What Do You Do With A Sign?

by Sheri Schofield

I was driving home the other day when a flashing road sign caught my attention: “GOAT INSPECTION AHEAD”, then a new flashing message, “GOATS WILL BE INSPECTED SEPARATELY.”

Whaaaaat? Yes, we do live in cowboy country. But most people have cattle and horses. Very few people have goats. I have certainly never heard of a goat inspection! And weren’t they getting a little picky by inspecting each goat separately? It sounded strange to me! Who came up with this idea anyway? Were the goats carrying some awful disease? And should I be concerned about it??

Then I saw a sign further down the road. It said, “BOAT INSPECTION HERE.”  Ooooh! The first sign was missing some light bulbs. Now I got it!

There’s a sign-dependent man in the Bible. In fact, this man was really big on signs: Gideon. Yes, I know: Men aren’t usually interested in asking for directions! But Gideon was. He asked God for a sign – then two, then three – because he just couldn’t believe what God had asked him to do.  (“Are you sure all the candles are working on that sign?” he probably wondered!)

Many in the land of Israel had turned away from God and were worshipping idols, including Gideon’s dad. So God sent their neighboring enemies to invade the land. Every harvest time, they would come in and strip the land of everything they could find. They brought their own livestock with them, since that was their mode of transportation. Their livestock would eat all the plants in the fields. Then the enemies would return home.

This left the people of Israel starving, and they finally cried out to God for help. In time, God moved to rescue them. He sent his angel to see Gideon, a nobody from a very small tribe. The angel found Gideon threshing wheat at the bottom of a winepress which was well hidden from the invading armies of Midian. The angel said, “Hey, mighty hero! God is with you!”

Gideon was indignant. “Whaaaaat? Then why is God allowing all this hardship? Where are God’s miracles that we’ve heard so much about? It feels like God has abandoned us and turned us over to the Midianites!”

The next line gets a little more specific about who that angel was. “Then the LORD turned to him and said, ‘Go with the strength you have and rescue Israel from the Midianites. I am sending you!” (Judges 6:14, NLT)

Don’t you just love those words! God himself was telling Gideon to rescue his people!

But Gideon couldn’t believe it. He protested that he was the least in his family, and his family was the weakest in Israel! Finally, he asked for a sign to reassure him he was getting it right. . . and God did as he asked.

Gideon asked for two more signs, and God patiently honored those additional requests. Then he used Gideon, least in his family which was from the least of the tribes, to deliver Israel.

God most often chooses the weak to carry out His business. It’s counter-intuitive to how the world thinks, of course. So it’s hard for us to imagine He would choose to use little old us. But as the Lord explained to Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for [My] power is perfected in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB). God chooses “the weak things of the world to shame the things that are strong…so that no man may boast before God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29 NASB).

Do you have a great desire to see God reach someone for eternity and rescue them from Satan’s power, but you feel insignificant and not skilled enough for God to use you to do it? Hear this: The LORD . . . the same LORD who spoke to Gideon . . . put that burden on your heart. He wants you to step out in faith and trust Him to provide the right words. The Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost is now living in you and stands ready to help you share the gospel. Go in the strength that you have, for the Lord is with you!

“… I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions. In those days, I will pour out my Spirit even on servants, men and women alike . . . And anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  Joel 2:28, 29, 32, NLT

TWEETABLE
What Do You Do With A Sign? insight fro Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: Has God ever given you a sign?

Sunflower Love

by Sheri Schofield

Warm summer breezes sweep the ripened grass in the meadows, and all along the roads, sunflowers gently nod. The cheerful golden manes around the brown faces dot the landscape when most other wildflowers are done for the season. From first light until dusk, the sunflowers face the sun, following its orbit across the sky, never wavering in their devotion to its warmth.

King Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, reminds me of the sunflowers. He was at home in Jerusalem minding his own business when a messenger came to him with troubling news. The kings of Moab, Ammon and Edom were marching on Jehoshaphat’s kingdom of Judah. Three nations! How could Judah withstand such an onslaught?

Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news, and his immediate response was to turn his face to God for guidance. He sent out orders to all his people that they should fast. When the people heard the news, they left their towns and rushed to Jerusalem to seek the Lord together. King Jehoshaphat, who met them in front of the Temple of the Lord, led them in prayer.

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you . . . If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague, or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us. . . We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:6, 9, 12, NIV).

The Lord answered Jehoshaphat immediately. The Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel, a man from the priestly tribe of Levi. He said, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them . . . You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 NIV).

The next morning, Jehoshaphat chose some good singers and told them to march in front of the army singing praises to God declaring his unfailing love. Now that is confidence!

As they neared the enemy encampment, the choir began to sing. At the first notes of  praise, the Lord caused the invaders to start attacking each other! By the time the choir, the army, and the king arrived, not one enemy could be found alive. God had saved all Judah in a spectacular manner.

Have the cares of this life surrounded you? Do you feel overwhelmed? Then look toward Jesus. Cry out to him, “Lord! I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you!” Like the sunflower watches the sun above, keep your eyes on the Son of God. All deliverance and freedom is in him. He will come to your rescue!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked our for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12:1- 2 NIV).

TWEETABLE
Sunflower Love – insight on #GodsLove from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How do you keep your eyes focused on Him?

Where Is Home?

by Sheri Schofield

Peculiar things tend to happen in our country church when our senior pastor goes on vacation. This time, the assistant pastor was in charge. His ministry, which is mainly to a local rest home, is to a different congregation. When he stood to give announcements, he said gently, “This week we have had a number of deaths among us.”

I felt instant alarm. I had heard nothing of this! I looked around to make sure all my friends were there.

The pastor said, “Dan Smith* passed away this week.”

Dan, who was sitting not six feet away from him, shot up in his seat, shook his head vigorously and said, “No, I didn’t!”

We all roared with laughter! Needless to say, confusion reigned for a few minutes. Communion juice and bread were passed out willy-nilly, and the ushers with the offering plates stood helplessly in front, one waving his plate in the air, not sure when to pass it out. It was most unusual. Fortunately, Dan has a good sense of humor!

Our senior pastor is now back from vacation. We are his flock. If he had been handed that announcement, he would have known it wasn’t true. He would have looked immediately for the family involved, and he would have seen Dan standing with them.

This reminds me of what Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So I sacrifice my life for the sheep . . . My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:14, 15, 10, NLT). With our Good Shepherd, we go way beyond mere recognition! He blesses us, too.

What is this rich and satisfying life that Jesus wants to give us? Is it a life of wealth and ease? No. Elsewhere, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me”  (Luke 9:23-25, NLT). He also told his disciples of coming persecution because of their faith, then ended by saying, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (Luke 16:33, NLT).

I do not think Jesus was speaking only of the peace and exhilaration we will have with him in eternity when he said he wants to give us a rich and satisfying life. I think he was speaking of the relationship we can have right now, if we keep our souls melded with his throughout our days. We will inevitably suffer some loss and grief in this life. But if our hearts have found our life and hope in Jesus, we will be inwardly rich and satisfied… even now.

Consider what Moses wrote: “Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!” (Psalm 90:1, NLT).

When I return home from a vacation, I feel a sense of relaxation and belonging. I have my own pillow, my own bed, and I know where everything is. I relax and feel comfortable. This is the feeling Jesus wants to give us when we belong to him. With Jesus, our hearts are rich and satisfied, no matter what external perils we suffer. Abiding in our Good Shepherd, we are at peace. We walk into his arms, and we are home.

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 27:13 NASB

*Not his real name

TWEETABLE
Where Is Home? Insight from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How has God blessed you lately?

Angels Unaware

by Sheri Schofield

Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!  Hebrews 13:2, NLT

 The young man was standing by the side of the road near a busy corner, holding a sign asking for help. His very pregnant wife stood next to him, holding a sleeping child over her shoulder. A little boy about four-years-old sat in the shade of the tree in a stroller.

They appeared to be Hispanic. Were they from our southern border? The thought crossed my mind. I pulled over. “Hi!” I said, smiling and holding out some money in one hand and the picture book about Jesus I had written for children in the other.

The wife smiled and came over, accepting the gift and thanking me in slightly accented English.

“I have a book for your little boy,” I said, handing her the book. The mother was pleased.

The family stood at that corner for two days, then they disappeared. I do not know if I will see them again, but at least they have been warmly welcomed to my town . . . and helped.

At our southern border, people from Central America are flooding into our country. I have no need to know how the politicians are going to handle the crowds wanting in. My only concern is to ask myself, “What would Jesus do?”

Abraham had that same spirit toward strangers. One day, he sat in the shade of his tent under a grove of trees. It was hot. He noticed three strangers standing nearby. He jumped up, ran over to them. “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while. Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet. And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey” (Genesis 18:3-5, NLT).

As they visited, one of the men told Abraham that his wife would have a son. But Abraham and Sarah were very old! Sarah laughed silently to herself and thought, “How could this be possible? I’m way too old for such joy! And Abraham is old, too!”

Now we come to the interesting part: “Then the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’ Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son” (Genesis 18:13-14, NLT).

One of the strangers was the LORD! Later we learn that the other two were angels – His messengers.

We do not know all the reasons behind the migration from Central America to the United States. But regardless of human motivations, I see that it is ultimately God’s hand bringing them here to us. He is intimately involved with all people, not just our own.

So I ask myself, “What do we have here in America that people in Central America and other countries may not have?” Our freedom to hear and choose our own religion comes immediately to mind. This is not true in many places—in Latin America and around the world.

Next question: “Why is God sending these people to us?” That’s easy! So we can share the good news about Jesus with them!

Lord, let us put politics aside and see Your hand! You have brought Central America to our doorstep. Help us reach these people for Jesus! Let us demonstrate Your love for them. And just maybe, angels will be among those whom we welcome in Your name.

TWEETABLE
Angels Unaware – thoughts on #FollowingGod from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: What opportunity has God give you to share Jesus lately?

The Frost Busters

by Sheri Schofield

Yesterday was one of those Rocky Mountain High days: high altitude, high humidity, and high temperatures – for Montana, at least. Even the buzzards were hot! I saw one perched on a fence post, facing into the wind. Its wings were stretched out with every feather separated as far as it could go, and its tongue was hanging out of its beak.

You wouldn’t think 74 degrees would be considered that hot! But back in March, we hit a record low of -42 degrees during calving season. We lost thousands of calves across the state and many adult cattle as well. That buzzard weathered the cold. Now it was 116 degrees hotter. You bet it was overwhelmed!

Jesus spoke of a spiritual climate change that would happen in the last days. He said, “Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 12:10 NLT).

Sin has always been with us. But in recent years, it seems to be increasing at a gallop. What was once hidden from others is brazenly broadcast to all. There is a boldness and pride about sin these days. What was once considered sin is now being celebrated as personal rights. Evil is considered good. People’s natural love for their own families is freezing over under this increased assault. Our natural response as Christians is to back away from those who boldly proclaim their sin.

But is that the answer? Should we let fear hold us back from giving our world the antifreeze it needs so desperately? What can we do to bring warmth to a frozen-hearted world?

Peter wrote, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sin. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another” (I Peter 4:8-10 NLT).

Love begins at home. Then it spreads outward to other believers. Love from God that cannot be contained then reaches out to the lost around us. It grows, spreading warmth to those who are secretly enduring lives of frozen desperation, captured by the powers of darkness that dominate our land.

Before He left this earth, Jesus told His disciples what would happen after He was gone. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere – in Jerusalem [home], throughout Judea [neighborhood], in Samaria [surrounding countries], and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8  NLT).

We are to love in the power of the Holy Spirit. Loving those who are difficult cannot be done on our own steam. We have to be plugged into God’s supernatural strength and power, like electrical appliances must be plugged into electric outlets. Then, with the Holy Spirit flowing through us like an electrical current, we can reach our world with the Son of love and defrost frozen hearts one at a time.

Have you mastered loving your own? How about those at church? Your neighbors? Take these challenges one step at a time, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and see just how many hearts God can melt through your love!

God wants to defrost hearts with his love, and he is gathering a defrosting team. Maybe we could even have team shirts made: “The Frost Busters!” Will you join us? Go, Team, Go!

“Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love – not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1 John 4:7-10, NLT

TWEETABLES
The Frost Busters – thoughts in #FollowingGod from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: When has your heart been warmed by the love of others?

The Bull Rider

by Sheri Schofield

It’s rodeo season here in Montana. Crowds flock to the fairgrounds to watch friends and family compete for prizes. The youngest rodeo riders, usually ages 4 to 7, start the contest by riding bucking sheep. They are the “wool riders”. Welcome to Mutton Busting! They hold onto the thick wool for dear life, cheered on by their families. Sometimes they cry when they are bucked off. They run to their mothers, who fold them in their arms and comfort them for a few minutes. Then the child wipes away his tears and rushes over to watch the next wool rider perform.

The rodeo events will gradually increase in danger from calf roping, to steer roping, horse shows, barrel racing, and bronco riding. Finally, the experienced riders head for the bulls. The huge animals snort and stamp their feet, just waiting for that man to drop on top of them. The gate opens. The bulls rush out, thrashing wildly.

This is the bull rider’s greatest test. Atop a horned bull that weighs between 1,500 and 1,900 pounds, the rider must spur this mountain of powerful muscles to make it an even wilder ride! It seems like an eternity as he holds on with only one hand! But in truth, the ride lasts only eight seconds. At the sound of the buzzer, the rider tries to jump off the bull and a clown rushes in to distract the angry beast while the bull rider picks himself up and heads for safety.

Sometimes, life can feel like a rodeo bull ride. We hold on for all we’re worth for what seems like an eternity before we are able to rest! We pass through stress, grief and loss. But it is not forever. It is only for a relatively short time, in view of eternity.

When we first begin to experience difficulties in life, we may be like the children—the wool riders—on sheep. It looks fairly safe from the standpoint of the bleachers. But to the child, it seems impossible! Then the tests increase in difficulty. We grow stronger. Soon, if we learn to stay in the saddle, we may find ourselves on top of the equivalent of a bull in life. Stay strong! Stay in the saddle! The ride is short! The rest is sure for those who trust God. The reward is tremendous!

We do not ride through these difficulties for our own spiritual maturing alone. Paul writes, “He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

As we grow spiritually from these difficult experiences, we are able to reach out to others and help them through their own anxiety or grief. Sometimes, we simply stand with them, arm across their shoulders, and let them know we care, that we are there for them. Sometimes we share our own sorrows or stress, and tell how God helped us through them. We help others hang onto life and Christ. We give them the gifts of listening and understanding, prayer and comfort – gifts that God has given us in our times of testing.

Are you riding a bull today? Or are you resting from the testing? If you are in the saddle, hold onto Jesus! He will get you through this.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm.  Ephesians 6:10-13, NLT

TWEETABLE
The Bull Rider – insight on spiritual maturity from SheriSchofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: Have you been riding a bull lately?

 

Watchman On The Walls

by Sheri Schofield

There’s a young squirrel living in the pile of boulders behind my house. She likes to eat her breakfast on my back deck. I know this because she leaves behind dissected pine cones every morning. She hangs around the back door and greets me when I come outside. I call her Daisy.

This morning, Daisy wasn’t just chattering. She was sitting in a tree looking at the boulders and shouting at the top of her lungs!

I glanced over at her home and noticed that a wild ferret was perched on the top of the boulders. He was looking for breakfast. Daisy was telling everyone in the neighborhood, “An enemy is invading, and you’d better watch out!

It reminded me of Ezekiel 3:17. God told Ezekiel, “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately” (NLT).

In ancient days, kings appointed watchmen to stand on the walls of the city and look out for approaching enemies. When the watchmen would see danger, they would sound the alarm. People working outside the city walls would hurry inside and the gates would be shut. Soldiers would rush to the top of the walls to defend their people.

God compared his prophets to watchmen, for their job was to warn people of approaching spiritual danger. The Apostle Paul drew a similar comparison when he wrote, “Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over our souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit” (Hebrews 13:17, NLT).

Who are these spiritual leaders? Are they our pastors? Yes, some of them are pastors. But there are others as well. People who have lived in obedience to Jesus for many years become spiritual leaders, too. These leaders are called to teach younger believers the ways of Christ and how to avoid spiritual danger.

For years, I have watched as certain people have taken up the responsibility of watching over younger people. I myself have poured out my life for the children in my ministry and then have become a spiritual guide for some as they have grown older. God appoints us as watchmen for these younger ones, people who will stand by them and point them to Jesus and His ways during their trials.

Recently, one of “my” kids, who has grown up and moved away, emailed me that her truck had been stolen. She had no transportation. Her apartment keys were in the truck, too. She was very anxious and upset.

The Lord told me, “I am testing this young woman. Tell her to trust me.”

I said, “Honey, this is just a test. God has this under control. It has not surprised him at all. The sooner you trust him, the sooner this test will be over. Someday you will be a leader and a young person will come to you in crisis. Then you will tell them, ‘This is just a test. Trust God!’ ”

She smiled and calmed down. She got it! By the next morning, the police had found and returned her truck. She had listened to the watchman God had appointed for her.

We who follow Christ have been given watchmen for our souls, and we become watchmen for others as we mature in Jesus. It is how we grow strong together. It is the way of love. We need each other.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25

TWEETABLE
Watchman On The Walls – insight from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: Is there a watchman in your life? A family member or friend that both encourages and holds you accountable?

Give Me This Mountain!

by Sheri Schofield

The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites….” Numbers 13:1 NIV

I finally finished it. The painting I started for my daughter and her husband is ready to be framed, at long last! But I didn’t realize how long it had taken me to finish it until my daughter, Christy, said, “Mom, you started painting this before Matt and I were married.”

They were married ten years ago! I almost finished it then, but somehow, I couldn’t quite envision the foreground to my satisfaction. It didn’t balance right. So, instead of finishing the painting, I let it sit next to my desk all those years. Occasionally, I’d glance at it and wonder how on earth to make it look right. That rock I’d painted on the left side – there was something wrong with it.

Then one day I thought, “You know, if I were to take that rock out of there and put different rocks on the right side instead of the left, it would look good.” So I put it back up on the easel, put some dabs of oil paint on a pallet, and started painting over the rock, effectively erasing it. Within two hours, the painting was finished, and it looked great!

IMG_2938

My focus had been on the rock. I just needed to look at the painting from a different perspective.

Israel had a similar problem when they arrived at Canaan, after God had rescued them from Egypt with great miracles poured out through Moses. When they reached the Promised Land, Moses sent out twelve spies to look things over before they went in.

When the spies returned, they said, “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is the fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there…” (Numbers 13:27-28 NIV). The descendants of Anak were giants. The spies went on to tell of all the powerful people they had seen in the land.

“Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, ‘We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.’” (Numbers 13:30, NIV)

But the other ten spies were bent on discouraging the Israelites. No one stood with Caleb and Joshua, who urged the people to believe God.

As a reward for their faith, only Caleb and Joshua of that generation were allowed into the Promised Land. Everyone else who was twenty years old or more, died over the next forty years as Israel wandered in the desert.

The nation of Israel saw only the giants — the obstacles. Caleb and Joshua saw God and his mighty power.

By the time Caleb and Joshua had led Israel into victory over much of Canaan years later, they were old men. At age eighty-five, Caleb saw one more area to conquer. He said, “I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I am just as vigorous to go out into battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day. You yourself heard then that the Anakites were there (the giants) and their cities were large and fortified, but, the Lord helping me, I will drive them out just as he said.” (Joshua 14:11-12, NIV)

And in God’s power, Caleb did it!

This is the same God we serve today, just as powerful, just as willing to give us victory when we call on him. Are our eyes on the obstacles or on the power of God?

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Give Me This Mountain! – insight from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: What obstacles get in your way of trusting God?

 

Fire On The Mountain

by Sheri Schofield

A number of years ago, my husband and I moved into a home high in the Rocky Mountains. Deer, elk and moose crossed the property daily. Mountain lions and bears sometimes walked through. Those were just the large animals: you would not believe the number of squirrels, rabbits and other small creatures on our mountain!

Then one day, I met Corky and Louise. These little ground squirrels were obviously tame. Corky liked to follow my husband around like a little dog, sitting up to see what Tim was doing. Louise couldn’t get enough of my petunias, so I had to hang them up out of her reach. More timid than Corky, she would stand below the deck each morning and consider the unreachable flowers. So I’d pick off a few blossoms and drop them one by one over the side of the deck. As they floated down Louise would race over, hold up her tiny paws, catch them, and stuff the blossoms into her cheeks.

One warm summer day, I opened the door to the deck and stood enjoying the cool breeze. Louise came onto the deck and cautiously approached the open doorway, curious and ready to explore. She stepped over the threshold. I shook my head and said, “Louise, you need to go back outside.”

She sniffed the air and looked up.

I said, “You can’t come into the house, Louise.”  I moved my foot slightly. The sudden action startled her! What was this big THING in front of her? She gave a little squeak and fled.

Israel was a lot like Louise. They worshiped the invisible God, Jehovah, who rescued them from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and fed them manna from heaven.

But one day Israel reached Mount Sinai. God came down onto the mountain. Thunder and lightning crashed! The mountain appeared to be on fire! The Israelites were terrified. They trembled as they watched Moses climb up the mountain to meet with God! They were not prepared for God’s mighty power and majesty.

The God we serve is more powerful and awesome than we can imagine. Yet he sends rain to the earth and makes the crops grow. He provides for our needs. We lift up our hands and gladly accept these gifts from the invisible God. But are we willing to experience him like Moses did?

The picture God painted at Passover was carried out at Calvary, when God sacrificed his one and only Son in order to rescue us from Satan’s power. The Mount Sinai picture, painted fifty days later, was fulfilled at Pentecost, when God poured out the Holy Spirit on believers in flames of fire over each one’s head, and allowed them to speak the languages of pilgrims assembled in Jerusalem. About three thousand people were saved as a result!

Now that Resurrection Sunday (Easter/Passover) has passed, we can look forward to the next great celebration: Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on believers in great power. If we are willing to seek God’s face like Moses did… like the early church did … that power is available to us now. It is only fifty days from Resurrection Sunday.

The power of the Holy Spirit can save and heal our world, if we open our hearts and become channels through whom God can pour out his salvation. Imagine heaven’s gates opening wide as we cry out to him for blessing, for healing, for filling!

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13, NIV

TWEETABLE
Fire On The Mountain – insight from SheriSchofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How has God shown Himself to you lately?

Winter Won’t Last Forever

by Sheri Schofield

Winter is over. The birds have started coming back. The snow is slowly melting and I can see patches of green starting to show here and there. Soon yellow bells, shooting stars and paschal lilies will start blooming. The land is awakening after a long, cold winter, and soon I’ll be able to trek through the mountain meadows again looking for signs of new life.

Israel went through a long, cold winter once. For over four hundred years, God had been silent. No prophecies of hope. No encouragement from above.

Then one night, an angel appeared in the night sky outside Bethlehem! He did not appear to the town leaders, but rather, to humble shepherds. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them, “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” . . .  Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” (Luke 2:9-14, NLT)

Out of nowhere – in a time of hopelessness – God sent his one and only Son to redeem the world from sin and the power of the devil.

We find ourselves once again in a time of spiritual hopelessness. So many in our nation have turned their backs on Jesus. Oh, yes, there was a time of excitement when some of the Christian leaders began talking about the signs of his return to earth. They got everyone’s hopes up. One leader declared that Jesus would be here by 1980. Then the year 2000 was supposed to be the big year. But now we find ourselves in 2019, and few are talking about the return of Jesus anymore. The years of anticipation seem to be gone, except for a few who are still looking for signs of his coming.

How do we keep that hope alive after so much hyped up enthusiasm and disappointment?

The people of Jerusalem in Jesus’ day thought that the kingdom of God was going to come at once. But when Jesus approached the city, he told them a parable:

“A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back’” (Luke 19:12,13 NLT).

When the king returned, only two of the servants had invested the money that had been entrusted to them. They were rewarded with the great responsibility of presiding over cities in the kingdom. But the servants who had failed to follow his instruction were reprimanded, and the money he had given them was taken away.

It has now been over 2,000 years since Jesus told that parable. Remember, the servants were to wisely invest “until I come back.” He is coming. But while that coming is imminent, He does not ask us to live on the edge of excitement, trying to predict when he will return. No. He wants us to serve him, to use the gifts he has given us to build the kingdom. . .  until he returns.

God does not count time the way we do. His priority is giving each soul a chance to come to him. But some ordinary day when nobody is expecting him, Jesus will burst into the scene and every eye shall see him come! Let’s use our time and gifts wisely to bring Him glory until He does.

Out of winter will burst full spring, and winter will be over forever!

“I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.’ “ Revelation 21:2-4 NIV

TWEETABLE
Winter Won’t Last Forever – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout 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 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, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: How are you using your time and gifts for the kingdom?