It’s Time To Be The Church

by Sheri Schofield

People from all over the city have been hiking our mountain trails, having paintball parties, and hunting meat for their freezers this year. With the pandemic in full swing, there has been little else to do except recreate in the mountains, maintaining social distancing when approaching others on the trails. With the increase in human presence, the deer and the elk have disappeared from our mountainside. They have fled to safety elsewhere.

But in the meadow below, the field mice, ground squirrels, and the bunnies have remained, undeterred by the tromp of boots or the sound of rifles. They shelter together in their dens and nests. They have endured. They are peacefully abiding in what is a time of great stress for the other wildlife.

People around the planet are struggling. COVID, intertribal fighting, famines caused by drought and locusts, loss of jobs, and the disruption of the food supply, has brought many people to the point of desperation. The World Food Program alone reports that 270-million people are going hungry in countries where they are serving. They are able to help only 130-million with their program. Rebel groups are recruiting people with the promise of food in exchange for fighting.[1] Christians around the world are suffering.

In times like these, it would be easy to panic or flee to safety. The problem is, the whole world is affected. There is nowhere to go. What can we do to endure this crisis on planet earth?

The past holds the key. When we look back to the World Wars, when over 65 million husbands, sons and fathers marched off to war, we read of communities coming together for prayer meetings. They sang songs like, “O God, Our Help In Ages Past” to keep up their courage. They helped each other.

With social distancing, it is hard to get together for prayer meetings or singing. Unless … remember Zoom? Remember Face Time? We can still meet, pray, and sing together, with help from our social media tools.

In these difficult times, we need each other! We need to interact and remind each other of our great God, who keeps our souls safe during the stormy blast. God has provided us the tools to meet, whether by phone or by computer. If ever we needed to abide together in our safe place with God, it is now.

During the early days of the church, when persecution drove the believers underground for safety, the writer of Hebrews wrote: “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another…” (Hebrews 10:25, NLT).

Let 2021 be a time when the church abides together in God, making use of whatever means we have been given, to communicate, love, lift, and support. Is anyone sick, unable to work, or has had their business closed down? Those of us who have enough must reach out in love and help them. Is someone alone? Discouraged? Imagine what a phone call could do to lift them up! And of course, there’s email. Or how about the old-fashioned, written note of encouragement, sent by snail mail?

If ever the church needed to be the church, it is now. Let us turn the Holy Spirit loose among us and see what God can do through us! This could be the greatest time of revival in decades … if we reach out to each other… and to the lost … with words of hope and love, with deeds of kindness and support.

Church, it is time: BE the light of Jesus to your world.

Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive. Titus 3:14 NLT


[1] https://www.time.com ‘2021 Is Going To Be Catastrophic’, by Joseph Hincks, December 9, 2020

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. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: How have you responded to God’s call in this pandemic crisis?

Living In Victory

by Sheri Schofield

Snow fell unexpectedly here in Montana’s Rocky Mountains. It was over a foot deep at our house and very wet. Then came a freezing rain and rapidly dropping temperatures during the night. The next morning as I worked around the house, I could hear the sound of great bundles of ice-covered snow falling from the trees. Many of the trees’ branches were broken under the excessive weight, and some trees in our forest fell. The burden was crushing.

Sometimes the enemy of our souls drops a crushing burden on our hearts, much like that heavy snowfall. How do we get through such times, when our hearts are broken?

Many push God away, angry that he has allowed such suffering. They ask, “If God is good, how could he allow this?”

We tend to forget that we are living in a world still ruled by Satan. The Bible calls him “the god of this world”. The Apostle Paul wrote: “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV).

But you thought that when Jesus paid the price for our sins at Calvary, he defeated Satan! So why then do we still suffer under Satan’s rule? Why does the devil still have the power to hurt us? Where is the freedom from our enemy?

Yes, Christ defeated Satan at Calvary. But this deliverance works a lot like an election. In the United States, the votes are cast in November, but the new officials do not take office until the middle of January. Those who were defeated still rule until the new leaders are sworn in to office.

In the same way, Satan has been defeated, but he has not yet lost his position. He can still kill, steal and destroy— for Jesus has not yet returned to earth to claim his kingdom. However, while we await Jesus, we have been given the Holy Spirit to help us combat the devil. Our King Jesus has given us a great weapon, power in prayer, to overcome the devil’s works. We may not always stop our enemy if he takes us by surprise, but many times we are able to reverse his injuries and intentions by the power of prayer. It is our greatest weapon. Through prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, we bring God’s might against the evils of this world and the devil.

But there is a day coming when heaven will declare, “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down” (Revelation 12:10 NIV).

Are you struggling with a crushing burden? Remember that you are part of an army! You have a team of other believers! Call your Christian friends and have them do battle for you in prayer! We are not to fight the enemy alone.

If you are not struggling at the moment, remember that you have brothers and sisters who are. Let’s not let them down by neglecting to pray for them in this time between Calvary and the return of Jesus! Let us hold each other up so that the great burdens we sometimes have to bear do not crush us. In this way, we can live in victory.

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NIV.

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. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: Are you shouldering a burden that we can pray about on your behalf? Please share!

Pass The Salt, Please!

by Sheri Schofield

Winter has come to Montana, along with its ice and snow. It’s time to start putting Ice Melt on the slippery patches between the back door and the car so that nobody will fall going in and out. I’ve been avoiding putting it on the steps, though. The edges of the steps are already chewed into rounded shapes because the bunnies, mice, skunks, and deer love the salty flavor! It is a great temptation for them, much like chocolate is for me.

With January snows approaching, I know I will see many little paw prints and hoof marks clustered around the back steps every morning. The animals usually eat breakfast before daylight then return to their cozy dens and lairs for naps. Except for Mopsy the bunny. She runs laps on the snow-covered lawn after breakfast. I steadfastly refuse to find a lesson in that for me!

The creatures of the forest find the salty Ice Melt irresistible. It’s as welcome as an ice cream truck coming down the road. Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth. We are to be irresistible, too! I’ve been looking for ways to be salt in the lives of those I meet.

The pandemic and its limiting of contacts has narrowed my outreach. But there are store clerks that I see often. I’ve heard some of them say that customers have become more gruff and harsh now that they are hiding behind masks.

I’ve made it a habit over the years of learning the names of each clerk at every store I enter. At the counter, I ask about their lives briefly, and I remember what they say. The next time I see them, I ask about what they said before. Sometimes we talk about faith, too. This is one way I can be salt in my world during this time of great separation and isolation.

In Luke 10:25-37, Jesus told a parable about a man who was traveling. Bandits attacked him, took all his clothes and possessions, and beat him up and nearly dead. The man lay bruised and broken alongside the road. A priest walking down the road, saw the man … and crossed the road to the opposite side. Next, a Levite, someone who worked in the temple, chanced to walk by. He saw the wounded man, pulled his cloak closer around him, and scurried by as well.

Finally, a Samaritan came down the road. (The Samaritans were despised by the people to whom Jesus was speaking.) But the Samaritan stopped when he saw the wounded man. He showed compassion. He cleaned and anointed the victim’s wounds, helped the man onto his own donkey, and took him to an inn, where he cared for the man. The next day, the Samaritan gave some money to the innkeeper for his continued care for the wounded traveler. He agreed to pay any cost necessary to help the man. Then he went on his way, promising to return.

The Samaritan was an example of the salt of which Jesus spoke.

In the coming year, I am asking Jesus to show me new ways to be salt to those around me. Where will there be wounded souls along my path? How can I help them? How can I touch their hearts with Jesus’ love? During this time of great trial, how can I lift up those whose pathways I cross?

Pass the salt, please! I want to flavor my world with love!

Then [Jesus] said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” Matthew 9:37, NIV

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. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: How are you flavoring the world with love?

Living On The Cutting Edge

by Sheri Schofield

The road leading toward our home in the mountains crosses a cattle grid that makes a huge, clanging noise whenever a car drives over it. For the past month, I have noticed two teenage ground squirrels perched on the long metal bars. I know they are teenagers not only because they are only half-grown, but also because of their behavior. As I approach the grid, I slow down and try to dodge them. They can hear and see me coming, but they stay on top of the bars until just before my tires touch the metal, then they duck at the very last second.

I get it now: these teenage ground squirrels are adrenaline junkies! They want to live on the edge and feel the thrill of near-death experiences! They love the feel of all that metal clanging and shaking around them! For them, it’s like going to the circus and riding the hammer or the roller coaster, or trying to ride a bull at the rodeo.

King Saul’s son, Jonathan, was like that. He loved living on the edge, out where he took his faith to the limits in win-or-die-trying situations.

The Philistines, constant enemies of Israel, had been raiding the land, robbing people of food, livestock and possessions. Jonathan couldn’t stand it! He and his troops attacked them. But that just stirred the Philistines up even more, and the problem just got worse. All Israel was frightened. Many fled to the mountains and hid in caves, and King Saul, Jonathan’s dad, was distinctly upset about his son’s actions.

But Jonathan learned that the Philistines were camped at Michmash. He told his armor-bearer to go with him to spy on the Philistine camp and see what God might do. “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few” (1 Samuel 14:6b NIV).

“Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul” (1 Samuel 14:6-7 NIV).

Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us. If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them. But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the LORD has given them into our hands” (I Samuel 14:6-10 NIV).

When they arrived, the Philistines mocked them and told them to come up. So Jonathan and his armor-bearer did. The two men immediately killed twenty Philistines! Then God sent a panic that filled the entire Philistine army. They all fled!

I once stood as Jonathan did, in imminent danger, looking at an impossible battle, but knowing that God could give me victory. Should I or should I not fight? I remembered that D. L. Moody had once said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to Him.”

I echoed that thought and said aloud, “The world has yet to see what God can do through the woman who is sold out to Him.” I moved forward into battle . . . against an enemy no one had ever beaten . . . and God gave me an incredible victory. My actions resulted in a new law that now protects many others.

If you are facing an impossible battle, know this: God gives victory to those who step forward in faith and trust Him. Take your faith to the limits! See what God will do!

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.”      2 Chronicles 20:15 NIV

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

TWEETABLE
Living On The Cutting Edge – encouragement from Sheri Scholfield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: Have you ever faced an impossible battle? What happened?

When You Don’t Know What To Do

by Sheri Schofield

Yogi Berra, All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees, once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Don’t you wish it were that simple? Each of us comes to many forks in the road of life. Which way should we go? How will we know which path is God’s plan for us? Does God have an absolute plan for our lives? If we take the wrong road, will we miss out on God’s blessing?

I used to think that God’s will for my life was linear—like a map on paper. I would do my best to discover his will, but I did not always choose correctly. I made the best decision I could on the information I had. Sometimes I could not get full information about the choices available to me because my leaders would not tell me. No details… not even the basics!

As the years progressed, I learned that God’s will is not linear. It is not like a flat map or a board game of Scrabble. It is more like the game Upward, which is like three-dimensional Scrabble. One can build any word up from the one already formed, so long as the new word is a legitimate word going both upward and across.

I learned that God is not bound by my mistakes! As long as my eyes are on him, he will put me back on the right path if I miss it.

The prophet Isaiah wrote to the rebellious Jews, who had made some very, very bad mistakes, “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you! Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,”” (Isaiah 30:19, 21 NIV).

Sometimes I don’t hear that voice telling me which way to turn, though. I sometimes find myself feeling like a squirrel halfway across the road with a car bearing down on me! (I often identify strongly with squirrels, which is why I watch out for them.) As creatures near the bottom of the food chain, squirrels behave in a predator-avoidance manner. The squirrels freeze when they see a predator approaching, then dash away at an angle as the predator closes in. This works for avoiding big animals charging at them, but it really stinks for avoiding cars!

I’m like that. I freeze when I’m afraid and then sometimes make decisions to avoid trouble at the last moment, dashing toward what I feel is safe. This is not always a good move! But God is good to me anyway. He’s always looking out for me, and if he sees that I am afraid, and I call out to him, he will slow down and patiently wait for me as I try to discover his will. He does not allow me to be devastated or crushed by his displeasure.

Eventually, if I wait and listen for God’s voice, he will make his directions clear. I just need to be still and wait on him. As a squirrel-type, I find that this isn’t easy! I want to dash out into the road to get away from fear. So when I must make decisions, I ask the Lord to hold me still in his mighty hand and to calm my fearful heart while I wait.

He is faithful. He will speak.

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10, NLT

TWEETABLE
When You Don’t Know What To Do – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: How has God guided your mistakes into opportunity?

Help! The Heat Is On!

by Sheri Schofield

About a year ago, I decided it was time to try steaming veggies. You know – no fattening oils or butter that would drive up the calorie count. I bought an inexpensive double boiler to see if I liked the way the veggies tasted when steamed. They were delicious! I found myself using the double boiler more and more often. Then one day, when I was cooking, the double boiler began rocking wildly back and forth.

“What?” I thought. “Why’s it doing that?” I discovered that the metal on the bottom of the boiler had popped into a rounded shape. I could see this lack of reinforcement would be a problem. One can’t cook with the kettle wildly shaking and rotating on the burner!

I have a glass-top stove, very convenient for moving kettles around. I moved the tea kettle over next to the boiler and pushed the shaking and rattling pan up against the top of the stove. Bolstered between the tea kettle and the stove, the faulty boiler settled down and did its job. I now keep it braced between those two sturdy objects when I cook…until I can find a better kettle.

There are many people in this world whose foundations are not strong, much like that double boiler. Maybe they have not grown up with hardship. Maybe they have been taught to blame others for their problems instead of taking ownership. Maybe their faith is weak. Maybe they struggle with fear or insecurity or mental illness. Or possibly they have gone through far more suffering than we have endured, and it has broken them. There are many reasons why people struggle under pressure.

Our assignment from God is not to judge others who are weak, but rather we are to come alongside them and bolster them up and encourage them. Gentle words of encouragement can help move them closer to God and help them learn to trust Him. He alone can build strength into our souls.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up… May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you” (Romans 15:1, 2, 5, 7, NIV).

In this life, each of us are likely to have weak times, moments or even years of grieving or loss. When we are weak, we rattle around and may seem a little overwhelmed or hysterical to those around us.

I’ve been there. For three years, I suffered from posttraumatic stress after a fierce battle to save my husband’s life from the overwhelming power of some unscrupulous people. During that time, nearly everything I said when talking with others ended up about that battle.

I was in a new community and nobody seemed to know what to do or say to help me. But there was a very small group of Christian people who came alongside me. They listened, they loved, and they prayed for me. Eventually, the Lord healed my heart. Now I can laugh again! I am free!

Had it not been for those caring, patient friends, I would not have been healed. For God gives us to each other to strengthen, encourage, and to help Him bring healing to troubled hearts.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV.

TWEETABLE
Help! The Heat Is On! – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the conversation: Do you know someone who is struggling? Will you stand alongside that person?

The Hidden Box

by Sheri Schofield

Question: What do you think the most important item in a country home is?

Answer: It’s a small box hidden away in a dark room where nobody can find it!

My husband and I have lived in a lovely house in the mountains of Montana for fifteen years. We thought we knew everything about it until . . . Oh, no! There was no water coming from any faucet in the entire house! We called a plumber. He asked about the little box, but none of us could find it. We didn’t even know it existed! It took an hour to find the box. Inside it, some tiny wires had blown out. Once they were fixed, presto! Water!

It reminded me of what Paul wrote about the church, the body of Christ. He said that the Holy Spirit bestows different kinds of gifts on the church, each gift meant for service to the entire body of Christ. Wisdom, teaching, preaching, serving others . . . But all these gifts are from the same Holy Spirit, who knows exactly what each church needs in order to function effectively in spreading the good news about Jesus.

We are a team! Someone may think, “Oh, I’m not important. I only mop floors. I wish I could do something more spectacular!” Another may say, “I don’t matter because I just welcome people. I wish I had a more interesting gift!” Others say, “All I do is teach children. Nobody ever notices me or says thank you. I don’t matter.”

We are living in a time when families are overwhelmed by the activities expected of them by their communities or children. By the time Sunday comes, all they want to do is to sit and listen. “Oh yes – and please, somebody take my children somewhere else so I can listen! I’ve given myself away all week and I need to be fed!”

Paul wrote: The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable . . . Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is part of it, 1 Corinthians 12:21, 22, 27, NIV.

Yes YOU! What part did the Holy Spirit give you to perform within the church? Has your life become too busy to serve? Or do you think that because nobody can see your work that you are not needed?

Have over-commitment and feelings of inadequacy or inferiority consumed your life, robbing you of the energy to fulfill your role in the body of Christ? Has stress blown the wires in your little personal box? If it has, how can the living water from Jesus quench your thirst or minster to the lost through you?

You matter! When you aren’t able to function, the church gets bogged down. So if you are feeling overwhelmed or unneeded, tell Jesus about it. He will strengthen and refresh you through the Holy Spirit. Tell a trusted friend that you are stressed and ask him or her to pray for you. Let the Lord and your brothers and sisters in Jesus minister to you today so that tomorrow you may minister to others. And while you’re at it, take a look around. There may be others serving in hidden ways who need to hear those magic words, “Thank you!”

By using the gifts God has given us, we will bless others and be blessed ourselves. When we function like the body we were created to be, all our lives will bubble over with living water!

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

TWEETABLE
The Hidden Box – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: What gift has God given you to build up the body of Christ?

What Is the Prayer of Faith?

by Sheri Schofield

“If God wants me to have more faith, why doesn’t He answer my prayers for healing?” an elderly man recently asked me. He reasoned that if God wants us to have faith, then God should give us some miracles to show that faith really works.

During Jesus’ earthly life, he told people about God the Father and salvation. He healed a lot of people, he supernaturally fed multitudes, and he raised the dead. He wanted his disciples to do the same works. To do these things, they would need to pray, asking God for the miracles.

Jesus knew that persistent prayer was necessary for miracles to be granted. So he told them a parable about a widow who kept going to a judge pleading for justice. But the judge kept refusing her request. Day after day, the widow kept going to see the judge. Finally, just to get her out of his hair, he gave her justice.

Jesus said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice and quickly.”

Then, as though he were asking himself a question, Jesus said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8, NIV).

Yet, the Apostle Paul, a man of prayer and great faith, asked the Lord to remove a “thorn” in his flesh, but God told him no. Paul wrote, Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me, (2 Corinthians 12:7-9, NIV).

In one example of prayer, the request is granted. In another, it is not. Sounds confusing, doesn’t it? What does God want of us? Can we ever know whether or not God will answer our prayers?

The answer is: Yes, God will always answer our prayers. Most of the time, the answer will be to grant our request. But there will be times that, for reasons of his own, God will say no.

The prayer of faith is one of trusting God’s answer. We pour out our hearts, we persist, then we leave the results to God. We place our request but do not tell God how to do his job. With faith, there is no “why”.  Like a child who runs to his father for comfort, we cling to our heavenly Father. We trust that his answer will be for our eternal good and for his glory. We do not push him away if he does not give us what we want! By faith, we continue clinging to the One who comforts and strengthens us.

Like a loving parent, God will say “yes” much more often than “no”. If you are experiencing unanswered prayer, try listing all the “yes” answers that God has given you. You may run out of both time and paper! Post that list where you can see it as a reminder of God’s faithfulness. Then trust his wisdom concerning the request he has not chosen to grant you . . . yet.

When Jesus returns, let him find faith in our hearts!

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart,” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

TWEETABLE
What Is the Prayer of Faith? – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator. She was named Arise Daily Writer of the Year in 2020, and Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Sheri also writes devotions for children at her website: www.sherischofield.com in “Campfire”, and is in the process of developing a children’s program on her YouTube site. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: What do you do to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to you?

More Than Conquerors

by Sheri Schofield

“Hey, Jim, want to go on a rattlesnake hunt?”

“I’d love to!”

So our friend, Jim, and his buddy went out and had a blast hunting rattlesnakes and shooting their heads off. Afterward, Jim put his catch of headless rattlers into a plastic shopping bag, tossed it under the front seat of his truck and headed for home. (For some reason, guys like to take all their trophies home to show their wives. Eeeew!) The problem was that he forgot that rattlesnakes have reflexes. The headless snakes began crawling and rattling around in that bag under his seat!

Now, Jim knew the snakes could not harm him: they had no heads – no fangs with which to bite him. But it still unnerved him!

In the Garden of Eden, after the serpent – the S-N-A-K-E – talked Adam and Eve into disobeying God, bringing mankind under slavery to Satan and sin, God cursed it. In his first prophetic clue about how he would save mankind, God said, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15 NIV).

Satan did not know what that meant. When God sent Jesus into the world to save mankind, Satan tried many times to get Jesus killed. He finally succeeded at Calvary. He gloated! He cheered! The forces of hell rose up in a roar of applause! What Satan did not understand was that he had merely struck the heel of Messiah. . . and signed his own death warrant.

When Jesus died on that cross and rose from the dead three days later, he crushed Satan’s power over mankind. The snake was now powerless – its head was crushed – its fangs were powerless against all who believe in Jesus and have committed their lives to him. Satan no longer has the power to drag us down into hell for eternity. We are free because of Calvary!

But Satan, like the snake he is, still crawls around making noise, scaring people, and creating havoc on earth. His reflexes are not dead yet. Only his fatal bite is gone. He can still wriggle into the hearts of mankind and drag them down. He can still wrap his coils around their emotions and squeeze. He gets people to live according to their fallen natures, the flesh.

Paul wrote about this in Galatians 5:19-21 (NIV): “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

When we choose to follow Jesus, he helps us to overcome these things. He frees us from the coils of the headless snake, Satan. He gives us the Holy Spirit to wash our hearts clean from Satan’s poison.

Paul goes on in verses 22 and 23 (NIV): “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”

This is the kind of life Jesus wants for us – a life free from the power of Satan’s still active reflexes. The devil is a headless foe – but watch out for that tail! We can live free of Satan’s power. Just don’t hold onto that snake! Hold onto Jesus instead.

…in all things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.    Romans 8:37-39 NIV

TWEETABLE
More Than Conquerors – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: Is there a sin you have become comfortable with?

 

Wanted: Antidote

by Sheri Schofield

My Gramma Jewell and Papa Carl loved gardening. They lived on the side of a steep hill that they terraced and filled with flowers. One day when they were weeding the garden, Gramma saw a baby rattlesnake coiled up, rattling its tiny tail.

“Carl,” Gramma called. “Come see this!”

When Papa arrived, Gramma was laughing. She pointed to the tiny little snake and said, “Isn’t that cute?”

Papa, a man of few words, calmly killed that baby rattlesnake, raised his eyebrow at Gramma, and went back to where he had been working. Cute? Was she kidding? It was a rattlesnake, for crying out loud! Its bite would be serious! There’s no such thing as a “cute” rattlesnake!

We all have another kind of snake in our lives, no matter where we live. It’s called sin. Our children unfortunately inherit sin natures like ours. But they may sometimes do naughty things in such a way that we want to laugh because it seems so cute! In our own lives, too, sometimes a sin may seem too innocent and sweet to squelch. But like that baby rattlesnake’s bite, its venom in our heart is deadly . . . even the seemingly small sins.

King David wrote, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you . . . How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:9-10, 103-10 ESV).

People who do not want to follow God, or those who claim to be Christians but who do not want to abide under godly discipline, usually hate the laws given in the Bible. But those who walk in a love relationship with Jesus discover that those laws are precious. They are sweet in our lives, for they show us the path of life and grant us freedom from the ravages of sin.

Some Christians seem to love the ways of sin. When confronted, they say, “But other Christians are doing the same thing! It’s okay!

No. It is not okay. It is like allowing rattlesnakes to live in their gardens. Sin bites them often. It’s makes their lives miserable. They have not yet found the freedom of obedience to God. Sin has become a habit.

Sometimes I find myself thinking, “Oh, this thing in my heart is just a little sin! I can ignore it.” Thankfully, my Lord keeps bringing it up until I deal with whatever it is. As I read the Bible, the Holy Spirit shows me a better way – the path of obedience. It applies God’s cleansing antidote to sin’s bite and I am healed. I find that the Word lifts me up and rescues me from that which holds me back. The Word is sweet to me! It brings me victory. Through the Word I find supernatural strength to overcome the power of temptation and sin. It helps me keep the snakes out of my life’s garden!

Today, let’s lift our faces and hearts to the sweet, healing rain of God’s Word and let it wash us clean! How refreshing it is!

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. Isaiah 44:3 ESV

TWEETABLE
Wanted: Antidote – insight from author Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

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!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: Is there a sin you have become comfortable with?