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All posts for the month August, 2009

Unlooked for Blessings

Published August 31, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“God is very good to those who trust in Him and often surprises them with unlooked for blessings.  Little do we know what may happen to us tomorrow, but this fact may cheer us, that no good thing shall be withheld.  Chance is banished from the faith of Christians, for they see the hand of God in everything.  The trivial events of today or tomorrow may involve consequences of the highest importance.”  – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Africa with my pastor at the time; and a couple of others.  Our goal was to provide some teaching and encouragement to a church in Nigeria.  I can only hope they were as blessed as I was after our time together.  I was the one who left feeling strengthened and encouraged by the church.  It was a wonderful experience. 

Interestingly, God did many things by way of provision for this trip.  He provided money, time off, messages to share… so many BIG things came together.  But, the stand out provision in my mind is a small notebook.  I had written messages out on an unusual size of notebook paper that was about the same size of my Bible. Was it 5×7?  Something like that.  Evidently while I had,  in my opinion, the perfect size of paper, I didn’t have the notebook to put them in.  I also didn’t know how hard it would be to find.  I looked everywhere!  I would find something I thought would work and the holes wouldn’t fit right for the paper… it was complicated.  I prayed that God would lead me to the right notebook.  One day, while driving to work, I took a different route.  For some reason,  I felt prompted to stop at a drug store on the way.  I went in and looked at their school supplies.  They had just the right size notebook!  I was so thrilled!! 

This little notebook spoke to me more about God’s care and interest for me as an individual than His whole provision for the trip. Why?  It wasn’t a need.  It was just a silly little desire of my heart.  But, God cared and wanted to delight my heart.  It was more than the right size of vinyl and some hardware.  It was a desire of the heart.  Was it a “coincidence” that I took a different route to work;  felt prompted to stop at an unfamiliar drugstore, and find this notebook?  You will never be able to convince me of that!

Father, I thank You that You are involved in every little thing that impacts my life.  I thank You that You delight in blessing Your children.  Help me to see You more in the little day to day things.  Help me not to miss Your blessings or insult You by calling them a coincidence.  Thank You for Your surprises and unlooked for blessings!

Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

Triumph through Suffering

Published August 30, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“It is simply impossible, in reference to suffering, always to explain the reason why.  You cannot unravel the mystery of suffering and give a logical answer.  But, while you cannot explain the Why, you can learn the How- the How of victory over it and through it, and around it.”  -E. Stanley Jones

Last year, I saw my dear cousin Vicki suffer through multiple surgeries, rounds of chemo and radiation.  She fought the enemy of cancer with courage and grace and  with an unwavering sense of humor.  As she had learned through the trials of her life before facing this diagnosis; an optimistic attitude goes a long way. 

Cancer may have ravaged her body, but it could not ravage her spirit.  Through the year that she literally fought for her life, her faith grew stronger, her love grew deeper, and her priorities were sharpened.  She continued to laugh.  She continued to be a strength and encouragement to those who were concerned for her.  She continued to give and be generous and look outward.  She refused to feel sorry for herself.  Her concern was more for her family and friends; whom she knew were devastated by this word “cancer” which had been spoken over her life.  Her motto and her life continued to exemplify: Live, Laugh, Love.

Was she a perfect person?  No.  She struggled like the rest of us.  She was delightfully falible.  I’m afraid I’d get a lightning bolt from heaven if I in any way tried to paint her as perfect.  She still had an Irish temper, but it too was tempered.  She cussed now and then, but not like she used to.  She was a strong believer; but not blind to the imperfection of the church.  While she was settled in her relationship with God, her relationship with the church was only healed at the end.  She may not have learned the Word by chapter and verse, but she learned and lived it by walking it out.

While we will never understand Why this happened, I have to say that in spite of what Vicki went through, she became her best.  She also brought out the best in those who knew and loved her.  Even those who only knew her through treatments.  I saw how the doctors, nurses, radiation techs etc. responded to her.  She brought their best forward as well.

She triumphed in and through her suffering.  She made her witnesses better people through it.  Her strength in the face of suffering continues to bolster me.  She was a powerful and victorious woman.  She loved well and was well loved.  She knew that this life on earth would be  short.  She knew it would be worse for we who loved her to say goodbye; than for her who would walk through the portals of glory.  She knew she’d see Jesus, and family who’d gone before her to Heaven.  She knew she’d see us again as well.

Romans 8:18   “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Father, Thank You.  Thank You for Your Word, the hope of Your promises.  Thank You for the example of Vicki, and all the faithful who have lived well as an example; even in the face of trial and suffering.  Thank You for Your goodness and grace even when difficult times come.  Thank You for Your comfort and peace even in loss; and the hope of eternity with You, and those who have gone before us in Christ.  Fill us fresh today with all of the hope of Your salvation; as we commit our hearts and lives and hopes to You.  In Jesus name, we pray.  Amen.

 2 Corinthians 1:3-5  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can  comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.  For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”

I love you Vicki!

 

What’s so amazing about grace?

Published August 29, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“If you and I could ever stop being self -centered long enough to be honest, we would have to say we are not entitled to any good thing.  We have no right to demand anything.  And the last thing we want is for God to be “fair” with us.  What we want and what we need is grace, the love that is better than fair.  And grace is what we ultimately receive from the God who is better than fair, even when life is less than fair.”  -Charles E. Poole

I have been taught by Pastors and Bible teachers that grace is God’s unmerited favor.  Unmerited being the fact that absolutely nothing I could ever do earn it.  Favor meaning God’s promotion.  God’s blessing on my life.

God, I am not worthy; which is why I am so thankful for Your grace.  I do not deserve relationship with You, or the many blessings which come from being Your child and part of Your family.  That’s what’s so amazing about Your grace!

Ephesians 2:8,9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this  not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

So much more than fair

Published August 28, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“God has a way of loving us and blessing us that is so much better than fair.  Think of the ways God has blessed usthat transcends what we “deserve”.  Every good thing that has ever come to us is a gift of God’s grace.”   -Charles E. Poole

I wish I had a dime for every time I’ve thought about whether life is fair or unfair; to me or to another.  Sometmes you see a really good person struggling horribly, and someone who seems to be an awful human apparently very blessed.  Why?  That’s a 10 million dollar question.  Most often , there’s no answer that will appease the worldly, wondering mind!

A friend, raising her girls, quite often reminded them that, “Life isn’t fair.”  I can’t say how many times I heard her say this; it always struck me as harsh.  You just want life to at least be fair.  Sadly, there are no promises that life will be fair. 

It seems that this life is especially unfair for those who have God’s interests at heart.  Why?  Because while we have promises in this life, our rewards are for the life to come. 

The Good News is that while life may not be fair, God has promised His peace.  In fact, He has said that we will have troubles in this world.  It’s not like you haven’t noticed by now, right?!  So, what I’m saying to You now is what Jesus said long ago.  Take heart!  Let His grace be Your sufficiency.  Receive His peace; no matter what troubles You today.  There will be brighter days ahead!

“I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Father, Thank You for Your peace in the midst of adversity.  Help me to see troubles through Your eyes.  Help me to walk in Your grace and sufficiency through the troubles of this day. Help me to remember that Your love and blessings are so much more than fair.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

Published August 27, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“A smile is a curve that can set things straight.”  – V.Borge

Happy people are fun to be around.  Fun people are usually pretty happy most of the time too.  There are of course some posers; who have dark secrets and depression in their down time.  But, even with that scenario, a smile helps.  I think you can smile your way into feeling better, and when you feel better you smile more.  It’s win-win!  Of course God wants us to radiate His cheer from our innermost being.  This goes far beyond a smile, but to our inner most being.

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.”  Proverbs 15:13

Father, help me to have cheerfulness from the center of my being.  Help me to reflect Your joy to the world around me.  Help me to be mindful of what my face is doing.  Help me to smile more; and be a bright spot to all I encounter.  In Jesus name, I pray.  Amen.

 

The Invitation is out!

Published August 26, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“There is no grudging in God’s goodness.  He does not measure His goodness by drops like a druggist filling a prescription.  It comes to us in floods.  If only we recognize the lavish abundance  of His gifts, what a difference it would make in our lives!  If every meal were taken as a gift from His hand, it would be almost a sacrament!  -Haddon W. Robinson

The invitation is out.  ALL are welcome.  God’s plan includes for YOU to have a special seat at His extravagant banquet.  You are His most treasured guest.  You are the one He wants to see. YOU are His Bride!  Everything is ready.  Won’t you come?!

“Then He sent more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner;  My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready.  Come to the wedding banquet.”  Matthew 22:4

No matter what, God is there

Published August 25, 2009 by imdaddysgirl

“No matter how dark the sky, how discouraging the circumstances, how desparate the situation, God is there – a God who is too great to forget and too great to fail.  God is there, His mighty arm ruling this universe for Him, redeeming all who will let Him, and reinforcing any who respond to Him in faith and obedience”  – Leo Green

I woke this morning with an anxious heart.  I am usually pretty easy-going and relaxed.  (I’ve even been referred to as “the human Xanax” by friends during stressful times.)  Yet, this morning I find my mind ill at ease and concerned about pending stressors, demands and a schedule that is about to amp up.  I have reason to be excited in good ways.  I asked for the grad school program I’m in.  I do have less than a year to complete it now.  Yet, there is still so much to do.  And then, there’s the job I already do.  And all of the hours of work ahead.  And less time to see friends.  It can be extremely confining.  Isolating even. 

Then, I find myself concerned about the certification and board exams after I finish the program…  Like I can even do anything about that now! 

But, I know that I have asked for this path I’m on.  The ability to get into this program and the success with it so far have been answers to prayer.  God has given me favor with my employer to have a flexible schedule in order to meet the requirements for schooling.  He has blessed me with a study group that is so encouraging, so smart and such a a great team.   They are wonderful humans and a credit to the profession.

So, what am I to do with this anxiety?  What can you do with yours?  Well, I can remind myself of all the times God has seen me through difficult times.  I can remind myself of God’s provision.  I can confess to Him that I am anxious.  I can ask friends for their support and prayer.  But, most importantly, I can follow God’s prescription for anxiety:

Philippians 4:6,7  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

Father, I present my heart to You today.  I lay open my anxieties, fears , hopes and dreams.  I confess to You that I am feeling anxious, worried, ill at ease.  I ask You to forgive me and cleanse me.  I ask You to create in me a clean heart.  I pray for Your grace, Your help in this and in all the seasons of my life.  I pray for Your strength to do what will be demanded in the coming months.  I pray for good grades and excellent retention.  I pray that my study partners and all others on this same path would have the same; and that they  would turn to You as their help also.  I pray for continued favor on the job and at school; and that You will put me right where I need to be.  I thank You that You go before me and see the board and cert exams ahead; and will help me to be ready when I need to be.  I ask You to help me to be disciplined and able to maintain Godly priorities and relationships.

Father, I receive Your peace in my heart today.  I thank You that Your peace is greater than my worries and my schedule.  Your peace is bigger than the demands of this or any other day.  Your peace is greater than my insecurities and fears and hopes and dreams.  I receive Your grace and strength.  I thank You that You will be my help and that in spite of demands, You will fill me fresh with Your joy. 

I give You thanks for this day.  I thank You for Your help, peace and joy.  I thank You for the opportunities You have given me.  Please be at the center of all I do , think and say in Jesus name I pray.  Amen.