He Found Joy Standing in Line?

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

On Saturday, hubby and I visited the new neighborhood grocery store.  The opening day has long been anticipated in our area. For months, coupons and advertisements (one even  an invitation to an ice cream social) have filled our mailboxes. We all excitedly watched finishing touches of the construction completed with the installation of new traffic lights and landscaping.

Everyone was a-buzz. “When is the store opening? What is different about this store? Has anyone ever heard of this chain? Wonder what will happen to the other two grocery stores?”

Even though we love our other local markets, we looked forward to seeing what this new place would offer. When opening day arrived, we jumped in the car and headed over—along with the rest of the community.

The parking lot was full when we arrived. Store “hosts” were gathering carts to take back inside. A booth was set up outside as a place to sign up for the store rewards card. Alan and I took our place at the back of the line and waited for our turn.

Then amidst all the excitement and crowd, I saw him.

A car had just parked, and a woman exited the driver side. The passenger door opened and an elderly gentleman waited for her assistance. She placed a walker in front of him, and he grabbed both sides for balance and stood. They proceeded slowly across the parking lot and joined the rewards card line. Right behind us.

“What a beautiful day!” the man said to us. “Have you been here before? This is our first time.” He had the biggest grin on his face.

Turning to face him, I answered. “No, we haven’t been here. This is our first time, too.”

The kind gentleman continued speaking with a glowing smile. “Isn’t today beautiful? The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I sat on my back porch this morning and listened to the sounds of nature. What a glorious day!”

We continued chatting, until we both had our turn to fill out the forms. As we walked into the store, he ended our conversation with, “Have a wonderful day!” All the while continuing to smile.

Our interaction touched my heart. I may never see him again. On a day when anyone could have understandably been grouchy about the crowd or standing in line, this man showed me God’s love with his big smile and friendly conversation.

I wish I could say thank you to that elderly gentleman. He found joy while standing in line! With a walker! And he generously passed that joy along to me.

The Apostle Paul talked about how we should use our gifts. “There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:6-7 NASB). Our spiritual gifts are not for us. They are given for the benefit of those around us. And when we employ them toward that end, we parcel out hope.

Have you found unexpected joy today? Share a smile with someone. And make their day.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 NIV 

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He Found Joy Standing in Line? thoughts on waiting from Melissa Henderson, @mimionlife,  on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

MHendersonWRF4About the author: Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught a love for reading and writing at an early age by her parents. Melissa continues writes Christian stories, articles, and devotionals. She also enjoys sharing inspirational messages on her blog at melissaghenderson.com.

Her first children’s book, Licky the Lizard, offers parents, grandparents, and educators a tale that teaches children a simple, yet important message: there is no need to fear any of God’s creatures because we are all created by Him—and He loves us all.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had an encounter that changed your day?

Puzzled No More

by Lori Altebaumer by @Lori_Altebaumer

“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. ”                                                                                                                                                      1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV

Winter puzzle season. In early November the jigsaw puzzles make their appearances. With create confidence and enthusiasm, we clear off a spare table, dump out the pile of pieces, and begin working the tiny fragments together in gleeful harmony until we have a beautiful picture.

That is the vision anyway.

This year we added a new one to our collection. A one-thousand-piece picture of the Swiss Alps at sunset. Since only three colors were needed to print it, they could afford to sell it at a discounted rate.  A little black along the bottom edge where the landscape is in shadows, shades of orange as the sun bounces off the mountains, and blue sky.  At least one half of this puzzle is nothing but amoeba shaped tidbits of blue cardboard. And this is why my husband no longer has the privilege of picking out puzzles to buy. But we were able to use the money we saved for marriage counseling afterwards.

Now because I’m a problem solver—or maybe because I am impatient and easily frustrated—I often try coaxing a piece of the puzzle into the place I need it to go. But we all know what happens when I do this—anything less than a perfect fit throws the entire puzzle off. The piece made to go there now must find another place where it wasn’t really meant to be, and so on and so forth.

I believe God appreciates a good puzzle too. He designed each of us—all our curves and edges—to fit exactly where He needs us in the bigger picture. I admire the artistry and creativity that goes into making the mosaics of faces using tiny tiles of other faces. I wonder if this is how God sees humanity.

Every person has a specific place they fit. When they aren’t in place it leaves a hole. When they try to fill a place that isn’t theirs, it throws the picture off.

The world tries to shove us into places we aren’t intended to be, jamming our hearts into a hole too small, too tight and confining, bending and battering us until it looks like we fit. Or it pushes us into a hole too big for us, leaving too much room to wiggle, to much open space around us, eventually wearing us down. The world doesn’t care about the bigger picture of God’s creation. It seeks to serve its own needs by telling us we should go here, be on this committee, serve this ministry, stay in this job and sign our kids up for XYZ.

But when we find the place we were uniquely designed to fit, everything clicks. We cease to struggle against our inner nature trying to fit a role not meant for us. A piece of God’s puzzle in the perfect and proper place, filling the role only it can fill in order to make the mosaic of God’s Kingdom the flawless masterpiece He intended.

Sometimes it’s not easy to find the place we are meant to be. I often pick up pieces of the puzzle that are close fits, they look like they might be the one, only to find that isn’t their place after all. Sometimes we need to try different things before we find our perfect fit. Sometimes learning where we don’t fit is a part of discovering where we do.

And we have the Master Puzzler Maker to help us.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB

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Puzzled No More – Learning to See Where I Fit In God’s Plan – @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori AltebaumerAbout the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.

Join the conversation: Has God shown you where you fit in?

Be the Fingerprint

by Michelle Lazurek

Two months ago, my husband suffered the loss of his father. At the wake, we were surprised to see the large number of friends and family who came to show their support. A number of people from his former churches also attended. It was a sweet reminder that the Church is comprised of many brothers and sisters in Christ who lift us up and help us bear our burdens.

In preparation for the service, I thought of a picture my daughter made in preschool. It was a hand turkey. After being dipped in paint, her hand had stamped an image that was uniquely hers onto a piece of paper to be decorated with feathers. I sensed God wanted me to talk about fingerprints. He brought to mind a few facts:

1) Our fingerprints are unique to us. No one in the world has the same exact fingerprint as me. Therefore, my hands leave an impression that can only be traced back to me.

2) I leave my fingerprint every place I touch, whether I can see them or not. This is due to the oils naturally secreted in my hands.

3) When my physical body leaves a place, my fingerprints remain on everything I touched while I was there. That unique impression can last for quite a while.

I realized that each person that attended the funeral were people that my father-in-law touched. He may no longer be in this world, but like a physical fingerprint, his impact on others remains.

God has gifted each of us with gifts that enable us to serve each other in love. Paul wrote: “Now there are varieties of gifts…And there are varieties of ministries…There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, NASB). God created each of us with unique abilities to be used in the lives of others. That means you can have an impact in a way I cannot. Our ability to help someone along in their faith is as individual as our fingerprints.

Every day we have an opportunity to leave our fingerprints on each other. A simple act of kindness may seem insignificant but can leave a lasting impression whether we see it at the time or not. It could lead someone to change their thinking and shift their focus back to God. Something as simple as holding the door for someone, smiling at a store clerk, or offering a coworker something to drink can have an impact. Each time we choose to love, we touch lives for eternity.

Where is God calling you to leave your fingerprint?

“But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7 NASB

michelle lazurekAbout the author: Michelle S. Lazurek is an author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother. Winner of the Golden Scroll Children’s Book of the Year, the Enduring Light Silver Medal, and the Maxwell Award, she is a member of the Christian Author’s Network and the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Michelle is also an associate literary agent with Wordwise Media Services. For more on Michelle, please visit her website.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random numberrighteous and lost generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Michelle’s book, Righteous and Lost: Finding Hope for the Pharisee Within,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: How are you using your God-given abilities  to touch those around you?