How Long, God?

by Tracy Hester

“l will move past my enemies with this one, I sure hope: that with my own eyes. I will see the goodness of the Eternal One in the land of the living. Please, answer me, don’t give up! Wait for the Eternal One in expectation and be strong. Again, wait for the Eternal One.” Psalm 27:13-14 The Voice

Have you ever wondered if God has forgotten about you because you don’t hear his voice, or you don’t see him working in your situation? You’ve asked, “How long, God? I’m doing everything right reading my Bible, praying, serving others, leading a ministry, and even working on myself.”

It seems as if God has placed the desires of your heart on pause. He hasn’t said no or yes to your prayer and his will is vague. You are confused and apprehensive on whether you should move forward and take the risk or remain still. 

In Psalm 13, David is in a desperate situation. He is praying and asking God how long questions. But then his attitude and prayer changes:

“How long, O Eternal One, how long will You forget me? Forever? How long will You look the other way? How long must I agonize & grieve Your absence in my heart every day? How long will You let my enemies win? Turn back; respond to me, O Eternal One, my True God! Put the spark of life in my eyes, or I’m dead. My enemies will boast that they have beaten me; my foes will celebrate that I have stumbled. But I trust in Your faithful love; my heart leaps at the thought of imminent deliverance by You. I will sing to the Eternal, for He is always generous with me” (Psalm 13 The Voice).

David’s prayer is passionate. It expresses feelings of abandonment, fear, and insecurity because of his inability to feel God’s presence. Although David was anxious and questioned whether God would come through for him, at the end of the psalm he demonstrates what we should do while waiting for God to come through for us. As He finished writing, David shifted his question to a confession. His how long changed to Hallelujah. David began to give God the highest praise during his emotional pain. 

We are reminded in Philippians 4:6-7 not to be anxious about anything. Instead, if we pray about everything, the peace of God will come to us, and we will experience peace in our minds and hearts, despite our circumstances. While we wait on God, the solution is to pray, praise, and worship Him even when we don’t feel like it. When David started praying, he remembered how God had come through for him in the past, and he immediately became hopeful God was going to come through for him again.

That hope is available to us today. Pray as David did. God has your back.

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

About the author: Tracy Hester is a mentor, life coach, and a Bible teacher. She lives in Hercules, California, with her two children. She is excited about becoming a new grandmother in the fall of 2021 and releasing Get Up, Girl, Let’s Go in the spring of 2022. You can reach out to Tracy on Facebook or her website at tracyhester.com.

All Things New!: Discovering God’S Peace and Protection During Challenging Times by [Tracy Hester]

Tracy is the author of All Things New. When we experience personal struggles, we often hope He will remove our pain and instantaneously lift us from despair. But God’s plans for us will not always work out in that way. So often God wants us to instead take a journey of healing that can change our lives.

Join the conversation: Are you living in the place of how long?

4 Reasons We Still Worry

by Cindi McMenamin

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’s admit it. We know we’re not supposed to worry and yet we do. We worry about finances, our health, and the health of those we love. We worry about what’s already happened and about what hasn’t yet taken place.

There’s a myriad of reasons why we shouldn’t worry. Worry causes stress which prematurely ages us, gives us wrinkles, and wreaks havoc on our health. Worry negatively affects our relationships with others who don’t want to be around a worry wart.

But what if I told you the real reasons you and I worry have more to do with our relationship with God than the people and situations we’re worried about? The reasons you worry probably aren’t the reasons you’re thinking, but as soon as you know them, you may be able to convince yourself to stop.

Here are four primary reasons you and I worry and how to stop it right now.

1. We worry because we forget God is all-powerful.

We worry because we forget about God’s power. We forget what He’s capable of and we start to believe we must take care of things ourselves. We start panicking that we’re on our own, and we might not be able to handle it. You know what? We can’t handle it. It’s why we need Him. God wants us to realize and admit our weakness so He can be strong on our behalf.

God often wants to do through us, what is beyond us. So when you’re faced with a situation in which you feel weak or powerless, rather than worry, call upon the Only One who take care of the situation. His power is available to you for the asking. James 4:10 says: “ Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

2. We worry because we’ve forgotten His presence.

One of the first things that causes us to worry is the fear that we are alone. But when we do that, we’ve clearly forgotten God’s presence – that He’s right here with us, going before us, walking alongside us, and watching our backs.

In Psalm 139:7 David asks “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee your presence?” And then he answers his question by explaining the staying power of God’s presence. Read it. Highlight it. Believe it. And ask for God’s power to live it.  When you’re tempted to fret that you are alone in your worrisome situation, remember His presence. And start talking to Him as if He’s right here. Because He is.

3. We worry because we try to control our lives and the lives of others.

It is in our human nature to try to control our lives and the lives of everyone else around us.  We believe, at times, that it’s up to us to right all wrongs and fix all things broken. But only God can restore the broken, heal the hurting, and bring ultimate justice.

After a season of life in which he was convinced he had no control over what God had clearly allowed, Job said: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted” (42:1). And in case God’s people became prideful and started to think their victories were at their own hands, the Psalmist corrected them when he sang: “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Psalm 44:3 NIV). 

Worry dissolves as you surrender to God and admit you are not in control of anything– He is.

4. We worry because we don’t really believe God is good.

God is good … all the time. As the perfect parent, He wants only the best for His children (Matthew 7:11). God is good because He causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). So trust His goodness. He wants for you what will shape you for eternity. That means you don’t need to worry about what happens around you. Nothing can come close to you that hasn’t first passed through His loving hands (Romans 8:38-39).

Can you surrender your worries to the Only One who can work all things out according to His good and perfect plan?

For help battling the worry bug, see Cindi’s books, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, and Women on the Edge.

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

About the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and award-winning writer who helps women and couples strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (more than 150,000 copies sold),  Find out more about her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.  

Every woman, at one time or another, has felt as if she’s “on the edge.” She has felt unappreciated, unsupported, and weary. Such frustration can drive her away from God or toward Him. In Women on the Edge, Cindi shares how women can thrive even in the hard times and learn to live with joy, as they pursue God in exciting new ways.

Join the conversation: Can you find the reason you are worried right now in the article above?

Believing for God’s Best

by Christina Rose

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.  Philippians 4:6-7 NLT

It was time for a new car, but it was hard for me to let go. Our 2003 Honda Odyssey was filled with memories of camping trips, carpooling kids to practices and tournaments and trips to the beach and Disneyland. It seemed like yesterday when I would glance in the rearview mirror to see the volleyball girls laughing and enjoying a movie with popcorn, red vine licorice, and Gatorade after a game. The van was now almost 20 years old with dents and defects, but I couldn’t give it up.

My kids were now driving new cars and pleaded, “Mom, this is embarrassing, your car smells like old dogs and soccer shoes and it looks like junk. Get a new car.”  One day another dad pulled up next to me at the grocer’s.  Elby had a life size cardboard cutout of Julia Roberts strapped to his passenger seat with a bungee cord.  “Hey Christina,” he teased, “Why are you still driving that dinosaur? When are you gonna get real that you’re not a soccer mom anymore?”

I laughed, “The day you get real that Julia Roberts is not your girlfriend!”

I began the search for a new car and decided that a little white car would be nice. Since it had been almost 20 years since I bought a new car, the high prices overwhelmed me. Nonetheless, I printed out a picture of a little white car and put it on my altar next to my Jesus painting. Each day and night for months I prayed, “Thank you God, for the grace and favor for my new car.”  Despite this, I still couldn’t let go of my old car.

Until it got totaled. Declared a total loss by the insurance company. I felt sick and frozen with anxiety as I said goodbye to my car, recalling years of happy memories. It was like losing a best friend. I fought off fear, knowing that since I couldn’t let go of this car, God was now taking it out of my hands and had a new car for me. While I searched for it, I soon found out that my fixed budget wouldn’t buy much. As I was about to settle for an old piece of junk that looked like a garish dented blueberry, I heard God speak to me, “I don’t do junk. Go get your little white car.”

I picked out the perfect little white car just a few miles from my home and gave a ridiculously low bid, yet it was instantly accepted. Within a few hours I had the keys and was happily driving down the freeway, confessing, “God, thanks for taking care of this for me and please increase my faith about everything.”  I wanted that peace that surpasses all understanding.

I was given the vision of Peter, walking across the water towards Jesus in a terrible storm. He wanted to have faith and believe that he could walk on water just as Jesus could, but midway through, he took his eyes off of Jesus and focused on the storm instead.

But when he saw the strongwind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” Matthew 14:30-31 NLT

Focusing less on our circumstances and more on the object of our faith helps us to face seemingly impossible situations. If we have compassion on ourselves and accept that as humans we are not expected to shoulder every burden, we can let go and trust that God knows our every need. Sometimes he may rip the control out of our hands if we refuse to let go, as he did for me to show He wants nothing but His best for us.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.  Ephesians 3:20 NLT


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 supplied what you needed and more?

An Opportunity for Joy

by Denise Wilson

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  James 1:2 NLT

This verse in James is familiar, but when I read it in the New Living Translation, it struck me in a way that it never had before. The word opportunity jumped off the page. The troubles that come into our lives are an opportunity for joy. Not just any kind of joy, but “great joy”.

I knew a missionary who seemed to find joy in everything. On one occasion his car broke down, and his response was, “Thank you, Lord, for this good trouble.”

The chance of having trials in this life is 100 percent. James says not “if” but “when” trials come our way. The question is, what attitude will I have when I go through them?

Trials are uncomfortable and often painful, yet when I realize our sovereign God is in control, I have an opportunity for great joy. I am not just speaking theoretically. I have experienced the joy of the Lord during the deepest trials of my life.

While pregnant with our first child, I went into premature labor. We prayed that our child would survive. We also prayed, “Thy will be done.” In God’s sovereign plan our son Samuel was born and moments later died in my husband’s arms. What a trial, and what deep grief; yet mingled with that grief was joy.

It sounds impossible to experience joy in such circumstances, but it is possible. God cannot lie, and if he tells us that troubles are an opportunity for great joy, then it must be true.

Our faith was tested further when I became pregnant with our second child Hannah Faith, who was stillborn. Despite great pain and sorrow, I experienced peace and joy. God’s promises are true.

“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).

I had read these verses so many times before, but during those trials I lived them.

While God ultimately blessed us with two more children, not all stories have happy endings. Regardless of the outcome, God is in control and God is good.

Sorrow is a natural and normal human response to a painful situation. Even Jesus wept at the death of Lazarus. The author of Hebrews tells us how Jesus responded to the greatest trial of his life. “…Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame” (Hebrews 12:2 NLT). Jesus is our example. We are to fix our eyes on him.

I wish I could say that I experience joy in all circumstances. I don’t. Strangely, I often find it easier to trust God in the big areas of my life. It’s the small things that trip me up.

We must remember that God uses trials to help us grow (James 1:3-4).

Be encouraged friends, God truly does work all things together for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28).

We may never understand why we have to go through the things we do, but we do know this: God is in control, and he loves us. When we trust him, he promises peace and joy. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5 NIV).

My prayer for me, and for you, is that the next trial that comes along, we will be able to say, “Thank you, Lord, for this good trouble.”

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

About the author: Denise Wilson lives in small-town Ontario with her husband, two teenage sons, and a whole bunch of chickens. She is passionate about sharing the gospel and is the author of Seven Words You Never Want to Hear

                                                                                             

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

TWEETABLE
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.

TWEETABLE
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?