Mick Jagger from the Rolling Stones sings a song about waiting for a friend. Brad Paisley recorded a song; Waiting on a Woman where Andy Griffith is sitting on a bench with Brad giving him advice about waiting on a woman. Everyday it seems that most of us are waiting in some sort of line, in traffic, waiting for an appointment, anticipated phone call or waiting for a prayer answered.
Today, we live in what I call a microwave world. We don’t want to wait for anything! Instead, we want our answers right now, we want to hurry up and get to where we are going and NOT sit in traffic. We arrive at our scheduled time for an appointment where we may not actually be seen for an hour passed the appointed time and we grow inpatient and grumble that our precious time is being taken away.
It’s in the waiting where while I stood in line waiting my turn that I have met the neatest people and had the most interesting and sometimes entertaining conversations. There have been times when sitting in traffic where I look over at a sign that says something I needed to hear or it’s something that makes me chuckle that gets me through the rest of the day. It’s in the waiting on an appointment, I have listened to someone share their concerns about a loved one or of something they were going through. It’s in the waiting for that phone call that I was able to think things through and pray a little more before responding to the call that would be coming in.
Waiting is a season in life. All of us go through this season at some point and time. There are those of us who go through this season of waiting many times throughout our lifetime. In this season of waiting, we sometimes feel as though God is not there but in all reality he is there.
From my experience, I sincerely believe God makes us wait so we can experience him all the more. Remember the saying; great things come to those who wait”? This quote is true but it is in the waiting where God is showing great things all around us.
But those who wait on the LORD
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.
In the last week, I have seen Facebook posts and comments from college students who are either gearing up for final exams or have just completed them. When I read these posts, I am taken back to my college days of one last look of notes before the professor enters the classroom and hands out the exams.
Before handing out the exams, the professors/teachers would make sure items were cleared from the desks. Next, the professor would go over some pointers for the exam and/or explain some of the format. There were times when the exam was handed out that a professor would have an oath to sign on the first page of the test. This oath acknowledged that each student knew the consequences of cheating and that the work on that exam was indeed their own.
In the Christian life, exam time is never over. Our Professor has given us clear instructions of what is expected during this exam. Yet, sometimes a little review is needed. One clear instruction He gives us in the beginning of instructing us in how to live our exam is in Exodus 20: 1-4; “ I am the Eternal your God, I lead you out of Egypt and liberated you from lives of slavery and oppression. You are NOT to serve any other gods before Me. You are NOT to make an image of anything in the heavens above, the earth below or the waters beneath.”
“No other gods before Me.” In today’s society, it seems that there are many gods being worshiped and honored outside of our Creator. One that seems to be the most worshiped is money. People can’t have enough of it and/or they covet for things they cannot have because of lack of money. The mentality is; “Life will be complete if I have this or this amount in my bank account.” Yet, as the days go by, more and more people seem less and less content.
I heard a speaker the other day highlighting the world and the shape of the current economy. He gently reminded us that we are a nation that was founded UNDER GOD. But, it seems as we go through the exam, we forget that key answer to passing the exam. The speaker also reminded us that when we quit living Under God whether it be as a nation or as individuals, it will not be long before we fall. Gee, it looks like we are not doing so well. It looks like we have had cheating hearts. When we put other things before God, we are cheating on our relationship with Him.
Remember earlier when I mentioned the professor would have the student sign a statement before taking an exam saying you promised not to cheat and what the consequences were if a student did? Well, as children of God, and as Christians we have an oath we have signed with God with our heart. We are to promise we will not put ‘any other gods before Him.’
How are you doing with the exam? Is your heart cheating with the materialism of the world? Are you forgetting to review each morning the instruction book (The Bible)on how to live?
As each one of us goes through our day, let us remember that there is only ONE true GOD. He is our creator and our provider. May we remember money, material things and other ways of the world will not bring true contentment. The only way to have true contentment is to live the life of Christ. So, begin each day with a review of the Good News, signing our pledge that we will allow God to lead us and that we promise not to cheat with the ways of the world. Let’s commit to walking with God to the very end.
- Trust Requires Obedience, Obedience Requires Trust (hopeforfaith.wordpress.com)
- Is financial provision part of God’s plan? (andrewejenkins.wordpress.com)
“Suddenly their eyes were open to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leave into crude loincloths.” Genesis 3:7 (From The Voice Bible)
Do you know when the first Hide and Seek game took place? It took place in Genesis 3:7. Remember? God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat from the Tree of Knowledge but they instantly showed they were human and listened to the voice of the serpent. Once they ate from the Tree of Knowledge, we learn that their eyes were opened and they begin to cover themselves and hide from God. But, did they really hide from God? No. God knew immediately what they had done and where they were. Hence, this Hide and Seek game became known as the moment man became separated from God.
When we were children, we have all played the Hide and Seek game. One person is chosen as the seeker and the others are to go hide. Then, the seeker counts to a number and then begins to seek the rest of the group. I remember times when playing this game where the group would try to trick the one who was the seeker.
As adults, we still play the Hide and Seek game. In this game, we are more like Adam and Eve. We do, say, or think things that we know do not meet the approval of God and His Word. When we sin, we tend to want to go run and hide from God and place the blame on someone or something else. Just as original sin separated man from God, our sin separates us from God.
Yet, when we attempt to hide due to sin, we must realize that God is seeking us. We cannot trick God while we are in hiding thinking he will never find us.He doesn’t want rationale of why we sinned. He doesn’t buy into the blame game or scapegoats because he created us and knows our hearts. It is in these moments where God is seeking us the most. God longs for us to come to him through His Son, Jesus Christ, to confess our sin and accept his forgiveness. God sent his Son so that we could be forgiven, not feel ashamed, and have life eternal. Once we seek God’s forgiveness, we must face the realities of our consequences, learn from the mistake, and ask Christ to be our strength to help us when those moments of weakness come again.
How do you want to live your life? A life of hiding or a life of seeking?
This past week along with many other communities we faced danger. This danger was an outbreak of tornadoes. For us, the first round was early Wednesday morning. The next round was Friday afternoon. Thankfully, our community was spared with little damage though a tornado was in our area. Though I along with others in my community are counting blessings and giving thanksgivings, there are so many people who have suffered loss. Loss of property, loss of loved ones, loss of neighborhoods, communities, and possessions that were dear to them.
When we heard the timing of these outbreaks of storms and when they would reach our area, Jim decided to come home to pick up our youngest baby, Smokey and me to take us back to his office. We have a black lab, Tori which was impossible for us to take with us since Jim works in a healthcare facility. Also, there was not a very good place we could have placed her at his office without interference. Yet, before leaving the house, Jim and I made sure she as secure as she could possible be in our bathroom. Once we secured her, we took a look around our home one more time. Neither one of us really said anything but I know we were both thinking if we would be coming back to our home or to a pile of sticks. But, at that moment, all that was important was that we were together as a family, to pray and just take a deep breath and hold tight to each other and God’s hand.
As I watch the scenes of devastation, and hear reports from family and friends that were affected by these storms, my heart aches for them. One minute, a family has home and in a matter of seconds it is shattered by force to be reckoned with. The homes are not only shattered to splinters and debris but you can see the hearts and nerves of the victims shattered as well. But, despite this brokenness, they hold tight that they have their family. It is at that moment in time when you look around your home, look across the room at your spouse and/or other family members and realize all that is around you is all material. The true treasures are your loved ones including friends and that no matter what happens to the earthly home there is an eternal home that will never be shattered.
This past week’s devastation gave us all a quick wake up call of how precious life is and I know ALL of us began to assess what is truly important. Matthew 6: 19-21 kept running through my mind and heart; “Do not lay up yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be.” We have witnessed not only this past week but through similar tornado outbreaks from the past that our earthly treasures are not permanent. This is why it is so important for us to invest in our relationship with Christ, family, and friends. We must also reach out beyond our walls to those we don’t even know who need to experience the wonderful grace and love of God.
At this moment I have an investment opportunity. This investment is one that will last a lifetime and into eternity. The opportunity I speak of is sharing the kingdom of God during this very emotional time in people’s lives who have lost everything. We can share the kingdom of God through the following ways:
1. Volunteer with helping in cleaning up.
2. Hold the victims’ hands and console them as they work through their emotions.
3. Prepare food for the victims and volunteer workers.
4. Donate what you can in the way of clothing and needs for setting up housekeeping.
5. Pray for all who are involved.
7. Most of all just love on not only the victims but love on your family and neighbors.
Let’s not wait for the next horrible natural disaster to happen to invest into people. But, plunge into this investment opportunity right now. Invest by showing the kingdom of God through our actions towards others and simply loving on everyone. As we have witnessed, things can happen in a second and we better have already invested ourselves in the kingdom. I encourage you to take me up on this offer and join me in investing in the kingdom of God by being a living example of God’s kingdom.
My thoughts, love and prayers are with ALL who suffered through this past week’s events. May these folks feel God’s loving arms holding them ever so tight during this time. It is my prayer that they are seeing God’s kingdom at work as they pick up the pieces and start anew.
I also would like to say thank-you to the wonderful staff at my husband’s facility for not only allowing him to bring me and my pup up to be with him and to be safe. But for opening their doors to the community for all who needed a safe haven. It was their smiles as they asked for your name for their rooster and their calmness that help small children stay calm and to insure that we were all safe. These people definitely demonstrated the kingdom of God during a time of facing a few minutes of an unknown.
Blessings and Peace-
One of my passions is music. I love to listen to all genres of music. When I listen to music, I listen closely to the lyrics. The lyrics can tell you about the artist who is performing the piece, and there’s a message in the midst of the song.
There is one song that has been over the airways for quite a while that I continue to struggle with the lyrics. The song is One of Us sung by Joan Osbourne. Some of the lyrics are:
If God had a name what would you call him?
If he had a face what would it look like?
What if God was one of us?
If you could ask him one question what would it be?
When I hear these lyrics, I cringe. I cringe because these lyrics tell me that there are many people out there who are lost. They question God’s true existence. It is evident that they don’t recognize that God is in every fiber of existing in this world.
For me, I have answers to these questions. You may or may not agree with my thinking.
If God had a name what would you call him? God does not have only one name but he has many names. He is known as Yahweh, El Shaddi, Father and Adonai to name a few. As I began doing some research prior to writing this post, I came across the site, smilegodlovesyou.org . On this site, there is a long list of names for God along with reference to the scriptures of where you will find that particular name. I encourage you to travel over to this site and check out the many beautiful names for God. For me personally, God’s sweet name is Yahweh, Heavenly Father, and Adonai.
If God had a face what would it look like? Did you get up this morning and look into the mirror, sat at the table with your loved ones for a meal, or encountered many people throughout your day? Guess what, that image in the mirror, the loved ones at your table and those many people you encountered throughout the day, are what God looks like. ”So God created man in His own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them.”( Genesis 1: 27) No one has ever seen the actual face of God but every day we see his image in every person we look at including ourselves.
What if God was one of us? Guess what? He IS one of us! God sent his Son (John 3:16), Jesus to walk among the human race. Jesus was God’s gift to the world to let the world know that they are loved. He came to show the world a better way of living. God lives today. He lives in the hearts of those who have accepted his Son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Savior (ah-hh another name for God). God is the creator and ruler over all the earth. For me, that is evidence enough that he is one of us.
If you had one question what would you ask him? We all laugh and say we are going to add certain questions to our list to ask God upon our arrival in heaven. However, when we arrive in heaven, we will have all the answers we need and the list will be wadded up and thrown away. I have a feeling that the very moment we cross that veil from earthly life to eternity, all questions and doubts will be taken away. Yes, we like to question God and we do question God during life’s events but the end result to our questions is that we must trust God. We must place our hand in his and allow him to take the lead in our lives without question. All that is important for us to know is that God is the Almighty. “I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, says the Lord, who IS and was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)
Mark Lowry shares in one of his comedy routines of how his mom calls in at a radio talk show where Madolyn Murray Ohare (“the woman who had God kicked out of school”) was being interviewed and she took Ms. O’Hare “from Genesis all the way through to the maps” in her witness. Today, I have taken you from Genesis to Revelation in my thoughts on this particular song. But, I leave you with my personal lyrics of testimony.
Yes, God has a name. He is my Adonai, my heavenly Father and the list goes on.
Yes, I know what God looks like. I see the beauty of his image in my family, friends and those I encounter each and every day.
Yes, I know God is one of us. He is the homeless person I have served at the homeless shelter. He is the child who needs a little help with his confidence. God is my neighbor next door. He lives in my heart and the hearts of fellow Christians. It is his Son, Jesus, who is one of us and always among us.-
Yes, life happens. When life happens I want to question God and sometimes I doubt. But, it is not the answers to the questions that matter, it is the willingness to trust and walk one step at a time with my God, Father and Adonai. All I need to know is that he IS the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.
YES! God IS one of us! He is our Creator!
Life can be difficult at times. Many times we are all faced with unknowns. There are some days when we wish we could look into a crystal ball and get our answers.
But, God did not create us to know everything and especially know our future. He places the unknowns into our lives so that we will learn to trust him more. It is through the unknowns where we learn to see the smallest of blessings.
Growing up in a Methodist minister’s home, my family faced an unknown every four to five years. The unknown was would we still be at the same church next year or would we move. Then, if we were going to move, there were days of the unknown of location of the new assignment my dad would receive.
All of us face unknowns at some point in our lives. Fellow blog writer, Linda Kruschke posted the other day about how she was facing unknowns with health related issues. She shares how she was reluctant about even writing because of the frustrations she was facing of not getting answers. Yet, she knew that she had to look up, keep on sharing her faith through her writing and just hold on tight to God’s hand.
After reading Linda’s blog, I read comments that were posted sending her well wishes, lifting her up in prayers and simply encouraging her. I also left a comment telling her that I would be praying that she received answers soon and reminding her that God is there walking with her. I also shared with her one of the things that got me through my valley of unknowns. It was Psalm 121,. “I lift my eyes unto the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” A scripture of reassurance that God is always walking with me.
Along with Psalm 121 being the scripture that reminds me that God is there in the valley’s of life, I began counting blessings. Each evening, I would write down at least five blessings that happened during the day. Some of the blessings were just thanksgiving that God woke me up that morning, acknowledging that God had provided me a home, food, and a loving family. As each day passed, despite how bad I felt physically, my blessings list became longer.
Even in the storms of life, God continues to bless us. It is in the valley’s where we experience God’s greatness all the more. Yet, we get so caught up in the circumstances of the unknown that we miss out on the blessings that God has planned for us.
Linda, wrote a follow-up post on Psalm 121. In that post, she added the Casting Crowns song, “Praise You In the Storm.” I smiled as clicked play on the Casting Crowns video. For, it was that song that I played repeatedly day after day as I walked through that valley of the unknown. To Linda, I thank God for nudging her to post the song. For it was a wonderful reminder to me that God is there all the time. I know that there are more unknowns yet to come to me. And, as these unknowns happen, I will count my blessings and praise God in the storms.
Are you facing an unknown? Whatever your unknown may be, know that you have a loving God who is walking right beside you. I encourage you to pay close attention because he has placed blessings along the way. As the old hymn tells each one of us; ”count your many blessings and see what God has done.”
- Going Through the Valley (positivemornings.wordpress.com)
- Caught in a Storm (time2standladies.wordpress.com)
- Standing the Storm Even When the Grass Looks Greener On the Other Side (virtuouswoman73.wordpress.com)
- “You’re Exactly Where You’re Suppose To Be” (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
- Guest of Honor (aprilhawk.wordpress.com)
Spam. When we hear this word we no longer think of the distasteful luncheon meat but we think of it as junk that comes into our email, blog sites and Facebook. In recent days, I have been hit by SPAM. In my comment section, I received some nicely worded comments which at first when reading thought these comments sounded okay. Being on a tight schedule this week, I hastily let these comments through. This evening, I screened some of these comments. Needless to say, they needed to be SPAMMED and trashed! I was even appalled that some of these had slipped past me and got posted on my comments. The readers that were making what sounded like nice thoughts and said that they appreciated my encouraging words, were deceiving me into allowing their links to be seen on my site. Needless to say, some of these links are questionable and go against the very purpose of my website. Delete/Trash is a wonderful option when screening postings, comments and email.
Some of my Facebook friends have been SPAMMED at times. I know when a post hits the News Feed. These posts usually say that my friend liked a link. Then, I see the caption and picture to the link. There is not a doubt in my mind that the particular post is nothing that my friend would like, read or enjoy. When I have seen this happen, I have tried to let my Friend know that they may want to double-check their account and privacy settings.
The email is no different. Every other day, I go through my Spam box and begin deleting. Most of these unwanted emails are wanting me to join some sort of organization, buy something, or they are trying to get me to click to win instant money. In other words, they are emails of trying to tempt me into sliding down a slippery slope. However, there are occasions where an email from a friend ends up in the Spam box or a business transaction may land in the Spam box by accident. When screening through the Spam, it takes discretion, and wisdom to know who is actually legit in order to move the message to the appropriate box.
As I wrote in my post “What Is Your Heart Condition?,” I share how written words are just as poisonous as speaking them. People are watching what we say and what we do. Our actions, the materials we read, the comments and links we share and/or approve or not approve of speak loudly of the real person within. As children of God, we carry a big responsibility of being accountable for ALL of our actions. We need to walk in step with God in EVERYTHING we do, and to seek His guidance, discretion and wisdom in every moment of our day.
Just like these Spammers, Satan would love to do nothing but to capture one of God’s children and begin them down that slippery slope. He is an expert in knowing where our weaknesses are, what is most tempting for us, and he knows just how to put that carrot in front of us. Satan would like nothing better for us to believe what he has to offer is a wonderful deal and he attempts to make his words read sweet like honey. He makes his offers look legit and positive to the point we hit that “Approve” button without a second thought. Only later to find out, it was his cover to lure us to the “dark side” and we needed to hit that “Trash/Delete Permanently” button.
Spam. Just like the luncheon meat there are those who go for it and those who can’t tolerate it. When that carrot of Spam is dangled in front of us to take a chance to win something, to buy something, take a survey, or simply approve a comment or link, it is then we need to pray for wisdom, discernment and ask God to guide us. It is through this careful discernment that we will either hit the “Approve” button or simply “Trash/Delete” button. Believe it or not, there are people out there watching to see which we will do. Thus, what we approve of or disapprove of is a non-verbal witness to those who are placed in our path. We show our heart condition.
Yes, just like yours truly, there are days when we are not on our A game and we allow comments, links and things of the like get past us. When this happens, if possible, correct the situation. But, most of all, we need to ask God for forgiveness, learn our lesson and move on. How we handle those slips and stumbles also shows others our true heart condition.
As I share in my About April and my Greetings, the purpose of my web site is to share the love and light of Christ. My goal is to encourage people in their daily walk with God. If they are not in relationship with God, it is my prayer that something I share may sow a seed and lead them to Christ. Most of all, I want links that are attached to my site to be links that offer the same type of smiles, love and encouragement. In other words, I want you to see my true heart condition.
As you journey in the days ahead carry this Proverb with you:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
The book of Esther in the Old Testament is a book of how God works in what can be the worse of situations. If you are familiar with Esther, you know that there is no mention of God’s name throughout the story. Yet, it is a beautiful example of how God intervenes and can use even the worse of situations to His glory.
When I attended the Walk to Emmaus in 1994, I sat at the table of Esther. Looking back, I now realize the significance of being placed at that particular table for the weekend. My Emmaus experience was a time learning how God can use experiences in my life for His glory. It was a weekend of letting go and letting God so that I could be a better servant for God and see God at work in every aspect and experience life brought me. I learned how every experience in my life good or bad could be used for the Glory of God.
In recent days, it seems like each time the news comes on that there is devastation, hurt and tragedy. As one watches these events unfold, one could easily ask ‘where is God in all fo this?” But, as stories unfold and people step up to share, you can see God is at work even in the midst of such devastation. He is at work through the volunteers who come to help those in trouble, He is at work through those who are sending supplies, and He is at work through those people who simply pray for those affected by the devastation. Then, as time goes on, testimonies of faith and a witness of God’s provisions, protection and His grace come out and are shared. These testimonies demonstrate that God is ever so present. Lives are changed not just from what they may have lost or gone through but they are changed from what they have gained through their faith and walk with God. Just like the Jews during the time of Esther felt that God had abandoned them. Yet, as the story unfolds they experience God’s great love and see His hand at work. By the end of the story, God’s children once again have the victory!
Along with the natural disasters that have taken place in recent weeks, our family received devastating news. Our son’s best friend from high school who was serving our country with great pride became missing. He was state side and swimming with a friend in the ocean when he got caught in a rip tide and could not swim out. Being in the Navy, he was trained better than anyone of how to survive in such a situation. Whew! The wind really got knocked out of us on this bit of news.
As I questioned God “Why?”, things began to happen and unfold. The first thing to happen was a new friendship was formed. A friend of this gentleman messaged me and asked what had happened. She had seen things posted on Facebook but had not heard what had happened. She was to meet him over the weekend for coffee. She and I began to correspond and through this correspondence I see a beautiful young lady who has a love for life and others. Through tragedy, a new friendship was formed. Then, I received a beautiful note from this young man’s brother. He shared so beautifully the true meaning of brotherly love, what it meant to stay strong because that is what his brother would want. This brother even went on to say how it is hard to understand what has happened that we have to keep living, loving each other and know in God’s time we will see His answers to it all. Along with the new friendship formed and these words so well written by this young man’s brother, I have seen comment after comment, thought after thought of how this missing brother/son has loved life and those placed in his path. I read how he saw potential in people and how he encouraged them to rise to that potential. Again, just as in Esther, God is at work though we may feel He is absent. Faith is being made even stronger and realization of the importance of loving others becomes even more clearer to the mind and heart.
Sometimes when things happen in life such as the things I have shared, it is hard to want to give God praise and glory. We just want to crawl in a hole and make the world go away. Or, we just keep telling ourselves that we will wake up from this bad dream sometime soon! But, the reality of the situation is still there and always will be. As Christians, we have to be conscious and seek His blessings in ALL that life brings. A while back, I participated in Beth Moore‘s study on Esther. In this study, she shares this thought “God can reverse every negative element in His child’s life and turn it into the positive. He just doesn’t just diffuse the circumstance. He transfuses it.”
In the days ahead, when something happens and you question God, remember God has not abandoned you. He is there and probably doing His best work in the midst of all that is taking place. In the end of it all, there is victory!! Furthermore, believe it or not, as the song goes, “In His Time; He makes ALL things beautiful” and we become all the stronger on our faith journey with Him.
He’s Going To Be Fine
- Come, Holy Spirit (barefootpreachr.org)