by Susie Crosby

adj: very confident; sure that something is certain or true

“I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.”  John 16:33 MSG

We can’t be sure about much of anything right now. Many of the things we have always been able to count on are no longer certain. Plans are on hold, and we are realizing that even some of our most cherished traditions may never be the same.

Not only are we disappointed, we are weary, and we are worried. Even those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus­–we who know that life ends well for us–are struggling with the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

I catch myself occasionally drifting toward despair as my anxiety causes me to doubt the sovereignty of God. My heart needs to be assured and reassured. Often.

God, are you really in control?

Do you see this mess we’re in?

Do you hear us praying and crying out to you?

Are you ever going to answer?

It’s okay to ask him that. But then we have to be willing to devote some energy and time to looking and listening for reminders of his faithfulness.

We will find them in unique places. Maybe in a precious photo, a nature walk, a favorite song, or a conversation with a friend. For me, some answers were discovered in 20 years of prayer journals piled in a box on my bedroom floor.

As I poured through page after page, journal after journal, I started making a list. There were so many prayers, long forgotten, that God had been faithful to answer. Prayers for big things, and small things, for people, and for material things. There were times when I had asked him to heal someone I loved, to soften hearts, to help us figure out finances, to lead us to a church, to guide us in tough decisions, and to draw our family closer to him.

There were surprises in these journals, too. I found answers to prayers I hadn’t even voiced. I realized as I flipped through the pages that several of the gifts God had given me were things that he knew I needed, but I didn’t know I did.  Often it was a person he brought into my life to show me more of his love for me. These unspoken prayers were answered simply because of his goodness and his commitment to take care of his children.

There were also answers that looked very different than what I thought they should look like. I still don’t understand God’s plan in some of these, but I do know that someday he will show me how he has worked everything together for his good and his glory.

Can we trust him? Can we believe what Jesus said as he went to be with our Father in Heaven? These last words he spoke to us were meant for us to hold onto during times like these. He knows what is happening in our country, in our workplaces, in our homes, and in our hearts. And here he reminds us that we can be unshakable and deeply at peace; because he has conquered it all.

As the year winds down to its end, look and listen to the God who loves you more than you can comprehend. Let him remind you that he has never once ignored your prayers or left you alone. You can be assured that greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

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

susie crosby

About the author: Susie is a grateful mom of two (almost) grown boys who currently live and go to school in Honolulu, Hawaii. She and her husband live in a seaside town in the Puget Sound region called Mukilteo. They love to hike and kayak, they are huge Seattle sports fans, and they mostly love hanging out at home with their little dog Koko. Susie teaches P.E., Art, Technology, and Music at an all-kindergarten school which keeps her busy full time. Her passion and joy is sharing encouraging words with the people she loves. She is an active blogger and speaker, and she is the author of Just One Word: 90 Devotions to Invite Jesus In. She is always on the lookout for fun coffee shops, inspiring books, remote beaches, and farmers’ markets. Connect with Susie at

Join the conversation: Do you have trouble in trusting God?

Choose Hope!

by Stacy Sanchez

Blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence.”                                                                                                      Jeremiah 17:7 NLT

Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.                                                                                                                                                         ~Helen Keller

“Hope Ashley will be her name!” I decided right then and there, lying on the table as the sonogram tech wiped the gel off of my pregnant belly. She had just revealed that I was having a girl. The tech was so certain of the babies’ gender that she bet me a trip to Hawaii on it. (I should have taken that bet.)

At nineteen, I was not ready to be a mother. I was living at home with my parents without a way to support a baby. The father of my child – who had just pledged his undying love to me the week before – decided he didn’t want any part of this and left me to figure it out on my own.

“I choose hope,” I repeated over and over to myself. Probably to make sure that I believed it. “Please, God, bring hope from these ashes.”

Four months before the sonogram appointment, I sat in a doctor’s office waiting to hear the results of my pregnancy test. As the doctor walked into the room, I could tell by the look on his face the answer. Emotionless, he announced, “You’re pregnant. Don’t make this into a bigger problem. Get an abortion and get on with your life. Schedule it at the front desk.” I didn’t know how to respond, so I didn’t. Silently, I hung my head in shame. Across my chart the doctor wrote in large letters: ABORTION, and exited the room, leaving me alone to dress.

There was no sleep to be had that night. I didn’t want to have an abortion. I believed abortion to be wrong. But I didn’t know what else to do. As I tossed and turned under the embellished sheets that expressed my youth, my mind raced with what people would think of me. I was a “good girl”. It would be shocking to learn that I was pregnant. (Thirty-three years ago, there was a stigma placed on a teenage, unwed mother – especially among Christians.) And, now, I had an abortion scheduled?

Although I may have been too young to be a mother, I made up my mind that I was going to have my baby. Thankfully, I had a supportive mother and church that rallied around me. They became “Jesus with skin on” for me. They loved me through this and helped me learn to love myself again.

“It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose. Brothers and sisters, I myself don’t think I’ve reached it, but I do this one thing: I forget about the things behind me and reach out for the things ahead of me” (Philippians 3:12-14 CEB).

God uses our mistakes and hard times to grab hold of us and not let go. He wants us to grow up into Him for his glorious purposes. I held on tight and chose to hope. Everyday? No. Was it easy? Heck no! It was crazy hard. But, I chose, very purposefully, to be hopeful. Not a Pollyanna type of hope, but one that balanced realism with optimism. A hope that recognized my present difficulty and believed that somehow, someway, God would bring good from this. And, he did!

Just like the many redemption stories in the Bible, God resurrected the ashes of my life for his glory. I not only gave birth to a precious baby BOY!—yes, boy!—but when I was eight months pregnant, God brought my husband into my life. Together, we went on to become a family of seven.

I wish that I could say that I learned all that needed to know about God’s faithfulness in those hard days. Instead, I have given God more opportunities to prove himself faithful than I want to admit. But, in turn, He has given me many more reasons to be hopeful and to pursue it.

Lord God, when we are experiencing hard times, please help us to choose hope, even when everything seems bleak and utterly hopeless. Only you can take our mistakes and turn them into something beautiful. You bring hope from ashes and turn sadness into exceeding joy. Father, you have proven yourself faithful over and over. Thank you! Help us to put our trust in you – again. Amen.

Choose Hope! – #Encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchezAbout the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog,, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: How has God proved Himself faithful to you?

What’s Your Story?

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony. Revelation 12:11 NIV

We all have a story to tell. Even as a child, biographies were my favorite reads. I love hearing about the journey that made people into who they eventually became. Some stories are adventurous, some rags to riches, others are sad, and still others victorious. It is amazing to hear how someone we know now became the person we know them to be. Their former lives are such a stark contrast to what we see.

A few days ago, a dear friend of mine told me her story. I’ve known her for decades, but only knew bits and pieces. But after hearing the whole story, God can easily be seen in her journey. She now knows that even when walking through many years of pain and hardship, knowing nothing about God or the Bible, He always had his loving hand on her life.

Some of my friend’s pain was brought on by her own bad choices, some because of someone else’s actions, and some from circumstances beyond her control. But once she found true love in Christ, her life was transformed, and she became the person I know and love today.

Every part of our life’s story is important—even the hard times and bad choices. Good or bad, each are part of a whole: small bricks that together build your life. A brick by itself isn’t worth much more than a doorstop, but when laid side by side with other bricks, one upon the other, a house emerges.

Once we discover and receive the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, our eyes are opened, and suddenly we can see that the mortar holding it all together is the love of God. That’s when our story becomes a testimony to God’s faithfulness. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

While living out their lives, many know nothing about God or His great love for them. They might even hate Him or are hardened atheists. But God continually pursues us until we find Him. It may be years before we can look back and see His thumbprint on our lives, but when we do, it is a testimony of His great love.

Some people think their story isn’t worth telling. They might be ashamed of their past or embarrassed by it. But if you look around at the people you meet every day, you’ll find someone who is hurting or struggling with some of the same things you did. Your story can bring hope to someone who has no hope. In Revelation 12:11 it says we conquer Satan, the accuser of the Brethren, by the Blood of the Lamb of God, (Jesus), and the word of our testimony.

No one can argue with your story. It is your own personal experience. We can encourage and lift others up by sharing our story with them. We don’t have to preach, just tell anyone interested in listening, how God worked it out in your life.

Today, take some time and look back. Make some notes on how God’s hand was on you, how He protected you, guided you, etc. Write it down and ask God to bring people across your path that would benefit from hearing your story.

God can reveal Himself to others though your relationship with Him. As John wrote: “The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself” (1 John 5:10a NASB).

What’s Your Story? – encouragement from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: Have you been able to see God’s hand in your story? Please share!


I Can Feel His Heartbeat

 by Nan Corbitt Allen

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart…                 
Isaiah 40:11 NIV

I remember the first time I heard my son’s heartbeat at an early prenatal appointment. It was music to my ears! I had waited for that moment for a long time, and it was pure joy to me and my husband. Then I became aware that my child was hearing my heartbeat, too.

I read about a mother who recorded her own heartbeat while she was pregnant and then periodically played it back to her newborn, so that he would feel she was always near and be comforted. It was not just any heartbeat either. It was hers!

Isaiah captured the metaphorical hearing of a heartbeat in the passage above. The picture of a shepherd gathering his lambs into his embrace reminds me that God holds me close to His heart. I can hear and feel His presence. Though I often want to wiggle out of His grasp, I love coming back and being held close, listening to His heartbeat again.

In that same chapter, Isaiah writes, “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing” (Isaiah 40: 25-26 NIV).

My aunt had ten children in twenty years. She could, of course, name each child and his or her birthday. And even as she got older, she could name every grandchild, every great-grandchild, and every great-great grandchild along with their birthdays attached. Often at large family reunions, I would marvel at her ability to tell when someone was missing, and in knowing her circle was never complete without that one (or more) who was absent.

Jesus used the analogy of a flock of sheep and their shepherd in a parable: “If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off” (Matthew 18: 12-13 NIV).

I remember singing this old song in church about the ninety-and-nine when I was young:

There were ninety and nine that safely lay in the shelter of the fold
But one was out on the hills away, far off from the gates of gold…

At times in my life I have sometimes felt like I was one of the ninety-nine He left behind while tending to someone else. I also wondered what would have happened if the 99 were attacked while He was gone—because they were left alone and vulnerable.

But just lately, I revisited this idea and rediscovered that Jesus’ parable DOES apply to me. I AM the one—as well as one of the 99. Sometimes still I wander away, and He brings me back (holding me next to His heart). Sometimes I feel just as secure grazing happily on the hillside. And I am reminded by the words of Peter: “…Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6-7 NIV).

I Can Feel His Heartbeat – Nan Corbitt Allen on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Nan Corbitt AllenAbout the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.

Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.

Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.

Join the conversation: What thought about God encourages you the most?

Comforting and Encouraging Others

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

What a wonderful God we have—he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the one who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this? So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them this same help and comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 TLB

After my father’s death, I uncovered an ancient cardboard box wedged in the back of his closet. Inside were some remnants of his military service during World War II: a good conduct medal, his wings, war department ID, aircraft spotters’ guide, a 1943 Christmas menu from headquarters in Fortaleza, Brazil where he was stationed for a time, and the letter notifying my grandparents that my father was a prisoner of war.

In a daring endeavor, my father eventually escaped captivity through the Underground. When he returned to America, he didn’t talk much about his experiences. One of his brothers told me that Daddy often sat in front of the radio in those days, head bowed and arms on his knees, listening. If someone entered the room unexpectedly, daddy jumped, wary, eyeing the intruder with suspicion.

Today, my father’s post-war reactions would likely be labeled post-traumatic stress, but there was no name or counseling for it then. Daddy packed his emotional pain in a mental compartment and shoved it to the back of his mind, in a similar fashion to the back-of-the-closet cardboard box housing the history of his military service.

Decades later, my cousin was accepted at the US Air Force Academy. The summer before his freshman year, my father bought Wesley a pair of military dress shoes, took him out to our driveway, and taught him to march.

“I want him to be a step ahead of the other boys,” Daddy said.

My father also hauled out war stories, dusted them off, and told him about his experiences. Much of what he said had never been shared with others. He identified with some of the challenges Wesley faced in the coming four years, and hoped to help him in his adjustment to military life.

Often, when we go through difficult life situations, we swallow the hurt and consign the pain to a private corner of our minds and hearts. Some stagnate in grief, withdrawing from those around them, never discussing their challenges, or moving beyond the pain. Others find a way forward, with God’s help, yet never encourage others dealing with similar situations.

But 2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us that we are to minister to those around us with the same comfort we’ve received from God. My father didn’t share his experiences until my cousin embarked on a similar journey.

Perhaps someone you know is struggling. Although the situation might not be identical to yours, your wisdom and encouragement may be of great benefit. Dredging up memories may feel uncomfortable, but despite the emotional pain, be available to support someone marching down a difficult path. By listening and encouraging, you pass on the comfort you found through Scripture, prayer, and a deeper relationship with God forged through hardship.

Comforting and Encouraging Others – insight from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

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

Join the conversation: Has anyone ever encouraged you with their experience of God’s faithfulness?

Rain from Heaven

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

The low country of South Carolina has been receiving “drought condition” alerts for a few weeks. Television and radio forecasters provide hourly, daily, and weekly predictions for weather. Each day, we watch and listen and check our phones with hopes of seeing a forecast of rain. Even a slight drizzle would be nice.

We are not watching for hurricanes this time. We are hoping for rain.

A few times during the day the blue skies have disappeared, and we thought maybe rain was on the way. Not yet. Just a few clouds passing by.

Palm trees which usually have green fronds now have brown tips. The grass is crunchy when we walk across the yard. The pond water is lower than usual. The flowers are thirsty. Water restrictions are in place in some areas.

Prayers are being said across the area, asking God to provide the needed moisture.

Today, my husband and I went to the grocery store. As we left our driveway, I noticed a drop of water on the windshield. I wondered and said out loud. “Is that rain? Could we be getting ready for a shower?”

The excitement of that possibility had us grinning. Maybe, just maybe, rain was coming.

But as we drove through the neighborhood and onto the main street, the rain drops stopped. Oh, well. Perhaps another day. Disappointment took away our smiles.

Rain would be a welcome sight. No floods or dangerous storms, of course. Just a nice slow, long-lasting day of rain would be welcome.

Arriving at the grocery store, my husband parked the car and went inside to make some purchases. I sat in the car and read a book.

Drop. Drop. Drop. Heavy drops of rain began to fall from the sky. I sat watching with eyes wide open, remembering my husband did not have the umbrella with him.

Other people were caught off guard by the rain, too. Men and women sprinted through the parking lot trying to find shelter. I watched as people tried to cover their heads with briefcases, empty grocery bags and their hands. Almost everyone was laughing at the surprise of rain. They were joyful even while being drenched in it.

My husband made his way back to our car. Yes, he was soaked by the rain. We laughed as he sat trying to dry off with one lonely napkin we found in the glove compartment. The rain poured down for another 15 minutes. What a glorious sight and sound!

That wonderful rainfall served as a reminder to us of God’s faithful presence and provision. James wrote that every good gift comes from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Jeremiah the prophet understood the significance rain should have in his people’s understanding of God. “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, for You are the one who has done all these things” (Jeremiah 14:22 NASB).

What a wonderful blessing to experience the rain shower that day and to be reminded of God’s power and faithfulness to us. There is no one like our God.

Rain from Heaven – living in God’s abundance from Melissa Henderson, @MimiOnLife on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)


About the author: Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught a love for reading and writing at an early age. Melissa continues to write Christian stories, articles, and devotionals. She also enjoys sharing inspirational messages on her blog at

Her first children’s book, Licky the Lizard, offers parents, grandparents, and educators a tale that teaches children a simple, yet important message: there is no need to fear any of God’s creatures because we are all created by Him—and He loves us all.

Join the conversation: What experiences have reminded you of God’s faithfulness?

God’s Footprints

by Cheri Cowell @CheriCowell

Reminiscing about childhood can be a lot of fun. One weekend my sister and I stayed up late talking about events from our childhood as only sisters can do.  We laughed at some of the stupid things we did, and we spoke with sadness as we remembered the death of our pets. Mostly we remembered being fairly good kids—not perfect, but good.

The thing that amazes us the most is how closely our lives are now mirroring each other. She is a Christian counselor, working with those affected by trauma to find hope and healing. I am a Christian author and speaker helping people to find hope and healing through God’s Word.

During our weekend together we were able to trace and celebrate God’s footprints throughout our lives, guiding us to where we are today. And the good news is, He has left footprints in your life, too. They can be such an encouragement when we just take the time to look.

The psalmist Asaph, when in need of comfort, meditated on God’s faithful presence in his past. He opened Psalm 77 feeling very disturbed. His spirit was faint, so troubled he could not speak. What was the remedy for such discouragement? “I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, and my spirit ponders” (v. 6 NASB).

Asaph remembered the frightening spectacle of a great storm: the howling winds whipping the waters into a frenzy. The skies opened and a deluge poured down as lightning flashed and thunder crashed. The mighty God of the storm was overwhelming in His power and strength. “The earth trembled and quaked. Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen” (v. 18-19 NIV, emphasis mine).

Yet, that same powerful God led His people through the deep waters of the Red Sea in the Exodus like a gentle shepherd. Sometimes He is hard to comprehend, frightening to behold. At other times His intimate presence is a quiet balm to our troubled soul.

As my sister and I reminisced, we could see how He was constantly present in our lives. Not that we didn’t experience terrible sorrow and pain. We did. But as we looked back, we could His footprints, even in the midst of the storms. Even when we could not see Him at the time.

So many times in our childhood, God had shown mercy to us. He’d be a faithful presence leading through the troubled waters. As we shared those moments, we were encouraged.

Remembering God’s faithfulness is one way for us to cling to Him. We remind ourselves that though we may not easily see His footprints in our lives right now, He is indeed at work and guiding us forward.

In your prayer time today, praise God for His mighty work in your life, and thank Him for His faithfulness even though you may not presently be able to discern His footprints. Then find a family member or friend with whom to share those insights. It just may be the thing they need to remind them of God’s faithfulness. Finally, meditate on God’s past mercies in your own life so that you will become better at seeing His footprints in your present, carefully directing your steps.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:11-12 NIV

Tracking God’s Footprints in Your Life – @CheriCowell on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Cheri CowellAbout the author: Cheri Cowell is a contributor to When God Calls the Heart to Love. To learn more about Cheri visit

Inspired by best-selling author Janette Oke and the Hallmark Channel original TV series When Calls the Heart, Brian Bird and Michelle Cox explore the love-filled moments from the fictional early 1900s town of Hope Valley. Stories of romantic love, as well as love between families, neighbors, and friends, will touch your heart and encourage your soul to recognize the potential of love in your life.


Warming My Soul

by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  Isaiah 60:1 NKJV

Winter in Texas is as dependable as a monkey on Mountain Dew. Thirty today, eighty tomorrow. Or worse, eighty in the morning and thirty by lunch. People in Texas do not plan out the weeks’ worth of outfits on Sunday night. Last week we had a string of days where the temperatures never got out of the upper twenties with precipitation and freezing rain. Miserably cold. In Texas these are the conditions that inspire panic, food hoarding, the updating of wills, and gas shortages.

But as quickly as it came, the cold left, and the sun shone through. Having spent several days writing in the climate-controlled comfort of my office, I was ready for some sunshine. I grabbed a light jacket and headed out to catch what sunlight I could. When I stepped from the trees surrounding our house into the open, the warmth of the winter sun wrapped around me like the embrace of a beloved friend.

I turned my face to the sun and let the rays soak into my skin. This was not the heat of the intense summer sun that hits like a furnace blast. No, the winter sun reached through the chilly air and settled against my skin like butter melting onto a piece of warm bread. Delicious. Slow. Soaking.

I am keenly aware of the warmth steadily reaching deeper into my body, feeding my soul. I feel as if I’m being filled with a golden glow.  The warmth makes me smile. The tension in my body releases, my arms open, hanging loose and ready to receive. I feel the radiance of the Lord washing over me.

Then I hear a commotion behind me—the dog and cat were having a disagreement about which one was more important, I think. It distracts me and I turn to look, my back now to the sun.  The warmth disappears in an instant, much faster than it came. I wrap my arms around my middle, holding myself tightly, trying to preserve the warmth and protect myself from the chill.

Then it hits me.

This is exactly what I do with God. I turn my face to Him and feel His love radiating through me. I relax my anxious worrying. I stand open to receive whatever He has for me. I glow.

Then something captures my attention. Distracted, I turn my face from Him. Perhaps it is an unexpected event—a diagnosis or job change. Or it could be a series of small things turning me slowly by degrees. An overcommitted schedule. A wounded heart I refuse to address. A television show I won’t stop watching or friends that pull me toward things that aren’t God’s best for me. Soon my arms no longer hang open to receive from God. I hug them tightly against me for protection. My body becomes tense, uncomfortable and aching.

I have two choices. I can grow accustomed to the cold and learn to live with the ache until I accept it as normal.

Or I can turn back to the Son.

Oh the unmistakable beauty found in the everyday rising of the sun!  Is it possible that God has established this as a picture for us? The writer of Lamentations thought so. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every monring; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB). The Son is always there. We have only to turn to Him and be warmed.

Turn your face to Him today and feel the warmth of His love.

Turn your face to God and feel the warming of your soul – hope from @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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

Join the conversation: What tends to distract you from soaking in God’s love?

When I am Counting. . . One, Two, Three

by Edna Ellison @DrEdnaEllison

“Thirty-four, thirty-five. . . Lord, what are you doing with my life? This tedious counting feels like such a waste of time.”

Have you ever felt that way while you waited in a place where God had placed you?

While I taught English in our local high school, I served as the sponsor for the yearbook staff. When the teen staff didn’t finish their deadlines on time, I usually took a stack of their hand-written reports home with me after school. After dinner, with my two small children nestled in bed, I pulled out the stack of yearbook reports to finish shaping them into camera-ready pages. As my husband watched television, I counted characters to fit each line into proper columns for the yearbook. (Yes, those were the dark ages!)

One, two, three…thirty-four, thirty-five. One, two, three…thirty-four, thirty-five…

Ten years later, I was still counting characters during the school year, but one summer I visited a writers’ conference with a friend, Sandra, who wanted to publish a book. I slipped into a devotion writing workshop, just for fun, and to my surprise, I came out with a contract to write six devotions for a large Christian publishing house!

When I told Sandra, she said, “Edna, you can’t do that. I’ve tried it, and it’s complicated. I’ve written a nice devotion and then had to cut out so many words it took weeks to fit the words into an editor’s specifications!”

I believed her. After all, she was a book writer. I was an amateur who hadn’t planned to write anything! Much less the most complicated article of all, at least according to Sandra: a devotion.

When the specifications came in the next week’s mail, imagine my grin when I read the instructions: write 25 lines of 35 characters each! For over ten years, I had been writing for those exact specifications for our yearbook. I could write those specs in my sleep—had done it in my sleep on some occasions! That week I chose as my life’s verse Romans 8:28—“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV).”

God had called me to teach in our town’s high school–and I knew every high school was a mission field–but God had also been preparing me all those years, through the word counts of the yearbook pages, to breeze through these devotions. The contract to write six devotions turned into renewed contracts for over 100 devotions, which were compiled later in a book. To date, I have written or co-written 40 Christian books, and have served for ten years as a national Christian women’s magazine editor, all based on the daily practice I received as a yearbook sponsor.

God always has a purpose for our lives. He doesn’t waste a minute, working in the background, laying the foundation through practice, habits, and training we need for future ways to serve Him.

When we are bored or weary from the tedious hum-drum of daily life, we can remember, He has no random acts in His plans for us. All things in our lives have an eternal purpose in God’s overarching plan. They work together as he calls us to share His love.

Join the conversation: What has God called you to speak about? To others? In your community? To your children/ grandchildren? Speak up! Please share with us. 

…All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.   Psalm 139:16 NIV

When I am counting. . . one, two, three – @DrEdnaEllison on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

edna ellisonAbout the author: Edna Ellison, an award-winning author, has written/co-written 40 books. Woman to Woman: Preparing Yourself to Mentor, (called the classic book for mentors by Publisher’s Weekly), is a best-seller for New Hope Publishing, which has published many of Edna’s books.

Edna loves to speak at women’s conferences. She’ll tickle your funny bone and then touch your heart with a personal message from God. Contact her (website above or at,  Edna Martin Ellison on Facebook, or YouTube.)

Join the conversation: What has God called you to speak about? To others? In your community? To your children/ grandchildren? Speak up! Please share with us.

God is Always Present and Accounted For

by Cheri Cowell @CheriCowell

My first clue was when the garage door opener wouldn’t work. As as I walked to the front door the hair on the back of my neck prickled when I noticed all of the outdoor yard lights weren’t on, yet my neighbors had power. A voice inside of me began to warn caution, as I put my key in the door only to discover it was already unlocked. The voice in my head practically screamed go back. This time I listened. Fortunately, it turned out to be a problem with the main power line to our home—nothing nefarious.

But the experience reminded me that God is always directing our steps. Sometimes He moves us through circumstances that we encounter. Other times He chooses to speak to us in small voices instructing caution, listen carefully, go, or wait. Finally, even though it didn’t happen that evening, there are times God might choose to let us go through something with Him by our side. I praise God that my incident didn’t turn out that way, but I also praise Him, that if it had, He would have been right there with me.

How do I know this? Psalm 139 is about the omniscience of God–that He is everywhere and always with us at the same time. The Psalmist asks:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”                                                                                                                                               (Psalm 139:7-10 NIV)

David is believed to have written this Psalm. He’d experienced the presence of God through many years of living in exile, trying to escape an angry king. When David sinned and tried to hide it, the prophet Nathan assured him God didn’t miss a thing. There was nowhere that God wasn’t.

So David speaks from experience: the universe is filled from top to bottom and side to side with the presence of God. No matter where we go, no matter what circumstance we find ourselves in, He is there. And He is not just a passive presence but an active participant in all that we do.

It’s a comforting thing to know when you find yourself in a scary place. No matter where you are, no matter what is happening, we can be absolutely sure that God is present with you. You can count on it.

If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.  Psalm 139:9-10 NASB

God is Always Present and Accounted For – @CheriCowell on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

cheri cowellAbout the author: Cheri Cowell is the author of 365 Devotions for Peace. To learn more about Cheri, visit her website or follow her on social media

Join the conversation: Has God ever made you aware of His presence in a trying situation?