A Worthy Example

by Cheri Swalwell @CheriSwalwell

The head jailer gave Joseph free rein, never even checked on him, because God was with him; whatever he did God made sure it worked out for the best.  Genesis 39:23 MSG

I really want to be like Joseph.

If you want to read his story, it’s found in Genesis 37-50. It’s not a pretty account. His jealous older brothers sold him into slavery. His life in Egypt was a series of trials, like being falsely accused and thrown into jail. But Scripture assures us: God was with him and granted favor, which extended to those around him.

He was eventually given leadership over his fellow inmates. After years, he was asked to interpret a dream for the pharaoh. The king, seeing his wisdom and personal connection with God, set him above all of Israel. As a result, he was able to save millions of people from a famine, including his entire family back in Canaan.

So why would I want to be like Joseph? The first reason is that in all of the trying circumstances, and there were many, Joseph never complained. He didn’t turn bitter, or rail against God. Ever!

It seems likely that Joseph had learned to trust God from an early age. The Bible mentions repeatedly that Joseph was a man of integrity, always choosing God’s way when tested.

The second reason I admire Joseph is explained best in Genesis 50:19-21, when Joseph told his brothers: “’Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now—life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.’ He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart” (MSG).

Joseph always focused on the big picture. Even while suffering, he kept a long-term vision. He trusted that God was in control, and all would all work out in the end for God’s glory.

Joseph held a powerful position in Egypt, but he remained humble. God worked in Joseph’s life and grew him into a man full of integrity and humility. Joseph didn’t focus on his discomfort. He trusted in God’s plan, even when he didn’t know the whole journey. He merely walked in obedience, content to be doing his part to bring God glory.

I have always liked the story of Joseph, but after realizing the above, I’m inspired to emulate this biblical character. I want my focus to remain on God and others instead of turning inward when faced with a trial. I want to trust in His plan for my life and His power to make it happen.

God blesses a humble heart. We need to stop focusing on our own desires and instead seek ways we can serve Him with a humble heart. He is the same God who watched carefully over Joseph and rewarded his faithfulness.

A Worthy Example – encouragement from @CheriSwalwell on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

cheri swalwellAbout the author: Cheri Swalwell is a Christ follower who thoroughly enjoys her calling to be a wife, mother, and writer, in that order. Cheri’s devotional book series, Spoken from the Heart, and two other books, Hope During Heartache and Caring for the Caregiver are available through Amazon. She would love to connect with you through her website, www.cheriswalwell.com or Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/cheri-Swalwell.

Cheri’s latest release, Marriage Matters, features eleven couples’ marriage stories. You will find wisdom and encouragement from their experiences and help for living out your own marriage.

Join the conversation: What biblical character stands out as a example for you to follow?

The Good Path

by Marilyn Turk @MarilynTurk

This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.  Jeremiah 6:16 NIV

One day I went out for a walk. I usually stayed on the sidewalk in our neighborhood, but when I noticed a wide trail leading into the woods, I was intrigued. I had never noticed this trail before, and I didn’t even know existed.  But I knew I had to follow it. Although it was obvious that I was not the first to travel the path, what lay ahead was unknown to me. Where did it lead? How far did it go? How long would it take me to discover what lay ahead?

Step by step, I followed the trail, fascinated by the unveiling scenery around me, a natural barrier between two streets. Through the trees and undergrowth, I could see the backyards of houses or their back fences.  Sometimes the path was wide and clear, and I could see farther ahead. Other times, the undergrowth closed in around me, and I could only see part of the path. yet I pressed on.

I questioned myself – why did I go off the main sidewalk? Had I committed to a journey I wasn’t prepared for? Yet, I wanted to find out where it led, trusting the invisible hand that beckoned me. As I traveled, unexpected surprises met me along the way—a fallen tree I had to climb over and lovely wildflowers in yellow and lavender bringing color to the greenery around them. I stopped to take a few pictures with my phone, then continued on, pulled forward like metal to a magnet.

Occasionally, a jogger or a biker passed me on the path. I didn’t mind though, because I knew my pace was my own, and I needn’t hurry to catch up. This was my path, my time, and my chance to enjoy the journey.

When the path appeared dark and mysterious, fear threatened my progress. Yet I continued, expecting to see light just beyond the obscure places. And I was not disappointed, because the path finally opened up for me, and I found myself at the end, glad to have experienced the journey.

The destination was important, but the discoveries made along the way were equally so.

Life is much like my walk down the trail. Like the verse above, when we ask God to lead us, He often takes us down trails we hadn’t expected. We can be afraid and balk at the challenge, or we can accept the new opportunity as part of God’s plan. Sometimes we meet roadblocks or detours and think we’re on the wrong path. But God has reasons for these as well, and He calls them all “good.” He wants us to learn, to grow, and to trust Him, as we travel. But how can we do that unless we keep moving forward?

Jeremiah was called by God to bring His word to the people. His people were steeped in sin and judgment was imminent. They were looking in the wrong places for peace and security. God was calling them to choose a different path. They were being given a choice and were standing at the crossroads.

Would they trust Him?

They would not. God informed him: “You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you” (Jeremiah 7:27, NASB). Their bad choice resulted in missing out on wonderful blessings they would have been given had they taken the other way. As they traveled with Him, He would have revealed Himself in new ways and their love for Him would have grown. It was the way of rest and life and security. Their lack of trust in God’s plan for them cost them dearly.

Perhaps we have our own idea of what we plan or want to do. Maybe we’re confused about which way to go. But God knows the plans He has for us, and once we trust Him with our future, He will give us peace, “rest for our souls,” that comes from the confidence that we are following His leading.

The Good Path – @MarilynTurk on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Marilyn TurkAbout the author: Marilyn Turk’s roots are in the coastal South. She loves God, discovering stories hidden in history, and lighthouses. Her novels show how faith works in the lives of her characters and include two World War II novels, The Gilded Curse (placed second in the Golden Scrolls Awards) and Shadowed by a Spy, and the Coastal Lights Legacy series set in 1800s Florida, Rebel Light, Revealing Light, Redeeming Light, and Rekindled Light. Marilyn is also a contributor to the Daily Guideposts Devotions book.

Join the conversation: Has God ever taken you on a journey on an unexpected path?

Night of the Frogs

by Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; for he acknowledges my name.”                                                                                                                                   Psalm 91:14 NIV

As I sipped tea, the frog perched on top of my lamp caught my eye. I had to laugh as I instantly thought of the Night of the Frogs. It happened years ago in the little mud house we called home for a time. But unlike my ceramic frog, the frogs that night were real.

We’d arrived at the mission school to join the staff after less than a month in Bolivia and moved into the “farmhouse.” The school rested on a flat valley plain. A short walk from there was a breath-taking panorama of acres of fields. At the bottom of the hill sat the “farmhouse,” a little mud home in the middle of nowhere.

After settling in, my husband left for the city eight hours away to buy a refrigerator, leaving our five-year-old daughter and me alone. There were no neighbors, no lights outside, and no way to communicate with anyone at the school. I dreaded the moment when the generator turned off at night to leave me with only candlelight.

On the second night alone, I heard a strange noise. I nervously peered out the kitchen window to where the sound was loudest. Pitch. Black. It sounded like a motorcycle trying to start.

After it continued for what seemed like hours, my imagination was going wild. Hell’s Angels came to mind. Could there be similar gangs in this remote area? Were they waiting for the generator to shut down to make their move? Who could come to our rescue?

More scared for my daughter than myself, I knew I had to get a grip. I began to think about Paul’s letter to Timothy. Like Timothy, we were in the youth of our ministry. Fear was something we had in common. I thought about Paul’s encouragement to him.

“I call to remembrance the faith that is in you…” (2 Timothy 1:5 NIV). Paul first reminded him of the faith he’d seen in him. Maybe that if that statement were given today, it would sound like, Hey, Tim, you can do this! Then came Paul’s powerful reminder: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV).

Fear is not from God and paralyzes a ministry. Faith in God powers our ministry. Believe. Pray. A calm settled over me as I chose to trust God to take care of us.

Then, a knock at the door. I inched forward to see a familiar face looking back at me through the window. It was our son’s dorm parent, Mike. Telling him my concerns, he took a quick look outside. Nothing. But then the noise started again. I whispered, “There, do you hear it?”

Mike burst into laughter. “It is frogs making that sound.”

No way! Chagrined, I asked, “Do they have little motorcycles?” We laughed until we wept.

That eerie night I learned to trust that God would always be with me. There would always be fears to face, but I did not face them alone. When we choose to trust God, He moves us from fear to faith.

Night of the Frogs – insight from Peggy Cunningham @Inca_Writer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Peggy CunninghamAbout the author: Peggy Cunningham and her husband, Chuck 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.Shape Your Soul: 31 Exercises for Faith that Moves Mountains by [Cunningham, Peggy]

Peggy is also a published author of several children’s books and women’s devotionals. Shape Your Soul is her latest devotional book for women, available on Amazon.

Join the conversation: What do you fear?

God’s Got This

by Cindi McMenamin @CindiMcMenamin

He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.                                                                                                                               Proverbs 16:20 NASB

My friend, Allison, sent me a text message upon learning that her husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. I was surprised by her reaction.

“God’s got this,” she wrote.

Not a “Why him?” or “Why did God allow this?” Not even a “What if…?” She showed only an unswerving trust in the One who can handle all things.

I want that type of unquestioning faith in the face of uncertainty. Like Allison, I want to be able to think or say “God’s got this” when the unexpected or unthinkable comes my way. And I realize I have the ability to display that kind of trust in God because I’ve been given the same thing that Allison has been given: God’s trustworthy Word.

I’m encouraged that God is intimately aware of all my ways and His Word tells me that He knows my thoughts (and concerns) before I even think them (Psalm 139:1-4). That assures me He is already working on the matters that concern me most.

I’m also glad God knew that His creation would be prone to worry, and so He had the Apostle Paul address that habit of ours in Philippians 4:6-7:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (NLT).

Any time we find ourselves in a situation we can’t do anything about (which is why we worry in the first place) we can trust that God is Who He says He is, and that He can work out that situation far better than we can.

Today, when I begin to worry that God hasn’t “done something yet,” I have to remind myself that He is God. He doesn’t need my help. He doesn’t need my stress. He desires my trust. When I acknowledge that He is God, and I am not, and that His plan is always better than mine, that is when He gives me peace that guards my heart and mind.

The next time we begin to worry, we can ask ourselves “What am I believing about God that isn’t true? Do I believe He is true to His Word? Do I really believe He can take care of this?”

And when we can answer those questions with the statement “God’s got this” we can experience His peace.

Lord, help me to trust You with every ounce of my being, every day of my life  so when the unexpected or the unthinkable comes my way, I am already assured that “God’s got this.”

No matter what…”God’s got this.” Thoughts from @CindiMcMenamin on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

View More: http://chelseamariephoto.pass.us/cindiAbout the author: Cindi McMenamin is an award-winning writer and national speaker who helps women strengthen their relationship with God and others. She is the author of 17 books including her best-selling When Women Walk Alone (more than 130,000 copies sold), When You’re Running on Empty, When God Sees Your Tears, and Drama Free: Finding Peace When Emotions Overwhelm You. For more on her books and resources to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, or for more information on her coaching services to help you write the book on your heart, see her website: www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: In the last time you struggled to trust God, what incorrect belief about Him could have been influencing your heart?

A Watched Pot Never Boils

by Deb DeArmond

“Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God!” Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

“A watched pot never boils, babe,” I advised my newlywed husband. He continued to stare at the pot filled with still stiff pasta. Silence.

Then, “What kind of pot is it?” he asked.

“A watched pot. You know–it will never boil.”.

“Then why cook the pasta in it?”

We’d received many kitchen items as wedding gifts, including a variety of pots and pans: crockpots, Dutch ovens, frying pans and more. He misunderstood that a “watched” pot was a brand of cookware! I literally meant a pot that’s being watched or observed. Apparently, my mother had a few colloquialisms his didn’t.

The concept is simple: the more closely we watch to ensure something happens, the more it may be delayed.

Life is like that at times. The single surfing the web for the perfect mate. The frustration of waiting for a new job opportunity. The monthly disappointment when trying to conceive. The closer we watch, the longer it seems to take.

But does God want us to agonize while we wait? Jesus told a parable about a farmer who plants seed in Mark 4:26-29. After planting his crop, he doesn’t watch it minute by minute, or dig it up to make sure it’s still there. When his part is done, he rests in the process.

Why is this hard to do? Simple. In our humanness, we like control. For Christians, that’s a problem, of course, because God asks us to trust Him with our lives. That’s His process. It’s sometimes challenging to apply.

My mother was once injured in a devastating accident. Doctors decided there was nothing they could do but wait and see. It was difficult news, but it was easy for us to pray and trust a merciful God. Why was it easy this time? Because there was nothing else we could do. No other efforts were possible.

But when dealing with financial difficulties or concerns about a child’s behavior, it’s easy to take matters into our own hands. Take a second job to deal with the money problems. Read a book by a popular author on childrearing. Searching for solutions is not wrong, unless we are using them to replace turning to God in prayer and trusting Him for answers.

God doesn’t expect us to do nothing in difficult times. He expects us to pray and seek His will. He may lead us to pursue an idea that occurred to us. But He wants to direct the traffic in our lives, trusting the process, trusting Him.

If you want to watch something, forget the pot. Watch God fulfill His word to His children! 

DeArmond-29 copyDeb DeArmond is an expert in the fields of communication, relationship, and conflict resolution. A writer and professional speaker, Deb addresses topics related to the family and women. Her books include: Related by Chance, Family by Choice,  I Choose You Today: 31 Choices to Make Love Last and Don’t Go to Bed Angry. Stay Up and Fight! Deb’s books help readers whether engaged, newlywed, or long-time married create the life God meant marriage and family to be. You can read more from Deb at Family Matters/Deb DeArmond.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Deb’s book,  I Choose You Today,  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: What pot are you watching? What’s God asking you to let go of and give Him the control?