Lord Of Our Dreams

by Sheri Schofield

My husband Tim and I had a dream: We wanted to become missionaries overseas. We had wanted it since I was four and he was seven years old. We both grew up watching old movies that showed missionaries in pith helmets moving across deserts and through jungles. It looked exciting!

Preparation for that work, however, took a very long time. I went to Bible school and college. Tim went to college, which was when we met and married. Then Tim tackled medical school—on a military scholarship, which meant he was required to serve three years after residency in the military. We were in our mid-thirties by the time we were ready to begin anything in missions. We chose Panama. Tim would apply for a post in the military hospital, and I planned work with the missionaries in Panama City, where we hoped to live.

One day, Tim came home with a surprise. He walked into the house carrying a big bag. Our two children and I crowded around to see what he had brought home. Tim pulled four pith helmets out, put one on each of our heads, and solemnly said, “We’re going to be missionaries now.”

Tim grinned while I dissolved into laughter in his arms. The children, who had never seen those old missionary movies, were totally bewildered by our laughter. Tim said, “We’re going to Panama.”

A little over a year into our work there, we faced great devastation and had to die to our dream. God had another plan. He sent us in a direction we would never have chosen: politics. He put us there to open a door to free others from injustice. Afterward, God brought us to Montana. He said, “I have prepared a place for you here. Be at peace. Stay.” Now we serve God in this unexpected destination.

Joseph had two dreams, visions from God that indicated Joseph would one day rule his family. But he was only seventeen at the time. God had to prepare him. How? Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery in Egypt. In the land of his captivity, he rose to prominence as a manager. But his owner’s wife lied about him and got Joseph thrown into prison. There in prison, God again blessed Joseph, and he was given authority to work among the other prisoners. God gave Joseph the ability to interpret dreams, but those whom Joseph served did not speak up for him when they were freed. 

If Joseph had taken his eyes off God, he would have become bitter. But he did not. He kept focused. He kept on trusting. Eventually, Pharaoh had a dream and needed an interpreter. He learned of Joseph and called him in for a consultation. Joseph told of impending famine and counseled storing grain in preparation for it. Pharaoh made Joseph second in command of all Egypt. When Joseph’s brothers went to Egypt for food, the vision God had given him years before was fulfilled. The brothers all bowed to him, for Joseph was the man in authority. (See Genesis 37- 47.)

Sometimes God plants a vision in our hearts, a dream that does not go away, a finger pointing in a direction we are to follow. He does not show us more than the first step, for we might grow weary at the long road ahead. Yet in the end, the dream God gives is amazing. We can trust God to accomplish his purposes … if we keep our eyes on him.

God is faithful. He has a plan. He is Lord of our dreams.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)


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

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: Has God ever given you something different than what you dreamed He would? How did that turn out for you?

What Hope Can We Have During This Pandemic?

by Lee Ann Mancini

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.    Psalm 27:14 NIV

Every morning when I open my eyes, I say, “Thank you, Lord, for this day! Let me serve and honor you.” Once I have finished praying, I like to start my day with a cup of coffee and the morning news. I don’t know about you, but the news is getting harder and harder for me to watch. I feel like we are moving through this pandemic at a snail’s pace. I want my old life back! I want to go out to dinner with my family and friends. I want to go to the movies with my husband. I want to go shopping! And I want to do all of this without a face mask. I’m sure you feel the same way. Plus, if you have grandkids, I’m sure you want to hold them in your arms again as soon as possible.

Although I long for my life to return to normal, I recognize that I am very blessed. There are many people in our country who have suffered much more than a simple disruption of their daily schedule. Many have lost their jobs, their income—or worse, their loved ones. Meanwhile, others have developed severe physical complications or mental illnesses, such as anxiety and panic disorders, that will last them a lifetime.

Given the horrible consequences of this pandemic, I suspect that most of us have wondered, “Can any good come out of this situation?” The answer is a resounding yes! Every day, we see new heroes rise up who have gone unrecognized for too long: doctors, nurses, teachers, truck drivers, grocery clerks, mail delivery drivers, and many more. They are brightly shining lights that are truly living out the Lord’s command, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV). During this pandemic, we should follow the example of these unsung heroes in our society. Perhaps we are called to step out of our comfort zones to help an elderly neighbor, to volunteer at a food bank, or to sew masks. Whatever the case may be, our new lives should reflect the love of the Lord for others, now and always.

Where can we find hope in difficult times? Surely, all of us recognize that we can find hope in God’s Word. But specifically, we can find hope in the stories of the heroes of the faith who waited patiently on the Lord to rescue them in times of distress. Think of David, who was persecuted by King Saul to the point of death for many years. Throughout this fearful time of testing and trial, David was determined to obey God and trust in His provision and protection. When given the opportunity to kill King Saul, David refused to take matters into his own hands. Instead, David waited patiently on the Lord, and God blessed David greatly for his faithfulness.

In another example, consider the story of Joseph. Joseph was betrayed by his brothers, thrown into a pit, sold into slavery in Egypt, and on top of all this, sent to prison under false accusations! Yet in spite of these terrible events, when given the opportunity, Joseph refused to take revenge against his brothers. Instead, Joseph forgave them! He trusted in the Lord’s providence and provision, and God rewarded Joseph for his faithfulness.

These are just two examples of how we can trust the Lord during difficult times. The Bible is filled with many such stories! We simply need to dig deep into the Word of God and trust that the Lord will take care of all our needs according to His perfect plan. We can endure the present negatives that surround us by focusing on the future positives that await us. Psalm 27:14 states, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).

Throughout this pandemic, I have had to remind myself to trust in God’s promise that He will take care of all my needs and desires. Some days are easier for me than others. But whatever the day brings, I will actively choose to trust the Lord and help others in any way I can. After all, I know that God loves me, and He will take care of me and reward me for my faithfulness. With this new perspective in mind, as I watch the news and drink my cup of coffee in the morning, I will not fear. God is in control!

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What Hope Can We Have During This Pandemic? – encouragement from Lee Ann Mancini on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lee Ann Bio PictureAbout the author:  Lee Ann Mancini is an adjunct professor at South Florida Bible College and Theological Seminary. She is the author of the Sea Kids books and executive producer of the Sea Kids animation series https://seakidstv.com that helps children to build a strong foundation in Jesus.

Join the conversation: What other Bible stories inspire you to trust in God?

 

 

Significance through Surrender

by Jennifer Slattery @JenSlattery

Sometimes our greatest assignments, the steps towards our calling, come during the most mundane activities. And I wonder if the converse might be true as well. Is it possible to miss an amazing, God orchestrated opportunity when we’re focused only on chasing after something we believe will be amazing?

I never wanted to be a writer or speaker. It wasn’t that I was opposed to doing that; I just never considered it. I thought I was going to be a teacher. So I started attending college. I also began serving in my local church, mostly where I saw a need.

When our daughter was young, we lived in Southern California and were active in our church. We covered childcare for the Friday service. I soon began writing curriculum, sometimes that never got used, other times used for a season. I also wrote dramas, parent newsletters, and short story snippets. Rarely did anyone beyond the person I served under know I’d written it. But God knew. And He was working in and through me to grow me and lead me to where I am today. In fact, God used those activities and experiences to awaken my love for writing.

I’ve experienced opposite scenarios as well. I sensed God nudging me to launch Wholly Loved Ministries for at least two years before I finally responded. I felt I was too busy with my writing and the activities I found most important. I never hit pause long enough to truly seek God’s will in how He wanted me to spend and prioritize my time. I was too busy moving ahead.

I became overly focused on my career and under-focused on my Savior, who wanted to be my power source, faithful guide, and stabilizer. As a result, my stress and anxiety levels grew, as did feelings of discouragement and disillusionment.

Eventually, out of mercy, God intervened and put a halt on my publishing career for a time. It was long enough for me to launch my ministry and for Him to purge and realign my heart.

Back then, it felt a bit like death, but in reality, God was restoring life to what had become diseased.

Jesus said “”Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much” (Luke 16:10, NIV). Those who are faithful in the little things will also be faithful in the big things. This means those who work behind the scenes, who show up every Sunday, who do what needs to be done regardless of who else knows or sees, will also be faithful in the big and glorious tasks. Perhaps that’s because their heart won’t be in the recognition, but in glorifying their Savior. For them in is about God’s agenda and glory—and not theirs.

We see this throughout Scripture. Moses, an orphaned baby turned Egyptian prince, turned fugitive, turned liberator, received God’s call while watching sheep (Exodus 3), a mundane and largely thankless job. God called the ancient prophet Elisha, while he was working in a field (1 Kings 19:19-21). God anointed Saul, Israel’s first king, to leadership, while he and a servant engaged in a three-day journey in search of a donkey (1 Samuel 9-10). Then there was Joseph, a braggart teen who received a God-sized dream but was “discovered” while faithfully serving as an imprisoned slave (Gen. 37-41).

I could go on. The Bible is filled with men and women who were called to amazing and history-changing assignments while performing mundane tasks.

May we all learn from their humble examples.

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 NASB

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Significance through Surrender – insight from @JenSlattery on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Jennifer SlatteryAbout 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 Hometown Healing 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 theyHometown Healing: A Fresh-Start Family Romance (Love Inspired) by [Slattery, Jennifer] 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 HERE to learn of her future appearances, projects, and releases.

Join the conversation: Can you share a time when God redirected you off of an obsession and onto Him? What was the result?

 

 

Why You Don’t Have to Forget to Forgive

by Debbie W. Wilson

My father remarried a year after my mother’s death. Before the wedding, my soon-to-be stepmother assured me she wanted us to be one happy family. After the honeymoon she changed her mind. She emptied our home and lives of any remembrance of Mama and tried to cut my sister and me out of Daddy’s life.

One night, I got the courage to reveal some of my loss to my roommate.

“You must not have really forgiven her,” my roommate gently said.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, it’s obvious this still hurts you. If you’d really forgiven her, you wouldn’t hurt anymore.”

I wanted nothing more than to be right with God and free from the pain. My roommate’s well-meaning words only confused me. Was she right? Had my decision to forgive failed? Did my pain spring from bitterness instead of loss?

Years spent counseling other women showed me I am not alone in experiencing lingering pain after betrayal. The Old Testament story of Joseph shows this is normal.

Joseph suffered slavery and imprisonment because of his jealous brothers. When given the power to mete out justice, he offered grace instead. Yet forgiving his brothers didn’t eliminate his pain. Many years after reconciling with them, he still wept when he remembered.

Notice his emotions in the following examples.

  • Fourteen years after being sold into slavery: When his sons were born he chose names for them that memorialized God’s grace to him in his suffering: Manasseh, for “God has made me forget all my trouble and all my father’s household.” Ephraim: for “God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering” (Genesis 41:51-52 NIV).
  • Twenty-one years after being sold into slavery: When he overheard his brothers discuss how they’d wronged him: “He turned away from them and began to weep” (Genesis 42:24 NIV).
  • Twenty-two years after being sold into slavery: When he saw Benjamin: “Deeply moved at the sight of his brother, Joseph hurried out and looked for a place to weep. He went into his private room and wept there” (Genesis 43:30 NIV).
  • When Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, “he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it” (Genesis 45:1-2 NIV).
  • He embraced them and wept over Benjamin and the rest of his brothers (see Genesis 45:14-15 NIV).
  • Joseph “threw his arms around his father and wept for a long time” (Genesis 46:29 NIV).
  • Thirty-nine years after being sold into slavery: His brothers ask for forgiveness: “When their message came to him, Joseph wept” (Genesis 50:17 NIV).

Joseph forgave his brothers. He overcame evil with good. He trusted God (Genesis 45:5-8 NIV). But the memory still hurt.

Joseph hurt because he’d been wronged—not because he’d done wrong.

Trauma, by definition, causes “great distress and disruption.”[1]Emotional pain doesn’t necessarily indicate lack of forgiveness. It may reveal great loss. Just as physical trauma takes more time to heal than a surface scratch, deep emotional wounds take longer to heal than simple slights.

We must always forgive. Forgiveness cleans our wounds and protects us from the complications of bitterness. It puts us in a place to heal. But healing takes time.

Has a painful memory released anger and malice? Clean the wound. Forgive again. By God’s grace, we forgive our enemies, and God heals us.

 “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”                                                                                                                          1 Peter 5:10 NIV

debbie wilsonAbout the author: Drawing from her personal walk with Christ, twenty-four years as a Christian counselor, and decades as a Bible teacher, Debbie W. Wilson speaks and writes to help others discover relevant faith. She is the author of Little Women, Big God and Give Yourself a Break. She and her husband, Larry, founded Lighthouse Ministries in 1991. Share her journey to refreshing faith at her blog.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Debbie’s book, Little Women Big God,  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: How have you dealt with a painful wound from your past?

[1] The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright © 2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.