Yellow Rose Surprise

by Ginger Sanders @GingerSanders

Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…  Philippians 2:14-16 NASB

This afternoon I had pleasant surprise when I went out to water my roses. I had planted them two years ago in a different spot, but they had failed to thrive. We had recently transplanted them in hopes that a sunnier location would give them a second chance.  

Since then, they have perked up, reaching upward as the sunrise catches them each morning, rising to the noonday sky. Then they cool for a bit in the shade of the trees until the setting sun again peaks through and bathes them in its golden light. 

Today, as I walked around the house lugging the hose pipe (water hose for those of you in the north!) to spray them with the cool water, I almost tripped over what awaited me. There among the little red rose buds and some weeds bloomed a beautiful yellow rose! Now how in the world did that yellow rose come up from those transplanted red roses? I was so excited!! For you see, the yellow rose is my very favorite rose of all!! 

The yellow rose stands tall and proud…any rose can be a red rose, but it takes something special to stand out from the rest. My daddy only gave me one rose in his lifetime. I was riding around with him one day and he had to stop at Roper’s Florist, because he had been doing some work for Mr. Roper. He told me to stay in his truck and he would be right back out. He came out with a tissue paper and handed it to me. I unwrapped it to find a long stem yellow rose. It was a moment I will never forget. 

As I stood there today, enjoying this beauty among the ordinary, I thought about how we as Christians live among the thorns and weeds in this world. There were other roses there, ordinary red roses, budding and blooming as they do. But then, there among them was one that was different, standing out with its glow and grace.

Paul told the Philippians to “do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom  you appear as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life…” (Philippians 2:14-16 NASB). The Philippians were living in a pagan society, where the true God was not recognized. They regarded Caesar as deity, and found those who did not troublesome.

But rather than advising the Philippians to withdraw from this antagonistic population, he wanted them to live among them, holding fast to the truth of the gospel. They were to conduct themselves “in a manner worthy of the gospel; standing firm in one Spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27 NASB). They had something to offer to those living in darkness. And as they followed the example of Jesus’ humility and love (2:5-8), they would stand out from the crowd like lights in an otherwise dark sky.

We should be like that rose; we should bloom right where we are planted. When we live out our salvation, following Jesus’ example, we will stand out by reflecting the light that shines on us. Like an unexpected yellow rose blooming among the ordinary.

Yellow Rose Surprise – encouragement & insight from  @GingerSanders on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Ginger Sanders

About the author: Ginger Sanders has been a Chaplain Coordinator with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team since 2008. Ginger and her husband, Denny, have responded to many disasters such as tornadoes, floods, and storms, as well as the Aurora and Sandy Hook shootings.

Ginger’s book, He Goes Before Us, features chaplains’ stories of God at work in disaster. She’s also written, and two children’s booksRound Eyes: An Adopted Child’s View of Love, and the award-winning Fireflies, which explains death to children with hope and love. Ginger also co-hosts a Christian television show and has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows. She and her husband of 50 years have four children and eleven beautiful grandchildren.

Citizens of Heaven

by Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer

“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” Philippians 1:27 NLT

Katie Davis, a vivacious, passionate young woman, was just eighteen years old when she first went to Uganda on a mission trip. While she was there, God called her to go back. Forsaking college, her parents’ plans for her, a long-time boyfriend, and friends who thought she was crazy, Katie settled in Uganda and began a ministry. She also adopted thirteen Ugandan orphans.

Katie told her story in the 2011 bestseller Kisses from Katie, a book which continues to inspire millions of people to say “yes” to God, just as Katie did–wherever it leads. She writes, “Human beings long for a place to call home, a nest, a sanctuary of their own. I have many and none…But God whispers to me that I really have only one home, and that is with Him. I will never be content on this earth. I will always be a nomad. It was meant to be that way. My heart was created with a desire for a home, a nest, a sanctuary, and that can only be found with Him in heaven.”

Katie’s dedication to follow God wholeheartedly makes me wonder if am too comfortable. Have I forgotten that my permanent citizenship is in heaven, and not in any particular country? And what would my life look like if I took that to heart, every single day? I bet I wouldn’t feel as anxious about my paycheck (or lack of it). Certainly, the small frustrations I encounter would be put into an eternal perspective.

Paul urges the Philippian church—and today’s believers—to conduct themselves as citizens of heaven; to stand together with one purpose; to war together for the faith. When we forget that God deserves our first allegiance, we let all sorts of opportunities slip by us, and we begin to focus on unimportant details instead of the big picture.

Our purpose is to live out our faith in such a way that glorifies the Father and draws others to a relationship with him. It surely grieves God to see Christians fighting with one another instead of together. He must shake his head in frustration when we let small problems rule our thoughts, instead of focusing on his grace and love.

I want to be more like Katie—and the Apostle Paul. How about you?

PRAYER: Lord, give me the perspective shift I need to remember that I am a citizen of heaven. Remind me continually, Lord, of your truth and majesty. And help me to conduct myself in a manner worthy of the gospel—not on my own strength, but through yours. Thank you for the beauty of the earth and the joy that you give me through my family, friends, purpose, and accomplishments. But let me never forget that all of it is temporary. Creator of all things, I so earnestly desire to be more like you. But my humanity gets in the way. Forgive me for putting too much stock in earthly treasures, relationships, and status. And thank you for the forgiveness you offer, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Citizens of Heaven – encouragement from @DenaJDyer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

dena headshot

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.

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

Join the conversation: How does being a citizen of heaven impact your life here on earth?

Where Honking Is a Virtue

by Kathy Collard Miller @KathyCMiller

We were amazed at the driving skills of the Indonesians. Larry and I had flown into Jakarta to speak at a Christian conference. As our missionary friends drove us away from the airport, Larry’s and my eyes met as we simultaneously thought: “Are we back in Caracas, Venezuela?”

In both places, honking is a virtue. Unlike the United States, where a honk is usually accompanied with a rude gesture and a scowl, in Jakarta (and other places of the world, I’m sure), drivers honk to let others know, “I’m next to you, let’s cooperate.”

Yes! Cooperate! In Indonesia, there are more motor bikes than cars, and when you get two cars and three motorbikes whizzing around in the space of two lanes, everybody had better cooperate! It was like watching a finely choreographed dance. In the two weeks we drove extensively in Indonesia, we never saw a single automobile accident—although I’m told they occur. But because most people let others know with a honk that they are coming close, people seem to automatically juxtaposition themselves to allow everyone to go on their way safely.

As I wondered how this system was even possible, I realized that no one there had a sense of “space.” In America, I get angry if someone cuts me off by coming into “my” lane without warning. That’s my “space” and I’m entitled to be offended. How dare you come close to me! I’m here!

But in Indonesia, there’s no sense of “my space” or driving “rights.” No one is offended if you crowd in—and believe me, we saw crowding. I never knew two cars could drive along only inches apart and not hit. But it was because they were both cooperating.

I didn’t really want to listen to the Holy Spirit’s application for me as I thought about this, but I couldn’t ignore it. I recognized how easily I can feel offended, especially in the relationships closest to me. Can I be honest? Especially in my marriage!

If Larry doesn’t do what I want him to do, if Larry doesn’t consider my opinion always more important than his own, if Larry forgets to open the door for me, I get offended! He has somehow violated my personal space, my “rights.” I begin to see him as the enemy, instead of us being on the same team.

I also recognized that the drivers in Indonesia don’t take the other person’s behavior personally. They believe the honk is for their own benefit—so that as they come alongside, there will be enough space for both of them. Why can’t I remember that in my relationships? Most of the time, whatever the offending person has done usually is not even done on purpose, but by mistake. (And ironically, when I do the same thing to other people, I wonder why their nose is bent out of shape!)

By receiving an action as a personal offense, I allow it to become a statement about my own worth and value, when most likely it wasn’t meant to be that at all.

Paul exhorts us, “Stand united, singular in vision, contending for people’s trust in the Message, the good news, not flinching or dodging in the slightest before the opposition” (Philippians 1:27 MSG). When I remember the real enemy is Satan, whose intention is to divide and conquer, I remember to fight the real “opposition” and stand firmly united with those I love.

I’m working on my spirit of offense. Will you join me?

I…implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit, in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB

Where honking is a virtue – thoughts on cooperation with the Holy Spirit from @KathyCMiller on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller loves to travel and has been in more than 25 countries and has spoken in 8 of them. Her passion is to help others (and herself) live more for God’s glory than anyone or anything else.

Kathy is the author of more than 50 books, Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God's Glory by [Miller, Kathy Collard]including Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory Do you want a purer passion for serving God? Pure-Hearted will inspire you to focus on and desire  God’s glory and enjoy the benefits without guilt: benefits like selflessness, security, satisfaction, surrender, stability, and self-control.