A Gratitude Challenge for November

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying.  No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Hi Friend-

I know this looks different than my traditional devotions, but I wanted to share with you what I am doing during November.

First I wanted to share a devotion that was published by Sparrows Grace on Cultivating Gratitude. If you are interested in receiving monthly encouragement and supporting Christian businesses, this is for you! In the meantime, click here for your November devotion!

Cultivating Gratitude  

Next, I am inviting you to join me in the ABC Gratitude challenge.  You don’t need to do anything because I have included all the information in this email. Copy them to your phone and join me each day.

If you are on FB or IG, I am posting one challenge per day. I would love to see your responses by sharing your words for each day. Here are the first three weeks and the rest are at the end of this email.

As always, I appreciate your support and encouragement. I pray this challenge blesses you!

This is free!

It’s that time again to prepare our hearts for the Holidays. Check out these free devotions on You Version. And please share!

Holiday Devotions

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Distraction of Destruction

But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me. Psalm 22:19

As I watched with horror, the destruction of hurricane Ian, I remembered our close experience with a hurricane in Maryland.

We had prepared the outside of the house and felt it would fare with minor damage. The rains arrived, just as the weather reports had predicted. First, I watched the pond behind our house overflow its banks, then ebb into the picnic shelter and baseball fields. Soon, the winds began to howl, and the house started to shake. I prayed for protection from the damage I knew this storm could bring. Then the power went out.

My daughter went down to the basement to find a flashlight and immediately called us.

“Mom, Dad, there’s water down here!”

Expecting to find slight dampness, my husband and I went down and discovered the water was at least four inches deep. At first, we thought it was coming from the sump pump because we did not have a generator. Then as we walked around in the dark, we heard strange gurgling noises and discovered fountains bubbling up from the floor drains. It seemed the sewage lines were flooded and backing up into our house! 

Remember the boy trying to plug the holes in the dike? As we blocked one drain, the other drain bubbled up even higher. We scurried around to unplug and remove any electronics, then lifted the furniture onto wooden blocks and paint cans to avoid exposure to the sewage. We mopped, bailed, or did anything to control the water, but it was coming in faster than we could handle. We tried to protect what we could until the wee hours of the morning.

The night was long as the wind wailed, and the rain continued to fall. Morning came too soon. We dragged ourselves out of bed and reluctantly went downstairs to assess our losses. Pictures, albums, furniture, books, and more were destroyed by the waters of the storm.

The smell was intolerable, and it became apparent that we would need professional help to clean the mess. It was days before we could find a company to help us clean up. But they knew exactly what to do. They cut up the drywall, tore up the carpet, and literally destroyed every room in an attempt to dry out the complete area. We were left with half-exposed cinder block walls and cement floors. Everything on that floor had been damaged, yet, I realized we did not lose our entire home as many others had in the same storm. Still, the task appeared overwhelming.

Storms come in many forms and sweep through our lives without warning. They leave a trail of destruction, loss, and pain in their path.

 When these storms hit, we can become paralyzed and exhausted by the immensity of the destruction. Trying to rebuild our strength and take a step forward each day can be overwhelming. These are the times when we depend entirely on the wisdom of our Lord because we cannot make sense of the situation.

King David experienced destruction in his life from many battles and storms. Each time he learned to trust in God for wisdom and guidance. He left us a gift in the Psalms with prayers that ask for or tell of God’s wisdom, comfort, and strength in times of trouble. (NIV)

Psalm 22:19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.  

Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  

Psalm 20:1-2    May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you. May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.  

No matter how large or small your storm is, no matter how much was lost or destroyed, you are not alone. God is with you and powerful enough to support you and help you sort out, clean up and overcome the challenges. So, seek Him as you pick up the pieces and rebuild from the destruction of your storm. 

Dear Lord Jesus, there are days I don’t even have the words to pray. I know you are the God of hope, love, and strength. Help me feel Your presence and power. Grant me the energy to face this day and renew my stamina for future days. Amen

Praying for you today. Please pass this on if you know someone who may need to hear this.

Thank you for your support!

Do thoughts about the upcoming holidays cause angst instead of excitement?

I am lending my voice to the Count Up: Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas FREE virtual event on Nov 1-5, 2022. 

Through the event, we are hoping to get ahead of holiday overwhelm and replace it with claiming the wonder that can be found when we focus on the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Register now! https://livesteadyon.com/count-up-registration/

  I am already scheduling events for 2023! Please reach out to me for an encouraging message that will engage your group and inspire them to draw closer to Christ.  I’d love an opportunity to serve your group at your next event. info@pegarnold.org

Distraction of a Dog’s Disappearance


So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long distance away, his father saw him coming, and was filled with loving pity and ran and embraced him and kissed him. Luke 15:20 TLB

Exhausted from the weekend away, we stopped at our friend’s home to pick up our precious Mysti dog.   Before we even got out of the car, we saw our friend coming toward the car, shaking his head, “She’s gone,” He said mournfully. “It happened so fast. She got out of the house and started running, first in circles. Everyone was chasing her, even my landscape crew! She dodged between their legs, and before we knew it, she disappeared into the woods. We searched everywhere. It’s as if she just vanished. I even posted a note in the local post office.”

We couldn’t believe our ears. We weren’t sure what to do. Once the initial shock subsided, we discovered Mysti had already been gone for 24 hours. We were more concerned when we realized the temperatures were forecasted to drop below zero.   

We both prayed silently during the remaining ten miles home. The house felt eerily empty as we entered with our luggage. Mysti’s water and food bowls immediately caught our eye. Fighting back the tears, I asked my husband, “What if they don’t find her? How will she survive the cold tonight?”

He put his arms around me and replied, “We just need to keep praying that someone found her. Maybe she has been safe all this time. We will call and see if the post office heard anything tomorrow.”

Mysti, our little pug dog, had been a part of our family for twelve years. With our kids away at school, she was our source of comfort in adjusting to the empty nest.

            We were silent throughout the evening as we wrestled with our prayers and worries while unpacking, sorting laundry, and preparing for the next day. We tried to discuss other things, but our conversation always returned to the what-ifs. Then the phone rang. The Caller Id displayed an unknown number.

My husband answered it, with me right by his side.

“Yes?”. . . “Yes!” He smiled and winked at me, “Where did you find her?”

Our little Mysti missed home so much that she was determined to return on her own. She was found on a route four miles from home. The family saw her running on the side of the main road. They had fallen in love with her, bathed and fed her, and even discussed names. But then they saw the note in the post office. They were secretly hoping that it was not the same dog. My husband asked about several distinguishing marks, and sure enough, it was Mysti. Since it was late, we would pick our baby up the next day. Knowing she was safe allowed us to get a peaceful sleep and say praises for answered prayers.

Reflecting on this incident, I am amazed at Mysti’s internal GPS and her perseverance to return home. Would she have tried to run from the second family as well? I don’t know. However, I remember the joy and relief we felt when we received that phone call. I’m sure it was minuscule compared to the compassion the prodigal son’s father must have felt. Our circumstances were drastically different, but our pup had disappeared, and now she was found!  

I may not run away from God physically, but how often do I let distractions distance me from Him? The difference is that my heavenly Father always sees me. I can never disappear from Him, but I’m responsible for pursuing His presence, His heart, with the same passion that Mysti sought her return home.

Mysti was now safe in our arms. What keeps you from the safety and welcome of the Savior’s embrace?

Dear Lord, Forgive me when I distance myself from you with earthly distractions. I am grateful, You are the God who sees. I want to surrender what separates me from You and make my heart Your home.  Amen

Thank you for your faithfulness. I pray this message speaks to your soul and encourages your spirit. 

Kristina addresses challenging issues and the ways God heals through those experiences. I shared my struggle with an eating disorder when I was younger. Your battle may be different, but God sees you and desires to walk with you in the storm.

https://faithbreathedhope.libsyn.com/hope-for-eating-disorders

  I am already scheduling events for 2023! Please reach out to me for an encouraging message that will engage your group and inspire them to draw closer to Christ.  I’d love an opportunity to serve your group at your next event. info@pegarnold.org

Distraction of Disease

Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. Matthew 9:22

She had been suffering from chronic pain for twelve years. The bleeding not only had weakened her but it had also isolated her from society. In those days, a bleeding woman was considered unclean and separated from all humanity. The loneliness and isolation led to depression, and it was heading towards hopelessness. But then, she heard about this Teacher, a man of God. 

Everyone was talking about His healing powers, and He was coming to her town. She wanted to go and was confident He could heal her. Yet she was unsure if she had the strength to travel even the short distance to the town square. So she thought about it and decided it was her only chance to regain healing and hope. 

She dragged herself through the crowds. Everyone was clamoring to get near to this Jesus. It seemed impossible, but she told herself,  

“If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed” (Matthew 9:21)The desire to just touch His cloak became stronger. The crowd relentlessly knocked her down, yet she continued to crawl through the maze of arms and legs. Finally, she caught sight of the robe again. The closer He came, the more the kicks and pushes of the desperate crowd increased her distance. She mustered all her strength, but her energy was fading fast. Stretching out her arm through the mob, she strained just to touch a piece of that fabric. And then it happened…

It was as if a wave of cool water flowed through her veins and muscles, for immediately, the pain drained out of her body. Strength returned to her, and the bleeding immediately stopped. She wanted to quietly slip out of the crowd and return home, but the Teacher’s voice stopped her in her tracks. 

“Who touched me?’ Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

            But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” (Luke 8:45, 46)

It was at this time that she knew she could not go unnoticed. She had to come forward. 

The woman came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of the multitude, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (Luke 8:47, 48) 

When I read this story, I wondered if I would have the faith and strength that this woman demonstrated in her quest for healing. I know Jesus continues to heal many people from many afflictions today. But would my faith heal me? 

Then I question – What causes one person to experience healing from the disease over another? I know miracles continue to occur, and faith is an essential foundation. But I also know that not every person of faith experiences healing. 

I have witnessed several friends succumb to the ravages of a disease attacking their bodies. One friend I visited regularly shared, “I would love to be the woman that Jesus heals, but who am I to question the will of God? Who knows? Maybe His healing for me is the freedom that heaven brings.” 

I learned so much from my sister in Christ as I witnessed her devout faith in action. I watched her courageously fight through many difficult months, sometimes doing the impossible. I remember our last conversation as we prayed for her children.

Having known her makes me ask myself daily, where is my faith? From what do I need to be healed? Diseases attack us in many forms. Is my faith strong enough to accept any outcome?

Dear Jesus, I give you praise and glory for the ways You work in the lives of Your people every day, for the blessings You bestow on us so lavishly. Guide my mind and heart when I fail to see Your hand working in the lives of those I love and uphold in prayer. Strengthen my ability to pray unceasingly and not be distracted by outward circumstances. Help my faith to grow and develop like the woman in the crowd. Amen

As always, I appreciate your encouragement, prayers, and support.

  Did this message encourage you? I would love to hear from you! If we are not already connected, reach out to me through any of my socials to share what spoke to you.  
https://www.facebook.com/pegarnoldwow
https://www.instagram.com/arnoldpeg

Order You can order my book and receive a free accompanying journal for a 40-day daily devotional.

Attend one of my upcoming speaking events.  
I am already scheduling events for 2023! For an encouraging message that inspires through drama and equips through a faith-based message, please reach out to me.  I’d love an opportunity to serve your group at your next event. 
   

Distraction of Deals

So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. James 1:16-17 NLT

Picture from online ad

I love finding treasures buried in the back corner of a store at 90% off or hidden in a packed clothing rack marked 75% off! But when seeking a bargain online, there always seems to be a catch. When I was younger, I fell victim to companies advertising CDs; on sale 10 for $5 or children’s books; on sale 5 for $10, only to discover I had committed to a year’s subscription. I still fall for those offers as I click on the social media posts picturing beautiful dresses for only $9.99. Most recently, it was a gorgeous wreath for only $29.99. But once again, I was disappointed.

On this occasion, I failed to read the fine print- not all as pictured or approximate size 15” diameter. Yes, I was entirely deceived by the attractive image and enticed to purchase the beautiful wreath pictured above. I thought I had done my homework and scoured out all the details. I checked the front door daily for the arrival of my purchase. Unfortunately, it seemed to take a bit longer than I expected.

One day, my husband walked in with the mail and said, “You received a package.” Bewildered about what it could be, I opened the 12” by 12” mailing envelope. I had been swindled. I pulled out a scraggly, plastic wreath (pictured below). The only things this wreath had in common with the one I thought I was receiving were one tiny, blessed sign and a hidden one-inch cheetah ribbon.

I felt foolish. Once again, I fell into the trap of temptation for the bargain offered. Did I want to blame someone, of course! Was I deceived? Certainly! The product I received wasn’t anything like the pictures. I did take successful action to obtain a refund through a series of emails, photos, and complaints. But I learned my lesson. When seeking a bargain online, do your research, read the small print, and always remember, buyer, beware!

The Bible has many examples of deceptive deals too good to be true. First, Eve is deceived by the serpent to eat the apple in hopes of being like God. Next, Isaac is deceived by Jacob to receive the birthright that was rightfully Esau’s. Then Jacob is deceived by Laban when he is tricked into marrying Leah, requiring him to work 7 more years for Rachel. And that’s only a few from the first 30 chapters of Genesis!  

Many of us are susceptible to falling for a deceptive offer. Even in our walk with Christ, we can believe false promises. In the three synoptic gospels, Jesus warns the disciples right before Judas betrays him, Watch out that you are not deceived. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them,” Matthew 24:4, Mark 13:5, and Luke 21:8.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the light. He never changes and will never leave you or deceive you. He is the real deal, and His grace is a free gift. 

Dear Lord,

Forgive me when I fall for false promises, easy fixes, deceptive temptations, or a stray in the wrong direction. Help me to focus on You, Lord. Help me to hear your voice and claim your gifts of salvation, strength, peace, and more. Amen

Please know, I appreciate your support and encouragement!

I am excited to share three recent interviews with you. I hope if they speak to you, you will let me know and even share them with others.

One is on YouTube at this link – It’s an interview with PJNET TV

This is the promo. Check out the entire interview at PJNET.

Distraction of the Danube

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.    Romans 5:3-5 NLT

We recently completed a long-anticipated cruise on the Danube, and there were many blessings God gifted us in this journey. The portion we traveled meandered through picturesque green hillsides peppered with vineyards, animals, and even castles tucked into the landscape.

Overgrown trees and bushes along the shoreline provided nesting places for the ducks, geese, and swans that graced our view. Every so often, the landscape changed as we passed quaint historic European villages built right on the river’s edge. Their quintessential skylines were created by steeples of cathedrals and churches built long before our country was founded. When we reached the bustling waterfronts of the larger cities, the water was so high we sunk low in our seats to go under the bridges.  

To transition to lower parts of the river, locks replaced the once dangerous falls and rapids of the unexplored Danube. These locks, originally built to allow safe shipping of goods and services to each village, now also provided travelers with a smooth commute. From our perspective, the Danube was a peaceful, calm, river. We didn’t see dangerous rapids, tight turns, or even that beautiful color of blue described in the work of Johann Strauss until we took a couple of side trips

The first excursion was on a small boat that took us through narrow valleys shadowed by massive rocky cliffs. The guide described the dangers of this area and the many accidents that had occurred over the years. He said, even when the river appears calm on the surface, the turbulence below is enough to unexpectedly pull a swimmer or small vessel under. This tour ended at a historic Abbey nestled in the mountains at the last calm part of the river. Beyond the Abbey, the river began bubbling through the rocks as the landscape descended into a valley.

On the second excursion, we rode bicycles and toured parts of the river that were shallow and narrow.  Riding on shaded bike paths, we passed inviting beaches and witnessed areas where the sunlight danced on the water. That is the only time we witnessed the beautiful deep blue color.

No matter where we went on the Danube, God’s beauty and lessons surrounded us. The main one that stands out to me is how we were protected from the dangers of the river because of the route taken by our captain. Our vessel was large, unable to navigate the narrow parts of the river, and needed the transitions of the locks to safely descend to the lower parts of the river. Without them, we would not have survived.

In life, I wish I could always travel that safe protected route where transitions are scheduled and most of my challenges can be predicted. However, many times, I find myself on the river where dangerous undertows unexpectedly pull me below the water’s surface, or the turbulent rapids toss and rock my world. During these times, my focus is only on the immediate moment. Yet, as I navigate through these exhausting hardships, I know the Lord is my captain, and he gently guides me through these challenging times. It’s only when I reach the other side when the sun comes out and dances on the water and I witness the wonder of the blue. It’s almost like God is giving me that same promise of the rainbow after the flood.

Dear Lord,

When difficulties multiply around me, help me to hold onto you. You see me even when I am exhausted and feel like I am drowning. You are my Captain, who navigates me safely through the rapids, and you are the rope that holds me above water in the undertow. You are my source of hope. Help me realize that it’s through these adversities that I grow. When the sun comes out, and life settles down, You help me heal. Then You gift me with your goodness and surround me with the blessings of the journey. Amen

Thank you for your support and encouragement. If this devotion touched you, I’d love to hear from you. I try my hardest to respond to every message I receive.

    Did you miss Peg’s recent interviews?

You can listen to them now. Feel free to share them.

  PJNET TV- preview https://youtu.be/tZ5bG2c-QHs  

Crystal Cnvrstns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3aRCNpHi3s&list=LL51V_iWr0RfGAQvQnWVXEoA

I am already scheduling events for 2023! For an encouraging message that inspires through drama and equips through a faith-based message, please reach out to me.  I’d love an opportunity to serve your group at your next event.   

  More ways to Connect
Order my book and accompanying journal for a 40-day daily devotional.
Attend one of my upcoming speaking events. This past April I just spoke in Michigan in April at Elk Rapids and The Well conference.
Did this message encourage you? I would love to hear from you! If we are not already connected, reach out to me through any of my social links below to share what spoke to you.  

Distraction of Drones

Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.

1 Corinthians 13:12 NLT

The photo was taken from the town of Poolesville FB page

There was excitement in the air that chilly morning. Hundreds of residents searched for the perfect place to stand as they milled through the staked-off area. After all, we were making history and wanted to be able to point out our spot to others. The anticipation grew as the directions were amplified through a megaphone, “Find your places quickly. We will be taking the photo in five to ten minutes.” The confused crowd began to huddle together between the roped-off areas.

Voices quieted as the hum of the drone filled the air then someone cried out, “There it is!” Fingers pointed skyward to the peculiar dark object flitting through the sky, sometimes darting like a hummingbird and other times hovering like a slow-moving hot air balloon. 

Eager to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, we stayed in place, our eyes peeled skyward, until hearing, “We did it!” The crowd, thrilled to have participated in Poolesville MD’s Sesquicentennial, responded with cheers and high fives.

When viewing the picture several weeks later, I realized that our view at ground level differed significantly from the view of the drone. We were on the ground in the roped-off area and could only see the people of different ages, interests, and occupations standing near us. While the drone, high in the air, captured everyone and revealed the big picture. We had an earthly perspective; the drone had the heavenly one. 

    When we only see and experience the details within our personal sphere of influence, we often don’t feel that we matter or sometimes that we make a difference. God, however, sees the big picture. He is directing our course, utilizing the abilities of many to fulfill His masterful plan.  

When you are feeling insignificant, think of God’s perspective and persevere with small steps, they are important to His ultimate plan 

Dear Lord, 

You are the Master Designer. We may not see the barriers You have put into place or the road You may have paved ahead of us. We desire to walk in step with You and follow Your way. Help us to know you better so that we can hear you clearly and make a positive difference in our world. Amen

Thank you for your encouragement and support!

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! Just reply to this message. If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following! However, I am on a media fast until June 2nd!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pegarnoldwow/

Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

Instagram  arnoldpeg

YouTube- Subscribe to Peg Arnold and the Wonder of Women  Channel

Pinterest Peg Arnold with Wonder of Women

Linked in https://www.linkedin.com/in/peg-arnold-WOW

The Distraction of Drupes

Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5

Have you ever heard of a drupe? It is a fruit with a significant-sized pit like a peach or nectarine, even a cherry. Most drupes grow on trees and require care much like a vine. Water, sunlight, fertilizer, and yes, even pruning.  I learned this one the hard way. We had a beautiful plum tree in our front yard. Its blossoms were stunning in the spring. We lived on a cul-de-sac and you could see the flowering beauty from the end of the street. 

At first, I thought it was an ornamental tree, but over the season, the blossoms turned into small round purple balls which developed into succulent plums you could eat right from the tree. They were so prolific in the first few years; we invited all our neighbors to pick as many as they wanted. I was unaware of this tree’s care and took the abundance I experienced each year for granted. But it didn’t last.

Even though the tree received plenty of water and sunlight it needed to be pruned, fertilized, and protected from insects to continue to flourish.  The blossoms became fewer each year while the fruit turned out to be pithy, sour, and not much bigger than the pit.

I saw Jesus’ teaching about caring for the vine, exemplified in my plum tree. I was not putting the care needed into this tree to produce good fruit. Then I thought, am I putting the care needed into my own spiritual life to produce healthy fruit?

 Fruit, unlike vegetables, is typically the sweet, nutritious, seed-bearing product of a plant. Those seeds and pits carry the potential to reproduce that same plant if cared for properly.

Fruit from the vine in John 15 refers to the visible traits of our faith. These traits should be sweet, life-giving, and capable of planting seeds of God’s love and compassion in the lives of others. Some of those traits are listed in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

I did not give my poor plum tree the care it needed to continue to produce healthy drupes and it eventually died. So, my question today is, are you demonstrating characteristics that are capable of planting seeds of God’s love and compassion in the lives of others? If not, how can you nourish and care for your spirit, so that those fruits thrive?

Dear Lord,

Please reveal to me the things I may need to weed or prune from my life so that a Your fruits are allowed to flourish. I want to be a vessel that demonstrates the characteristics capable of planting the seeds of Your love and compassion into the hearts of others. Amen

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following!

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pegarnoldwow/

Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

Instagram  arnoldpeg

YouTube- Subscribe to Peg Arnold and the Wonder of Women  Channel

Pinterest Peg Arnold with Wonder of Women

Linked in https://www.linkedin.com/in/peg-arnold-WOW

Where is Peg speaking?

April 23, 2022- Encourage, Equip, Energize at Elk Rapids Presbyterian, Michigan

April 28-30- See You at the Well- Grand Rapids, Michigan-https://seeyouatthewell.net/

Scheduling now for 2023 with a few openings in the fall of 2022. I’d love to talk with your group if you are looking for a speaker.

Distraction of Distance

Where can I go from your Spirit? 
Where can I flee from your presence? 
Psalm 139:7

When I was a young bride, we moved from Michigan to Maryland to begin our new life together. My husband’s family was in California, mine was in Michigan, so we were truly by ourselves in this unfamiliar place. We loved this exciting stage of life and the adventures of our surroundings. But I must admit, the distance from our loved ones was difficult.

Because I experienced this separation from family as I raised my own, I did not want to repeat it with the next generation. So, when my adult children ended up in the same geographical area, my husband and I made the difficult decision to relocate closer to them. It separated us from many friends and took us further from extended family.

As I sat this morning doing my devotions, I was praying for my family members and friends who I do not see regularly. I felt grateful that I could pray for them and have the confidence they are always held in the loving care of God. It even occurred to me, that though we feel physical separation, there is no spiritual separation between us. Isn’t this like our relationship with God? We are never separated from the presence of God. He is omnipresent, always with us, today, tomorrow, and nothing can separate us from His spirit.

Despite knowing this intellectually, emotionally there are still times that I feel separated from God. But I am not alone in this. Even David reflected on times of feeling distanced from God. In Psalm 10:1, he writes “Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide Yourself in time of trouble?”

Romans 8:38-39: reminds me- For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

What a promise! We are never separated from God! Robin Jones Gunn wrote, “If you feel far from God, guess who moved?” Yes, there will be times we feel distance from God just like we feel a physical distance from our own loved ones. How do we reconnect with those loved ones that are far away? Through increasing communication; letters, calls, pictures, and more. How do we reconnect with God when we feel distanced from Him? Through increasing communication, prayer, worship, reading scriptures and even singing songs that remind us of His promises.

Dear God,

Thank you that there is not anywhere that I can go to get away from Your Spirit. What if I go to the depths? You are there even when I do not feel Your presence. Help me to muster the energy to pray, read and reach out to You when I feel so far away. I know it is not You that moved, and I am so grateful for Your steadfast love for me when I experience this. Amen

Thank you for your support and encouragement!

Peg Arnold

Bringing Stories to Life!

If this message encouraged you, I would love to hear from you! If you are not already connected, reach out to me through one of the following links below.

Also, I will be in Michigan next month. Check it out at the bottom, I’d love to see you there.

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pegarnoldwow/

Twitter @ArnoldPeg          

Instagram  arnoldpeg

YouTube- Subscribe to Peg Arnold and the Wonder of Women  Channel

Pinterest Peg Arnold with Wonder of Women

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Distraction of Disappearances

He knows about everyone, everywhere. Everything about us is bare and wide open to the all-seeing eyes of our living God; nothing can be hidden from him to whom we must explain all that we have done. Hebrews 4:13 TLB

Shopping with my son as a toddler was an adventure. He did not like to stay in his stroller and climbed out the instant I stopped to look at something. I learned to alter my expectations if I was going to accomplish anything. One of his favorite games was playing hide and seek in the clothing carousels.  I pretended I couldn’t find him and called out his name, even though I could see his brightly colored high tops peeking out below the clothing. I was reminded of this recently when shopping with my three-year-old grandson. He disappeared into the rack of clothing and giggled as we pretended to look for him. Of course, we acted surprised when he popped out and cried “Here I am!”

I started thinking about different people in the Bible that hid from God. For example, Adam and Eve tried to hide from God after they disobeyed His directions.  God knew where they were all the time and eventually, they had to reveal themselves to Him. Or Jonah, when he tried to hide from God by escaping to Tarshish, but God always knew where he was.  It wasn’t a game. In both cases, they were purposely hiding from God.

Do I try to hide from God? Maybe it’s not as obvious as Adam and Eve, or Jonah. But are there times I ignore God’s request to step out of my comfort zone? Or are there times I create excuses when He desires me to make a difficult sacrifice? I may think I am hiding from God, but He sees through my excuses every time.

Hebrews reminds us that nothing can be concealed from God. We are accountable to Him for every single choice we make. Even more so, He loves us and desires us to bring our excuses, fear, shame, and troubles to Him. There is no need to hide like Eve or Jonah. He will find us and lovingly provide just what we need to face the difficulty ahead.

Dear Lord,

Forgive me for thinking I can hide things from You. You know all and love me despite my weaknesses. Thank you that You are El Roi, the God who sees. I know from Your Word that nothing can separate me from You. Amen

As always, I appreciate your encouragement and seek to serve!

Peg Arnold-Bringing Stories to Life!

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