Out of Nowhere

by Christina Rose

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory  of the Lord has risen upon you.”                                                                                                                                            Isaiah 60:1 ESV

\Years ago, I made a checklist of plans for my life. I decided that I would marry a handsome prince, and that we would have four perfect children. We would live in a beautiful mansion by the sea and be very rich, among other things.

While life turned out much differently than what I had planned, I came to know that God had a better plan for me, and I had to trust Him. Years later, as I was thinking about my old checklist, I heard a still small voice whisper in my ear, “Did you check with me when you made that checklist?”  I had to laugh.

While I did get married and have a nice home and two wonderful daughters, they eventually grew up. It was time for a new chapter. This time, however, I did not construct a checklist, but instead spent hours talking to God on the mountain, in the chapel, in the pool, in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. In that process, I learned to hear His voice. I got visions of writing and speaking, but at the time, that was not happening. One day my fortune cookie read, “You have a charming way with words, and you should write a book.” I had to laugh again, but within a few months, my first book was written, and I continue to write more.

A few years ago, I was called to sell everything, quit my job, leave my home in California, and travel across the country. Not long ago, while walking along Sarasota Bay, it seemed that all of those tests had been leading me nowhere. I looked to the sky and asked God for some clues.

The day was so still, the water was like glass, but then suddenly out of nowhere, a huge flying fish shot out of the water like a rocket into the sky. Its scales shone like silver and gold in the sun for a moment, before it plunged back into the water. Then several more flying fish burst through the air, sparkling just as brightly, before they dove back into the water.

Flying fish out of nowhere? And then I considered that nowhere is somewhere to God. Those fish had once been tiny; it took a very long time of swimming in the cold, dark depths against strong currents to gain the strength to shoot into the sky, surprising everyone around them. God loves to make things happen out of nowhere. Jesus came out of nowhere to walk across the sea, the burning bush came out of nowhere to talk to Moses, and God created the world out of nowhere.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”  (Genesis 1:1-2  ESV). 

Those unexpected flying fish gave me hope. Many times, I have felt like them, swimming against the currents for a very long time and gaining strength in a hidden place. But while many of us may feel we are on a journey to nowhere, nowhere is somewhere to God. He has a plan. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”  (Isaiah 43:19  ESV).

So join me, my fellow flying fish, as we burst out of the depths of darkness (after swimming a long time) to sparkle with gold and silver in the sunlight, proclaiming God’s magnificent glory to all of  the earth!

TWEETABLE
Out of Nowhere – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout 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. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, 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 and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How does knowing God has a plan for your future help you in the here and now?

Warming My Soul

by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer

Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.  Isaiah 60:1 NKJV

Winter in Texas is as dependable as a monkey on Mountain Dew. Thirty today, eighty tomorrow. Or worse, eighty in the morning and thirty by lunch. People in Texas do not plan out the weeks’ worth of outfits on Sunday night. Last week we had a string of days where the temperatures never got out of the upper twenties with precipitation and freezing rain. Miserably cold. In Texas these are the conditions that inspire panic, food hoarding, the updating of wills, and gas shortages.

But as quickly as it came, the cold left, and the sun shone through. Having spent several days writing in the climate-controlled comfort of my office, I was ready for some sunshine. I grabbed a light jacket and headed out to catch what sunlight I could. When I stepped from the trees surrounding our house into the open, the warmth of the winter sun wrapped around me like the embrace of a beloved friend.

I turned my face to the sun and let the rays soak into my skin. This was not the heat of the intense summer sun that hits like a furnace blast. No, the winter sun reached through the chilly air and settled against my skin like butter melting onto a piece of warm bread. Delicious. Slow. Soaking.

I am keenly aware of the warmth steadily reaching deeper into my body, feeding my soul. I feel as if I’m being filled with a golden glow.  The warmth makes me smile. The tension in my body releases, my arms open, hanging loose and ready to receive. I feel the radiance of the Lord washing over me.

Then I hear a commotion behind me—the dog and cat were having a disagreement about which one was more important, I think. It distracts me and I turn to look, my back now to the sun.  The warmth disappears in an instant, much faster than it came. I wrap my arms around my middle, holding myself tightly, trying to preserve the warmth and protect myself from the chill.

Then it hits me.

This is exactly what I do with God. I turn my face to Him and feel His love radiating through me. I relax my anxious worrying. I stand open to receive whatever He has for me. I glow.

Then something captures my attention. Distracted, I turn my face from Him. Perhaps it is an unexpected event—a diagnosis or job change. Or it could be a series of small things turning me slowly by degrees. An overcommitted schedule. A wounded heart I refuse to address. A television show I won’t stop watching or friends that pull me toward things that aren’t God’s best for me. Soon my arms no longer hang open to receive from God. I hug them tightly against me for protection. My body becomes tense, uncomfortable and aching.

I have two choices. I can grow accustomed to the cold and learn to live with the ache until I accept it as normal.

Or I can turn back to the Son.

Oh the unmistakable beauty found in the everyday rising of the sun!  Is it possible that God has established this as a picture for us? The writer of Lamentations thought so. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every monring; Great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB). The Son is always there. We have only to turn to Him and be warmed.

Turn your face to Him today and feel the warmth of His love.

TWEETABLE
Turn your face to God and feel the warming of your soul – hope from @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori AltebaumerAbout the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.

Join the conversation: What tends to distract you from soaking in God’s love?