Heart of the Matter

by Dana Peters-Colley

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8 NKJV

It’s that month. Pink and red popping out at every corner. Heart-shaped candy and suckers and those boxes of chocolates fill store shelves.

Yet, let’s get to the heart of why we celebrate love this month. What is true love?

It seems there are many legends that lead to our observance of Valentine’s Day. One saint married lovers secretly to prevent the husbands from going to war. Another saint was martyred but signed a letter with the words “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter who had been healed from her blindness. In the 1500s, love messages were sent, and, by the 1700s, it was common to send Valentine’s cards. Thus began the tradition.

When I was growing up, kids bought a box of about thirty cards to give out in class, and we created Valentine’s boxes to hold what would be given to us. We improved our penmanship by signing our name to so many cards, and we made selections from the list our teacher printed out. It was a fun day and always dripped candy to sweeten our idea of love.

Yet, what is true love? What does God show us about it?

It’s wrapped with a bow on the Scripture we all know, John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (NKJV).

Let’s center on those first words: For God so loved. This gives us our anchor. God loves us. He wants us, His Creation, to know Him. He wants to love us as no other can—in the deepest and most vulnerable places we have. God so loved.

Then, these words are followed by His action. Love doesn’t just sit still. It moves forward. It steps out and does something. God gave. He brought something to us. He changed everything before it was ever needed to give what He valued most, love.

When we give gifts—the roses, the candy, the notes of how we care—these things are our way of sharing love – giving love – to those we care about. We can give a word of encouragement. We can make a call or text someone to let them know we think about them.

Whatever it is, even if the holiday has passed, we can reach out and bring our heart to share with others. It’s the reason for the season, and it’s wrapped with the sweetness of the heart.

Then, there is a gift we can bring that is important to God and a blessing for us. When we pull ourselves away from other things to instead spend time with the Lord as our lover—in prayer and resting in His presence, we have His joy poured over us. We can spend more time tasting God’s word and savoring what He reveals to us—better than chocolate and richer than any sweet treat. We glow in satisfaction with His goodness.

It is always the season to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” This is a year-round treat that couldn’t be any sweeter.

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

About the author: Dana Peters-Colley is a creative who loves Jesus. She has been tucked away developing a brand of Christian parable books, faith-based fiction, and inspirational books as well as screenplays. Dana holds a B.A. in journalism, studied screenwriting at U.C.L.A., and is a former long-time Disney creative leader and producer. When the Lord got ahold of Dana everything marvelously changed. She is developing a heavenly-inspired brand line that brings stories to build family, inspire discovery, and teach kingdom ways. See danapeterscolley.com to connect to her spiritual blog and gaze at her adventures.

Do you have a friend you want to receive Jesus into their lives? Do you want to receive how much God loves and values you? Do you want to be empowered to do the impossible? Then, you have to know who you are! Treasure will take you into the realization of God’s love for you as you discover you are His treasure.

Join the conversation: What are the two things you enjoy the most?


God’s Will for You is Restoration

by Marcia Clarke

Taste and see how good the Lord is! The one who takes refuge in him is truly happy. Psalm 34:8

Johnathan and Trudy got married out of college and spent the first year with their parents to save money to purchase their first home. They made the sacrifice to be apart as they worked toward their goal. From their separate homes, they worked on their marriage and plans, including their dream of having children. They have a strong bond; their foundation is strong in the Word of God.

Johnathan and Trudy have a strong Christian heritage. On many occasions, they have initiated groups where they could discuss application of the Word of God in their lives. They are developing a community where Christian heritage is strong. Both are building lifelong friendships, and this led them to purchase their home in a neat little town just outside of Austin, Texas. God has a way of using unique experiences to help us to make meaningful and divine connections. He was faithful to use every circumstance to draw them closer to Him.

God wants us to come to him with our plans and invite him in all our circumstances. When we invite him into our space, when challenges arise, we will have his peace and the grace to endure. He will perfect that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8).

While Johnathan and Trudy found relationships that were meaningful, over time they began to feel less than fulfilling. Then came a time of testing when they discovered Trudy had a breast tumor. The situation has led to long days and nights of fasting and praying for healing. The one thing that remains a constant is their faith in God to help them through this challenging season.

I am a breast cancer survivor. When I first heard my diagnosis, in my initial shock I had no words. The one thing that I do recall is feeling no anxiety or fear; a sense of peace washed over me at that moment. I felt God saying to me, Be anxious for nothing (Philippians 4:6). I kept my eyes on him and not on what I was facing.

God promises that He will keep me in perfect peace when my eyes are stayed on him (Isaiah 26:3). Like Johnathan and Trudy, I believed God would do the best thing concerning my situation.

What about you? Do you have physical or spiritual issues that are challenging your trust in God?

All of us will at some point face challenges that may slow us down and test our faith in a good God. He is with us in all of what we experience in our lives. He is a loving and merciful God. He is a God who restores every broken place in our lives. Taste and see that he is good (Psalm 34:8). Look to him in all your circumstances. He never fails.

Father, thank you that you are the God who is with me. I know that in every challenging circumstance, I can be confident to trust in you for favorable outcomes. Thank you that you are a good and merciful God towards me. I hold tight to my faith and trust in you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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

About the author: Marcia Clarke is an author who writes daily encouragement for meditation and spiritual enrichment. Helping people through difficult seasons through her writing is her greatest passion. She has a passion for sharing encouragement and practical devotion through her daily blog on and enjoys the practice of meditation, yoga, and daily affirmation to create balance in her life. She is the author of Journey to Abundance with content-rich affirmation for your meditation experience. Marcia most recent book, Thirty Days of Grace is prayer for every season. Visit her at marcia_clarke5.wixsite.com/todayissacred.

Join the conversation. What has challenged your faith in God?

Cracker Jack Box Faith

by Karynthia Glasper-Phillips

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8 KJV

In early Spring, my two granddaughters and I stopped at a local store on our way out of town to buy snacks before getting on the interstate. While they were browsing, my eyes caught a display of Cracker Jacks. Memories came rushing back of when I was a young girl eating from a box of Cracker Jacks, anticipating the hidden prize. 

While examining and eating each piece of the molasses-flavored, caramelized, popcorn peanut mix, my fingers would finally locate the packaged prize. I took it out, put the box down, ripped open the prize and screamed with amazement at its contents—a red plastic ring, to me the best prize in the box back then. It was always worth the wait to find that treasure!

While I mused about my childhood prize searches, the girls noticed I had not moved from the same spot in a while. They asked, “What are you doing? “I told them I was wondering which box had the best prize. They looked at each other as to say, really.  Ignoring them, I purchased several boxes, and we left the store.

On that beautiful Spring day, driving to Alabama, I thought about how the journey of faith reminded me of treasure hunting in a box of Cracker Jacks. That search requires childlike faith to trust the manufacturer inserted the desired prize. Much like how we learn to trust in the Sovereignty of God in all our life situations.

As we wait for an answer to prayer, we find ourselves filled with the mixed emotions of doubt and expectancy. Although we trust God to answer prayer, our humanity often overrides faith as we search the Scriptures in hopes of receiving the promise. While we wait, we can observe the goodness of God at work, which helps us continue to trust Him for a hidden answerto manifest itself.

Hold fast to your faith. There are times we can struggle during a crisis. It seems as if the promise of delivery is buried, hidden in the chaos of life. Continue searching the Scriptures, praying, and waiting. The benefit of waiting is that it disciplines us to depend on God to strengthen us. The wait is worth it.

When David was on the run, waiting on God’s delivery, he determined to trust in what God had promised him. One day he would be lifted above his enemies, free to worship in the tabernacle once again. “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear. Though war arise against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident,” he wrote in Psalm 27.

David based his confidence on God’s faithfulness to do what He promised: “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27: 34, 13-14 NASB). If we allow the Scriptures to encourage us to run to God with thanksgiving in anticipation of blessings, the wait becomes easier . . . and filled with peace.

We can sample God’s word little by little and find that He is good. As a child enjoying my Cracker Jacks, I had confidence in the imminent discovery of the promised prize. What joy I had! Our anticipation of God’s goodness can be just as exciting.

What joy you will have as you continue to search, wait, and trust God.  When the blessing is revealed, you will experience a joyous refreshing of praise, sometimes as a softwhisper and sometimes as a loud “Lord, thank you.”

So continue sampling bite-size portions of His Word and waiting on the appearance of your blessing.

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

About the author: Karynthia Glasper-Phillips is an ordained minister and a licensed medical practitioner in primary care for over  2 decades. She has been in ministry for more than 30 years. Her concern for the continuity of care to prevent and restore health for the spirit, mind, and body is revealed in her workshops as conference faculty, women’s conference speaker, coaching, and guest blogs. She desires to see revival in reading Bible becoming affectionate toward the father.

Karynthia has authored three books and is a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread. She resides in Nashville with her husband Timothy Phillips.

Join the conversation: What Scripture have you read lately about the goodness of God?

In Plain Sight

by Nancy Kay Grace

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8 NIV

The concrete steps descended into the damp, cool darkness below ground. We followed the guide, holding onto the metal handrail.

My vision gradually adjusted from the bright outdoor sun to the dim underground world. The tour guide pointed her flashlight on the walls revealing previously unseen shapes. Around us were large calcite formations—a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a pipe organ, a large fish, and more. These sights were hidden until we became aware of them in the large, crystal-domed cavern eight stories below ground.

We safely explored the cave with the help of a knowledgeable guide. She went before us, turning on light switches to the next section of the tour, preparing the way for us to navigate the cave.

On the way out, she paused, revealing some small living creatures on the limestone walls—cave crickets, small salamanders, toads, and bats. The critters were always present, but we had walked by them, not noticing the life on the cave walls. Once we saw them, they were in plain sight.

Daily blessings are in plain sight.

Isn’t our cave experience a great metaphor for our lives? We rush past marvelous gifts from God every day without noticing them—the blooming trees, colorful gardens, or the evening sunset. In our busyness, we can easily miss seeing God’s beauty in the seasonal changes. We complain about the clouds and rain, but they help us appreciate the sunny days. The earth is renewed, revealing the new life all around us in the bright tulips and fragrant lilacs. God’s creativity is in plain sight… if we will only open our eyes.

We can be too preoccupied with our concerns to see someone else’s need. A struggling new mom might need babysitting assistance. A lonely neighbor could need conversation and encouragement. Perhaps we could step out of our comfort zone to help them. As we open our eyes to the people around us, we can extend grace in this hurting world.

The apostle Paul writes, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Ephesians 1:18 NIV).

Each day, may we pray for God to open our eyes to see the riches of creation around us and ways to be God’s hands and feet in the world. When we do, he empowers us to have a grateful heart and share his love with those in plain sight.

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

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is thankful for the gift of peace in the face of turmoil. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God. As a cancer survivor, she writes about hope, perseverance, and God’s grace. For relaxation, Nancy enjoys hugs from grandchildren, playing worship songs on piano, hiking, and travel. Her website, blog, and GraceNotes newsletter sign-up are found at www.nancykaygrace.com.

Join the conversation: What blessings from God have you noticed lately?

What’s Your Favorite Recipe?

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Taste and see that the Lord is good… Psalm 34:8

Our noisy family was gathered around the table for Sunday dinner and everyone was complementing me on my meatloaf with tomato gravy. So, I had to admit that I’d never heard of tomato gravy until Lacey, my daughter-in-law, said it was a family favorite, and shared her recipe with me.

When the conversation shifted to Lacey’s great cooking, Michael, her six-year-old son, declared very loudly so everyone could hear, “My mama is the best cook in the whole world!” Impressed, everyone stopped talking and he continued, “She can make ANYTHING ‘cause she’s got recipe cards!” Michael loves to eat and that was no small compliment.

Kids are great, right? We love giving them good things. Well, we are God’s kids and he has some pretty tasty dishes to serve up for us as well. Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Like Lacey, God has His own “recipe cards.” The Bible is filled with wonderful recipes.

 Just looking into this one psalm, Psalm 34, we find the necessary ingredients for deliverance from fear, for provision, for comfort and peace for a broken, contrite or remorseful heart. We even find the recipe for redemption. This psalm even tells us when we trust in God we won’t be condemned. And in order to taste these good things from God, we are provided with the necessary ingredients. A little of this and a lot of that—like humility, trust in and respect and reverence for God (fear of God), watching what you say and looking for peace, just to name a few. And this is just one psalm, and one passage of Scripture! There are thousands of recipes and promises of good in the Bible.

But a recipe is only good if we choose to follow the instructions, combining all the necessary ingredients.

I once made a beautiful loaf of bread from memory. Because it was familiar and I made it often, I didn’t bother to look at or consult the recipe. The bread rose beautifully and when it was baking, it smelled wonderful. Taking it from the oven, I couldn’t wait to taste it. But after biting into a slice, it was immediately evident that I’d forgotten a key ingredient—salt.

Sometimes we approach God’s tasty recipes the same way. We try to get the good things of God by doing what seems right: “There is a way which seems right to a man, but is end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12 NASB). But inevitably, when we leave out a key ingredient, like forgiveness, repentance, or trusting God, we’re left with a bad taste in our mouth.

Are you hungry for something good?  Peace? Provision? Comfort? Hope? Let’s browse through God’s recipes, allowing the Holy Spirit to measure out and stir the ingredients deeply into our hearts, and then submit it all to God by baking it in prayer. Once you’ve tasted the goodness of God, do like Lacey did with her meatloaf and tomato gravy recipe, share it with someone else, so they too can taste and see that God is good.

What’s Your Favorite Recipe? – encouragement from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri Clark

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

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

Join the conversation:  What are the spiritual recipes that have had an impact on your life?

Tiny Effort, Extra Joy

by Beth Duewel @DuewelBeth

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good.   Psalm 34:8 NIV

Last week, a friend and I wandered into a tea-room for lunch. The place had linen and plates and a tiny dish with a baby-sized spoon in the center of our table. Fancy. So, when my order of tea arrived, I lobbed extra tiny-teaspoons of white into my cup with my fancy fingers pointed to the sky.

Um, small detail: It’s good to know what…exactly it is that you’ve extra’d into your tea, or you may have to hand it back to the server explaining, “My tea tastes like the ocean. Sorry.”

With all the extra this day needs—it’s not uncommon to add a little more to everything. Our tea. Our day. Our joy. Sometimes we happily heap on the wrong things in hopes that life will taste just a tiny-bit sweeter when we do. But there is something infinitely healing in the reality—that unlike sugar or salt (label the dishes, please, fancy, people)—there is nothing I can add to the simple joy of Christ. His joy is elaborate. Extra. Enough.

In fact, look for a moment to the instruction God gave Jeremiah:
“This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have and daughters… Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you to exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NIV).

Hold the extra!

Not only were the Israelites told to build their houses, they were encouraged to settle their hearts in as well. To marry and have children, to seek peace, to be content and allow God’s happiness to sustain instead. Even in exile, they could rise above circumstance and confusion and prosper in the uncertain place God placed them—in that plain, hardly ever fancy, space of joy.

But we’re human. We wrestle. We add. We live the stretch and pull of tentative trust. Sometimes we even take the spoon into our own hands. That’s why I couldn’t love what God says later to Jeremiah any more if I tried: “I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me” (Jeremiah 32:40 NIV).

Focusing on who God is, is the more a wanting heart needs. No matter how much fear and uncertainty this day holds, God’s over and over good will be added to it.

Ultimately, God is always moving us to His more. We can do hard things!

Inviting this entire more into our lives? It can be scary. I’m reminded of just how frightening when I think about the conversation I had with my daughter this past week. Because although Brittany is wading through another flare-up of a challenging illness, she said, “I had three good days this week, Mom!” I heard her voice smile.





I will never stop doing good to them.

You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t.

Also, something miraculous happens in my soul when I measure life from the plenty of my less: I see Jesus for the good and gracious of who He is. And who He is demands less effort on my part. Sure, we may expect sweet and get…ocean? But whatever He plans—however it tastes—we can trust that He is working His eternal plan.

As my friend Rhonda Rhea mused: “Oh, how I love that fancy place—and that plain place—of joy. Beautiful, fancy-and-unfancy, unnatural JOY. The kind that happens in the most unexpected places. EXTRA blessing, right there.”

You too will prosper. No EXTRA needed.

Father, You are over and above, enough. Help me trust Your provision more and to stop trying to add extra to YOUR already perfect plan. Lord, help me notice Your abundant, good joy today. Amen. 

You can try to judge a moment for all that it lacks—but so much more life is lived when you notice all that it doesn’t – @DuewelBeth on @AriseDailyDevo #Godsmore #ourless #extraeverything (Click to Tweet)


beth duewel (2)

About the author: Beth Duewel is a writer, speaker, and blogger at Fix-Her-Upper.com. She has three almost adulting children, and lives with her husband in Ashland, Ohio. Beth and her coauthor, Rhonda Rhea, are super excited about their newfix her upper reclaim your happy space book,  Fix Her Upper: Reclaim Your Happy Space.


Join the conversation: Dear friends, what is your extra today? Is it extra worry, extra work, or extra stress? We would love to pray for you. Feel free to private message me via Facebook. Enjoy!


Is God Ever Not Good?

by Ava Pennington @AvaPennington

A friend recently had successful cancer surgery. When she joyfully announced the results on social media, the responses were both positive and predictable:

  • God is good!
  • God truly answers prayer!
  • God really loves you!
  • God is an awesome God!

We rejoiced in her prognosis because we understood the magnitude of what might have been. Still, our collective responses started me wondering. What if God had not extended His hand of mercy to her? What if the surgery had not been successful? What if the cancer had spread? Would we still say:

  • God is good!
  • God truly answers prayer!
  • God really loves you!
  • God is an awesome God!

…or would we doubt His goodness?

The prophet Habakkuk wrote: “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NIV).

Today, we might say: “Though the cancer is not healed and I can’t pay my mortgage, though my marriage has failed and the economy produces no jobs, though there are no book contracts in the offing and no agents who want to represent me,         yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”

No matter what happens, God is good.

Whether we understand our circumstances or not, God is good.

Whether we can serve Him the way we want or not, God is good.

Whether our days are difficult or easy, God is good.

Do you believe this—truly believe this in the midst of your present circumstances? Believe it in your heart and speak it aloud, because it’s true: God is good, all the time. And all the time, God is good.

I hope you’re not experiencing anything today causing you to doubt God’s goodness. But if you are, what will you do with your doubts?

O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!                                                                                                                                          Psalm 34:8 NASB

Is God Ever Not Good? Insight from @AvaPennington on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

© 2010 Martin Alan Grivjack Photography Martin Alan Grivjack Photography

About the authorAva Pennington is an author, Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) teacher, and speaker. Her most recent book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God, is endorsed by Kay Arthur of Precepts Ministries.

Ava has also published stories in 30+ anthologies, including 25 Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse.

She is a passionate speaker and delights in encouraging groups with relevant, enjoyable presentations. For more information, visit www.AvaWrites.com.

Join the conversation: What has made you question the goodness of God?

When We Can’t (or Won’t)

by Jennifer Slattery

Have you ever poured out your heart, time, and resources to someone only to have them respond with ambivalence, perhaps even contempt? How long would your kindness last? At what point would you grow frustrated, or perhaps deeply wounded, throw your hands up, and walk away?

A few years ago, our family opened our home to a troubled teen. Initially, we knew very little about him. We soon learned our original perceptions were false. His issues were far more extensive than we anticipated, including deep-seated anger and contempt that caused him to lie and manipulate. Our efforts and sacrificial acts of kindness were deemed manipulative.

Nothing we did or said penetrated his bitter, cynical heart. Instead of responding to our care, he rebelled against us, unfortunately, to his own harm. He chose self-destruction over life and hope.

For centuries, Judah responded to God in the same way. He’d nurtured and reared them, provided for all their needs, yet they refused to see His hand. Oh, they enjoyed the blessings, much like the resentful teen had, but their hardened hearts remained untouched. They drifted farther from their loving Father.

God pleaded with them to return, to consider their ways and His care, but they refused: “I reared children and brought them up,” God said, “but they have rebelled against Me. The ox knows its master, the donkey its owner’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand” (Isaiah 1:3 NIV).

The NLT puts it this way: “My people don’t recognize my care for them.”

Were they too focused on the gifts God had given them or too entrenched in their sinful ways? Either way, they spurned the One who’d faithfully cared for them and slipped into ever-worsening rebellion. God’s kindness, which is intended to draw mankind to Him, had no effect. Before long, and after repeated warnings, tough love followed.

I may never have turned to idols or perverted justice, but I can easily fail to see God’s hand. I can become so focused on the blessings, so expectant and entitled, that what was meant to draw me closer has the opposite effect and fuels my self-reliance.

Can you relate? It’s easy to get so caught up in life, so accustomed to all our blessings, that we fail to see our Daddy’s heart behind them. And when we fail to understand or recognize the extent of His care for us, it’s not long before greed and entitlement seep in, pulling us further and further from God. This breaks our Father’s heart.

God issues the same pleas to us as He did to the Israelites so long ago: Lift up your eyes. Return to Me. Leave your rebellious, self-reliant and apathetic ways and let My faithful care for you nourish, strengthen, and protect your heart.

God’s blessings abound, and His love radiates throughout the world. If we can’t see God’s hand, it’s because we’re not looking, or maybe even refusing to acknowledge the truth. If we but stop and turn our eyes and heart to our loving Father, we’ll find ourselves deeply rooted in His embrace.

O taste and see that the Lord is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! Psalm 34:8 NASB

Jennifer Slattery Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found at JenniferSlatteryLivesOutLoud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact. Visit her online to find out more about her speaking or to book her for your next women’s event, and sign up for her free quarterly newsletter HERE to stay up to date with her future appearances, projects, and releases. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall dates with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband.

Join the conversation: How readily do you see God’s care? When blessings come, do you focus more on the gift or your provider? How might your relationship with God change if you consistently looked for His hand?

Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash


Loving Limas

My Uncle Bob grew up hating lima beans. But during army boot camp training, his taste took an unexpected turn. One late evening he returned to the cafeteria, ravenous from an all-day post, to find just one item remaining: lima beans. With no other option, he heaped a generous portion onto his plate. And as he began to chow down, an amazing thing happened: those lima beans tasted delicious! When faced with true hunger, what he used to pass over with disdain suddenly became quite palatable.

My uncle’s story has long been a lesson to me in a spiritual truth. I have found when I am hurting in one way or another, my need is frequently the thing that drives me to seek the Lord. Suddenly I am all ears, eager for any bit of reassurance or guidance He can give. But when all is right in my world, I spend much less energy looking to Him and listening for His leading.

As Calvin Miller wrote in The Song: “When the flesh feeds itself, the hunger of the spirit is forgotten.”

God created us with a need for Him. But our tendency in the flesh is to fill that gaping hole with substitutes. We look to things like careers, people, or material possessions to make us feel significant or whole. As if those temporary things could ever satiate our hunger for God’s presence and peace!

God’s desire for us is to be in an intimate, trusting relationship with Him.

Keeping ourselves from hunger pains can work against that goal. We quickly forget our need for Him when the substitutes we have chosen provide temporary satisfaction. Jesus once told his disciples: “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” (Luke 18:24 NASB) Their riches don’t disqualify them. It’s the self-sufficiency that comes with comfort that can keep people from bowing to the cross.

So, in his wisdom and love, God frequently gives us reminders of our need for him. Difficulties in our lives are not in spite of the goodness of God. In reality, they happen because of the goodness of God. We turn to God when we need.

We might pass over limas altogether should we never know what it is to hunger.

 “O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.” Psalm 34: 8 (NASB)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the author: Julie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Her book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women, was released in 2013 by Thomas Nelson. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, Julie spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com or on Facebook.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 2.39.03 PMfrom today’s comments. To enter our contest for Julie’s book, Unexpected Love: God’s Heart Revealed through Jesus’ Conversations with Women,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: Have there been ways in which you have dulled your hunger for God?