Spring Awakening

by Nancy Kay Grace

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”  Psalm 51:10 NIV

I need renewal in my dreary spirit after the long winter months. The colder-than-usual temperatures drag on and the deeper-than-desired snow refuses to melt, affecting my attitude. By the end of winter, I get antsy for spring to bring warmer air and signs of tulips and green grass.

Spring is a time of awakening, with fresh beauty of the budding trees, singing cardinals and chirping robins. New life is seen in the blossoming forsythia and perky daffodils breaking though the crusty earth. Creation welcomes the warmer change after a long, dormant winter. As I observe the changes in creation, I gain hope for renewal.

A pleasant walk in the warmer sunshine brightens my heart and mind. A visit with a long time friend refreshes my spirit.

Do you need a spring awakening and fresh renewal for your soul? Consider adding these practices to your daily routine. 

Reading the word of God renews the heart and mind.

Just like opening a window on a spring day freshens the house, the word of God revives my spirit.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7 NIV

Prayer cleanses the spirit of the barriers that keep us from seeking God.

Coming to our heavenly Father in prayer, we can confess our weaknesses. The Holy Spirit melts any hardness of heart. He is always ready to welcome our prayers and renew us.

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 NIV

Fellowship—connecting with others—is an encouragement.

We were made for community. We can encourage one another in our faith while we also benefit from the connection. Invite a friend to join you on a walk and enjoy the new season together.

“If we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 NASB

Listen for God.

When the Lord refreshes my heart, I am more open to hear from him. My mind is cleared of daily concerns so I can focus on Him.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 NIV

Lasting renewal of the heart comes slowly, like a long soaking rain on parched soil, making it useful again. The Lord works in our lives moment by moment—through reading the Bible, prayer, and sharing fellowship with others. Through these, we grow in our faith and hear the still, small voice of God whisper hope to us. He brings renewal to our hearts, just as He renews the earth. 

Are you ready for a spring awakening in your soul?

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

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of time. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter.

You can also connect with Nancy on Facebook or Instagram.

Join the conversation: How do you renew your mind when things seem so dark and dreary?

Let God Love You!

by Nancy Kay Grace

Why is it that even though we know John 3:16 by heart, we still doubt God’s love? We think of His love in general terms of loving the world, not specifically for loving us—you or me. Or maybe we even think that God doesn’t like us. We struggle to believe and accept the basic truth. We make up excuses saying we are unlovable.

Yet God still loves us.

I’d driven 350 miles to celebrate my grandson’s third birthday. It was a fun weekend with lots of giggles and cake. I loved reading car stories to him and seeing his interest in the details of his favorite construction toys. He’s full of questions as he tries to understand life, such as “When will I be two again?” and “If possums hang upside down, do they get a headache?”

It’s easy to respond in love when the questions are innocent. But when an independent spirit rises to challenge the status quo, our response becomes a loving decision.

When it was time for me to leave, he ran to a different room. He wouldn’t let me hug him one more time. He hid.

He probably wanted to make a game of hiding from me. I left without a final hug from my little guy. Although I felt a bit saddened, I still love him. He’s only a child of three. I’ll see him again and there will be more hugs and books to read.

Too often we are like that with God—we hide from Him. We don’t accept the love that is expressed in the written Word, through the life of Jesus, or shown through other people. We hide in a childlike manner.

At the core of God’s nature is unconditional love, which spills out into every other attribute. It is sacrificial and life-giving, not sentimental and syrupy smooth talk. Even on our worst day, God loves us deeply.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1 NIV).

“This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:9-10 NIV)

We try to understand God’s unconditional love, but wrestle to fully grasp it. Sometimes we reject this gift when we struggle with low self-worth, but that is when we need it most.

God continues to reach out to us with love anyway, faithful and steadfast.

May we pray Ephesians 3:18 for a deeper grasp of God’s love:

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is” (NLT)

His arms are open. Won’t you let God love you?

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

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of time. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter.

You can also connect with Nancy on Facebook or Instagram.

Join the conversation: Are you comfortable at the thought of God’s love?

Time, Days, and Wisdom

by Nancy Kay Grace

In January we think about resolutions, goals, a fresh start, and time. A new year has begun with all its promise, opportunity, and challenge.

A. W. Tozer said, “Time is a resource that is non-renewable and non-transferable. You cannot store it, slow it up, hold it up, divide is up, or give it up. You can’t hoard it up or save it for a rainy day—when it’s lost, it is unrecoverable. When you kill time, remember that it has no resurrection.”

Wow. In this day of concern for non-renewable resources, do we stop to consider time as one of them? It is something that vanishes every day and cannot be replenished.

In Psalm 90:12, written by Moses, we read: “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” How can we practice this wise prayer?

Seek God to determine what is most important. Moses depended on God to lead His people. He asked for God to teach him. In the everyday details of life, can you ask God to teach you how best to use your time? Create a daily to-do list. If there are still tasks on it at the end of the day, begin the next day with those. Asking for God’s guidance in planning the day helps overcome flightiness amidst distractions.

Realize that time is irreplaceable, a valuable asset given to each of us. Instead of thinking how you are going to spend your time, think about how you are going to invest your time. The verse reminds us that life is short (our days are numbered). Consider it in a positive way: what activities and people nurture you? Make time for more of those and less for the things that drain you. Time invested with the Lord at the beginning of the day increases productivity in the long run.

Live wisely, making each day count. The verse focuses on the day, not the year. How can you share the love of God throughout your day? Be diligent to let your light shine in your family and at work. A heart of wisdom results from seeking God and obeying Him.

All the days of our lives matter to God. Time is a non-renewable resource and gift given to all of us. There are many choices for how we will invest what we have been given. What will each of us do with the 24 hours in each day and the 365 days in 2021?

Seek God daily and live for Him to gain a heart of wisdom.

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

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of time. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter.

 https://www.facebook.com/nancykaygrace 

https://www.instagram.com/nancykaygrace/

Join the conversation: How do you plan to invest your time in the coming year?

Hope for a Broken Mess

by Nancy Kay Grace

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. Isaiah 61:1 NIV

I ordered a gift for a family member, expecting it to be delivered in time for Christmas, so I could wrap it in bright paper. I imagined it was the perfect gift for the person.

When it arrived, I shook the box and heard pieces rattle on the inside. Something was wrong; the corner of the box was crushed. Upon opening it, small pieces of porcelain fell to the floor. The special gift was a broken mess; my hope of giving it crumbled.

Often we find ourselves in the broken mess of life, sifting through pieces of shattered dreams. We expect things to be perfect, but they end up a disaster. Expectations fall apart.

The world is a broken mess on a large scale, as we’ve seen this year with the many challenges that have made us weary. Individuals are broken mess on a smaller scale with physical or mental health problems, financial troubles, or relationship difficulties. The result is the same, no matter how large or small the scale—pain, disillusionment, and hurt. discouragement and loss of hope abound.

The good news is, that in the middle of our mess, God brings hope.

At just the right time in history, God intervened with a redemption plan for all eternity through the birth of a baby who would be the Messiah. His plan brought a different kind of hope, an eternal hope.

God became like one of us. Jesus came to bring hope to the broken mess of sin in the world. Jesus left the majesty and splendor of heaven to enter our sinful world, for us—to breathe our air and walk on our soil. To redeem our hurting lives from pain and bring us hope in our mess.

The prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus Christ coming into the broken world.

“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 NIV).

Jesus read these words from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah at the beginning of his ministry and stated they were fulfilled (Luke 4:18-21 NIV).

What does the prophecy and purpose mean for you and me? When I am poor in spirit or lacking provisions, I can turn to the Savior for hope.

I can rest in the Messiah’s love when I am brokenhearted. God’s word offers comfort. When I need recovery from spiritual blindness, the Lord opens my eyes to see his truth. Jesus offers freedom and forgiveness from the chains of past mistakes and hurts. The love of God reaches us, right where we are, bringing hope to our broken mess.

Whatever you’re facing, may you look to Lord to find hope. It’s one of perfect gifts from the heavenly Father.

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of hope in the broken mess of life. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives.  

Please visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly Grace Notes devotional newsletter. https://www.facebook.com/nancykaygrace https://www.instagram.com/nancykaygrace/

Join the conversation: How has the Lord directed you in the past?

Which way?

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

Have you ever gotten to the wrong destination when using a GPS? Occasionally I’ve been sent astray while trusting the voice of an unknown person dictating directions from the car’s GPS.

Like the time when I traveled to speak to a women’s group at a church, and ended up on a steep, rocky, hilly road. At the end of the wooded road were two signs: “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Guard Dog.” The voice informed me, “You have arrived at your destination.”

Hmm, this was not the church I looked for.

And then there was the time when my husband and I were looking for an address in a suburban area. We expected to make a turn onto another street, but instead we were guided to a cul-de-sac with no outlet. We listened for the next direction.

The voice stated: “Park your car and walk to the destination.” The map indicated the destination was in nearby trees. We laughed and were confused. No, we didn’t get out and walk. After reloading the same address, we were directed to the correct house several blocks away.

In both of those scenarios, I eventually got to my desired destination, although I felt frustrated and the travel took longer.

It is easy to get off track when we listen to the wrong voice. Even when that voice sounds convincing, sometimes it leads us astray. With so much noise in today’s culture, it is harder to hear and heed God’s voice.

I desire God to direct me, especially in such uncertain times. I can easily fall in discontentment or discouragement. In order to be open to God’s ways, I have to intentionally quiet my mind and tune my heart to the Word of God. Thankfully, the Spirit nudges me to seek the Lord for guidance.

King David wrote, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV).

When I turn to the Lord, he settles my heart with true hope.

“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalm 25:9 NIV). To become humble, I need to look in my heart to see if anything is hindering me from hearing the Lord, and confess it to God.

Is there discontentment? Bitterness? Hurt feelings? I am reminded to confess those hindrances of spirit to God, allowing Him clear the way for His guidance.

“For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, is the one that fears the Lord: He will instruct him in the way chosen for him” (Psalm 25: 11-12 NIV). The Lord promises guidance for us when we seek him with our whole heart.

We won’t be lead astray when we tune our heart to hear Him, not the voice of the culture. The journey may take longer because of God’s timing, and there may valuable faith lessons for us to learn along the way. But God leads us when we seek Him.

Will we listen, watch, and follow?

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

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About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a redeemed perfectionist who is learning to trust God’s voice more, and the GPS less. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. Please visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: How has the Lord directed you in the past?

Outwit the Overwhelms

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

Imagine with me the sweet moments motherhood, of tucking our little ones in at night with soft moon-glow as they drift off in peaceful sleep. Reality shatters the quietness when little feet pad down the hallway. “Mommy, I need a drink!” says the bright-eyed preschooler in the doorway.

The elementary student pops out of bed. “I forgot to tell you something. I need black pants for the school program tomorrow.”

Ugh! Exhaustion and exasperation set in, erasing the sweet moments.

Later, in the middle of the night, the baby screams from intestinal discomfort. A massive blowout needs attention. After tending to the baby, it’s hard to fall back to sleep, thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list.

How do we cope with that overwhelmed feeling?

Jesus spoke words that encourage and help us remember the priorities of life, of loving and caring our family and ourselves. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)

This passage helps us conquer the “overwhelms” in several ways.

  • Remember to nurture your relationship with the Lord. Even if it’s a few moments while your coffee is brewing, whisper words of praise to God for being loving and kind.  Read a devotional on your phone to use brief minutes to connect to with God when you are on the go.
  • Take care of you. Jesus taught us to “love your neighbor as yourself.” Simple words, but hard to learn. It is nurturing, not selfish, and can improve perspective. We can get so involved caring for everyone else that we neglect healthy self-care.
  • Give yourself grace, just as God gives you grace. Learn to accept the fact that “good enough” is acceptable. Perfectionism is the enemy of grace. Do what you can and learn to be satisfied with it.

By focusing on doing our best for the Lord—pleasing Him and not others—we avoid heaping on extra mommy-guilt.

Psalm 90:12 (NIV) also helps us outwit “the overwhelms”: “Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

  • Prioritize tasks instead of doing massive multi-tasking. When I have much to do and little time to accomplish it, I try to do too many things at once. I can get overwhelmed with many half-finished tasks that it becomes hard to complete any of them. Prioritize what needs to be done first, and complete it. Then move on to do the next thing.
  • When the “overwhelms” gang up on you, look to the Lord for wisdom. Life is unedited. Unanticipated situations will occur. When we are stressed out, inhale deep breaths, and remember that inner strength comes from the Lord.

At the end of the day, reflect on Psalm 61:2-3 before drifting off to sleep. From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety. Psalm 61:2 (NLT)

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Outwit the Overwhelms – encouragement when life is tough from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: What overwhelms you?

The Listening Walk

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

He says, “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10

One of the pleasures in my life is reading to my grandchildren. At a recent visit, I noticed a library book on the coffee table entitled The Listening Walk, by Paul Showers. The back-cover copy reads, “Put on your socks and shoes—and don’t forget your ears!  We’re going on a listening Walk. Shhhhhh. Do not talk, do not hurry. Get ready to fill your ears with a world of wonderful and surprising sounds.”

After reading the book to my three young grandsons, we put on our shoes and headed out on our own listening walk.

It was hard for the brothers not to talk, but when they did, they mentioned the sound of birds cawing in the trees, the wind whistling around the houses, our footsteps, and the cars on the street.

When I returned home, I decided to go on my own listening walk. In the sky, the geese honked in chorus as they headed south for winter. Feet crunched through leaves on the sidewalk. The wind swirled the leaves in the air as they fell from trees.

The beautiful sounds of creation inspired me. The listening walk calmed my soul.

 Each day, I pray to hear God’s voice, listening to His words for my soul. I’m reminded of Elijah desiring to hear from God, waiting for the presence of the Lord to pass by. While waiting, the powers of nature nearly overtook him. Scripture says, “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper” (1 Kings 19:12 NIV). Elijah heard the whisper of God and responded to His voice.

Stillness goes against our noisy culture. The blaring world sidetracks us from hearing the truths of God’s Word. The family, the job, and other responsibilities pull us in a thousand different directions with the next call to urgency.

Intentional effort is needed to turn off the sounds of the world—television, computers, phones, social media, music, the opinions of others—and tune our hearts to the still small voice of God.

God gives us a reminder to pause and refocus on Him, breathing the Holy Spirit into us in the fast pace of life.

Every day presents its own battle for us to listen to God. It’s easy to look at daily cares or problems and be discouraged. Yet, we have God’s powerful word that helps us remember he is fighting for us. The promise in Exodus 14:14 offers us this encouragement: “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” (NIV) We can hear God’s voice whisper his strength.

Casting my cares on the Lord, he calms my anxious heart with his peace.  

A child’s book and a simple listening walk showed me the value of listening to the God of creation and my life. I desire a listening life, leaning in for God’s still small voice in the daily chaos, knowing that God is sovereign over the confusion.

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About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: Is it time for you to go on a listening walk?

 

Hope for the Unseen Hurt

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 NIV

Have you ever had an annoying injury that took a long time to heal?

One vacation, my husband Rick and I decided to go zip lining. It would be an adventurous break from our usual pace of life, pushing me out of my comfort zone as I flung my body on a cable high through the treetops. Previous zip lining experiences were energizing from the adrenaline rush. However, what happened this day was not so pleasurable.

The first zip was a short one to gain confidence. No problem. My second zip started out fine, but midway I turned around on the cable. I flew backwards toward the next platform, unable to judge my speed or stopping distance.

Smack! I hit the platform with force. Pain radiated through the back of my left calf to my toes. Regaining my balance on the platform, I wondered how seriously I had injured my leg.

Moments later, Rick landed his zip with an exuberant smile. He didn’t witness my ungraceful, painful landing.

I finished the remaining course, pushing through pain and the light rain. The zip lining experience was miserable, disappointing, and disheartening.

That night I iced and elevated my leg to alleviate pain and swelling.

Although I didn’t walk with a limp, a deep purple bruise surfaced on my calf during the next days and weeks.

Almost two months later, my calf remained painful to the touch, although no dark discoloration was visible. Internal healing continued long after the surface bruise disappeared.

That zip-lining experience eventually was no more than a distant memory.

Often we need healing from unseen emotional or spiritual wounds. We might seem healed on the outside, but pain remains deep within our hearts. Unhealthy family patterns, such as blaming or shaming, can lead to lifelong emotional pain. Hurtful words damage relationships. A wounded person can go through life looking fine from the outside, but feeling despair on the inside.

God’s word promises that he “heals the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18 NIV). This verse has brought comfort to me in many situations, when I’ve felt hurt by an unkind comment or grieved a relationship loss. Turning to God in prayer, I know He is near; I am not alone in my pain. God’s comfort binds my bruised heart with His love. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3 NIV

Like physical healing, emotional healing takes time. When the hurt heart intersects with the ultimate Healer, the burden is eased. In his time and through his grace, the Lord heals the brokenhearted. Hope is restored. Internal healing begins. Joy returns. God transforms the painful wound into a scar. Scars are a natural part of the healing process.

The scar may be unseen, but the memory serves as a reminder of the restorative work of God.

On a later vacation, I mounted another zip line platform, determined to try again. The flashback of the injury came to mind. With hands perspiring, I grabbed the harness and took a deep breath. I had to go forward, pushing past the painful memory. Stepping off the platform, I sailed through the trees, landing without injury.

There is hope for the unseen hurt.

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About the author: Nancy Kay Grace enjoys the outdoors and zip lining. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. Nancy loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. Please visit http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: Is there an unseen wound in your heart that needs healing?

Unexpected Applause

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3 NIV

The noise in the crowded airport prevented much conversation as I waited by my gate. People dragging suitcases rushed past. Parents entertained antsy toddlers. Teenagers remained oblivious to those around as they listened to music or played electronic games. Business travelers worked on laptops.

Suddenly, in the midst of all that noise, the atmosphere changed.

One person started clapping slowly. Applause began with one person, and then spread to another and another. Startled, I looked around for the reason for this. Someone pointed in an upward direction. Through a walkway above the terminal, men and women entered in army fatigues and carrying duffel bags.

Soon everyone in the crowded gate area joined the applause. More and more soldiers entered the walkway. I was witnessing the return of heroes. The applause continued, growing louder and louder with cheers and whistles.

Hundreds of soldiers—heroes—had returned from deployment. My heart was stirred with a mix of gratitude, unity, and patriotism.

Now in line to give the ticket agent my boarding pass, the spontaneous applause continued. Soldiers streamed into the airport. Some waved to the crowd below. Outside, more deplaned. I wish I could have stayed to applaud for every last one, but I needed to board my plane. As I stepped into the jet bridge, I glanced over my shoulder for one last look at the returning defenders of freedom with gratitude in my heart.

The scene in the airport reminded me that we are the benefactors of the courage of many who defend our country. They deserve a heroes’ applause everyday.

The apostle Paul wrote “I thank God every time I remember you” in his letter to the Philippians (1:3 NIV). He’d opened his letter expressing gratitude for their participation in the spread of the gospel. They had welcomed him with open arms and financially assisted him throughout his ministry. Even though they’d never left their city, in light of their continual support, Paul considered them his partners.

This gratitude reminder came to my mind that day in the airport.

Not everyone may be able to serve as a soldier, but everyone can strengthen the spiritual fiber of our nation through grateful prayer. In this important way we can partner with those who serve on the frontlines.

For those who have served or are now serving the country, I thank God every time I remember you.

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About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, The Upper Room devotional, as well as online and print magazine articles. She loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. To learn more about her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly GraceNotes devotional.

Join the conversation: For what causes have you dedicated yourself to prayer?

The Perfect Father

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 NIV

My older brother dared me to climb the big poplar tree in our front yard. Its branches were the perfect distance apart for my little five-year-old legs to reach and climb. Once off the ground, I felt brave and accomplished. The wind rustled through the leaves around me, and I was carefree.

However, the joy of the moment did not last long. A huge bee began flying around my head. Soon several buzzed around me. My carefree attitude blew away with the breeze and I was now downright scared, screaming for help to get out of the tree.

Paralyzed with fear, I clung to the tree trunk.

My brother was no help; he went off to play with friends, abandoning me in the tree.

“You’ll be O.K.! Dad will be home from work soon,” Mom called from the porch. Her words didn’t calm me.

Long minutes passed. I cried for Daddy to come home to help me.

Relief came when my father arrived. Hearing my cries, he dashed from the car and rushed to the tree. Stepping onto the lowest branch, he coaxed me to let go of the thick limb. Slowly, shaking in fear, I put my foot onto a limb where he could pull me from the tree. I sobbed in the security in his arms.

My dad heard me and rescued me. That day he was my hero.

The Bible promises many times that when we cry out to God, he hears us. He is a loving, caring father.

The Word of God demonstrates how our heavenly Father deeply loves us and will not leave us. He has rescued us from the perils of sin and death. Even in times when God seems far off, we can remember that he is the loving Heavenly Father. Jesus taught us to pray to God as our Father.

For some people, the relationship with their father brings joy. For others, it may not be so positive. The experiences from our family of origin can affect how we view God as our heavenly Father.

Throughout my life, I did not have a particularly close relationship with my father. He was often distant, a man of few words. There were many times I longed for his support in the void of father-love. Yet, I still remember how he rescued me as a little girl in the tree.

When Dad passed away, I grieved, even though we were not close. My heavenly Father gave me peace with my relationship with Dad. For good and for bad, he is a part of me. God comforted me in my sorrow. He did not remain far off, but embraced my heavy heart with steadfast love and compassion. I awakened to realize a greater beauty of the fatherhood of God, which filled the void of earthly father-love.

If your heart needs comfort, look to God who is the perfect Father. Imagine crawling into His arms as a child needing consolation. He will reach out to you with lavish love that accepts you right where you are.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1 NIV

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The Perfect Father – encouragement from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. She has contributed to several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, as well as online and print magazine articles. She loves sharing stories of God’s faithfulness and grace. To learn more about her ministry, please visit her website at http://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for her monthly GraceNotes devotional.

Join the conversation: How has your earthly father influenced your view of your heavenly Father?