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

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?

Accept Help and Support from Others

by Twila Belk

So Joshua did as Moses said, and fought with Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the hilltop. Now when Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he lowered his hand [due to fatigue], Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy and he grew tired. So they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side and one on the other side; so it was that his hands were steady until the sun set. So Joshua overwhelmed and defeated Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.  Exodus 17:10–13 AMP

I have a confession: I’m not perfect. Hard to believe, isn’t it? What I’ve written below is humbling, but I’m laying it out for the world to see.

My responsibilities include working long hours at home to provide an income for my family, care-giving for my husband, handling my son’s ongoing issues, doing all the shopping and heavy lifting, cooking, coordinating multiple medical appointments, wrestling with never-ending paperwork, making important life decisions, managing my own health needs (when I can fit that in), attempting to keep the world spinning, and … and … and … The truth is I can’t do it all. I get weary.

At times I struggle just to hold my head on my neck, yet I’m embarrassed when visitors see my clutter and the piles of unwashed pots and pans on the counter. I don’t want them to know the real me—someone who has shortcomings. I’ll admit I occasionally have trouble letting people into my life because of a crazy feeling that I’m being judged for what I haven’t done.

Yes, I know that’s flawed thinking—the kind of thinking I’m overcoming after years of trials and with no recourse but to rely on other people’s help. I’m finally grasping this reality: I can’t survive without support and assistance.

Even Moses couldn’t. When Joshua fought Amalek, Moses stood at the top of the hill with his hands raised in prayer. While they were lifted high, the Israelites prevailed. But when Moses struggled and his arms dropped due to fatigue, the enemy overpowered them. Aaron and Hur brought a stone and encouraged Moses to sit, and they stood by his side to uphold him until the sun went down. Because of their support, the battle Moses oversaw was won.

Likewise, we can endure our battles with the help of others.

On many occasions friends, family, and church members have come alongside to keep me from falling. I had emergency gall bladder surgery that required a seven-day hospital stay three weeks after my daughter was born. I wasn’t able to carry her for seven weeks. I also had a twenty-month-old son at home. It would have been an impossible situation without help.

After our run-in with the drunk driver, friends and acquaintances filled in at our Christian bookstore and vending company. They did chores, kid duty, ran errands, and watched over me.

During agonizing times with my husband’s health issues and hospitalizations, my friend Jennifer mothered me, and my friend Nancy cared for our three children.

Most recently with my cancer treatments, numerous people have sustained our family through monetary gifts, meals, yard work, house projects, prayers, and encouragement.

Does accepting help mean that I’m weak? That Moses was weak? That you’re weak? No. It means God provides what we need to keep us strong. It’s a message worth remembering.

Loving God, thank you for the support and help of caring people. If I had to face my battles alone, I don’t know how I would endure. Thank you for knowing who I need and what I need and right when I need it. You are so good to me. I like to think that I can do it all, and I get frustrated when I can’t, but the reality is that nobody can. You created us for friendship and fellowship and to uphold each other. Even Moses became fatigued and needed help. Thank you for reminding me that accepting assistance doesn’t mean I’m weak. It means you love me enough to keep me strong through others.

(This devotion is an excerpt from The Power to Be, (c) 2018 Twila Belk. Used by permission of BroadStreet Publishing.)

twila belkAbout the Author: Also known as the Gotta Tell Somebody Gal, Twila Belk  loves braggin’ on God. Whether she’s writing, speaking, or teaching, she offers hope and encouragement for people to fix their eyes on him. Twila is the author of The Power to Be: Be Still, Be Grateful, Be Strong, Be Courageous and Raindrops from Heaven: Gentle Reminders of God’s Power, Presence, and Purpose as well as five other books. Mom to three grown children and Grandma to three precious little boys, Twila lives with her husband in Iowa, not far from the Mississippi River and the home of American Pickers, John Deere tractors, and Whitey’s ice cream.

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner 51veIj1tu+L._SX344_BO1,204,203,200_from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Twila’s new devotional book,  The Power to Be, 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 at accepting assistance from others? What battles have you faced that you couldn’t have survived without the help of other people? How did it make you feel to have their support?