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.
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
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
Reading 1 John 3:1-3 this morning (following www.goodmorninggirls.org Bible study), and I was truly excited to read John’s opening words – we are God’s children, precious, valued, prized, loved. What a way to go into the day.
1 John 3:2 says, “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but He has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like Him, for we will see Him as He really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as He is pure.” – New Living Translation
What a glorious thought that we will be changed to be like Christ when appears/returns. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (NLT) says,
51 “But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die, but we will all be transformed! 52 It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.”
When Christ returns we will be made to be LIKE HIM. If we live a life with the EAGER EXPECTATION, we will live a life that honors Christ. We will make it a priority to keep ourselves pure. I like how The Message describes it: “All of us who look forward to His Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.” Glistening purity of Jesus’ life – I can’t even come close to describing what that will be like.
Seeing Christ as He really is when He appears to us at His second coming is just mind boggling. Knowing that we will be transformed to be like Him in an instant! How amazing. However, did you know Christ appears to you right now? I’ve gone through some disappointments and unmet expectations, especially living with a chronic, progressive disease; and recently have spent a lot of my time taking walks and talking with God. In the past when disappointments and unmet expectations have come, I’ve been quick to talk with family and friends, hoping in doing so it will help resolve the situation or make me feel better. In my times with God, I’m finding that there are times when Christ appears today too. The other day it was not at all in the way I anticipated. I thought He’d have used someone close to me to fill the need I had. But recently Christ has made it very real that He has been walking beside me listening to my heart’s longings, and when I am resting and trusting in Him, He gently guides me closer to Him so I can come along side His desire for my life. He is constantly shaping me to be like Him. I’m really looking forward to the quick transformational change that will happen when Christ returns again. I don’t like the long, drawn-out, painful process that He uses daily to transform me into His image. But I’m very grateful that He walks with me and talks with me when I choose to share with Him my heart’s thoughts. I’m so grateful to have a glimpse of His appearing this side of Heaven and His Second Coming.
May you enjoy the abundant blessing of God walk with you today
It has been a period of waiting and watching, seeing where God is leading after being unexpectedly underemployed since February 2010. During this time I’ve felt God’s leading, poking, prodding, and refining – much of which I’ve not accepted graciously or patiently. However, in the past few weeks God’s been guiding me to consider writing a blog. This is against every desire I’ve every had. I can’t imagine why I am doing this, but I’m trying to be obedient as at each and every step as He has gently pushed me in this direction. Obviously it’s not a paid position, so I’m still not sure where He’s going with this. However, God has incredibly and abundantly blessed our financial resources since 2010 so that our needs, and many of our wants, have been met time and again. So with many uncertainties, some of which are content, frequency, and promotion, I’m doing my best to be obedient and praying that in the days ahead you will find words of blessing and encouragement here. A song that continually goes through my mind is While I’m Waiting by John Waller. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb7TSGptd3Y. How often do I worship and serve God while I’m waiting for His direction or for answers to prayers?
When I am intentional about my looking for God’s abundant blessings and presence, I am rarely disappointed. Praying God showers you with some of His glorious riches.
God’s richest blessings ~