Faith over Fear

by Shirley Brosius

Times are tense. Just listen to the news. Wars, natural disasters, Coronavirus.

Will Covid-19 visit our town? Our family? It may. But I live by the saying printed across the front of my face mask: Faith over Fear.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV). Early Christians faced persecution that might have dampened their enthusiasm to spread the gospel. Paul encouraged his protégé Timothy not to be intimidated.

We too might be intimidated by frightening circumstances. We feel helpless against an unseen enemy. But I bolster my faith by remembering the truths of Christianity.

God is on His Throne. I’ve thought much about this as my husband and I navigate the senior years. Can we pray for wellness and expect God to heal us even in life’s final decades? Well, we pray, but we also know we are in God’s hands, experiencing an age and stage He has designed. Therefore, we rest in the assurance that He is in control no matter our age . . . and no matter the world situation.

When Job questioned God about his illness, God never “explained” things. He simply pointed out His Sovereignty over nature (Job 38:8-11 NKJV).

That same God governs nature today, from the most powerful waves to the most potent virus. So I remind myself God is in control. I pray and ask Him to halt the spread of the coronavirus. And I do my part by washing my hands and respecting boundaries.

God is with me. He has promised: “I am with you always, even to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NKJV). Like the old song says, you’ll never walk alone.

When I am in need, God may touch me through friends who offer assistance, through medical personnel who offer healing, through the wise counsel of others. His Spirit calms me as I look to Him in the night.

God uses all things to the Christian’s good. How might something called a “pandemic” be used for good? Perhaps it makes us more mindful of our blessings or forces us to interact more thoughtfully. Perhaps it brings us to our knees as we seek God’s good for ourselves and our nation.

We like to quote a verse that says God works all things together for the good of Christians. But the following verse reminds us that our greatest good is to be conformed to Christ’s image (Romans 8:29). And there’s nothing like tough times to offer opportunities to act and react more like Jesus.

God has greater things in mind than my personal comfort. I want a quick fix. I want “the answer.” I’d like to be healthy and happy and go my merry way without a care in the world. And perhaps without thinking about God. But facing challenges toughens us, builds our character, and makes us consider what purpose God has in mind for us.

God offers heaven if life on earth becomes unbearable. When I was a girl, I pondered a sign posted on the front of a local home that read: “Prepare to Meet Your God.” I have prepared my heart by embracing Jesus as my Savior, and I hope you have as well.

So I calm my worries by remembering heaven awaits—now or later. Eternal life begins . . . now.

These tenuous times call for discipline and commitment to live by God’s truths. By remembering who we are and Who God is, we slay the giant. We conquer fear with faith.

TWEETABLE
Faith over Fear – encouragement from Shirley Brosius on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Shirley Brosius


About the author:
 An author and speaker from Millersburg, Pennsylvania, Shirley Brosius has written Sisterhood of Faith: 365 Life-Changing Stories about Women Who Made a Difference and coauthored Turning Guilt Trips into Joy Rides. She speaks at women’s events throughout the east as a member of Friends of the Heart, three women who share God’s love through messages, skits and song. Shirley has a daughter waiting in heaven, and she enjoys passing on inspirational thoughts and books to two married sons and five grandchildren.

You can find out more about Shirley at www.shirleybrosius.blogspot.com, www.shirleybrosius.com, or www.friendsoftheheart.us

51zEKWNLLkL._SX363_BO1,204,203,200_

Join the conversation: Are you struggling with fear during this season of isolation?

Staying Focused on True North

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

I kept losing North. It was twenty-seven degrees outside, and although I was wearing five layers, I started to lose feeling in my fingertips. Cars kept crossing our intersection, and I was struggling to keep up with where North was. A few years ago, I worked with my dad, an engineer who tested light levels in a downtown area. I was in charge of the grid map and responsible to show him and his team which spot to test next.

The red building, I thought. That’s it.

There in the middle of a cluster of buildings, I found a mini sky scraper glowing with red lights to serve as my compass, marking true north. Whenever I lost my sense of direction, I looked for my red marker. It remained a steady and immovable indicator of direction as we tested twenty-four spots in the intersection.

As we travel through life, our road doesn’t keep to a straight line. Sometimes we have to meander on an curving descent into a valley or hustle up a steep, rugged ascent to a mountaintop. It can be easy to lose our sense of direction, and we wonder which way to go. Which way is North?

There’s a red marker that brings us hope. When life’s circumstances threaten to steal our sense of direction, we can look to the cross that always shines with hope, comfort, and reassurance, and to the One who gave His life’s blood for us. Jesus bore the weight of the world’s sin on the cross. The cross for Him was torture and anguish. The cross for us is peace and life.

When we are uncertain how to proceed in life, we can look to Jesus and reorient our heart’s focus. The Lord who conquered sin and death can handle any storm, every obstacle and bump in the road. His perfect love, power, and wisdom guide us on our journey. Because He gave His life for us, we can have the life God wants for us—a life filled with victory, courage, and faith.

In our ministries, we share about this “red marker” and the Savior who promises to be with us and guide us through life. We may meet people who don’t see the value of the cross or the benefit of following Someone they can’t see. But we will also be led to those who accept the cross’ message and choose to follow God and depend on His wisdom to guide. After all, “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Corinthians 1:18 NKJV).

As you seek to share about the cross and life with God in your ministry, don’t forget that you never share or walk alone. We never have to serve God in our own strength or in our own wisdom. We don’t have to search for something or someone to be our “true North.” He’s with us all along the way.

I am with you always, even to the end of the age.  Matthew 28:20 NKJV

TWEETABLE
Staying focused on true north – @KatyKauffman28 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

headshot_katykauffmanAbout the author: Katy Kauffman is a Bible study author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her writing tends to focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she loves connecting with writers and creating compilations such as Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage and Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character. Katy makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Join the conversation: How has Jesus served as your true north?

 

A Hallmark Christmas

by Louise Tucker Jones

I know Christmas is around the corner when I see those heart-tugging, tear-jerking Hallmark card commercials on TV. I almost had one of those Hallmark moments several years ago. At least, I thought I was going to have one. My prodigal daughter had come home for the holiday, and as I watched her stroll through the living room, lingering at the Christmas tree and touching ornaments her little hands had made, I hoped she was remembering good times. Special times.

Then suddenly, she walked into the kitchen.

I stopped what I was doing and turned toward her, noting the look of remembrance on her face. “Mom, do you remember…” I held my breath, certain this was the moment I had been waiting for. That priceless connection. Then she finished. “Mom, do you remember when you swatted that huge, weird-looking spider and baby spiders flew all over the place?” Did she really ask that? Yes, she did! It caught me off-guard. I was stunned. Shocked, in fact. And yes, I remembered the incident, but certainly not with fondness. A Hallmark moment it wasn’t!

The truth is, most of our lives are not made up of Hallmark moments. Most of our lives are a mix of the ordinary—the good, the bad, and everything in between. People are out there experiencing one thing or another. For every death being grieved there is a birth being celebrated. While one household is deafeningly empty and lonely, another is bursting at the seams with generations of family.

Being a person who ponders things, I find myself asking God the big question. Why? Why does He seem to bless one person, family or country and not another? Why does one person die from cancer while another survives? Why is one couple blessed with half dozen children and another remains childless? Why is a teenager cut down in the prime of life by a drunken driver? Why do evil people make shooting galleries of our schools? I have no answer to these questions or a thousand more.

The Christmas season can be a real trigger of past painful events. We miss loved ones who are no longer with us. We remember Christmases gone by and regret that our present is not nearly as happy as our past.

I know those feelings all too well. But I also know there is a God in heaven who has not forgotten us. He sent his Son to this earth that first Christmas, over 2,000 years ago. Jesus came so that we might have life and love, even in our most difficult times. Life in Him—not in a Holiday. Love in Christ—not in Christmas.

God’s love is not conditional on our emotions. Our circumstances will never predict or dictate God’s character. His eternal love, mercy and grace can invade our hearts and penetrate our souls, no matter what phase of life we might be experiencing. His presence reaches beyond the holidays.

The popular saying, “Jesus is the reason for the season” actually holds true. And the best news of all—Jesus promises to be with us forever. Not just at Christmas but for eternity. What an amazing gift!

“And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20 (KJV)

TWEETABLE
A Hallmark Christmas isn’t Realistic – Louise Tucker Jones on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Louise Tucker JonesAbout the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist, and author of four books, including The Gift of Christmas. Her poignant life stories will touch your heart or tickle your funny bone. Having a son with Down Syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids, with Cheri Fuller. Married to Carl for 45 years before he relocated to heaven, Louise is a mother, grandmother, professed chocoholic, and founder of the support group, Wives With Heavenly Husbands.

Join the conversation: For what gift of God are you most thankful?

 

Abandoned, Alone, and Sad?

by Yvonne Ortega 

Have you ever been overwhelmed by grief? That’s how I felt eight years ago when, three days after Mother’s Day, my only child died. My mother had died before Mother’s Day of that same year. The sadness was so great, I wanted to die myself so I could join them in heaven.

That may have seemed logical to me at that time, but God had another plan. My coworkers stopped by to comfort me with compassion and concern. The phone rang non-stop, but one of my coworkers answered each call until 6:00 pm, when a friend from church came to spend the night with me. A friend from North Carolina drove to Virginia for the three-day weekend. We talked non-stop from the time she came until she left.

When I went to my son’s Celebration of Life Service, one of his friends picked me up at the airport. He’s a hair stylist and fixed my hair every day I was there. Another friend arranged for me to stay with someone I hadn’t even met.

More friends joined me at my son’s Celebration of Life Service. The next day, another group of supporters came to the cemetery for the burial service.

Thanks to those brothers and sisters in Christ, I felt supported and loved through those terrible days. I felt sad that my son died so young. I felt sad that I would never be a grandma and have a grandma’s brag book. But looking back, I could see that God never abandoned me nor did he leave me alone.

Even now, eight years later, there are still overwhelming moments of sadness when I think of my mother and my son. However, I would never wish them to leave their heavenly home to keep me company. They are happy and lack nothing. One day, I will join them.

But in the meantime, God’s continues to unfold His plan for my life. I left my job to become a full-time speaker and author. I prayed and fasted off and on for six months as I wrestled with that decision. Many people supported me at that time in prayer. Even my dad encouraged me to make the move, the man who normally focused on security, benefits, and a pay check.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” (NIV)

He has given me many opportunities to share his unfailing love, mercy, and peace. He allowed me to become a published author and a speakers’ coach. I have the security, benefits, and paycheck my father so valued!

Hope? Yes, God gives me hope because his Son Jesus Christ sits at the right hand of God interceding for me. A future? Yes, God has allowed me to help others in ministry and has given me the privilege in teaching Bible classes and pray for those in need.

Life may not turn out the way you planned, but you don’t have to feel abandoned, alone, or sad. Even when you can’t feel Him, He is by your side.

“. . .Lo, I am with you always. . .” Matthew 28:20

yvonne ortegaAbout the author: Yvonne Ortega speaks with honesty and humor as she shares her life and struggles to help women find comfort, peace, promise, and purpose. As a counselor, she brings a unique perspective into the heart of women. She is the author of four books: Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Grief, Moving from Broken to Beautiful® through Forgiveness, Moving from Broken to Beautiful: 9 Life Lessons to Help You Move Forward, and Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer

Join the conversation: What gives you hope?

Forever Grateful

by Pam Farrel

Our preschool granddaughter reaches for my hand anytime we walk. Recently as we walked together, she heard the rumbling of a train nearby and, reaching up for me, said, “Nana, I  ‘fraid.”  I immediately picked her up and gave her a hug. She knows I’m there for her. She knows I will rescue her.

Just as a loving grandparent is prone to do, God uses a variety of ways to let us know He is there for us. In my own life I have seen abundant evidence of His care over the years in our marriage, family, and home. He has blessed me with amazing friends and given me a job that I love. I’ve been privileged to travel to many exciting places and meet interesting, inspiring people.

Of course, my hope in Him goes beyond life on earth to an eternity I know I will spend with Him. I first fell in love with my husband when he explained the meaning of a simple phrase on the front of his leather Bible—“That they may know You.” This phrase comes from John 17:3 : “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (NIV)

Eternal life is a wonderful promise, but the blessing of His presence starts right here on earth, long before I will ever get to heaven. Knowing Christ is to know the one called “Immanuel,” which means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). It is to know the God who said, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NIV). It is to know the God who promised, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NASB).

While eternity with Him is my future, He has given me many personal reassurances that He is a God for the present as well. I’ve found that remembering God’s presence and involvement in my life has been a key to trusting Him for whatever lies ahead.

  • God heard my cry for help when my abusive father was out of control.
  • God walked me out of chaos through the wisdom of a godly mentor.
  • God sent me Bill, an amazing partner in life and love.
  • God sent food when Bill and I were struggling, poor students.
  • God gave me a bicycle to ride when my car died.
  • God gave Bill and I hope in the face of death, disease, and disappointments.
  • God gave me love when I was angry or frustrated in my marriage.
  • God challenged me to rethink how to run a love relationship.
  • God gave me wisdom when I was perplexed in my parenting.
  • God has always been with me to process my emotions so Bill is spared the drama!

And daily, my Grateful to God list continues to grow.

Do you struggle to trust God for your future? A great way to increase your faith is to begin your own gratitude list. Then take some time alone or even with your spouse or family to review and thank God for all He has done to prove his love, grace and provision in your life. Recognizing Him at work in the here and now will supply confidence to trust Him for your future.

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13 NASB

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an international speaker, relationship specialist and best-selling author of over 45 books including her newest books: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and Discovering Hope in the Psalms: A Creative Bible Study Experience . She and her husband, Bill, are Co-Directors of Love-Wise.  Follow them on Twitter (@pamfarrel)  and Bill and Pam Farrel on Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Pam’s book, Discovering Hope in the Psalms  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 has the Lord done in your life that you need to put at the top of your gratitude list?