Not a Coincidence

You call them coincidences.  Situations come together and there’s an unexpected check or a conflict resolves itself without you doing anything or you get an awesome yet much needed surprise at just the right time.  How great!  Wow!  What a coincidence!

But it’s not a coincidence.  It’s a God-incidence.  It didn’t just happen – God made it happen.  Every day God goes ahead of me, working things out for my good.  When I get to tomorrow, he has already been there, taking care of the details and organizing blessings for me.

So I can relate to King Jehoshaphat’s story when the people of Judah were being attacked by a huge combined army made up of several of their enemies.  A prophet of God had just told Jehoshaphat, “This is what the Lord says to you; ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.  For the battle is not your’s, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20: 15.  Jehoshaphat believed this message from God and told his people to “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” verse 20.

Then he appointed a group of men to go in front of his army singing praises to the LORD.

This creates a vivid picture in my mind of this army of tough, armor-clad soldiers carrying their swords and shields while men lifting praises to God marched in front of them, leading the way.

While the army of Judah was marching toward battle, God set ambushes against the enemy army.  The individual armies within that enormous army started fighting amongst themselves and totally destroyed each other.

When the army of Judah got to the top of the hill that overlooked the desert where they were going to fight, all they saw were dead bodies.  The battle was over and they were victorious!

A God-incident.  He took care of it before they ever got there.

God often does this in my life.  When I have my spiritual eyes open, I see God-incidences happening all through my life.  I have learned that, when I am unsure of my next step in a situation, I need to pray to God.  I trust that he’s going ahead of me – either taking care of the situation or creating an opportunity for me to say or do what I’m thinking about.  So I pray….and watch…and wait…. until he moves.  It’s amazing!  He either works it all out for my good without me doing anything or he opens up a door for me to do or say what he’s prompting me to say.   Sometimes it takes a while for it all to come together but timing is everything.

God-incidences are always the perfect thing at the perfect time.

Next time you think something is a coincidence, open your spiritual eyes and take another look.

Thank you, Abba Father.

He is Good

As the sun rises each morning, I am reminded,

 God is good.

Every time I look at the faces of my grandchildren who start smiling when they are still super teeny, I am reminded,

 God is good.

My husband, Dave, and I are celebrating 41 years of marriage next week and I am reminded,

God is good.

My calendar is filled with good times and special moments with people I love and I am reminded,

    God is good.

I am completely confident in this truth –

   My God is good.

During the dedication of the Lord’s Temple in 1 Kings, we read that “The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord.  Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang: 

    “He is good; his love endures forever.”  2 Chron. 5:13.

I smile when I think about how  my voice saying “God is good”  joins with an enormous crowd of people who have praised and loved God down through the ages.  When I say these words, I am joining with all believers through all of history.  I hear the angels praising God with us, filling the heavens with gratitude through all eternity.

These words were true back when King Solomon built the temple and they remain true today.  When I became absolutely convinced that God is good, peace filled my soul  The truth is, no matter how bad or crazy or painful things in my life or in your life look or feel, God is good.  Our circumstances do not change this fact.

   God is good; his love endures forever.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 25, 2022

I trust you, God.

I know you will never let me down.  Everyone who trusts knows how faithful you are.  Those who don’t trust in you pay the consequences.

Help me know you better, dear God.  Direct my steps and guide me into a deeper understanding of your truth.  Teach me, Father.  All of my hope is in you, God, my Savior.

You have been merciful and loving since the beginning of time.  I have confessed my sins and I know you have forgiven me because my guilt has disappeared.

You love overwhelms me.  You are so good, LORD.

I feel you walking beside me as I go through my day, God.  When I listen, you teach me what is right.  You are loving and faithful to those of us who have put our trust in you.

Your grace covers all of my sin and rebellion.

In response to my respect and honor for you, you help me make the right choices in my life.  You give me good things and bless my children.

I need to hear your voice, Father.  Speak to me – I need you each day.

When my eyes are fixed on you, God, you help me avoid the danger and pitfalls that come my way.  I turn to you when I am alone and sad – you take away my worries and stress.  When the trials and problems of this world press in all around me, you are always beside me – loving me and giving me strength.

You are my Rock and Refuge, Father.  Guard my life and rescue me.  I trust in you alone.

I pray that all people everywhere will experience your mercy and strength, God.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2022

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

It’s My Life

These are not just idle words.

I can’t read and soak in God’s Word without being changed. The Holy Spirit grabs my mind and heart and speaks truth into the depths of my soul. Transforming my thinking. Moving my heart. Growing my faith and trust in God.

As I was reading yesterday, God stopped me when Moses said to the Israelites, “Take to heart all the words I have solemnly declared to you this day, so that you command your children to obey carefully all the words of this law. They are not just idle words for you – they are your life.” Deuteronomy 32: 46-47.

I’m in my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I can definitely say God’s Word is my life. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not perfect and I never will be this side of heaven. But reading God’s word, hearing God speak to me, feeling his love for me as he guides me – that’s my life.

I’m not a pastor, I don’t work at a church – I’m just an ordinary person who is sold out to God. He gives my life purpose and meaning. His truth grounds my life on the Rock, not on the shifting sand of our culture.

Do you have purpose and meaning in your life? Do you see God moving in your life and guiding you? Is your life grounded on something or someone other than God?

I can’t imagine any reason why I would not read the entire Bible every year for the rest of my life. I can’t imagine what it would feel like to miss a whole month of sitting down with God and letting him organize my thinking and plans. I can’t even imagine missing a week of opening God’s Word and soaking in his love and truth.

It’s my life.

Thank you, Abba.

Great Love!

Do you feel it?

I do.

I see it in the gorgeous sunrise as God once again declares his faithfulness to me with the start of a new day.  I feel it in my 3 year-old granddaughter’s hug.  I see it in the smiles of my friends.  I feel it in the ‘love you’ from my husband of over 40 years.

It’s the great love God has lavished upon me.

God tells me that I am a precious child and he proves that by showing his love for me in a multitude of ways, every day.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God.”  1 John 3: 1a

It’s very encouraging to realize that the closer I get to God, the more of his love I feel pouring out over me.  As I’ve been consistently memorizing God’s scripture these last 6 years, I also feel his wisdom pouring out from his Word.  More knowledge.  More understanding.

I am his child!  How much more love and wisdom and knowledge and understanding does he have available for me?

There is no limit!

As 2022 quickly approaches, I am looking forward to seeing what God has planned for this next year.  New challenges.  More love.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Paul’s Prayer … and Mine

Paul prays for us in Ephesians 3 and I respond –

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and earth derives its name.” vs 14.

You are awesome, Father.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he will strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,.. ” vs 16.

Please give us your strength, Father.

“so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” vs 17.

Make your home in our hearts, Jesus, and teach us how to trust you more.

“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with the Lord’s holy people to grasp how wide, and long and deep is the love of Christ…” vs 18.

Grow our roots deep in your awesome love, Jesus.

“and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God.” vs 19

Please help us feel and understand the perfect love you pour out on us each day.  Only you can make us complete, Abba.  The power to live a full life comes from you.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,…” vs 20.

We believe, Father, that you can do anything – things beyond what we can imagine –  and that you want to accomplish your plans through us.  We are your hands and feet here on earth.

“to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” vs 20.

Amen.  Love you, Father.

Do You Feel It?

It burns.  Do you feel it?

As I read God’s Word, the truth burns through the mountains of lies and confusion that our culture is busy building up all around me.

I’m a thinker, not a feeler so reading and studying God’s Word rocks my world.  God’s word feels true.  It feels powerful.  It feels right and good.

The ‘feeler’ in me wakes up as God speaks to me through his Word.  My ‘feeler’ confirms for me that this is my Father God teaching me what he wants me to know.  As I listen, God’s words burn into my brain.  I feel the truth etching itself on my soul, creating a desire inside of me to know God better and love him more.

I know what the two men were talking about when they walked with Jesus after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus .  They didn’t know who he was at first, but when their eyes were opened, Jesus disappeared.  And they asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us when he talked with us on the road and opened the Scripture to us?” (Luke 24:32)

I can relate.  God’s truth has burned down to the center of my being and I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot!  This Truth gives purpose to all the craziness in this world.  This is Truth that I can hold onto as the storms of life rage around me.   This Truth is filled with light and love and grace and peace.

Yes, it burns.  And it is good.

Do you feel it?

What Are You Looking For?

They looked,

but they were looking in the wrong place.

Have you ever found yourself looking in the wrong place for something you wanted?  I have.  It’s a confusing experience.  Lots of disappointment.

After Jesus was crucified, he was buried and a large stone was rolled over the front of his grave.  Three days later, Mary Magdalene and several other women went to the tomb with burial spices to finish anointing Jesus’ body.  His body had been hastily placed in the tomb because he died right before the Sabbath so they couldn’t complete the work.

Now the women came to finish the preparation of his body for final burial.

Imagine their surprise when they saw the huge stone rolled away from the tomb with an angel sitting on it!  The soldiers guarding the tomb had fainted when the angel appeared so they were laying all over the ground in front of the stone.  

Then the angel spoke to the women, “Don’t be afraid.  I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead, just like he said would happen.”  Matthew 28: 5-6.

Jesus was no longer in the grave.

He was alive!

He is alive!

Jesus left earth but he send the Holy Spirit who lives inside of each person who puts their faith in Jesus.  The Spirit guides us and encourages us – helping to transform us from the inside out.

Today, many people are still looking for what only Jesus can give.  They are looking for things like fulfillment, peace, guidance, purpose and love.  But our world continues to disappoint us with only fleeting glimpses of these things.

Jesus was, is and always will be The Way.  He guides me on the right path, teaches me his unchanging truth and has given me eternal life with him.  My eternal life has started here on earth and will continue when Jesus walks with me into heaven some day.

I have found the Way.

What are you looking for?

Today

It should have been me.

The thief up on the cross next to Jesus was sentenced to die for the bad things he had done.

That was me….before I put my faith in Jesus.

My rebellion, self-centeredness, and lack of compassion are a few of the reasons I should have been on that cross.

The Great News is Jesus was up there on the cross for me…..and for you.  He who knew no sin became sin for us.  He bore the weight of all of the world’s sin – once and for all.  You and I can be redeemed from spiritual death by accepting the free gift of salvation that only Jesus can give.

As I read this account in Luke 23, I visualize Jesus turning to me, looking me in the eye and saying, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” vs 43.

For the thief, it was that day.  Oh, glorious day!

For me, it probably won’t be today – although it could be.

And I’m ready.

There will be come a day for me when it is ‘today’ because I have committed my heart and life to Jesus.  This passage in the Bible reassures me.  The thief did nothing to earn his way into heaven.  He put his faith in Jesus and it was done.  He didn’t say a prayer or say specific words and he was never baptized.  Jesus knew the thief’s heart just like Jesus knows my heart.

This passage also tells me there is no waiting – no purgatory, no additional steps.

Today.

In paradise.

Thank you, Jesus