Sometimes life throws us some difficult curve balls. One wonders if God is really in control or even cares about what’s happening. Those are time times I am reminded of the verses from Jeremiah 29:11-13
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for Me wholeheartedly, you will find Me.”
In the past few weeks friends and family members have faced the loss of loved ones through aging and suicide. I’ve spoke with someone who grew up in a cult and has just recently seen her 30-year-old sibling come out of the cult. I’ve watched more and more people deal with health issues, job losses, financial difficulties, facing consequences for breaking the law, and marital problems. I want to ask God, “If He really cares, why doesn’t He do something to stop the pain?”
A while back I studied Carol Kent’s book Between a Rock and a Grace Place and tonight I found myself reflecting on a portion from her book:
If you too feel caught in one of those tight spots that seem unusually difficult, if not unbearable, I pray that you will come to realize that the pain of being in this place need not cause you to lose hope. If you press into the Rock instead of trying to get around it, you will discover a surprise far better than a birthday or a Christmas gift. On the road that is your life right now, you can find a new way of thinking about your circumstances, as well as an astonishing experience of grace, tailor-made just for you. As you encounter God on the way, not in the way, you may come to know Him as you never have before. Remember what Olympian Eric Liddle said, ‘Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and God’s plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins.’
I’m so grateful God is in control of the universe from before time began. I’m glad we have the assurance that He cares so much for each of us that He blessed us with life-saving grace of His Son, Jesus Christ, our LORD.
Kent goes on to say, “God works best through broken people who know they do not have all the answers. He can use people who have exhausted their own resources and finally realize that negotiating the tight spots of life is not something they do by themselves.” I’m so grateful God uses ordinary people, people who have walked through pain and found the joy and hope only God can give.
Philip Yancey says, “The kind of faith God values seems to develop best when everything fuzzes over, when God stays silent, when the fog rolls in.” God gives more grace for each trial and burden that comes our way. The more we rely on Him, the more He answers and provides for us in ways that could only come from His hand.
Abundantly grateful for God’s presence through the difficult circumstances of our lives.
Time. For some a week, month or year are but a blink of the eye, particularly from hindsight. But for others time trudges on – waiting for test results, living with chronic or terminal illnesses, serving a prison sentence, or trying to understand what the future holds can all make time seem to stand still.
In this world of all its worries and cares, there’s a simple little song that I find can calm my heart and bring me back to the perspective that God has all things in His control — In His Time.
We are hardwired to “do something”, especially in this fast-paced culture. So resting and waiting doesn’t come naturally. We want action. Waiting for God seems counterintuitive to what we believe we want and should do. An In Touch devotional reminded me that “waiting for the Lord means to pause for further instruction while remaining in the present circumstance. It is a purposeful, expectant focus on God — a choice to be actively still and quiet in our hearts, listening for His voice and watching for His intervention. The wait is not for events to work out as we want, but rather for God’s will to be done.”
We must surrender and submit to God. The photo of the ice on the berries reminds me clearly of that. This photo was taken December 2007 following an ice storm in the Midwest. Little did we know the beauty of that ice would be the beginning of massive flooding in June 2008. The devastation of the flood was overwhelming for many. But now, three and a half years later, many of us have been able to see the “beauty” God has brought through those difficult times. My husband and I personally saw God’s hand in the provisions of friends opening their home to us for 12 1/2 weeks!, saving most of the “things” in our basement, getting involved in flood recovery, and precious new friendships with people whom we likely would not have met without God’s intervening.
I can find myself so frustrated at waiting. How will I use my time and gifts that God has blessed me with? Sitting around seems like such a waste. But I’m finding more and more that in those waiting periods, if I am actively waiting and listening for God to lead and provide, He blows me away. What seems like delayed timing from my view is perfect timing from God’s viewpoint. The all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present God, Creator of all things and Lord of the universe can never be late.
The more I pour out my heart to Him, spend time with Him in prayer and His word and the more I intentionally bring my worries and concerns to Him, the more He shows me very clearly He IS there. He’s always paying attention. He knows intimately what we need. And if we keep looking for Him, He shows us clearly that He is there.
Twice this week I had times of, “Ok God! I get it. You are paying attention to my needs and You do care.” Running my home business, I need to pay for the more expensive TurboTax software. Well, being more frugal these days, I’ve been watching the sales and Internet, but realized the local club store had the best deal. However, I thought I’d keep watching for something better. Thursday morning I woke with the clear impression to head over to the store for the software. I walked in, and they handed me a flyer. The store had an unadvertised $10 discount on that item for the next four days. I could have just accepted it as coincidence, but I’ve learned those are God moments. Friday I had an auto maintenance scheduled. As I pulled into the garage Thursday, the car made an awful noise. So Friday I spoke to the mechanic about it. The fan belt was cracked and showing signs of pieces coming off. Praise God I wasn’t out driving in country roads and stranded, or it broke and caused more damage, and that I had the appointment already. God even provided for the majority of the cost of the repair with a dental reimbursement check.
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11
Praying you will sense God’s abundant blessing of peace and calm as you actively wait for His plans and timing ~ Faye
I’ve been reading the book of Judges recently. I’ve been amazed at how gracious and compassionate our LORD is. The Israelites followed God, then turned away from Him and worship idols. This cycle repeats itself continually throughout Judges, and for that matter throughout the Bible. We look back and wonder why in the world would the Israelites continue to turn from God and the amazing things (miracles of protection and guidance) He has done for them. They turn to idols. They focus on material things. They seek their own pleasures. How fickle can they be? How ungrateful can they be?
And then ‒
I look at myself. I’ll start the morning, even before getting out of bed: praising God for a new day, thanking Him that I belong to Him, asking Him to guide my footsteps, devoting my time to Him. Just a little while later, I’ll get impatient, upset, or frustrated when someone offends me or doesn’t do what I think they should. I’ll take control of my life, and do what I want to do. I’ll waste God’s precious time looking at whatever on the Internet or watching TV. I forget the promptings from God and do what I want. I’ll forget all the blessings He has bestowed on me and become self-centered once again. I am just like the Israelites. It is a daily pattern! I know better ‒ just like the Israelites did.
Psalm 103:8-10 says, “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.”
I’m so grateful God is abundantly generous and patient with me. There’s an old song based on Psalm 51:7 that has been in my head since we’ve had our first measurable snowfall:Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul; Break down every idol, cast out every foe— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, look down from Your throne in the skies And help me to make a complete sacrifice. I give up myself and whatever I know Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, for this I most humbly entreat; I wait, blessed Lord, at Thy crucified feet. By faith, for my cleansing I see Your blood flow Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Lord Jesus, before You I patiently wait; Come now and within me a new heart create. To those who have sought You, You never said “No” Now wash me and I shall be whiter than snow. Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow, Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
©James L. Nicholson, Public Domain
I’m so grateful and blessed that He is so willing to pour out His love and grace. “Come, now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18
Enjoy the blessings of God’s abundant grace ~ Faye
David was small but no giant could take him. And Daniel was doomed but there was not a wound when they raised him from the lion’s den. Simon Peter, in chains, brought an angel to the rescue. Paul and Silas, in jail, were guarded to no avail for their shackles were loose and the doors just flew open. “Now, what is the catch?” I asked one day I was readin’; it must be an age old mystery. Then, takin’ a second look I discovered a strikingly clear consistency
Chorus: (It’s) meetin’ disaster face to faith, puttin’ God’s promises into place, tendin’ to trouble with a little taste of what God will do when His people start callin’ His name. He anxiously awaits to give the word to release the power that prayer creates, so we gotta learn to meet every problem that we face to faith.
Now, now, now, now, people I’ve learned that God’s word can be tested. Just trust Him, you’ll see, for those who believe He’s still a God of mighty miracles. So, when troubles hit hard, turn to God and be patient. Just stand strong, don’t run, for there isn’t anyone that He’s ever let down when their lives have been faithful. It’s easy to go half-way and not really do it. But that makes the consequences rough. The more the catastrophe, the sooner you see that you’re so much better off Chorus
He will deliver us if we only learn to trust (We gotta start… ) Chorus
I learned very much to rely on God in a very difficult situation recently, and God has incredibly blessed. Not in the way I expected, but He used some totally unexpected ways and people to bless me during the troubles. I want to encourage you to bring your troubles, pains, struggles to God. Continue to trust Him even when a situation seems hopeless. He hasn’t failed to let me know in many ways He’s miraculously in control of all things. When I let “disasters” become the focus, life hits hard, and soon I am filled with worry and doubts. When I meet each struggle with faith in God, I am made stronger in my faith and blessed by how God is at work in all the details.
So, when troubles hit hard turn to God and be patient
Just stand strong, don’t run, for there isn’t anyone that He’s ever let down
when their lives have been faithful
Praying you are filled with God’s blessings when you meet your “disaster” face to faith ~ Faye
My husband and I enjoy a walk along the river near our home. However, since God has blessed us with a very nice winter so far, the ground is sometimes not frozen. This has left us sinking in the mud and slipping around on the trail. The mud clings to our boots making it much harder to walk. My husband lovingly takes a stick once we get to the rocks and scrapes the majority of the mud off our boots so our walking is easier.
I woke up singing a mix of a few old songs – “He lifted me from the pit and from the miry clay, He set my feet on a rock establishing my way. … From sinking sand He lifted me, with tender hand He lifted me, from shades of night to plains of light, O praise His name, He lifted me. … Love lifted me! Love lifted me! When nothing else would help, love lifted me!” Those songs mixed through my mind and heart causing me to contemplate what God was trying to tell me. Two thoughts seemed to come from those song lyrics:
1) I am a sinner. Too often I turn my back on God. I let anger, jealousy, rejection and worry fill my mind instead of surrendering completely, trusting God to guide me and fill with His peace. No matter how many times I break God’s heart, and get stuck in the mud and mire of sin, He lovingly comes along and draws me close to Him. He tenderly, yet firmly scrapes off the mud of sin that is stuck to my heart and makes it easier to follow Him closely each day.
2) Relationships. During Christmas we focus on the blessing of Christ’s birth to give us the gift of salvation through His sacrificial death. It seems that the need to tell others of Christ’s love is even stronger. However, with broken relationship and others who don’t want to hear of Christ, it isn’t always easy to share who God is. It seemed like God was reminding me as I walked that He is working tenderly, gently in the hearts of the people I care about who don’t know Him personally or aren’t living lives that put Him first. Instead of worrying over a lost loved one, I kept hearing – When nothing else will help (not my nagging, impatience, anger or worry), it will be God’s love that lifts them to Him. God seemed to be challenging and reminding me I need to be a reflection of His love to those in my life. I also need to be available to be used by God to gently help scrape away the mud and miry clay if He so leads.
3) Also, in my worrying over the absence of a loved one, He reminded me of His ways of turning around a heart filled with despair through David’s Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and He turned to me and heard my cry. 2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. 3 He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what He has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.
4 Oh, the joys of those who trust the Lord, …
5 O Lord my God, You have performed many wonders for us. Your plans for us are too numerous to list. You have no equal. If I tried to recite all Your wonderful deeds, I would never come to the end of them.
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me. Let Your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me. 12 For troubles surround me—too many to count! My sins pile up so high I can’t see my way out. They outnumber the hairs on my head. I have lost all courage. 13 Please, Lord, rescue me! Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
16 But may all who search for You be filled with joy and gladness in You. May those who love Your salvation repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
May you be filled with the abundant blessing of God’s love lifting you from your cares ~ Faye
Just praising God for His blessings this morning. Went for a 3-mile walk before breakfast with hubby and family. We were blessed to see eagles along the river – God’s magnificent creatures! It was 19 degrees and sunny with just a little breeze. We enjoyed blue jays, cardinals, woodpeckers and a variety of other birds and cats.
God so lovingly provides such incredible diversity in His creation. It’s really fun to take the walk with people who study plants for a living. They were looking at mosses, tree-varieties and thinking of the vast variety growth that will be prevalent in the spring.
I am so totally rejoicing and praising God, because just a few years ago I would never had made a 3-mile walk in 80 degrees and definitely not below freezing. God has blessed me with meds that help my body move, and I’m celebrating His blessings.
Isaiah 40:28-31 came to mind after seeing the eagles
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Praying you are seeing God’s blessings in the ways He provides strength physically, emotionally and definitely spiritually. Praying He lifts you high on His wings so your heart may soar closer and closer to Him. Praying that the hope of His coming again and the assurance that Emmanuel, God with Us! blesses you today.
Soaring on the abundant blessings God provides ~ Faye
Am I too busy to notice God? Sometimes it is very clear to see God’s hand and other times it’s a struggle to see Him with physical senses.
We’ve had to tighten our spending habits in the past two years due to a change income source. Part of my “job” is to watch for ways to make the best use of the resources God has provided. I went shopping for an Angel Tree gift and had a store coupon – spend $50/receive a $10 gift card on your next purchase.
I made my purchases; however, they came to $35. I began asking myself if there was anything else I actually NEEDED to bring the total to $50. I didn’t. The lady in front of me at the checkout obviously had been Christmas shopping. I handed her the coupon and said, “Merry Christmas!”. She was very grateful and asked a few times, “Are you sure about this?” “Yes,” I said with a sincere smile.
I proceeded to talk with God while I waited to check out. It went something like this, “God, You provided that coupon – I thought for me. Obviously I missed the focus, since I thought it was to stretch our dollars, but in reality it was to bless someone else. Thank You for using me.” (I’ll admit there was some, “seriously God” thoughts going on as well, but for the most part, I kept turning them back to thanking and praising Him for an opportunity to bless someone else.)
Well the lady was checked out and just about to leave when she turned to me and said, “Here, you take the gift card, Merry Christmas.” I said, “Thank You,” to her and praising God at the same time! Laughing at how awesome God is in the ways He provides – especially when I surrender my “self” to Him. Now I didn’t have to spend the $50 to save $10 on a return trip! I saved the $10 on $35. He had a better plan for me.
I am sure He put the idea into my head, nudged my heart to give the lady the coupon. Had I been so focused on my finances, myself, the busyness of all the things I had to do, I would have missed an opportunity to be used by God and to have Him turn around the blessing back to me.
Praying that in the busyness of life, especially during the Christmas season, you take time to be with God.
I’ve been struggling lately with worrying about tomorrow. Recently some symptoms have been showing up that have me concerned that my rheumatoid arthritis is progressing and treatment isn’t working like it has in the past. Having been down this road a few times, I’m ready to let my mind race ahead, search the Internet for what the symptoms might mean. Many of us live with chronic progressive illnesses that mean continual drug and treatment changes. Often it seems like the professionals are only guessing what will happen. Our bodies change frequently in ways we don’t want them too. Life gets very frustrating.
Some of us live with financial stresses. The paycheck doesn’t go far enough to meet the bills these days. Unexpected car repairs. Job layoffs and cutbacks. How can we be thankful when it’s so hard to get through each day? How in the world are we ever going to have a fun Christmas if we can’t pay what we have already?
God’s word tells us in Matthew 6:25-34
25 “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? 27Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?
28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, 29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. 30And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.
Matthew reminds us that God Provides for ALL our needs. He makes sure the birds and lilies are provided for. Imagine how much more God who loves those who believe Him will provide for us. Psalm 23:1 says “The Lord is my shepherd; I have ALL I need.” I have all of my NEEDS met. I will rest on that promise, assured that He has today and tomorrow in His hands. He’s bigger than anything that I face in the future.
I find I’m singing the old song – His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
Why do I feel discourged? Why do the shadows come? And why does my heart feel lonely, And long for heaven and home? When Jesus is my portion; A constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me. I sing because I’m happy. And I sing because I’m free. His eye is on the sparrow, And I know He watches me.
Enjoy the day remembering God provides for all your needs ~ Faye
Often life hands us difficult circumstances. There are times things seem impossible to deal with.
As a Christian we are blessed to have Someone to turn to in those difficult situations. God’s word tells us, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26) I can’t imagine my just thinking a prayer and the Holy Spirit taking those thoughts before the throne of God; pouring out my heart to Him. What a wonderful assurance and blessing.
A recent devotional asked How do we go to God in prayer? What do we ask Him? At first glance that seemed strange. I figured I open my heart out to God and He hears my grief, pain, worries, etc., But the author was saying, too often we come to God with an Oh God, what am I going to do? Basically focusing on us. Instead he suggests our focus should be God, what are You going to do in me, through me, in this situation?
Impossible situations are opportunities for God to teach us valuable lessons.
Ones that we would likely not learn any other way but yield ourselves completely to Him. Surrender hasn’t been easy for me. Those who know me have called me stubborn, strong-willed, focus, driven and independent. I’d like to say that the majority of those words describe who I was. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not perfect—I’m still a work in progress. But through the years of learning to deal with health issues, medication changes, a body that works sometimes and not others, I have spent a lot of time with God. He’s been changing me. I’ve not always liked it, most often I’ve dug in my heels or argued with Him. But when I’ve surrendered and asked Him, Ok God. What are You going to do through me, in me, with me? He has bowled me over.
I’ll try to give a “short” example. I was involved in youth ministry of some type for around 30 years. I LOVE teenagers! God made it very clear (literally woke me three nights in a row at 2:00 AM with the message, “It’s time. Everything will be okay.”) I knew He meant it was time to step down from youth group. I was devastated. I argued. I prayed. I looked to others for guidance and advice. But God continued to say “Trust me and obey.”.
During the last year of youth group I had begun having progressive health issues which were later diagnosed as Rheumatoid Arthritis. I spent the next year getting used to a new medical regime as well as finding out what my body would and wouldn’t do. I also continued to pray, “Lord, You’ve gifted me, and I want to serve You. How? What do You want me to do? For almost two years God continually said, “Wait. Be patient. Trust Me.” There were days I succeeded in doing that, and too many other days where I argued frequently with Him.
Then came the Midwest Flood of 2008 that hit our community. God placed me in a position with the gifts and abilities needed to help with flood recovery. By that time, I had grown in my dependence on Him. The medications were definitely helping with the RA. And in a pattern of circumstances that can only be called God’s providence, I spent the next two years aiding in flood recovery. The amazing thing is that not once did I have an RA flare. My body never acted up with either unmanageable pain or fatigue that I had dealt with in the previous years.
God is the God of the Impossible! When I surrendered my heart and life to His will. He took it, ran with it, shaped it, formed it, and made it useable for others. He knew two years ahead of the flood that if I were still in youth group I would not have been available to help my community in such a specific way. I am continually working at surrendering my plans to His hands, trusting Him and being obedient to His leading. When I do this, He blesses “immeasurably more than I can ask or imagine.”
Praying God abundantly blesses you, too ~ Faye
I was working on my Bible study from 1 John 4:1-6 where John speaks of being aware of false prophets. Christians need to know and test what they hear to make sure it is from God. 1 John 4:2 states, “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” John speaks often of former Christians who have once belonged, but have left the faith and now share a distorted view of God looking at half-truths.
I was blessed by how the New Living Translation phrases verses 4-6:
4 But you belong to God, [emphasis mine] my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 5 Those people belong to this world, so they speak from the world’s viewpoint, and the world listens to them. 6 But we belong to God, and those who know God listen to us. If they do not belong to God, they do not listen to us. That is how we know if someone has the Spirit of truth or the spirit of deception.
I grew up in a Christian home and was taught from early on the assurance found in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 1:
Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,
body and soul,
in life and in death–
to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.
He has fully paid for all my sins with His precious blood,
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.
He also watches over me in such a way
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven:
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.
Because I belong to Him,
Christ, by His Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for Him.
Thinking about belonging to God, made me decide to Google “belonging to God” to see what others thought of the blessings of belonging. What a surprise that the first website that came back was someone who had belonged to God growing up in the Christian faith but somehow became disenchanted with God. This person IS one of the people John is warning about. He talks very intelligently about the Christian faith and other religious beliefs and backgrounds. Even as he quotes God’s Holy Word, he claims that he fully believes the sayings of “God’s Prophet.” Careful reading shows that he fully believes in Muhammad. He believes “God is the Olive Tree…” It’s no wonder John WARNS us to watch out for false prophets. This person quotes from the Qur’an and many of the verses are minor twists to God’s Word. If we don’t stay in God’s word, we can’t compare one with the other. Does part of the responsibility in belonging to God come with being in a close and growing relationship with Him? Most definitely.
Belonging has a sense of being enveloped in someone’s arms. What a wonderful picture to be held tightly in God’s grip of grace. I only have that sense of belonging because I believe in my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ. God’s only Son, our Lord. Conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. Died and Rose again!
So what started out as a look at belonging because of the words of 1 John 4:4-6, ended up with the reality of the importance of staying true to God’s Word and being filled with the Spirit of God to be able to discern the false teachings and prophets. I think I came away from this study with two meanings for belonging – 1) the blessing of belonging to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, as God’s dearly loved child and 2) the blessings of belonging in God’s Word.
Praying you enjoy fully the blessing of BELONGING TO JESUS CHRIST, OUR SAVIOR ~ Faye
Esther. What a great reminder of God’s providential care!
Here’s some points of God’s Providence:
- Queen Vashti is deposed when she refuses to appear before King Xerxes.
- Esther, a worshiper of God, is chosen as Queen.
- Mordecai overhears a plot to kill the king and saves his life.
- Mordecai doesn’t bow to Haman and so Haman plots to kill the Jews.
- Xerxes can’t sleep and wants to read a story, out of all the history books, it’s the one which records Mordecai’s saving the king’s life. The king remembers Mordecai wasn’t rewarded and asks Haman how to reward such a wonderful man.
- Esther appears before the King and is welcomed instead of killed.
- There’s special timing of Queen Esther’s two banquets and Haman’s plans to kill Mordecai.
- Mordecai ends up being honored and first Haman is humbled, then killed on the gallows intended for Mordecai.
- The Jews survived and overthrew their enemies.
We’ve heard the passage from Esther 4:14, where Mordecai asks Esther “…And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” What about us? Are we willing to be used by God in whatever way He has planned? Do you ever wonder what God has planned for you – in the future? today? this hour?
Jeremiah 29:11 says:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Before Haman even had the idea to wipe out the Jews, God had placed Esther in position to be used to save His people. She didn’t know it. She had to go forward in trust to King Xerxes.
She prepared herself before she did that by fasting and prayer.
In the Bible study book Following God-Women of the Bible – Esther, the authors write, “God wants to accomplish His purposes through us, but if we do not cooperate, His plan will still be carried out. He will simply use someone else to do it. “ It takes listening to God, spending time in His word, talking with Him, and once again, listening to God’s leading.
To the unbeliever hearing the story of Esther, they would describe what happened as amazing coincidences, but the believer sees the hand of God’s providence through the timing, people, places, circumstances.
Coincidence … when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Have you seen God’s abundant blessings through His providential hand throughout your life? He’s always there. Make sure you take some time to look for Him today!
God’s abundant blessings ~ Faye
This is a week where the rubber hits the road – do I really believe in God being in control of all things?
Background: Sunday morning my team is leading worship. The pastor is preaching on one of the 7 deadly sins – Laziness vs Zeal, or a passion to live for Christ out of gratitude for our salvation. It’s also a Sunday where we will remember the Reformation by looking at the five tenants of the Reformed faith – Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Glory to God Alone. God’s word tells us in Hebrews 11:1 that
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen.” or as said in the NIV – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
This week is one of those weeks where what I say I believe has to become reality. I’ve learned of a 30 year old wife who has been diagnosed with bladder cancer; a 50 year old friend who just found out she has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma; a friend’s dad had a failed surgery on his heart and the doctors are looking for new options; many friends struggles with relationships with family members; the flooding in Bangkok, Thailand is affecting a couple I know. It just seems like everything is coming in waves. Life is full of disappointments, dangers and the unknown. So each day has been spent in a lot of prayers for others. Tonight I went for a walk in a nature setting and just prayed to God about my friends. What a privilege we have to share intimately with God our heartaches. Each day comes with its abundance of problems, but when we put our FAITH in God, each struggle is shared by Someone who is much bigger than you or I.
Faith is the confident assurance, the conviction that God is going ahead of us on our pathway of life. He knows what struggles we will face ahead. He is preparing us for what we will have to deal with in the future. We need to have the confidence that God knows what is best for us, and He loves us so much.
So this is a week where I need to rely heavily on my faith in God otherwise life would be so overwhelming. I rely on Paul’s words in Romans 15:13
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
What an incredible blessing to have the assurance of what we hope for so much so, that we will be filled to overflowing by the Holy Spirit. By the way, while I was pouring out my heart to God, I asked Him to give me some evidence that He was hearing me (sometimes He is silent and I have to trust that He keeps His promise to hear me), but today He blessed me by having two friends come along that very private path. They listened and encouraged me in a way that only God could have done.
Enjoying God’s abundant blessings of hope, joy and peace ~ Faye