Renew a Right Spirit

by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10 ESV

All was in readiness. Outside, luminaries flickered on the curb. Inside, polished furniture gleamed, a fire crackled on the hearth, strains of Handel’s Messiah filled the house, candles glowed, and mouthwatering aromas wafted from the kitchen. The presents were wrapped, the Christmas china in place, the relatives on the way. Everything was perfect, except for one thing.

I was in a rotten mood. My sour attitude had been building all day like dark thunderclouds on the horizon and now threatened to storm all over the festivities. I was being a grump at the least, and at most, closely impersonating the Grinch.

Circumstances earlier in the day combined to fuel my mood, culminating with a last- minute request to purchase a gift for a family member to give. As I drove around in the cold pouring rain, dashing in and out of crowded stores without finding the requested item, I fumed. Why didn’t she ask me to do this weeks ago? I’m suffering because of her procrastination!

I arrived home hours later to find the children lounging all over recently straightened sofas, pillows strewn across the floor. Their chores remained undone. My husband had gone on some secret Christmas Eve gift-purchasing mission, failing to do the one job I requested of him before leaving. His foray was probably for my benefit, but by this point I didn’t care. As I barked orders to reluctant children, I knew I was being unnecessarily gruff. When my husband returned, all smiles and excitement, I greeted him with a sullen look and a cold shoulder.

Now, I attempted to plaster a polite hostess smile on my face as the relatives arrived. I looked nice and managed warm greetings, but inside, my spirit was anything but right. Following our tradition of having a birthday party for Jesus, we gathered around the piano and sang carols. I heard the words of each song in my heart as my husband played the piano, our beautiful daughter played the violin, and our handsome son sawed away at the cello. Precious grandmothers and great-aunts sang in beautiful harmony.

A lump formed in my throat and tears stung my eyes. What is the matter with me? I am so blessed, but I’ve chosen to allow a negative, ungrateful spirit to overwhelm me on Christmas Eve.

During the reading of the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2, I silently asked God to forgive me for my attitude. I thanked Him for home, family, traditions, and most of all, for the precious gift of his son, Jesus. As we circled around a fluffy white confection of a birthday cake and sang “Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus,” I whispered, “And renew a right spirit within me.”

King David wrote Psalm 51 after the prophet Nathan confronted him about his sin. Not only had David committed adultery, he had arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to be put forward in battle, knowing it would ensure his death. Until Nathan confronted him, David ignored his sin. David’s plea for God to cleanse him from his transgressions and create a clean heart within him demonstrates humility and repentance.

All too often we compartmentalize sin and allow it to hamper our relationship with God. Is there something festering within your heart that is stealing your joy today? Search your heart for any sin that you’ve been ignoring. Come clean with God and ask him to restore a right spirit within you. It could make this Christmas Eve especially bright.

Renew a Right Spirit – insight 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, 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: Are you struggling to have a happy heart this Christmas season?

Waiting Expectantly

by Doris Hoover

In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. Psalm 5:3 NIV

When my daughter was still in a crib, she began each day by calling out, “Ma-ma.” I’d peek around her door and say, “Good morning, Sunshine!” At the sound of my voice, her little face would light up and she’d stretch her arms out to me, knowing I’d pick her up and meet her needs.

I cherished her trust in me. Similarly, the Lord cherishes the trust we place in Him. He delights to hear our voices calling out His name. When we stretch our arms toward our Heavenly Father, He always responds to us. In fact, in Isaiah, we read, “Those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isaiah 49:23 NIV) Our God, who has the power and wisdom to oversee everything that happens to us, looks out for our best interests, even though we may not understand how or when He’ll meet our needs. Our part is to call out and then to wait expectantly.

My daughter could be demanding at the start of the day. If she had to wait on me for anything, she grew impatient and fussy, but her cries didn’t rattle me, because I knew what she needed and that I would care for her in the best way possible. I did what I could to satisfy her, but always with maternal wisdom, according to my time frame rather than hers.

We can be a lot like impatient, fussy children demanding immediate fulfillment of our requests. But God knows what we need (not just want) and the perfect time to give it to us. He responds to us with divine wisdom and according to His time frame.

Each morning, David confidently laid his requests before God. “Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my sighing…I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” (Psalm 5:1, 3b NIV) Expectation means knowing assuredly that the Lord hears us and will to the right thing for us in His perfect way and timing.

We see another example of praying in expectation when King Jehoshaphat and all the people stood before the Lord in great distress crying out for help: “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV) The people cried out, knowing with certainty that their prayers did not land on deaf ears. They believed that God was in control of their circumstances.

When we pray with expectation, we humbly acknowledge our vulnerability and our total dependence on the Lord. My baby daughter had that kind of faith in me. David and Jehoshaphat had that kind of faith in God. Each cried out in need, knowing the one they trusted would hear their cries and respond.

I’m still learning to follow their examples.

Waiting Expectantly – insight from Doris Hoover on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

doris HooverAbout the author: Doris Hoover lives in Florida, but she also spends time along the coast of Maine. Her passion is discovering God’s messages in nature and sharing them with others. You can visit Doris at 

Doris’ book, Quiet Moments in The Villages, A Treasure Hunt Devotional invites you to step outside to discover the treasures God places around you. Doris Hoover leads you to beautiful places in her home town. Her poetic descriptions and beautiful photography draw you into moments that will stir your heart.

Join the conversation: Tell us about a time when God answered your prayer.

A Fresh Start

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!  2 Corinthians 5:17, CSB

By noon today I was wishing I could have a do-over.

Because I woke up late, I was running behind all morning. Then, because I was running late, I didn’t go to God’s Word first to soften my heart and settle my soul before interacting with others. It was all downhill from there. As a result, I spoke a harsh word, instead of letting gentleness flow out of me. And I found myself complaining instead of seeing the best in a situation.

“God, is there any hope for me?” I prayed.

It’s a good thing that the God of Heaven is a God of fresh starts and new beginnings.

Second Corinthians 5:17 tells me that the past is forgotten and everything is new when I am in Christ. That doesn’t just mean I become “new” when I initially come to Christ and surrender my life to Him. It means I can experience new beginnings every day – every time that I blow it. Every time that I see the need to start over. Every time I want to make it right with Him again.

Because we are human, we still sin. Even when we love God and set out to do what’s right, we still mess things up at times. Yet, a new start awaits. It’s available for the asking.

“God, create a clean heart for me…” David prayed in Psalm 51:10, after a pretty disastrous series of events that included lusting after a married woman, committing adultery with her, murdering her husband, and then continuing in his deception to save his image as king. Yet, as his sin found him out, this broken man cried out to God:
“Renew a steadfast spirit within me….Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit” (verses 10-12 CSB).

King David asked for a new start after messing up big time. And God, in His mercy, gave him one. When you and I ask God for a fresh start, He gives one to us, too. And He makes everything new. Everything. Our minds– to think pure thoughts. Our bodies – to live purely once again. Our mouths – to speak words that heal, not wound. Our hearts – to seek after a path that is straight and right.

Do you need a new beginning today? Would a fresh start put a fresh wind in your sails? Then ask God for a fresh start and a new beginning, as David did, and watch Him create a new you, right before your eyes.

Lord, please cleanse my heart and give me a fresh start in You. Make me new and spotless in Your eyes once again.

A Fresh Start – thoughts when your day needs a new beginning from @CindyMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: 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 You’re Running on EmptyFor more on her books and ministry, or for free resources to strengthen your marriage, parenting, or walk with God, see her website:

Cindi’s book, When a Woman Overcomes Life’s written for women who are dealing with wounds from the unresolved issues in their past. Readers will find gracious, biblical counsel on how and where to finally find healing and peace.

Join the conversation: What do you wish you could do over?


Dealing with the Skeleton in My Closet

by Sheri Schofield

Tim and I had just arrived in Oklahoma with all our possessions in the back of our small pickup truck, and our toddler, Drew, squeezed into the front seat with us. While Tim headed off to his first classes in medical school, I stayed home and arranged our tiny apartment.

That evening, I heard a shuffling noise outside the door, then Tim walked in carrying a long, thin box. “What’s that?” I asked.

“It’s my skeleton,” Tim said, grinning. He laid it down on the couch and opened the box. Drew dashed over to see what Daddy had brought home. Tim scooped him up and started explaining the contents of the box. Drew was intrigued!

My only question was, “Where are we going to put it?

We searched the apartment for a place where we could put it. “It fits under the bed,” Tim suggested.

“Not under my side!” I shuddered. Tim laughed. We slid the box with its long-expired contents under Tim’s side of the bed.

Later that week when I was vacuuming, I found Drew in the bedroom with the skeleton box pulled out. He was playing with the skeleton’s jaw. We couldn’t risk having the skeleton broken by our toddler, so we moved it to our walk-in closet. There it stayed for one full semester. Tim and Drew had great times studying it together. It made a wonderful father-son activity. I am sure that this early introduction to medicine influenced Drew as he grew older, as he became a registered nurse.

Each of us has secret things in our lives – skeletons in our closets – that we must examine. Secret hurts or actions from the past affect our outward behavior. When we bring them out into the open and talk about these things with Jesus, we change the impact those things have in our lives. If they are problems we can discuss with our children, the skeletons can become learning tools to give our children a better understanding of how to cope with difficult things.

King David had a skeleton in his closet. He wanted Bathsheba, the wife of one of his warriors. He sent for her in secret and became her lover. When she became pregnant, David had her husband sent to the front lines of battle, where he was killed. Then David sent for Bathsheba and officially married her. He thought all was hidden and that he had gotten away with it.

But God told Nathan the prophet, who confronted David. The king’s response was instant repentance. “I have sinned against the LORD,” he confessed (2 Samuel 12:13, NIV). God forgave David, but the baby died as punishment for the sin. Yet from that union with Bathsheba, God brought another baby, Solomon, into the world, the eventual great king of Israel. Judgment for David was tempered with mercy and grace, because of his sensitivity to God. Acts 13:22 (NIV) remarks: “God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. ‘ ”

None of us are going to get through this life without secret skeletons in our closets. But when we follow David’s example and deal with those sins openly before God, we begin the healing process. For Jesus took on himself the judgment of God for all sins, and he gives life and healing to all who trust him. He replaces sorrow with joy! He turns us into people after his own heart.

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts… Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow . . . Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:7, 10, 12, NIV

Dealing with the skeleton in my closet – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, Questions welcomed!

Join the Conversation: What skeletons do you have in your closet?