Kicking Out Worry

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27 NIV

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?

Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.

And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?

What if I lose my job?

What if I can’t pay this?

What if it’s not benign?

What if my worst fear is realized?

But you don’t have to live with worry anymore. At the root of our “what if” questions and greatest fears is what you and I really believe about God’s character. When our minds play through the various what ifs, the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

And that is not an attitude, question, or mindset I want dwelling in my home. And I don’t think you do either.

So, it’s time to kick it out the door.

God’s Word tells us: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 CSB).

As you and I give God all of our what ifs and worries He can calm our hearts and remind us that He is in absolute control. Then His peace comes to dwell with us, instead of those fearful thoughts.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to those around us: “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine,” modeling trust and faith before them.

Give God your concerns today and by doing so, you’ll be kicking worry out of your home and welcoming a new family member: trust.

Lord, my worry factor is directly related to how well I know You. When I truly know You and understand all that You are capable of, I can’t help but trust You. Grow my faith and my relationship with You so I can know You intimately.  There is no more room for worry in my life. Only trust.

TWEETABLE
Kicking Out Worry – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Every mom is concerned about her children and teenagers. But when does legitimate care cross the line into fear and worry, which Scripture commands us to avoid? 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom will start you on the path to worry-free parenting and a positive relationship between you and your kids.

Join the conversation: What characteristic about God is most helpful to you when you start to worry?

Four Steps to Being a Peacemaker

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.                 John 14:27 NASB

Have you ever been a part of a ministry or Bible study that, for whatever reason, went toxic? Though our inclination might be to walk away, God may be calling us to glorious assignment: that of speaking life, light, and health into darkness. I refer to this as mountaintop living.

Rather than allowing others to drag us into their dysfunction, we can help them rise to a Christ-inspired elevation.

Every believer is called to be a peacemaker, and this runs so much deeper than merely avoiding conflict. Biblical peace is God’s gift of wholeness as lives and hearts become aligned with truth.

Here are 4 steps to help you bring peace to dysfunctional situations.

  1. Center yourself in love.

Though we may convince ourselves otherwise, most often, conflict avoidance is rooted in self-love rather than love for others. We fear their negative reaction, retaliation, or rejection. But Jesus, who perfectly embodied love, routinely initiated tough conversations. He told the woman caught in adultery to stop sinning, the rich young ruler to sell all he possessed, and openly rebuked Peter for trying to persuade Him to avoid the cross. With each of these interactions, He was in essence saying, “I love you, and I’m willing to risk what you think of me to see you walk in truth.”

Remember, truth sets people free. May we, as God’s ambassadors, assume the role of liberators as well.

  1. Focus on growth not solutions.

When problems or disagreements arise, it’s easy to fixate on the difficulty, but Romans 8:28-29 tells us God uses all things, relational discord included, for our good and to transform us into the likeness of His Son. We need to align ourselves with God’s purposes, helping people toward maturity through healthy and Christ-centered interactions. When others grow frustrated, we can model patience grounded in our trust in God. When jealousy sparks harsh words or hurtful comments, we can lovingly direct the conversation to the cross. Modeling healthy conflict-resolution skills will benefit our churches for years to come, long after the current situation resolves.

  1. Ask Heart-probing Questions.

Most often, when individuals fight, the issue is more a symptom than the actual problem.  For example, when my husband and I were first married, I spent a lot of time nagging him about dirty socks left on the floor or food crumbs on the counter. When I finally evaluated my feelings, I realized it wasn’t the actual mess that vexed me: it took less than a minute to pick up the laundry or wipe the counter. What was really upsetting me was in feeling I was being taken for granted. Once I recognized that, we were better able to deal with the root of my emotions.

Proverbs 20:5 says, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out” (NIV). Lovingly and respectfully asking thoughtful questions can effectively uncover an underlying concern or fear. Honest questions also have a way of defusing anger or anxiety by assuring others they have a voice.

  1. Pray.

Through prayer, God may reveal that He already has a solution in place; He might call us to simply be still and wait on Him. Or, He may provide the perfect words for us to speak at the perfect time. Either way, He will guide us toward His very best for every situation.

No one enjoys conflict. But in every situation, we have an opportunity to demonstrate mountaintop living—to draw others into a place of wholeness. By bathing our efforts in love, focusing on truth, and seeking and following God’s guidance, we can be an instrument of peace to dark and dysfunctional scenarios.

TWEETABLE
Four Steps to Being a Peacemaker – thoughts from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer Slattery

About the author: Jennifer Slattery is a writer and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of Restoring Her Faith and numerous other titles and maintains a devotional blog at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team love to help women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

Hometown HealingShe’s home again, but not for long…
unless this cowboy recaptures her heart…

Returning home with a baby in tow, Paige Cordell’s determined her stay is only temporary. But to earn enough money to leave, she needs a job—and her only option is working at her first love’s dinner theater. With attraction once again unfurling between her and Jed Gilbertson, can the man who once broke her heart convince her to stay for good?

Join the conversation: Have you had an opportunity to be a peacemaker in a difficult situation? Please share!

No Need to Be a Hero

by Kolleen Lucariello

I was a bit nervous when I arrived at the doctor’s office to have a suspicious spot removed from my left shoulder. I am definitely not a fan of needles or scalpels. The doctor came in, took a look at the site, and asked me to lie down on the table. He began to outline the area he would be removing. When he finished, he said, “A little poke as I give you some Novocain.”

I don’t think he waited quite long enough for the Novocain to work, for I felt that first slice of the knife. I gasped and he said, “Oh, did you feel that?” I assured him I did.  He didn’t say anything, but just continued working. Within a few minutes, he was ready to stitch me up.

There was a painful sensation with every prick of the needle.

Me: Ouch.

Me: Ouch.

Me: Wince.

Me: I don’t think the Novocain went down far enough.

Doctor: Is this hurting you, or does it feel like pulling?

Me: It HURTS. It feels like a severe pinch…like a needle is going through my skin.

Doctor: Oh. No need to be a hero. Let’s put some more Novocain in there.

“No need to be a hero?” I wasn’t trying to be. In fact, I was actually feeling pretty weak after enduring the pain during the procedure.

But as I thought about his comment, I realized how often I struggle with the Lord over pain, too. I prefer a life with no discomfort—no pain for me, thanks. I’d like life to be comfortable and easy – but it never is.

A knife cuts deep with a scary doctor’s report, a middle-of-the-night phone call, a police officer’s arrival, or a rebellious teenager’s actions. We wince as angry words pierce our hearts, or as we receive a wound from those whom we least expect it. Our first reaction can be to run for something to numb the pain; whatever might make us feel better. I headed straight for the ice cream when I came home from my procedure – and ate it right from the container, too.

We can also react by trying to be a hero in the midst of our pain, building a wall around our hearts by refusing to allow anyone to help us through the worst of our days.

But wouldn’t it be great if we first ran straight to Jesus? After all, He can enable us to overcome those bad times. He promised to leave us with His peace: “Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge]” (John 14:27, AMP).

There’s no need to be a hero. We already have One; His name is Jesus. Only He can give the strength and peace we desperately need in times of trouble.

“I love you, O Lord, my strength.” The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.  Psalm 18: 1-3 NASB

Kolleen LucarielloAbout the authorKolleen Lucariello, #TheABCGirl, is the author of the devotional bookThe ABC’s of Who God Says I Am. Kolleen shares her struggle with identity authentically, bravely and yet, with compassion and humor as she seeks to help others change their identity – one letter at a time. Kolleen and her high school sweetheart, Pat, make their home in Central New York. She’s mother of three married children and Mimi to five beautiful grandkids. For more information about Kolleen, visit her at www.speakkolleen.com.

Join the conversation: What do you tend to do in reaction to a painful experience?

IMG_7617

Chasing Peace

by Kristine Brown

Chasing fireflies was one of my favorite things to do as a child. Only we didn’t call them fireflies here in the South. We called them lightning bugs. On warm summer evenings, my sister and I would see the sporadic flickers and run to the backyard, ready for the chase. Those crazy lightning bugs were elusive. Every once in a while I’d catch one, but mostly I just chased them around.

Peace is like that sometimes.

I know what peace is. I read verses about it. But for some reason, I can’t seem to find it. I’m always looking, hoping it will just pop up in front of me where I can grasp it with cupped hands. I may get a hold of peace for a moment, but then I let go. I start seeking again and again. In the meantime, worry and stress make their home in my heart.

I’m sorry to say I’ve continued in this pattern, my never-ending quest for peace. Until recently when I read a verse I’ve poured over many times before. This time, God spoke a sobering truth to my spirit. I realized peace is not something to look for. It’s not a hidden treasure to find, or a goal to attain. We already have it.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you,” (John 14:27a NIV).

When Jesus neared the end of His time on earth, He prepared his disciples. The words He shared with them weren’t just for the twelve, but for all believers. He left an incredible gift to us as well. Jesus gave us His peace.

The same peace Jesus had when he found out his friend Lazarus died.
The same peace Jesus had when the religious leaders accused him and tried to trap him.
The same peace Jesus had when the very people he set free yelled, “Crucify him!”
The same peace Jesus had when he hung on the cross.

I have that peace with me right now, guarding my heart, my mind, and my spirit. What an amazing gift! And if that peace could bring calm to the treacherous situations Jesus faced, imagine what it can do in my life right now.

When we walk through our darkest times, when we’re in the midst of our hardest struggles, we can hold onto this promise. The same peace that carried Jesus through the cross will carry us today.

Maybe you are a little like me, chasing peace around like an elusive firefly. Know this truth, my friend: we can stop chasing. We only need to acknowledge the gift that’s already with us, ready to guard our hearts and minds from the turmoil that drives us into an unending quest for relief. Let’s stop searching, take a deep breath, and rest in His peace.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

 kristine brownAbout the author: A communicator at heart, Kristine Brown teaches about God’s powerful, relatable Word. She is the author of Over It. Conquering Comparison to Live Out God’s Plan and founder of the non-profit organization, More Than Yourself, Inc. You’ll find Kristine’s weekly devotions and Bible study resources at kristinebrown.net. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Join the conversation: What disturbs your peace?

The Living Word

by Karen Porter

Someone asked me, “What are you reading right now?” I laughed because my answer consisted of the titles of five different books. I keep several books going at one time, strategically placing them in various places around my house. One in the bedroom to read before I fall asleep. One in the den so I can multitask while my husband watches a football game. One next to the back door so I can take it to the patio with my morning cup of coffee. I read literature, fiction, non-fiction, and classics. Many I treasure and often re-read. But no book, poetry, or story has affected me in the same way as reading the Bible.

No matter how many times I read a passage in the Bible, I find a new thought or new insight—and another new blessing when I read it again! I’ve heard this idea expressed from other believers too. They usually say something like, “the words jumped off the page.” I always chuckle when I think of the words leaping around. But it is a good way to express the surprise we feel when we see a new principle or application in familiar verses.

The author of Hebrews wrote about the power of Scripture when he said, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT) The Bible is a living book, wrapping itself around our current life situation and speaking the truth of God into our worries, anxieties, and fears. I believe the living nature of the Bible is one of the major reasons for us to believe that it is, in fact, the Word of God. While there may be interesting quotes and creative use of language in the classic works of Shakespeare and C.S. Lewis, nothing penetrates my soul and challenges me to life-change like the Word.

One of the reasons the Word speaks to us in a deeper way today than it did a year ago is because our needs are constantly changing. For example, in the weeks after my mother passed away, I needed God to speak words of comfort and peace. I read, I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT) As I read those words, His peace (His gift) washed over me. My beautiful mother was with Him and no longer ill or crippled. He sent peace in a fresh and tangible way as He promised He would in Psalm 94:19, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.” (NLT)

Because His Word is living the Holy Spirit uses the language to fill my empty places and confront the dark places in my heart.

Today, you and I may need to be challenged and inspired to take on a new task or stand strong in a tough situation. Perhaps you need to take control of your choices so you will be healthy. Perhaps you need to strengthen your emotions so you can forgive someone. His Word is the place to find what you need.

Warren Wiersbe once said, “The Gospel is simple enough for an illiterate pagan to understand, believe and be saved. But it is so profound that the most brilliant theologian cannot fathom its depths.”

Have you ready your powerful, living Word today?

“God blesses the one who reads the words of this prophecy to the church, and he blesses all who listen to its message and obey what it says, for the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 NLT

karen-porter-About the author: Karen Porter is an author, speaker, coach and successful businesswoman. She coaches aspiring writers and speakers and is co-owner of Bold Vision Books. Most days she pursues her life-long goal of finding the perfect purse.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Karen’s book,  Speak Like Jesus,  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: What words have “jumped off the page” for you lately?