Safety in the Middle of God’s Will

by Ginny Dent Brant

And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him! Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins? And not one of them is forgotten before God. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.                                    Luke 12: 4-7 (NKJV)

As a trustee of the International Mission Board (IMB) of the Southern Baptist Convention, I was privileged to spend several weeks with IMB workers at the Jibla Baptist Hospital in Yemen in July 1997.

When I arrived, I was like a fish out of water. Sweat rushed out of every pore in my body, when I was nearly caught smuggling Bibles across the border. After clearing customs, I noticed that all men and boys were walking around with jambeas (curved daggers) draped across their chests and machine guns proudly displayed on their backs. This was beyond the Wild Wild West. Welcome to Yemen!

Walking through the city with the field leader, I quietly stuffed my fears deep inside my gut and chattered as if nothing was different. The next night after arriving at the hospital, he updated me with alarming news. Rabid dogs were loose in the village, malaria was spreading, and terrorists threatened the hospital. Before I went to bed, he shared one last bit of news—the airlines had gone on strike. I was stranded. They had me at RABID DOGS! Sweet dreams!

Early the next morning when I heard machine gun fire outside my cave-like dwelling, I catapulted from bed and rushed into the young nurse’s room with whom I was staying. I had reached my FEAR FACTOR!  “Nothing appears safe here to me. What’s your definition of safe?” I asked.

Calm as a cucumber, she replied, “Safety is being in the middle of God’s will.”

I never forgot her words. When living became dangerous, these workers would pray and continue the work. I was ready to run and hide. Most did not fear for their lives. Why?  They were more concerned about submitting to the will of their loving heavenly Father, who determines their eternity and values them, than fearing what any man could do to them.

In Luke 12:4-7, Jesus is teaching his disciples while the multitudes are gathering around them to fear God first. We tend to fear what the world says about us and what man can do to us, but Jesus is warning his disciples that they have a mission to fulfill. The fear of powerless men should not be their greatest concern. Their greatest fear should be NOT fulfilling God’s call and purpose in their life. In time, most of these chosen followers would be martyred for spreading the gospel. Their eternal reward would be great.

The missionaries in Yemen taught me much. They were not afraid to give their lives for the cause. They humbly bowed before their loving God who cares for them deeply and only wants the best for them. He was preparing a place for them in His eternal kingdom.

When I turn on the news and see all the unrest and danger for Christians in Afghanistan, I remember the faithfulness of the missionaries in Yemen. Safety is being in the middle of God’s will. But when in Yemen, I carefully placed my foot in the tracks of their feet just to make sure!

May God’s people in America, who’ve had it easy compared to some parts of the world, find safety in the middle of His will and His loving arms. And may we pray fervently for those believers in Afghanistan.

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate, and adjunct professor. She served as a trustee of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention from 1990-1998 and has done mission work in Yemen, Gaza, China, Romania, and The Czech Republic.

Ginny’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in media interviews nationwide. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with commentary from an oncologist after her cancer journey. It has been featured on CBN, CTN, Atlanta Live, American Family Radio, etc. and has won four awards. Cancer prevention blog and more info at http://www.ginnybrant.com.

Join the conversation: Where do you find safety?

Mann Tracht, und Gott Lacht

by Terri Gillespie

Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Proverbs 27:1 TLV

“What a difference a day makes.” So the saying goes. Our future may appear one way as we lay down to sleep and completely change when we open our eyes.

I remember waking up one morning to the call that my younger sister had suddenly died. The day before she had left a voice message for me. One I had yet to listen to. Four years later, I still listen to that message I saved.

Our eternity is guaranteed, but our expectations in this life … probably not. Being ten years older than my sister, I had expected to go on to eternity before her. That didn’t happen. As much as we try to control our lives, ultimately, we are not the lords of our season on this earth. We are the stewards of what is given to us.

Does that mean we shouldn’t make plans? Of course not. Most of us have a multitude of responsibilities. Plans help us with the dental appointments, deadlines, job interviews, kids’ clarinet lessons, grocery lists, and so forth.

What we need to remember is to hold those plans lightly. The dentist may call and reschedule. One of the kids get sick, so forget making it to that job interview. Well, you get the idea.

There’s an old Yiddish adage: “Mann tracht, und Gott lacht.” Which means: “Man Plans, and God Laughs.”

So, when our plans inevitably go awry, we need to set our heart and mind to trust that our Heavenly Father has the real plan. Our best plan is to pray and praise through our disappointments and fears as best we can (and I’m talking to ME, especially), then take the next step in front of us.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:13-15 TLV

Perhaps we should incorporate more “Lord willings” into how we plan and how we communicate with others. And remembering as well, that our Father holds our life and the number of the days until we’re with Him. As in He can’t wait until we’re home.

“So teach us to number our days, so that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 TLV). Indeed, ultimately, we all want His will in all we do.

And that’s the best plan of all. May we trust in GOD’s will and His plans for us, my friends.

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. http://www.authorterrigillespie.com.

The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens: modern-day Ruth and Naomi stories set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: When has God changed your plans?

He Hears Every Prayer

by Monica Schmelter

He walked away, about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” Then an angel from heaven appeared and strengthened him. He prayed more fervently, and he was in such agony of spirit that his sweat fell to the ground like great drops of blood. Luke 22:41-44 NLT

When I became a Christian, I listened to every word the pastor said. I was especially interested in learning more about prayer.

The whole idea of prayer made me nervous. What to pray? How to pray? So I started studying some of the prayers of Jesus. When I got to what He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, I was struck by the simplicity and substance of His Words.

Jesus was in such extreme agony, his sweat was falling like blood droplets. He prayed that His suffering be removed if possible. But then, He concluded with “Your Will Be Done.” These words teach us that we can come before our Heavenly Father with complete honesty. He will not reject our tears or fears; no apology or explanation for how we are feeling is required. As we lay our pain and concerns before Him, we can ask for relief. At the same time, we should also ultimately surrender the matter to His Lordship and pray Your Will Be Done.

This concept was especially hard for me to understand as a 13-year-old new Christian. My family was dysfunctional with a capital D. I prayed for them to be saved and to attend church with me. One Sunday, the pastor encouraged the congregation to pray BIG. With that I started to write out my prayers, again asking for my entire family’s salvation. I also asked for my then-atheist father to become so committed to Jesus that he would join the church praise team.

It would be 25 years before my parents gave their hearts to Christ.

A couple of weeks ago, my mom told me that my dad 81 year old dad had just done something surprising. He had joined the church orchestra! Since he is so advanced in age and suffers such poor health, my mom was questioning his decision.

I reminded my mom that this was an answer to one of my earliest prayers.

Forty-five years ago, I earnestly prayed for that. Of course, I was crying out for God to answer that request immediately. I wanted relief from the pain of living in a dysfunctional family. I wanted them all to change right that second. However, I eventually saw that while I could pour my heart out to God and ask for a suddenly, that I must also yield to His Lordship with nevertheless Your Will Be Done.

I never imagined that 45 years later I would sit in a sanctuary and watch my dad play the trumpet in his church orchestra! God heard the pleas of a 14-year-old girl, and He hears your cries as well. We can come to Him without fear of condemnation and lay out all our requests. When His timing or life’s curve balls make us question or doubt, we can trust His good will. We can rest in knowing He’s working everything out for our good.

God hears every prayer. You can pray BIG and trust Him, because His will is far better than we could pray or imagine.

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

About the author: Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN, Christian Television Network and host of daily television show Bridges. When people ask her why she smiles and nods so much while she’s interviewing guests she replies, “Oh that’s simple I am trying to think of what to say next”.

Messyfinal3d.png

You can watch Bridges on demand at monicaschmelter.com. Monica’s latest book Messy to Meaningful – My Purse Runneth Over is coming soon!

Join the conversation: Has God answered a long-time prayer of yours? Please share!

When You Don’t Know What To Do

by Sheri Schofield

Yogi Berra, All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees, once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Don’t you wish it were that simple? Each of us comes to many forks in the road of life. Which way should we go? How will we know which path is God’s plan for us? Does God have an absolute plan for our lives? If we take the wrong road, will we miss out on God’s blessing?

I used to think that God’s will for my life was linear—like a map on paper. I would do my best to discover his will, but I did not always choose correctly. I made the best decision I could on the information I had. Sometimes I could not get full information about the choices available to me because my leaders would not tell me. No details… not even the basics!

As the years progressed, I learned that God’s will is not linear. It is not like a flat map or a board game of Scrabble. It is more like the game Upward, which is like three-dimensional Scrabble. One can build any word up from the one already formed, so long as the new word is a legitimate word going both upward and across.

I learned that God is not bound by my mistakes! As long as my eyes are on him, he will put me back on the right path if I miss it.

The prophet Isaiah wrote to the rebellious Jews, who had made some very, very bad mistakes, “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you! Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,”” (Isaiah 30:19, 21 NIV).

Sometimes I don’t hear that voice telling me which way to turn, though. I sometimes find myself feeling like a squirrel halfway across the road with a car bearing down on me! (I often identify strongly with squirrels, which is why I watch out for them.) As creatures near the bottom of the food chain, squirrels behave in a predator-avoidance manner. The squirrels freeze when they see a predator approaching, then dash away at an angle as the predator closes in. This works for avoiding big animals charging at them, but it really stinks for avoiding cars!

I’m like that. I freeze when I’m afraid and then sometimes make decisions to avoid trouble at the last moment, dashing toward what I feel is safe. This is not always a good move! But God is good to me anyway. He’s always looking out for me, and if he sees that I am afraid, and I call out to him, he will slow down and patiently wait for me as I try to discover his will. He does not allow me to be devastated or crushed by his displeasure.

Eventually, if I wait and listen for God’s voice, he will make his directions clear. I just need to be still and wait on him. As a squirrel-type, I find that this isn’t easy! I want to dash out into the road to get away from fear. So when I must make decisions, I ask the Lord to hold me still in his mighty hand and to calm my fearful heart while I wait.

He is faithful. He will speak.

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10, NLT

TWEETABLE
When You Don’t Know What To Do – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About 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: How has God guided your mistakes into opportunity?

Let Go

by Rhonda Dragomir @RhondaDragomir

I collapsed on the floor of the Romanian hotel room and wept. The next day, my husband, Dale, and I would finally receive a miraculous answer to prayer. Shouldn’t I be happy? I wasn’t.

Our agonizing twelve-year quest to become parents had led me to seek help from doctors, endure multiple tests and surgeries, and ingest expensive drugs with terrible side effects. Every month we hoped to learn I carried a child. Every month we were disappointed.

Instead, God ordained a different route to parenthood for us—through Romania, the homeland of Dale’s grandfather. We navigated a maze of obstacles, each one overcome by prayer, and after five grueling weeks of effort, we planned to adopt a five-month-old girl in a Romanian courtroom.

The night before the adoption, unease troubled my stomach. I had hit a wall which yet needed to be scaled. Emotion-charged hours of prayer revealed I had not completely relinquished my own will. I still wanted to give birth to a baby, and I was angry with God because that petition had not been granted.

The realization stunned me.

Our dilemma was not unlike the three Hebrew children who faced the wrath of King Nebuchadnezzar. Who wouldn’t rather live than die in a fiery furnace? They surely petitioned God for his protection from the king’s edict commanding them to worship his image. Obedience to God should spare them Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath, right?

Wrong. Their defiance stirred the king to greater anger, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego faced certain, painful death in a fire heated to seven times its normal intensity. Even their last words spoke their heart’s desire: “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up” (Daniel 3:17-18).

We tell this story to our children not only because of these men’s faith or courage, but also because of their absolute surrender to the will of God. They let go of their very hope of staying alive and consigned themselves completely to the will of God. When they did, God showed his love and power by walking through the flames with them and ultimately sparing their lives.

Common wisdom dictates, “When you reach the end of the rope, hang on.”  My pathway to motherhood taught me better wisdom: “When you reach the end of the rope, let go.”

That night in the hotel, I confessed my resentment to God—He knew it anyway. I surrendered to his superior wisdom and quit struggling against his will. I let go of the baby I would never conceive to receive the baby he chose for me. I jumped right into the arms of my eternal God, who waited there to catch me.

A few days later, Dale and I looked into the wide, brown eyes of our new daughter with wonderment and joy. She was perfect! God answered our prayers in his flawless way, which was much better than we could have imagined. That daughter, Jana, has been a delight every day since.

Jana’s presence in my life reminds me every day: God’s ways are best. His blessings sometimes only come when I let go of my own desires and fall into his everlasting arms.

The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms… Deuteronomy 33:27a NIV

TWEETABLE
Let Go – encouragement when #FollowingGod is hard from @RhondaDragomir on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: An avid reader and writer, Rhonda Dragomir lives in the heart of idyllic horse country in central Kentucky. Her degree in Social Work from Asbury University prepared her for more than forty years of ministry as a pastor’s wife.

Rhonda writes both fiction and nonfiction, and she was named 2019 Writer of the Year by Serious Writer, Inc. Learn more about Rhonda on her website: www.rhondadragomir.com.

Join the conversation: Can you remember a time when you fell into the arms of God?

 

Where’s my Control Button?

by Lynn Eib

But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.  Romans 8:6 NLT  

I love to play FreeCell Solitaire on my laptop. I tell myself that I play to keep my mind keen as I age and that all the strategizing sharpens my mental skills. But I think the real reason I’m continually drawn to this card game is because I can control it.

Every single game of FreeCell is winnable, and if I find my strategy isn’t working, or I don’t have any more moves, I simply hit CRTL-Z.  I “undo” my past turns and make other choices until once again I emerge a winner. (Current win streak: 929.)

You know what CTRL stands for, right? CONTROL! Yep, that’s why I love the game. I’m in control and if the game gets out-of-control and I might lose, I simply take control and make everything turn out the way I always wanted it to. It’s the perfect game for a perfectionist like me, who hates to lose!

 Don’t you wish life had a CTRL-Z button? You could hit it and go back and change the serious diagnosis you or your loved one have received. Or you could tap it and delete the deep disappointments you’ve experienced. Or you could type that command and forgo all the financial struggles. Or you could strike those two keys and erase the emptiness. Somehow–some way–you could control the situation until everything turned out just as you hoped.

Mary, a member of my cancer prayer support group, would have loved a CTRL-Z button when she was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer, just 19 months after being widowed. “My husband was gone; I retired Feb. 3 and got diagnosed Feb. 27,” she says. “It was the one-two punch. The shock just hit me and I was ready to die.”

Not only did Mary feel out-of-control, but the cancer looked out-of-control, as it already had spread to her liver and bones.

However, within a few months of starting treatment scans showed the disease was responding. As I write this, she has been a survivor for more than six years. But despite her good quality of life, Mary still lives under the uncertain shadow of an incurable cancer.

“I find myself asking God: ‘Could I just have a little control? I want your will, but could I have just a little of mine?’” she says with a laugh.

I really appreciate Mary’s honesty and the fact she recognizes the humor in desiring God’s will, but on her own terms.

God is teaching both Mary and me to quit searching for life’s CRTL-Z button and to stop pretending we can be in charge of it all. The truth is, we never were in control in the first place, and none of us has the wisdom to successfully direct our own steps.

The temptation always is there to place our trust in our fallen feelings or our limited view of the facts, but The Message Bible paraphrases a wonderful control-releasing truth in Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all” (MSG).

I’m learning to give up the control-stick and trust the One who is all-knowing, all seeing, and all-powerful–because letting the Spirit control my mind instead truly does lead to life and peace.

TWEETABLE
Where’s my Control Button? Insight from Lynn Eib on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lynn eib2

About the author: Lynn Eib is a long-time cancer survivor, a patient advocate, and an award-winning journalist. She has six titles with Tyndale House Publishing, including When God & Cancer Meet with 100,000+ copies sold. Her website www.lynneib.com provides a bi-weekly blog of encouragement; tips for founding, facilitating and finding faith-based support groups; and free resources for cancer patient and their caregivers.

In Lynn’s beautiful, giftable book, Peace in the Face of Cancer, she shares how to live well from the moment of diagnosis through the rest of life. You’ll discover how to bring God’s peace into your own home and heart―regardless of your or your loved one’s medical prognosis.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with giving up control?

 

 

 

God Is Supposed to Do It My Way

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

My sister-in-law, Leslie, took her ten-year-old daughter, Megan, to the ballet and carefully explained beforehand what Megan would be seeing. But it turned out Megan didn’t quite get the concept.

During the performance, Megan watched the dancers communicating through their dance with a questioning look on her face, like, “This doesn’t make sense.” During one scene, when a male dancer was trying to communicate something to the ballerina, Megan leaned over to her mom and whispered, “Why doesn’t he just tell her?” Megan was troubled at the dancer’s frustration that the ballerina didn’t seem to understand his message.

Leslie replied, “It’s a ballet; they don’t talk.”

During the performance, Megan asked several more times about the lack of verbal communication. She just couldn’t get the non-verbal concept.

When Leslie and Megan returned home, her father asked about the ballet, expecting an enthusiastic response. Megan’s “OK” was definitely not enthusiastic.

Chuck was surprised. “Didn’t you like it, Megan?”

“No, Daddy, it was all in sign language.”

Megan had missed the beauty of the ballet because she expected something different—even though Leslie had tried to prepare her. Her incorrect assumptions had kept her from a wonderful experience.

Sometimes God’s children have the same problem. We expect God to work in a certain way, and when He doesn’t, it’s like He’s communicating in sign language—and we aren’t getting the point.

Maybe you have been waiting for God to do a certain thing. When He hasn’t, you have assumed He hasn’t done anything at all. But maybe your expectations are getting in the way of seeing the ways He is at work in you or others.

Maybe it’s time to release your expectations and believe that He is faithful according to His will. Let’s notice everything God is doing—not just what we are hoping for—and trust His will is best.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11 NASB

TWEETABLE
God Is Supposed to Do It My Way – @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to travel and has been in more than 25 countries and has spoken in 8 of them. Her passion is to teach about God’s unconditional love and acceptance.  Kathy is the author of more than 50 books. She and her husband, Larry, are lay counselors and write and speak together. They have two children and two grandchildren and make their home in southern California.

Kathy’s recent release is a women’s Bible study. In Heart Wisdom: Daughters of the King Bible Study Series, you will learn to navigate every area of your life through insightful commentary and challenging questions from the wisdom in Proverbs.

Join the conversation: When has God met your expectations differently than you assumed He would?

 

 

A Delicate Balance

by Nan Corbitt Allen

We all have rocks in our heads. Really.

Deep inside our heads, in our inner ears, we have tubes (or canals) and in those tubes there are tiny calcium crystals that communicate with our brains – telling us that we are upright, lying down, falling down, upside down, or whatever. But if one of those little crystals gets out of its designated place, it can turn our worlds upside down. Literally.

Benign positional vertigo is something that I’ve had off and on for the last few years. I’m just recovering from my latest episode. It usually comes on suddenly. Even though I know that I’m standing straight, my brain is interpreting my body position as something else. The room seems to spin, my eyes actually following the path of a spinning room, and I’m not able to find my “center” for a few seconds. Sometimes minutes.

It’s scary, but mostly aggravating. Fortunately, I’ve been diagnosed at a university balance center and have been taught some exercises or maneuvers that can fix it fairly quickly. It’ll probably return, but at least I know what’s at work and what to do about it.

Whenever I have an episode, it amazes me how a tiny speck in my inner ear can throw my entire body off. Sometimes, after an attack, I’ll marvel at the intricacies of human anatomy. And I wonder, once again, at the handiwork of God. Other times it reminds me of how important it is to keep a “delicate balance” in my spiritual life.

Several years ago, I found a book entitled The Will of God that was first published in the 1940’s by the British pastor Leslie D. Weatherhead. It’s a tiny book, less than 60 pages, but its content has been so intriguing that I keep it handy and read through it often. The premise is that God’s will can be broken down into three parts:

  1. God’s Intentional Will- God’s ideal plan for all.
  1. God’s Circumstantial Will – God’s plan within certain circumstances, even the evils that men create and practice.
  1. God’s Ultimate Will – God’s final realization of His purposes: the return of Man to a relationship with his Creator.

When facing an upside down world, it can be difficult to see God’s providence in it all. That’s when the delicate balance comes into play.

To find our true center in God’s will, we have to look at all facets of it. God enjoys blessing us and even sometimes alters the natural course of life just because He loves us and wants to see us healthy and happy. I like that part.

In circumstances (of course always within His control), His will may be still hard at work, i.e. in the midst of a heartbreak that was caused by an accident, an act of evil concocted by Man, or the frailty of human flesh. It can be harder to perceive Him there. I’m not so fond of this part.

But His ultimate desire is where we have to sometimes land and just trust that one day He’s going to make it all stand aright again. God’s peace comes to us when the particles of chaos come to rest in His ultimate will, their proper place…like crystals in an inner ear.

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.                                                                                                                     Ephesians 1:4-6 MSG

TWEETABLE
A Delicate Balance – insight 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: Has there been a time when your world was turned upside-down? Please share!

 

Making Choices Wisdom’s Way

by Cheri Cowell

Have you ever struggled in making a decision? Wonder what God’s will might be? After making what I thought was a God-led decision, which ended with a painful and messy situation, I wanted to know if there was a better way for making godly decisions.

Saint Augustine said of making wise decisions, “Love God and do whatever you please.” Loving God with the kind of love the Bible speaks of—fully, wholly, and unconditionally—makes no room for anything less than desiring to do as He pleases. So the first step, then, is to turn to His Word.

The Bible tells us the Nation of Israel had all they needed to become God’s people, to shape their hearts and minds after God. They had the Law, or Torah, with its stories that declared God’s character, but they also had something else: Wisdom Literature. This group of books consisted of the Psalms, Proverbs, Job, and Ecclesiastes.

I’ve heard the Wisdom books described as ‘godliness in working clothes.’ They showed the people of God how to put into practice what the Torah was teaching, namely, how to love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. Unfortunately, much of the power of the Wisdom Literature has been lost on us today. We use parts of it as comfort food at funerals and weddings, as pithy quotes for calendars and trinkets, and in words to pop-chart songs, but as far as shaping our lives—we can neglect the wisdom they offer for daily living.

I must admit that I once viewed the book of Proverbs as being too secular and not spiritual enough. But, when I understood that the Jewish nation had all they needed within the Torah and the Wisdom books to become all God called them to be, I figured I should re-examine them. And boy, did I learn a lot.

Much of Proverbs teaches how we are to “fear the Lord,” in our everyday life. Fearing the Lord is not being afraid of God, but instead it involves humility, acknowledging God’s authority, and guarding against idols usurping God’s place in our hearts.

Another key teaching in Proverbs is that we must have the right attitude in order to receive the knowledge coming from wisdom. This includes a having a teachable spirit, willingness to accept correction, and respecting earthly authority as training for respect of God’s authority.

Jesus not only showed us how to apply Wisdom’s teachings, He showed us a higher way: God’s way of living. Therefore, knowing wisdom as taught in the Wisdom books gives us a foundation for a full understanding of many of Christ’s teachings.

The truth is, when we know God’s ways, we’ll know how we should walk and make good choices that are aligned with His Word.

When I looked at my painful and messy situation from the lens of wisdom, I could see what I should have done differently, but more than anything I saw my messy situation as a training ground in Wisdom’s ways–God’s ways.

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”   Proverbs 9:10 NIV

cheri cowellAbout the author: Cheri Cowell is the author of Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life. To connect with Cheri visit www.CheriCowell.com .

Join the conversation: What have you learned in God’s Wisdom Training Grounds?

 

 

IMG_7617