Clinging to God

by Cynthia Simmons

I’ve always loved magnets. The fact that a piece of metal attracts and clings to certain objects fascinates me. I recently bought a magnetic nametag for my genealogy club. I played with the magnet, which seemed quite strong, and I admired my new purchase. What a clever way to protect your clothing from suffering holes or damage.

A couple weeks after my new gadget arrived, I dressed for an event but saved my new nametag for the final touch. While my jacket lay on the bed, I moved my nametag around, searching for the perfect location.  After I chose the perfect spot, I attached the magnet and slung on the blazer. That’s where I goofed. I heard a thump and looked down to see the magnet on the floor beside my foot. The nametag disappeared. Instead of leaving, I crawled around on the floor searching until I ran out of time.

While driving the car, I noted sharp pain in my arm when I flexed my elbow. Odd. I surmised I had sprained a muscle exercising and vowed to be more careful. However, once the meeting started, I felt a strange lump in my left sleeve and realized I had located my nametag. My narrow sleeve had trapped it, so the metal dug into my skin when I moved. Obviously, my magnet couldn’t hang on while I swung my blazer around my shoulders.

When storms rage through our lives, we need real stability. People will fail us just like that magnet that let go under pressure. Despite the romantic novels we love to read, even macho husbands can’t provide all we need. I love the description the Apostle Peter gave for Jesus, the cornerstone of the church. “…Behold I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed” (I Peter 2:6 NAS).

The cornerstone holds the weight of the building and determines the positions of the walls. Peter pointed out Jesus’s qualifications to be the cornerstone. First, God chose Him, and He wouldn’t choose someone unworthy. In Colossians 1:15 NIV, the apostle Paul said Jesus “is the image of the invisible God” and created everything both seen and unseen. Furthermore, His power holds the world together. That’s real strength! In Revelation 1:8 NIV Jesus said, “I am the Alpha and Omega…who is, and was, and is to come.” In other words, He’s eternal, so He won’t die and leave us orphans. He loved us enough to put aside heaven’s glory and sacrifice His life for us. Second, He’s more precious than your most prized possession. After all, Jesus made gold, gemstones, flowers, and all the beauty we enjoy. Third, you can trust Jesus because He won’t disappoint you.

I had to learn how much stress my magnetic nametag could handle, but Jesus invited us to cast all our cares on Him. I love to read the Psalms where David penned his deepest frustrations and thoughts. The Lord can handle yours as well.

Trust him. You’ll be glad you did.

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

Cynthia-Simmons-5

About the author: Former home school mother of five, Cynthia Simmons has a special spot in her heart for young moms and loves to encourage all women to pursue God. She hosts Heart of the Matter Radio, and writes inspirational fiction and non-fiction.  Find her at www.clsimmons.com.

Valuing Gold: A Novella of the Civil War: Uneasiness permeated Chattanooga where Mary Beth Roper grew up. Every conversation she overheard is heated, yet her banker-father was hesitant to reveal the facts. Will Tennessee secede and force them into a war? She was an adult and demanded he tell her the truth, yet she feared the heated politics she’d seen. Then she learned a rogue customer threatened their bank. Somehow, she must find a way to work with Peter Chandler, her father’s partner, even though she can’t bear to be near him. As she unraveled an impossible puzzle, she learned to value her faith.

Join the conversation: Which of the above qualities that describe Jesus do you love the most?

Feeling Out of Your Element

by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.” Job 12:7-10 ESV

Deep sea creatures are fascinating, and they have a story to tell.

If I could overcome my raging claustrophobia long enough to enter a submarine, I’d travel beneath the sea to observe giant squid, octopi, and lantern fish in their own habitat. I believe they have a lot in common with us Jesus-followers.

Creatures that dwell in the deep sea are perfectly designed to survive in their surroundings. (Like us, when we become new creatures in Christ.)

They have large eyes especially designed to see in the dark, lightless depths. So, too, do followers of Jesus have eyes designed to see in dark, lightless places. Like Father Damien, a priest who volunteered to work, and eventually to die, on the Kalaupapa leper colony in Hawaii. He did not see disease; he saw human beings who craved the loving touch of God.

Deep sea dwellers are designed to glow in the dark – they have their own inner light that shines in the depths where no sunlight penetrates. So, shines the light of Jesus-lovers. Consider Corrie ten Boom, a Dutch Christian who hid Jews from the Nazis and was eventually captured and imprisoned with her sister in a concentration camp (Ravensbruck). She was able to shine the light of Christ even there. Her sister, Betsy, died at Ravensbruck, but not before she told Corrie, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Sea creatures are beautiful and graceful when they are in their element. They were designed to live surrounded by deep saltwater that exerts immense pressure and helps to give these creatures their form and flow. Followers of Christ are meant to abide in Him, our Living Water, and when we do follow Him into the deep heart of God, it is in the immense pressure we experience from outside sources that we find our actual form and flow. We cease to flop about on the surface of spirituality or deflate and rot on the shore gasping to breathe air we’re not equipped to utilize.

Out of their element, stranded or washed up on shore, deep sea creatures are ghastly, odiferous, and subject to quick death. So do we, apart from life in Christ, become distortions of our intended design, continually given over to death of the soul, spirit, and eternal life.

Feeling out of your element? You are. You were meant to dive deep, to travel deep, to dwell deep—salt, water, light…it’s in your re-born DNA. If you are in Christ, you are a new creature according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. You must discover your new element – which is only found in Christ.

Feeling the pressure of life in Christ? You were made for the pressure. It will shape you, support you, and free you. You were designed to inhale water—Living Water.

Go ahead! Dive into the heart of God. There’s nothing to fear. It’s what you were made to do.

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Feeling Out of Your Element – @LoriSRoeleveld on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

lori Roeleveld Headshot 2015About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. Her latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.

Join the conversation: Are you under pressure right now?

Too Much to Do?

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  Psalm 61:2 NIV

Are you feeling today that there is just too much to do?

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I was drowning under the pressures of being a woman, wife, mother, director of women’s ministries, friend, sister, and daughter. There was so much to do to keep up with family relationships, to keep up the house, to keep up with my job, and to keep up in my walk with God. I literally felt I was drowning in obligations, and continually coming up short.

Today I know that when I feel like that, I’ve taken on more than I was intended to bear. And most likely, more than God wants me to bear.

In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus gave this invitation: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).

Jesus recognized the people of His day were carrying burdens too heavy to bear. So, He offered them His burden instead – a burden He said was light. What is the burden God places on us? What is the one thing He requires of us more than anything else?

One man asked Jesus that same question. And Jesus’ response was: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37).

God’s greatest requirement of us was not to do things for Him. It was to love Him. And not to just love Him, but to love Him passionately, desperately, above any other person or thing.

God’s “burden” on us is not a heavy one. In fact, it isn’t a burden at all. It’s a privilege.

When I consider loving Him as my highest obligation and my heaviest burden, it makes all the other things I think I have to do pale in comparison. My to-do list, my project at work, my financial dilemma …. none of those things is as important as loving my God. And therefore, I truly can take His yoke upon me and find rest. There is anxiety and stress in striving to carry my own burdens. There is peace and rest in loving Him.

Lord, for all the times I start to feel weary and weighted down, help me to remember Your invitation to come to You, lay my burden at Your feet, and find rest.

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Encouragement from @CindiMcMenamin when we have Too Much to Do – @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 When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold) and When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts. For more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Cindi’s book, When You’re Running on Emptyis written for Christian women who give of themselves relentlessly. What can a woman do when she’s running on empty? Learn how to renew your energy and passion and press on.

Join the conversation: How do you refresh yourself when you feel overwhelmed?