God’s Severe Mercy

by Sheri Schofield

Montana is lovely and dramatic, with its towering, snowcapped mountains and green valleys. When driving across it, I often sing America the Beautiful, and pray as I sing, “God shed his grace on thee.” It distresses me to see the increasing crime, to hear the twisted reasoning of the world, and to see the broken lives of those who do not know or honor God.

Lately, I’ve found myself praying, “God save America” rather than “God bless America.” For God only blesses those nations that honor and obey him. Our entire world is sick with sin. My heart has grieved over this increasingly.

When Covid flooded the world, I wondered whether or not this was a judgment from God. Many people were frightened. Many died, and pain and grief filled our hearts. But as this plague progressed, I began to see that God had been answering prayers in ways I didn’t expect. 

The government shut down churches and schools, in addition to businesses. Results? Parents were suddenly forced to be intensely involved with their children. Many families grew stronger. School lessons were done online, and parents suddenly saw the perversions being taught in classrooms. They rose up and demanded change. The home school movement grew tremendously because of what parents learned about education in the public schools, and many parents took back their role as teachers to their own children.

Churches, which had been conducted much the same way for centuries, were forced to move forward with the times and broadcast their services on YouTube in order to survive. The results were that many more people have heard the gospel around the world. Good, solid Bible teaching is now available, training new leaders, developing Bible knowledge wherever YouTube is available.

God raised up a man whose heart is searching for truth. Elon Musk has stood up to the evil flooding social media, bought Twitter, and has declared it shall be a place of free, open dialog, without undue censorship, a place where people can share their ideas. He did this to preserve democracy. Twitter is becoming a modern day version of Mars Hill in Athens, where the Apostle Paul once presented Jesus as the “Unknown God.” We can present Jesus on Twitter now and reach the world.

While he is searching for truth, Musk has broken down barriers so truth can be told. God is using him, whether or not Musk knows this, just as God has used others like King Cyrus in ancient days. Cyrus, though he did not know God, ordered Jerusalem to be rebuilt and reestablished the Jewish nation in its homeland.

Covid, which once looked only like a judgment, is beginning to look more like an answer to the prayers of the saints to save not only our nation, but also the world. I sense we are just at the beginning of God’s response to our prayers.

Sometimes what seems to be a judgment from God is in reality his severe mercy. He loves the people of this world too much to allow us to go unchecked into self-destruction.

Yes, there is a time coming when God will remove all restraints and allow mankind to self-destruct. But it could be that he is offering us one more chance to turn to him first.

So I continue praying, “God, save America…and this world…for your own glory.” It is a new year. Let there be a new beginning.

“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13, 14 NIV

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at http://www.sherischofield.com.

Join the conversation: What evidences of God at work have you seen in recent days?

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Investments

by Sheri Schofield

This morning I watched a sales pitch to invest in the stock market on the advice of a very knowledgeable expert. In the presentation, the advisor showed the side view of a brass bull’s face. It was part of the statue standing in front of the Stock Exchange. The words the advisor said were, “This is going to be a bull market.” He predicted it will be a time of great financial gain as certain innovations take off. We are facing retirement. We’d like to have financial security. Should we invest in the stock market?

It was tempting to invest. But that eye of that bull reminded me of ancient Israel’s worship of the golden bull calf. They believed that by worshipping Baal, they would gain financially.

My thoughts went to Mathew 6:19-2 (NLT), where Jesus said, “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will be.

It reminded me that our security is not in earthly things, but in God. There is no security in any other source. Our security is not in a paycheck. It is not in investments. It is in our Father who reigns over all the earth. My heart has been focused on missions for many years. The needs of those serving Jesus on the mission field can only be met as others give to their work.

I turned the ad off. It may have been sound financial advice…or not. I will never know, because my investments will continue to be in the kingdom of God, not the kingdoms of man. We will continue trusting our Father to supply all our needs, not the supposed coming bull market.

I refuse to be one who gravitates to the newspaper every morning to check on my investments. What thrills me is the emails I receive from missionaries who are experiencing miracles as they step out in faith for God’s kingdom on earth, though they struggle in many physical ways. Their eyes are on Jesus. That’s where my eyes must always be if I wish to receive his blessing. This is my team. I will trust our Captain.

What about our own needs? Paul wrote, “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NLT).

Our God is the one true God. We may never be rich in earthly goods, but as long as we keep focused on Jesus, we will be rich in eternal rewards. That is enough for me to face the future with my chin up and my heart full of joy. God alone is my security. God alone is my strength.

God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble…”Be still, and know that I am God!” Psalm 46:1, 10 (NLT)

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at http://www.sherischofield.com.

Join the conversation: How will you make God your security?

In the Fullness of Time

by Sheri Schofield

I’m a Scrabble fan. I like the planning and mental challenge of the game, and my family often plays it when we’re together at Christmas. But then someone introduced me to Upwords, a three-dimensional version of the game that can be built up from the board, not merely across it. Wow! Now that is a challenge!

One day I realized the parallel between Upwords and how God works in our lives. He doesn’t plan our lives on a flat plane. If we mistakenly miss his direction, he will still get us to his end goal as we live in surrender to him. He builds upwards and around obstacles. We cannot blow God’s plan by our mistakes, as long as we trust and keep following him.

That understanding of God became crystal clear to me when our son met his future wife. My husband and I had planned on serving God in either Santa Rosa, Argentina, or in Quito, Ecuador. But the sins of someone else destroyed that plan and sent us to Montana for many years. And this was where our son Drew met Chelsea for the first time. Her parents were missionaries whose home church was in Montana, and they were home on furlough after having served in Santa Rosa, Argentina and after she had attended a missionary school in Quito, Ecuador. Those same two cities! Our son and daughter-in-law could not have missed meeting one another on this earth! God’s plans included the detour we’d had to take.

Sometimes when I feel anxious about other people sabotaging my plans, God reminds me that he remains in full control and can build upward from the place I was derailed.

King David wrote, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb…. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be” (Psalm 139:13, 16 NIV).

When the Jewish people were taken into captivity to Babylon, God told Jeremiah he would bring them back to their land in his own time. Jeremiah wrote, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).

Galatians 4:4 says God sent his Son to earth in the fullness of time. And God has good plans for each of us—in his time. His heart for his children is the same now as it was in ancient times.

.This Christmas, remember that God sent Jesus to us, “in the fullness of time.” God has a fullness of time in each event of his children’s lives.  He knows when we are delayed unexpectedly, or when someone else derails the plan he has for us. He has taken this all into account. When we hit a roadblock, God incorporates the change and puts us back on the right track.

It is not our job to worry or to be anxious. It is our responsibility to simply hand our problems over to God and let him do the work of directing us. Our all-wise God does not make mistakes. He’s got this!

As the Christmas season surrounds us, may the knowledge of God’s sovereignty comfort, calm, and fill each of us with joy.

So do not worry, saying, “What shall we eat?” or “What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Matthew 6:31-34 (NIV).

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield, award-winning author and Bible teacher, has added a new way to share faith in Jesus: Her latest book, Before You Find Me, is a contemporary romantic suspense featuring a strong Christian who faces a crisis that tests her courage. Tara, a freshman at West Texas A&M whose parents are dead, learns that her younger sister witnessed a murder. To protect her siblings, she must spirit them out of Texas before the murderer learns there was a witness to his act. Tara has one day in which to act. Can she do it? She remembers a family ranch in Montana…and Ben, the boy next-door, who captured her heart once. Will he still be there? Will he help her protect her family now? This book entertains while it presents godly responses to danger and struggles. Sometimes fiction can draw people closer to God when they will not be drawn by nonfiction. Before You Find Me is available at http://www.sherischofield.com.

Join the conversation: What worries you this Christmas season? How does knowing God has all things in hand help the anxiety?

Signs of Our Times

by Sheri Schofield

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15 NIV

Are you looking closely at the signs of the times in which we live? Many places in this world are suffering from famine, plagues, wars, natural disasters, and societal upheaval. Newscasters are calling it “apocalyptic,” a term describing Revelation 6-19. Some are calling it “biblical.” These are not necessarily Christian people or even those who have read the Bible. They are reaching for terms they have heard to describe a world in crisis. Do we recognize the significance of this wide-spread sense of apprehension even among non-Christians?

Many times, Christians in civilized, developed countries cling to theories about end-time events rather than reading the Bible objectively and weighing what is happening in light of it. Fiction books about the end times take precedence over the Bible these days. People do not want to suffer. Naturally. As a result, we might cling to theories that support a no-suffering-for-Christians interpretation of the Bible, ignoring the massive numbers of suffering believers around the world.

This is dangerous. It leaves us unprepared to suffer for the gospel of Christ, a time which is surely coming. Yes, even here. More Christians have died for their faith in the past century than have died in the combined centuries since the time of Jesus. [1]

What can we do to prepare for difficult times?

1. Adore Jesus. Never lose our first love for him by focusing on theories about the Bible instead of Jesus himself.

2. Read and study the Bible to discover and apply God’s instructions to our lives daily. Do not interpret the Bible according to someone else’s interpretation, no matter how tempting.

3. Pray without ceasing. Keep the conversation open between ourselves and God. Take all things to him in prayer, praise for the blessings and requests for the needs.

4. Live by faith in God. Keep our minds open about end-time events and how we think they will play out. If we face suffering ahead, we should not fear. Our God will give us the grace and strength we need to go through suffering, just as he did for the earth’s early believers in God and those in the early church, mentioned in Hebrews 11:35-39. Though they were persecuted, though they suffered and faced death, they remained strong in their trust in God.

5. Remember what Jesus said. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going,” (John 14:1-4 NIV).

In Christ, we have a future and a hope that goes beyond time and lasts forever. Hold onto that when the world around us seems to be falling apart! We know the end of the Book—and Jesus wins. Stay focused on Him.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award me on that day—and not only me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7,8 NIV


[1] Dan Wooding, Modern Persecution, May 3, 2010, Christianity.com

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the Conversation: What is one way we can prepare for persecution?

The Faith-Walk

by Sheri Schofield

The mountain in Montana where I live has been home for many years. I know all the creatures. I know the weather patterns. I love the magnificent view. But in mid July, my husband Tim said, “We’re moving to Wyoming. I want to be there by September 20.”

I wasn’t sure this was the right thing to do, and I knew it couldn’t happen on Tim’s schedule. But I asked God to guide us.

It was up to me to find a home somewhere in Wyoming, because Tim works full-time. For three weeks, I drove all over Wyoming looking for a place. But houses were closing within twelve hours of listing—too short a time for me to get there.

Before I started my last trip, I was very anxious. Were we doing the right thing? Why hadn’t we found a home? What did God want me to know? So I took it to him again in prayer, asking those questions. He took me to a story where two blind men approached Jesus, crying out for mercy. Matthew 20:32 (NL T) records this: When Jesus heard them, he stopped and called, “What do you want me to do for you?”

I sensed this verse was for me. Jesus wanted me to be very specific about the home we needed. I wrote down a detailed description of the size, features, location, the requirement of a church in our denomination nearby, and I even pictured the view I wanted in the back yard! In all, there were eight features I felt we needed in a house.

Having given this all to the Lord, I was perfectly at peace as I began my house hunt again. I asked the Lord to close every house I was not supposed to see, and keep the right house open. He did. The house to which he led me was everything I’d asked for, right down to the view I’d wanted for the back yard. I knew at once my God had given me that picture before I’d left home so I would know the house when I saw it. We bought the house and closed in a very short time.

I often ask God for guidance, and he leads my by giving peace as an indicator. But I rarely ask for such specific things. There are times when God wants us to surrender to his will, and other times when he wants us to ask for specific things. The secret of knowing which way is the right path can be confusing or difficult to discover. How do we know his will?

God sees our hearts. He knows if we are willing to follow his directions or not. When we have teachable hearts, he wants us to set our requests before him so he can bless us. He wants us to know he is in control. He is our Guide. He will bring us to the place he has prepared for us, if we follow his instructions. He will confirm his will as we move forward in faith, listening to his voice, trusting his heart.

Once we had made our commitment, the Lord showed us why he had led us there: thirty percent of the population in that town are children. Our ministry is Faithwind 4 Kids. What a perfect fit! God is moving us into a greater ministry outreach. We live by faith, confident that he hears us, and he proves himself every time.

By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going, Hebrews 11:8 (NIV).

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the Conversation: Has God ever led you somewhere specific?

Disturbing The Peace

by Sheri Schofield

I intended to sleep in this morning. But nature intervened. A loud cacophony of distressed bird noises penetrated my sleepy brain. I wondered, “Did the wild turkey’s eggs hatch? Is the gobbler fighting with another gobbler? What’s going on?”

I sat up in bed and rubbed my eyes. Well, if the turkey eggs hatched, I’m definitely going to want pictures! Abandoning my nice, warm bed, I threw on some clothes and hurried outside to see what the clatter was all about.

There on top of the 40-foot boulder pile next to our house stood two Canada geese, squawking at the top of their lungs. What on earth are they doing here? Their pond is three miles away, as the goose flies!

I walked around the boulders to get a better look. The geese were practicing their landing skills. I guess they were used to landing on water and wanted a bigger challenge. Teenagers! I surmised. I’m used to the antics of young animals. The males prefer adrenalin rushes, so they engage in daring feats. Since the geese have webbed feet, they had no way to grip the rock, unlike the ravens that practice flying from that same boulder. So, every time they coasted in for a landing, the geese honked and squawked until they were securely perched on the rock.

The other birds in the forest were protesting loudly. I even heard the moose, who naps behind those boulders, give a loud snort. “Stop disturbing the peace!” the other animals and birds were shouting, each in its own language. It wasn’t hard to translate.

Churches sometimes react the same way when someone new arrives who has serious needs. Many people attend church for the sole purpose of finding peace in their hearts for the week ahead. When someone in crisis shows up, others can resent this intrusion into their peace. They don’t want to hear it— “Don’t disturb us! We don’t want to believe what you’re saying or help you with your problem!”

But isn’t helping the wounded exactly what the church is supposed to do? God did not call us to be like the wild animals! He did not call us to regard church as a social club. It is a hospital for those in spiritual—and sometimes physical—need.

Once when Jesus was teaching in a house, three men tore the roof off part of it and lowered their paralyzed friend down to Jesus, who healed the man (see Mark 2:1-12). Nothing is said of how the homeowner felt about the hole in his roof. I’m guessing he probably left the hole for a few days to tell of the miracle done there!

When Jesus cast a legion of demons out of a possessed man outside Gadara and sent the demons into a herd of pigs, the pigs ran off a cliff. This frightened the inhabitants of the town so much, they asked Jesus to leave their region (see Mark 5:1-20.).

Would we rather celebrate what God is doing to restore people in our churches? Or would we rather tell Jesus to go away so our lives will not be disturbed?

Isaiah prophesied this about Jesus: “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1 NIV).

I want to be part of that!

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 NIV

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the Conversation: What motivates our hesitancy to reach out to those who are different than us?

Camping Anyone?

by Sheri Schofield

Once upon a time, I thoroughly enjoyed camping out in the mountains. At least I think I did. But for some reason, all I can remember now is freezing at night every time I rolled off that thin, rubber mat that was supposed to protect me from the cold, hard ground. Honestly, that is all I remember about camping.

But nostalgia is a strange thing. Somehow, my husband, Tim, wants to camp out again. However, he wants an upgrade on the equipment. So, he bought a tiny camper and tried to tow it home behind his little Suzuki. Bad plan. It caught fire on the way home. Unfortunately, the fire only consumed the Suzuki, not the camper.

I recognize ill omens when I see them.

Tim assures me that the old man who sold it to him, slept in it all year. I seriously doubt that: It has a hole in the roof. “We’ll have some good times in it,” he assured me.

Fat chance. I am not sleeping in that thing! Tim, however, said it is an investment in our retirement. Now I’m worried about his plans for our retirement! I seem to hear the music from “Jaws” getting louder and louder in my brain.

Coincidentally, my daughter married a man who is eerily like her dad. He, too, is enamored with camping out. My daughter called to invite us to camp out in their new little trailer…in Alaska. Burr! “It will be so much fun!” she tells me.

I hate to be a party pooper, but I am not camping out in another tiny trailer with three other people! “At our age,” I tell her, “we have to use the restroom more than once during the night. And we snore.”

“Oh,” she says after a long pause. “It’s not going to work, is it?”

I can imagine how Sarah felt when Abraham said, “Honey, God told me to leave town and go to a new land where we will live in tents and herd sheep and goats and camels and move around a lot. It will be so much fun!”

No wonder Sarah was barren. With all that exercise, her body probably refused to add childbearing to her burden. That’s what happens sometimes to women devoted to aerobics. Have you ever tried to round up sheep on foot? Well. There you are: Aerobics.

On top of that, God had told Abraham he would be the father of many nations. The pressure’s on, Sarah! It’s all up to you! After many years, Sarah got tired and said, “Hey, let my servant girl, Hagar, take over.” Bad idea!

But Sarah’s faith was exhausted from trying to measure up to Abraham’s expectations. Exhausted from moving all the time. Exhausted from trying to conceive a child to build a nation.

Trying to measure up to others’ expectations can be a faith-drain on anyone. If you’re there, know this: God loves you unconditionally. He will give you the strength you need for each day as it arrives. The grace for tomorrow will be there on time. Your future is assured in Jesus. You’ve got a wonderful eternity ahead…and it does not involve camping out!

Jesus said, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you may be where I am,” John 14:2-3 (NIV).

Heaven’s going to be a blast!“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV).

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM!
Sherri offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the conversation: Have you ever caught yourself using someone else’s expectations to measure your success?

The Soul-Magnet

by Sheri Schofield

There’s a rodent haven next to our mountain home. It is a huge pile of boulders that towers forty feet into the sky. Rats, mice, pikas, and squirrels call this huge tower home. I’ve noticed it is very well organized. It even has a bathroom for the community on one side of the tower. The squirrels living in the tower have black tails and are very territorial. In the mornings, one or two of them will climb up a tree and scold every bird or gray squirrel they see. Sometimes, a black-tailed squirrel from another boulder tower will scold back. The neighboring inhabitants scold even louder. I imagine they are saying, “This is MY house. I’m the boss here. Don’t come near my place…or else!”

(Sometimes I stand on the deck and make squirrel scolding noises right back at them. It drives them crazy!)

The gray squirrels live in more modest pile of boulders behind our house. They are gentle and curious. They rarely scold. I can talk to them, and they hesitantly listen for a while, then scamper away.

Two different types of squirrels—two different responses to life. Territorial versus gentle. Domineering versus friendly.

I’ve been reading the book of Judges. They had no ruler, no king. Therefore, each one did what was right in his own eyes. My, what contention! Some group was always battling another group, even in times of national peace. When they forgot God and worshipped Baal, He let invaders dominate them. He delivered Israel time after time, but they quickly forgot God.

In later days, they were not willing to let God be their King. They wanted a man. Even after God gave them a human king, it didn’t satisfy them. Jealousy drove Saul to hunt David. Jealousy and sin divided David’s household. Solomon had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines from the surrounding heathen nations. He built idols to their gods and participated in their evil worship. His later life was totally self-centered, though he began his life well. It resulted in a divided kingdom after he died.

Sin divided people back then. It divides us now. Peace can only exist where Jesus is King of our hearts, and we obey His command to love one another. Tertullian, a first century Christian, tells us the pagans would say this about Christians, “Behold, how they love one another!” It amazed them. The pagans didn’t have any such love, and what they saw among Christians was incredible. Christians were decidedly different!

Do we love one another today? Someone recently described a church this way to me. “They are the nicest, kindest people. But I don’t think the pastor is very deep, and nobody seems to connect the dots too seriously.”

This church has clearly understood Jesus’ command to love one another. They are not arguing among themselves. They are reaching out to others, showing kindness. They are not focused on divisive theology. I’d say they are deep. Very deep. For loving one another is the most miraculous quality of the church.

Once we have learned how to truly love one another, we are better able to understand the rest of Jesus’ teachings and the instructions of the apostles. Love is the foundation upon which we build. After we have learned to love other Christians, we will learn to love the lost. When we love the lost, we have great influence in leading them to Jesus. Few can resist God’s love. It is a soul-magnet.

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing, (1 Corinthians 13:1,2 NIV).

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

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM!
Sherri offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the conversation: In what ways do you show love to your fellow believers?

Solitude Is For The Birds

by Sheri Schofield

I’m getting desperate—I need people! Winter surrounds our home. Three inches of snow cover my car. Ice lies beneath the snow down our long driveway. It is so cold even the bunny is reluctant to come out of his burrow to hunt food. It is quiet up here. VERY QUIET. My husband Tim is a man of solid worth, but he isn’t a talker. Okay, maybe he can find three or four words to string together. But if he could make it two words instead, he’d do it. So, I’m trapped in silence. I cannot escape this mountain solitude until someone plows and sands the driveway.

“Aaagh! Cabin fever! Let me out!” I beg.

“Oh, alright.” Tim sighs, pulls on his boots and heads for the snowplow. My hero.

Solitude is pleasant—in small doses. Tim loves it. He enjoys his computer, working on cars, looking at the view from our mountain retreat and listening to music. But I need more people around me to satisfy my heart. God did not design me to be a recluse. It’s probably because He gave me a spiritual gift of evangelism. So, I headed for town, hoping to further cultivate my friendships with non-Christians.

That day my friend Levi* said, “You know, I’ve got a lot of things I wanted, but they just don’t satisfy me, now that I’ve got them.”

My thoughts went immediately to the Book of Ecclesiastes. “A man who was known for his wisdom wrote about that, Levi. It’s in the Bible, in the Book of Ecclesiastes. You could look it up online. I think you’d identify with what he says and would be interested in his conclusion,” I suggested.

“I’ll look it up,” he said. Levi is usually lonely and withdrawn. But he is opening up a little.

As I walked away, I thought, “No, he will not look it up. Not unless he has a Bible.” So I went to the Christian bookstore and bought him a New Living Translation. It had a special app he could use with his phone if he wanted to know more about it. Guys love apps, I thought. Levi will enjoy this.

I drove back to the gas station where Levi works and handed the Bible to him. His eyes lit up when I mentioned the app. I also gave him a key ring with a leather fob saying, “Jesus cares for you.” Levi was touched and promised to read Ecclesiastes. “After that,” I said, “read Matthew and keep going.”

Ecclesiastes isn’t where I direct most people who are searching for God. But I’ve learned to sail where the Holy Spirit blows. And it worked!

Two days later, Levi thanked me profusely for the Bible. I asked if he had used the app.

“No,” he said. “It’s the WORDS! The WORDS! I never knew what they meant before! It has inspired me to read the whole book!”

Levi was deeply moved emotionally. I could see the Holy Spirit had gripped his heart. God, who wants a huge family in heaven, wants this man to be there.

There will be no solitude in heaven, for God has been gathering people from every nation to be with Him. He will fill us with such joy that we will want to be continually in His presence. Our hearts will finally be fully satisfied, and we will never be lonely again. Heaven is a holy party place!

After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar, “Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne and from the Lamb!” Revelation 7:9-10, NLT

*Not his real name

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

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

FREE CHILDREN’S PROGRAM! Author/Children’s Bible teacher, Sheri Schofield, offers a free series of video lessons about Jesus and His salvation—for children ages 4 and up. It is available at her website www.sherischofield.com. In this video series, Walk-The-Talk Island, Sheri presents her award-winning book The Prince and the Plan, in 24 video lessons for your children, grandchildren and any others with whom you wish to share. In addition, Campfire provides devotions for children.

Join the Conversation: Have you recently encountered someone searching for God?

The Most Famous Love Words

by Sheri Schofield

The harsh realities of paganism surrounded Ruth in the land of Moab—until the day she met Mahlon, a young Jewish immigrant. Ruth’s people worshipped Chemosh, known as “the destroyer.” Her people offered human sacrifices to Chemosh, usually young children and babies. But when she met Mahlon, Ruth was introduced to the living God, Jehovah, whose laws required love and life, not fear and death. It was revolutionary!

Mahlon and Ruth were soon married. Mahlon’s brother, Chilion, married another Moabite woman named Orpah. But their joy was cut short when Mahlon, Chilion and their father died, leaving behind their three widows. Their mother-in-law Naomi decided to return to her hometown. She urged her daughters-in-law to return to their families. Orpah eventually did.

But Ruth refused to be parted from Naomi. Why would she want to stay in Moab and suffer under the worship of Chemosh? She told her mother-in-law, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God,” (Ruth 1:16 NIV).

Upon their arrival in Bethlehem, Ruth worked in the barley harvest to gather grain to feed Naomi and herself. The people of Bethlehem grew to respect the young widow for her faithfulness to Naomi. Eventually Ruth married a local landowner, Boaz, and provided a son to inherit Mahlon’s land, a son who was laid in Naomi’s lap, to bring joy to the widow.

While Ruth’s words to Naomi are often used in wedding ceremonies between a bride and groom, those words were originally meant to show the devotion of a young woman to her mother-in-law. Ruth became Naomi’s caretaker, her provider. She did it out of love.

Caretakers often support and provide for others who cannot live on their own. Older women care for husbands whose health is failing. Husbands care for wives who are incapacitated in some way. Parents care for handicapped children. Many caretakers work without thanks, for their loved one cannot speak or understand or express words of love. Yet those caretakers give unselfishly day after day, year after year, serving those whom they love.

Most people do not understand or even think about the sorrows of those who have taken up the role of caretaker in their homes. Often, those who give care do so out of an inner strength, upheld by the Holy Spirit. They have learned to stand alone, in God’s strength.

Valentine’s Day is very hard for many caretakers. Do you know anyone who serves in that capacity? Have you considered sending him or her a Valentine this year? How about a card signed by many, letting this lonely worker know they are loved and appreciated?

Let this Valentine’s Day be the beginning of a pattern among us. May the Lord help us seek out and recognize the Ruths who patiently and quietly serve others. Let’s tell them they are loved and treasured. We can lift their spirits with our encouragement. Let this Valentine’s Day go beyond romantic love and touch the servant-hearts of those in need of joy.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)

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

About the author: Award-winning author, illustrator, and Bible teacher Sheri Schofield ministers to children and their families through her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids. After serving Jesus through children’s ministries and personal evangelism for many years, she understands how to communicate God’s plan of salvation clearly to those who are seeking God.

God? Where Are You?: Answering Your Questions About God and How You Can Find Him by [Sheri Schofield]

Her first book on salvation, The Prince and the Plan, was designed specifically for children. But during COVID, Sheri sensed the need to also provide help for adults. Her new book for adults, God? Where Are You?, tells tells who God is, how we became separated from him, and what he is doing to bring us back to himself through Jesus. At the end of each chapter is a section called “Food For Thought”, which answers questions many unbelievers have, such as—If God is good, why do terrible things happen?—Is anyone too “bad” for God to want to rescue them from sin? This biblically based book is short and easy to read. 

Join the conversation: How can we show love and support for those in a caretaker role?