Not My Nature

by Terri Gillespie

Blessed is the one who trusts in Adonai [the LORD], whose confidence is in Adonai. Jeremiah 17:7 TLV

There are those folks who are so confident in the LORD that no matter what happens, they know they will be alright. I have met a few of these souls and I’m both awed and convicted by their testimonies.

Why? Because I am not one of those blessed souls. At least, not by nature. When I’m caught off-guard by a trial or tribulation or testing, my nature is to fear. That default reaction of fear is caused from experiences in my past—scary things that happened to me and others.

If a problem arises, my nature is to seek ways to solve it myself rather than go to the LORD first. That first inclination stems from being so long accustomed to fending for myself.

When God asks me to do something, my nature is to either say that I can’t, or sadly, that I won’t. Or I attempt the request on my own without His guidance. That is my nature.

But that is not the truth of who I am as a child of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And it is not where I am confined to remain.

“Now what do you think? “A man had two sons, and he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go work in the vineyard today.’

The son answered, ‘I won’t,’ but afterward he had a change of heart and went.

The man went to the second son and said the same thing. But he answered, ‘I will, sir,’ And didn’t go.

Which of the two did the will of the father?”

“The first,” they [the ruling priests and elders] said.

Matthew 21:28-31 TLV

In this parable, Jesus recognizes our nature. Especially those of us with a past—sinful and broken. The first son’s response when asked to work in the vineyard, was, “No way.” But then later, he rethinks that default response and does what his father asks of him.

So, I have a choice. I can follow my nature, or I can stop, turn around and follow the truth. The truth that The Creator of the Universe, who went out of His way to make me His child by sacrificing His Son, loves me.

And when He asks me to trust Him that no matter what comes my way, I am still loved. That means, I must still act like His kid—not some wild person who follows their fears and emotions.

It’s a no brainer, right? Yet still I struggle.

That’s why I read and meditate and post passages of faith and truth that remind me each day, to be confident in this mighty, loving God who knows me. So that I can discern the difference between my nature’s lie and His truth. I know that even a mustard seed of faith and trust can move that mountain of fear or anger or anything that seeks to separate me from His love through Messiah Yeshua.

If my journey helps others, then I am doubly blessed.

Heavenly Father, May nature may say, “no,” but my nature lies. I chose to follow Your truth. Even if it takes me a while to get there. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

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

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, 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. 

Join the conversation: What’s your nature?

My Christmas Companion

by Janet Perez Eckles 

You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever. Psalm 16:11 NASB

“Christmas?” a friend asked, “Who feels like celebrating anything these days? There may not even be any Christmas this year.” You and I don’t have to share in this pessimism. We don’t, because hope shines bright when we consider this:

The bush that Moses encountered was just an ordinary bush until it burned without consuming it. The staff was just a staff until it turned into a snake. The rock was one of many, until Moses struck and water gushed out. The Red Sea was just a body of water until God parted it for His people to cross on dry land. David’s rocks were simple stones, until he used one to defeat Goliath. Mary was a humble peasant girl, until God touched her with a miracle.

See? That’s how it works. Our life might seem impossible, needy, and desperate for a miracle…until something happens. We encounter the wonder of God’s power. Our future might be a series of unknown tomorrows, until the horizon of His riches appears. Our dreams might seem elusive, until we believe God’s love conquers all.

And this is how His conquering power works: “The virgin will conceive and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel—which means, ‘God with us” (Matthew 1:23 NIV).

He worked it out. Through Jesus, He’s with us. That’s why all worry, fear and stress must go out the window because He’s with us. And because He is, we have His company through the darkness. Because He is with us, we know for tomorrow, victory awaits.

We know it will come. All we have to do is glance back and remember what He has done through the ages: an ordinary bush burned with a message, because God was there. A simple rock produced gushes of water, because God was there. A virgin gave birth, because God was there. A sea of water created a barrier, but it opened up because God was there.

Today is no different. He’ll put something in our path that may burn to get our attention, so we will listen. He will make living water flow to quench the thirsty soul. He will make the impossible possible. And He will give us the stones of courage to defeat the giants we face.

He did the same with Joshua, as he faced a giant too. It was called fear and insecurity. God knew. So, He spoke to Joshua’s fear: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9 NIV).

Wherever we go? Yes. That promise came alive for Joshua. And it’s alive for us, too. God ushered he and His people across the Jordan river to the other side, where the promised land waited for them.

As we cross our own river of pain, He will be with us too, ushering us to the other side where His richness awaits.

That’s why this Christmas, with open arms and grateful hearts, we can accept the gift of His constant presence. That gift is wrapped in His love, held with the ribbon of His faithfulness, and adorned with the seal of His promise.

Lord, this Christmas will be different for me because my joy will not come from circumstances, decorations, presents or gatherings. My genuine joy is found in You, and in the reassurance that no matter what surrounds me, you are with me. In Jesus name.

janet perez eckles

About the author: Janet Perez Eckles helps thousands to look beyond circumstances and overcome fear. She is a best-selling author and international speaker. Her writing and virtual  presentations help thousands turn their trials to successful, joy-filled lives. 

Janet’s book,  Hola, Happiness: Finding Joy by Dancing to the Melody of God’s Word is a brief Bible study to nudge you to the next level of triumph and joy. It is packed with deep reflections and answers from God’s Word. No matter what you face–disappointment, fear, heartache, shame, insecurity, sorrow–you will say “Hola” to happiness, peace, and the joy for which God created you.

Join the conversation: How does knowing that God is with you and for you (Romans 8:31) make a difference in your life?

This Little Light of Mine

by Nan Corbitt Allen

Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, NIV).

We couldn’t have found a better light show if we had been in New York City, on the mall in Washington D.C. or, on Main Street at Disney World.

On July 4th last year, we were with our sons and their families in a suburban Nashville subdivision. Just after dark we began feeling the percussive presence of fireworks, so we went out into the street to watch. The subdivisions in this area are back-to-back, side-to-side and end-to-end. In fact, it’s hard to tell where one neighborhood starts and the others begin.

That night, at the end of Independence Day, every neighborhood had its own fireworks show…and it seemed that each neighborhood was trying to outdo the next. For us, it meant standing in the middle of the street and witnessing a 360-degree display that lasted more than an hour. We got dizzy spinning to see them all.

But it also seemed that night that God was not to be outdone. In fact, He launched His own show in the midst of it with lightning streaking and thunder roaring. It was almost as though the Almighty was answering Man’s display–reminding us that He is Master of all light. It was amazing—truly the best fireworks display I’ve ever witnessed!

Finally, we got tired of looking up and decided to call it a night. Then I noticed hovering just above knee level the most awe-inspiring light show of the evening. A single tiny firefly was blinking and weaving around the mailbox. At first, I thought that he was confused and disoriented by his competition. Then I wondered if maybe he was trying to outshine the other displays. Or was he just “doing his thing” not caring if anyone noticed him or not?

I know how it feels to try and compete in a world of brilliant and talented “lights.” I too-often compare myself to others. Most of the time I pout about my inability to outshine them. Occasionally, I’ll gain the courage to put my light out there and see if I’ll measure up. But I know that what God has called me to do is to be like the firefly and shine as I have been equipped, regardless of the competition.

Jesus was teaching what is called the “Sermon on the Mount” to a group of people who may have felt the same about themselves— ordinary and forgettable. To these He said, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15 NIV).

We were created to reflect the glory of God. The light we shine is not a light of our making, but a reflection of His presence in us. One small light surrounded by darkness easily stands out. Many small lights together will light up the darkness around them.

Remember the song “This Little Light of Mine”? Its simple message still lights up my heart every time those feelings of insecurity creep in. Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m going to let it shine.

Everyone who is called by My name, and whom I have created for My glory, whom I have formed, even whom I have made.   Isaiah 43:7-8 NASB

TWEETABLE
This Little Light of Mine – 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: Have you ever felt insignificant compared to others?