No Firmer Place

by Sue Likkel

I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. Psalm 40: 1-2 (NIV)

Have you ever read a chapter of the Bible and gasped, “That’s me!” I can relate to Psalm 40 in so many ways, with one exception: waiting patiently.

When I was in my slimy pit – one of my own making – He indeed pulled me out, setting my feet firmly on Him, the solid rock. My terrible choices and guilt put me in that pit and His grace lifted me up and out. While I was mucking around down there, I knew I was ignoring God, thinking I could dabble in my sin, but it didn’t take long for me to realize I was in over my head. Knowing I needed a Savior, I cried out.

These cries were anguished, as in, lying on the floor, begging God. Did I wait for Him patiently? Most certainly not. When we’re feeling the sting of our consequences, it’s natural for us to want them over immediately. Lord, send relief! However, I soon learned that I would indeed need patience as the waves of reality washed over me.

My wise counselor had me imagine standing on the shoreline during a storm. In the beginning, it feels like I’m there during a hurricane where the wind and waves pummel me, one after the other, with no respite. Over time, the waves subside, almost imperceptibly and I can stay on my feet for longer periods of time. It wasn’t days, but months before I could look at the skies more often than the waves, thanking God for allowing me to remain standing.  Over time, the waves became more like a soft whoosh of water over my toes.

Not only did I need a lot of patience with myself as well as patience with the process, but I realized that patience comes with trust. If I don’t trust Jesus to save me, then I’ll try to fix the problem myself instead of waiting for His timing. I needed to trust that the process was just as important. Had I been rescued and immediately and been able to go on with my life, I would have missed all that I needed to know in order to avoid the traps that got me in the pit in the first place.

Patience will probably never be my strongest trait, but I’m growing in it – all because my God is patient. He is faithful in all He does and will never fail us. He is our rock. No firmer place exists.

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

About the author: Sue Likkel is a reader, writer, speaker, and teacher. A lover of words, she has spent decades in the classroom teaching English to middle and high schoolers. A child of God, she’s humbled and grateful for all He has done for her, like guiding her through challenges and blessing her with rich experiences. Native to Michigan but residing most of her life in the Pacific Northwest, she enjoys both the beaches and mountains with her husband, kids, and grandkids.

Join the conversation: How has God grown your patience?

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Love is a Choice

by Debora M. Coty

Marriage should be honored by all. Hebrews 13:4 NIV

I truly love my man, Chuck. I do. But even after 40 years of marriage, his thinking still befuddles me.

One day he came in from doing yard work, filthy from head to toe, and proudly announced that he’d fixed the sprinkler problem in the back flowerbed. 

Uh-oh.

Now you first have to understand that although the lawn is his job, the flowerbeds are my domain. I plan, plant, and carefully nurture each and every shrub. I often talk to them and sometimes even sing to them. Don’t laugh. They’re my little green babies. 

So imagine my absolute horror when I found my gorgeous six-foot philodendron stretched out like a dead body beside the garbage can. It had been hacked off at the base.

I was so devastated I could barely breathe as I stared at the gaping hole in the hedge of wondrously healthy philodendrons I had planted and lovingly coaxed to adulthood. Chuck, with his logical see-a-problem-so-fix-it brain, had decided that the plant had grown so big, it was blocking the sprinkler. What he failed to consider was that the whole point of the sprinkler was to grow the plant big.

The rage fuse lit in my innards and erupted into an inferno. I was ready to storm inside and scorch the remaining hairs off Chuck’s head. But something stopped me. It was the verse I’d read that morning: A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions” (Proverbs 18:2 NIV).

Honestly, I was so livid at that moment, I didn’t care whether I was a fool or not. But I knew Papa God did. So I just stood there, praying for a new “herspective” (my term for a woman’s point of view), sobbing quietly over my murdered plant-baby.

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Chuck watching me from the porch.

My mind flew to the funeral I’d recently attended of a woman I’d known since childhood. During the heart-melting eulogy, her husband of 58 years praised the way she’d held their marriage together through difficult times. He said in a grief-choked voice, “She never looked down on me in all those years – she always looked up at me in respect …even when I didn’t deserve it.”

Those words hit me hard. I was so convicted about criticizing my husband that I vowed to show him more respect. Even when it seemed undeserved. 

So standing there in my backyard, I prayed. “Lord, help me understand Chuck, not criticize him. I know he meant well. Glue my mouth shut; enable me to forgive him and appreciate all he does for me.”

Later, I returned to the flowerbed for damage control. There in the hedge gap stood my listing, drooping philodendron. Chuck had tried to replant the poor rootless thing. He’d even watered it.

I burst into tears again, but this time they were warm tears of gratitude. Oh, I knew there was no hope for the philodendron, but by me choosing to not blow up and criticize my husband, what could have been a marital Hiroshima … wasn’t.

According to Dr. Gary Campbell, “Love is a choice you make every day. And in choosing love, you’re following Christ’s example. Nothing is more Christlike than loving your spouse.”

So girlfriend, the next time you find your Godiva stash missing, because your guy is helping you stick to your diet, choose love. And remember the verse I just might have tattooed across my forehead, “Keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23 NLT).  

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

About the author:  Debora M Coty is an AWSA Certified Writing Coach, speaker, and award-winning author of over 40 books including the bestselling Too Blessed to be Stressed series with nearly 2 million books sold in multiple languages worldwide. Deb lives, loves and laughs in central Florida with her horticulturally-challenged husband Chuck and five precocious grandpals nearby. Join Deb’s fun-loving community of BFFs (Blessed Friends Forever) at www.DeboraCoty.com

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Debora’s newest release, Too Blessed to be Stressed for Momsaddresses the heart needs of moms drowning in the churning stress-pool of busyness. In her beloved mom-to-mom, grin-provoking style, Coty offers empathy, laughs, real-life stories, practical parenting survival tips, and fresh biblical insights to help you hear Papa God’s still, small voice through life’s chaos.

Join the conversation: How have you shown love by keeping quiet recently?

My Marvelous Mentor

by Louise Tucker Jones

This happened so that God’s mighty works might be displayed in him. John 9:3(CEB)

It was a difficult day. In truth, it was a difficult week. An emotional week that left me feeling exhausted and inadequate. Night came and there was still so much to do. Jay, my son with Down Syndrome and significant heart disease, still needed his bath as well as warm compresses and ointment for an eye infection. And along with his nightly snack of oatmeal, he needed ice on an injured knee and a little compassion. Finally, teeth were brushed, humidifier filled, and oxygen ready for nighttime sleeping.

Jay wiggled into his bed comfortably while I sang “Jesus Loves Me,” then as usual, I sat on the edge of his bed for nighttime prayers. And as is our habit, Jay placed his hand in mine and I started my prayer. “Holy Father,” I prayed, then paused. Not my norm. I paused a little longer then suddenly blurted out, “Lord, we are tired!” Again, not my norm, and it struck Jay so funny that he giggled out loud and patted me on the back and said, “Good Girl, Mom!” We both laughed and hugged then finished our prayer and goodnight kisses.

What a difference that honesty toward the Lord and Jay’s sweet affirmation made to me. It brought me back to what was important and even relieved some of my fatigue. Too often I forget Jesus’ words in Matthew 11:28 (NLT) “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” I often overwhelm myself with a mental list of all I should be doing or even should have already done. I sometimes have to sit myself down and say, “You are not called to be perfect!”

Yes, God is perfection, but He does not expect perfection from us. What a relief! We will make mistakes. We will say or do the wrong thing at times. We will need forgiveness—every day! As a mom, a friend, or a Christian, I will never be perfect. But as long as I love and speak Jesus to my family and others in my life, then I am following the Lord’s command to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” (Luke 10:27 NIV).

I’m so thankful for the truths God teaches me through my son. Just like the Lord, Jay offers unconditional love to me. And no, my son is not perfect. He can be stubborn and ornery but is also quick to forgive.

Sometimes when I’m trying to teach Jay lifesaving habits, he ignores me, not understanding the importance of a particular skill. Too many times the fear that he won’t learn that life lesson leads me to frustration instead of patience, or even an angry comment. Jay doesn’t understand the reason for my fear or anger and when I see the hurt I caused him, it breaks my heart. I go to him immediately and ask for forgiveness, telling him Mom was wrong. And just like Jesus, he always forgives with a hug, and while I hold him close and blink back tears, I silently thank the Lord for this marvelous mentor with Down syndrome.

 “Holy Father, thank You for the gifts of love, joy and forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus that you invite us to rest in You. We love you! Amen.”

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

About the author: Louise Tucker Jones is a speaker, columnist and award-winning author. Having a son with Down syndrome, Louise writes extensively concerning people with special needs, co-authoring the Gold Medallion award-winning book, Extraordinary Kids. Her poignant life stories have been published in hundreds of magazines and anthologies, including over a dozen Chicken Soup for the Soul titles. 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. Find her at LouiseTJ@cox.net LouiseTuckerJones.com

Join the conversation: Who is your mentor? What have you learned lately?

It’s Your Turn

by Christina Rose

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy. Isaiah 61:7 ESV

Young Joseph was greatly favored by his father Jacob, who gave him a beautiful coat of many colors. His older brothers were extremely jealous of him, and when Joseph began sharing visions of someday becoming a powerful leader that would rule over all of them, the brothers were enraged. They sold Joseph into slavery, where he was severely tested for years. Ultimately, the visions God had shown him were realized. Joseph became a powerful leader that ruled over the land and his family, and he never went back to the pit again. The trials he had been through had led him to triumph. It was his turn.

My coat of many colors hung in the closet, waiting for me to head out into the world again. It was a beautiful, hand-stitched silk coat of lavender, blue, rose, gold and green that I had chanced upon a few years prior when I was going through harsh trials. Like Joseph’s story, I liked to think finding this coat was a sign that I would also overcome the trials I was going through and that the visions I continually had of great success and joy would be realized.  

Now, as my 60th birthday approached, I was on disability while recovering from hip surgery and the realization of those visions seemed distant. On top of this, my home and marriage were gone. With my children away at college, I was alone and discouraged. I was living in a tiny expensive apartment, clinging to hope, working long hours until I fell ill and needed surgery.

My daughters came home for my birthday with take-out Chinese food. While I was grateful for their company, it was hard for me to hear that their dad had just thrown an extravagant birthday party for himself at the Yacht Club, while I was struggling on disability. The girls shared that many of the guests had attended our wedding had asked about me.  

“I hope you lied,” I said. “I hope you told them that I inherited a fortune and was happily traveling the world with my new husband.”  I then silently said a prayer to keep my mouth shut until I had a better attitude. “If you keep talking, it won’t be long before you’re saying something really wrong, prove you’re wise from the very start – just bite your tongue and be strong!” (Proverbs 10:19 TPT)

After dinner, we opened our fortune cookies. Mine read, “You have a charming way with words, and you should write a book.”  I stared at this fortune for hours, and later that night, I began writing.  Within a few months I had written my first book.  It was the beginning of many articles, blogs, books, travels, adventures and meeting new friends.  It was my turn.

Esther was a young orphan who went through great preparation to become queen. She then risked death by acting to save her people from destruction. She succeeded with glory. It was her turn.  Ruth stood by her mother-in-law’s side when they were both widowed.  She worked in the fields to provide for them. The owner was so impressed, he asked for her hand in marriage. Ruth went from working the fields to owning the fields. It was her turn. 

God’s ways are higher than ours, so at times we may not understand His plan and timing. When we draw on the wisdom of the Bible, we see many examples where what the enemy uses to harm, God uses for good. He can turn the most challenging situation around and give us a fresh start and hope. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV).

Every day is a new day to make new friends, write a book, learn new languages, travel around the world and to speak to someone or even a crowd to encourage them. Today it’s your turn to try something new to glorify God and to testify to His faithfulness. “ For all of God’s promises find their “yes” of fulfillment in him. And as his “yes” and our amen” ascend to God, we bring him glory!(2 Corinthians 1:20 TPT).

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

About the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. She is a world traveler, surfer, foodie, cappuccino loving chocoholic and a devoted mom to kids and dogs and auntie to many nieces and nephews who live around the world.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. With her young family on the verge of falling apart, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself.  After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power is available to us all, especially those who need hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Has God ever shown you it was your turn? Please share!

Nine Things to Do While Waiting

by Janet Holm McHenry

You’ve heard of The Dating Game, right? How about The Waiting Game?

I’m terrible at waiting. Just one example comes from my early teaching days when I chaired our school’s accreditation review committee. If I delegated various writing sections of the report to certain teachers, I knew I’d have to wait until the last minute to put it together. Instead, I wrote those sections myself. Not good, because the report was probably not representative of our whole school.

Another example was from my role as senior class advisor. Many year-end activities fell on my shoulders–senior project presentations, senior trip, senior banquet, baccalaureate, and even the commencement ceremony program, practice, and its decor. Many details had to fall into place within a two-week time period at the time of the year when, as an English teacher, I was also grading final exams, essays, journals, and tons of makeup work.

Nonetheless, despite telling myself that I needed to let the senior class leaders take responsibility for making their activities come together, I often jumped in and put details into place. That meant for a frazzled me.

Unfortunately, I can do the same with God’s plans for my life too. Instead of waiting for Him to work or direct my steps, I jump in and manipulate a situation. Saul, the first king of Israel, did this too. Instead of waiting for the priest to offer the sacrifice, he decided to do it himself. He wanted victory against the Philistines right then and knew that giving the sacrifice was critical to having the Lord on his side. However, he had forgotten his role, which did not include taking over the priest’s duties. He wasn’t fully trusting God for the results but taking matters into his own hands (see 1 Samuel 13:1-14).

Waiting is not easy–whether it be for a phone call or while in a line at the grocery store or for news about a medical test. However, waiting teaches us to rely on God and his sovereign plan, which is always best.

There are ways to occupy our restless minds and fingers while we wait for an answer or for direction:

  • Research an idea for a project.
  • Start a much-procrastinated project. While I was waiting to hear back on a bunch of proposals, I decided to get certified as a life coach and am now finding great fulfillment in helping others move forward with their lives.  I also created an online masterclass.  
  • Clean. Do your spring cleaning.
  • Organize your desk, your filing system, your taxes, your closets, your cupboards, your drawers. Glean out things you do not need, and give them to charity.
  • Reach out to a friend or family member. Write a letter or give them a call or even visit. They actually might be waiting to know someone loves and cares about them.
  • Get some exercise. Get out of the house and go for a walk or hike.
  • Work on a craft project. I took up sourdough breadmaking this past winter, and it’s been a very therapeutic hands-on project that others are enjoying as well.
  • Text several friends and tell them you’re thinking of and praying for them.
  • Get some rest. Perhaps a daylong sabbatical is needed. Read a book. Play the piano. Take a drive to see something beautiful.

God’s answer may be just around the corner. As we wait for him, we are developing discipline, patience, and perspective in a looking up posture.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! Psalm 27:14 ESV

PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline by [Janet Holm McHenry]

About the author: Janet McHenry is a multi-tasking maniac who is gradually learning that waiting can be a good thing indeed. A national speaker, she is the author of 24 books, including the bestselling PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength and Discipline (WaterBrook/RandomHouse). She would love to connect with you on social media or through her website, janetmchenry.com.

Join the conversation: What do you do when you are waiting?

Waiting with Hope

by Dena Dyer

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Psalm 105:4 ESV

The people of Israel had not heard from their prophets in over 400 years. In the midst of cruel taxation laws and heavy religious burdens, the long-awaited Messiah became a distant hope, a flicker of promise almost extinguished by doubt and fatigue.

Then a star appeared over a smelly manger in Bethlehem, and rumors began to surface about a child-king who’d been born to a poor man from Nazareth and his young bride. Angels sang to sweaty shepherds, who bowed in worship at a trough housing a promise kept. Some Jews—such as Anna, Simeon, and Elizabeth–worshipped; others stayed mired in confusion.

Thirty long years passed before Jesus began his public ministry. He healed the infirm, emptied graves, and forgave sins. And still, doubts persisted. After a very public trial, crucifixion, and resurrection, thousands of skeptics believed.

Even so, many people still await the Messiah.

Because we as humans are temporal beings in an ever-decaying world, we have a hard time waiting. We have an even more difficult time believing in promises.

My youngest son prayed like this for years: “God, I hope that Dad has a good day at work. I hope I can go to Morgan’s this weekend. I hope Uncle Marty’s cancer gets better.”

I wondered whether I should correct him when he said “hope,” because I was only familiar with the Webster’s Dictionary definition: “to want something to happen or be true and think that it could happen or be true.”

Then I learned the biblical definition of hope. In the Old Testament, hope is often translated from the Hebrew word yachal meaning “trust.” In the New Testament, the word hope is used for elpis, which can be translated “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.”

Therefore, hope–in the biblical sense–equals trust and faith. Paul wrote in Romans 8:24-25 (ESV), “In this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

As our world groans from a pandemic, political division, injustice, and terrorism; as we slog through financial and familial stress, job changes, and health crises; as our children face temptations we could have never imagined—let’s not forget that we trust in what we do not see.

Let’s wait for Jesus with patience, encouraging one another to expect and anticipate with pleasure his second Advent, when he will set all things right.

Let’s wait in peace.

Lord, my spirit grows weak at the thought of my children inheriting a world that we haven’t stewarded well…a faith that we haven’t lived out the way we should. Father, you’re our hope and peace. You can comfort us with your presence and your Word. Let us not neglect it, or you, when we are afraid, but instead run to you with open minds and hearts. And Jesus? Thank you for your ridiculous love. Give me assurance that you are still at work in this world

*This devotional was originally posted as a part of The High Calling devotional series.

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

About the author: Dena Dyer is an award-winning author, speaker, and non-profit leader. She loves encouraging hurting, harried women with humor and hope. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook, or at her website.

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You’re invited to download a free copy of Dena’s devotional book, Grace for the Race, which uses real-life stories, Scripture, and gentle humor to soothe the souls of frazzled moms. By being honest and vulnerable about the ways God has shown Himself to her as she’s struggled with motherhood, Dena hopes to help women realize that they’re not alone, and they’re not crazy!

Join the conversation: For what do you hope during this difficult season of uncertainty?

Gift Wrapped…for You

by Shirley Brosius

Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.                                                                                James 1:17 NKJV

My grandson Scott gave me two bugs. Oh, not real ones. They are ornamental bugs with a terracotta look. One is dark red; the other, orange. Both sport bulging eyes, multicolored spots, springy metal antenna, and hooks for feet.

One bug hangs on the handle of a mason jar filled with clear yellow balls with a solar lid that lights at night; the other sits by the jar.

The bugs warm my heart because Scott picked them out for me himself. He knows my love of nature and wanted to give me something that his little boy heart loved as well.

I love the gifts I get from grandchildren that reflect their knowledge of who I am.

Perhaps we might view the people, things, and situations in our lives as special gifts God has picked out just for us. “Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17 NKJV). God loves us and is for us. He wants nothing less than His best for us. So we can look around with His eyes, from His perspective. We may not expect certain circumstances, but we can accept them as permitted by God, Who loves us and walks with us through them.

We may take people for granted. Our spouses will always be there to bring home the bread and milk, to take out the trash. Our children may annoy us with antics more often than delight us with cuteness. Our neighbors may be ordinary people whom we rarely see and make little effort to do so. After all, we don’t have that much in common.

Then there are the people with whom we work. Do we know anything about their families? Their cares and their concerns? Their joys and their pleasures?

People in our churches come and go Sunday after Sunday. We say “Hi” and “See you next week.” We may offer friendly greetings, but do we ever invite them into our homes?

But what if God brings people into our lives for specific purposes? What if He means for them to enrich our lives and for us to enrich theirs? We may be missing out by failing to appreciate or get to know them.

We might also look at situations in our lives as provided by a loving God. That burnt dinner. That challenge at work. That car that won’t start.

Challenges bless us with the gift of patience, one of the spiritual fruits listed in Scripture (Galatians 5:22). Challenges force us to rely on others, to work together to solve a problem. And as we do, we serve as God’s image-bearer to a watching world.

Take a second at the people and situations that touch your life. They are God’s gifts to you. How do you feel about them? Is there anything you might do to enhance that relationship?

“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1 NKJV). Perhaps that means we shall stop wanting what’s on the other side of the street and accept what’s in our own backyards as God’s gift.

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Gift Wrapped…for You – encouragement from Shirley Brosius on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Shirley BrosiusAbout 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 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 pass

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ing on her faith—and cookies—to two married sons and five grandchildren.

Join the conversation: Do you struggle with accepting certain people or situations in your life as God’s gift to you?

 

How To A Hit Curve Ball

by Stacy Sanchez

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 ESV

Hot and exhausted, fourteen sweaty (and may I say stinky?) baseball players and I sat in the outfield grass, eating orange slices and guzzling fruit juice drinks while regurgitating the details of our game.

“Wow! That was ugly.” The team’s shortstop blurted out.

“Yeah! We sucked!” The words spat out of my catcher’s mouth along with the orange seed he launched across the field.

I tried to encourage them in their accomplishments. “Yeah… that was a tough game. You boys just played your hearts out against a team that is way more experienced than you. They are older and have played as a team longer. I’m seriously proud of you all though. You guys just went up against a pitcher that knows how to throw a nasty curve ball. Until today, you haven’t even seen one. You were swinging at those pitches like you were swatting flies, but you didn’t give up.”

“How the heck are you supposed to hit a curve ball, anyway?” my youngest player mumbled, trying to mask a quivering lip.

“You wait on it,” I explained. “You can’t react to the pitch and swing as soon as you think you should, because the ball will break on you, and you’ll miss it. Don’t worry. I’ll teach you. It’s only the beginning of the season. You will get it, but it will take patience to learn, young grasshoppers. You will have to learn to wait.”

The curve ball is a difficult pitch to hit. When thrown correctly, the spinning of the seams tricks a hitter’s brain into thinking the ball is diving at a steeper angle than it is. The art of hitting a round ball with a round bat is already one of the hardest things for a young player to do, but add a spinning breaking ball into the mix? Forget about it.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV).

I don’t know about you, but waiting isn’t the easiest thing for me. When an out-of-the-blue problem comes hurling at me at eighty miles an hour, I want to jump on it right away and either fix it, finish it, or feed my face with food until it passes. Waiting is not at the top of my to-do list. I’ve had to be trained to wait.

The night Jesus was arrested, he told his disciples to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NIV).

With his arrest and crucifixion at hand, Jesus knew the boys were about to be thrown a curve ball. The disciples were going to experience the most gut-wrenching experience of their lives and needed to watch Jesus so he could train them how to handle it. What were they to do? Wait. Not react. Wait on the Lord for direction. (As it turned out, Peter would need a bit more practice with this one.)    

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7 ESV). What should we do when an unexpected crisis is thrown at us? Wait. The enemy would like us to panic and react right away. He would love nothing more than to see a child of God in a state of worry and confusion. God has taught us a better way–to wait. Don’t react, but watch, pray, listen, and wait on Him for what to do next.

“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 ESV).

Like my young baseball team learning to hit a curve ball, we need to practice waiting until it becomes second nature. So when a curve ball is pitched at us we will know how to knock the snot out of it. (That’s baseball-ese. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.)

Father, we know that we will be thrown curve balls in life. Whether it be an unexpected divorce, an illness, the death of a loved one, a rejection, a prodigal child, and now this viral epidemic, crises will come. Help us, Lord to not react right away, but, to wait on you for direction. Maybe you will have us do nothing but rest. Maybe you will have us swing for the fences. We won’t know until we wait on You for the call. Help us to wait.

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How To A Hit Curve Ball – encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: When was the last time God called you to wait?

Disturbing the Peace

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.     Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Every single morning, he stood right outside my window at precisely 5:40 a.m. and crowed—loudly. Uganda, situated on the equator, where the sun always rises at 6:00 a.m., provides consistency for roosters. For the better part of my stay, at the first hint of daylight, this annoying bird sounded the alarm. The only break from this strutting rooster’s morning routine were the days we were away on mission.

After returning to the U.S., I almost missed him—but not really. I still got to hear him occasionally though, because my friend and host, Monique, planned our phone conversations to discuss ministry when it was late at night here, but early in Uganda, just about rooster crowing time.

On one of our conversations, something seemed off. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I realized I hadn’t heard the rooster crowing in the background. Distracted, I just had to ask. “Monique, where is the rooster? I don’t hear him.”

She simply replied, “I don’t have a rooster.”

Confused, I laughed and said, “What do you mean? Of course, you do! He woke me up every morning like an alarm clock.” We went back and forth about it a few times, with her Insisting she didn’t have a rooster, until I finally pressed her, “What happened to him, Monique?”

And in her lovely East African accent, she replied simply, “He was disturbing me, so I ate him.”

Thinking back on that conversation, I can’t help but chuckle at my friend’s solution to an annoying problem. But it also makes me think about how we deal with our own crowing roosters—and I’m not talking about the feathered variety.

Most of us have at least one person strutting around disturbing our peace. We might not serve them up on our dinner table like Monique, but we can be just as biting in our responses. In the blink of an eye, we can verbally chew someone up, spit them out and then find a way to justify it by pointing to their incessant crowing.

But God has a better way for us to deal our roosters, especially if we want to live a life that glorifies our God. It’s found in the Bible: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV).

This sounds like an easy answer—“Just be kind”. But when you have someone crowing in your ear, it’s a lot easier said than done.

The verse just before the one I quoted says: “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” God knows it’s hard, but when we hold anger, bitterness and malice in our hearts, especially after we have been forgiven of similar things (and even worse), it grieves the Holy Spirit.

Today, when your peace is disturbed by that crowing rooster, instead of serving him/her up for dinner, take a moment, remind yourself of the price that was paid for you. Don’t grieve the Holy Spirit. Instead, look for a way to respond with kindness and forgive.

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Disturbing the Peace – insight from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: How do you cope when you are angry?

Mix, Knead, Rise, and Roll!

by Delores Liesner @DLiesner

Our Prussian Grandma Minnie’s bread was legendary. Every meal was enhanced by her  delicious bread. She never let a bit of food go to waste. To make leftovers more palatable, she rolled out her favorite bread dough, covered it with chopped up bits from previous meals, and served the freshly baked treat with gravy. Her dough could also hold jelly for breakfast or be filled with ground meats for a savory bread. My favorite kind of rolls were the ones that held sweetened walnut or poppy seed filling. Everything was better when served with Grandma Minnie’s bread.

The filled bread’s original name, Potica, meant rolled up. Her children nicknamed it Roly-Poly, because to feed her family of 16, Grandma’s original recipe produced two long chubby rolls equal to six loaves of bread! Her dough took much of the day to mix, knead, rise, and finally roll out before baking. Lots of time to pray and to thank God for the abundance from left-over bits, Grandma always said.

Grandma taught by example, much as the disciples did. The generations that followed her continued an appreciation of abundance by topping weekend baked potatoes with a week’s worth of meal left-overs. We also considered a long wait anywhere to be a prayer opportunity.

Wait a minute – what was that last one?  Believe it or not, Grandma’s bread baking taught me that having to wait is an unexpected form of abundance! If we have to wait for a light to change, the person ahead of us in line to make up their mind, or a machine to complete a transaction, we’ve been given a gift!

Next time you find yourself waiting, look up and around you. Pray for those in proximity to you and ask God how you can cheerfully show patience in the wait. There’s a great example in Grandma’s baking routine:

Mix – Accept all the ingredients in your life right now as God’s recipe for growth. A mouthful of flour or cocoa may not be too appetizing, but when combined with other ingredients, can be more than palatable – and even becomes desirable!

Knead – Work those life ingredients together with a prayer of patience and hope – these two ingredients are the sugar and yeast of life – without them, the results will be flat and unappetizing.

Rise – While you are required to wait, ask God to show you how to turn what you have into an abundance. Knowing God can use it all to give you something good can change your attitude.

Roll – Use what you have been given to create something new. How can you turn your moments into mementoes?

As for the bake: thank God for the heat of your situation and be ready to learn from it. This response can become a habit.

What have you learned and received while waiting that you can put into practice today?

 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.             Romans 12:12 NIV

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Mix, Knead, Rise, and Roll! – insight on #GodsLove from @DLiesner on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

delores liesnerAbout the author: Delores Liesner loves to reveal the dynamic hope and confidence found in the heritage of our personal God. She writes from Racine, WI., is a CLASS graduate, 21st Century Grandma and Life Tales columnist. She has published hundreds of stories and articles. Check out her Amazon Author page!

Delores’ book, Be the Miracle, will Be the Miracle by [Liesner, Delores]deepen your walk with God, help you to notice others’ needs, and give you practice hearing and answering His call.

Join the conversation: How do you use waiting as a positive opportunity?