What God Does with Our Dreams

by Sheri Schofield

Jesus told his disciples,Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone…” (Mark 16:15 NLT).  So from the moment I gave my heart to Jesus, I dreamed of becoming a missionary. I wanted to go to Latin America. Years later, my husband, Tim, and I went to Central America. But after only one year, our family had to return to the States because of Tim’s health.

My heart was broken. I cried out to God, “This is the death of our dreams!”

Tim found work in Montana, far from the Latin American children I wanted to reach for Jesus. I was devastated. After a year, though, I began to regroup. I asked God to give me the children of our city for Jesus. Sound impossible? Many God-given dreams are.

I took the ministry God made available: teaching the children in a relatively small church for the next twenty-plus years. It seemed as though my second dream, too, would never find fulfillment.

Then one day, early in my teaching work, I asked God to give me the ability to paint pictures of the children in my class on the classroom wall, with Jesus, by the Sea of Galilee. I had not painted for over sixteen years and had no significant experience with portrait work. But God granted my request. It blew me away!  I began painting people’s portraits when opportunities arose, practicing the art. It felt like a diamond necklace-kind of gift from God, one that I could simply enjoy, with no purpose other than pleasure.

Years later, I began writing. That’s when God gave me HIS assignment: I was to write the lessons on the plan of salvation that I had developed while teaching, and publish them in a book — and illustrate it, using people of all races so it could be used in Latin America, too! So I did. The book contained ninety-nine full page, full color illustrations with lots of people of all races.

When the first 2,000 copies of the book came off the press, I discovered that the printer had mistakenly printed the interior in black and white! I was stunned. But God said, “Sheri, this is not a mistake. You are to give these books to the pastors working on the Montana Native American reservations. They have no resources.” Tim agreed, so we did.

The next batch of books were fine, so I began selling them. Then the Lord said, “Sheri, it’s time to start giving these books away to the children of Helena. You’ve asked for a way to reach them for Jesus: I have now given you a way to do that!” So Tim and I began. There are currently about a thousand books floating around this city.

Now the Lord has finally opened the door for us to reach Latin America: He has brought thousands from Central America to our USA southern border, and they cannot cross it.

“Translate that book into Spanish now,” the Lord said. So we did. This week, we will place an order for 1,000 translated books. When they are printed, there are churches at the border ready to take them across to the immigrant families.

God has brought us full-circle to that first dream that we thought had died! By replacing our dreams with His, God has greatly expanded our reach and effectiveness. He has given us the desires of our heart.

What dreams do you have for God? Can you give those dreams to Him? Trust Him: He’s got a terrific plan!

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.    Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV

TWEETABLE
What God Does with Our Dreams – 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!

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 dreams has God given you?

 

 

Things I Otter Do

by Sheri Schofield

The first time I heard of the playful otters, I thought of my grandmother. She grew up in Arkansas and had a southern accent with a faint “r” sound at the end of certain words. She often used “ought” to suggest a course of action to our family. Her advice would begin with, “We ought ter do this . . .” Otter. So of course, I associated that little sea creature with her!

During the past decade since my daughter moved to Alaska, I’ve learned a lot of fascinating things about wildlife in the far north. The sweetest thing I’ve heard is about otters. These little creatures hunt in the ocean. When they get sleepy and need a nap, they find a friend and hold hands. This keeps them from drifting away from the group. Sometimes their groups have hundreds of otters, all holding hands, napping peacefully! Scientists call this a “raft”. In this way, the otters protect one another when they are the most vulnerable.

Those little darlings are onto something very special! They are worth mimicking. So in the year ahead, I’d like to take a moment to think of a couple of things I “otter” do.

Jesus provided a great foundation on this subject. He said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 NIV

 That kind of love is very hard to duplicate! What would that even look like? I’m not sure, but one thing it might mean is that I ought to listen to others better and extend more compassion, because listening with compassion demands that I put myself in other people’s shoes, to see with their eyes and feel with their hearts. It means dying to myself for the sake of entering into another person’s joys and sorrows.

Yes, both joys and sorrows! I know it is easier to feel another’s pain than it is to feel their joy. But joy must be shared if it is to last. I’m fairly quick to reach out my hand to comfort another. But when they are rejoicing? I nod, smile, listen for a few moments then move on. Too many times I forget that joy gives people strength to endure the hard things in life that we all suffer. I ought to do the happy dance with them!

The Apostle Paul gave us some great “Otter Verses”:

 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 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 10:23-25 NLT

Doesn’t that sound like “raft” building?

Many believers are growing weary of the battle between good and evil. We often hear of other Christians around the world who are driven out of their homes or killed because of their faith. Here in the United States, we are struggling to preserve freedom to believe and worship as we choose, for we can see what happens when that freedom is lost.

This is a moment in time when we need to hold onto God for faith and strength, a time when we ought to be holding onto one another so that we do not drift away on the ocean of life, alone and vulnerable. So here’s my hand. Let’s make a raft!

TWEETABLE
Things I Otter Do – encouragement 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 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 ways have you found to “hold hands” with fellow believers?

The Pursuit of Joy

by Sheri Schofield

Tim and I were soon to be married when we began talking about our spiritual gifts. This was a hot topic back in the early 80s and the recognized variety of spiritual gifts was very broad. Tim laughingly told me, “Yeah, I took a spiritual gift test once. It said that I have the gift of martyrdom!”

We both laughed. Tim was calm and patient, and he had a great sense of humor. We couldn’t see the connection with martyrdom.

I don’t have the spiritual gift of martyrdom. I’m admittedly a wimp about pain. Headache? Run to the cupboard and get some aspirin. Problem solved. Why should I suffer needlessly? And martyrdom? No, no! Not for me!

Our Founding Fathers felt the same way, for they stated the right to pursue happiness right into our Constitution’s Bill of Rights! Pain is not happiness, so I reach for the painkiller. My avoidance of pain extends into all parts of my life: avoiding painful situations, avoiding difficult people, avoiding challenges that might cost me something. I tend to go toward the easy.

But Jesus said, “Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39 NIV).

Does that sound like the pursuit of happiness? Not to me. But is happiness what I want? Or is joy better than happiness?

What is the difference anyway? Happiness is the feeling we get when life is peaceful and everything is going our way. It is like playing in a calm, quiet lake. Joy is the feeling we get when we have successfully accomplished something difficult. The more difficult the challenge, the greater the joy.

Happiness is what we want for our children. Joy is what we hope they will discover as they grow up. Joy is not found in playing at the lake, but rather in climbing the mountain next to the lake, with all its obstacles. Joy is standing at the top of the mountain looking out over the view. Joy is learned through maturity and challenge. Joy is for grown-ups.

My husband, Tim, did indeed become a martyr – one who suffers greatly for his testimony and faith. He took a stand for Jesus that cost him dearly, and almost cost his life. Now he has severe PTSD and major depression. And I have walked side by side with him each step of the way.

This is not the path I would have chosen! Nobody deliberately walks into pain. But in the suffering, I have come to know God in a deep, abiding way that has brought me far greater joy than the easy life would have brought me.

I have discovered the joy of His presence because of the pain.

Now in this New Year, I stand near the top of the mountain, huffing and puffing, pausing for fresh wind, looking back over the way God has led me. The view from here is terrific! I see the challenges of the past as well as new goals ahead. I would not go back to playing at the lake for anything! I’m going to conquer this mountain and discover the treasures of joy on the way to the top!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great could 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 out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12: 1-2 NIV

TWEETABLE
The Pursuit of Joy – encouragement 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!

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: When has pain produced the by-product of joy in your life?

Will There Be Justice?

by Sheri Schofield

Knock! Knock! No, it’s not a joke. It’s that woodpecker putting holes in the side of our church! Every day it comes by and pecks a little bit more of the wood away. He’s pecked a sizable hole already.

We’ve tried chasing him off – there’s a pile of small stones on the ground outside for the men to use to chase him away when he pecks during the church service. But that pesky bird keeps coming back! He’s persistent.

It reminds me of a story Jesus told. There was once a woman who had been harmed. She went to the judge of her city and begged him to help her get justice. But the judge was a scoundrel himself and felt contemptuous toward everyone else. He didn’t want to help her. Day after day, the woman went to the judge. “Please give me justice!” she would beg. Day after day, the judge ignored her.

But the woman’s persistent plea, day after day, finally got to him. He thought, “I don’t respect God or man, but this woman is really getting under my skin. If I don’t give her justice, she’s going to wear me out. So, just to get rid of her, I’m going to give 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. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:6-8, NIV)

Have you ever been a victim of injustice? How important is true justice to God? The prophet Isaiah writes, “For I, the LORD, love justice. I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” (Isaiah 61:8, NLT)

This world is full of injustice, for the prince of darkness, the devil, rages against the day when Jesus will return and put an end to him and his works. Until that day comes, there will be injustice. Around the world, Christians are put in prison and killed daily because of their faith. Those who want to do right are often harassed and slandered here in our own country.

Are you one who has suffered because of your faith?

Our family faced a huge injustice years ago, and the debilitating results are with us to this day. At first, I was so angry that every time I heard the name of the group that hurt us, that name would light up in flaming red capitol letters in my brain. Those around us refused to believe what we had suffered, for it didn’t fit their ideas of what America was like. There was no validation, no comfort. No justice.

Then the Lord spoke to me out of Romans 12:19 (NIV) where Paul writes, “Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.”

Because of those words, I was able to gradually relax, trust God, and have faith in him. He alone knows what true justice is. Now, years later, I have been able to let it go. Not because we received justice, but because God used our experience to help thousands of others receive it. Though God graciously showed us why we had to suffer, God’s people do not always get to see the reason. We must live by faith, not by sight, and know that when we leave room for God’s justice, it is enough.

Let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! Amos 5:24 NIV

TWEETABLE
Will There Be Justice? – encouragement 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: Have you experienced an injustice? How did God reveal Himself as you went through that struggle?

Beaver Ponds and Golden Bowls

by Sheri Schofield

Lady’s slippers, wild iris, and delicate violets decorate our artesian spring’s pathway in the summer months, providing beauty and delight along the watercourse. The spring chuckles as it bubbles down to join a creek in the valley below.

Along that creek lives a family of beavers who have built a series of dams to hold back the water. Animals drink from them. Tiny trout have hatched in the pools. In the latter days of summer, in the fields below the small dams, the grass is green and lush, with fallen trees soaking in the water to provide food for the beaver babies and their parents. If it had not been stored, the water would have dried up during those hot summer days.

Our prayers are like the beaver ponds. They hold reserves of refreshment and nourishment for dry times in the future. The Bible tells us that our prayers are like incense. Aaron was told to offer up the incense for the generations to come. (Exodus 30:7) John tells us that God stores our prayers in golden bowls that are lifted up to Him. The angles mix our prayers with incense that lifts a fragrant perfume before the Lord, and this will become a powerful force on earth one day. (Revelation 5:8; 8:3-5)

Our prayers are not simply for ourselves, though we may think they are. They also store up blessings for our future descendants, like beaver ponds store up water for future needs. Our prayers are gifts to our children, our grandchildren, and beyond.

I remember my grandmother rocking me to sleep when I was a toddler, singing hymns to the Lord over me. Grandma has been with Jesus since I was a child. Yet, the songs and prayers she sang over me still bless my life. I sang those same songs and prayed over my own babies. These songs and prayers are my gift to them, a gift that has shaped their hearts and lives. It is their richest inheritance.

The beaver ponds in the meadow are frozen in places now. Soon they will be solid ice. The beavers yawn and move around more slowly while winter descends on the meadow. The beavers are prepared for winter, too. The water they have stored has produced more trees on which they can nibble. Their dens along the creek are cozy when the beaver family cuddles up together for long, winter naps, secure in their food supply.

In the same way, God stores up our prayers and prepares to pour out answers . . . in His time . . . and nourishes us through difficult days with His answers. He gives these precious gifts when we least expect them.

With Christmas just around the corner, I will write some of my prayers out and store them in my own golden bowl, reminding me of those which hold my prayers in heaven. Someday, when another generation finds the bowl, they will see the gifts I have stored away just for them, and will know that I loved them before they were even born. They will see with new eyes the blessings God has showered on their lives, and they will be filled with wonder and delight!

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Matthew 6:19-20, NIV

TWEETABLE
Beaver Ponds and Golden Bowls – 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 treasures are you storing up with your prayers? What gifts will you put away in God’s golden bowls, saved to bless future generations?

Badgers And Bullies

by Sheri Schofield

It was the first time I had seen the badger in the fourteen years we had lived on the mountain. It was trotting up the field parallel to the road. I slowed down. It looked over at me and kept trotting. I stayed with him all the way to the corner, where the road turned up the hill. Surely, he would cross that road! I stopped the car, pulled out my cell phone and began to focus the camera on him.

Ring! Ring! A call was coming in on my cell phone. Aaaaaaagh!

I glanced down. It was my sweet husband. I had to answer it. When I looked up, the badger was gone and so was the photo moment. The badger had dived into the culvert, crossed under the road, and disappeared into the grass. Badgers have a reputation for violence. But I think this one was laughing gleefully, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!”

Haman the Agagite, a great friend of King Ahasuerus, had one of those moments. He hated the Jews, because they were ancient enemies of his own people. Centuries before, God told King Saul of Israel to wipe out the Amalekites, including their king, Agag. But Saul did not. Now Haman, a descendant of Agag, going up against the Jews once again.

Did he think, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!”? Haman was a bully. He tricked the king into sending out an edict to destroy the Jewish people. But what Haman did not know was that Queen Esther, whom King Ahasuerus loved, was a Jew.

Mordecai urged Esther to go to the king, but she was afraid. Mordecai said, “Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed. If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14, NLT)

Esther and her attendants fasted and prayed, then she went to the king. She exposed Haman’s evil plot and saved her people.

We face a similar danger today. The devil may have been defeated at Calvary, but he is still active. He looks back, sees how Jesus has not yet destroyed him, and gleefully laughs, “Ha! Ha! You missed me!” Like a roaring lion, he continues to roam the earth looking for people to devour.

The persecution and genocide of Christians across the world is worse today “than at any time in history.”[1] Do not think that America will forever hold back the tide of evil while our brothers and sisters around the world die for their faith.

I believe that God is calling the church in America to pray for our brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution. As the Lord gives us opportunity to help them, we must. For who knows, maybe God has blessed us with power, influence and wealth for such a time as this.

In the end, Jesus will deliver us all from the schemes of Satan. But until then, let us remember that we are one with the Christians of Africa, the Middle East, China, Indonesia, Mexico and all other places where the church of Jesus is suffering. Let us defend them through prayer and aid, for Jesus’ sake and glory.

 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:18-20 NIV

[1]https://www.newsweek.com/christian-persecution-genocide-worse-ever-770462

TWEETABLE
Badgers and Bullies – thoughts from Scheri Scholfield 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 stay armed against the enemy?

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).

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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

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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.

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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?