, and hear from God.

In my opinion, a new door was taking too long to open.

One day I prayed, “God, you’ve done great things for me before, why not now?”  I felt him answer, “Yes, I have done great things for you, and now I want you to do a great thing for me. Trust me for every thought, every word, every act, everything. And just as I sent David and Joseph out to do great things for me once they learned to trust me in the dark places, I will send you out to do great things for me.” As I pondered this, I drifted off to sleep. 

In my dream my white comforter became a white cocoon from which I emerged with giant, beautiful blue butterfly wings streaked with gold and began flying over the earth. The sense of freedom was powerful.  As the dream ended, I was left with the feeling of exhilaration and excitement that something new and beautiful was about to happen.

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

Great changes upon the world at this time are forcing many into seclusion and isolation. People are turning to faith as the physical world is shaken.  Evangelists and prophets are rising up and thousands are coming to Christ.  Like the caterpillars who are permanently changed, God is at work in us, radically transforming us into the image of Christ. We must trust that God, the supreme Father of all creation, is at work, and his timing is perfect. We must have faith that God is in control and loves us all so much. He is creating a world with all things new and beautiful.

“Look! I am creating entirely new heavens and a new earth! They will be so wonderful that no one will even think about the old ones anymore! As you wait for the reality of what I am creating, be filled with joy and unending gladness!
    Look! I am ready to create Jerusalem as a source of sheer joy, and her people, an absolute delight
!.”  Isaiah 43:18-19 TPT

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: Is God taking a long time opening a door for you? How do you manage the wait?

Loving God, Loving Others

by Christina Rose

“Just then a religious scholar stood before Jesus in order to test his doctrines. He posed this question: “Teacher, what requirement must I fulfill if I want to live forever in heaven?” Jesus replied, “What do you read in the Law? How do you understand it?” The religious scholar answered, “It states, ‘You must love the Lord God with all your heart, all your passion, all your energy, and your every thought. And you must love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” Jesus said, “That is correct. Now go and do exactly that and you will live.” Wanting to justify himself, he questioned Jesus further, saying, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor?’ Luke 10:25-29 TPT

The Pharisee lawyer tried to trap Jesus with the question, “What do you mean by ‘my neighbor?’” thinking he would trip him up and make himself look good. Jesus saw it coming and he responded with The Parable of the Good Samaritan. He told the story of a man who traveled from Jerusalem to Jericho who was attacked by robbers and left for dead.

Both a priest and Levite who were traveling down the road passed by, ignoring him. But the third man, a Samaritan, took pity on him and bandaged his wounds. He put the man on his donkey and brought him to an inn, giving the innkeeper money to look after the injured man and promised to return for him. Jesus asked, “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” 

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him. ”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:36-37 NIV).

We lived in a wonderful neighborhood full of young families and retirees. The park and playground were always full of happy kids playing and laughing. And then there was Rose.  Rose was a retired schoolteacher who lived alone across the street. She had lived in the neighborhood for many years and often took walks to visit her old friends and check on the young families.

One day as we were leaving the house, Ashley groaned, “Mom how does she do it? She must peek behind her curtains all day waiting for us to come out of the house. Now I’ll be late for practice again!”  It seemed every time we opened our door, she opened hers and headed across the street to talk to us. As she moved very slowly with her arthritic feet and was in the early stages of dementia, it required great patience to make her understand that we were on our way to somewhere and couldn’t be late.

One year early in November, she shared she had already bought our Christmas gifts. I gulped. We always had a quiet Christmas with our little family, and it had never occurred to me to invite Rose. She could be loud, bossy, cantankerous and frankly, a lot of work. I didn’t know how to tell her she wasn’t welcome on Christmas day, so I invited her. She then asked me what she could bring for Thanksgiving, so I caved and invited her for Thanksgiving, too.

This began years of inviting Rose over for holidays which could be challenging at times, but even more challenging would have been knowing that she was sitting across the street alone.  One year after dinner, she looked at me with tears in her eyes, and said, “I wish you were my mother.”  She was old enough to be my mother, but in that moment my heart melted. There was just a little lonely girl inside that cranky old lady who had lost her mother at a young age. My compassion increased in that moment, as I realized how much Jesus wanted me to love my neighbor Rose, which we did until she passed away a few years later.

Over the years I found many neighbors who needed someone to care. My firefighter neighbor was standing in his driveway one morning, sobbing. His wife of many years had just died, and he didn’t know how he would live without her. Another friend was standing in her front yard in shock. Her husband had unexpectedly died of a sudden heart attack. Sandy worked the night shift and needed to borrow milk and diapers at five am.

We were born to love and help one another.  Reaching out to neighbors with gestures of love glorifies the Father and honors his son Jesus, who died to give us eternal peace.

So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35 NLT)

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 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: Have you been blessed by loving a neighbor? Please share!

Please Pass the Peace

by Christina Rose

It’s much better to live simply, surrounded in holy awe and worship of God, than to have great wealth with a home full of trouble. It’s much better to have a meal of vegetables surrounded with love and grace than a steak where there is hate. Proverbs 15:16-17 TPT

As the holidays drew near, Dad paced nervously, puffing on his pipe and jiggling the coins in his pocket. He was a quiet and pensive man, yet I noticed his feeling pressured as he stared out the window. Autumn leaves swirled in the wind as dark clouds filled the sky—setting the perfect stage for the storm that was about to hit with Oma’s arrival.

Mom’s mother was coming to help with the holiday meal. Oma was a tall, commanding captain of the nurses at Walter Reed military hospital, and she had a critical nature. She came from a frugal family of German immigrants who settled near the Amish in rural Pennsylvania. They worked the fields, raised livestock and saved every penny. Their diet of sauerkraut, pickled pigs’ feet, pickled beets and eggs (and all things pickled) didn’t help to sweeten their serious, hardworking demeanors.

Since Dad came from a family that loved to laugh and didn’t take things too seriously, Oma had a hard time understanding Mom’s choice of Dad for her husband. And Oma aired that opinion far too frequently.

After Oma arrived, the kitchen was on lockdown for several days while she and Mom created the perfect holiday meal. Dad took us hiking and we tossed the football around, then we enjoyed pizza and ice cream with a movie in the den. All of this was much more fun than being scolded for wandering into the kitchen and disrupting the cooks. “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife” (Proverbs 17:12 NIV).

Dad grew up on the beautiful coast of New England, and whenever we visited his childhood home, Grammie Dot greeted us with warmth and hugs. We gathered in the front room where aunts, uncles and cousins would laugh and jest for hours. When everyone got hungry, we ordered lobster rolls, fried clams, shrimp and French fries; then we tossed the paper plates in the trash so that no one was stuck in the kitchen washing dishes. These memories are full of joy.

The contrast of those memories reminds me of something I learned after my car broke down recently. I felt overwhelmed by car replacement choices and prayed to God for the right one. When a little white Ford Focus landed in my driveway, I realized it was more than a car; it was a word from God. Each day, when I see “FOCUS” on the back of my car, it’s a reminder to focus on what matters most.  

While Oma focused on creating the perfect holiday meal, Grammie Dot focused on enjoying her family. Prioritizing God’s plan for us gives us the peace, knowing He directs our steps, meets our needs with abundance, and holds our future safely in His hands. When we learn to live this way, we can relax and enjoy our lives instead of worrying about details that rob us of the joy that comes from loving God and one another.

Jesus imparted that wisdom to Martha when her sister chose to sit at his feet to listen and learn, deeming it more important than helping prepare the holiday feast. “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things.But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her”(Luke 10:41-42 NKJV).

While I know that both my grandmothers wanted to create special memories, the focus on family over the feast was far more enjoyable. A holiday masterpiece feast is a treasured gift, but the love, laughter and joy we share with one another is paramount to celebrating the life that Christ died to give us.   

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 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: What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?