Category Archives: God lessons

Just Like Yesterday

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Yesterday was a wonderful day.  The power company was doing some work on our street and we would have no electricity for several hours.  Since I work at home and can’t work without internet and computer, I decided to get a couple of things done and because it was Love Your Pet Day, I had a couple of things in mind for Sampson, my precious pup. We headed out and delivered some glassware I had promised for a display then we were free to play.  It was beautiful so we spent a lot of time outside. There are very few opportunities in my busy life to play without time restraints so I took advantage of it.

I loved yesterday.  I could wish that every day was like that.

This morning, we woke up to clouds and a little bit of rain.  My first inkling was to complain and feel disappointed but instead, I thanked God again for the day we enjoyed yesterday and decided this was going to be a great day too!

While taking Matt to work, I caught a glimpse of the sunrise.  It was still raining, mind you, still looking yucky but it was like He burst through the clouds as if to say, “HEY!  I’m still here.  I’m still God in the rain and sunshine, and I’m with you regardless.  Chin up little girl!”

There you go.  God’s still God in the best of times and the worst of times; any kind of weather and ever-present in whatever we must weather.  That makes the whatever-comes-our-way good, or for the good, if we keep our eyes on Him.

It’s so easy to complain, be dissatisfied and unsettled if we base our mood and our outlook on all that’s around us.  This is another stellar day God’s given us, and with Him it’s just as wonderful and blessed, filled with grace, mercy and Him as any yesterday we’ve had.  Let’s live like we believe that.

Psalm 118:24

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Look Back

Life was falling apart, husband said he wants a divorce.  The very night her husband told her his plan, a member of the family called offering her a job in his business because other family members that worked there got a job and other reasons…and offered her a job.  Feeling like it was a meant to be thing, she accepted and moved to their little town to begin the job and a new phase of her life.  She thought it would be wonderful, family close by, actually working for them.  She needed support and if the truth were known, she needed help.  Her son had many health issues from birth and this kind of support would be a dream come true.

It didn’t exactly turn out like that and after a year or so the family member told her he was closing down the business and she would have to get another job but not to worry, he would help her find one.  Because he was very well known in the little town, he asked someone who knew someone who knew someone at the local hospital who told him to have her apply for a Medical Transcription job.  She laughed out loud.  That’s a skilled profession, she had no experience and hadn’t even worked in a doctor’s office.  Impossible.  Ridiculous.  Just trying to get rid of her she thought. But because he pushed, she applied…and got the job.

She remembers sitting at a typewriter bawling, trying not to throw up because she was sure this was absolutely impossible.  “My God, what have I gotten myself into”, she kept saying to herself.  She couldn’t understand a word the doctor was saying and her very job was to type what he was saying!  To make matters worse, the department head told her, “you’ll never make it, I’ll have you gone in 30 days.” She made it very clear she was pressured into hiring her because a board member recommended me (because of the family member) and in a small town, that’s pretty much the way things went.  Nobody was happy with that situation, least of all the woman at the job.  She didn’t want to be there as much as her boss didn’t want her to be there.  A host of crazy things happened but she persevered…

Almost 30 years later, here I am, working at home as a Medical Transcriptionist.  That job (that I was thrust into because of circumstances beyond my control; the job I hated at first) has provided for me and my son.  Not only that because I work at home, I can work around what Matt needs to do – his work, appointments, and things he enjoys in his personal life.  Because he’s site impaired and doesn’t drive, he’s blessed to have a pretty normal and free life.  The kind of work I do allowed me to move back home to Kingsport, which was my heart’s desire.  I can make a living doing something I absolutely love (even though I hated it in the beginning) for an Australian company that has turned out to be the best, most enjoyable job I’ve ever had.

As I remembered all the details that brought me to this moment, I was brought to tears.  The beginning of how I got here was horrible.  I almost quit several times and in between then and now, a lot has happened, good and bad but I stuck with it, sometimes because I had to; other times because I wanted to.

The word that immediately comes to mind is PROVISION.  See, way back then when I thought my life was falling apart, God had a bigger plan.  Even though He was the last thing on my mind at that time, I was foremost in His.  When all that happened, I was lost and, if the truth be known, thought there was absolutely no hope for any kind of halfway decent life at all.

Your life may be crashing right before your very eyes.  You may think you won’t survive what you’re going through; you may hate what you’re doing and are looking for a way out.  Hang on a little bit longer.  Trust God and let your faith in Him grow stronger.   Do what you can do and trust Him for the rest.

Look back for a minute and see how far you’ve come.  Friend, none of it is by accident or happenstance.  Like me, one day you’ll look back and see His presence, love and provision for you every inch of the way.

Jeremiah 29:11-13; Isaiah 43:10

Beginnings

 

IMAG1491It’s a brand new year.  None of us knows what this day will bring, must less the year.

This plate is my latest painting adventure.  I haven’t done this in quite a while, why I chose such intricacy is beyond me.  Pray for me!

We have to start somewhere – it’s our choice how we begin a new day, a new year or a new project.  We can choose to think about it, how we’ll do it and it can stay right there – in our heads.  The grandest plans often never materialize.

Let’s start off right.  Do something, be purposeful to get a good start.  My first moments awake this year were spent with God.  I didn’t want to get out of bed (it’s cold in my room) – I just wanted to stay under the covers but move I did and I’m so glad I started this year that way.

Now to paint this plate. I have a great plan in my head of how it will look when I’m finished. One thing’s for sure – it will stay just like it is if I don’t paint it.  Let’s begin shall we?IMAG1492

It’s Never Going to Happen

We’re in the midst of our first snow of the season.  Sampson couldn’t wait to walk and play in it so I walked him down the hill this morning to let him run in the woods.

I went to a nearby shelter and was reading my devotionals as it’s still snowing and I was trying to stay as dry as possible.  I got immersed in what I was reading. Usually when we walk I try to stay where I can at least hear him running in the woods but this morning I didn’t. When I came to myself I called him.  Nothing.  I listened for him.  Nothing.  I started to walk down to where I thought he was, calling him. I looked up the hill toward our house and he was running down the hill!  That’s never happened before.  He thought I had left him!  He was whimpering and ran to me happy to see me.

Sometimes we feel like that, don’t we?  While we’re running, working, playing, immersed in our lives we sometimes feel God’s left us because He’s quiet.  There are times when we may feel we’re utterly alone.

I’d never leave my precious pup.  I love him.  Sometimes I let him go and do his thing but I’m always close by waiting for him to come back to me.

Our Father does the same.  He awaits the invitation to join us but during the times there’s no invitation from us, rest assured.  He’s always nearby.  He’s as close as a whisper no matter what, no matter where.  Jesus came to earth donning flesh to assure we’d never be alone.  He’s in us, beside us, in front of us, over us and in us.

Sampson was sure happy to see me and hasn’t left my side since.  I’m praying we stay that close to the Father today.  As unstable and unsure as the world is, we never have to be unsure of Him, His presence and His love.  Leave us?  It’s never going to happen.

Genesis 28:15  “Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

Do You Know What he REALLY Wants?

Your enemy…the enemy doesn’t want to kill you.  He doesn’t want you to die.

He relishes your pain.  He enjoys your suffering and lashing out at God.  He loves to hear you complain.  His desire is for you to wish death upon yourself.  Even more than that, he longs for you to be despondent, miserable, depressed and despairing.

Why?

When you’re miserable you’re quiet.  There’s no praise, no prayer resulting in no power – because you don’t feel like there’s any point in praying! You’ve played perfectly into his hands.  Quiet and distant is the first of many plans he has for you.  Will you fall for it?

He longs to render us ineffective and uncaring about anything except our own misery.

Why?

When we’re depressed and totally consumed by unfavorable circumstances we’ve no energy to lift anyone else up.  I mean, why would we?  We can’t do anything for ourselves, why would we even attempt to help someone else?

The enemy knows where our source of power is; WHO our source of power is and he knows when we feel cheated, mistreated, broken down and low down, the first place we’re likely to turn is away from our Father.  That’s what he’s after – his ultimate goal is to get us to turn from God.

He wants us to live like we’re dead with no joy, no faith and a bushel of doubt.  Don’t tell anyone about what God has done for us – because it’s discounted considering all the suffering and hardship we’ve endured…that’s what the enemy wants.  Joyless, bitter, disgruntled, dissatisfied believers so nobody wants the Jesus we have.  Nobody wants to listen, much less come to church.  His ultimate goal (since he can’t have our soul) is to render us useless for God.  He can kill our joy, make us doubt our faith ultimately causing us to have no effect or impact in the world around us.

No, the enemy doesn’t want us dead…he wants to live like we’re dead.

When Evil Shows Up

We were all shocked yesterday when we heard that a gunman entered a little Church in Sutherland Springs Texas and killed 26 people and injuring more.

I can’t even begin to fathom what was in that young man’s mind when he walked into that church. Understanding something like this is beyond us. What I absolutely know though is evil is rampant in our world and when it comes in to a place or personal life, the results can be devastating…even to Christians.

For some reason God’s people think we’re entitled to a pass from devastation and destruction. Exactly the opposite is true. Exactly the opposite is true (according to Jesus Himself) and that encompasses inside the walls of the church as well. Evil can exist and does exist literally everywhere. I wish God would protect us from horrible things happening, I wish we were all exempt from the experience of evil and sin. There was a time in my life when I expected God not to let me suffer anymore; I thought since I had been through some stuff, I’d had my turn and ‘land of milk and honey’ was my destination.  It shames me to admit that but after all, that’s what I was told when I got saved! Nothing could be farther from the truth. (Romans 8:35) I thought I’d failed as a Christian when bad or horrible things happened because I didn’t understand – now I understand better and I know that just because bad, evil things happen to us doesn’t mean God loves us less or has abandoned us in any way. (Romans 8:35-39)

Our hearts break just like everybody else’s. We lose people we love just like everybody else. We lose jobs and finances, material things that are important to us, and we feel it just like everybody else does. There is only one difference between us and people who don’t know Jesus and that difference IS Jesus.

I don’t pretend to understand how people will cope with what happened yesterday. I just know that Jesus is with them. I believe God weeps at the atrocities (He’s in us, with us, for us – he feels our pain, of course He does!) playing out now but I also believe He will comfort his people. He promises to do so, we must believe He’ll be true to His Word. In times like these His promises are all we have. Jesus himself said we will have (not might have) trials and tribulations but He’s overcome it all (John 16:33).

When we have pain we can go straight to Him and when we do, we can have that peace that passes all understanding – the peace only He can give. (John 14:27)  Miraculously through His Spirit that lives in us, His comfort comes. Those of us who have lived any time at all can testify to the fact that He eases our pain, He comforts our broken hearts and helps us by giving us His strength when we’re at our weakest so we can carry on through this Valley we’re walking through (2nd Corinthians 12:9). He will do the same for His precious people in Texas because he’s 100% faithful. He died so He could have a connection with us and that His Spirit could live inside of us for moments like these. He’s the Difference Maker. I’m quite sure many hearts are broken and many tears will be shed but I’m just as certain that the many hearts turning to God, seeking His touch will be comforted by His great presence and His matchless love.

In this world of uncertainty where evil seems to be out of control, where morals are definitely on the decline, and where there is nothing solid to hold on to we can rest assured, God is with us, walking us through these times of the unfathomable.  Jesus feels our pain and He’s right here to help us through it.

That’s all I know and today, that’s enough.

Just as Ugly as Ever

I took Sampson walking this morning. He was chasing squirrels like he always does. We got to a tree and this little tiny squirrel was right at the base of it. When he saw Sampson he started climbing up. Long story short he fell and Samson got him and started shaking the squirrel violently.  Sampson is a gentle giant and doesn’t have any aggressive or mean tendencies. However, when he had that squirrel in his mouth, he reverted back to a dog’s natural instincts and when he did, I reverted back to mine.

I enjoy watching him run squirrels and everyone else does too.  People come to the park just to watch Sampson.  He’s an older dog so I think he’ll just run them up trees so no harm is done. Not today.  When he had that squirrel shaking it for the kill, I freaked.  It wasn’t pretty.

Sampson is a rescue. We’ve had him for 4 years and when we got him, I could walk toward him with my phone in my hand and he would put his tail between his legs and run.  He was afraid of everything, even loud noises and loud voices. Obviously, he had been abused by hands he thought he could trust.  I’ve made a conscious effort not to even talk loud when he’s close because it visibly upsets him.  The first year we had him, we purposely didn’t walk toward him with anything in our hands because he was so scared.  I have never laid my hands on him for punishment but when he grabbed that squirrel I smacked him on his tail and I screamed at him.

It was only when he let go of the squirrel that I realized what I was doing.  When I snapped out of the heat of the moment, I felt terrible.  Sampson sat and looked at me with a look I’d hadn’t seen from him before.  My heart was absolutely broken.  I was so disgusted with myself and the possibility that maybe I’d undone the trust and safety it took so long to build with my companion.

This, obviously, wasn’t the first time I reverted back to my old nature and I’m sure it won’t be the last but there was something different about this morning. I saw how quickly – based on circumstances – the human flesh can revert back to what it so desperately wants to be free of – that ugly, vile “sin nature”.  We all have it and as I saw this morning, no matter how loving and “good” we want to be, our “flesh nature” will rule the moment if we act on feelings and/or circumstances.  We’re capable of anything at any given moment.  Those of us who say “I’d never…” are the most vulnerable. I didn’t want to scream at my dog. I certainly didn’t want to smack him but I did. I’d promised him and me I’d never do anything to make him fear me.  This morning I did exactly what I said I’d never do.  What I never intended to do became instinctual in that circumstance.

One second I was praising and listening to my music enjoying a beautiful sunrise and happy in the Lord and the next minute I was a monster. Just goes to show you that at any given second I can be just as ugly as I ever was, doing what I never intended to do. Never ever, ever think you ‘would never’ do something because all of us when left to the heat of the moment in a given circumstance will find we’re capable of anything.

I’ve spent years with the Lord. I know he’s changed me from the inside out. I know I’m not who I used to be but this morning I learned I can act just like I used to, given the right circumstances.

I’ve repented, asking God to forgive me as well as Sampson. He seems to not be troubled because after the incident he went after another squirrel.

I don’t like myself very much right now. I’ve seen in a very short span of time how I can be just as ugly as I ever was. Instincts (and our culture) encourage us to act based on how you feel. That’s the very thing the Lord is teaching us to get out of.  He’s teaching us to react based on what He says in ways (actions, words, thoughts) pleasing to Him and not how we’ve always done it. I thought I had mastered that a little better; this morning proved I’m capable of being just as ugly as I ever was and when left to my emotions and reacting out of fear, I’ll be that way again.

Thank you for the reminder Lord, as humiliating and ugly as it was.  I pray to keep this flesh controlled regardless of what happens. I hope you do, too.

 

1st Corinthians 10:12  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.”

Philippians 3:13:  “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…”