Have We Checked the Manual?

by Leigh Ann Thomas @LThomasWrites

Beep-beep-beep-beep-beep.

There it was again. Every minute or so, the faint sounds echoed throughout the house. What in the world? I checked the fire alarms, then attempted to narrow down the general location of the annoyance. My detective work led me to our refrigerator—delivered just that morning. Sure enough, when I opened its shiny new door, the grating beeps increased in volume.

Being a highly technical person, I began pushing buttons. If it looked remotely like a button, I pressed it. No luck. Beep-beep-beep…

It was time to escalate. I called the fine establishment where Mr. Fridge used to live and asked for help. I used my most calm, professional voice. “Ma’am, please tell me how to stop this infernal noise.”

The answer? (Wait for it…)

“Have you read the manual?”

In the interest of full transparency, I felt a special kinship with the apostle Paul in that moment, because I began having horribly wretched thoughts (see Romans 7:24-25 for further details). Thankfully, I took a deep breath and maintained composure.

“No ma’am. Um, I’ll do that right now.” I skimmed the manual, pressed a few more buttons, and the beeping ceased.

The experience got me to thinking. I’m incredibly thankful that when I approach the Lord in a state of distress, He doesn’t smack my hand and ask if I’ve read the manual. He could, you know. Can you imagine?

What now, child? You’re hurt or confused again? You don’t understand your present situation? Hmm. Have you cracked open that book I gave you? You know, the one with all the answers?

How many times do I have to tell you? My Holy Spirit speaks through prayer, circumstances, my people, and through the words in the manual. Seriously. Check it out.

Quite a humbling thought.

When the fridge was threatening my sanity, I wasted considerable time in my feeble attempts to fix the problem. I squandered additional minutes in phone Hades, waiting for an “expert” to help me. All while the manual lay two feet away.

Can you relate? In moments of angst, we will exhaust every silly avenue of worldly help and overlook the vast resources of Heaven a breath away. The most sacred of manuals couldn’t be clearer:

His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness (2 Peter 1:3 NIV).

God’s Word is our inexhaustible source of wisdom, peace, comfort, guidance, perspective, hope, joy, purpose, and so much more.

I am forever thankful for a Heavenly Father who is loving, patient, and kind. Who will gently move in me to seek His heart and His ways. And who will gather my trembling form under His wing and provide a steady, faithful refuge.

One beep-beep at a time.

He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:4 NIV

TWEETABLE
Have We Checked the Manual? – encouragement on #FollowingGod from Leigh Ann Thomas @LThomasWrites on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Leigh Ann Thomas is passionate about encouraging women to seek God’s best. She has penned four books and is a contributing author in 12 books and compilations. A writer and editor for the parenting site, InTheQuiver.com, Leigh Ann is also an AWSA Certified Writing Coach. She is married to her best friend, Roy, and they are thankful for the gifts of three daughters, two sons-in-law, three amazing grandsons and a grand princess. Connect on LeighAThomas.com, Facebook and Twitter.

Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone—Inspiration for Women in the Middle, uses Scripture, prayer, and the power of story to show women in midlife how being smack-dab in the middle of God’s plans and purposes is the best place to be.

Time for a Nap

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.                                                                                                                               Psalm 4:8 NIV 

I seldom ever take a nap during the day. It’s not that I’m opposed to naps, but I’m one of those perpetually fast-forward personalities that has a hard time slowing down long enough during the day to take one. But the other day, my late nights and early mornings caught up to me. I was so sleepy and sluggish; I couldn’t concentrate on anything and needed a power nap.

Setting the timer on my phone for 45 minutes, I curled up on my bed and started to drift off to sleep, but the room was so cold, I couldn’t relax. My husband keeps the thermostat set at “frigid” in our house. Remembering the quilt folded at the foot of the bed, I pulled it over myself. With the heavy warmth of that quilt wrapped around me, I instantly fell into a deep, restful sleep.

It feels good to have a fresh start; and grabbing a little rest is needed. When my timer went off, I woke up refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the day.

We normally just think about rest in terms of our physical bodies, like when I ran out of steam in the middle of that day. But rest is essential for our soul and spirit as well. We tend to forget about our need for spiritual and emotional rest. It’s easy to become weary and worn out when our lives are filled with concerns and worries for our family or marriage, work issues, finances, health, or even ministry.

Hey, let’s face it, we live in a cold world, and as much as I needed the warm quilt to relax and rest in a cold room, we need a covering over our minds and hearts to relax and rest in the Lord. That’s where we find peace for our weariness.

God has provided a covering for us that is even better than my warm quilt. Look what it says in Psalm 91:4 NLT: “He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.” When our minds are filled with a million thoughts, when we are stressed out, when life seems out of control and when things aren’t going the way we want them to, it’s time to step away and rest under the soft downy feathers of God’s faithful promises.

Our situation may not change right away, but His peace that comes with His covering, allows us to relax and rest. After a time of refreshment with Him, we’ll have what we need to get on with the situation at hand.

So, how about you? Are you in need of a spiritual and emotional nap? Cover up under the warmth of God’s wing. He is there for you. Here are a few more verses to read while you rest.

  • Ruth 2:12 (BSB) “May the Lord repay your work, and may you receive a rich reward from the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have taken refuge.”
  • Psalm 17:8 (NIV) “Keep me as the apple of Your eye; hide me in the shadow of Your wings.”
  • Psalm 18:30 (BSB) “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
  • Isaiah 51:16 (BSB) “I have put My words in your mouth, and covered you in the shadow of My hand, to establish the heavens, to found the earth, and to say to Zion, ‘You are My people.’”
  • John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”

May you wrap yourself in God’s peace and be able to rest in Him today.

TWEETABLE
Time for a Nap – encouragement on finding God’s peace from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout 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 some of your favorite verses that help you to rest?

Peace Like a Frog

by Linda Rooks @Linda_Rooks

One day while pulling weeds and overgrown vines in my large Florida backyard, I squeezed through the hedges to grab a vine and spied a small frog clinging to a leaf. Instead of jumping down and hopping off to find a calmer location where the plants were not being jostled and shaken, he didn’t budge.

For the next hour, I continued pushing past the frog as I pulled on vines and drug them back through the hedges to deposit them in the trash can. But despite the disturbance I was making, the frog didn’t move. Seemingly unfazed by any potential danger, he sat peacefully and unflustered on the side of the leaf.

I was surprised at his cool composure. Why was he so calm in the midst of so much chaos around him?

With my hands busy with the task of pulling out the vines, my mind was free to ponder things like how a frog could stay so peaceful, and I realized God’s provision of a suit of camouflage made him feel safe. His reaction to danger was to “hide” in God’s provision for him. The frog was able to be quiet and at peace in the midst of the mayhem going on around him, because he knew that while remaining still he’s invisible to predators. He’s camouflaged. He’s hidden.

The frog inspired me to think about my own reactions in life, for when uncertainties surround me and life seems chaotic, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

But when life gets out of hand and we don’t know how to untangle ourselves from the chaos surrounding us, God tells us to “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 ESV) Like a frog that doesn’t move when danger lurks, God asks us to be still.

For when we are still, we can find that hiding place in the arms of our loving Father. When we quiet our minds and rest in His care, He can give us His peace that transcends understanding. (Philippians 4:7) In Psalm 32:7, David says, “You are my hiding place, you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (NIV) And Psalm 91:4 tells us, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart“ (NIV).

When we’re still and look to God in our troubles, we can recognize that God has the answers for us. He is our security, and He is our refuge.

When we look at nature, we see how God protects all His creatures, sometimes by giving a frog the protection of camouflage, sometimes by giving a porcupine prickly spines or a bird the ability to fly away. For each of his creatures, He is a loving creator.  But for us, His people, He is also a loving father. God’s amazing love is our protection. He is our hiding place and our refuge. When we’re scurrying around trying to find answers, He stands with His arms out to us, telling us to come to Him. He is faithful and has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He himself is our protection and refuge.

When you feel fear stalking you, when your mind swirls around with fears, imaginations, and unanswerable questions, when fear creeps up on you and is about to pull you under, remember you have a hiding place in a God who loves you with an everlasting love. His protective camouflage will hide you from the enemy’s snares. And under the shadow of his wings you can find refuge.

TWEETABLE
Peace Like a Frog – insight from @Linda_Rooks on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

linda rooksAbout the author: Linda W. Rooks has a ministry of hope for those in broken marriages. Her book Broken Heart on Hold, Surviving Separation continues to bring strength and healing to those who need an encouraging friend in the midst of marital breakdown. Her new book, Fighting for Your Marriage While Separated, will release in February 2019, to offer practical guidance for those who desire reconciliation. Linda writes for both adults and children, and her stories and articles have appeared in numerous publications including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Focus on the Family and Today’s Christian Woman. She and her husband reside in Central Florida where their ministry to marriages in crisis has helped many couples reconcile their relationships.

Join the conversation: When has God been a refuge for you?

Under His Wings—Solid Shelter for Turbulent Times

by Crystal Bowman

He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.  Psalm 91:4 NLT

As thunder rumbled and raindrops danced against the window, my infant granddaughter slept in my arms, melting into my chest. Oblivious to the afternoon thunderstorm, she rested in peace, knowing she was safe in my arms. My own body was also at rest, enjoying the tranquilizing motion of the silent rocking chair and absorbing the warmth of a six-pound human swaddle.

As I rocked back and forth, my eyes drifted toward a canvass print on the wall. The words of Psalm 91:4 were encircled by a pink and green floral wreath. “He will cover you with His feathers. He will shelter you with His wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”(NLT) This verse reminded me that just as I was offering safety and protection to my granddaughter, God does the same for me. The metaphor of this verse is that of a mother hen, clucking to her chicks when she senses danger. She stretches out her wings and urges her young to run to her for shelter. Under her wings she will keep them safe from harm and the dangers that threaten.

We are living in turbulent times. Some of us are facing serious illness or financial challenges. Some of us have adult children who are questioning the faith they were taught in their younger years. Some have spouses who no longer desire to be married to them. Broken families and broken hearts have become the norm. But in the middle of these storms brewing around us, God spreads His wings and beckons us to run to Him for safety and protection.

How do we run to God? We do it with our words. God already knows what’s on our hearts, so why not have a conversation with him? God is a good listener. He is patient. He wants us to give Him our worries, so we can rest and be safe under his protective wings.

As we run to God and converse with Him, we can also invite Him to speak to us through His Word. Psalm 18:30 (NIV) says, “As for God, His way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; He shields all who take refuge in Him.” This gives us a second picture of God’s protection and shelter. The Bible is our compass, guiding our paths and giving us wisdom for daily decisions. The more we read it, the more we can hear from God, and the more we can be under His wings of safety.

No matter what you may be facing today, run to your heavenly Father, for there you will find protection. He will cover you with His feathers and shelter you with His wings. Sit at His feet as you mediate on His Word and talk to Him openly and honestly about anything that is on your heart. He is calling you to come and is waiting for you.

Thank You, Lord, that you are my shelter. Thank You for your promise to protect me and help me with whatever I may face today. I choose to run to You so I will be covered with your feathers.

TWEETABLE
God provides the shelter we need turning these turbulent times – Crystal Bowman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Crystal BowmanAbout the author: Crystal Bowman is an award winning, best-selling author of more than 100 books for children including Our Daily Bread for KidsM is for Manger, and Does God Take Naps? She is a speaker and mentor for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) and teaches at writers’ conferences. She is a regular contributor to Clubhouse Jr. Magazine and writes lyrics for children’s piano music. Crystal lives in both Florida and Michigan, and when she is not writing or playing with her grandkids, she loves to sneak outdoors to walk and talk with God.

Join the conversation: Tell us about a time when God’s protection was very evident in your life.