Weird Advice from A Makeup Artist

by Sheri Schofield

Have you ever been to one of those make-up parties, where someone trained in the art chooses a victim—um—I mean a model—to use for a demonstration? I did go to one. Once, when I was young and didn’t know better. I was chosen to be the model. The makeup artist obviously didn’t know me, or she would have chosen someone else.

As she carefully applied the make-up base, she said with great seriousness, “Now we must always stroke in the same direction, from the nose to the edge of the face. We don’t want to confuse those little hair follicles.”

I snorted. What?? Confuse those little hair follicles?? She’s got to be kidding!

“What was that, Sheri?” she asked.

“Oh, nothing,” I replied, trying to keep my facial muscles still and not burst out into hysterical laughter. I was picturing the little hair follicles calling out to each other in panic, “Oh, no! Sheri’s applying makeup again! Hold on for your life! First she tells me to move down. Then she tells me to move up. What? Now she wants me to lay down with my roots pointing at her ear! I wish she would make up her mind! I am so CONFUSED!”

Fortunately, the makeup artist moved on to eyeliner and I had to concentrate on holding very still so she wouldn’t poke me in the eye.

Even now, when applying make-up, I sometimes remember that admonition to not “confuse those little hair follicles,” and end up chuckling. That may explain why my makeup is sometimes a little askew.

Consistency, however, is a good thing. And I don’t mean just about applying makeup. (You can do that however you want!) But consistency is important in raising children or teaching Sunday school, or any other form of leadership. It is important in everyday life. Those who listen to our words need to see consistency in us.

Today, it is far too common for parents and leaders to freely act out and express their emotions rather than keeping a tight rein on them. This was something I have had to seriously battle, for my heart tends to react emotionally to life and my mouth expresses what my heart says. But in my mid twenties, I saw the value of keeping my emotions in check in order to become an effective parent. My protective nature toward my children demanded that I become consistent. I realized my children needed my actions to back up my words about Christian living. I could not say one thing and do another without confusing them.

Consistent demonstration is necessary for building strong believers. God told the prophet Malachi, “For I, the LORD, do not change” (Malachi 3:6 NIV). Paul, the apostle tasked with reaching the non-Jewish people of the world, told the Corinthians, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1 NIV). We also see in Hebrews, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV).

Consistency marks the mature Christian. It is based on the least talked about fruit of the Holy Spirit: self-control. When we keep our eyes on Jesus, the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to be consistent in setting an example of godliness for others. That way, when we speak about Jesus—as we have been commanded—our words will be believable. There will be nothing inconsistent or confusing about our testimony of faith. In that way, we will draw others to Christ. That is God’s will for us.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understand that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way. Colossians 11:9-10 NIV

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

sheri schofield

About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.

Her first book on salvation, “The Prince and the Plan”, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, “God? Where Are You?,” tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read. 

Join the conversation: Who is the most consistent person in your life?

Reserving my Spot

by Deborah McCormick Maxey

            I’m always among the first to register for a favorite writer’s conference held at a massive complex, tucked into the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. What a blessing to learn from top professionals in Christian writing, share laughs and meals, crazy costumes on genre night and deep and moving praise time together. Not to mention that my mountain girl heart soars looking out on the majestic scallops of those blue mountains lining the horizons as I walk in the woods. I feel so close to God in outdoor cathedrals.  

But the reason I book super early is I always want the same room. Every year. You might wonder why I would request a room that overlooks a huge parking lot and the backside of a mountain.  But the reason is beyond the asphalt and the wooded hillside directly across from my window. What draws me to that room requires me to look up. Like the first step in worship.

High atop the hill that my window faces is a massive white cross that can be seen on the interstate from miles away. I look forward to doing my devotions every morning in a small chair pulled up to the window and focusing first on that enormous cross and what it represents.

No matter what I do throughout the conference, when I unlock that door and return to my room, I feel a sense of home at the foot of the cross.

But the first morning of the last conference I attended, when I prepared to do my devotions, I positioned the chair and opened the drapes only to stand in stunned silence, flooded with disappointment. Fog. Fog so dense I couldn’t even see the parking lot.

After I read my devotions, I turned to prayer, starting with praise.

In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

So, digging deep, I thanked God for the fog and whatever reason He had for it. Within minutes warm tears of gratitude slid down my cheeks. I felt His presence, loving me with a fog lesson, recognizing that even though I could not see the cross, I knew for certain that it was still there. In those times when it seems as though my prayers hit the ceiling or I pray but don’t feel Him near me, it is just like the fog, my limitation. My emotions and thoughts, seasons, years, cultures, government, even white crosses on a hill can change. But not God.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)  

My worry, doubt, fear, disconnection, or emotional numbness is only a temporary internal fog.

We walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7(KJV) 

I am so grateful that unlike a manmade sculpture our Father is indestructible, steadfast, unchanging, and waiting faithfully in the fog of my humanness with outstretched arms. Arms that reach as far as the east is to the west (Psalms 103:1 KJV), to welcome me back from my internal nearsightedness.

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

About the author: A licensed therapist, Deborah McCormick Maxey retired from her counseling practice in 2020 to joyfully invest her energy in writing Christian fiction, devotions, and her website that focuses on miracles.  Her debut novel, The Endling is available for preorder on Amazon, and will be released by Firefly Southern Fiction/Iron Stream Media, May11, 2021. https://deborahmaxey.com

Join the conversation: What Scriptures have encouraged your heart lately?

Learning to Face Change

by Kristine Brown @KristineBrown43

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

I dislike change. Plain and simple.

Some people are better at handling change than others. My husband, for example, thrives during change. He approaches new situations with a positive attitude and looks at every opportunity as a welcome challenge. I curl into a ball and hide under the covers.

Change can also cause me to panic. I obsess over my options in trying to make the right decision. Do I move forward? Or do I resist the change and stay put? I agonize, praying over the potential challenges, but fail to really trust God to handle the situation.

Fortunately, God’s Word offers the guidance we need when we face change in our lives. So whether I’m a person who runs head-on into change or tucks my tail and runs the other way, I can learn from Scripture how to better handle the changes that come my way.

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT

When entering a new situation, it’s so easy to look back at how good things were before. I’ve been guilty of this in the past when job transfers took our family to new places. Dwelling on the things we left behind clouded my view of what wonderful things waited for us in our new home. Learning to keep my eyes forward will shift my attitude about change and help me look with excitement toward what lies ahead. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” Change gives us the opportunity to experience all God has planned for us.

One of the hardest things about change is following through and allowing God to bring me to a new place of blessing. Once I make the decision to forge ahead, I need to trust God with whatever happens. So often we second-guess our decision when things don’t work out as we thought they would. We wonder if this change was ever God’s will. But staying firm through the change will bring us to a new level of trust in the One who is over all things. Change gives us the chance to exercise our trust muscles!

Even though changes in life are inevitable, God never changes. He is the same “yesterday, today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) He remains a constant through this unpredictable life. So as we learn to embrace the changes that will come, let’s focus on our God who is unchanging.

We may not like change, and that’s okay. We can face it with steadfast courage today because of our constant companion, Jesus Christ. And who knows? I just might choose to crawl out from under those covers once and for all and embrace it. Let’s make a choice right now to trust our Heavenly Father when we face change. I can’t wait to see what wonderful things He has in store for us!

TWEETABLE
Learning to Face Change – encouragement from @KristineBrown43 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

kristine brown

About the author: Kristine Brown is the author of the book, Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan. Discover more encouragement from Kristine to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at her website,  kristinebrown.net.

In her new book, Over It. Devotional for Teen Girls, Kristine uncovers the truth about comparison. Teens will discover that they are not alone in the struggle and will find contentment in their God-given identity. Through personal stories and easy-to -understand biblical thinking, Over It offers help and hope. Come along for the journey, beautiful girl. This book is for you.

Join the conversation: Have you recently struggled with a change? Please share your journey with us!

 

 

How to Experience God’s Kindness—When Life Stinks

by Debbie Wilson @DebbieWWilson

“If you think this is building my faith, you’re wrong,” I told God.

My husband and I had faithfully served a community of believers for over a decade when the leader’s controlling spirit began to express itself in unethical and dishonest behavior.  When he wouldn’t respond to reason, I prayed God would resolve the situation or allow us to slip away quietly.

We tried to leave without drawing attention to ourselves, but the leader created a brouhaha worse than anything I could have imagined. When I heard the lies he was spreading about us, hurt and anger choked me.

Why had God ignored my prayers? Why had He forsaken us?

What Do I Believe?

Do you trust God’s kindness?

Do you believe He is good to you? Today? In that situation you desperately need Him and He seems to have failed?

The Bible proclaims God’s kindness. It also tells stories of believers, like Naomi, who allowed circumstances to blind them to His tenderness.

Naomi believed God was kind—to other people. She told her daughters-in-law, “May the Lord show you kindness, as you have shown kindness to your dead husbands and to me” (Ruth 1:8 NIV).

But Naomi thought God’s kindness had run out—for her. Weren’t the graves of her husband and two sons proof?

“Call me Mara [bitter], because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me” (Ruth 1:20-21 NIV).

Has disappointment ever distorted your perception of God? In such times, we reason that we wouldn’t allow our loved ones to suffer if we had God’s power. Since God permitted our pain, we conclude He must be angry or not care about us.

Now I Believe

When Ruth came home from gleaning barley and reported how Boaz had been kind to her, Naomi’s perspective shifted. She exclaimed, “He [God] has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead” (Ruth 2:20 NIV).

By the end of the book of Ruth, Naomi’s circumstances and perspective have flipped. She’s caring for Ruth’s infant son who will carry on the name of Naomi’s husband and sons. The town’s women gently remind Naomi that she had not returned home empty after all. God and Ruth came with her (Ruth 4:15).

Like Naomi, I can’t see God’s kindness when I dictate how it must look. Joseph, on the other hand, trusted God’s kindness while he was in prison.

“The Lord was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden” (Gen. 39:21 NIV).

If Joseph had focused on his chains and his brothers’ betrayal, he would have overlooked God’s kindness and blamed God for not preventing the injustice. He would have demanded his immediate release. But Joseph recognized God’s compassion even before he saw God’s good purpose in his suffering.

The Lord poured out good will to both Naomi and Joseph in their losses. Naomi’s grief may have temporarily blinded her to God’s care, but it didn’t stop God’s goodness.

God used our painful experience to teach me that His nature doesn’t change with my circumstances. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8).

If you feel distant and distrustful of God:

  • Ask Him to open your eyes to the evidences of His kindness.
  • Thank Him for it now, by faith.
  • Look for His goodness every day.

Just as God used Naomi and Joseph’s losses to bring about greater good, He is at work in our stories for our good, too.

Your goodness and unfailing kindness shall be with me all of my life, and afterwards I will live with you forever in your home.” Psalm 23:6 TLB

TWEETABLE
How to Experience God’s Kindness—When Life Stinks – @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 ever struggled with trusting in God’s kindness? Are you now able to see Him at work for your good?