Dealing With Crisis

fearHe was about to die–to be executed on the emotional whim of a cruel and oppressive ruler. Talk about landing in a major crisis! One wrong move, one wrong word, and he and his friends, and all of his colleagues, would be slaughtered. More than simply slaughtered–torn “limb from limb.” And there seemed to be no way out, nowhere he could run, and nothing he could do to escape the impeding judgment. Judgment that fell on him not because of anything he’d done, but …

because God was about to work–in a mighty, jaw-dropping, praise-inducing way.

Let me provide some back story. It’s 605 BC in Babylon, and a young Jewish man named Daniel has been ripped from his homeland by a cruel, tyrannical king and taken captive in a foreign, pagan land where he was, basically, kept as a slave. Then, two years into his captivity, the king has a troubling dream. As was the custom at the time, he asks–well, demands–that his astrologers tell him the meaning of his dream. Not only did he want them to explain the meaning, but he wanted them to tell him what the dream was in the first place. (He was probably trying to prevent them from making up a random meaning.)

Obviously, they couldn’t do that, nor could their “gods” help them. Enraged, the king ordered all the wise men of Babylon to be executed. This included Daniel and his friends.

How would you respond upon learning you were about to be killed? Would you try to run? Turn hysteric? Sob uncontrollably? (I’m pretty sure those would be my responses.)

Not Daniel.

“When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. He asked Arioch, ‘Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?’ So Arioch told him all that had happened. Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant. Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them His mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon” (Daniel 2:14-18).

When crisis hit, Daniel stayed calm and responded with “wisdom and discretion” (v. 14).

Next, he asked for more information (v. 15) So often, I react before receiving all necessary information. Sometimes I react on false information, and end up blundering things unnecessarily. But not Daniel. When a crisis hit, he stayed calm and gathered the facts.

Next, he asked for more time. 

I have a tendency to think everything must be dealt with right now when really I need to give myself time to process and evaluate the situation. True, there are times when I truly must act quickly, but rather than automatically assuming this is the case, I should find out how much time I truly do have. If I learn my time is short, say my boss demands an answer immediately, I can still ask for more time.

Finally, he turned to prayer. 

Verse 17 says Daniel told his friends to pray, which, in my opinion, implies Daniel prayed as well. In other words, when in prayer-1464046_1920a crisis, Daniel turned to God for help.

The result? God answered Daniel’s prayer, and God turned a crisis moment into a beautiful revelation of His grace, mercy, accessibility, attentiveness, and power: “That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then God praised the God of heaven” (v. 19). He tells the king the meaning of his dream, and this tyrannical, pagan king recognized (at least in the moment) that God truly does reign supreme: “The king said to Daniel, ‘Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret'” (Daniel 2:47 NLT) (You can read the entire account HERE.)

I heard something on the radio yesterday that really resonated. Pulling from Romans 8:28, the speaker said, “God is working in all things.” No matter how chaotic or Romans8-28jpghopeless things seem, God is working. My goal is to discover what it is He is doing and cooperate, because I know His plans are always good, wise, loving, and true.

 

livingbygracepic-jpLet’s talk about this! How do you tend to respond to crisis? How do panic responses hurt us? When have you, though panicked, responded similarly to Daniel, as recorded in Daniel chapter 2, and what were the results? How might knowing God is working in all things reduce your stress or panic level?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on Facebook at Living by Grace, because we can all learn from and encourage one another!

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Before you go, an FYI–my latest release, which reviewers have called emotionally gripping, amazing, and one of the best reads in all Christian fiction is currently on sale for $3.57! (Paperback version). That’s 78% off its regular price! Get it HERE. Read reviews of the novel HERE. Read the first three chapters for free HERE.

And for those living in the Atlanta or Nashville area, I’d love to see you! Join me for the following:

August 20th: Book signing (Atlanta)

Time: 2-4pm

Location: Sweet Spirit Parable Christian, located at 1205 Johnson Ferry Rd., Suite 119

Marietta, GA

Contact: 707-565-7722

August 24th: Christian Fiction Readers RetreatCFRR-logo-1024x731

Time: All day! Author talks, worship, massive give-aways, signings, and more!

Details HERE.

God’s Good–Thoughts on Romans 8:28

Photo by Foundry taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by Foundry taken from Pixabay.com

It was a dark time, and I was pretty mad at God. I was so mad, so broken, I couldn’t bring myself to pray. And this frightened me. I was certain God was angry with me. After all, my attitude was less than admirable. But then, in the middle of my anger, a snippet of a sermon pierced through my heart like a divine embrace–God was holding me, and He’d never let go, regardless of how I felt.

This knowledge–knowing nothing, not even my terrible attitude, could snatch me out of His hands–carried me through the gunk, and now, standing on the other side, I can say amen to Paula’s post below. God does indeed make good on His promise is Romans 8:28, although His ways are usually different than we expect, as Paula explains. As you read her devotion, pause to rest in God’s never-failing love, asking Him to help you see the good He’s bringing out of whatever you’re going through.

As an added bonus, she’s giving away a free e-copy of her latest release, For Our Good. The winner will be randomly selected from the comments left on today’s post. 

But first, a praise! It’s release day! The e-version of Intertwined is now available! (The print a2f18-intertwined_n154121version should be releasing soon.) Get your copy HERE! Read a free, 3-chapter excerpt HERE! And read about how God used the story to call my husband to take action in a desperate situation HERE.

And now, today’s devotion, by Paula Mowery, author of For Our Good.

God’s Good–Thoughts on Romans 8:28 by Paula Mowery

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).

Have you ever doubted the above verse? I know you’re nodding your head with me. Things have happened that have caused me to say, “Now, God, how in the world are You going to bring good from this?”

Admittedly, it pains me to even type out that doubtful attitude, but I’d be lying to say I had never exhibited that kind of distrust. But, can I tell you something else? God has never failed to deliver on that promise in Romans 8:28.

I can almost see you pursing your lips and tilting your head with a questioning expression. Maybe you’re remembering a time that things didn’t seem to work out well. I’ll throw a proverbial wrench into that line of thinking.

God’s “good” and ours may be totally different.

When what we expect to happen doesn’t occur, we might label that as not turning out well. But in God’s perspective, it is for the best.

Let me share an example with you. My grandfather had been in a nursing home for many years,

Photo by Geralt taken from Pixabay.com

Photo by Geralt taken from Pixabay.com

suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. My mother’s recent trip had left her so down because her father was in a fetal position, not anywhere close to the giant of a man he had been. Why wouldn’t God just take him on to Heaven? She struggled seeing him that way.

There was a disagreement with my grandfather’s old home place. Someone in the extended family was trying to take it to sell and make money for himself. Naturally the family didn’t want this to happen. A battle began but through a simple technicality, the family won. What was the technicality? I don’t understand all of the legal terms and such, but basically because my grandfather was still living, the case worked in the family’s favor. If he had been deceased, the stipulation wouldn’t have held and the extended family member would have won.

Now, when seeing my grandfather lay in that nursing home, just a shell, it seemed cruel that God wouldn’t just bring him home. But, God knew what was best.

Not always does God let us in on what He is doing for us. We simply have to trust that He is working things for our good because He loves us and knows what is best for those He calls his own.

ForOurGood copy (1)For Our Good:

Charlie Jarvis is haunted by loss that fuels her desire to rid the world of drug traffickers. When her next assignment takes her back to her hometown, she has to confront her painful past. She has no interest in a relationship since God seems to kill everyone she loves.

Colton Thomas appreciates material things and the status of being a corporate pilot. When someone approaches him to deliver a package for a large sum of money that could wipe out his debts, temptation knocks loud on his door even as his partner, Marshall, slams it shut. Meeting Charlie challenges his non-committal stance with women. As he considers who he has become and the kind of man he would want to be for Charlie, he confronts his own shallow lifestyle and the fear that he would never be able to help her heal her wounds.

As Charlie pursues the man causing young boys to die of overdoses, she struggles with the secrets she keeps from Colton. With people around them shining the light of God and encouraging their courtship, both Charlie and Colton have to face hard truths about life, death, love, and faith. And maybe find a fresh start for them both.

Paula Mowery is a published author, acquisitions editor, and speaker. Her first two published works, both women’s fiction, were The Blessing Seer and Be The Blessing from Pelican Book Group, and their themes have been the topics of speaking engagements. Be The Blessing won the Selah Award in 2014 in the novella category. In November of 2013, her first romance released in the anthology, Brave New Century, from Prism Book Group. This book went to number five on Amazon’s bestseller category, historical Christian romance. Legacy and Love was her first solo romance and was a finalist in the Carolyn Readers Choice Awards in 2015.

You can follow Paula online and find out more about her  and her upcoming appearances on Facebook and her blog. Read her monthly columns on the ChristianOnlineMagazine. You can also check out her blog for Christian writers HERE.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How have you seen God’s promise in Romans 8:28 come true in your life? Can you share a time when His good has been different than yours? What did you learn about Him, yourself, or the situation? How has Romans 8:28 given you hope during tough times? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

But before you go, join me on the following sites.

Yesterday my sweet husband was interviewed on Angela Meyers blog, and in the interview, he shared a God-story that brings tears to my eyes to this day. Love that man! Come read why he’s earned the title “warrior” HERE!

Today I’m on the Borrowed Book talking about the uncertainties of writing (read more HERE), and I’m sharing my encounter with one of the most beautiful gardens I’ve encountered. Read more HERE.

I was also on  the Borrowed Book on Tuesday to talk about something God is working, and working, and working on me for. (Is that grammatically correct? That must be the most awkward sentence of the day!) Read more HERE.

I also popped by author H.L. Wegley’s to talk about trusting God when life gets hard. You can read more HERE, and in a similar post, I visited Ginger Solomon’s to talk about finding joy when life gets hard. You can read more HERE. (Seems there’s a theme here!)

 

Waiting For the Story Ending

On Monday during our church’s Vacation Bible School, I taught children the account of the Exodus. We began with Joseph, continuing to the Hebrew’s slavery. After contrasting what life was like for the Hebrews and Egyptians, I asked the children which people group they’d rather be. Seeing only part of the story, they shouted, “The Egyptians!” But once they saw how God rose up in the Israelites’ defense, leading them out of Egypt with a mighty hand, they changed their minds.

Today’s post touches on a similar truth. As humans it’s easy to get caught up in the moment. It’s easy to allow the day-to-day frustrations, concerns, and fears wear us down, but we must always remember, God knows the end of the story–because He wrote it. And He loves us with an incomprehensible love. There’s a phrase in a song I like. It says, “With a strength like no other and a heart of a Father.” God is strong enough to overcome any barrier or difficulty we may face and everything He does is motivated by love. Remembering that makes it easier to move forward in confidence and obedience.

Romans 8:28 by Connie Almony

            Do you ever have those days (or weeks … or years) when everything seems to go wrong and you wonder, “Where is God in all this? Didn’t He hear me praying for things to go well?” Well, we just had one of those days.

            My husband’s shoulder surgery had been scheduled for weeks, and I had planned to be at the hospital with both my kids during the entire process, as the doctor had instructed I be. So when my daughter woke up “tossing her cookies,” I panicked. What was I going to do with my sick child when I was required to be at the hospital? It looked like we’d have to reschedule the surgery, and rearrange our work calendars to satisfy both the surgery and the recovery time.

            My daughter’s penitent gaze grabbed me between pleading phone calls to friends and family to come watch her. “Mom, I’m so sorry I’m sick.” I hugged her and reminded her it wasn’t her fault. It just happened. It was on the tip of my tongue to say this was God’s doing, but I didn’t have the time to explain God’s ways to her between rejections for help from the people I’d been calling all morning long. This seemed to be the one day no one had free.

            My husband, resigned to the fact he’d have to call the surgery center and reschedule, dialed the number. That phone call yielded two important pieces of information. First, I did not actually need to be there for the duration of the surgery, as we were originally told. And, second, when confirming the details, they informed my husband, for the first time, that his surgery had been moved up by two hours … meaning we had to grab our stuff, including a Ziplock container for my daughter—just in case—and run my husband to the hospital and drop him off.

            God is good … even in sickness. I was able to tell my daughter this week that her being sick at that moment turned out to be a blessing. In fact, she felt perfectly fine the rest of the day. But had she not been sick that morning, my husband would never have called the hospital and he’d never have known about the reschedule until it was too late. Just a reminder for me to trust Him in all things.

            … Now if He would only do something about the recovering male body with its arm in a sling that is taking up the living room couch, holding the remote control hostage. Well God?

            Connie Almony’s experience includes working as a Christian Counselor in Columbia, Maryland. She was recently inspired to write a full-length novel by her ten-year old, aspiring-author, daughter.

            Visit Connie at http://livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com/ and http://infinitecharacters.com.