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

 

Praying for your Pet? Seriously?

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

Max, my eight-year-old miniature Labradoodle was dying. He’d lost a lot of fur and almost half of his body weight. Now, he lay listless on the floor beside me.

I reached down to pet him. “Sorry you’re feeling so bad,” I said before sending up another prayer: “Lord, please help my dog to get better.”

I have to admit, I felt a little guilty spending one of my prayers on my dog.  Shouldn’t I be praying for world peace, or at least that the Lord would help a hurting friend?

But I just couldn’t help myself.  My beautiful dog had shrunk from forty to twenty-four pounds.  And it was his own fault. He had a thing for chicken bones stolen from our bear-proof trashcan. He’d wait till we went to bed, pad his way down the stairs and sneak up on his shiny silver prey.  He step on the peddle at the base of the can and when the lid popped open, he’d tug the garbage bag filled with bones onto the floor then gobble them as fast as he could.

I’d scold him in morning’s light.  “Dog’s aren’t supposed to eat chicken bones!” He’d reply by licking his pink tongue across his black, furry face.

Then one day, his stomach became upset.  It stayed upset for the next 18 months and nothing seemed to help.

As a matter of last resort, I tried an organic kibble recommended to me by a friend. But three days later, Max was sicker than ever!  I knew it would only be a matter of days before we’d lose him.  But I suddenly had an idea.  I could try feeding him a crockpot of chicken soup; a special recipe for dogs where you add two cups of rice and three chicken breasts to a large crockpot filled with water.   I followed the recipe, and five hours later, I flaked the chicken and stirred the mash together.

Max ate my chicken soup and miraculously kept his dinner down!  I continued to feed Max this dish until his naked tail sprouted fur and his coat begin to fill-in with black velvet.  One day, he even felt like playing fetch again.

A month later, I took Max back to the vet.  When the doctor saw him, she was stunned. She sat down on the floor with him. “Look at you, bud, you’re well!” she said, as Max wagged his furry tail.

So, is it okay to pray for pets?

According to Proverbs 12:10, “The righteous care for the needs of their animals.”  With this in mind, sometimes the best way to care for your pets is to pray for them.  Plus God always wants you to pray for anything that is on your heart.  After all God not only created animals, he’s interested in the things you’re interested in.  So when you pray, pray for the provisions you need, your family members, your church, nation, hurting friends and world peace, only don’t forget to pray for your pet.  God’s grace is big enough to cover your prayers for even the little paws in your life.

Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God.                                                                                                                                  Luke 12:6 NASB

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Praying for your Pet?  Seriously? @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.

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: Are there things in you life you consider too “small” to pray for?

Prayer in a Time-Warp

by Linda Evans Shepherd

A couple of years ago, I stepped out of my busy life to jet across the country. I was on my way to see my mom as she recovered in a nursing home from a fall. When I walked up to the nursing home’s double doors, a security guard buzzed me into a time zone not quite identifiable as ‘standard’ time.

When I arrived in Mom’s room, her eyes lit up.  “Linda!” I leaned in for a hug, noticing the simplicity surrounding us, a necessity because of the home’s problem with theft.

Just outside our room a resident shouted at the top of her lungs, “Yi, yi, yi, yi, yi, yi, yi!” While another resident, a former entertainer wailed unidentifiable show tunes as she beat time on the wall to music only she could hear.

“How do you like it here?” I asked.

“It’s okay.”

Every morning when I returned, I felt the jar of the time warp.  One morning, as I sat with my mom at breakfast, an elderly man rolled up to a nearby table where he beat his fists in time to his chant, “I want scrambled eggs!” He only stopped when this requested plate appeared before him.  Then he mumbled a flurry of four-lettered words as he shoveled the eggs into his mouth.

The little ladies at my table all shook their heads.  One of the women leaned in to explain, “I don’t live here.  I’m waiting for the bus to Memphis.”

“I see,” I  said.

She pushed her wheelchair closer to the table. “Don’t get in my way when it comes, I’ll run you down.” Oh my goodness.  I had entered a heartbreaking wrinkle in time.

That night, as I walked toward the double doors, I listened to the cry that seemed to drift from every room, “Help me! Please! Help me!”I peeked into the rooms as I passed.  All the criers were safe, though desperate to find deliverance from their nightly confusions.

Could God’s peace be in a place like this?

I found it the next morning when my mother and I were seated at our breakfast table. That’s when I announced, “Time to say grace.”I bowed my head and prayed, “Dear Lord, please bless our food and bless all the dear residents here.  Please also help their caregivers.  Thank you Lord for all your blessings.”

When I lifted my eyes I was startled to see all conversations had ceased.  All heads had bowed.  Even harried workers had stopped in their tracks to honor God. “Amen!” the little lady from Memphis said.  Aides and nurses smiled.  Gray heads nodded as peace walked into the room.

And then I knew.  I may have entered a time warp, but God was with us. It only took the power of a simple prayer to usher in his presence.

If a simple prayer can bring peace to a wrinkle in time, think what prayer could do to bring peace to your complications.

God promises us: 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.” Philippians 4:6-7 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.

Join the conversation: What in your life needs God’s peace? How has prayer brought peace for you in the past?

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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?

 

 

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?

To a New Year Filled with God’s Presence

by Linda Evans Shepherd

 “See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19

It’s a first.  The first day of the New Year and the first issue of Arise Daily, a devotional written just for you by a bunch of crazy, writing women. We’re actually a collection of loving sisters, authors all, from the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.

Most all of us have collided with life, then put pen to paper to transcribe how God healed our bruises, and turned our heartaches into victories and joys.

So, I guess you could say, we’re a lot like you; sometimes messy, often complicated, and very real.  To add to this mix, we have an open Bible and a heart to share.

As for me, I’m the leader of this wonderful writing gang and also the publisher of Arise Daily.  I’ve got thirty-three books under my belt and a messy life filled with life-changing encounters with God’s grace and loving-kindness.

Through the years, I’ve become a sort of prayer doctor, helping people recover from their difficulties by teaching them how to truly connect to God’s presence.  If I hadn’t learned the art of prayer, I would never have survived my own uncharted waters often filled with sharks, pirates and violent storms.

This New Year is a first for me too.  After a season of deep grief over the pre-mature death of my beautiful daughter, I’m beginning to feel the bloom of God’s joy bursting in my heart.  And despite my recent sorrow, I feel God’s peace.

And that’s why I’m here.  My friends and I want to show you that despite your loneliness, lack, difficulties or even the grind-of-life, you can experience the supernatural miracle of God’s joy and peace daily.

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Sure, life can be messy, but our God knows how to take our mess and transform it into a way through the wilderness and a stream in the desert.

Let’s stop and pray for one another. Let’s pray into this New Year in a way that will make streams of refreshing next to a new path we can travel these next 365 days–together.

Dear Lord,

You are the Almighty One, the One we love!  You are without limits and stand outside of linear time.  That’s why You are always available to answer our prayers and to go into every situation with us. We praise Your Holy Name and invite You to into this New Year.

 Based on the year behind us, we know there will be storms, troubles and opposition.  But You are greater than all of these things.  You can make a way in the wilderness and steams in the desert, so that we can continue our journeys safe, protected and blessed.

Be our traveling companion and give us joy despite our circumstances. Be our strength in every trial so that when we look back, we can say, “Thank You Lord! You did a new thing.  You made a way. You turned it all into joy!” 

 Lord, please be with us in our daily devotional time together.  Help this new sisterhood to grow and to become a strong body of love, encouragement and inspiration.

 For it is You whom we trust. You are with us, working everything out for the good. 

 In Jesus’ name.

Amen

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: What is a goal the Lord has laid on your heart for the coming year?