He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, July 25, 2016

Unwelcome Events

        “My son and husband were shooting pool with two other men, when I joined them in the recreation building in the campground we were staying,” said my friend.  “Gradually other men came in, until I was the only female among a room full of men, all shooting pool.  Reluctantly, since I enjoy watching, I decided I should leave. 
            “When I returned to our motor home, I felt a little left out and disappointed at feeling like, I really had to leave, even though there was nothing offensive being said or done during the pool shooting.  I discovered, moments later however, that it was perfect for me to leave.  I had work to do that wasn’t getting completed there!  In that instant, I thanked God for the circumstances that forced me to return to our rig.”
            My friend’s comments made me stop and reflect on what is important.  We are all vulnerable to feelings that leave us wondering what in the world is going on!  We get frustrated at circumstances we can do nothing about.  We experience anger when justice is not carried out like we believe is necessary.  We suffer doubt when our lives are careening down a direction we scarcely can control; yet through it all there is always another side.
            There are times when a flat tire, missed bus ride, bad timed phone call, a forgotten item which requires a return trip from where we started, detour, or any number of situations that can set us into a state of frenzy.  It’s in these times we must be most thankful.  We may not feel like saying, “Thank you, God, for my flat!” But we can say, “Lord, thank you I didn’t lose control of the car when I had my flat.”  We may not want to say, “Thank you for making me miss my bus ride.”  But we can say “Thank you, Lord, for providing a transportation system for our use.”  Be creative!  There really is a silver lining behind that cloud, giving you a reason to praise God.
            Our frustration can be turned into satisfaction as we watch events unfold in ways we didn’t expect, or feel our anger dissolve into peaceful calm as we observe honesty and integrity overrule efforts of injustice.  And as our doubts and worries are replaced with faith, confidence and certainty, because we believe in a Sovereign God, we can move forward knowing we are not alone no matter what “events” fill our lives.
            God’s Word tells us to be thankful in all circumstances.  God can use those “unwelcome” circumstances to his advantage.  He has the ability and will, if we are willing, to use all situations to His good.   There isn’t always instant knowledge of how the “good” has worked out.  But if we allow time for reflections, sometimes we can see it.  Other times, we just have to be faithful, and thankful, knowing He will work it out. 
           So I challenge you to look at those “unexpected, unwelcome events” from a different perspective.  Look at them and smile, while you wait to see how God will use them!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Divine Counselor

The word “counselor” conjures up memories of middle and high school while attempting to figure out my class schedule for the next year.  I recall going to the “Counselor’s Office” at the appointed time before entering ninth grade, and sitting in front of this person, my counselor, who was knowledgeable about what was ahead in each of the respective classes and how they would relate to my goals in life. 
My counselor asked me questions I tried to answer.  At that time in my life, I admit, I’m not sure I had a clue what I would be doing in the years ahead! I was mostly interested in, and terrified about, the year ahead at a new school!   So making decisions was a bit difficult.  As “knowledgeable” as the counselor was, he was still just a man.  
In high school, I started slow in getting “good grades!”  I didn’t do badly, but I wasn’t a solid “A” student until my Junior and Senior years.  Our family was extremely poor and the thought of college seemed like a distant dream.  I knew we could never afford such an experience.  Because of this, when scheduling took place after ninth grade, I took the “Business Track” rather than “College Prep.”  College was just not an option.
I graduated, making Honor Society that year, but didn’t realize my potential until I started college thirty years later!  It was required to request my transcripts from high school to enter college.  Through this, I made a startling discovery.  I graduated in the top 3% of my class!  I had no idea! Surely with my grades I could have qualified for scholarships!  In a bizarre kind of way, I believe my high school counselor lead me down the “wrong path,” probably not deliberately, but if he knew my potential, why not strongly encourage me to pursue college? Why not emphatically explain it would probably cost me little or nothing to attend?
            The Holy Spirit, as divine “Counselor” never leads me down the wrong path.  He wants to serve me in the same way my high school counselor wanted to, even if it didn’t turn out that way!  He knows what my goals are and what is best for me.  When I seek His counsel, He can advise me because He is all knowledgeable.  I need never be worried His guidance will be even slightly off target.  His guidance will always be perfect. 
I have to recognize the Holy Spirit’s ability in this capacity.  I can trust the counsel of the Holy Spirit to make the most of my life.  He knows my passions (He gave them to me!), what “classes” (in whatever form they come)  I will need to pursue, given the subjects I am interested in, in life, and those situations and conditions that would be best suited to help me reach my goals.  To ignore His advice is to cheat myself from the good things the Father has planned for me.

So I challenge you to evaluate your plans.  How do they stand with what you believe God wants for your life?  Do your goals and strategies need to be reconsidered?

Monday, July 4, 2016

Call It A Miracle

      Today is the day of celebration of the United States Independence and festivities will include fire crackers and back yard bar-b-que’s, family gatherings and so much more!  There are stickers, parades, outfits in red, white and blue, quilts, fairs and fire works all involved in some way, in the celebration! 
In our world, as we look back over the past 200 years, we see a historical record of what some might call man’s purpose and right, while others see the challenges over the years as nothing short of a miracle.   Our country was founded on values and morals outlined by God.  It’s sad to know this lifestyle is changing at heart racing speed.
Miracles are often considered those things that happen, that seem impossible by any other means.  Still, the simple things in life can also be called “a miracle” when things happen beyond our control, even if it’s in our every day world.
Some have said if they had lived when Jesus walked the Earth, and they had actually seen Jesus perform these miracles it would be easier to believe. I wonder if this is true.  We have His Word and the world is fast changing, ignoring or denying it.   To have lived when Jesus walked the earth and have witnessed his miracles, however, must have been inspiring for those who did believe.  His miracles were so profound and life changing.  I have heard it said that He doesn’t do miracles anymore, at least not like he did back then.  I also, wonder if that is really true.  I think it may be all in a matter of perspective. 
            Consider the birth of a child.  Surely this is a miracle.  This tiny cell planted inside the woman’s womb was designed to house this tiny creature and grow for nine months before being born a completely developed little person.  That follows with the miracle that can be seen in our bodies, so intricately made.  It’s an amazing fact to know their operations still not completely understood.  
           Perhaps the tiny seed that grows into a tall tree or food that we eat could also be considered a miracle.  What about the love between husband and wife?  Couldn’t this too, be considered a miracle?  The sun that rises each day and remains at a perfect distance so that it doesn’t “fry or freeze” the earth; isn’t this, too, a miracle?  What about the ocean waters that know just where to stop on land and the mountains that stand tall and strong? 
            All these are miracles.  Along with these daily miracles witnessed by most all people are the souls that are changed from their sinful nature to one that is filled with Christ with their acceptance of him as Savior. God’s love is an incredible miracle.  The very fact that He was willing to die on a cross for me…and you….. Isn’t this too, a miracle?  I believe so. It took an amazing love, way beyond human comprehension.... and that absolutely is a miracle!
            I know when Christ accepted me in all my sins, a miracle happened.  I became a child of the King!  It doesn’t get any better than this!  This is the perfect miracle.        
           Happy Independence Day, Everyone!