A Word of Hope

by Crystal Bowman

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love. Psalm 33:18 NIV

It’s become sort of trendy to choose a word or phrase to focus on for the coming year. Maybe you’ve been doing this for years, or maybe this is new to you. Either way, I like this idea. The phrase I picked for 2020 was hang in there. In the fall of 2019, we had some sudden and unexpected changes in our lives, and I knew the adjustment to these changes would be long and hard. We had to leave our home in paradise (Florida) and return to our home in the Midwest for a variety of reasons. I was doing my best to “hang in there.” Then the pandemic reached the US and once again I was adjusting to sudden and unexpected changes.

Along with my 2020 phrase, I also chose a Bible verse: 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).

I taped the verse to my bathroom mirror and read it every day. During the months of 2020, I had multiple reasons to be anxious and worried about the future. But every day, as I soaked in the words to that verse and chose to thank God, His peace filled my soul.

In John chapter 14, Jesus begins preparing His disciples for His departure. Since He would not be with them much longer, He offered words of comfort and the promise of the Holy Spirit. He knew they would be troubled because they didn’t understand all that would soon take place. He explained that the Holy Spirit would help them remember Jesus’s words and instructions. I love what Jesus says to them in verse 27 (NIV): “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

The peace we receive from the Holy Spirit in the midst of our anxious moments is a peace that we can’t explain. This peace does not come from the world, it only comes through faith. Even when troubles swirl around us like an F-5 tornado, we can experience inner peace when we belong to Jesus.

I began 2021 with a new word to focus on. That word is hope. There are two definitions of the word hope. One is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. The second definition is a feeling of trust. I chose the second. I trust that God will continue to be my source of strength and peace in the coming year. I trust that my life is in His hands and that nothing will happen to me outside of His will.

My Bible verse to focus on this year is Hebrews 10:23 NIV: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Do you have a word or verse for 2021? I’d love for you to share in the comment section below. May God richly bless you in the coming year and fill your life with peace, hope, and joy. 

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

About the author: Crystal Bowman is a bestselling, award-winning author of more than 100 books including, Our Daily Bread for Kids.She and her husband have three married children and seven huggable grandchildren.

When a child’s grandparent or great-grandparent is afflicted with dementia, it’s difficult to explain the disease in a way that helps the child understand why the person they love is not the same. I Love You to the Stars–When Grandma Forgets, Love Remembersis a picture book inspired by a true story to help young children understand that even though Grandma is acting differently, she still loves them–to the stars!

Join the conversation: What is your word for 2021?

Bulldozer Mom

by Sharon Wilharm @SharonWilharm

We’ve all heard the term helicopter mom. It’s used to describe those parents who hover too closely over their children, working to the extreme to protect their kids from experiencing failure or harm. As the homeschooling mom of an only child, I wouldn’t say I was a helicopter mom. No, I went way beyond that. Instead, I’m afraid I was more of a bulldozer mom, pushing my way in front of my child to pave the way for her, then standing between her and anyone or anything that might cause her discomfort.

At the time, I thought I was helping her. Eventually, however, God got my attention and showed me that I needed to back away. In my efforts to protect my daughter, I had totally taken God out of the equation. As her Mama Bear, I felt it was up to me to make sure no harm came to my young one.

I had forgotten that she was not just my child. She was God’s child. And as hard as it was for me to comprehend, He loved her even more than I did.

Once I loosened my grip and gave her to the Lord, she was able to grow in ways she’d not been able to before. God had amazing work in store for her, but I had to relax my grip in order for her to go where God was calling.

As a mother, Jochebed was quite the opposite of me. She had every reason to hold tight to her newborn. The king was trying to kill all the baby boys, so she hid her precious son as long as she could. But the time came when she had to step out in faith and put him in God’s hands.

She carefully put together a basket made of reeds, placed her sweet baby boy in it, and shoved him off into the Nile River. I can only imagine the prayers she sent forth as she watched the basket weaving its way down the river towards Pharaoh’s palace. And God answered her prayers, working out all the details for Jochebed to not only get to care for and nurse her baby boy, but to get paid to do so.

Then the time came again for her to give him up, this time for good. Once he was weaned, Jochebed took Moses to the palace where he was to remain for the rest of his growing up years and early adulthood.

I’m sure that in Jochebed’s plans for her son’s life, she never imagined co-parenting with an Egyptian princess, but look at how God used each of these women to impact his life. Jochebed provided the spiritual training, teaching him the ways of our Lord. But Pharaoh’s daughter also helped mold him, providing him a quality education and influence. God knew that Moses needed more than just one Hebrew mom. He needed the influence of both women in order to fulfill the mighty task God had in store for him.

How often do we think we know what our children need, when in reality, we have no clue? Fortunately for Moses, Jochebed was strong in her faith and trusted God with her beloved son. She allowed God to work in ways that made no sense to her, but took life day by day in obedience to Him even when that meant handing her precious child over to a pagan princess.

We, too, need to trust Him even when we don’t understand what He’s doing.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”     Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV

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Bulldozer Mom – encouragement on #FollowingGod from @SharonWilharm on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Sharon Wilharm headshotAbout the author: Sharon Wilharm is a female filmmaker, Christian speaker, and ministry leader and podcast host. Sharon’s motion pictures have screened in theaters, festivals, and churches around the world. She’s been recognized with the “Shibboleth Award for Visionary Leadership in the Field of Christian Filmmaking”, four ICVM Crown Awards, and dozens of “Best Director”, “Best Writer”, and “Best of Fest” awards. She is a popular guest on radio, television, and podcast shows. You can learn more about Sharon at her websiteFacebookTwitter, or Instagram.All God's Women | Sharon Wilharm - Christian Storyteller

Sharon’s podcast All God’s Women is a journey through the Bible one woman at a time. She brings to life their stories and shares,  life lessons from each of the ancient women, applying them to our modern day lives.

Join the conversation: When have you had to trust God even though you didn’t understand what He was doing?

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?

Faith Over Fear

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

My mother was a fearful person. As a child, I learned not to approach her unannounced. At times, I’d forget to call her name or make noise before I entered a room. I’ll always remember the look of fear on her face and the way she jumped when I “sneaked up” on her.

As Mama aged, her level of fear increased. My father’s death–nineteen years prior to Mama’s–contributed to her anxiety. She worried constantly about finances, taxes, potential home repairs, the health and safety of her loved ones, and world events.

One day I mentioned something I read in the newspaper and a report I heard on the evening news. “I don’t read the paper anymore or watch the news,” Mama said. “I don’t even like to answer the phone, because I’m afraid it will be bad news.”

I sat down beside my mom, held her hand, and said, “You don’t have to be afraid of the future. God has taken care of you all these years. He isn’t going to abandon you now.” Tears glazed her eyes and her chin quivered. As we held hands, I prayed for her. I asked God to help her trust his unfailing love and power to protect. Then we looked up several verses about fear.

The Bible addresses fear over three hundred times, coupled with the directives to be courageous, strong, remember God’s promises, his faithfulness, protection, and to trust rather than fear.

Today, as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of COVID-19, fear seems to tap us on the shoulder at every turn. Media reports tend to focus on worst-case scenarios, enhancing fears and increasing anxiety. Shortages, protests, political bantering, misinformation, and medical concerns combine to discourage, disillusion, and depress. But we don’t have to allow fear to control our lives.

Near the end of her life, Mama seemed calmer, although anxiety sometimes surfaced. A few months before her death, a hospice worker identified my mother’s fears as classic symptoms of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), the result of some frightening experiences in childhood, including the death of a first-grade friend.

Following my mother’s death, I looked at the flyleaf of her Bible and found two verses in her handwriting:

“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 NIV

“Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Peter 5:7 TLB

I believe these verses and prayer lessened Mama’s fears and provided a measure of peace in the final years of her life. Like my mother, you can make the decision not to let fear control you. Don’t allow COVID-19, or any other challenges you face, to paralyze you with fear and prevent you from following God’s designated path for your life. Fortify yourself with Scripture and prayer and choose faith over fear.

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Faith Over Fear – encouragement from @CandyArrington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Candy ArringtonAbout the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). 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 book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.

Join the conversation: How are you managing fear in light of what we are seeing all around us?

Kicking Out Worry

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27 NIV

Is worry the unwelcome guest in your home?

Worry can stress you out, damage your family relationships, and ultimately give you an ulcer.

And the dangerous thing about worry is that it creeps into our lives gradually and makes its home with us before we notice it’s there. It usually enters our front door in the form of two words: What if?

What if I lose my job?

What if I can’t pay this?

What if it’s not benign?

What if my worst fear is realized?

But you don’t have to live with worry anymore. At the root of our “what if” questions and greatest fears is what you and I really believe about God’s character. When our minds play through the various what ifs, the question we are really asking is “What if God isn’t able?” “What if God isn’t good?” “What if God can’t handle this?”

And that is not an attitude, question, or mindset I want dwelling in my home. And I don’t think you do either.

So, it’s time to kick it out the door.

God’s Word tells us: “Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 CSB).

As you and I give God all of our what ifs and worries He can calm our hearts and remind us that He is in absolute control. Then His peace comes to dwell with us, instead of those fearful thoughts.

When you and I trust God with what is closest to our hearts, we are saying “You, God, are capable. You are trustworthy. And all my worries and what ifs are in vain.”

We are also saying to those around us: “I trust God will work this out in your life and mine,” modeling trust and faith before them.

Give God your concerns today and by doing so, you’ll be kicking worry out of your home and welcoming a new family member: trust.

Lord, my worry factor is directly related to how well I know You. When I truly know You and understand all that You are capable of, I can’t help but trust You. Grow my faith and my relationship with You so I can know You intimately.  There is no more room for worry in my life. Only trust.

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Kicking Out Worry – encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books. For more on her books and ministry, or to see if her coaching services can help you write your next book, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Every mom is concerned about her children and teenagers. But when does legitimate care cross the line into fear and worry, which Scripture commands us to avoid? 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom will start you on the path to worry-free parenting and a positive relationship between you and your kids.

Join the conversation: What characteristic about God is most helpful to you when you start to worry?

Are you Testing God or Thanking Him?

by Linda Evans Shepherd @LindaShepherd

Some years ago, my new acquaintance, ‘Melissa,’ and I met for the first time at the hotel registration desk, because we were to be roomies at a conference that weekend.

A few minutes later, as we pulled our luggage into our hotel room, Melissa realized her purse was missing. She quickly called the front desk.

“No ma’am, we do not have a purse here,” the gentleman told her.

Tears filled Melissa’s eyes and she turned to me. “What will I do without my wallet?  How will I get back through security at the airport?”

“It’s time to pray,” I said as I bowed my head. “Help Melissa find her purse!” I cried to the Lord. “In fact, we thank you in advance.”

Melissa snapped, “I don’t approve of that.”

I looked up, alarmed. “Approve of what?”

“Thanking God before he answers. I won’t do that.”

“Well,” I said. “I love to thank God in advance, to show I’m trusting him…”

“No! You are being presumptuous.”

A knocked sounded at the door and Melissa swung it open as she continued to reprimand me. “I will have no part in a prayer like that.”

The bellhop held up her purse. “Does this belong to you?”

Melissa turned and stared, dumbfounded. “Yes, where did you find it?”

“It slid into one of the potted plants next to the front desk.”

Melissa quickly pulled out her wallet to find nothing was missing.

I quietly thanked the good Lord, for answering my prayer even as I prayed it. I understand not everyone jumps onto the same prayer bandwagon as me, ‘the prayer lady,’ but let’s consider: is it wrong to thank God before he answers?

Look no further than Philippians 4: 6-7, which says, “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.”

I believe this is important, because our prayers should not be a way we test God. Our prayers should be an expression of trusting God. For this much I know, even if God had not answered my prayer for Melissa, he would have helped Melissa make it through her travels without her purse. So my thanks is an expression of trust, no matter how God answers.

My prayer was not a test to see how much God loved Melissa. His love for Melissa is a given. Neither was I testing God to see if he would obey me. No way. My prayer was simply a request to the one I love, the one who loved me first.

What request do you need to ask God today? Thank him, even before he answers. For after all, he hears you, he loves you, and he is moving in answer to your prayers even before you pray.

Thank you God! And thank you Melissa. I’m glad God answered my prayer, and I’m glad you found your purse.

“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.” Psalm 91:15 NASB

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Are you Testing God or Thanking Him? – Insight from @LindaShepherd on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher
of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

The Potluck Club: In the small Colorado town of Summit View, a surprising multi-generational mix of women from Grace Church meet once a week to pass a hot dish and to pray. But the Potluck Club, as they call themselves, is a recipe for disaster when they send up enough misinformed prayers to bring down a church. And the funny thing: the more they pray, the more troubles seem to come their way. It isn’t until they invite God to the table that they discover friendship is the spice of life, and a little dash of grace, just like salt, goes a long way.

With charming, down-home characters, humor, poignancy, and a recipe in every chapter, The Potluck Club will keep readers hungering for more.

Join the conversation: How has God come through for you with an answer to prayer?

Joy! The Pathway to Peace

by Pam Farrel @PamFarrel

If there were a power verse for joy, it would be this one:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4 ESV

When doing a word study on rejoice, I found this meant: REJOICE (lean in and delight in God’s grace) at ALL times, I repeat, REJOICE (choose to be glad and joyful because of ALL God gives us)!

What a command! But God gives the “How how-to” in verses 6-7.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ESV

God doesn’t want us to be anxious, worried, and loaded down with cares. As we ask, request, and petition God, the confidence comes in believing we are giving the circumstance to the only One who has the real power to answer—the Almighty God—the King of Kings! And as we make this transaction, God gives us a gift back—peace that is beyond comprehension!

This week, use this joy builder: pray over worrisome situations using a name of God. Here is a favorite exercise I use for releasing anxiety and to imagine this exchange of our worries for his peace:

Imagine your greatest stress is placed into your right hand, wrap your fingers around this anxiety, now lift it heavenward; open your fingers and present it at the foot of the throne of heaven. Leave your care there but keep your hand open. Now think of all the traits and names of God, which name of God would be best to hang your heart on to find hope, joy, and peace. If you struggle to pick which trait, choose the name or trait of God that would be opposite of your stress. For example, if you care is your anxiety, trade it for the peace of God, then when you get home, look up all the verses about God being peace and giving peace. String your favorite verses together, put your name in the series of verses, and personalize God’s Word to your life.

To keep the peace, Paul’s last instruction is to guard your mind and thought life—keep doing this—and the God of peace will be with you:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9 ESV

Now dwell on these things, all day, every day. And start each day and each season of life willing to give your greatest fear and anxiety to God and receive his radical peace.

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Joy! The Pathway to Peace – insight from @PamFarrel on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

pam ferrelAbout the author: Pam Farrel is an author of 48 books, including Amazon bestseller Discovering  Hope in the Psalms: 7 Simple Skills for Every Woman and her newest book releases today (!!): Discovering Joy in Philippians:  A Creative Bible Study Experience (coauthored with Jean E Jones and Karla Dornacher). Pam and her husband, Bill are international speakers, relationship experts and  Co-directors of Love-Wise.

If difficult days have ever left you discouraged, Pam’s brand-new book: Discovering Joy in Philippians: A Creative Bible Study Experience, will help you engage creatively with God’s Word and establish habits that lead to greater joy and peace.

Join the conversation: What are your favorite names of God?

God’s Got This

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.                                                                                                                               Proverbs 16:20 NASB

My friend, Allison, sent me a text message upon learning that her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was surprised by her reaction.

“God’s got this,” she wrote.

Not a “Why him?” or “Why did God allow this?” Not even a “What if…?” She showed only an unswerving trust in the One who can handle all things.

I want that type of unquestioning faith in the face of uncertainty. Like Allison, I want to be able to think or say “God’s got this” when the unexpected or unthinkable comes my way. And I realize I have the ability to display that kind of trust in God because I’ve been given the same thing that Allison has been given: God’s trustworthy Word.

I’m encouraged that God is intimately aware of all my ways and His Word tells me that He knows my thoughts (and concerns) before I even think them (Psalm 139:1-4). That assures me He is already working on the matters that concern me most.

I’m also glad God knew that His creation would be prone to worry, and so He had the Apostle Paul address that habit of ours in Philippians 4:6-7:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

Any time we find ourselves in a situation we can’t do anything about (which is why we worry in the first place) we can trust that God is Who He says He is, and that He can work out that situation far better than we can.

Today, when I begin to worry that God hasn’t “done something yet,” I have to remind myself that He is God. He doesn’t need my help. He doesn’t need my stress. He desires my trust. When I acknowledge that He is God, and I am not, and that His plan is always better than mine, that is when He gives me peace that guards my heart and mind.

The next time we begin to worry, we can ask ourselves “What am I believing about God that isn’t true? Do I believe He is true to His Word? Do I really believe He can take care of this?”

And when we can answer those questions with the statement “God’s got this” we can experience His peace.

Lord, help me to trust You with every ounce of my being, every day of my life  so when the unexpected or the unthinkable comes my way, I am already assured that “God’s got this.”

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No matter what…”God’s got this.” Thoughts from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout 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 her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, When God Sees Your Tears, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: In the last time you struggled to trust God, what incorrect belief about Him could have been influencing your heart?

When God Doesn’t Intervene

 by Linda Evans Shepherd @lindaShepherd

A mother of a disabled child invited me to coffee one day.  She confided, “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, to find out how you’ve handled all the emotions and heartache of being a mother of a disabled child.”

Later, as we sipped our lattes, she confided, “I’ve prayed for healing for my child and my child is still paralyzed.” Her eyes filled with tears, “How do I process my disappointments?”

How I related to this mother’s angst.

In a Christian culture where we expect God to answer our every prayer, immediately, it’s hard to know what to do when our prayers seemed to go ignored.

We even wonder: doesn’t God love me?

I too have faced this question, as I tried to understand God’s silence to my own angst regarding my daughter’s disabilities. “First,” I told my friend, “God does love you, and I know he has answered many of your prayers.”

“Yes,” she confided.  “But not all of them.”

“I get it,” I said.  “I prayed that one day my daughter would walk again, but God didn’t answer that prayers until the day she walked into eternity.   How glad I am she’s completely restored now and can walk with Jesus.  But I had hoped that one day Laura would walk, here on earth, with me.”

My friend nodded.  “I totally understand.  So how did you process this disappointment?”

I said, “I had to remind myself to count my everyday blessings.  And to not discount the answered prayers we did have.  For example, I’d prayed daily that God would restore Laura’s brain, after half of it was destroyed in a violent car crash.  Then came the day, the doctor put a new picture of Laura’s brain on the light board for me to see.  I stared at a picture of an intact brain before jumping out of my chair to say, ‘This film does not belong to my daughter.’”

“That’s when the doctor said, ‘Your daughter’s brain restored itself.  We didn’t know a brain could do that.’”

I told Joan, “God had restored my daughter’s brain! So though I didn’t get every answer I ever prayed on her behalf, including some pretty major petitions, I could see that God was moving in my daughter’s life.”

I asked Joan, “Do you have blessings you can count?   Do you have miracles regarding prayers you prayed over your son?”

Joan nodded, “Lots of them.”

I told her, “Then keeping counting them.  As for me, I had to realize that real ‘faith’ is actually ‘trusting God no matter what. Like it says in Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (3:5-6 NKJV).

Joan wanted to know:  “But when do we stop asking for our children?

I replied, “Never.  We are the moms, and we will ask for our kids as long as we live.”

Joan agreed, “I’ll never stop asking either.”

I confided, “Neither did I, not until the end of Laura’s last day on earth.”

As I look back at the 28 years my daughter lived as a disabled person, I have to say how glad I am that I got to be her mom. It was a privilege. I counted a lot of blessings and even saw healing miracles, including the healing of my own heart. In that regard, I learned how to love in deeper ways, and I learned how to keep pushing into prayer even in the impossible.  And finally, I learned how to trust God.  For ‘faith’ equals ‘trust’ and ‘trusting God’ results in ‘peace that passes understanding.’

What a miracle.

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.                                                                                                                                      Philippians 4:6-7 MSG

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When God Doesn’t Intervene and Faith meets Trust – @LindaShepher on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Linda ShepherdAbout the author: Linda Evans Shepherd is the author of 34 books including Praying God’s Promises and The God You Need to Know.  She is the CEO of Right to the Heart Ministries and the founder of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association.  She’s the publisher of Leading Hearts Magazine and Arise Daily.

Linda has been married over thirty years and has two grown kids.  She loves to travel and bring the word to groups and events across North America.  You can read more about Linda at Arise Speakers.

Join the conversation: How do you process God’s silence when your prayers go unanswered?

A Skeptic and a Prayer Warrior

by Kathy Howard @KathyHHoward

A hit and run accident in a Paris taxi confirmed the prayer warrior and revealed the skeptic. Sadly, I was the skeptic.

My friend Lisa and I had just spent two-weeks in Moldova on a mission trip. On our way home, we had the fun blessing of spending two days and three nights in Paris to do some sightseeing.

After landing at Charles deGaulle Airport and picking up our bags at the carousel, we bought our museum passes and bus tickets at the tourism desk. The nice lady there warned us to make sure we used only official Paris taxis and pointed us toward the taxi stand.

Our taxi driver – who did speak a little English – loaded our bags and we got settled into the back seat for the ride into the city. About 20 minutes later, as we cruised down the four-lane highway, we felt a jolt and heard that ugly metal on metal sound. Lisa began to pray fully trusting God would protect and provide.

With rush-hour traffic continuing to pour past us, we stopped and our driver rolled his window down to talk to the offending driver. They decided to get the cars off to the shoulder and talk again. We limped across four lanes of traffic only to discover the other driver had simply gone on his merry way.

Our driver got out to access the damage. Back right quarter panel – smashed. Right rear tire – busted. He returned to the driver’s seat and announced he had to get off the highway and change the tire. He would call us another taxi. I immediately began to worry about whether or not this little drama could be an elaborate ruse to rob two naïve American tourists.

We thumped off the closest exit and pulled over to the side. The driver opened the trunk and deposited our luggage on the sidewalk. Seriously less than a minute later, we spotted another taxi coming at us down the street and Lisa waves it over. “How convenient,” I think skeptically, wondering if this was all a setup. “Wow, God sure answered our prayers quickly,” Lisa declared.

We show the new driver the address of our hotel and he loads our luggage. With every turn on an unknown Paris street I’m praying “Lord, protect us.” Lisa is praying, “Lord thank you for providing this second taxi.”

Later Lisa and I compared notes on the event. She told me what she had been thinking and I told her what I had been thinking. I felt a bit spiritually weak for not trusting in God’s provision.

My immediate reaction had been worry and fear. Lisa’s immediate response had been prayer. When Lisa turned to prayer, she gave her worry to God and anticipated His power, protection, and provision. So Lisa experienced God’s peace that can’t be naturally explained. When I prayed, I clung to my anxiety and robbed myself of the peace God offered.

 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 NIV

Kathy HowardAbout the author: This post is adapted from Kathy Howard’s Bible study. Lavish Grace: Poured Out, Poured Through, and Overflowing. Lavish Grace is a 9-week journey with the apostle Paul that helps readers discover God’s abundant grace for their daily lives and relationships. You can find out more about Kathy, her speaking and writing, and find free resources at www.KathyHoward.org.

Join the conversation: Are you a prayer warrior or a prayer skeptic? We would love to hear about a time when God proved Himself faithful to you.