Cracker Jack Box Faith

by Karynthia Glasper-Phillips

O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8 KJV

In early Spring, my two granddaughters and I stopped at a local store on our way out of town to buy snacks before getting on the interstate. While they were browsing, my eyes caught a display of Cracker Jacks. Memories came rushing back of when I was a young girl eating from a box of Cracker Jacks, anticipating the hidden prize. 

While examining and eating each piece of the molasses-flavored, caramelized, popcorn peanut mix, my fingers would finally locate the packaged prize. I took it out, put the box down, ripped open the prize and screamed with amazement at its contents—a red plastic ring, to me the best prize in the box back then. It was always worth the wait to find that treasure!

While I mused about my childhood prize searches, the girls noticed I had not moved from the same spot in a while. They asked, “What are you doing? “I told them I was wondering which box had the best prize. They looked at each other as to say, really.  Ignoring them, I purchased several boxes, and we left the store.

On that beautiful Spring day, driving to Alabama, I thought about how the journey of faith reminded me of treasure hunting in a box of Cracker Jacks. That search requires childlike faith to trust the manufacturer inserted the desired prize. Much like how we learn to trust in the Sovereignty of God in all our life situations.

As we wait for an answer to prayer, we find ourselves filled with the mixed emotions of doubt and expectancy. Although we trust God to answer prayer, our humanity often overrides faith as we search the Scriptures in hopes of receiving the promise. While we wait, we can observe the goodness of God at work, which helps us continue to trust Him for a hidden answerto manifest itself.

Hold fast to your faith. There are times we can struggle during a crisis. It seems as if the promise of delivery is buried, hidden in the chaos of life. Continue searching the Scriptures, praying, and waiting. The benefit of waiting is that it disciplines us to depend on God to strengthen us. The wait is worth it.

When David was on the run, waiting on God’s delivery, he determined to trust in what God had promised him. One day he would be lifted above his enemies, free to worship in the tabernacle once again. “Though a host encamp against me, my heart will not fear. Though war arise against me, in spite of this, I shall be confident,” he wrote in Psalm 27.

David based his confidence on God’s faithfulness to do what He promised: “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: 34, 13-14 NASB). If we allow the Scriptures to encourage us to run to God with thanksgiving in anticipation of blessings, the wait becomes easier . . . and filled with peace.

We can sample God’s word little by little and find that He is good. As a child enjoying my Cracker Jacks, I had confidence in the imminent discovery of the promised prize. What joy I had! Our anticipation of God’s goodness can be just as exciting.

What joy you will have as you continue to search, wait, and trust God.  When the blessing is revealed, you will experience a joyous refreshing of praise, sometimes as a softwhisper and sometimes as a loud “Lord, thank you.”

So continue sampling bite-size portions of His Word and waiting on the appearance of your blessing.

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

About the author: Karynthia Glasper-Phillips is an ordained minister and a licensed medical practitioner in primary care for over  2 decades. She has been in ministry for more than 30 years. Her concern for the continuity of care to prevent and restore health for the spirit, mind, and body is revealed in her workshops as conference faculty, women’s conference speaker, coaching, and guest blogs. She desires to see revival in reading Bible becoming affectionate toward the father.

Karynthia has authored three books and is a contributing writer for Our Daily Bread. She resides in Nashville with her husband Timothy Phillips.

Join the conversation: What Scripture have you read lately about the goodness of God?

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Fallow Time

By Ronda Wells

“For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3 NASB

Along an Indiana highway, a large field hadn’t been planted for the second year in a row. We live in the heart of Midwest farm country, so a cornfield left to fallow for more than a year is unusual. This is done along with crop rotation to help soil recover its energy, like the exhausted mother of a newborn down for a much-needed nap.

The process of writing is similar. Long stretches of stillness occur. Why didn’t that publisher buy this devotional? Will I ever publish again? Where are you God? Should I even still be writing? Twenty years seems like a long time to wait for a contract.

We ask these questions about our lives, too. Periods and stages where things go awry and work against us. Job losses, health, family deaths, people who unexpectedly let us down. Divorces, aging parents, rebellious children. Bad economies. Wars. Sometimes all at once.

All these trials simply prepare us for what lies ahead.

A fallow field looks empty, except for random yellow mum-like weeds dotting its surface. The deep, ingrained patterns of planting remain though, not fully erased by the weather. We might think nothing is happening because the chemical restoration underneath is invisible. Minerals rise from deeper soil and leach to the surface. Organic matter, nitrogen, and carbon along with good bacteria replenish the moisture and fertility of the dirt.

Everything necessary to sustain new life appears.

King David alludes to this in his Twenty-third Psalm (NASB). “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides the still waters. He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  

Whatever you call it, we all need deliberate down time. Rest. Relaxation. Retreat. Time to think upon God and His word. Talk to Him in prayer.

Personally, I’m terrible at this. I’ve been on-the-go ever since I left the womb. I run around helping others, even at the cost of my own health, both mental and physical. After an entire night in the ER with my sick mom, you need me to teach that Bible study? Sure!

Since mostly retiring during the pandemic, I’ve had plenty of ponder time. For two years I became a virtual shut-in because of severe asthma and avoiding Covid. Slowly and surely, God worked on me, that fallow field. I started to see the deep patterns and meaning present along, but I’d been too busy to notice. All the skills, training and interests of my life fell into place.

If you’re in the throes of a busy life, I urge you to not fear what lies ahead. Add deliberate periods of recovery when time allows. Learn to recognize illness and injuries as something God will use, if He must, to literally ground you and get your full attention.

If you’re in fallow time, know that God is at work, preparing you for His plan. And when you reach that point, like a fallow field plowed for planting, you will be fully equipped and ready to burst forth with His goodness.

 “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness. Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 NASB

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

About the Author: Doctor by day, writer by night, Dr. Ronda Wells is an award-winning author who has written inspirational fiction for over twenty-five years. She has helped numerous other Christian writers with creating authentic medical scenes for their books. A lifelong Hoosier, Ronda is a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Mooresville, Indiana, and loves to travel. She writes fiction and non-fiction stories that illustrate extraordinary faith among the conflicts of ordinary life. Her contemporary inspirational novel, Harvest of Hope, is currently under consideration with a publisher. Visit her website to read a bonus chapter at www.rondawellsbooks.com or connect with her via Linktree at https://linktr.ee/rondawellsbooks.

Join the conversation: Are you in a fallow time?

The Tool of Time

by Julie Zine Coleman

“We are going, we are going to a home beyond the skies, where the fields are robed in beauty, and the sunlight never dies” (Bright Home Above, public domain). With this stanza, Fanny Crosby ventured into the world of hymn writing. She was 43 years old. Her first attempt was set to music by William Bradbury, who days later played it as a Sunday school song in a New York church. Her song writing career had begun.

Flip through any hymn book, and you’ll soon see the name Fanny Crosby. Some of our most loved hymns, like “Blessed Assurance,” “To God Be the Glory,” and “The Old Rugged Cross” were penned by this gifted poet. Her words reflect an intimately close relationship between her and her Savior.

Fanny was prolific in her work; over the second half of her lifetime she wrote the lyrics for more than 8,000 hymns. She was eventually forced to use pseudonyms because publishers were reluctant to put so many hymns by one writer into the same hymn book.

Why did God wait for her to begin this ministry until she was 43? I had a similar thought in 2006 as I packed my years of school teaching materials away and closed my plan book for the last time. At the age of 49, I was finally moving toward my dream of speaking and writing full time. I had wanted this for more than a decade. Why did God have me wait so long?

When Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel, David was a mere lad. He was so young, his father didn’t even think to bring him inside to meet Samuel upon his arrival. God had already picked David out of the crowd as the one after his own heart. But David was not ready to take on the responsibilities of leading a nation. He had a lot of growing up to do.

So God placed David in an unusual leadership training course: Desert Survival Tactics 101. David spent some of what could have been the most productive years of his life hiding in caves and running from King Saul, who was out to kill him. God was taking a very long time to fulfill his promise. Several times, David could have killed Saul and ended his desert torture. His mighty men balked at the wait. But David knew God’s time table was best. So he insisted on waiting for God to make it happen.

David finally took the throne over a decade after his initial anointing. Only now was he ready. God used those many years in the desert to prepare his servant for the task.

We see the same process repeated in several biblical characters. Moses spent 40 years in the desert before God put him in charge over his chosen people. Joseph spent 13 years as a slave and then a prisoner waiting for God. Paul spent three years in the desert of Arabia after his conversion in preparation for ministry to the Gentiles. Not one minute of discomfort or suffering would go for naught. As James 1:4 promises, “Let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The fact of the matter is, while we tap our foot impatiently waiting for God to move on our behalf, he is not idly sitting back. He is at work in us. He uses every circumstance to teach us, strengthen us, and prepare us for what lies ahead. Time is not our enemy. When it comes to God, time is our friend.

I learned the hard way it is a mistake to bake bread before it is finished rising. The yeast needs time to feed off the sugar and give off the gases which give bread lightness and texture. Bread baked too early is heavy and sits like a weight in your stomach. Some processes need time. To rush them is to sacrifice quality in the end. I wonder if Fanny Crosby could have written those beautiful words while in her 20’s. The depth of her writing reflects a relationship and trust in God that took half a lifetime to develop.

God often is not in a hurry with us, because some things require time.

“With the Lord, one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…” 2 Peter 3:8-9 NASB

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

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300

About the authorJulie Zine Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or crafting. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens in God’s Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a revealing look at the encounters that Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: How has God used time as a development tool in your life?

Why Isn’t God Answering My Prayer?

by Cindi McMenamin

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 CSB

Are you wondering why God isn’t answering a particular prayer of yours? Maybe He seems silent and you’re wondering why you should pray at all – especially if God doesn’t appear to be doing anything about it.

Oh, how we hate the silence of God. And yet, God does some of His best work in the quiet.

It’s easy to get the idea that because we pray, God is obligated to answer. Yes, God is good. Yes, He is loving. But He also promises to work all things for our good, when we love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). Sometimes our waiting – and unanswered prayer — ends up making us more dependent upon God, like His Son, Jesus. And when we become more like Jesus, God is working our situation for our eternal good (Romans 8:29).

 God is also eternal, meaning His idea of time is different than yours and mine. God may choose to wait a whopping 10-20 years to give you something you’re asking for. For you and me, that seems like an eternity. To God, it is just a moment in time. And yet, His timing for your life and mind is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4).

Sometimes, God’s work is in the eternal realm where we can’t see it. Proverbs gives us good advice when we can’t see what God is doing: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5 CSB). Trust that what He does in the silence is in the scope of the billions of consequences and details that He is ever aware of and that you may never be able to see this side of heaven.

Sometimes God’s refusal to answer your prayer is His way of keeping you close by…still asking, still waiting, still relying on Him. Show God that He can trust you to be faithful even in the silence. Even in the uncertainty. Even in the dark.

Psalm 84:11 tells us, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield. The Lord grants favor and honor;
he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity” (CSB). That promise of God assures us that if we are living with integrity and God doesn’t appear to be granting our request, it either isn’t good for us or it isn’t time. Trust Him with the silence. 

When God Sees Your Tears: He Knows You, He Hears You, He Sees You by [Cindi McMenamin]

About the author: Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and the author of 17 books. For more on drawing closer to God during disappointment, see her books, When God Sees Your Tears, God’s Whispers to a Woman’s Heart, and Letting God Meet Your Emotional Needs. You can find out more about Cindi’s speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and resources to help you grow in your walk with God, your marriage, and your parenting at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.

Join the conversation: Have you experienced an answer to prayer after a long wait? Were you able to see God’s goodness in His timing?

Timing Is Everything

by Sheri Schofield

“Tim, the snow has drifted over our driveway. I’m not sure how bad it is down in the meadow, but I may need you to plow the road ahead of me,” I reported via cell phone on my way to church. Tim, who cannot be around others because of his health issues right now, stood by while I tried to negotiate the road into town. A couple minutes later I called to say, “Well, I’m stuck in a snowdrift down past the creek. I need some help.” I never made it to church that day.

Sometimes we face roadblocks in life. We may want to do a ministry for the Lord, but others won’t cooperate, or facilities are not available, or a pandemic hits and the way is blocked. We reach a standstill. It can be frustrating!

Reading Acts and the letters written by the Apostles, I find they had some expectations that seemed to be delayed, too. They all thought Jesus would return to earth as King during their lifetimes. But He didn’t. Down through the ages, the great hope of the church has been the imminent return of Christ. Every generation seemed to believe He would return quickly. Yet, here we are, still hoping, still watching and waiting. We seem to be stuck.

What’s the deal? Why hasn’t Jesus returned yet? The Apostle Peter wrote this: “Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come—they will say, ‘Where is this ‘coming’ he promised?’ But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:3, 4, 8, 9, NIV).

What is God’s perspective in this? I think He sees things differently than we do. If Jesus had returned to earth in the Apostles’ generation, imagine how few of earth’s people would be in heaven. But in over two thousand years, countless millions have come to know Christ. If Jesus had returned earlier, you and I would not even have been born!

But God saw our generation from eternity past. He loved us. He wanted us to be part of His family. He’s planning a huge party in heaven when we all arrive—a great banquet—a reunion lasting seven years!

God promised Adam and Eve a Savior. Then He waited four thousand years before sending Jesus! Let us not be impatient! Sure, we all want to see Jesus return in our lifetime. But God’s family is not yet complete. There remain others He wants in His kingdom.

While we wait, let’s work toward reaching as many people as possible for Jesus. One day, the last child will join the family. Only then will the Father send His Son back to earth. Stay prepared! Trust God’s timing! We never know when that last child will join God’s family. What a great day that will be!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 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: To what do you look forward to the most when Jesus returns?

Holding Onto Hope

by Dena Dyer

[Anna] never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. Luke 2:38 NIV

Waiting is hard. Can I get an amen? Whether we’re waiting for a job, mate, child, cure, or answered prayer, I think all of us find it difficult to be patient. That’s why I appreciate the story of Anna, the prophetess, and what it says to us about waiting. Her story is told in Luke 2:36-38. This is right after Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple for Jewish purification rites, when Simeon the priest blessed them:

“There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Penuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:36-38 NIV).

Anna’s name means “favor” or “grace.” She was married but widowed after a short seven years with her husband. Her position of prophetess was one of honor, and she took it seriously. She had found in her singleness a singleness of purpose–praising and praying to the Lord.

Her story challenges me.

First, because she didn’t let her loss of a husband take her focus from God. It’s so easy to let our grief turn us away from the One who made us and can help us the most. Anna kept her eyes on the Lord and made the temple Her place of worship and even residence. You and I can do the same thing: praising God in the midst of our waiting. It’s not easy, but for believers, the Holy Spirit is our promised, indwelling helper, and He will come alongside us and give us the faith we need.

Second, because although the angels announced Jesus’ birth to Mary, Joseph, Zechariah, and the shepherds, “Anna made the proclamation of who Jesus was to the pious of the Holy City” according to the IVP Women’s Commentary. She didn’t think she was too old to tell people about Jesus or to fulfill the calling He had given her. She didn’t believe she was “washed up” or that God wasn’t going to come through for her. She not only kept the faith; she also boldly shared her faith.

Anna exemplifies what Paul wrote: “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And weboast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but wealso glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)

Anna didn’t boast about her longevity as a prophetess. Instead, she boasted about God. She didn’t let suffering take her away from God but allowed the Heavenly Father to work in her life and give her perseverance, character, and hope.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if when people talked about us, they said: “She’s always worshipping God” or “He’s always praising God.” That would be an incredible legacy.

Let’s emulate Anna’s life and hold onto hope together.

Prayer: Father, thank you for always coming through for me. Forgive me for my impatience when answered prayers don’t come quickly. Help me to hold onto You and the hope You give me in Christ Jesus. Amen.


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

About the author: Dena Dyer is an award-winning author, speaker, and non-profit leader. She loves encouraging hurting, harried women with humor and hope. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook, or at her website.

Book Cover

You’re invited to download a free copy of Dena’s devotional book, Grace for the Race, which uses real-life stories, Scripture, and gentle humor to soothe the souls of frazzled moms. By being honest and vulnerable about the ways God has shown Himself to her as she’s struggled with motherhood, Dena hopes to help women realize that they’re not alone, and they’re not crazy!

Join the conversation: What legacy do you hope to leave behind?

The God of Until

by Stacy Sanchez

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 18:15 NIV

Some of my most beloved memories of raising my children are of our Christmas traditions. And we had a ton of them! I may overdo it a bit. Five trees aren’t over-the-top, right? My husband begs to differ, as he pulls them down from the garage rafters. But there is nothing more magical to me than seeing my children’s (now my grandchildren’s) eyes light up as the house is turned into a winter wonderland of yuletide festivity. Would he want to deprive the next generation of my Christmas crazy?

One of our traditions was to read a part of the Christmas story together before dinner. The twenty-four days before Christmas one of the children read a section from the Bible while another hung a picture symbolizing that part of the story onto a tree we had sitting on the dining table. (Oops, make that six trees.)

I’ve read the story so many times I can recite it like Linus in the Peanuts Christmas special: “And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them. The glory of the Lord shone ’round about them. And they were sore afraid…” Can anything new be found in these passages?

This year, I prayed, “Lord, please pour out your spirit and illuminate your word anew.” And he did. As I read the passages in both Matthew and Luke, I was surprised by how many times the word “until” is used. Two examples are:

“But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:25, NIV emphasis added)

“When they (The Magi) had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, “Get up” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child and kill him (Matthew 2:13, NIV emphasis added).

“Until I tell you.” Hmmm…

When a word jumps off the page, pay attention. God may be speaking. “What do you want me to learn, Father?”

My mind recalled the years I’ve been praying for the health of one of my loved ones. I’ve cried out. I’ve believed. I’ve stood on the biblical promises of healing. I’ve pleaded with God to heal his precious child. In desperation, I even offered to trade my life for hers. It breaks my heart to watch the illness run rampant in her little body. If I were honest, my faith has waned a bit.

We are living in crazy times. (Can I get an amen!?) Like me, many are worried and crying out to God:

  • I don’t know if I can hold on until my finances are back in order.
  • I don’t know if I can hold on to my house until I have the money to pay the mortgage.
  • I don’t know if I can hold on in this marriage until our problems are worked out.
  • I don’t know if my health will hold out until there is a cure.
  • I don’t know if I can hold on until my children are out of trouble.
  • I don’t know if we are safe until the virus is gone.

The Jewish people cried out to God for centuries. They were promised a Savior; the One that God would send to deliver them from their worries and enemies. “How much longer until the Savior arrives?” they would cry. This is the season we celebrate God’s fulfillment of his promise of a Savior.

Throughout the Bible, we are reassured God will never leave us or forsake us. He is a very present help in times of trouble. Therefore, when times are hard and we wonder, “How much longer do I have to hold on, until…?” Take heart. God is in total control and he will hold on to us when we think we can’t hold on any longer. “At the right time, I, the LORD, will make it happen” (Isaiah 60:22, NLT).

Is there something that you have been crying out to God about? Hold on in faith until he answers. He has always fulfilled his promises. He is the God of “Until.”

Heavenly Father, this is the season we celebrate your promises fulfilled. The ancient, long-awaited prophesies of a Savior came beautifully into fruition with the birth of Jesus. Thank you for always being faithful to us, even when we have not been faithful to you. We know no matter what is happening in our lives right now, you are at work for good. We love you, Lord. And look forward to the day that our prayers will be answered in your perfect timing.

We will hold on to you, until…

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

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: For what are you waiting?

Lord, Give me Patience—and Hurry!

By Dena Dyer @DenaJDyer     

Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her. Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived. Genesis 16:1-4 NIV

While driving around town, I’ve noticed a disturbing trend. If I take more than one second to hit the gas pedal after a light turns green, the driver behind me inevitably honks at me.

Maybe I’m getting slower, but I think the problem runs deeper. As a society, we are growing more impatient. Think about it: if our fast food doesn’t come out fast enough, we complain. When an event or speaker goes long, we squirm and look at our phones. If our favorite show gets interrupted while we’re streaming it, we groan. Technology has made our lives easier in some ways, but it has also made us feel entitled to have things instantly.

Or maybe that’s just me.

During my fifty years of life, I’ve waited on more significant things, too. When I met my husband, I’d dated enough not-quite-right guys to realize Carey was “the one.” But we remained in the friend zone for eleven long months before he realized I was the one for him. Then, as a young newlywed, I waited to conceive, then suffered an early miscarriage. I also waited and worked for five years—garnering fifty rejections–before becoming a published author.

God used each of these waiting seasons to teach me about Himself and reveal areas where He needed to work on me. He patiently and tenderly carved away my pride, self-sufficiency, and tendency to be driven instead of led.

Sarah knew impatience, too. In fact, she waited not for minutes or months, but decades to see a promise fulfilled. God had told Abraham that He would make him into a great nation, with descendants too numerous to count. But He didn’t reveal the “when” or the “how.” In fact, until Genesis 17, Sarah wasn’t mentioned at all, and she may have wondered how she fit with it all.

Most likely, the first few post-promise years were filled with hope and anticipation. As time sped by, though, and her body began to change and slow down, Sarah surely entertained doubts. Had Abraham heard God correctly? What if she or Abraham done something to prevent the promise from being fulfilled? And most important–would the promised child have to come from her own womb?

Like many of us, Sarah saw an opportunity to “help God out” when she looked at her young slave, Hagar. She offered Hagar to her husband, justifying it in her humanness. Abraham, too, rationalized the action instead of seeking God’s will on the matter.

I wonder if I’d have done the same.

However, God didn’t decide to cancel his promise to Sarah because of her impatience and willfulness. He still made her the mother of Isaac, and he made Abraham the father of the great nation of Israel.

Sarah and Abraham are even mentioned in the “Faith Hall of Fame” in Hebrews 11.

That’s good news for me—and for you. Our lack of faith and patience won’t keep God from fulfilling His work in our lives.

Hallelujah!

Lord, forgive me for the times I’ve jumped ahead and tried to help you out. Keep me content and patient, with my ears tuned to your Spirit. May I be faithful, not faith-less. Amen.

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Lord, Give me Patience—and Hurry! – encouragement from @DenaJDyer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: This article was adapted from Dena and Carey’s book, Love at First Fight: 52 Story-Based Meditations for Married Couples (Barbour). Dena Dyer is the author or co-author of ten books for women and hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers, and websites. She lives in Texas with Carey and their sons Jordan and Jackson. She loves bargain shopping, decorating, and traveling. Find her on Instagram and Facebook, or at her website.

Join the conversation: Have you ever tried to “help” God? What happened?

The Waiting Game

by Sharon Wilharm @SharonWilharm

By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace.                                                                         Hebrews 11:31 NKJV

I remember the first time I stood behind a podium to speak to an audience. I was a ninth grader, chosen to introduce the speakers at the morning session of the Florida Baptist Acteens Cometogether. How excited I’d been to sit in the green room, making small talk with Barbara Joiner, the “Cookie Crumble Lady”, and Julie and Johnny, a ventriloquist act. Then the time finally came for me to leave the green room, walk the three feet to the wooden podium, and wait while the speakers settled themselves in the stiff chairs on either side of the stage.

Something happened in those steps between the back of the stage to the podium. As I looked out at the crowd of teen girls and their leaders, a peace came over me. I smiled as a younger girl on the front row snapped my picture. In that moment, I knew that this was my happy place, that the stage was where I was destined to be, and that someday I would be the one sitting in the stiff chair on the side of the stage while someone else introduced me.

The only problem: I was fourteen-years-old, and no one has any interest in hearing what a fourteen-year-old has to say. So I waited. And waited. Praying that God would give me wisdom that I might share as a speaker. But even though He’d open up opportunities to speak here and there, mostly He just said, “Wait. It’s not time yet.”

For forty years I waited, and just about the time He began opening the doors to the opportunities I’d dreamed of, Covid-19 hit. Fortunately, those forty years were not spent waiting in vain. God has taken me on so many side journeys better than I ever imagined, each one preparing me for the next role. I know He’s got me right where I’m supposed to be, so I can wait it out and see what it is He has for me to be doing right here where He’s placed me.

Rahab also had to wait for God. We have no idea how long Rahab had searched for the truth. How frustrated she must have been as she listened to reports about the Israelites and their God and wondered if she would ever be allowed to join them.

But when the Hebrew spies showed up at her door, she was ready. As soon as she had them safely hidden on her roof, she pleaded her case, and when the walls of Jericho came tumbling down, Rahab and her family were whisked to safety outside the camp of Israel. She went on to marry a godly man, raise a godly son, and ultimately be a part of the lineage of Christ.

Rahab was stuck in a place she didn’t want to be, but it turned out to be exactly where she needed to be. God sent His messengers straight to her, and because of where she was situated on the city walls, she was able to deliver them back to safety. They needed her as much as she needed them.

It’s easy to get frustrated waiting for God’s timing. We may feel like He’s forgotten us. We may be tempted to jump ahead and take matters in our own hands. But if we put our trust in Him, He will deliver us. And when He does, it will be so much better than anything we imagined.

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The Waiting Game – encouragement from @SharonWilharm on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Christian speaker Sharon Wilharm is a women’s ministry leader, popular media guest, and award-winning female filmmaker whose feature films have impacted audiences around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Sharon draws the audience in with humor, engages them with stories, then ties everything together to bring to light spiritual truths. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women in their walk with the Lord, showing them how to find God’s will for their life through prayer and scripture. 

Sharon’s movie Summer of ’67 is a Vietnam War love story told from the perspective of

Summer of '67 Poster

the women left behind. Sharon’s dad was aboard the USS Forrestal when it caught fire on July 29, 1967. She grew up listening to her parents talking about the Vietnam War, and wanted to pass along to younger generations the experiences and sacrifices made by the men and women of the 1960’s while reminding all audiences that God is bigger than whatever comes our way. 

Join the conversation: Are you on hold, waiting for God?

How To A Hit Curve Ball

by Stacy Sanchez

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.” Micah 7:7 ESV

Hot and exhausted, fourteen sweaty (and may I say stinky?) baseball players and I sat in the outfield grass, eating orange slices and guzzling fruit juice drinks while regurgitating the details of our game.

“Wow! That was ugly.” The team’s shortstop blurted out.

“Yeah! We sucked!” The words spat out of my catcher’s mouth along with the orange seed he launched across the field.

I tried to encourage them in their accomplishments. “Yeah… that was a tough game. You boys just played your hearts out against a team that is way more experienced than you. They are older and have played as a team longer. I’m seriously proud of you all though. You guys just went up against a pitcher that knows how to throw a nasty curve ball. Until today, you haven’t even seen one. You were swinging at those pitches like you were swatting flies, but you didn’t give up.”

“How the heck are you supposed to hit a curve ball, anyway?” my youngest player mumbled, trying to mask a quivering lip.

“You wait on it,” I explained. “You can’t react to the pitch and swing as soon as you think you should, because the ball will break on you, and you’ll miss it. Don’t worry. I’ll teach you. It’s only the beginning of the season. You will get it, but it will take patience to learn, young grasshoppers. You will have to learn to wait.”

The curve ball is a difficult pitch to hit. When thrown correctly, the spinning of the seams tricks a hitter’s brain into thinking the ball is diving at a steeper angle than it is. The art of hitting a round ball with a round bat is already one of the hardest things for a young player to do, but add a spinning breaking ball into the mix? Forget about it.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV).

I don’t know about you, but waiting isn’t the easiest thing for me. When an out-of-the-blue problem comes hurling at me at eighty miles an hour, I want to jump on it right away and either fix it, finish it, or feed my face with food until it passes. Waiting is not at the top of my to-do list. I’ve had to be trained to wait.

The night Jesus was arrested, he told his disciples to “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41 NIV).

With his arrest and crucifixion at hand, Jesus knew the boys were about to be thrown a curve ball. The disciples were going to experience the most gut-wrenching experience of their lives and needed to watch Jesus so he could train them how to handle it. What were they to do? Wait. Not react. Wait on the Lord for direction. (As it turned out, Peter would need a bit more practice with this one.)    

“But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me” (Micah 7:7 ESV). What should we do when an unexpected crisis is thrown at us? Wait. The enemy would like us to panic and react right away. He would love nothing more than to see a child of God in a state of worry and confusion. God has taught us a better way–to wait. Don’t react, but watch, pray, listen, and wait on Him for what to do next.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7 ESV).

Like my young baseball team learning to hit a curve ball, we need to practice waiting until it becomes second nature. So when a curve ball is pitched at us we will know how to knock the snot out of it. (That’s baseball-ese. I’m pretty sure that’s in the Bible somewhere.)

Father, we know that we will be thrown curve balls in life. Whether it be an unexpected divorce, an illness, the death of a loved one, a rejection, a prodigal child, and now this viral epidemic, crises will come. Help us, Lord to not react right away, but, to wait on you for direction. Maybe you will have us do nothing but rest. Maybe you will have us swing for the fences. We won’t know until we wait on You for the call. Help us to wait.

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How To A Hit Curve Ball – encouragement from Stacy Sanchez on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

stacy sanchez

About the author: Stacy Sanchez has been married to her beloved husband, John, for 32 years, is a mother of 5, and a very young grandmother of six (soon to be seven) yummy grandcherubs. She is a pastor, author, and speaker. Her passions include teaching Christians about the Jewish roots of their faith, as well as helping to empower women to become all that God has created them to be. When not teaching or writing, you will find Stacy and John walking on the beach and playing with their grandchildren. You can connect with Stacy at her blog, writetotheheart.org, and on Facebook and Instagram.

Join the conversation: When was the last time God called you to wait?