Then Sulks My Soul

by Rhonda Rhea @RhondaRhea

I think my spirit gets a little pouty every now and then. It’s a spoiled rotten little spirit, mind you, and the things that inspire the pouting are most often quite trivial. Like having to get a new phone and not being able to keep the old number. Or like when you’ve been thinking about that last Ding Dong all day and then find somebody ate it and left the empty box.

I so hate to admit this, but I’m just climbing out of a ridiculous pouty-mope right now. The other day I sighed so hard I’m pretty sure my neighbors felt a breeze. Embarrassing.

To add to it, as usually happens when I’m brooding, suddenly I hated all my clothes. I’m not sure exactly why, but sulkiness always seems to bring out the worst in my closet. It’s not that I necessarily want new clothes even. It’s more that I become discontent with absolutely everything and I’m convinced I need a different body to put inside the clothes I already have. It doesn’t matter that I know I’m to blame, I still blame the closet. Goofy closet.

When I’m overwhelmed or blue or hormonal or discontent or just plain pouty, there’s one thing that can snap me back around like nothing else. It’s dwelling on the Lord. Not just passively thinking. No, really and truly meditating. Contemplating to the point of being overwhelmed and undone by the glorious God of all joy. It’s an altogether better “overwhelmed.”

“I greatly rejoice in the Lord, I exult in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness,” (Isaiah 61:10, HCSB). The New Living says, “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!” As I focus on Him and rejoice in His goodness, it’s amazing how those trivial, pout-inducing circumstances shrivel in significance.

It’s at the moment of praise, as I ponder amazing grace, that I remember—I remember all the way to my soul—that when He gave me the gift of salvation through the cross of Christ, He gave me absolutely everything my soul needs. Whatever I’m whining about looks small and petty. And even when I’m fretting over something that’s not small or petty, that something is still nowhere near as big as the grace of God.

It makes me smile to recognize that as I dwell on His goodness and the sulkiness fades into worship, the Lord totally takes care of the closet thing. The spiritual closet, anyway. The very reason for rejoicing is that “He has clothed me with the garments of salvation.” It’s impossible to whine about the “robe of righteousness.” It’s borrowed from Christ. And though this whiny woman doesn’t deserve it, it fits perfectly.

The sweet, old hymn expresses it well:

“And when I think that God, his Son not sparing,

Sent him to die, I scarce can take it in,

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.”

A soul can hardly sulk when it’s singing about the greatness of God.

            “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to thee:

            How great thou art! How great thou art!”

Reveling in our great God. It reboots a mope. It inspires a joy that goes all the way to the soul. And all the way to the closet.

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.                                                                                                                                       Isaiah 26:3 NIV

TWEETABLE
Then Sulks My Soul – insight on praising God from @RhondaRhea on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

rhonda rheaAbout the author: Rhonda Rhea is a TV personality for Christian Television Network and an award-winning humor columnist for great magazines such as HomeLifeLeading HeartsThe Pathway and many more. She is the author of 17 books, including the Fix-Her-Upper books, co-authored with Beth Duewel, and the hilarious novels, Turtles in the Road and Off-Script & Over-Caffeinated, both co-authored with her daughter, Kaley Rhea.

Rhonda and Kaley are also excited to be teaming up with Bridges TV host, Monica Schmelter, for the Messy to Meaningful series, with My Purse Runneth Over coming soon. Edie Melson and Rhonda have a new book as well, Unruffled—Thriving in Chaos.

Rhonda lives near St. Louis with her pastor/hubs and has five grown children. You can read more from Rhonda on her website or Facebook page.

Join the conversation: What do you do with the sulks?

Claim Your Promise

by Evelyn Taylor  @drevetaylor

So Joshua said to the Israelites: “How long will you wait before you begin to take possession of the land that the LORD, the God of your ancestors, has given you?”                                                                                                                                           Joshua 18:3 NIV

I tend to book early flights.

I like to get to my destination early in the day, so I can arrive and still have time to enjoy the sunlight of the day. This means I have to plan. Airports can be exhausting, and when I’m standing in a TSA line before sunrise, it helps to know I have a window seat waiting for me when I get on the plane.

Imagine my surprise when I recently boarded a plane only to find another passenger in my assigned seat! Now, on a midday flight, I don’t mind settling for an aisle seat. But the window seat is the best place for sleeping at that early hour. No worries about getting knocked by the beverage cart or slumping onto another passenger.

I’m not always the most assertive person, but in order to receive what was promised me, I had to inform my seatmate of his mistake. It meant a bit of shuffling and reorganizing as the middle seat was also occupied. I felt a little uncomfortable that I was causing my fellow passengers some inconvenience. But I couldn’t be timid. I needed to claim what had been promised.

Just before entering the Promised Land, Joshua told the Israelites that they should lay claim to what God had already given them. They were to take God at His word and step forward in trust. It would take action to receive their inheritance.

As with the Israelites, God has given us blessings that we have yet to claim. They are already ours, but we must step forward to receive them. Our obedience to God is the action necessary for him to release his promises to us. When we yield ourselves to his will, we are positioned to receive all that he has promised. As the Lord told Isaiah: “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Isaiah 1:19 ESV).

When we belong to him, we don’t have to live in fear and anxiety. He promises to keep our hearts and minds in perfect peace as we step forward to trust him. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3 NIV). In the stressful times in life, we can receive the peace of God.

As Moses spoke to the Children of Israel encouraging them, we can have faith trusting that God will always be with us as well. “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV).

The Apostle Paul wrote concerning the magnificent abilities of our God: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV) We can be assured that he is able to do more than we can imagine. We don’t have to settle for less, nor do we have to worry that our present reality is all that he has for us. There is no need to be afraid to ask for what is rightfully ours.

Focusing on the promises of his Word rather than on a surrounding disturbance will allow you to enjoy all God has promised. Ask in trust, confident in a God who keeps his promises. Faith is more than saying we believe. Faith actually believes.

TWEETABLE
Claim Your Promise – encouragement from @DrEveTaylor on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

evelyn johnson-taylorAbout the author: Evelyn Johnson-Taylor is a professor of theology, author, speaker, and coach. She shares her life experiences through mentoring and encouraging others to move forward in whatever God has called them to do.  Evelyn believes that nothing is wasted with God and that everything He allows us to walk through in life is to be used to help someone else. You can connect with her on TwitterInstagramLinkedin, and Facebook.

Evelyn shares her experience of caring for her husband for a decade in See Me Hear Me Know Me: From The Heart of a Caregiver, a book that she and her husband wrote together. God has given her a passion to enlighten caregivers on the importance of self-care and has graced her to share a message of hope and encouragement.

Join the conversation: What promise of God do you need to claim today?

Receiving Peace in the Night

by Judy R. Slegh

A while ago, an event precipitated a sleepless night for me. It involved a choice my son made to hang out with friends over the weekend. Because of past compromises proving his inability to say no, I became fearful of what might happen while he was away. As I wrestled with the reality of placing my loved one into the complete care of God, I asked Holy Spirit a simple question.

“Holy Spirit, am I awake due to my spirit being unsettled or due to my soul (mind, will, and emotions) being unsettled?”

Immediately I heard, “It is your soul.”

He chided me saying, “Your loved one isn’t having a sleepless night, why should you?”

I then repented for allowing my soul to rob me of my peace and my sleep. I deliberately handed the issues with which I had been struggling to God. He assured me He was taking care of the situation and I could sleep restfully now. Within minutes, I fell asleep and stayed asleep for the rest of the night.

In the morning, I searched Scripture to validate this conversation with God.

I came across Psalm 16:7-9 NIV which states,

“I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,

The prayerful interaction I had in the night was God counseling me! Remembering His watchful concern and care prodded me to stop worrying about possible catastrophic events. I had let my mind race out of control. He was urging my mind to not be shaken so I could rest.

Then I was reminded of a verse I learned long ago. Isaiah 26:3 (NIV) states: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Once again, this was a confirmation to my mind and gave me peace.

I also asked the clarifying question, “What should I have done if my spirit was unsettled?”

Quickly I heard, “It would be an unction to intercede as needed for your loved one. I will keep you up as long as is needed, and then perfect and peaceful sleep will come easily.”

At times, this has happened after I ask the question, “Is it my spirit or soul?” and heard that my spirit was unsettled. I obediently and groggily got up and contended in prayer for about an hour. Sometimes it is more. Sometimes is it less. Then I sense it is time for sleep. This has been a great revelation to align myself to His promptings in the night and get peaceful sleep when He tells me everything is fine.

Asking the right questions has brought incredible peace to me at night. Especially when my children were in their teen years. Now they are spread across the world. It has been a stretch for me to let them go in obedience to the call of God, but asking the right questions in the night has brought many restful nights.

Paul assures us to trust Him in prayer, even when we don’t know the details. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV

TWEETABLE
Receiving Peace in the Night – insight from Judy R. Slegh on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

judy sleghAbout the author: Judy R. Slegh is passionate in helping others get free of emotional baggage through healing prayer. She leads and mentors the growing team of prayer ministers and prayer intercessors at Nephros Ministries. Being a Minnesotan, she enjoys kayaking on lakes and rivers as well as bird watching with her husband Daryl.

In her first book, Help! I Have a Prodigal, Judy offers compassion and hope to those wearied by the turmoil of loving someone who has turned away from the faith and value systems of his or her upbringing. Experience compassion, hope, and healing through devotional readings, thoughtful questions, and prayers designed to help you identify and unpack your emotional baggage, freeing you to welcome your prodigal home.

Join the conversation: Has God ministered to you in the night?

Distractions and Pickpockets

by Linda Evans Shepherd

One sunny December day in New York, my friend Eva and I were in town to explore the city. I was ready for anything, especially with my huge, blue tote bag I’d stuffed with everything I might need; an umbrella, my coat, snacks, bottles of water, all piled high on top of my wallet.

I slung my bag over my shoulder and Eva and I caught the subway from our hotel so that we could walk down Canal Street to take in the sights. We browsed through the faux designer purses and fingered the bright wool scarves and smirked at the fake Rolexes on display. As we strolled, we were caught in a throng of tourists who flowed down the street like a slow moving river.

As I walked along gawking at the sights around me, a pretty, young woman appeared beside me. She turned to face me and with her arms opened wide, she side-skipped to my steps as if she was trying to block me from turning right and walking past her. What in the world is she doing? I wondered. I craned my neck for a better look and she seemed to disappear. Where’d she go?

Suddenly I snapped my head to the left, and there she was, her arm rammed deep into my tote bag as her fingers groped for my pocket book. I instinctively jerked my tote away from her and instantly she disappeared into the crowd.

It seemed I’d just encountered a New York City pickpocket. But what struck me about the experience was the pickpocket’s maneuver to distract me–to cause me to not only take my attention away from my tote, but to place my focus in the opposite direction so that she would be free to snatch my wallet, something I’d wanted to hang onto throughout my New York adventure.

As I thought about it, I could see that distraction is exactly how the enemy tries to steal from me in an effort to keep me from living my life with joy, peace and the presence of God.

Distractions can zing toward me like fiery arrows of worry, stress, offenses, and frustration as the enemy takes aim at my peace.

I may not be able to stop the fiery arrows, but if I focus on trusting God, then the enemy’s arrows will not stick but will bounce off of me.  Otherwise, the enemy’s arrows can wound my heart.

Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart more than anything else, because the source of your life flows from it.” To live distraction free means I must guard my heart, trusting God as I let go of offenses and open my soul to more of God’s peace.

When I do that, God’s peace will shield my heart so that the enemy cannot steal my joy or wound me with worry so God’s spirit will continually flow into my life.

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3 NKJV

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 33 books including When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Join the conversation: What distractions are stealing your peace?

 

 

Becoming a Warrior Instead of a Worrier

by Edie Melson

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isaiah 26:3 (ESV)

To be perfectly honest, I’m both a worrier and a warrior. I hate when the worrier in me raises its ugly head but ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. It’s only when I acknowledge the tendency, that I can fight it effectively. My hardest battles against worry come in the arena of parenting.

My sons are grown men—capable and wise—and yet I still find myself fearful about some of the things they choose to do. Several years ago two of them decided to spend an afternoon kayaking on a nearby river. They’re experienced outdoorsmen and have logged hundreds of hours doing that very thing. But for some reason that particular trip made me uneasy.

I found myself at a familiar crossroads with a choice to make.

My boys—like all sons—don’t appreciate the love behind my worries. And experience has taught me that nagging does absolutely nothing except make them more determined to do the thing I dread. I could either worry and nag, or I could go into what I’ve come to call warrior mode. This particular practice is how I refer to certain times of prayer. It’s more intense than just devotional praying. That day I chose warrior. I wished them well, warned them to make wise decisions, and retired to my room for some serious prayer intervention on their behalf.

As I talked out my fears and my feelings with God, a peace came over me. Worry dissolved and I went back to my regular routine. I slept like a baby, but the next morning I discovered why I’d felt such a need to pray.

When they’d put into the river, it had been a sunny day. The clouds were fluffy and the water calm. Several miles into this idyllic venture a sudden summer thunderstorm came up almost out of nowhere. Before they could put to shore, the lightning began and their world went black.

Three hours later they awoke, out of their boats—thankful for the life vests they wore—and covered in scrapes and burns. They’d been struck by lightning.

They made it back to their truck and limped home to their wives. They were shaken up, but fine.

Their experience reminded me that even though my children are grown, they still need me. I could have voiced my fears that day, but the outcome would have been the same. Instead I learned the value of a solid set of knee pads and the readiness to do battle for them in prayer. When I take my worries to God, I put them in the hands of the One who could keep them safe.

Edie-MelsonAbout the author: Find your voice, live your story…is the foundation of Edie Melson’s message, whether she’s addressing parents, military families, readers of fiction or writers. As an author, blogger, and speaker, she’s encouraged and challenged audiences across the country and around the world. Her latest book, While My Child is Away; Prayers for While Were Apart is available at local retailers and online. Connect with her further at www.EdieMelson.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Edie’s book, While My Child is Away,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: 1 Peter 5:7 says to “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” What fears have you given to the Lord? What are you still having trouble relinquishing?

Driven to a Place of Peace

by Linda Evans Shepherd

 Bad moods happen, and they happen to me especially when I find myself tired, frustrated or anxious.  But what if, as Philippians 2:5 states, we can, ““Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus. . .” (NASB)?

 Is it possible to trade a bad mood for God’s peace? 

Not long ago, I tested this idea when, after a long flight, I found myself squeezed inside a crowded shuttle heading for off-airport parking. Once safely in my seat, I took a deep breath, readying myself to dive into my bucket purse to retrieve my keys.

But as I searched the dark cavern, shoveling the contents this way and that, I discovered my keys were missing.

I felt a bead of sweat pop out on my forehead. I was forty miles from the house, and my husband was off riding his Harley with his Christian motorcycle friends. He wouldn’t be available to rescue me until late that night. I felt my eyebrows knit together. I was in a pickle.

I looked up from my search to see that for the first time in history, my car would be the very first shuttle stop in the parking lot. I shot off a quiet prayer. “What do I do, Lord?”

I felt the peace of his presence. “Trust me,” he seemed to whisper.

I told the driver, “My keys seem to be missing.”

He said, “I’ll call the office to see if anyone turned them in. What do they look like?”

My cheeks felt hot. “Uh, the keychain is a plastic square with a book cover on it.”

The woman next to me said, “You’re an author?”

I gave her a sheepish nod. “What’s the title?” the driver asked.

This time I laughed, “Well, it’s When You Don’t Know What to Pray.”

“Sounds like you’d better do a little praying now,” the woman suggested.

“I’m on it,” I said with a grin.

The driver dropped off the other passengers while I fumbled in my purse.  When I was the last passenger in the van, the driver drove back to my car. “Maybe you could see your keys through your window.”

Good idea, only they weren’t there.

I reboarded the van and kidded with the driver as he drove me to the office so I could do a purse dump and maybe try to call for a ride home.

With the entire contents of my purse piled high on an office table, I stared into the deep, black hole of my purse. My keys weren’t there and I shook my purse to prove it. Wait!  Was that a jingle I heard?

I carefully ran my hand against the interior walls of the purse until I discovered a huge whole in the lining of a zippered pocket. When I pushed my fingers through the hole, I touched my keys!

I happily boarded the van again and the driver took me back to my car. He said. “You’re not like most who lose their keys around here.”

“What do you mean?”

“You were laughing and cracking jokes, but my last lady was crying hard.

“Oh no!”

“Then there was the passenger who lost his Lexus.  Just before he called the cops, he decided to call home. That’s when his wife reminded him he’d driven the station wagon.”

So why hadn’t I lost my cool?

It was because I’d called out to God and felt his presence. In that moment he’d asked me to trust him. That gave me permission to relax despite my difficulty.

Try it.  Relax in God and enjoy the journey.

“You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because He trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 33 books including When You Don’t Know What to Pray and Winning Your Daily Spiritual Battles.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries, and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Linda’s book, The God You Need to Know -Discover his StoryExperience His Love please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Can you think of a time when trusting God made a difference in your attitude?

Fix Your Thoughts

by Twila Belk

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8–9 NLT

Be still. That’s easier said than done, isn’t it? Sometimes I wish I could flip on a little “be still” switch to pacify myself, especially when I have days like today. Right now I’m struggling to gain control of my churning insides.

I’m currently dealing with several major life stressors—undergoing treatment for an aggressive breast cancer, caregiving for my husband who has a rare and progressive muscle disease, carrying a huge burden of financial responsibilities, handling concerns about my youngest son’s circumstances, and facing a looming book deadline. Add to that, in the last couple of days, both vehicles stopped working, my faithful recliner broke, and wasps are entering the house through the bathroom vent.

Then this morning, after putting in many hours on a special project for a person I greatly respect, I received a harsh email rather than a thank-you for my hard work. Reading that email, while being physically and mentally exhausted, pushed me into a not-so-good place. I turned into an emotional mess. Although the person apologized a few hours after sending it, my memory naturally wants to replay the narrative again and again, which agitates my spirit more and more.

And here I am with the task of telling people how to be still. Seriously?

I’ve learned over the years that God likes to give me plenty of opportunities to become well-versed in my topic. And this is one of those times. So after much consideration, I decided I need to change topics. I want to be well-versed in something else! (Perhaps I’ll change it to “How to be happy with a million dollars while living in the Caribbean and looking great in a bikini.”)

For now, I’m reverting to self-talk mode. “Breathe in. Breathe out. Calm down, Twila. It’s time to remind yourself of the sermons you so readily give to others.” In other words, I’m giving myself a pep talk to practice what I preach.

And one of the important truths I like to remind people of is this: whatever we focus on becomes magnified.

If I keep my attention on my problems and heartaches (or hurtful words), they become overwhelming to me and tend to control my life. But if I fix my thoughts on God, he becomes magnified in my heart and mind, and I’m reminded of who he is and what he’s able to do. My attitude changes, and my unsettled spirit quiets down. It takes resolve, but it’s so worthwhile.

Philippians 4:8–9 encourages us to think about whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. If we put that kind of thinking into practice, peace will be ours.

Lord, when the pressures of life become too much for me, and my circumstances are the foremost thing on my mind, I become stressed and overwhelmed. Would you help me to fix my thoughts on you? I want you to be magnified, not the stuff I’m going through. You are excellent and worthy of praise. You are able to calm my agitated spirit. You are the giver of peace. Thank you for being with me.

(This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.)

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT). What have your thoughts been fixed on lately? What current issues are keeping you from being still?