Out of Nowhere

by Christina Rose

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory  of the Lord has risen upon you.”                                                                                                                                            Isaiah 60:1 ESV

\Years ago, I made a checklist of plans for my life. I decided that I would marry a handsome prince, and that we would have four perfect children. We would live in a beautiful mansion by the sea and be very rich, among other things.

While life turned out much differently than what I had planned, I came to know that God had a better plan for me, and I had to trust Him. Years later, as I was thinking about my old checklist, I heard a still small voice whisper in my ear, “Did you check with me when you made that checklist?”  I had to laugh.

While I did get married and have a nice home and two wonderful daughters, they eventually grew up. It was time for a new chapter. This time, however, I did not construct a checklist, but instead spent hours talking to God on the mountain, in the chapel, in the pool, in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. In that process, I learned to hear His voice. I got visions of writing and speaking, but at the time, that was not happening. One day my fortune cookie read, “You have a charming way with words, and you should write a book.” I had to laugh again, but within a few months, my first book was written, and I continue to write more.

A few years ago, I was called to sell everything, quit my job, leave my home in California, and travel across the country. Not long ago, while walking along Sarasota Bay, it seemed that all of those tests had been leading me nowhere. I looked to the sky and asked God for some clues.

The day was so still, the water was like glass, but then suddenly out of nowhere, a huge flying fish shot out of the water like a rocket into the sky. Its scales shone like silver and gold in the sun for a moment, before it plunged back into the water. Then several more flying fish burst through the air, sparkling just as brightly, before they dove back into the water.

Flying fish out of nowhere? And then I considered that nowhere is somewhere to God. Those fish had once been tiny; it took a very long time of swimming in the cold, dark depths against strong currents to gain the strength to shoot into the sky, surprising everyone around them. God loves to make things happen out of nowhere. Jesus came out of nowhere to walk across the sea, the burning bush came out of nowhere to talk to Moses, and God created the world out of nowhere.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”  (Genesis 1:1-2  ESV). 

Those unexpected flying fish gave me hope. Many times, I have felt like them, swimming against the currents for a very long time and gaining strength in a hidden place. But while many of us may feel we are on a journey to nowhere, nowhere is somewhere to God. He has a plan. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”  (Isaiah 43:19  ESV).

So join me, my fellow flying fish, as we burst out of the depths of darkness (after swimming a long time) to sparkle with gold and silver in the sunlight, proclaiming God’s magnificent glory to all of  the earth!

Out of Nowhere – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout 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. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How does knowing God has a plan for your future help you in the here and now?

Biking or Bumbling

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.  Proverbs 3:6 MSG

Learning to ride a bike sometimes results in scratches, sore muscles, and maybe even broken bones. At least that was my experience. It was on my son’s seventh birthday. He got a bike and so did I. Warning: Don’t learn to ride a bike at the same time your kids are learning.

Seriously, I was still young! How hard could it be to sit on two wheels and stay upright? Pretty hard, I was soon to discover.

The July sun beamed down on the shiny new bikes. My son and I walked our bikes down the steep driveway and across the buzzing highway onto a less-traveled mountain road. Earlier that day, my husband pleaded for me to wait until he came home so we could all be together for this memory-making venture. He knew our son couldn’t wait to get on that new bike, so he finally conceded and agreed to join us when he arrived home.

I helped my son up onto the seat. He got the hang of it quickly while I played the role of traffic police. Then it was my turn. I sat with the posture of a natural cyclist even though I had no idea about brakes or speeds or balance. Determined to do this thing, I pushed the peddles while my son took his turn as traffic police.

With one push of the peddles, I sped into the wind. Whoa, what fun! Fun, yes…until I realized I had no idea how to brake. Panic set in as the wheels seemed to lift from the pavement. How to stop? What if a car came over the little knoll? Think, I told myself! The only place to go and the only way to stop was to steer straight into a fence. Crash! Fortunately, a big bush kept me from a fall.

Tears fell over my son’s sweet face. I assured him I’d be okay. We walked those bikes home as I tried not to limp. The experience never deterred that seven-year-old from learning to ride––but I put my bike up for sale that very night.

Sometimes the Spirit nudges us to avoid a bumbling outcome. And, sometimes he pushes us into a fence to avoid a dangerous fall on the pavement while He gently teaches us that while we don’t know it all, He does.

I’m sure God’s hand held me up that day and kept me from falling. I learned this, “…don’t try to figure everything out on your own” (Proverbs 3:6 MSG). Sometimes we go ahead of Him as I did that day by not waiting for my husband who knew how to ride. When we are out of step with God, we may end on a pavement with bruises or even worse. Even so, He promises He will direct us in the way we should go––even into the bushes to lessen our injures from going our own way and not waiting on Him.

Have you gone off track and crashed into the bushes thinking you know it all? Me too. So, how do we avoid the proverbial crashes and bushes? Listen for God’s voice. He’ll keep you on track. The key is…drum roll please: Listen to His voice by reading His word, praying, obeying, and also learning from our circumstances.

I finally learned to ride a bike while passing through my mid-life zone. But still, I strive to trust God for less bumbling and more proverbial biking without crashes because He does know it all. I’m still learning to ride my proverbial bike. How about you?

Biking or Bumbling – insight on #FollowingGod from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: Have you ever crashed and burned? Please share your experience and what God did in you as a result.


Hear and Obey the Right Voice

by Nan Corbitt Allen

But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?” And they feared exceedingly, and said to one another, “Who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” Mark 4: 35-42 NKJV

Have you ever been to a wrestling match? I don’t mean “rasslin’” like they do on Saturday night in some down-home venues. I’m talking about a legitimate competitive sport recognized by the high school and collegiate associations—and the Olympics. I’m told that there are several styles: Greco-Roman and Free Style among them. I don’t really know the difference between the styles but I do know this: it is the MOST intense and nerve-wracking sport I’ve ever witnessed!

Both of our sons have been on high school wrestling teams at some point. Wanting to show our love and support, we attended most of their matches. And it was agonizing.

As a spectator/supporter, a parent must sit semi-quietly and watch her son’s body get twisted into positions she never thought possible. And the noise! Fans and competitors yelling at the tops of their lungs to “shoot the half” or whatever. And there were cheerleaders, too. Did you know that some schools have cheering squads for wrestling teams? Ours did. They not only scream and chant but also pound the gym floor in support.

Worse than school matches were tournaments where several schools participated. Three or four matches occurred simultaneously in a gymnasium. Imagine the noise, the smell, the chaos. I was totally spent after one of those.

At one tournament, however, I tried to detach from the chaos as best I could so to preserve some energy and sanity. It was hard but for brief stints I was able to focus on one thing. One of these times I chose to watch our team’s coach. I’d never really watched him before mostly because he was a gentle, unassuming man by nature and he didn’t often draw attention to himself. But what I saw him do that day made a lasting impression on me.

Coach Gentry was often down on his hands and knees almost at eye level with our boys —watching, evaluating and admonishing, but not loudly at all. Just in a normal tone. I wondered: how could those guys hear their coach’s voice above all the rest? And then it hit me.

This coach had worked with some of his team members for many years and so the guys recognized his voice. He had also led his team to many state championships and it was obvious he knew the sport. The boys trusted him.

Jesus taught a similar lesson about Himself using the analogy of sheep and shepherds:

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10: 3-5, NIV)

Recognition and trust are important when filtering out His voice from the rest. Get to know His voice by deepening your understanding of Him.

Hear and Obey the Right Voice – thoughts from 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 seemingly insignificant routine experiences can have great impact on a life. 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: When is the last time you heard His voice?