Category: Faith


Godincidence

Isn’t it interesting when things just “happen”?

My daughter has been invited to join her cousins for a day of fun in the sun at Noah’s Ark today.

noah's ark sign

Noah’s Ark always promises (and delivers) a day filled with lots of water, laughter and crazy rides.  But there’s one catch…

Noah's Ark waterpark

A whopping $35.99 entry fee (which, of course, does not include any sort of lunch, snack, drink, etc…)

ouch.

Thankfully God knows all things and plans all things.

Sami has a check for $35 from Christmas that still needs to be cashed…  Perfect!!  Well, that covers the cost of the ticket, I’ll just have to send some snacks along with her.

And in God’s perfect timing, I got a text from Sam yesterday saying she ‘spied God’…

She has been staying with her Grandparents, helping my Dad take care of my Mom who just had hip replacement surgery.  Dad and Sam went to Subway to bring back supper, and in true God fashion, Subway ‘just happens’ to have a deal going on right now:

subway“It’s the 10-for-10 Monster Deal from Noah’s Ark and Subway. A deal so big it’s taking over summer!
Now, spend ten dollars at any Wisconsin Subway restaurant,
and you can get a voucher good for ten dollars off admission to Noah’s Ark, America’s Largest Waterpark!
No purchase necessary. See store for details.”

Sweet.

perfect timing

One of my favorite people in the Bible is the Queen of Sheba.  (1 Kings 10 & 2 Chronicles 9)

Queen of Sheba

The Queen of Sheba lived at the time of King Solomon.  Word of the King’s wisdom spread far and wide…not only that he was wise, but that God had given him this wisdom.

Sheba was queen of the Southern Arabian and Northern African territories and likely worshiped many gods but certainly not the One true God who gave Solomon his wisdom.  She was drawn to it and she is not alone.

“All the earth was seeking the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom which God had put in his heart.”   1 Kings 10:24

My husband, Jax, has found great favor at his place of employment.  In the short time that God provided this job, Jax has moved up quickly from a grunt transition specialist position to a respected technical project lead and product owner in less than one year.

Jax’s immediate supervisor often finds opportunity to pick Jax’s brain for insight and consult over business plans, project ideas and employee issues.

Recently, this supervisor called Jax into his office to discuss some of the current employees.  Although these people are doing their jobs, they are not doing it to a level that he had hoped.

“How do I motivate these guys?”  He asked.

“How do I get them to take pride in their work?  To put their fingerprint on the project?  To return with not only the bare minimum, but choose to go above and beyond, finishing their work at a greater level than just what is expected?  How do I get them to do their job the way you do?”

“Well, it’s tough” Jax started, “to instill the attitude I have about work into somebody else, because I don’t answer to you.”

With what I can only imagine was clear confusion found in this supervisor’s eyes, Jax continued…

“I don’t answer to this company.  I answer to God and I do my job in a way that will bring glory to Him.”

“being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”  2 Corinthians 3:3

How do you live your life?

Are you a Christ follower?  Are people drawn to you because of Him?

They should be.

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”   Galatians 2:20

 

Related Posts:
Prince Ali Ababwa = King Solomon   (ispygod.net)

Steal my show!

“The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”   Proverbs 16:9

Isn’t it amazing how God tries to get our attention?  I was looking for the iPad this morning to use while I ran.  That is the ONLY way to do it, I tell you!!  It’s so much easier to face treadmill torture when I’m able to distract myself with a show on Netflix.  But this morning the iPad was gone.  It wasn’t charging…wasn’t in it’s place and because I had gotten up a little later, I didn’t have the time to look for it.

So I grabbed my phone and my earbuds and headed downstairs to do my running to music.

God moved that iPad.

 

Have you ever had Him grab hold of your heart through a song??

I.LOVE.THAT!

Although it’s much more thrilling when you’re standing on a large rubber belt strapped around a set of motorized pulleys and gears moving at break-neck speeds!treadmill

Ok, I’ll come clean; it’s not so break-neck…only 6 mph, but it still makes things very exciting when God uses the dropped beat and swirling rhythms pulsing through the earbuds to literally take your breath away.

I felt every word of tobyMac‘s song “Steal My Show” this morning.

 

 

I want that.

I want to give God center stage in my life’s production.  I long for Him to be the director, playwrite, choreographer, costume designer and ticketing agent.

To allow Him to use me in any way He wants.  To place the people in my life He wants me to minister to.  To release my grip, take a step back, watch Him work and be ok whatever the outcome.

God used tobyMac’s words to land squarely on my chest to knock me off balance.

If you wanna steal my show, I’ll sit back and watch you go
If you got somethin’ to say, go on and take it away
Need you to steal my show, can’t wait to watch you go-o-o-o
So take it away…

For it’s when we’re knocked off balance that He can be seen.

“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”   2 Corinthians 12:9

 

Oh God, give me the words to say and the steps to take.  I give you control…my hands are outstretched and open.  Please use me.  Show me how to behave, teach me Your ways, allow me to see You at all times and trust You in every moment.

worship

encourage-synonymsI wrote about this very topic a few years ago in my post I Spy God writing a note and I can’t tell you how true it is.

“… we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”   Hebrews 6:28

We all need encouragement.  A kind and motivating word given at just the right time can lift spirits…cause us to forge ahead…push us to go the extra mile…help us take just one more step forward.

The other day a friend of mine asked if I had read the blog post from Girls Growing with God.  She began following this blog from a list of blogs I follow and said how much she needed the message that day.  Girls Growing with God is written by a dear friend of mine, so when I found out how much it touched another friend of mine, I decided to send a quick text to thank her for her post and let her know she’s making an impact… that God is using her.

The timing of my text couldn’t have been better.  It seems she had been struggling and clinging to God’s truth…

“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:18

and at that very moment God knew she needed a bit of encouragement, so He used me.

What an honor.

A couple days before, God placed it on my heart to send a couple notes to some friends.

They both have been struggling in different ways, so I wrote a couple notes of love and encouragement and threw them in the mail.

 

Come on, who doesn’t love to get something in the mail?

Along with those notes, I included a PASS IT ON message card.  And I tell you, those message cards are BRILLIANT!!  Boy, have they have been the right words at the right time so often for me!!  But I never imagined how much encouragement they could be!  Those little gems brought tears…

[SCORE!!]

For my friend who is struggling with trusting and asking God for her true heart’s desire, I sent…

whatever

Her response?  “Thanks for the card!!  Even though I’m crying…”

For my other friend struggling with ‘what’s the point?’ I sent…

never

Her response??  “I can’t tell you how much I needed your encouraging words today.  Thank you for the Philippians reference.  I cried!”

It is truly amazing how God works.  How and why He chooses to use such a fail of creatures to do His work here on earth…it is astounding, and I am truly humbled and grateful that He loves me enough and trusts me enough to use me in that way.

Who do you know that needs a word of encouragement from you today?  God placed someone in your mind, didn’t He??

Now go do something about it!!

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”   1 Thessalonians 5:11

superpower

med-records

Filing.

Not my favorite job.

Second to pulling.

At a dental office, pulling charts for the next day’s schedules is daunting.  Boring.  Terribly repetitive and mindless work.  But it must be done.

Yesterday as I slowly worked my way around the chart room, one of the patient coordinators interrupted me.  They were quite busy at the front desk and, really, unable to leave their computers for too long so she asked me to pull a chart for her.

I had just put down the pile I had been carrying and was at a good stopping place so it was a welcome distraction.

She gave me the name which, for the sake of HIPAA rules, was ‘Barney Rubble’.  I was in the vicinity of his chart, so I found the it, handed it to her without a pause and headed back to my pull list.

When I glanced at the next name on my list of charts to pull, I couldn’t believe what it read…

BARNEY RUBBLE

Exactly the chart I had just given away…it made me laugh.

‘He will yet fill your mouth with laughter And your lips with shouting.”   Job 8:21

God always wants to make Himself known to us.

And so often it’s not in larger than life, grandiose, miraculous acts… but so subtle that we don’t even notice.

Sometimes He just wants to remind us that He’s there.

But it’s when we keep our hearts and minds centered on Him…that He reveals Himself to us, even in a chart room.

jeremiah29_13

Lent. Really?!!

ash wednesday

So, I have been challenged.

Today is “Ash Wednesday” in the Catholic religion, which kicks off the season of “Lent.”  All I remember (from my growing up years in the Catholic church) about Ash Wednesday was when I attended an Ash Wednesday service with a friend of mine while I was at college in LaCrosse.  I went up front, they schmeared some “ash” on my forehead in a cross shape…and I heard that you would pretty much go to hell if you wiped it off.

Well, I wiped it off and headed out to the bars!!  Not a terribly moving or meaningful experience, obviously.

drink
And, all I know about Lent is that you had to give something up for a set amount of time.  I never understood that.  I remember a dear friend in High school giving up caffeine one time.  That just didn’t make sense to me… why would you do that??

What’s the point?!!

I noticed people referring to Lent on Facebook.  It intrigued me.  Especially after a Christian friend of mine said something about taking part in it.  I always thought Lent was some silly thing Catholics did…that it didn’t really matter…

So I did some research of my own: Lent

“Lent, in some Christian denominations, is the forty-day-long liturgical season of fasting and prayer before Easter”

Ahhhh….

“The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the desert, where according to the Bible he endured temptation by Satan”

Hmmmm…

“The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer—through prayer, penitence, almsgiving and self-denial—for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.”

okay now I get it

Obviously, many people do not practice Lent, and see it as an obscure tradition that the Church practices without Biblical merit…but according to the Bible, Jesus told his disciples that:

“…the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.”  Matthew 9:15

So, we are to set aside time to reflect and thank our Father in Heaven for what He has done for us.  A time for us to sacrifice (whether it be large or small) so that we might be reminded, and reflect upon WHY we have been placed on this earth.

What an incredible chance to show our creator the love we have for Him!!

So, on that note…for this season of Lent…holding you all as my witnesses…I will be taking part in 40 days of sacrifice.

(Lord, please let this time go quickly by…)

I will be giving in to my own self-sacrifice and will be giving up…

Drum roll please!

diet cokeSODA!

Yeah, yeah…baby steps.

Would someone please warn McDonald’s that they won’t have to order as much Diet Coke?!!

To you, that may not seem like a big enough sacrifice…but to me, quite frankly, it’s huge!!  I am interested to see how God will use this time…how He might change me, and ultimately bring me closer to Him.

That’s what I long for, above all…

I mean it.  Have you?

You know, like the in old days…the days of the Old Testament when people literally saw or heard Him?

Let’s see, what are some ways God revealed Himself?  A burning bush, a pillar of fire & cloud, an audible voice, dreams, angels, visions, dice, plagues, the list could go on.

But have you ever seen Him today?

I want to be one of those Old Testament people.  They have it so good.  God shows up, taps them on the shoulder and tells them what He wants them to do.  No guess work.  No doubting.  He hands over the blueprints and says “Here you go.”

Man, to experience God in a way like that;

Tangibly…

Obviously…

Unmistakably…

real

 

This past week, I was driving my little VW bug on my way back to work.  It was lunch time, so there was quite a bit of traffic, plus it was snowing and the roads were pretty slick.  I was taking my time, going pretty slowly as I entered the on-ramp merging onto the West Beltline Highway, a very busy freeway here in Madison.

As I rounded the last bend before entering the freeway, the wheels caught some ice and I lost control.  My bug began spinning circles right there in the middle of the on-ramp.

There was a blur of cars passing on the beltline but I stayed watchful, undeniably expecting more traffic to enter the busy freeway with me.

None came.

I was completely alone on the on-ramp.  Not one car shared it with me as I spun out of control.

The dizzying experience came to a halt just off the shoulder as traffic flowed easily by on the beltline, but still no cars came directly past.  And at that particular on-ramp?  Unheard of.

blur cars

That same day, a community south west of Madison also experienced slide offs.  One in particular was a school bus filled with elementary age kids on its way to school, when it lost control.  The area of road that the bus slid off had a steep drop just past the shoulder.  Had the trees not been standing just beyond, allowing the bus to gently rest against them guaranteeing safety and an opportunity to evacuate, it would have undoubtedly tipped and rolled causing unimaginable injuries to its 19 young passengers.

bus

 Gosh, it’s too bad we can’t see God working so obviously in our world today.

 

A young lady from my church just had her first baby a couple weeks ago.  Complications arose after her C-section, which placed her in kidney failure, on a breathing tube, in a coma as well as an array of other ramifications.  She has made an amazingly miraculous recovery from this, but the clincher is that the doctors found she has a rare kidney disease that only an experimental drug out of Europe has been known to work against.  The catch?  She needs this medicine asap, however in order for her to receive the drug, a vaccine must be administered first which will take several weeks to arrive because the only place to get this vaccine is in Trinidad.

Interestingly enough, the youth group went on a missions trip several years ago with our church to, yes you guessed it… Trinidad.  All who went on this missions trip had to get a vaccine, this very  vaccine, in order to travel.  Including this young lady.  And because of this great fortune, the experimental drug was able to be administered NOW and she has had a practically full recovery including kidney function.

clean bill of health

Golly gee, it’s such a shame that we don’t experience God in our busy lives.

Hmmmmm…

“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”   Jeremiah 29:13

“If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.”   John 15:19

I just started a new job this week and turns out, I work with a guy that lived on my street as a kid.

He was mean.

He and his twin brother were probably 6 or 7 years older than me; an elementary school kid, while they were starting high school.  At the bus stop in the morning, they would spit on us (my sister and our other elementary school aged friends) and even one time they shoved my backpack under a passing Madison Metro city bus.

holly hobbie

That not only crushed my Holly Hobbie lunch box, and gave me a very hungry belly, but my spirit and any ounce of respect that I had for them.

They were bullies and I didn’t like them.

So when I saw his name plate at the office, I was nervous.  Realistically, I knew he was now a grown up adult and probably very different, but in the back of my mind I still remembered how he treated me.  I even heard that he “is such a nice guy,” but it didn’t matter.

The past was burned into my memory.

Of course once I did meet him again and share who I was…as well as a ribbing him a bit and letting him know he was a bully… I saw that he really was a nice guy.

But isn’t it interesting how that one instance I had with him, granted it was over a period of years, but how it affected me?

We must be aware of how we treat others as well as the choices we make; the words we use, songs we listen to, movies we watch, what we stand for and how we live.  People are watching and are very much affected by our actions and as Christians we may just be the only picture of Christ or the Bible a person gets.

be careful

My husband, Jax, was considered a “Bible thumper” and “Jesus Freak”  in school growing up which resulted in his not having a lot of friends and, of course, endured a lot of bullying.

He used to get teased about his convictions and how he lived his life but he stayed strong and stood tall for the cause of Christ.

One classmate used to tease him the most; he would mock him and ridicule him daily, going out of his way to do things he knew Jax wouldn’t appreciate.  So when Jax, 20 years later, got a friend request from this guy on Facebook, he immediately refused it.

This friend request continued to bug Jax.  It, like the bully himself, seemed to pop up daily and Jax would see it over and over and over again.  So finally, he accepted it and braced for the onslaught which certainly followed.

This guy, this bully, who literally made high school a living Hell for Jax now approached him humbly and sorrowfully.  He apologized for how he treated Jax and admitted that had he only listened to Jax or paid attention, he would’ve avoided a lot of heart ache and bad choices in his life.

The most astounding thing he shared was that since high school, and the influence Jax had on him, he accepted Christ as his Savior, got married, has 7 or 8 kids and is now the pastor of a Bible believing church.

stand strong

God tells us that we will be persecuted, we will be attacked.  Stand strong.  God needs us to be His hands, His feet, His hugs and His heart.  He will use you.

“But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me.”   John 15:21

“You will be hated by all because of My name, but it is the one who has endured to the end who will be saved.”   Matthew 10:22

 

I just started reading the book of Exodus which stars a doubting, excuse making, sign wanting example of human kind.

Charlton Heston as Moses

Moses.

Surprised??  The greatest Jewish leader… the law giver… a screw up?

He’s such a mess, not that you would know it by how people refer to him;

“In prophetic power, spiritual insight, and leadership qualifications, Moses ranks with the mightiest men who ever lived…”  Answers.com

but he is and I totally “get” him.  I love this guy!  His heart is in the right place; he longs to serve God and willing, in his mind, to serve God without reservation…but when it’s time to put the pedal to the metal he totally chokes.

I Totally Get You

GOD: “Yo, Moses!”
Moses: “Sup?”

I’m paraphrasing a bit…but what a great response!  Moses is there, willing, waiting for his assignment…heart racing, pulse quickening, excited and eager to do whatever God asks, totally committed…  (Exodus 3:4)

GOD: “Time to for you to go get my peeps.”
Moses: “Uhhhhh…”

Until he starts thinking about it…go in front of Pharaoh after all that has happened?  NO WAY! But God’s right there encouraging and reassuring… (Exodus 3:11-12)

GOD: “You got this.”
Moses:  “Yeah, but…”

Moses starts making excuses, and God makes it real easy for him… (Exodus 3:13-22)

GOD: “Ok, this is how it’s gonna’ go down”
Moses:  “But, what if…”
GOD: “Here, I’ll work a little magic.”
Moses: “Eh.  Y’know, I don’t talk too good…”
GOD: “I’ve got your back.”
Moses: “Nah.  Hey look, there’s Aaron!”   (Exodus 4:1-13)

Really?!!

God tells Moses EXACTLY what’s going to happen!  Down to the very words he should say!  How awesome would that be?

tell me what to do

“Ok Nicole, here’s my plan for you.  You’ll meet your husband at 22, get married and have 4 kids and their names are… You’ll stay at home to raise them and your husband will go back to school.  He will lose his job for a time but don’t worry I’ll take care of you.  Then when he starts working again, I’ll remove that job as well…but have no fear, I am with you.  You’ll work at a dental office for a time and then I’ll provide another job for him and you will return home…”

I am such an old testament girl at heart.  To have a burning bush, or pillar of cloud?  That would be great!!  What I would give to know God’s plan for me!!  But what an example God has given us in His Word!  Moses the skeptic, the doubter…considered to be a great man of God.

There is hope for all of us!  the weak

God gave each of us gifts and talents (ok, some very much more than others) and even weaknesses to use for His glory, for His purpose.  Your stutter?  Your bashfulness?  Your big nose?  Your lack of will-power?

Yes.

It’s to reveal His power, not yours.

Next time God asks you to do something, even if it seems crazy, even if it’s something you know someone else could do better… take a breath, give Him your trust, give him your heart and offer…

“How can I use these abilities, strengths and weaknesses You’ve given me to bring You glory?”

 

 

Isn’t it so like us to notice God’s work in our lives and not say anything?

Not give God the glory?  Only think of ourselves??

Selfish Portrait

As I began to read the story of Joseph yesterday morning (see Daily Bible walk: Day 18), I saw clearly the similarity of the sinful and selfish human mind.  How easily we focus on ourselves.

Joseph interpreted the dreams of the King’s servants – fellow prisoners.  When he did, even before it all came to fruition, Joseph asked the cupbearer to remember him…

“Only keep me in mind when it goes well with you, and please do me a kindness by mentioning me to Pharaoh and get me out of this house.”   Genesis 40:14

But what happened?

“Thus it came about on the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief cupbearer and the head of the chief baker among his servants. He restored the chief cupbearer to his office, and he put the cup into Pharaoh’s hand; but he hanged the chief baker, just as Joseph had interpreted to them. Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him.”   Genesis 40:20-23

The cupbearer just witnessed a miracle!  God allowed Joseph to accurately predict/interpret his and the baker’s dreams.  To the T!  Every detail was correct…but the cupbearer forgot him, focusing only on himself.

As I read that unbelievable story of egocentricity, I felt led to post something about it.  About the selfishness of man; how we so easily place ourselves before God, in place of God.

But as I continued reading, God grabbed my attention…

shoulder tap

“No, that’s not what I want you to learn from this.” He said.

Ok, so I didn’t hear Him audibly… but I couldn’t miss His obvious shoulder tap.

Joseph was forgotten because God closed the mind of the cupbearer.

God needed Joseph to wait.  To be “forgotten” for two years by the cupbearer in order for God to put everything in place; for Joseph to live up to the potential God had for him and to accomplish all God intended for his life.

Joseph was 30 when he entered into the service of Pharaoh.  That’s 13 years since being sold into slavery by his brothers and the Bible doesn’t indicate that God ever spoke to Joseph during that time.  Sure, God poured out His favor and blessing onto Joseph but even so…how much of that time did Joseph feel forgotten by God and question God’s plan for him?

alone

Do you feel alone?  Forgotten?
Do you feel like God doesn’t care, that He’s isn’t around?
He may just be asking you to wait.

His perfect plan for your life isn’t fully in place yet.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”   Philippians 1:6

God's plan

 

Related articles:
What’s the rush?  Waiting and listening.   (mrandmrslopez.wordpress.com)
When God’s Timing is Taking Too Long   (joycemeyer.org)
God’s Plan is Better   (aubreymarieblog.com)
Daily Bible walk: Day 18   (ispygod.net)

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