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

Monday, October 9, 2017

God's Divine Appointment

         My friend tells the story about the time she was in an airport during a shooting, because she missed her flight, due to a variety of unrelated events. She endured terminal evacuations, and then lockdown with hundreds of other stranded passengers, for an entire day.  When she be-moaned her situation to a friend via text, the friend’s response took her not only by surprise, but caused her to change her perspective.  “So sorry,” said her friend.  “God must have some divine appointment for you.”  The comment caused my friend to begin looking for the “divine appointment” her friend suggested. 

            After a time, order was restored in the terminal only to have chaos reign again, but thankfully the second time, it was a false alarm. Following the pandemonium of the day, the food court never re-opened.  Snacks were shared, but not nearly enough nourishment for all the passengers within the confines of the terminal.  My friend went in search of food.  She found a store with snacks and asked the manager for a bulk discount.  The manager not only supplied more snacks (she gave her an entire basketful) but bottled water and one of her employees to help her pass the supplies out.  My friend returned to refill the baskets repeatedly and went out to share the supply over and over again.  She came to understand she was in that terminal and missed her flight because God had a job for her to do.

          Sometimes we are all like my friend at the beginning of her story.  We become so self-absorbed with our own problems, within our own perspective we lose sight of the larger picture.  We can’t see through our dark glasses with narrow vision, and be able to be productive. 

            We are all occasionally put into a situation where we are uncomfortable. We are confronted with confrontation, defeat in some way, harm, expectations or just everyday drama! We can fuss and grumble about our circumstance but God can use us, if we are open to his nudging.  Is that always easy?  No, not at all.  Sometimes it requires a little creativity and forthrightness, especially if we need to ask for help to fulfill what we believe God’s wants to be done.

            But what does it take to be open to the nudging of God?  I suggest it takes a relationship, .....a daily one, where there is “conversation!”  The dialogue can come through His Word, other Believers, prayer, our inner voice and the voice of the Holy Spirit --- that “still small voice” within our hearts that offers guidance and encouragement. 

            Going against what seems “normal” can be quite difficult.  When we respond to God’s Divine Appointment, we may feel uncomfortable or even out of place, because it is not what we’d normally do, given our upbringing, personality, of even financial status.  Sometimes, God requires what we are sure we cannot give.  So I encourage you to have “conversation” with Him daily, so no matter what God wants you to do, you will hear….be ready…..and able to respond.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

God Is In The Room

I’ve been hearing a song recently that is so powerful, I stop what I am doing to become engaged in the lyrics, as well as, the tune.  “Holy Spirit, Come In This Place,” is a song that touches the very core of my being.  I want to feel the Holy Spirit guiding me in every single move I make.  The idea of “Holy Ghost bumps” --- and yes, I have completely experienced that! – is thrilling, and puts me in an indescribably wonderful “state.”  So, when a friend of mine shared an experience recently, it caused me to reflect on how great our God is. 

He shared the story about how it had been necessary to take his mother to the hospital and that she ended up needing surgery.  For the next week and a half, she lived on the ventilator, was lethargic and slipping away, totally unresponsive.  To everyone’s surprise, she awoke and had the ability to share precious moments with my friend and his siblings.

            The family, strong in their faith, were able to tell her how much they loved her, and encourage their mother to take the hand of Jesus and let go of this life.  They could feel the Holy Spirit in that room.  They felt the power of 10,000 angels taking their momma home, to be crowned at Jesus feet. They rejoiced, as an amazing God allowed them this special time.

            I was struck by the power of his story.  He didn’t doubt God was real and completely knew one day, when his mother left this life, he’d see her again.  During her illness, however, I wonder if he believed he would ever have the chance to say one more time, “Momma we (I) love you!”

            I am reminded of Peter who knew Jesus was the Messiah.  When Jesus was walking on the water, near the boat Peter was on, for just a moment, albeit, an impulsive one, Peter asked to step out on the water, as the raging water splashed against the boat ….and Jesus permitted the event.  Until, of course, Peter looked down, saw the waves, and immediately began sinking.  As quickly as that happened, however, Peter’s eyes again rose to Christ, and Jesus reached out and kept Peter from sinking.

            Jesus has the power to sustain us in all circumstances when we keep our focus on Him.  When we reach out to Him, no matter how we are suffering, or what challenge is before us, we can have the assurance God is real, powerful, and wants to build us up by growing our faith.

            It’s easy, as humans, however, to doubt things won’t turn out right. There are trials and tests, and even as my friend found, a time when saying a “real goodbye” would likely not be possible.   We often reach out with solid faith, and then when a wave hits our ankles, we cringe and cower, certain we are going to sink, or worse, even drown.  But when we refocus, we can feel the Holy Spirit lift us where we need to be. 

            My friend experienced the Holy Spirit much like Peter.  He knew without a doubt, God was in the room, and that moment would be cherished forever.  He and his siblings were able to feel the Holy Spirit, and encourage their mother to reach for the God they knew would take her home. 

            When is the last time you asked, with all your heart, “Holy Spirit come in this place?”  What an amazing experience when we open our hearts and spirits to Him.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Today Is Here And Now

I was struck with the phrase, “today is here and now,” recently. While that sounds a little simplistic and obvious, I can't help but think of the recent events that have changed lives forever. There have been fires ravaging the Western states of Montana, Wyoming, California, Oregon and Washington.  

A deadly heat wave is occurring in Italy, France, Switzerland and other countries, while deadly monsoons are wreaking havoc across India, Pakistan and more. Hurricane Harvey, down in Texas created catastrophic destruction with enormous flooding, followed by Hurricane Irma in Florida, while Hurricanes Lee and Maria hover on the outskirts. 

As I watched the storms days before they hit land, I couldn't help but feel uneasy.  It was probably justified, given their strength, even though our particular family wasn't directly affected.  Since the storms, there has been comments on both sides of the board.  Some share horror stories of losing everything they had, including loved ones.  Others recite miracles, because not only was their home spared, but lives, as well.

As my anxiety from the storms rose, as they neared land, I was reminded that regardless of my emotions, there was not a single thing I could do about it!  I had to leave the results in a Power much higher and greater than mine.  That might sound trite to the family who lost everything, yet, that's truth.

Granted those in the direct path of the storms were encouraged to evacuate and if they didn't heed the warning, placed themselves and their families at risk. That's not to say, even fleeing would guarantee safety, because not one of us is promised a single breath past our last one.

Still, the point is, we have to live for today--- like it could be our last one.   This is now...this is the moment we must focus on, put our trust in an all knowing God, and move forward.  Worrying about tomorrow and over things we have no control, is futile and will always fail us.

We can hold onto our memories and even have dreams and goals to work toward.  But we do not own those moments.  When we rely on our memories, regardless how cherished, to move forward, we will find we are destroying the progress of today.  This is our moment---our gift, if you will.  This is now, our current center, and the place we must choose to move from, ---forward – if we plan on living life to the fullest, and in the way God intended.

When we can believe in God's grace, knowing he wants only the best for us....especially when life's trials seem more than we can deal with, we will experience peace beyond understanding---even when we are experiencing trials or grieving.

So I encourage you to reach way down within you.  Dig out the remains of your faith, and be thankful for wherever you are and whatever blessings you can can see--- and perhaps, even in your sadness, those blessings that seem to be alluding you.  God is all around, and often more so when we are at our worst.  He wants us to call out to him in our distress. 

Will our broken world see an immediate fix? Likely no; but with a positive attitude and new found faith, we can change our moments, so "now" is manageable, regardless the situation.