I Don’t Do Drama!

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

I’ve often found myself saying– or thinking–  I don’t do drama.

Yet, as much as I’d like to shut the chaos, confusion, and cattiness out of my life and convince myself I don’t do drama, it has a way of creeping into my life anyway.

Recently, the drama was a complete downstairs remodel of my family’s kitchen and living room as a result of a repaired water leak under our kitchen slab. There was plastic sheeting all over. Dust was everywhere, too. Our cat, Mowgli, was crawling into – and getting stuck inside – holes in our drywall! Nothing was where it should be. It had the potential to make me crazy!

Drama happens when unexpected circumstances hit, and we are unprepared to handle them. But a concept I had to keep in mind was that the drama in my living room was not unexpected to God. And He was perfectly prepared and able to handle it.

As I took my household drama to God, He laid upon my heart, once again, that it did not take Him by surprise, that He was in control, and that I could get through the drama as I trusted Him in the midst of it.

Every circumstance you and I encounter is meant to conform us to the image of Christ (Romans 8:28-29).  Once you and I consider this, we can relax and realize God knows what He’s doing in whatever He’s allowing. And we can focus on passing the test, rather than failing it through unnecessary drama.

Just as I was practicing trusting Him, in spite of the mess in my house, I learned we would get a complete downstairs remodel for just the cost of our insurance deductible. Before long, we received a brand new kitchen and living room floor, a new paint job, and even nice new granite counter tops to replace the old, worn out tile and grout   We never could’ve afforded a remodel had we not experienced a water leak under our kitchen slab. God knew what He was doing in the midst of the drama. And He often gives us more than we expect when we simply trust Him.

Lord, why would I ever doubt You when You know the plans You have for me – plans to prosper me and not harm me, to give me a future and a hope? Thank You for being in control of all that happens and having a better plan for me– every time.   

TWEETABLE
I Don’t Do Drama! Insight on #FollowingGod from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: When was your last encounter with drama?

Got Stress?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

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

What stresses you out?

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

Wondering about something that hasn’t yet happened?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Join the conversation: What stresses you out the most?

 

 

.

 

Completely Known

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Before a word is on my tongue, You know all about it, Lord.  Psalm 139:4 CSB

I’ve heard some women say their husbands can look at them and know exactly what they’re thinking.

I envy them. To have a mind-reader husband would be quite nice.

But for most of us, no one knows what we’re thinking and feeling, until we try to express it in words, which often don’t come out quite right.

I remember the day I really understood that the Lord can enter the private area of my mind and heart – the part no one else can see – and knows exactly what I’m thinking and feeling. What a relief to be assured that I was truly known by the One who designed me and wants to be in relationship with me.

David, the psalmist, prayed, “Lord, You have searched me and known me.  You know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest; You are aware of all my ways” (Psalm 139:1-3). David goes on to say that even before he speaks, the Lord knows what he is going to say. That is intimate knowledge – so intimate that David admits it is too wonderful for him to understand.

As a child, I always expected my mom to know what I was thinking, to know when to come in my room and comfort me when I was upset. And when she didn’t, I became angry. I can tend to do the same thing to my husband today. So many times, I want him to talk with me, so I leave clues that are, in my opinion, obvious. But my husband often has other things on his mind and doesn’t pick up on my “hints.” That tends to annoy me and make me feel I’m not important enough for him to study and try to figure out.

God doesn’t need the hints, though. He already knows the condition of my heart and mind. And because He knows my thoughts, He understands me in a way no one else ever could. Better than a mother. Better than a husband. Better than a best friend. He knows me, literally, more than I even know myself. And with all that intimate knowledge, He still loves me and accepts me. Now that’s unconditional, unfathomable love.

Lord, thank You that I am completely known and, in addition to knowing all about me, You loving me more intimately than anyone else ever could. Help me to keep You first in my heart today.

TWEETABLE
Completely Known – thoughts on #GodsLove from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling titles When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and resources to improve your walk with God, your marriage, or your parenting, or for a free consultation to see if she can help you cindi mcmenamin God's Whispers to a Woman's Heartwrite your book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Do you long to hear God’s whispers on your heart? “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Do you want to know His thoughts of you, His plans for you, His comfort and His presence? Then Cindi’s book, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart is for you!

Join the conversation: How does knowing you are completely known (and  unconditionally loved) make a difference in your life?

Do You Have a Right-Hand Man?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

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

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

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

I felt like I was losing my right hand.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Storing Up Treasure

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ” Matthew 6:21, NIV

I’ve been a collecting addict for as long as I can remember. At age five, it was Raggedy Ann dolls. Then it was cat figurines. By the time I was 10, I was collecting just about anything I came across: polished rocks, stamps, marbles, postcards, even bubble-gum wrapper comics!

But once I became an adult, I limited my collection to Cinderella. Dolls, ornaments, figurines, and snow globes take up every bit of space in two seven-foot-high curio cabinets in my bedroom. They remind me that I married a prince, and that my dreams and wishes have come true. And because most of them have been gifts, they also remind me of people who love me.

But I remember the day they also started interfering with my heart.

It was the middle of the night when I awoke from an earthquake jolt. I jumped out of bed and ran to one of the curio cabinets. With feet apart and both hands out in front of me, I prepared to brace my body against the 150-pound cabinet to keep it from falling over should the shaking increase. As the house stilled, I remembered my then six-year-old daughter, who was sleeping soundly under a shelf that could have toppled onto her! And I thought of my husband, who was still dreaming beneath a large picture frame that now hung crooked. And there I was protecting Cinderella! My concern for my collection had outweighed my concern for my own family. My “treasure” had gotten out of hand.

Jesus said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).

I’ve realized through the years that it is freeing to not have to worry that an earthquake or fire or robbery would destroy my treasures. So, I’ve tried to focus my collection on what is more eternal: Scripture verses I’ve memorized through the years, people with whom I’ve shared the gospel, young women whom I’ve discipled, children I’ve loved and cared for, widows I’ve “adopted” as grandmas, and smiles from others that I’ve had the opportunity to encourage.

It’s never too late to start collecting the few things that really matter in this life and the life to come.

Lord, help me to want more of You and nothing else. Please give me Your heart to love people more than possessions so I will live wisely and invest in what is eternal.

TWEETABLE
Storing Up Treasure – insight from @CindyMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 16 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When God Sees Your Tears, and When Women Long for Rest, upon which this devotional is based. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

What readers are saying about When Women Long for Rest: “When Women Long for Rest Cindi McMenamin Long for Rest book cover (1)beckoned to me like an overstuffed chair. It is well written, and every woman will relate to at least one example listed. The exercises are simple, yet highly effective.”

Join the conversation: What are the most precious things you have collected?

Too Much to Do?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:2 NIV

Are you feeling today that there is just too much to do?

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I was drowning under the pressures of being a woman, wife, mother, director of women’s ministries, friend, sister, and daughter. There was so much to do to keep up with family relationships, to keep up the house, to keep up with my job, and to keep up in my walk with God. I literally felt I was drowning in obligations, and continually coming up short.

Today I know that when I feel like that, I’ve taken on more than I was intended to bear. And most likely, more than God wants me to bear.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus gave this invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Jesus recognized the people of His day were carrying burdens too heavy to bear. So, He offered them His burden instead – a burden He said was light. What is the burden God places on us? What is the one thing He requires of us more than anything else?

One man asked Jesus that same question. And Jesus’ response was: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

God’s greatest requirement of us was not to do things for Him. It was to love Him. And not to just love Him, but to love Him passionately, desperately, above any other person or thing.

God’s “burden” on us is not a heavy one. In fact, it isn’t a burden at all. It’s a privilege.

When I consider loving Him as my highest obligation and my heaviest burden, it makes all the other things I think I have to do pale in comparison. My to-do list, my project at work, my financial dilemma …. none of those things is as important as loving my God. And therefore, I truly can take His yoke upon me and find rest. There is anxiety and stress in striving to carry my own burdens. There is peace and rest in loving Him.

Lord, for all the times I start to feel weary and weighted down, help me to remember Your invitation to come to You, lay my burden at Your feet, and find rest.

TWEETABLE
Encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin when we have Too Much to Do – @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the Author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When You’re Running on Emptyis written for Christian women who give of themselves relentlessly. What can a woman do when she’s running on empty? Learn how to renew your energy and passion and press on.

Join the conversation: How do you refresh yourself when you feel overwhelmed?

 

A Fresh Start

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17, CSB

By noon today I was wishing I could have a do-over.

Because I woke up late, I was running behind all morning. Then, because I was running late, I didn’t go to God’s Word first to soften my heart and settle my soul before interacting with others. It was all downhill from there. As a result, I spoke a harsh word, instead of letting gentleness flow out of me. And I found myself complaining instead of seeing the best in a situation.

“God, is there any hope for me?” I prayed.

It’s a good thing that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings.

Second Corinthians 5:17 tells me that the past is forgotten and everything is new when I am in Christ. That doesn’t just mean I become “new” when I initially come to Christ and surrender my life to Him. It means I can experience new beginnings every day – every time that I blow it. Every time that I see the need to start over. Every time I want to make it right with Him again.

Because we are human, we still sin. Even when we love God and set out to do what’s right, we still mess things up at times. Yet, a new start awaits. It’s available for the asking.

“God, create a clean heart for me…” David prayed in Psalm 51:10, after a pretty disastrous series of events that included lusting after a married woman, committing adultery with her, murdering her husband, and then continuing in his deception to save his image as king. Yet, as his sin found him out, this broken man cried out to God:
“Renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit” (verses 10-12 CSB).

King David asked for a new start after messing up big time. And God, in His mercy, gave him one. When you and I ask God for a fresh start, He gives one to us, too. And He makes everything new. Everything. Our minds– to think pure thoughts. Our bodies – to live purely once again. Our mouths – to speak words that heal, not wound. Our hearts – to seek after a path that is straight and right.

Do you need a new beginning today? Would a fresh start put a fresh wind in your sails? Then ask God for a fresh start and a new beginning, as David did, and watch Him create a new you, right before your eyes.

Lord, please cleanse my heart and give me a fresh start in You. Make me new and spotless in Your eyes once again.

TWEETABLE
A Fresh Start – thoughts when your day needs a new beginning from @CindyMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the Author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When You’re Running on EmptyFor more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts.is written for women who are dealing with wounds from the unresolved issues in their past. Readers will find gracious, biblical counsel on how and where to finally find healing and peace.

Join the conversation: What do you wish you could do over?

 

Mistakes and All

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.  Psalm 18:30, NIV

This morning I blew it.

I was selfishly thinking of my needs and not anyone else’s. And thus, my home became not such a nice place to be.

Why do I do that?

I can so relate to the who Apostle Paul who wrote “… For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18-19 NIV).

I know we all feel like we’ve blown it at times — as moms, as wives, as daughters, as employees, as friends. We carry guilt on our shoulders in some area of life, feeling that we have failed to measure up to others’ standards – or our own.

I will be the first to admit that I’ve failed more times than I’d like to count. In fact, my books recount much more of my failures than my victories. That’s because we can learn through our mistakes. We can be shaped by our mistakes. And we can become more humble and extend more grace toward others when we are able to recognize the areas in which we have needed God’s grace, wisdom, and correction.

When I begin to feel I am not measuring up to the standards of others, I remember my God who is perfect and makes no mistakes (Psalm 18:30).  That means He doesn’t regret making me or putting me where He has. That means my mistake didn’t take Him by surprise. And that means He can still use me for His purposes, mistakes and all.

In spite of my mistakes, I’m encouraged by God’s promise in James 1:5 (NIV): If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

God gives generously (He’s not stingy in doling out the wisdom), He gives to all (even if  I don’t feel I deserve it), and He gives without criticizing or finding fault (meaning He won’t say “Uh no, I gave it to you before and you didn’t use it”).

The next time I feel that I’ve blown it, I’ll take it to the Generous One who knows all about it and is waiting for me to seek His comfort, His ear, and His wisdom.

Thank You, God, that You know all about my fears and failures. And You are waiting to pick me back up, make me stronger, and show me all that You can still do in and through my life.

TWEETABLE
Mistakes and All – insight on #FollowingGod from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurtsexplores the kinds of hurt women experience and offers gracious, biblical counsel on how and where to find healing. Cindi replaces the faulty thinking that often accompanies life’s wounds with truths every woman needs to know about how God views her.

Join the conversation: Has there been a time when you learned a lot from a mistake? Please share!

Fearing the Worst (or Believing the Best)

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

 “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:11 NIV

The email subject line from my editor read: “The email you’ve been waiting for.”

Yet I was still afraid to open it.

I’d had a rash of bad news lately. What if my editor means it’s the news that I’ve been WAITING to hear, but not exactly the good news I’m HOPING for? 

I said a quick prayer: “Lord, get me through this,” and read the email.

It turned out to be great news. And immediately I thought about that critical (I defensively call it “protective”) mode in me that takes over when I fear disappointment: Don’t get your hopes up, just in case. It can’t all be good, so beware.

How that lack of faith and absence of joyful expectation must hurt the heart of my Heavenly Father, who enjoys delivering good news to His children.

Our critical sides can rule us, at times, can’t they? We’re hesitant to hope, lest we be disappointed. We’re afraid to apply, lest we don’t get the job. We refuse to audition in case we don’t get the part. Yet, when we expect disappointment we are clearly saying to God – and others – that He is not capable of coming through for us or giving us anything better.

The Angel of the Lord rebuked Abraham’s wife – a doubting 90-year-old, barren woman – by asking her: “Is anything impossible for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14). Yet I have my own list of “impossibles” that I tend to think God can’t or won’t allow. But that is simply my lack of faith.

I love how Ephesians 3:20 (HCSB) sets me straight every time: “Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us.” 

Did you catch that? God is able to do — not a little more, not even much more, but – above and beyond all that we ask or think. Immeasurably more. So much more than we believe is possible.

God measures what we receive in eternal proportions that we can’t see or even fathom. He measures out what is best for us eternally, rather than temporally; what is best for our character, rather than our sense of convenience.

The God who numbers the hairs on our heads and has thoughts of us too numerable to mention wants to blow our expectations out of the water by coming through in a mighty way for each of us.

Instead of expecting the worst, will you start believing the best?

Lord, I will expect immeasurably more today because You are an immeasurably big God who is capable of doing the impossible!  

TWEETABLE
Fearing the Worst (or Believing the Best) – insight from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and award-winning author who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. For more on her resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi is the author of 17 books including Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. You know what drama is…in your circle of friends, extended family, and in the unexpected circumstances of life. Truth is, we’ve all been both actor and audience when it comes to life’s dramas. But here’s another truth: You don’t have to let it sweep you away. You can find peace even when emotions overwhelm you.

Join the conversation: Has God ever surprised you when you were dreading the worst?

 

When I Need to Choose Joy

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. Psalm 28:7 NASB

It’s been one of those weeks.

A week in which it seemed like every time I turned around, there was another unexpected expense, more disappointing news, and what appeared to be another setback. The week culminated with the cancellation of a job I was preparing for…a job that was to result in income my family was depending on.

“Really, God?” I said aloud at the end of the week when I received the devastating news. “Can You give me a break?”

I happened to be putting together teaching material that week for a women’s retreat that was themed “Choose Joy.” Suddenly it became apparent to me that I was not choosing joy in the midst of my circumstances. I was, instead, letting my circumstances control my life and my attitude.

I remembered a passage from Scripture that I’d memorized as a teenager. One that God seemed to be whispering in my ear: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV).

Consider it joy? “But, God this isn’t joyful. Not in the least,” I responded aloud.

But God, in His goodness, wanted me to choose joy, even if I didn’t feel like it.

God has made it clear to me through the years that joy is not about our circumstances, it’s about our condition. Our circumstances change from day to day. But our condition – as a child of God and the recipient of His eternal blessings – never changes.

Joy is not about what is happening – or not happening – in our lives. Joy is about Whose we are.

“God, help me to respond in a way that pleases You,” I prayed. And He reminded me that not only is the joy of the Lord my stronghold (Nehemiah 8:10) but as I dwell in His presence, recounting my blessings and realizing He is my greatest joy, He will meet me there.

David, the Psalmist, sang: “In your presence there is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11), and in Psalm 4:7, he sang: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and new wine abound” (ESV).

I have enough in all God has chosen to give me thus far. And He will never take away Himself (Hebrews 13:5). Therefore, I have all I will ever need to choose joy every day.

Lord, help me to please Your heart by remembering that no matter what comes my way today, You have gone before Me, and You remain alongside me, and – as Your Word says – in Your presence is abundant joy.  

TWEETABLE
When I Need to Choose Joy – @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, and When God Sees Your Tears. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Recapture the romance of a relationship with God with When God Pursues a Woman’s HeartWithin the heart of every woman is the desire to be pursued, cherished, and loved. There’s only One who can lavish such love. Join Cindi as she takes you through the Bible to discover how God offers a relationship like no other.

Join the conversation: Have your circumstances ever kept you from joy? What did God teach you about Himself through it?