God Values Patience

by Julie Zine Coleman

Never repay evil for evil to anyone…If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people. Romans 12:17-18 NASB

You can insult me all you want. But don’t you dare mess with my husband.

Steve is an awesome guy, completely dedicated to the Lord, humble, and wise. So, when someone in our church started spreading lies about him, I was outraged. I laid awake at night trying to find a way to deal with the situation.

I’ll be honest: retribution was at the top on my list. But as much as I would have loved to take that man down, I knew better. In Ephesians 5:18, Paul urges us to be filled with (live under the influence of) the Spirit. And one of the fruits of the Spirit’s influence is patience.

In Genesis, Joseph suffered hurt and betrayal—at the hands of his own family. His brothers plotted his murder and ultimately sold him into slavery. He endured thirteen years of bondage in a foreign land. Finally, God provided a way out. And when Joseph eventually met up with his brothers again, he was second in command of the Egyptian Empire. Payback time.

Joseph was in an excellent position to administer judgment on his brothers. No one would have blamed him, not even the brothers themselves, who had lived with terrible guilt all those years. But Joseph never did execute justice, never sought retribution, and never even demanded an apology.

The brothers assumed Joseph’s kindness was in deference to their father, who was still alive. So, when their father finally died, they knew the jig was up. They assumed that Joseph would finally give them what they deserved.

But Joseph surprised them all, saying, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. So therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones” (Genesis 50:19-21 NASB). His words are then characterized in verse 21 as comforting and kind.

Whoa. He comforted them? He clearly understood how malicious their intentions had been those many years ago. So how could Joseph choose to overlook such grievous sin? Had the years softened the pain of their betrayal? Not according to Genesis, which notes several times when Joseph could not contain his emotions while speaking with his brothers. Every recollection was a fresh wound to his heart.

We’ve all been there in some regard. Someone has hurt or offended us. We try to forgive, try to move on. But the pain they inflicted continues to haunt us. Is God calling us to do the impossible?

A clue to Joseph’s success can be found his words in Genesis 45:8, “It was not you who sent me here, but God” (NASB). In short, Joseph trusted in the goodness and the power of His God.

“Vengeance is mine,” the Lord says (Romans 12:19 NASB). Only God is qualified to sit in that seat. We are as guilty as the next, limited in our capacity to understand the whole truth, possessing a tainted perspective at best. In light of our shortcomings, we need to leave the judging to the One who will administer justice with mercy.

How then must we respond to those who try our souls? We need to see them as God sees us: flawed and in need of mercy. In view of the mercy we have received, we must in turn offer mercy to them.

Our obedience will reflect the One who lives within us and will result in our resembling Him just a bit more—the ultimately patient Jesus Christ.

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


About the authorJulie Zine Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or crafting. More on Julie can be found at her new website JulieZineColeman.com and Facebook.

Many Christian women are torn between the church’s traditional teachings on gender roles and the liberty they experience in secular society. But what if the church’s conventional interpretations aren’t really biblical at all? Julie’s new book, On Purpose, is a careful study of the passages in the Bible often interpreted to limit women in the church, at home, or in the workplace. Each chapter reveals timeless biblical principles that actually teach freedom, not limitation. On Purpose was recently named the Golden Scrolls 2022 Book of the Year. 

Join the conversation: Have you been patient in the face of insult recently? What happened? 

A Fresh Start

by Cindi McMenamin

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17, CSB

By noon today I was wishing I could have a do-over.

Because I woke up late, I was running behind all morning. Then, because I was running late, I didn’t go to God’s Word first to soften my heart and settle my soul before interacting with others. It was all downhill from there. As a result, I spoke a harsh word, instead of letting gentleness flow out of me. And I found myself complaining instead of seeing the best in a situation.

“God, is there any hope for me?” I prayed.

It’s a good thing that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings.

Second Corinthians 5:17 tells me that the past is forgotten and everything is new when I am in Christ. That doesn’t just mean I become “new” when I initially come to Christ and surrender my life to Him. It means I can experience new beginnings every day – every time that I blow it. Every time that I see the need to start over. Every time I want to make it right with Him again.

Because we are human, we still sin. Even when we love God and set out to do what’s right, we still mess things up at times. Yet, a new start awaits. It’s available for the asking.

“God, create a clean heart for me…” David prayed in Psalm 51:10, after a pretty disastrous series of events that included lusting after a married woman, committing adultery with her, murdering her husband, and then continuing in his deception to save his image as king. Yet, as his sin found him out, this broken man cried out to God:
“Renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit” (verses 10-12 CSB).

King David asked for a new start after messing up big time. And God, in His mercy, gave him one. When you and I ask God for a fresh start, He gives one to us, too. And He makes everything new. Everything. Our minds– to think pure thoughts. Our bodies – to live purely once again. Our mouths – to speak words that heal, not wound. Our hearts – to seek after a path that is straight and right.

Do you need a new beginning today? Would a fresh start put a fresh wind in your sails? Then ask God for a fresh start and a new beginning, as David did, and watch Him create a new you, right before your eyes.

Lord, please cleanse my heart and give me a fresh start in You. Make me new and spotless in Your eyes once again.

A Fresh Start – thoughts when your day needs a new beginning from @CindyMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindi

About the Author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and Twelve Ways to Experience More with Your HusbandFor more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Do you need a new beginning today?

Unexpected Forgiveness                                                           

by Toni Campbell

I rounded the corner, approached the crosswalk, then saw movement out of the corner of my eye. A woman had just stepped into the roadway. I tapped my brakes, making a split-second assessment of the situation. Judging the distance between myself, the pedestrian, and a car behind me, I decided it was safest to proceed forward.

I glanced in the rear view and was surprised to see the other car follow me through the walkway. The pedestrian almost walked into it. Yet another backward glance and my heart sank at the sight of flashing lights.

“License, registration and insurance card please.”

“Can I ask what I did?”

“You went through the crosswalk with the pedestrian in it.”

“I saw her, and even tapped my brakes, but there was a car behind me. Can I ask why you didn’t pull them over instead?” I was trying to politely defend my actions.

“I felt you had the better field of vision.”

A protest of It’s not fair went through my mind, but I held my tongue. Instead, I prayed, Please God, let him come back with a warning. No such break. As he walked away, my eyes welled with tears at the cost of the fine: $230!

I thought about challenging the ticket, but I kept coming to the same conclusion. The judge might ask, “Was there a pedestrian in the crosswalk?” and “Did you drive through the crosswalk?” And I could only answer “yes.” By the letter of the law, I was guilty.

A few days later, I went to the payment website and saw something strange. When I plugged in my information, this popped up: “Fee: $0. Ticket addressed.”

As I dialed the court for clarification, I thought, Are you crazy? If it’s a clerical error, you’re alerting them to the mistake! But I informed the clerk about what I’d seen.

A few minutes later, she returned. “That’s correct. You owe nothing. The officer rescinded the ticket.”

“Really? I…I really am a good driver” I said weakly.

“Well, the officer must have decided not to pursue it,” she said.

The mercy and forgiveness extended to me was unexpected and undeserved. Likewise, God’s gift of forgiveness, offered freely through His Son, is undeserved. And His continued mercy to us is renewed each day.

By the letter of God’s law, we are guilty. We can try to compare our sins to the person behind us and think, I’m not as bad as they are! But we all fall short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and deserve to pay the penalty (Romans 6:23). We can try to blame our circumstances on the actions of others, but we are responsible for our own actions. We can even try to justify ourselves with, I’m really a good person. But we can never be perfect 100% of the time.

When we finally come to grips with the fact that we’re guilty and can’t escape the penalty for those sins on our own, God hears our tears of repentance. He exercises His mercy when we acknowledge that Jesus died to take on our guilt and act as the sacrifice for our sins. Then He rescinds our ticket to hell and grants us admission to heaven. It’s not a clerical error, oversight, or mistake. God deliberately decides not to pursue it.

I am forever grateful for the love and mercy extended to me so that the Book of Life reads, “Fee: $0. Ticket addressed.”

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

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

About the author: Toni Campbell is passionate about serving others and is employed full-time as the Benevolence Director at her church. She loves to share ideas through speaking engagements and her award-winning book: Jesus Has Left the Building, which is filled with ideas any church can adopt and adapt to impact their community for Christ. Visit tonicampbell.org to learn more!

Join the conversation: Have you ever been given unexpected forgiveness?

The Long Goodbye

by Amy L. Harden

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:8 NLT

My mother took 13 years in her long goodbye. The last time my sister and I saw her, we were the “lovely ladies” who came to visit. Mother sat in her chair, staring into the void. Sadly, there was no coming back from this journey home. We were grateful my father didn’t have to experience her vanishing away. Mother’s inability to recognize her loved ones would have broken his heart.

As hard as the long goodbye was for us, it allowed my sister, brother, and me time to come to terms with issues we had with our mother. God, in His amazing grace, gave us time to regain our understanding of the person who was melting away. We needed to rely on His grace and mercy throughout those years. On some days, it was all He gave us.

My mother had become angry and belligerent in her final months, hitting and throwing things. The last time I saw her, I tried to comfort her as she lay in bed, but she angrily hit and hissed at me. Heartbroken and crying, I left the room.

I wondered, Wasn’t this always the way it was with my mother? I never measured up in her eyes, and we had constant battles. Yet, God reminded me of one visit a few years prior when a window in the void had opened.

My visits up north had been few since my mother moved into the memory care unit. The responsibilities of raising five children consumed me; finding time to break away from home for an eight-hour trip proved impossible—besides trying to afford a hotel stay. However, a time opened for me to travel, and my siblings gifted me with a three-day stay at a lovely bed-and-breakfast near my mother.

As my sister and I drove to the hospital, she said Mother hadn’t recognized her in many months and probably wouldn’t know me either. Yet, when we walked into Mother’s room, recognition swept across her face, and she said, “Amy, my sweet Amy. You have come to see me.” She reached out and pulled me toward her as she had never done when I was a child.

That was my window of love and warmth after years of resentment, bitterness, and anger. It was the opportunity God provided for complete forgiveness, mercy, and grace. All the memories and filters that had kept Mother and I from being authentic with one another were demolished. As I rested in her arms, I felt the purity and innocence of the moment.

Standing in the hallway that day, I realized God had gone before me. He told me to remember this moment, not the previous visit that brought anger and resentment. That healing moment gave me a new perspective to share with my brother and sister so they could forgive Mother before she passed.

The reality of the long journey is that you mourn twice—first when dementia steals your loved one’s mind, and again when God claims their body. We should never abandon or fail them. And if we’re attentive to the Lord’s presence, we’ll capture memories, and perhaps healing and restoration for all.

To learn more about Alzheimer’s and Dementia, please go to https://alzfdn.org.

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

About the author: Amy L Harden is an author, wife, mother of five children, and Nanny to four grandchildren. She has written for Guideposts, Focus on the Family, Christian websites, and blogs. Amy is presently working on her first novel. Connect with Amy at her website – AmyLHarden.com, or on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the Conversation. What healing moments has God given you?

The Fallen Tree

by Debb Hackett

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 1 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV

It’s not often a sight stops me in my tracks so my mind can process, but a few weeks ago, while out hiking with my family, that’s exactly what happened.

We were in some woodland, known as Box Hill, in our little corner of Surrey, England. As we followed the trail that took us on a loop of the hilltop, offering us the best views of the lowlands, I spotted a tree that had toppled, leaving its hefty roots exposed to the world.

Surely such unveiling of the parts that kept the tree firmly connected to the group, fed, and nourished, allowing the tree to thrive and grow were now left exposed to the elements. And as you’d expect, the trunk looked hollow and forever desecrated.

I think many of us have felt like that. When parts of life have come crashing down. Be it health, relationships, work or other circumstances. The Bible tells us we will have trouble in this world, and encourages us to remember that Jesus has overcome the world. But down does that help the poor fallen tree?

“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).

After taking a moment to look at the tree, we walked a few steps further. The breath caught in my throat. A second trunk had somehow grown underneath the fallen body. This part reached for the sky, had branches with waxy green leaves. In essence, the picture of arboreal health and strength. Upon further inspection with my daughter, we realized that this was an offshoot from the original body of the tree. That was when the thought struck me. This is exactly like life in the Kingdom.

Because when we fall down, broken to the core, when we are felled by life, roots exposed to the world, when we are toppled by circumstance and our face are in the dirt, that isn’t the end.

In Christ, there is always a new beginning.

Lamentations 3 teaches us that His mercies are new every morning. Every morning. This mercy was won on the cross. So while life, and all its troubles might knock us down, but there is always a hand reaching down to help us to our feet. Whether we need to have a hard conversation or totally rebuild our lives, we are never alone through it all.

Scripture is burgeoning with God’s promise to never leave us. That’s where we find the strength to get up and grow in a new direction. And the beauty of it, friends, is that when we are weak, we are more likely to invite God to be strong. Then He is glorified by the outcome.

What area of brokenness can you trust the Lord with today?

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

About the author: Writer, broadcaster, and speaker Debb Hackett  has been a radio journalist for more than twenty years. Married to a test pilot, Debb writes for military wives and lives in England with her husband and children. She’s having lots of fun working on an inspirational contemporary romance series. When she’s not writing, Debb can be found leading worship, playing bass, or skiing. Also, if you can swing by her house while she’s making scones, that would be a win. She blogs at: http://debbhackett.com

Join the conversation: Are you struggling with circumstances or inner turmoil? Please share so we can pray for you.

Make a Fist

by Cherrilynn Bisbano

I probably looked crazy talking to myself. 

I drove to Rhode Island from New Hampshire to speak at a ladies’ retreat. I usually practice my teaching while driving, and God gives me deeper insight and great analogies as I do.

The teaching for that weekend was “Shining for Jesus in this Dark World.” I practiced the portion, “How God Sees us after salvation.”

Goose bumps covered my body when God reminded me of these words of Jesus and gave me a visual image in my head: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:28 ESV). With my eyes still on the road, I held one hand to the side and made a fist.

Why don’t you try it? Picture your hand as the loving sacrificial hand of Christ. Make a fist. Imagine that, as a believer, you are in His hand.

What do you see?  Only your hand.

When God looks at Christ’s hand, He does not see us; He only sees the scar on His wrist left by the nail piercing. His beloved, innocent Son endured the most intense physical, emotional, and spiritual pain to bridge the gap between separation and salvation. 

As I continued to look at my fist, I bellowed the words that Christ cried from the cross. The words that echoed throughout heaven and now in my heart: “It is finished!” (John 19:30 ESV).

I almost drove off the road with awe and excitement. My mind filled with joy, adoration, and thanksgiving as I considered how He paid for my sin at the cross, and the scar was there to prove it. What a glorious picture. Thank you, Jesus.

I sobbed, knowing I was in the protection of Christ’s hand. It was difficult to drive and cry at the same time since I wanted to throw my hands up in praise and worship to my King. Of course, I did not; it would have caused a pileup on 95 South, and my destination awaited.

I delivered the message and used this amazing word picture, and the ladies cried with me.  We rejoiced in knowing we are in His hand, secure. Nothing can get to us. God only sees the righteousness of Christ, not our sin.

We are held captive by His love, grace and mercy. So, when you feel inadequate, unloved, or guilty, remember, IT IS FINISHED! Freedom is close at hand! Rejoice and make a fist!

In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. Ephesians 1:7 ESV                   

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

About the author: Cherrilynn Bisbano is an award-winning writer in both fiction and non-fiction. She is a coach, ghostwriter, editor, and speaker. She is honored to be a member of AWSA.You can find her published in several online magazines and blogs along with books.  Her latest book, Shine Don’t Whine, released in October 2020. Cherrilynn proudly served in the Navy and Air National Guard. She lives with her son, Michael, Jr., and husband of 22 years. Cherrilynn loves Christ, Chocolate, coffee, and Cats. You will often find her on the beach sea glass hunting.

Join the conversation. What part of your salvation gives you goosebumps?


What Do We Do When Hope is Worn Thin?

by Beth Vogt

Sometimes I get to the end of the day and my hope is worn thin.

If you’re a J.R.R. Tolkien fan, you might recall how the hobbit Bilbo Baggins described himself to Gandalf the wizard in The Lord of the Rings: I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

There are days our hope gets stretched too thin by circumstances in our lives. It’s as if we’re caught in an unending cycle of hardships and disappointments that deplete our faith.

There was a season in my life when I dealt with chronic vertigo—a season that lasted for more than three years. I once described vertigo as having my own personal roller coaster in my head. Humorous, yes. But the reality of living with vertigo every day for so long was exhausting. Most days I felt just a little off-balanced if I tilted my head to the left or if I bent down to empty the dishwasher or to transfer laundry from the washing machine to the dryer. Then there were the times I’d be hit with a major attack and forced to lie flat on my back in bed for days.

During this time, I fell asleep every night exhausted—physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

One lesson I learned: Hope is a renewable commodity. No matter how the stressors of my day frayed my hope, I discovered I could wake up each morning to new hope. How? I clung to the truth in Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV): “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

Each morning we wake up to a renewed portion of God’s steadfast love and mercy. God’s love for us is unwavering. His mercy is everlasting—we can’t wear it out, no matter how worn down we feel by the trials we’re enduring. The Hebrew word for great means God’s faithfulness toward us is exceedingly abundant. Surely that’s enough to refresh our hope when it’s been drained by the demands of the day.

Tonight, if you crawl into bed and your hope is worn thin, go ahead and tell God how you’re feeling. Offer your fragile confidence to him, trusting him to renew your hope because of his steadfast love, everlasting mercy, and abundant faithfulness toward you.

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5 NIV

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

About the author: Beth K. Vogt believes God’s best often waits behind the doors marked “Never.” She’s a national speaker and established magazine writer, as well as a mentor to writers, and the author of 14 novels/novellas, including The Best We’ve Been, the final book in Beth’s Thatcher Sisters Series. Find out more about Beth and her books at bethvogt.com.

Join the conversation: What do you do when your hope wears thin?

Whiter than Snow

by Candy Arrington

Purify me with hyssop, and I will be clean; Cleanse me, and I will be whiter than snow. Psalm 51:7 NASB

Although Christmas is a special time of year, full of music, color, lights, worship, gifts, food, and celebration, I find it refreshing to put away the decorations, remove the Christmas tree, and vacuum up the remnants of the festivities. The house is uncluttered again, the pressure is off, the schedule is less harried, and the new year usually brings snow.

January is one of my favorite months. Part of the lure of January is the idea of new beginnings. No matter what happened the year before—illness, heartaches, challenges, mistakes—here is a chance to start fresh. The new year is ripe with the promise of possibilities. Anticipation and hope mingle to propel us forward into the unknown.

Just as snow blankets the ground and covers its uneven contours, so the new year stretches into the future like a nice, white, blank piece of paper. We can choose, in part, the story to be written on that blank paper. We have the opportunity for a do-over, the option to confess sins, make adjustments in attitudes and actions, and implement life changes.

When King David penned Psalm 51, he felt the full burden of his sin, transgressions against God and man. David acknowledged his sin, stated God’s qualities of compassion and unfailing love, and asked for forgiveness.

Hyssop, a pungent, aromatic herb, was used in Hebrew purification rites. David understood the depth of his sin and wanted deep cleansing, a purging with hyssop, blotting out his sin, leaving him whiter than snow.

God is the God of forgiveness and second chances. When we admit our areas of failure and turn from past wrongs, God’s forgiveness gives us a fresh start. As the writer of Lamentations wrote: “The Lord’s acts of mercy indeed do not end, for His compassions do not fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB). Each new day brings opportunity for putting the past behind and looking toward the future. We have the option to re-evaluate, change old patterns, and move forward with fresh determination.

Have you been truthful with God about cherished sin in your life? Have you measured your life against the bright purity of the Savior? Jesus Christ is waiting to blanket your life with forgiveness and redeeming grace. All you have to do is honestly confess sin and acknowledge God’s power to forgive and cleanse. Then you will experience a fresh start and covering for sin that is whiter than snow.

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

About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals on faith, personal growth, and moving through and beyond difficult life circumstances. Her books include: Life On Pause: Learning to Wait Well (Bold Vision Books),  When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House), and AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H Publishing Group). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.

Candy’s new book, Life on Pause: Learning to Wait Wellprovides insights on learning from and growing through a time of waiting.

Join the conversation: Do you need a fresh start?

Salvation of Our Countenance

by Terri Gillespie

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God. –Psalm 42:12 [11] TLV

This is such a beautiful psalm, written by the sons of Korah—one of the elven written by them. Wait… Korah? As in the Korah who was swallowed up by the earth (in Numbers 16:32)? Yes. That one.

Korah was the grandson of Kohath, of the tribe of Levi. He was of the priestly lineage but ran with a bunch of malcontents and rebelled against Moses and Aaron out of greed and envy. After God cracked open the ground, 250 followers of Korah were consumed with fire (Numbers 16: 1 – 35).

Fortunately, Korah’s sons were spared and learned well what not to do. As a result, some served as guardians and gatekeepers of the tabernacle and others oversaw the baking of the showbread (1 Chronicles 9:19, 31).

Fast-forward to the time of King David, these descendants of Korah were known for their loyalty to the king and as fierce warriors. Yet, like David, they were talented in the gifts of music and lyrics. Also of note, the prophet Samuel was from the line of Korah (1 Chron, 6:33-34; 1 Samuel 1:1).

Truly, the stain of Korah’s rebellion was not carried for long. While Korah paid his own penalty with God’s judgment, God was merciful and gave favor to his sons. Still, their ancestor’s name represented great shame for the sons of Korah:

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why are you murmuring within me? Hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, for the salvation of His presence. (Psalm 42:6, TLV)

That wording is amazing: “for I will yet praise Him, for the salvation of His presence.” The same presence that destroyed their ancestor became the sons of Korah’s salvation.

In Psalm 42:12 (TLV), one of the sons of Korah says: “for I will yet praise Him, the salvation of my countenance and my God.” Because of God’s presence in the sons’ lives, their countenance has changed.

Could these sons, who took ownership of their identity as descendants of Korah, still have experienced ridicule and mistrust by association? Maybe. Ancestry within the Jewish culture is very important—think of all the “begats” in the Bible. They could have said they were sons of Levi or Kohath, but they held on to Korah’s name.

Many of us carry the stain of our families’ sins–our parents, children, or even a spouse. Or perhaps our own past was stained with sin. Possibly sins that warranted some ground swallowing.

Our Heavenly Father is all about redemption. Long before the Word became flesh (John 1:14), God sought those whose hearts were turned to Him. He is slow to anger and rich in love and mercy (Joel 2:13). We may have repercussions for the sins of the past, but through Jesus our Father can redeem even that for His glory and our growth.

Let’s learn from the sons of Korah who, with the Lord’s help, rose above the shame of their past to overcome and excel. They are a beautiful tribute to God’s salvation and a reminder of His great love. Lessons for us all.

Father, I don’t want the stains of the past to color my future. Help me to walk out Your love for me because of Your Son. Amen.

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

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, messages, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus.

Terri’s newly released book, Sweet Rivalry, is the story of twins separated by a troubled mother. One twin is lovingly raised by her grandmother who owns a small-town bakery. The other sister is raised by an addict mother. They discover one another through a televised baking competition. But will rivalry break them apart again? The third and final book in the Hair Mavens series, Really Bad Hair Day, is a whirlwind of changes for the mavens—marriage, love, danger, loss, and redemption. The Hair Mavens series is a modern-day Ruth and Naomi story set in a hair salon.

Join the conversation: Have you allowed the sin of your past to color your future?

Grace to Help in Times of Need

by Alma L. Carr-Jones

Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16 KJV 

Blam! Blam! Blam! “Momma, somebody is at the door!” Louise knew it was the Rent Man there to collect the rent. Her momma opened the door.

“Well, you got my money this morning?”

“No sir, I don’t. Can you give me one more week? I can catch up on the rent then, sir.”

“Don’t bother; I want you gone by Sunday or I will have you set out!”

“Now see here Mr. Rent Man, you can’t …”

Louise stepped boldly in front of her mother. “Excuse me, good morning Mr. Rent Man.” Her words came out a whisper.

“Uh, good morning Lula’s little kid,” and down the steps he stormed.

Later at church, Louise’s prayer was silent but fervent. “Hey, JESUS, It’s me. The rent man was hollering at Momma and he told her we have to move by Sunday. I don’t know what to do. Please help us. Thank you, Jesus. Amen.”

The next day she walked up the huge steps, wiped her nervous, sweaty hands on her dress, and went inside the door of The Cotton Exchange. She asked a lady for Mr. Fred Smith.

When she walked into his office, he looked up distractedly from his desk. “Excuse me, Mr. Smith. My name’s Louise; I’m Lula Mae’s daughter. We live on…”

“I know where you live and I know your Momma,” he interrupted.

“Yes sir, well the bus ride took my $0.50 but I have ten cents left from the bus that you can have and Momma will only owe you $9.90.”

Mr. Smith nodded and cleared his throat, “Put the dime on the table and tell Lula Mae I’ll see her on Sunday.” “Yes sir! Thank you, sir!” She thanked Jesus all the way home! 

Grace to help in time of need. The above verse says that God knew there would be times in our lives when we would have need. Because He knew about the need, He prepared the way for us. You see, I learned need when I was a child and learned where and how to go for help in those times. I prayed in faith; I stated my need; I thanked God, and closed my prayer. My need was met by God’s grace through the rent man because the LORD gave me favor in his sight. 

Have you ever been in need and experienced someone’s grace? Has God ever given you an opportunity to show grace to someone else? Look for opportunities this week to offer grace. Don’t be surprised if God uses you in some mighty ways.

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

Get Yourself Up: Motivation and Inspiration To Keep Pressing Forward For the Next Generation (The Tallest Mountain Series Book 1) by [Alma Carr-Jones]

About the author: Alma L. Carr-Jones, wife of gospel minister Bro. Paul C. Jones and mother of two children, is a beloved educator, poet/author, and speaker. Alma lives in McKenzie, Tennessee. To date, she has published Chopping My Row, Get Yourself Up (Book 1 of The Tallest Mountain Series), and three volumes of poetry. Alma’s motto is, “Doing what I can while I can.”  She says of her writing; “Leaving a positive legacy each day, so that my words can help countless others, even after my voice is stilled.”

Join the conversation: Have you ever witnessed the transformative grace of God?