Dealing with Horrific Circumstances

by Robin Gilbert Luftig @robinluftig

“…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.”                                                        Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB

I stood in horror as the doctor’s words sunk in: your son has a broken neck. Hours earlier he had attempted a backflip—as he had accomplished hundreds of times before—but this time he didn’t make it over. He landed on his head and neck. There in the hospital my son tried to reach for my hand, but all he could do was offer a palsy-like movement.

Finally settled in his hospital room, I watched as the medication slowly took over and guided him to sleep. He lay there, neck braced and tubes of medication and monitors surrounding him. I pulled up a chair, leaned my forehead against the side of his mattress and readied my heart to pray. I knew I had an open channel to the Creator of the Universe and could speak to him about anything. This prayer needed to reach past all the clouds and stars. It needed to grab God’s attention. Yet all I could say was, “Oh God … Oh God … Oh God … Oh God ….”

Have you ever had a moment that shook you emotionally to the point where you had no words to speak, only utterances? Sometimes that’s all we have to offer.

And sometimes that’s enough. Comfort can be found in terrible situations, but it takes determination on your part. Moses told the Israelites, “…you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul” (Deuteronomy 4:29 NASB, emphasis added).

 So when all you have is Oh God … Oh God … Oh God, know the Holy Spirit is working on your behalf, interceding for you. After I prayed that day in the hospital room, 1 Peter came to mind.

“… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials, These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even through refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:5-7 (NIV).

The Apostle Peter wrote these words to the first century Christians who were experiencing persecution. He knew they needed encouragement to look beyond their circumstances. Those sentiments continue through today. When those words came to my mind there in the hospital while I waited for the doctor’s prognosis, they brought peace to my heart. I knew no matter the outcome, God was still in control.

Dealing with the emotions surrounding trauma may take longer than you anticipated. Peace seldom relieves a dark situation with a one-and-done prayer. Continue reaching out and listening. That doesn’t mean to return to the Oh God … Oh God … Oh God-type of conversation with God, but it does mean to remember Who is with you, cares for you, and is always in control.

Oh, and my son? His neck healed and he’s an avid volleyball player in Chicago these days.

There are times when we cannot change circumstances, we can only experience them. But we don’t have to experience them alone. Allow God to bring peace in all your storms.

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Dealing with Horrific Circumstances – encouragement from @RobinLuftig on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

SONY DSCAbout the Author: Be grateful in everything—even the bumpy rides, is Robin Luftig’s mantra in either writing for
non-fiction readers or speaking to audiences on the healing after tragedy. She’s an award-nominated columnist for great magazines such as Leading Hearts, CBN.com, and many more. She is the author of two books, Learning to Bloom Again and the just released God’s Best During Your WorstImage result for robin luftig God's Best(Bold Vision Books) in March. Her first novel, Ladies of the Fire launches the end of 2020. Robin enjoys speaking all over the country and would love to be your next keynote presenter or workshop leader for your conference, retreat, or women’s event.

Join the Conversation: Have you been able to be at peace in a terrible time in your life? Please share!

My Tarnished World of Wonder

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

 When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind. 1 Corinthians 13:11  (VOICE)

When I was five years old, I had a front yard filled with wonderful secrets, like the enchanted oak tree. I discovered what looked like a tiny doorknob made of an old staple in the base of the tree. I spent hours imagining the tiny fairies using that doorknob in the deep of the night, so they could come out and dance on my lawn. Then there were the glorious azalea bushes that would burst forth in lush pink pedals just in time to celebrate the risen Savior and serve as the backdrop for my mother’s annual Easter photos. My front yard served as the setting of epic games of hide and seek, adventures of the walkie-talkie spies, and our amazing cowboy shootouts.

My old pit-pull dog ruled the yard, serving guard over us kids, and sometimes even killing the venomous copperheads that hid beneath the house. I marveled at the great oaks that stood like sentries after surviving many hurricanes in time. I’d often wondered if their old knotholes were scars left behind from the flying bullets of a Civil War battle waged a hundred years before I was born.

Not long ago, my husband and I drove through our Texas hometown and decided to drive past the old place that loomed so large in my memories. When we pulled up to the old house, we were amazed at how much remained the same. There, still intact, were the hurricane sentries, the old azalea bushes, and the front porch that the neighbor kids transformed into a stage for our talent ‘shows’.

However, the yard didn’t look as I remembered it. It looked small, shabby, and not at all like the place of wonder that I remembered.

My husband and I were taken aback. This was the cherished place of all of my dear, most precious memories?

Time has a way of tarnishing and shrinking the old places we idolized as children. My perspective had changed from that of a tiny child to the viewpoint of an adult.

Time may have a way of giving us new perspectives, but so does maturity in the Lord. For when we look at life’s disappointments, difficulties, and trials, our eyes may want to focus on the ugly pain and bitterness. But when we look at these same circumstances through the eyes of God’s love and grace, we will begin to notice His life-changing potential and miracles everywhere.

Paul wrote about a mature perspective in his letter to the Corinthians. “When I was a child, I spoke, thought, and reasoned in childlike ways as we all do. But when I became a man, I left my childish ways behind” (1 Corinthians 13:11 VOICE). Knowing Jesus and the love of God gives us a whole new viewpoint on both our earthly home and gives us hope for our future in heaven.

May we continue to look at our world through the eyes of God’s love and discover His wonder on every face, difficulty and relationship.

Put the childish behaviors and attitudes away and grow into the wonder of God’s loving perspective of your life and world, and you will find awe in the beauty of his amazing care.

TWEETABLE
My Tarnished World of Wonder – @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda evans shepherd

About the author: Linda Shepherd Evans is the president of Right to the Heart Ministries and the CEO of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), which ministers to Christian women authors and speakers. She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily. Linda is an award-winning author who has written numerous books. Her prayer books have sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies. She is an internationally recognized speaker.

Linda’s latest release, When You Need to Move a Mountain: Keys to Praying with Power, is a practical and encouraging book that explains what intercessory prayer is, how to pray as an intercessor, and how to experience victory. You’ll quickly find the specific help you need to pray for the needs close to your heart. You’ll also learn how to develop your own intercessory prayer battle strategy and to celebrate each victory with thanksgiving.

Join the conversation: When have you been able to adjust your perspective?

My  Off-Key Christmas Gift

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

When I was four years old, I was picked to sing my first and only church solo.

I so loved it when the pretty ladies would sing in front of the church, and I was surprised that anyone thought a little girl like me should stand in the place of such wonderful singers.

My children’s choir director told me that I was to croon ‘I, Said the Donkey,’ a song about the lowly donkey who carried a very pregnant Mary to the Bethlehem stable, just in time for the birth of Jesus. I liked the story and was impressed that such a shaggy, ordinary beast could be chosen for such an important mission.  In my little heart, I secretly hoped that my song would also be important to God.

That Christmas Eve afternoon, I’d practiced the song with my mom. I sang it beautifully, with all the warbling perfection of the neighborhood opera singer who taught private music lessons every afternoon.  From my yard, I would sing the scales and mimic her students trilling, at least until my mom would warn, “Stop, she’ll hear you!”

But that Christmas Eve night, as I stood in front of the overflowing crowd filling our large downtown church, I felt surprised to see how many people were actually looking at me, a tiny, skinny girl with bobbed hair.

I took a breath, started the song, and completely forgetting to warble my voice, I launched into a speedy rendition of what I had practiced.

It was over in a flash, and though my mother feigned encouragement, her eyes told me I hadn’t done my best.  I felt bad.  I had wanted to do something nice for God, something He would like. But had the lisping words of a usually unnoticed girl singing such a pint-size, off-key song, make any kind of difference to God?

The Word says in 1 Corinthians 15:58, “My dear brothers and sisters, stay firmly planted—be unshakable—do many good works in the name of God, and know that all your labor is not for nothing when it is for God” (VOICE).

Our works, no matter how ordinary or off-key, mean something when they are done for God. He loves to see us, his children, honor and serve Him as we sing our songs, care for our loved ones, and love our neighbors.

Today, as you pass out your Christmas gifts to your loved ones, and maybe even open a few yourself, think of the ways you can gift God. too. Maybe through keeping the peace at the holiday table? Or sharing and act of kindness or an encouraging word? With every tiny act of service, do it in love and gift it to God, and that will make all the difference.

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My  Off-Key Christmas Gift – encouragement from @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda evans shepherd

Merry Christmas everyone, from the Arise Daily team and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Love,

Linda Evans Shepherd, Arise Daily Publisher and CEO of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association

The Greeting that Changed the World

by Linda Evans Shepherd  @LindaShepherd

Imagine the night the first Christmas greeting rang through the skies outside the quiet town of Bethlehem.  There, in a pasture, a few hills away from town, stood sleepy shepherds who were watching over their flocks beneath the twinkling stars.

They had no ambitions of seeing the glory of God until their grazing sheep began to glow as glory filled the skies.  The shepherd’s shielded their eyes to gaze upon a shining figure who seemed to float above them.

This angel announced a heavenly greeting meant for every man, woman, and child:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11-12 NIV).

The shepherds trembled and the glory before them expanded until the entire sky was filled with God’s heavenly choir.

The angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14 NIV).

The shepherds had never heard such voices, and they were amazed.

When the sky went dark, the shepherds ran into town, shouting the good news.  The people woke up and marveled at such an announcement. But I imagine one family took a special interest. An unwed mother, still a virgin, and her fiancé, heard the shepherds’ shouts and understood their meaning.

For Mary, this Christmas greeting lay in her arms, as she placed the newborn son of God in a manger. She understood why the shepherds came to see the one of whom the angels sang.

What a moment.  The birth of the light of the world celebrated in the heavens, announced to lowly shepherds, and placed in a feeding trough. Such a visitation of God’s grace came to us so that God could give us the perfect Christmas gift.

Because of this night, if we allow, Jesus’s righteousness will cover our sins so we can not only walk with God, but so that His very spirit can rest upon us.

So let’s continue to share the Christmas greeting of the angels, not only with our loved ones, but with the world.

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”   Isaiah 52:7 NASB

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The Greeting that Changed the World – encouragement from @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda evans shepherd

About the author: Linda Shepherd Evans is the president of Right to the Heart Ministries and the CEO of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA), which ministers to Christian women authors and speakers. She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily. Linda is an award-winning author who has written numerous books. Her prayer books have sold over a quarter-of-a-million copies. She is an internationally recognized speaker.

Linda’s latest release, When You Need to Move a Mountain: Keys to Praying with Power, is a practical and encouraging book that explains what intercessory prayer is, how to pray as an intercessor, and how to experience victory. You’ll quickly find the specific help you need to pray for the needs close to your heart. You’ll also learn how to develop your own intercessory prayer battle strategy and to celebrate each victory with thanksgiving.

Join the conversation: Have you had the opportunity to share the meaning of Christmas during the holiday season?

Withstanding a Midnight Invasion

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

It’s late at night, I’m tucked into a backyard cabana, a cute one room house in the back yard of a Hollywood home.  I’m working on homework for a writing class as the clock ticks past midnight, when suddenly something, or someone lands on my roof.  THUD!  More bodies follow.  THUNK, THUD, SCRAMBLE! Is it an invasion from the tent city at the bottom of the hill?

Then the chattering starts.  What is that?

Thought then occurs to me: could it be raccoons? I’m in front of my computer, so I quickly go to YouTube and type, “What does a raccoon sound like?”

A video pops up of a man with a broom; he’s swatting a milk cartoon with a hidden raccoon inside.  The creature peeks out and hisses!  Oh my! Raccoons hiss? The man swats the carton again and the raccoon darts out, then turns around and growls. Raccoons growl? The raccoon starts to walk away, then pivots with angry roar.  Wait…raccoons roar?

The roaring raccoon rushes toward the man…and attacks. Yes, it attacked!  I’m guessing Mrs. Raccoon was trying to protect her babies still inside the carton.  Oh my!

I decide to watch another video to find out what other noises raccoons make besides hissing and growling.  I need to know, because the chattering crowd on my roof is growing.

Sure enough, I find a video of a raccoon chattering just like the ones on my roof.  I turn the sound up to be sure.  Yes, those are raccoons above me.

That’s when I realize:  the raccoons have stopped chattering to scramble down the wall to stand outside my door. It seems they’d heard my YouTube raccoon, and they want to come to my raccoon party.

Now I’m thinking about the attack raccoon. Oh dear. Could the raccoons get in? The answer is yes. My windows are open and I can only close them if I go outside. And I’m not going outside, believe me.

I go back to YouTube. Well, if I attracted raccoons with the chattering raccoon video, what might repel them?  First I try a whining cougar.  It seems to only pique their interest. Hmmm.  What about a laughing hyena? Nope, they like that one, too.

Hey, what about dogs?  Raccoons in this neighborhood would know about yipping dogs.  I hit play.

As the sound of yipping dogs fill the air, the raccoons stop chattering. I turn up the volume and can hear the raccoons racing away. Yay!  The barking dogs worked!

Then it hits me. When we are suddenly surrounded by trouble, there is a sound that we can make that will push the enemy away, too. It’s the sound of prayer. It’s the sound of calling upon the name of Jesus, the name above all names. The name of Jesus is a name that no one, no thing, no creature, no demon from hell, can stand against.

Counterfeits are worthless. Only Jesus can set us free, save us, put us into a relationship with God, and push back any gathering darkness. It is the only effective weapon when we are under attack.

The good news: Jesus has given us permission to call upon his name, and when we do, the enemy will flee.  Philippians 2:10-11 says,

“…At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (NKJV)

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Withstanding a Midnight Invasion – thoughts on the power of #prayer from @LindaShepherd (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s also the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda Evans Shepherd has just released her book, When You Need to Move a Mountain: Keys to Praying with Power. There’s prayer–and then there’s intercessory prayer. What’s the difference? And when we feel called to intercessory prayer, how do we do it? What response should we expect from God? If you’re someone that feels a deep need to pray for others, to bring your burdens and troubles to God, and see God’s clear answers to your prayers, this book is for you.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had to call upon the name of Jesus? Did God come through for you?

 

 

 

Are you Testing God or Thanking Him?

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

Some years ago, my new acquaintance, ‘Melissa,’ and I met for the first time at the hotel registration desk, because we were to be roomies at a conference that weekend.

A few minutes later, as we pulled our luggage into our hotel room, Melissa realized her purse was missing. She quickly called the front desk.

“No ma’am, we do not have a purse here,” the gentleman told her.

Tears filled Melissa’s eyes and she turned to me. “What will I do without my wallet?  How will I get back through security at the airport?”

“It’s time to pray,” I said as I bowed my head. “Help Melissa find her purse!” I cried to the Lord. “In fact, we thank you in advance.”

Melissa snapped, “I don’t approve of that.”

I looked up, alarmed. “Approve of what?”

“Thanking God before he answers. I won’t do that.”

“Well,” I said. “I love to thank God in advance, to show I’m trusting him…”

“No! You are being presumptuous.”

A knocked sounded at the door and Melissa swung it open as she continued to reprimand me. “I will have no part in a prayer like that.”

The bellhop held up her purse. “Does this belong to you?”

Melissa turned and stared, dumbfounded. “Yes, where did you find it?”

“It slid into one of the potted plants next to the front desk.”

Melissa quickly pulled out her wallet to find nothing was missing.

I quietly thanked the good Lord, for answering my prayer even as I prayed it. I understand not everyone jumps onto the same prayer bandwagon as me, ‘the prayer lady,’ but let’s consider: is it wrong to thank God before he answers?

Look no further than Philippians 4: 6-7, which says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

I believe this is important, because our prayers should not be a way we test God. Our prayers should be an expression of trusting God. For this much I know, even if God had not answered my prayer for Melissa, he would have helped Melissa make it through her travels without her purse. So my thanks is an expression of trust, no matter how God answers.

My prayer was not a test to see how much God loved Melissa. His love for Melissa is a given. Neither was I testing God to see if he would obey me. No way. My prayer was simply a request to the one I love, the one who loved me first.

What request do you need to ask God today? Thank him, even before he answers. For after all, he hears you, he loves you, and he is moving in answer to your prayers even before you pray.

Thank you God! And thank you Melissa. I’m glad God answered my prayer, and I’m glad you found your purse.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15 NASB

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Are you Testing God or Thanking Him? – Insight from @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  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.

The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.

Join the conversation: How has God come through for you with an answer to prayer?

Living the Story

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

As I stared at a photo of a group of people I’d never met before, I knew their every name, I knew their personality traits, I knew their stories, and I even knew their secrets.

I was looking at a photo of the cast of actors set to play a stage play called “The Potluck Club,” a play based on a novel I co-wrote several years ago.

But even better, I soon got to meet this cast when I flew in for their opening night.

It was fun to see my ‘old friends’ in ‘real life’ so to speak.  The cast was excited to meet me and Eva, my co-writer.  The actors had a lot of questions, like, “How did you think of the character I’m playing?”

As Eva and I shared our character’s creation stories with the cast, they took it all in.  A couple of hours later, Eva and I set in the audience as the old, familiar dialogues and scenes we once wrote in our novel, became human with faces and voices.  It was an amazing experience to watch this drama unfold before our eyes.

And I couldn’t help but think of how God, watches over us as our lives unfold before him.

Novelists kid that the reason to write a novel is because it’s the only way that one can finally have control of their own little world.

This is true, writing a novel is the only time you can make others do and say as you direct.  But if you’ve ever read a novel, you will also notice that the lives of fictional characters are fraught with fear, black moments and even tragedy.  We novelists never let our characters live easy lives or skate on simple plot lines, for we know that boring plots are seldom read.  The goal of every novelist and playwright, is to create characters who have ‘ah ha’ moments known as character arcs.

And sometimes I think this is true in real life.

As I watched the development of the plot of The Potluck Club, a story about the lives of six flawed church ladies, I could feel the audience judge them when the cast acted out those flaws.  But then, as the characters grew and changed, so did the audience.  As the characters begin to love and forgive, their love began to flow through the entire room.

This is so symbolic of how God, our creator operates.  He seldom gives us, his characters, lives without difficulties.  It’s through difficulties that we grow. It’s the only way we can have our own character arcs.  But as we evolve, we learn to manage our flaws as we learn to forgive. That’s when we begin to feel, experience and operate in God’s love.  For, through the work of his son Jesus, God forgives us, and teaches us to forgive others.

The night of the live stage premier, I felt so proud: proud of the actors who played our characters, and proud of our characters who blossomed before my eyes.  God, too, watches us grow and develop throughout the story of our lives. We are growing into the people he truly created us to be: flowing and moving through obstacles under his divine direction, learning how to forgive and operate in his love.

And what’s the purpose? God’s wants our light to illuminate the way of others, as they work to transform and develop their own character arcs.

Isaiah 42:5-7 says, “This is what God the Lord Who made the heavens and spread them out and Who spread out the earth and what comes from it, Who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk in it, says, ‘I am the Lord. I have called you to be right and good. I will hold you by the hand and watch over you. And I will give you as an agreement to the people, as a light to the nations.  You will open blind eyes. You will bring people out of prison, out of the prison where they live in darkness.’” (NLV)

Enjoy the story.

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Living the Story – insight on being part of God’s creation – @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  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.

The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.

Join the conversation: Have you felt the accuser working to destroy your peace? What thoughts do you struggle to overcome?

The Accusation

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

I once arrived at the scene of a tragic car accident to pick up my friend, one of the victim-survivors.  As I waited for my friend to take an onsite blood test, the traffic detective begin to make small talk.  “What were you doing when your friend called you?”

“I was at home.”

“And your husband, he was there?”

“He was out running errands.”

Suddenly the detective asked for my driver’s license.  When I handed it to him, he stared at it, then lifted his head and narrowed his eyes. “You were here,” he said.

“What?”

“You were the one driving your friend’s car.”

My mouth fell open, my voice rose an octave.  “No!  I only just got here.”

That’s when I realized that I’d suddenly become a suspect in the deadly crash, and I’d just given up my alibi, admitting I was home alone.

I don’t fault the detective for his accusation.  I’ve seen that episode on detective shows where the real driver that causes a deadly crash switches places with a friend to avoid a jail sentence.

Maybe the detective had seen those episodes too, or maybe he’d seen people try to play this switch in real life.  Regardless, it was the detective’s job to investigate all possibilities.

Because there was no evidence from witnesses or the camera in the intersection that I had been the driver, the accusation was dropped.  I wasn’t arrested or given a ticket.

This story reminds me of our enemy, Satan, who loves to accuse us before the throne of God.  Revelation 12:10 describes Satan as, “the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night” (NIV).

But we have a defender, also before the throne of God.  Romans 8:34 says, “Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (NLT).

So though Satan may accuse us, and though we may even be guilty of the sins Satan announces before the throne of God, we are in Christ.  This means we are covered by the righteousness of Christ.  Because God sees us through Christ, He sees us as sinless.

Think of it like this: suppose you were invited to walk with a great king, but you were wearing a jacket so filthy that it disqualified you from this privilege.  But when the king’s son gave you his own clean jacket in exchange for your dirty one, you became spotless enough to walk with the king.

If you’re ready to trade your sins for the righteousness of Christ, pray this simple prayer.

Lord, I am a sinner.  Your son Jesus came to earth and lived a sinless life.  He died on the cross for my sins, paying my punishment for me.  I say ‘Yes’ to Jesus.  I say ‘Yes’ to his gift of righteousness.  Therefore Lord, I give you my whole life.  May your Holy Spirit live inside of me, may I always walk with you. In Jesus’s name, Amen

TWEETABLE
Recognizing the source of the accusation – @LindaShepher on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  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: Have you felt the accuser working to destroy your peace? What thoughts do you struggle to overcome?

When God Doesn’t Intervene

 by Linda Evans Shepherd @lindaShepherd

A mother of a disabled child invited me to coffee one day.  She confided, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, to find out how you’ve handled all the emotions and heartache of being a mother of a disabled child.”

Later, as we sipped our lattes, she confided, “I’ve prayed for healing for my child and my child is still paralyzed.” Her eyes filled with tears, “How do I process my disappointments?”

How I related to this mother’s angst.

In a Christian culture where we expect God to answer our every prayer, immediately, it’s hard to know what to do when our prayers seemed to go ignored.

We even wonder: doesn’t God love me?

I too have faced this question, as I tried to understand God’s silence to my own angst regarding my daughter’s disabilities. “First,” I told my friend, “God does love you, and I know he has answered many of your prayers.”

“Yes,” she confided.  “But not all of them.”

“I get it,” I said.  “I prayed that one day my daughter would walk again, but God didn’t answer that prayers until the day she walked into eternity.   How glad I am she’s completely restored now and can walk with Jesus.  But I had hoped that one day Laura would walk, here on earth, with me.”

My friend nodded.  “I totally understand.  So how did you process this disappointment?”

I said, “I had to remind myself to count my everyday blessings.  And to not discount the answered prayers we did have.  For example, I’d prayed daily that God would restore Laura’s brain, after half of it was destroyed in a violent car crash.  Then came the day, the doctor put a new picture of Laura’s brain on the light board for me to see.  I stared at a picture of an intact brain before jumping out of my chair to say, ‘This film does not belong to my daughter.’”

“That’s when the doctor said, ‘Your daughter’s brain restored itself.  We didn’t know a brain could do that.’”

I told Joan, “God had restored my daughter’s brain! So though I didn’t get every answer I ever prayed on her behalf, including some pretty major petitions, I could see that God was moving in my daughter’s life.”

I asked Joan, “Do you have blessings you can count?   Do you have miracles regarding prayers you prayed over your son?”

Joan nodded, “Lots of them.”

I told her, “Then keeping counting them.  As for me, I had to realize that real ‘faith’ is actually ‘trusting God no matter what. Like it says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5-6 NKJV).

Joan wanted to know:  “But when do we stop asking for our children?

I replied, “Never.  We are the moms, and we will ask for our kids as long as we live.”

Joan agreed, “I’ll never stop asking either.”

I confided, “Neither did I, not until the end of Laura’s last day on earth.”

As I look back at the 28 years my daughter lived as a disabled person, I have to say how glad I am that I got to be her mom. It was a privilege. I counted a lot of blessings and even saw healing miracles, including the healing of my own heart. In that regard, I learned how to love in deeper ways, and I learned how to keep pushing into prayer even in the impossible.  And finally, I learned how to trust God.  For ‘faith’ equals ‘trust’ and ‘trusting God’ results in ‘peace that passes understanding.’

What a miracle.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.                                                                                                                                      Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

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When God Doesn’t Intervene and Faith meets Trust – @LindaShepher on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  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: How do you process God’s silence when your prayers go unanswered?

The Greeting that Changed the World

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

Imagine the night the first Christmas greeting rang through the skies outside the quiet town of Bethlehem.  There, in a pasture, a few hills away from town, stood sleepy shepherds who were watching over their flocks beneath the twinkling stars.

They had no ambitions of seeing the glory of God until their grazing sheep began to glow as glory filled the skies.  The shepherd’s shielded their eyes to gaze upon a shining figure who seemed to float above them.

This angel announced a heavenly greeting meant for every man, woman, and child:

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:11-12 NIV).

The shepherds trembled and the glory before them expanded until the entire sky was filled with God’s heavenly choir.

The angels sang: “Glory to God in the highest heaven and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14 NIV).

The shepherds had never heard such voices, and they were amazed.

When the sky went dark, the shepherds ran into town, shouting the good news.  The people woke up and marveled at such an announcement. But I imagine one family took a special interest. An unwed mother, still a virgin, and her fiancé, heard the shepherds’ shouts and understood their meaning.

For Mary, this Christmas greeting lay in her arms, as she placed the newborn son of God in a manger. She understood why the shepherds came to see the one of whom the angels sang.

What a moment.  The birth of the light of the world celebrated in the heavens, announced to lowly shepherds, and placed in a feeding trough. Such a visitation of God’s grace came to us so that God could give us the perfect Christmas gift.

Because of this night, if we allow, Jesus’s righteousness will cover our sins so we can not only walk with God, but so that His very spirit can rest upon us.

So let’s continue to share the Christmas greeting of the angels, not only with our loved ones, but with the world.

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Inspiration from the greeting that changed the world – @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdNote from our Arise Daily Publisher:

I too have a special Christmas greeting for each of our dear readers. 

 Thank you so much for allowing us to come into your lives this year, our first year of publishing our Arise Daily devotionals.  It’s been a work of love, from our heart to yours.  And a special thanks to Julie Coleman for her wonderful work as our editor, Amber Weigand-Buckley for her design work, and Edie Melson for  her daily work to make our devotions beautiful and sharable.  And also, a very special thank you to all of our devotional writers, all members of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  Both you and your vision to love the world, rocks. 

We all here at Arise Daily warmly wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 Love,

Linda Evans Shepherd

Publisher, Arise Daily

Author and Speaker