Whose World Is This Anyway?

by Sheri Schofield

The other day when I was playing on my keyboard, looking out over the view of forest, mountains and sky, I saw a herd of deer crossing our property. I was playing This Is My Father’s World. The deer all paused and turned their ears toward me, reluctant to move on. They were listening to the music. A robin hunting for his breakfast cocked his head at the sound and hopped up onto the roof, moving closer and closer to the song.

Yes, this is indeed my Father’s world! The animals and birds know it. In the midst of a world in panic, I can be still and know that He is watching over me. Psalm 139 tells us that God knows all about us. He sees us at all times, for we who believe in Him are His children.

The psalmist David wrote, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! (Psalm 139:16- 17 NLT).

I trust God with my present. I can trust Him with my future. No matter what happens on earth, I know I will spend eternity with the One who loves me. Therefore, I will not be afraid. This is my Father’s world. He is in control, whether in times of calamity or peace. Why then should I fear that which can only touch my body? My soul – the real me – is secure!

What is in store for those who have given their hearts and lives to Jesus? The Apostle Paul, quoting the prophet Isaiah, wrote, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9-11 NLT).

The Apostle John tells us that someday God will bring a new heaven and a new earth into being, an earth without a sea. (So those of you who love the beach, enjoy it now!) To this new earth, God will bring the holy city, the new Jerusalem, prepared beautifully, like a bride for her husband.

I love what John writes next: “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true” (Revelation 21:3-5 NLT)

 This is what is in store for those who love Jesus. Eventually, when time has ceased, we will spend eternity with the One who wipes away all tears and pain, the One who has conquered death and will eliminate it forever.

I do not know what tomorrow holds. No one can. But I do know the Lord of tomorrow! Jesus, the One who loved us so much that He died for us, holds us close to His heart and speaks peace to our souls, peace in the midst of the storm.

So I will sing with the birds this spring and smile at the future. My life is in His hands forever, no matter what happens on this fallen planet.

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.    Song of Solomon 6:3 NIV

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Whose World Is This Anyway? – 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: How does a secure future affect your life in the here and now?

Out of Nowhere

by Christina Rose

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory  of the Lord has risen upon you.”                                                                                                                                            Isaiah 60:1 ESV

\Years ago, I made a checklist of plans for my life. I decided that I would marry a handsome prince, and that we would have four perfect children. We would live in a beautiful mansion by the sea and be very rich, among other things.

While life turned out much differently than what I had planned, I came to know that God had a better plan for me, and I had to trust Him. Years later, as I was thinking about my old checklist, I heard a still small voice whisper in my ear, “Did you check with me when you made that checklist?”  I had to laugh.

While I did get married and have a nice home and two wonderful daughters, they eventually grew up. It was time for a new chapter. This time, however, I did not construct a checklist, but instead spent hours talking to God on the mountain, in the chapel, in the pool, in the middle of the night, and first thing in the morning. In that process, I learned to hear His voice. I got visions of writing and speaking, but at the time, that was not happening. One day my fortune cookie read, “You have a charming way with words, and you should write a book.” I had to laugh again, but within a few months, my first book was written, and I continue to write more.

A few years ago, I was called to sell everything, quit my job, leave my home in California, and travel across the country. Not long ago, while walking along Sarasota Bay, it seemed that all of those tests had been leading me nowhere. I looked to the sky and asked God for some clues.

The day was so still, the water was like glass, but then suddenly out of nowhere, a huge flying fish shot out of the water like a rocket into the sky. Its scales shone like silver and gold in the sun for a moment, before it plunged back into the water. Then several more flying fish burst through the air, sparkling just as brightly, before they dove back into the water.

Flying fish out of nowhere? And then I considered that nowhere is somewhere to God. Those fish had once been tiny; it took a very long time of swimming in the cold, dark depths against strong currents to gain the strength to shoot into the sky, surprising everyone around them. God loves to make things happen out of nowhere. Jesus came out of nowhere to walk across the sea, the burning bush came out of nowhere to talk to Moses, and God created the world out of nowhere.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters”  (Genesis 1:1-2  ESV). 

Those unexpected flying fish gave me hope. Many times, I have felt like them, swimming against the currents for a very long time and gaining strength in a hidden place. But while many of us may feel we are on a journey to nowhere, nowhere is somewhere to God. He has a plan. “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert”  (Isaiah 43:19  ESV).

So join me, my fellow flying fish, as we burst out of the depths of darkness (after swimming a long time) to sparkle with gold and silver in the sunlight, proclaiming God’s magnificent glory to all of  the earth!

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Out of Nowhere – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: How does knowing God has a plan for your future help you in the here and now?

Step into the Future

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB

David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).

The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.

God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.

Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.

A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.

We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.

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Step into the Future – insight from Peggy Cunningham, @Inca_Writer, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, have been missionaries in Bolivia, South America, since 1981. In 1999, they founded Rumi Rancho Ministries. Rumi Rancho is their ministry base and home outside the city of Cochabamba where they work with the Quechua people and have a children’s ministry. Peggy is also a published Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]author of children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women. All her books are available on Amazon.com.

Join the conversation: When have you experienced God’s care and protection?

 

Lord, Don’t Tell Me the Future

by Kathy Collard Miller

Years ago, my friend Ginny and I had the incredible experience of hiking for ten hours in beautiful Yosemite National Park. We started our climb at 7 am, determined to reach the top of the famous granite formation, Half Dome. We chose the less rigorous path called the Panorama Trail. It was as scenic as its name suggested.

Several hours later, within two miles of our destination, we realized there wasn’t enough daylight left to get to the top and back. With some disappointment, we turned downhill. But we chose the more rigorous trail to take us back, because it was shorter.

The first part had very steep granite steps, which at times were quite high and took us through challenging areas of granite rock. It was very difficult, but I optimistically thought, I’m sure it will be like this for just a short time. Then the path will level out and be easier.

And it did…for a while. Then the tall granite steps started again. My legs trembled from negotiating such deep steps while at the same time trying not to catapult off the side of the cliff—there were no fences or bars. Yet I continued to reason, I’m sure this is just for a short time longer….and besides, haven’t we just about gone the two or three miles this trail is supposed to take?

We continued downhill, finding the same sequence happening over and over, each time hoping the difficult parts were coming to an end. Yet even as we struggled, the descent was not without its rewards. We encountered amazing cascading waterfalls and emerald green pools of water. The scenery was breathtaking.

Finally, we reached the Yosemite Valley floor. Our legs may have felt like boiled spaghetti strands, but we had made it! We looked up at the mountain tops through which we had just descended, and felt glad we had experienced such amazing sights. We were actually thankful no one had tried to warn us about the 500 granite steps we traversed.

I knew our experience was a picture of my spiritual life as well. I’m glad God doesn’t tell me what my future holds. By the power of God I travel life’s path one step at a time, knowing there will be difficult places to navigate, but less challenging travel as well. Of course I do not know what the future challenges will be or when they will come.

I’m glad God only lets me see and experience today’s challenges. I don’t need to know the future because He does. And I can entrust all of it to Him.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.” Psalm 138:8 ESV

Kathy C MillerAbout the author: Kathy Collard Miller lives in Southern California with her husband, Larry. They are the parents of two and grandparents of two. Kathy’s ministry includes over 50 published books and speaking in over 30 US states and 8 foreign countries. Her most recent books are No More Anger: Hope for an Out-of-Control Mom and Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory (both Elk Lake Publishing, Inc.).

Join the conversation: What “rough patches” has the Lord take you through?