Secret Petitions of the Heart

by Christina Rose

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.”                                                                                                              Psalm 37:4 AMP

One summer day many years ago I planted a secret petition in my heart. A thunderstorm had sent me and my cousin Susan racing from the pool to the cozy den where we plopped down with bowls of ice cream to watch a movie. “The Sandpiper” was filmed on the wild, central coast of California. I was overcome with awe by the spectacular Pacific coast. As I watched actress Elizabeth Taylor paint a canvas of sandpipers by the ocean, a bold dream was born in my heart. I knew I belonged there on that beautiful wild coast and that somehow and someday I would find my way there. For a little ten-year old girl who had never traveled west of Maryland, this dream seemed so big and impossible that I kept it to myself.

As years went by I forgot this dream amid the busyness of life. After college, I moved to San Francisco where I was married and had two children. Each summer we would drive down the coast to camp under the redwoods in Big Sur. We would spend hours on the beach, exploring tide pools and enjoying the surf. We would often stop by Nepenthe restaurant for an early dinner on the way back to camp.

One afternoon, as I was exploring the gift shop at Nepenthe, I noticed a huge poster of  “The Sandpiper” movie. Further inquisition revealed that the movie had been shot on the very beach I had been taking my children to every year. I learned that the stars in the movie often came to Nepenthe after filming for dinner. As the wonder of God’s grace in fulfilling a child’s secret dream from more than 30 years ago flooded me, I was filled with awe at how great God is. He never gives up on us or our dreams. He knows our every secret, even if we have buried them so deep, they have become secrets to ourselves. God actualized my childhood dream in a way far greater than I had imagined. He blessed me with a beautiful family with which to enjoy it all.

God’s greatness in restoring dreams is evidenced throughout the Bible.

Elisha was a prophet in the Bible who often traveled through the town of Shunem. A local woman wanted to honor him as a man of God, so she and her husband built a room for him in their home. Elisha wanted to repay the woman for her generosity, but she insisted there was nothing she needed. When Elisha discovered she had no children, he promised her that she would have a son within one year. She had kept her dream of having a child a secret, as she had given up on it many years ago. While she dared not hope again, the secret petition of her heart was granted when Elisha’s promise came true; she was blessed with a baby boy within the year. (2 Kings 4:8-17)

As a young teenager, Joseph had a great dream of being a powerful leader. When his jealous brothers sold him into slavery, he may have felt that this dream was just an illusion. For all the years he toiled in prison, there may have been moments when he wondered if his dream would ever be realized. All the while, God was not punishing Joseph, he was merely preparing him. Joseph’s dream came true, and he became the leader God called him to be. (Genesis 37, 41:38-43)

Have you given up on a dream that seems impossible? With God all things are possible, including granting the secret petitions of our hearts.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV)

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Secret Petitions of the Heart – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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 fulfilled a secret dream of yours? Please share!

Tear It Down

by Ashley Lauren McClain

Last year, my husband and I bought an old farmhouse that was built in 1929. I fell in love with this house. It sits on a beautiful piece of land with a creek flowing through it. The driveway is lined with trees that make my heart smile every time I look at them. Our plan was to restore and remodel it. You know, Chip and Joanna style (cue all of the shiplap.)

After purchasing the house, it was funny to see the reaction of friends and family when they came to see it. They had no vision. All they could see was a dilapidated 100-year-old house. In their defense, they were correct. But in my mind, I could envision its future. I pictured us raising our family in that house. I saw our kids running in and out of the back door of the kitchen, while I watched out the window. It was my dream home.

As we began the restoration process, problems started to pop up, as you can imagine. But my husband and I had our hearts so set on that house, we continued trying to push forward and make it work. Until it just wouldn’t. Several professionals told us that it would be best to tear it down and start over. We didn’t want to hear it.

It wasn’t just a house they were talking about…it was our dream.

I decided to fast and pray over this decision. At the end of it, God had given both my husband and I both peace; tearing it down was the right thing to do. Peace doesn’t always mean happiness and joy. In my peace, I was still sad that the house had to go.

At the end of that fast, the Lord also showed me something even more important than tearing down that house. He showed me the dreams and plans in my heart that He was asking me to tear down. He showed me places that I was pushing for my plan and not listening for His.

He reminded me in His Word of these verses:

Look, I am about to do something new; even now it is coming. Do you not see it? Indeed, I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert (Isaiah 4:19 CSB).

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways.” This is the Lord’s declaration. “For as heaven is higher than earth, so my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9 CSB).

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; in all your ways know him, and he will make your paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6 CSB).

My mind knew all of these well, but I hadn’t yet taken them to heart. Did I really believe them?

So as I watched my dream house come down, I found the walls of my heart coming down as well. I opened myself up to what the Lord has for me. In that surrender, I found extreme kindness from the Lord and beauty in all of it. How kind of Him to give me an external example of what was happening internally for me. How kind of Him to allow me to watch the old go away and see the beauty and excitement of the new that is coming.

We all have plans and dreams for our lives. I know for me, when those things aren’t realized, I find myself easily pulled into disappointment. I want to flip that script in my life. I imagine you may want to as well. I want to trust what those verses say with all of my heart. I want to know and trust that His plan, His story for my life, is the best.

Is the Lord asking you to tear down your house? Let down those walls and surrender those dreams to Him? My prayer for us all is that we let Him in and allow Him to do what only He can do in our lives. I pray that we can open up our eyes and hearts to see the beauty of restoration. The beauty of letting go of the old and rebuilding the new. His ways are higher, His ways are better, His ways are good… all the time.

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Tear It Down – encouragement from Ashley McClain on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Ashley McClainAbout the author: Ashley McClain is a girl with big dreams and a blog to encourage women in their journey through this life, given by the greatest Gift Giver. She loves to read, write, drink coffee, and spend time with the hubby & puppies! Connect with Ashley on her website ashleylmcclain.com. She would love to hear about your journey too!

Join the conversation: Is God asking you to tear down the walls of your dreams?

 

What God Does with Our Dreams

by Sheri Schofield

Jesus told his disciples,Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone…” (Mark 16:15 NLT).  So from the moment I gave my heart to Jesus, I dreamed of becoming a missionary. I wanted to go to Latin America. Years later, my husband, Tim, and I went to Central America. But after only one year, our family had to return to the States because of Tim’s health.

My heart was broken. I cried out to God, “This is the death of our dreams!”

Tim found work in Montana, far from the Latin American children I wanted to reach for Jesus. I was devastated. After a year, though, I began to regroup. I asked God to give me the children of our city for Jesus. Sound impossible? Many God-given dreams are.

I took the ministry God made available: teaching the children in a relatively small church for the next twenty-plus years. It seemed as though my second dream, too, would never find fulfillment.

Then one day, early in my teaching work, I asked God to give me the ability to paint pictures of the children in my class on the classroom wall, with Jesus, by the Sea of Galilee. I had not painted for over sixteen years and had no significant experience with portrait work. But God granted my request. It blew me away!  I began painting people’s portraits when opportunities arose, practicing the art. It felt like a diamond necklace-kind of gift from God, one that I could simply enjoy, with no purpose other than pleasure.

Years later, I began writing. That’s when God gave me HIS assignment: I was to write the lessons on the plan of salvation that I had developed while teaching, and publish them in a book — and illustrate it, using people of all races so it could be used in Latin America, too! So I did. The book contained ninety-nine full page, full color illustrations with lots of people of all races.

When the first 2,000 copies of the book came off the press, I discovered that the printer had mistakenly printed the interior in black and white! I was stunned. But God said, “Sheri, this is not a mistake. You are to give these books to the pastors working on the Montana Native American reservations. They have no resources.” Tim agreed, so we did.

The next batch of books were fine, so I began selling them. Then the Lord said, “Sheri, it’s time to start giving these books away to the children of Helena. You’ve asked for a way to reach them for Jesus: I have now given you a way to do that!” So Tim and I began. There are currently about a thousand books floating around this city.

Now the Lord has finally opened the door for us to reach Latin America: He has brought thousands from Central America to our USA southern border, and they cannot cross it.

“Translate that book into Spanish now,” the Lord said. So we did. This week, we will place an order for 1,000 translated books. When they are printed, there are churches at the border ready to take them across to the immigrant families.

God has brought us full-circle to that first dream that we thought had died! By replacing our dreams with His, God has greatly expanded our reach and effectiveness. He has given us the desires of our heart.

What dreams do you have for God? Can you give those dreams to Him? Trust Him: He’s got a terrific plan!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.    Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

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What God Does with Our Dreams – insight from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

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

Join the Conversation: What dreams has God given you?

 

 

Give Your Life Away?

by Ashley Lauren McClain

“Give your life away.” I remember when I heard my Pastor say this in a sermon. He said it as a statement, but in my mind, it immediately became a question. Give my life away?

What about MY dreams, and MY purpose and MY calling? What about ME? How does giving my life away get me any closer to the goals and ambition I have for my life?

Can I just say I wish I had taken his words as truth all those years ago?

I believe the chasing, striving, disappointments, and my many failures could have gone so differently. If only I had taken his words to heart the first time I heard them.

My problem? My focus was on me. I loved the Lord, but I was more wrapped up in my dreams and plans than in Him. Give it all away? Who would I be if not the girl with the big dreams? Who would I be if I laid them down to serve God by sharing the gospel and His love with others?

Answer: I would be the girl fully walking in the calling that the Lord has on her life.

Maybe you find yourself today caught up in the chasing and striving in life: nothing you do is good enough or fulfilling enough. If you do, I get it. I lived there a long time. But I made a decision to not stay in that place anymore. I am hoping maybe you will join me.

Am I telling you to give up on your dreams and things you are passionate about? Absolutely not. What I am saying is that the focus has to come off of ourselves and placed on Him.

What good would my dream be if it didn’t bring any glory to Him? If it failed to bring anyone who is lost and hopeless to Him? I would be living a life, that in reality, I don’t want to live. I have to believe that it is probably one that you wouldn’t want to live either.

In Matthew we read the Lord’s “Great Commission”: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20 CSB).

I love how The Message translation explains verse 20:

“Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 MSG).

Day after day. If we are truly followers of Christ, sharing His love and His work in our lives with others, it will never get old. This is where life is best lived.

That is where the fulfillment I have longed for is found. It is found in taking the lessons we have learned and using them to benefit others. It is found in being vulnerable with our failures and transparent with our lives. It is found in pointing people who have no hope to the One who is the Giver of Hope.

It is found when my focus shifts from me and my to Him and them.

Will you join me today in giving up our own goals? And instead focus on God’s agenda: reaching out to the world around us? We can live a life filled with amazing, life-changing dreams. But we have to first be willing to lay down our empty ones, get our eyes off of ourselves, and lock them on Him.

No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other…”  Matthew 6:24 NASB

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Give Your Life Away? insight on #FollowingGod from Ashley Lauren McClain on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Ashley McClainAbout the author: Ashley McClain is a girl with big dreams, a blog, & a heart to encourage women in their journey through this gift of life we have been given by the greatest Gift Giver there is! She loves to read, write, drink coffee, and spend time with the hubby & puppies! Connect with Ashley on her website ashleymcclain.org. She would love to hear about your journey too!

Join the conversation: Have you had a dream fulfilled? How did that effect you? Was it worth it?

 

 

Wishes and Dreams

by Louise Tucker Jones

I was thirty years old when I gave birth to my youngest child. Jay was quickly diagnosed with Down syndrome and congenital heart disease. My little bundle of joy was a very sick baby. His immune system just didn’t kick in.

It was only the beginning of discouraging news. Time after time, year after year, we were given a devastating prognosis for our son. I often feared the worst, having already lost one child to heart disease. But apparently Jay wasn’t listening to all of the “doom and gloom” reports from doctors. He went right on living his life to the fullest.

This year, my son, who was never expected to live into adolescence, celebrated his 43rd birthday. I call that a miracle! God grants them at times, you know. He also granted some wishes and dreams along the way. One took place on Jay’s 30th birthday.

Of course, we planned a huge party for such a milestone in his life. I puzzled over a gift for this momentous occasion. What would be really special? Finally, I did the obvious—asked Jay what he wanted. His answer surprised me. Along with a new necktie for his 200 plus collection (believe me, he is the best-dressed guy at church), Jay wanted a limo ride to Sonic.

Jay’s favorite thing in the world is a Coke from Sonic. We go every single day to fill that order. No hamburger and fries. No ice cream. Just a medium-size Coke. And on his 30th birthday, he wanted a limousine to pick him up and take him to Sonic for that Coke. He got it!

So why am I telling you a story about a young man with Down syndrome and severe, irreparable heart disease who wanted a limo ride to Sonic for his birthday? Because Jay dared to dream during those years that doctors told us he would never live. He made wishes that might seem unusual to some, but he didn’t let that bother him. He never let anyone or anything steal his joy or rob him of his zest for life.

Unlike Jay, I sometimes lose hope. Grief and sadness steal my joy. Maybe you know that feeling. During trying times God often encourages us to revisit past wishes or dust off old dreams. In fact, He may ask us to dream new dreams. Granted, it’s risky. I’m right there with you, trying to build a future in this new life called “widowhood.” I can’t describe how difficult it is. I never expected to be single in this world again.

But I’m trying to fulfill a promise to my late husband, Carl, who upon diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, requested that everything be done for the glory of God, just as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 11:1 (NIV): “…Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

 And it is definitely taking me out of my comfort zone.

How about you? Are you in an uncomfortable place? Do you struggle with an unexpected happening or detour in your life? Perhaps you are measuring your performance against others rather than God’s standards. That will definitely rob us of our hopes and dreams. But God knows our heart’s desires and designed dreams especially for each of us.

I love the lyrics to a song in the animated movie, Cinderella. It says, “A dream is a wish your heart makes…” So, how about it? Ready to make a heart-wish? Be like Jay and wish big. And bring that request to God.

Take Carl’s advice and do all things for God’s glory. Don’t allow anyone to steal your hopes or your dreams. And who knows? We just might see you at Sonic in a limo!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20 NIV

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Wishes and Dreams – insight from Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker JonesLouise Tucker Jones is speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Her poignant life stories will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the book, Special Needs—Special Ministry. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

Louise’s book, Extraordinary Kids, is a Gold Medallion award winner. It provides parents with vital information to help celebrate, nurture, and prayerfully champion their special-needs children.

Join the conversation: When is the last time you dreamed big?