When Your Name Means Broken

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)

“CHINGALING!” Laura and Zoila shouted as a vase crashed to the floor. They saw me standing in the doorway of their white stucco home. Saturdays were high dusting days for this mother and daughter team, and I had startled them.

I’d come to say goodbye.  It was time for me to leave Honduras and return to Rhode Island.

I worked in Guinope for three months assisting at the local medical clinic. When I first arrived, many people could not pronounce my name, Cherrilynn (Sherry Lynn). As hard as they tried, they could not pronounce the “SH”;  it always sounded like “CHI”.   

So my name became Chingaling. I grew to love it.

Unbeknownst to everyone in Guinope when I arrived, my heart was broken and my body ached.  I could not leave my emotional baggage at the airport. So I dragged it down dirt roads, through the hospital at Tegucigalpa, and rested it by my bed at night. My wounds from childhood abuse screamed to be healed, and they would not stop just because I was in a foreign land.

 I was good at hiding fear, and depression. However, the Lord was at work in this quiet mountainside village. There was no escape. His loving hand desired to touch my wounds and mend them, but I needed to let go of my broken identity and accept God’s healing. I had many long talks with God as I walked through the dusty streets of Guinope (emotional baggage in tow).  As I responded to His love, the weight of despair dissipated and I loosened my grip on the handle of my emotional baggage.

As my friends turned to stare at the glass shattered on the floor, they repeated: Chingaling!” 

“Are you that happy to see me?” I said.

 “No, I mean yes.” Laura and Zoila looked at each other with delight. “Chingaling!” they shouted and began to laugh a full belly laugh.

“What’s so funny?” I began to laugh with them.

They stepped off the chairs, avoiding the glass.

“Chingaling,” Laura said as she pointed to the broken glass on the floor. Laura spoke fluent English. “The Spanish word for the sound of glass as it crashes to the floor is chingaling.”

I hugged them both, and we laughed as we cleaned up the glass.

As I swept the broken glass into the dustpan, the Holy Spirit impressed these words upon my heart: Chingaling, I am sweeping up the broken pieces of your heart.  I will mend them together for my joy and purpose. Trust me.

I left Guinope with a renewed hope, knowing God would use the story of healing from my brokenness to lead others to Him.

Jesus endured excruciating physical and emotional pain as he hung on the cross.  He understands brokenness. He knew the outcome of his crucifixion—reconciliation with the Father. He became broken, so that He could empathize with His followers who were in the same condition (Hebrews 4:15-16).

But He was also broken that we might be healed and made whole. “He bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV).

Do you feel shattered, like there are too many broken pieces to repair? Trust God to heal you.

This resurrection season, will you join me and thank Jesus for identifying with our brokenness?  Let’s praise Him for His ultimate sacrifice that brings reconciliation and healing.

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer and speaker. As a certified Christian Life Coach Minister, and Ordained Minister, she aims to share the love of Christ wherever God leads. Cherrilynn is a speaker with Women Speakers. She contributes to the Blue Ridge Writers blog, is published in four compilations books, and her book Shine Don’t Whine released in 2020. Cherrilynn served in the military for twenty years, earning the John Levitow Military leadership award. She lives with her 19-year-old son Michael, Jr., and her husband of 22 years, Michael. She fondly calls them her M&M’s.

Join the conversation: Has God healed you from brokenness?

Seeing the Light in Dark Times

by Jennifer Slattery

You, LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28 NIV

No matter how dark things appear, light is breaking through. The question is, will we see it? When difficulties come, it’s so easy to focus on the challenges and disappointments, and in that, to forget the heart, power, presence, and purposes of Christ.

I’ve noticed something lately, something that happens again and again. So often, my most challenging moments, in Christ’s hands, become so life-giving. When Covid-19 hit, my ministry lost an entire year of conferences, and therefore a year’s worth of funding. At the time, I felt confused and uncertain. But God used the pause and our renewed focus on Him to lead us into new, increasingly fruitful territory.

This pattern has also played out in my relationships. Years ago, my marriage was in a rough place and I felt the hours and stress of my husband’s job routinely stole him from me. Initially, the situation seemed to worsen. But God was working, revealing things both of us had too easily ignored. That dark period became a catalyst for change and growth.

Perhaps the most vivid light-piercing-darkness event occurred when I first became sick. Initially, fighting my illness alone, I tried various supplemental “cures.” The more out of control my body felt, the more I fought for control. By the time I sought a doctor and received a diagnosis, my latent, previously manageable and largely “ignored” OCD morphed into obvious germaphobia.

That period was so hard on all of us, but it also led to deep healing. We couldn’t justify or downplay my behavior anymore. I wasn’t simply focused or particular. When life became challenging and darkness pressed in, it squeezed out my inner gunk that we had learned to ignore.

We could’ve become suffocated by the darkness. Instead, by God’s grace, we linked arms, turned to Jesus, and steadily sought and followed His light. And His light indeed broke through in such a beautiful, life-giving way. While this didn’t eliminate our pain, that period changed us, for the better.

Speaking of Jesus, John 1:4-5 says, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (NIV).

Jesus didn’t come during a rosy time in history. Lives were ravished by King Herod’s infanticide, Roman oppression, poverty, hunger, and leprosy with the lifelong isolation that accompanied it. But God was doing a mighty work not even the most powerful tyrannical ruler or most devastating disease could halt. He was bringing life to the dead and piercing the darkness with light (John 8:12).

The Pharisees couldn’t see this. They were blinded, distracted by the darkness; the darkness within themselves, yes, but also all the oppression and uncertainty in their world. All they could see was what they might lose, should this faith-movement continue: their prestigious roles as religious leaders, their already tenuous relationship with the Roman authorities, their way of life (John 11:47-48). They couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, see the light—the gift of life and freedom Christ offered.

No matter what 2021 brings, I refuse to be like them. I refuse to become so engulfed in today’s challenges that I fail to see God’s light breaking through. Because I know it’s there. It always is, a light that nothing, not the pain of today or the uncertainty of tomorrow, can extinguish.               

How is God’s light breaking through your circumstances this month? And perhaps more importantly, how can you seek out and hold tight to that light when dark circumstances hit?

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

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a multi-published author, ministry, and the host of the Faith Over Fear Podcast. Find her online at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com, find her ministry at WhollyLoved.com, and find her podcast at LifeAudio.com and other popular podcasting sites.

Join Jennifer and her Wholly Loved Ministry team for an online mother-daughter conference for moms of teen through adult daughters. The mother-daughter relationship can be one of the most precious connections we experience, but they can also be a source of conflict and pain. Wholly Loved Ministries wants to help moms and daughters love one another well and experience the deep connections their hearts crave. Through personal anecdotes, biblical truths, and thought-provoking discussion questions, this event equips moms and daughters to cultivate the depth of relationship God Himself wants them to experience. In her new podcast, Faith Over Fear, Jennifer helps us see different areas of life where fear has a foothold, and how our identity as children of God can help us move from fear to faithful, bold living. You can listen by clicking on the link below or by visiting LifeAudio.com.

Join the conversation: Have you seen God’s light breaking through in this challenging season?

What the World Needs Now

by Christina Rose

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness
.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Our world needs everlasting love and unfailing kindness more than ever as we face the fear of the global pandemic. Having faith during this time is a protective shield against the waves of panic that threaten to steal our peace. We take comfort in knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us.  When we trust that He loves us with an everlasting love, it cancels out all fear.  How can we fear when we believe that God is sovereign and rules above it all? By walking in God’s love, we can help everyone around us to choose faith over fear.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love  (1 John 14:18 NIV).

My journey to find peace was long and tumultuous, yet I am grateful to share my testimony. My parents married young and came from broken homes. They had the best intentions to create the healthy, loving family that they never knew, but our lives were marred by the damage of their unresolved childhood wounds. Abuse, addiction and abandonment were constant themes in our family. I learned that hurting people hurt other people, yet God is the restorer of the broken. Nothing is impossible for Him; not only can he restore anyone and anything, He will bring you out better than before. As I learned to turn to God for guidance during my trials, I found peace in nature where I felt enveloped in His love and greatness. Hiking, camping and surfing in God’s magnificent creation makes me feel free and safe. 

Now that I work at home, I have time to enjoy a daily two hour walk around the nearby lakes. In the last three months four geese couples have given birth to a total of 9 goslings. I marvel that both parents never stray from their babies as they continuously nurture and protect them. In the almost 200 times over the last few months that I have strolled around the lake, I have never seen either parent take a break to wander off on their own for a swim or to feed. Both parents work together as a devoted team to care for their babies.

When the geese enter the lake to swim, the moms lead the babies while the dads bring up the rear, always on the alert for a predator. The moms teach the babies to feed while the dads stand protectively by, standing guard. While each of the four geese couples gave birth to their goslings in different parts of the lake, recently the little families found one another and are now inseparable. They feed, nap and swim together in perfect harmony. I have never witnessed competition or quarreling among them, just perfect peace and serenity. They intuitively know that they were designed to live together in harmony and cooperation.

God shares beautiful stories like the geese family to show us how he intends love to be and how we are to take care of one another. Just like the geese families seek other geese families to create community, God created us to seek one another for community. He created us to live in peace with one another and to love each other the way he loves us. Demonstrations of God’s everlasting love and unfailing kindness are all around us in his perfect creation.  When we walk in the perfect love of God, we cast out fear wherever He may lead us.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

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What the World Needs Now – 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: Have you seen other examples in nature that demonstrate the love of God?

Do You Love Me More than These?

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

No one wants to be reminded of their sinful choices. Satan, our accuser (Revelation 12:10) loves to use guilt and shame to fuel our self-hate and distrust of God. His motive is to convince us God can’t possibly still love us.

At the famous fish breakfast on the beach by the Sea of Galilee (John 21), Jesus pursued Peter with laser-focused inquiries into Peter’s still-hurting heart. He created  circumstances that morning that would bring further healing through providing a contrast to Peter’s past with his present:

  • Peter denied Jesus three times. Now, Jesus asks Peter the same question three times and assures him with the same command three times.
  • Peter was called to be a follower by Christ after seeing Jesus’s miracle of providing fish. Now, Jesus provides a boatload of fish to one who already believes.
  • Peter denied knowing Jesus in the setting of a blazing fire in the high priest’s court. Now, Jesus welcomes the group to the campfire with fish browning on a blazing fire.
  • Peter had boasted to Jesus “Though they [the other disciples] all fall away because of you, I will never fall away” (Matthew 26:33). Now, Jesus asks Peter, “Do you love me more than these?” giving him an opportunity to reflect on his earlier boastful claim.

All of these important interactions continued the work of healing in Peter’s soul. If we were Peter, we possibly might think: “Does it really take all this to heal? I don’t want to review my sin.” But Jesus knew he was not fully healed.

Sometimes we aren’t, either.

Jesus’s persistence reaps the reward—a change in Peter’s heart. Peter’s interaction after Jesus’s third inquiry is different than ever before.

Peter is grieved when Jesus asks a the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:17).

Peter from the past would have passionately defended himself and taken impulsive action to demonstrate his love. But this time, Peter acknowledges Jesus knows everything, trusting that his Master knows his heart. Peter no longer has to prove his love.

Can we receive the Holy Spirit’s work of healing even as he reminds us of past sin? We might not be as spiritually healthy and healed as we think. Satan calls attention to the needed places of healing, accusing us and wanting to defeat us. His motive is to destroy our confidence in God’s forgiving and healing power.

God’s motive is the opposite. God does not intend to shame us but to steadfastly pursue our heart’s need of greater healing. As we face our sin and receive forgiveness and cleansing, our pride is shattered. Our ability to tell others of our Master’s loving acceptance increases. Our compassion for others empowers us. Our gratitude for salvation blossoms and deepens our relationship with Him.

Convinced he is no better than the others, Peter becomes a powerful leader in the church, giving the first sermon ever about Jesus on the Day of Pentecost.

When you remember your ungodly past, don’t let Satan use it for harm. Trust God to bring deeper healing.

 My Lord God Almighty, I praise you for your steadfast nature, which never gives up inquiring into my heart for my good. Thank you for helping me see the difference between Satan’s evil intent and your loving motives.

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Do You Love Me More than These? – encouragement from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller, author of over 55 books, loves to remember herself and others that God’s convicting power is always meant for our good. She has traveled the world sharing Jesus and has spoken in over 35 States and 9 foreign countries. She and her husband live in Southern California and are parents, grandparents, and lay-counselors. Visit her at www.KathyCollardMiller.com  

Kathy co-authored her latest book, God’s Intriguing Questions: 40 Old Testament Devotions Revealing God’s Nature, with her husband Larry. It provides a fascinating exploration of who God is and all the amazing aspects of his nature—his love, grace, faithfulness, mercy, kindness, wisdom, and so many more.

Join the conversation: Has the Holy Spirit reminded you of memories in you that still need to be healed? Were you able to trust His kind intention through the process?

A Bad Diagnosis

by Lori Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.’” Mark 2:16-17 ESV

My husband and I used to love watching House. You remember the medical drama about the damaged but brilliant doctor who solves medical mysteries that elude other doctors? He was usually the last hope for his patients and because of that, unlike other medical shows where a patient is devastated to receive a dire diagnosis; these patients welcome the life-altering news.

Why would anyone welcome a bad diagnosis?

It’s because the patients have suffered with symptoms that they know are real. They’ve tried dozens of other avenues for treatment and cure. Usually, the incorrect treatment was not only ineffective for solving their problem; it created more problems and sometimes threatened their lives.

The correct diagnosis, even if it is a terrible one, is better than suffering in the dark.

My husband’s life became a real-life House episode for over five years. He battled a mystery illness and pursued courses of treatment that created more problems than they cured. When we prepared to visit a new doctor to receive test results, we’d be more devastated to have no answers than we would if we were receiving news of a life-threatening disease with a name.

My college professor used to say “the facts are our friends; truth is always on our side no matter what that truth is.” An inaccurate diagnosis, a wrong course of treatment, false hopes – these are the enemies – not the truth.

Which is why most Christians were relieved to learn the condemning news that they are sinners with no hope of saving themselves.

See, we knew something was wrong inside us. We suffered from the symptoms but could not find the cause no matter where we looked. And boy, did we look!

We pursued all kinds of false diagnoses. We tried every self-help treatment available and followed each healer who told us they knew the cure for what ailed us. Those false cures were not only ineffective; they created more problems, some of them life-threatening.

Then, one day, someone told us they knew what was wrong with us. That person may have exhibited compassion, or they may have been as cold as Dr. House, but they knew the truth about our condition – we were sinners with no hope of saving ourselves, facing a sentence of death.

Rather than be offended or devastated by the news, we were relieved to hear the truth that somehow, we already knew. We’d suffered the symptoms of our sinful condition for so long we were ready for the cure.

And THAT was the good news. The cure was available for us. We could be healed by trusting Jesus Christ with our lives. No longer did we have to search bookstores and drugstores, gurus and shamans, backrooms or bedrooms for treatments that only quieted the symptoms but did nothing to touch the disease. Now we were free to pursue the effective treatment available through a relationship with the God of the universe.

Just like on House, for some the evidence of the cure was immediate, for others it took time, but the Great Physician has a 100% survival rate among those who are willing to receive the truth and trust His prescription for their lives.

Not only is the survival rate 100%, but the effects are extended release – they extend into eternity.

TWEETABLE
A Bad Diagnosis – encouragement from @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Join the conversation: When did you receive the correct diagnosis on you spiritual ailment?

Deck the Soul with Boughs of Forgiveness

by Dr. MaryAnn Diorio @DrMaryAnnDiorio

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will…give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins…”   Luke 1:76-77 NASB       

CHRISTMAS!  The word evokes many feelings, depending on our experiences. For some, Christmas is a happy time, filled with beautiful memories and joyful expectations. For others, Christmas is a depressing time, a season one wants “to get over with” as quickly as possible because of bad memories associated with this time of year.

Having ministered to people for many years, I have come to the conclusion that depressing memories at Christmas time are most often related to problems of refusing to forgive. Hurts from the past become more pronounced during the Christmas season, but the reason those hurts still affect us is that we have not let go of the bitterness associated with them. In short, we have not forgiven the people who have hurt us.

Why do most people have such a difficult time forgiving? I believe the main reason is that they do not understand what forgiveness really means. So, what is true forgiveness?

LET’S LOOK FIRST AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT:

  • Forgiveness is NOT letting someone off the hook.
  • Forgiveness is NOT condoning evil.
  • Forgiven is NOT being a doormat.
  • Forgiveness is NOT having to trust again the person who hurt us.
  • Forgiveness is NOT a feeling.
  • Forgiveness is NOT an option.

NOW LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:

  • Forgiveness IS taking the person who hurt us off of our hook and placing him on God’s hook, then praying that God will have mercy on him.
  • Forgiveness IS acknowledging that evil was done but choosing to bear the consequences of that evil without retaliation.
  • Forgiveness IS taking charge of our emotions.
  • Forgiveness IS setting boundaries with the person who hurt us, even refusing temporary or permanent interaction with that person, if necessary.  An example would be a wife who is being beaten by her husband.
  • Forgiveness IS a decision.
  • Forgiveness IS obedience to God’s commandment to forgive.

No matter how badly we have been hurt, we must choose to forgive. It’s the best thing we can do for our own well-being. Refusing to forgive is unhealthy for us. It chains us emotionally to the person who hurt us. Forgiveness breaks that chain and sets us free.

What better time is there than the Christmas season to forgive those who have hurt us? Paul wrote the Ephesians: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32 NASB). The very essence of Christmas is the truth that God forgave humanity through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Who are we not to forgive when God has forgiven us?

So this Christmas, let’s forgive! But not just forgive. Let’s ask those whom you have wronged to forgive you. As the Word of God tells us, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23, NIV). As long as we are on this earth, it is never too late for the healing forgiveness brings.

May we all forge happy memories this Christmas as the power of forgiveness sets us free!

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Deck the Soul with Boughs of Forgiveness – @DrMaryAnnDiorio on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Marianne DiorioAbout the author: Dr. MaryAnn Diorio loves God, people, children, and dogs, in that order. She is passionate about story and its power to transform the human heart. Dr. MaryAnn, as she is affectionately called, writes compelling fiction that deals with the deepest issues of the human heart. She and her husband Dominic are the blessed parents of two wonderful daughters, a fantastic son-in-law, and five precious, rambunctious A Christmas Homecoming (Christmas Holiday Extravaganza) by [Diorio, MaryAnn]grandchildren. Find out more about MaryAnn at http://maryanndiorio.com/.

For a heartwarming, compelling story on the power of forgiveness, you may wish to read MaryAnn’s popular novella titled A Christmas Homecoming,  available in electronic format for your Kindle, Nook, or iPad.  To view the beautiful book trailer, click here.

Join the conversation: When has forgiveness set you free?

 

Mended With Gold

by Amy Williams @free2Bfearless

I broke my favorite mug the other day. I’d finished my morning coffee and set my mug on the precarious stack of paper next to my desk. I had to set it there because my desk was covered in projects and folders and protein bar wrappers. And before I knew what was happening, my beloved mug slid off and shattered on the wood floor.

The mug had been a gift from my best friend. She had one just like it. Handmade. Ceramic. Dark blue. And when she left for England, where she lived for three years, we would send each other pictures of our matching mugs whenever we were lonely. No matter where I go, no matter where I lived, I always took that mug with me. And just like that—because of my own actions no less—the mug was in pieces. What once had a use was now useless. What once had value was now worthless.

As I gathered up the fragmented pieces of my favorite mug, I couldn’t help but compare it to my life. Many times, I’ve felt like my life has been broken into pieces, mostly due to my own poor choices. Some of the consequences of those choices rise up and taunt me on a daily basis. I’ve disappointed people who were counting on me. I’ve hurt people I love. I haven’t been there for the people who needed me when they needed me. If it were up to me, my life would be jagged pieces on the floor—shattered and scattered by my own hand.

But it’s not up to me.

When I was seven years old, I decided to believe what Jesus said about Himself and about me, and from that point on, I’ve been one of His many works in progress. Since that day, I have been on a journey with Him where He is keeping His promise from 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV).

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

I hadn’t heard about Kintsugi until a handful of years ago in a random Pinterest post during a pinning binge (you know, you’ve done it too). Kintsugi, which is roughly translated “mended with gold,” is a Japanese pottery technique where the pieces of broken cups or pots are rejoined using gold lacquer. It’s gorgeous work. Instead of an old broken pot, now you have something beautiful. Something new. Kintsugi takes a broken vessel that had lost its inherent worth and makes it more valuable than it had been before—not because it was broken but because of how it was pieced back together.

Sound familiar?

We all have broken pieces. We all have scars and wounds, whether we let the world see them or not. But you can’t hide your broken pieces from Jesus. He knows each one, and He offers redemption for each scar. Only He is big enough to take the broken pieces of your life and turn them into something beautiful that can be used to help others. That is the true worth of your scars and broken pieces. Not that you have them—but how God can redeem them for His glory.

What broken pieces are you hiding today? What scars are you afraid to reveal? Don’t let the enemy convince you that your brokenness has made you worthless. Listen to Jesus, the Master Potter, who is able to take your broken life and make it new and whole again.

As for me and my favorite mug, I’m going to go find some gold lacquer. Because that old piece of handmade pottery still has lots of new stories to tell.

…He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6 NIV

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Mended With Gold – encouragement from A.C.Williams, @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

amy c williamsAbout the author: A.C. Williams is an author-preneur who weaves fantastic tales about #AmericanSamurai and #SpaceCowboys, and she’s passionate about helping writers master the art of storytelling. A quirky, coffee-drinking, cat-loving thirty-something, she’s on Finding Firefliesa mission to help authors overcome fear and live victorious. Join her adventures on social media (@free2bfearless) and visit her website, www.amycwilliams.com.

Join the conversation: How has brokenness been a part of your spiritual journey?

Why Should I Forgive?

by Debbie W. Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“Will you help me control my thinking?” The airport shuttle driver’s question surprised me. He’d obviously overheard my conversation with the woman leaving the shuttle. His landlady, who called herself a Christian, had wronged him. Hurt and anger showed in his eyes and words.

How could I help this man see that to be freed from his pain he needed to forgive the woman who’d caused it?

I’m sure people have disappointed and hurt you too. It’s part of life on planet earth. Maybe that’s why Jesus included forgiveness in the prayer He taught his disciples.

Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us” (Matt. 6:12 NLT).

Isn’t it ironic that we must forgive the ones we least want to forgive? This isn’t a cruel joke. It’s protection. Granting forgiveness heals our wounds and frees our souls.

I’ve read articles about forgiveness. Some platitudes offered more harm than good. They painted forgiveness as a magic wand that erased all pain. Hurt feelings don’t necessarily indicate unforgiveness. They may reveal deep wounds.

Scratches heal quickly. But deep injuries take time to mend. Forgiveness sets healing in motion.

To avoid the hard work of forgiving, we avoid the issue with, “It’s no big deal.” Or we tell ourselves, “Why must I forgive? This is too big. They don’t deserve to be forgiven.” To overcome this resistance, it helps to remember who benefits when we forgive. We do—as well as those we love.

They may not deserve to be forgiven. But do you deserve to prolong your suffering by holding on to the sharp barbs of bitterness? Or do your loved ones deserve to live with your hostility or be shaped by your destructive example?

Forgiveness benefits the one who gives it. We forgive for our own sake. We also forgive for the sake of those we love, because bitterness is a poison that can’t be contained.

The person who wronged us may not even be aware of our turmoil—or care. They may be dead. But if our resentment lives on, we suffer and model a harmful example to those who watch us.

Resentment drains the joy out of life and erects a wall between us and God. He hasn’t moved, but we feel distant. Tormented souls snap at small irritations, miss the beauty around them, and injure those in their wake. How many spouses, children, and coworkers suffer because of someone’s unwillingness to forgive?

Your freedom is at stake. Forgive to free yourself from turmoil. Forgive for the sake of those you love. Scripture describes how holding on to offenses can affect those around us: “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).

I explained the benefit of forgiveness with my shuttle driver. When we reached the airport, he handed me my luggage. “I’m going to do what you said,” he smiled. “I am going to be free.”

What about you? Are you ready to be free? Forgiveness brings freedom for the one who forgives. Forgive—for your sake and the sake of all you love—including Jesus.

 The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”  Matthew 25:40 NIV

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Why Should I Forgive? – insight from @DebbieWWilson on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Debbie W. Wilson is an ordinary woman who has experienced an extraordinary God. Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, she speaks, writes, and coaches to help women discover relevant faith. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Debbie’s book, Little Women, Big God will introduce you to the surprising women in Jesus’s family tree. As they journey through impossible circumstances, each discovers that quality of life is not determined by the size of our problems but by the size of our God.

Join the conversation: Have you been able to forgive a wrong done to you or a loved one? Please share how God enabled you to do so.

 

God’s Eraser

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I get a thrill just walking past the windows of Pottery Barn. The wood finishes, the colorful dishes, the silk flowers—they call to me. On one of my expeditions into the store, I found a white eraser about the size of my palm, and a word was printed on it—DELETE. I bought the eraser and set it on my desk. Even though I hardly use it, it reminds me that God can erase the pain of hurtful actions. Some are recent, some may have stained our hearts for years.

Each child’s heart is like a journal. The adults, teachers, and peers in a child’s life write on it. Kind words, playful words, or hurtful ones. Their actions jot down notes about the child’s worth and identity. Which of these messages was written on your heart as you were growing up?

  • You’re valuable or you won’t amount to anything.
  • You’re needed or I don’t want you around.
  • You can do great things with God’s help or you’re a failure before you start.

If we have negative words and actions written on the journals of our hearts, we may think that there’s no reversing it. No eraser can eliminate the stain. But God can.

When life has written worthless, forgotten, or shameful on our hearts, God replaces it with loved and cherished. When we allow Him to write words of truth on our souls and we accept that truth for ourselves, He calls us free.

Free. Four little letters that hold a world of hope and restoration. Free from muck, pain, and regret. Free from the tyranny of people’s opinions and society’s demands. In Christ, we are free to be loved and to love, to make a difference, and to show someone else they are valuable, too.

This is what God writes on our hearts:

“You are Mine” (Isaiah 43:2 NKJV).

“I have redeemed you” (Isaiah 44:22 NJKV).

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you” (John 15:9 NKJV).

“In Me you may have peace” (John 16:33 NKJV).

God lessens the pain of hurtful memories by building new memories with us—time spent studying His Word and praying, time spent with loved ones, helping others who are in need, and so on. God’s pen holds ink that can never be erased, not by time or people or trials. His promises are certain, and He keeps each one.

You will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow.   Isaiah 62:2b NIV

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God’s Eraser, Finding Help in a World of Hurt – @KatyKauffman28 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

headshot_katykauffmanAbout the author: Katy Kauffman is a Bible study author and teacher, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her writing tends to focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she loves connecting with writers and creating compilations such as Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage, a 2018 Selah Awards finalist, and Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, a 2019 Selah finalist. Katy makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Her latest book, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character explores the questions: How does God make our character more like Christ’s? What is His part, and what is ours? This Bible study compilation is a construction guide to building godly character and overcoming the hidden problems that sabotage us. It explores how God works in our lives and gives us wisdom to handle real-life issues.  

Join the conversation: What Scripture verse do you want written on your soul? What words bring you hope and peace? Please share!

Dealing with the Skeleton in My Closet

by Sheri Schofield

Tim and I had just arrived in Oklahoma with all our possessions in the back of our small pickup truck, and our toddler, Drew, squeezed into the front seat with us. While Tim headed off to his first classes in medical school, I stayed home and arranged our tiny apartment.

That evening, I heard a shuffling noise outside the door, then Tim walked in carrying a long, thin box. “What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s my skeleton,” Tim said, grinning. He laid it down on the couch and opened the box. Drew dashed over to see what Daddy had brought home. Tim scooped him up and started explaining the contents of the box. Drew was intrigued!

My only question was, “Where are we going to put it?

We searched the apartment for a place where we could put it. “It fits under the bed,” Tim suggested.

“Not under my side!” I shuddered. Tim laughed. We slid the box with its long-expired contents under Tim’s side of the bed.

Later that week when I was vacuuming, I found Drew in the bedroom with the skeleton box pulled out. He was playing with the skeleton’s jaw. We couldn’t risk having the skeleton broken by our toddler, so we moved it to our walk-in closet. There it stayed for one full semester. Tim and Drew had great times studying it together. It made a wonderful father-son activity. I am sure that this early introduction to medicine influenced Drew as he grew older, as he became a registered nurse.

Each of us has secret things in our lives – skeletons in our closets – that we must examine. Secret hurts or actions from the past affect our outward behavior. When we bring them out into the open and talk about these things with Jesus, we change the impact those things have in our lives. If they are problems we can discuss with our children, the skeletons can become learning tools to give our children a better understanding of how to cope with difficult things.

King David had a skeleton in his closet. He wanted Bathsheba, the wife of one of his warriors. He sent for her in secret and became her lover. When she became pregnant, David had her husband sent to the front lines of battle, where he was killed. Then David sent for Bathsheba and officially married her. He thought all was hidden and that he had gotten away with it.

But God told Nathan the prophet, who confronted David. The king’s response was instant repentance. “I have sinned against the LORD,” he confessed (2 Samuel 12:13, NIV). God forgave David, but the baby died as punishment for the sin. Yet from that union with Bathsheba, God brought another baby, Solomon, into the world, the eventual great king of Israel. Judgment for David was tempered with mercy and grace, because of his sensitivity to God. Acts 13:22 (NIV) remarks: “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. ‘ ”

None of us are going to get through this life without secret skeletons in our closets. But when we follow David’s example and deal with those sins openly before God, we begin the healing process. For Jesus took on himself the judgment of God for all sins, and he gives life and healing to all who trust him. He replaces sorrow with joy! He turns us into people after his own heart.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts… Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:7, 10, 12, NIV

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Dealing with the skeleton in my closet – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at 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!

Join the Conversation: What skeletons do you have in your closet?