Tag Archive: faith


“Now the angel of the Lord came… while Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, ‘The Lord is with you, O mighty man of valor.’”   Judges 6:11-12

Gideon, a “mighty man of valor,” hid in a winepress to avoid the Midianites.  He knew that the Lord was with the people of Israel, but questioned God’s plan for them to defeat the Midianites after years of oppression.

God told Gideon to “Go.”

Gideon responded, “But…”

God reassured Gideon, “This is my plan.”

Gideon said “Prove it…”

Not that the whole talking to an angel thing isn’t proof enough, I suppose… but God gave Gideon proof:

“‘Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and put them on this rock, and pour the broth over them.’ And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord reached out the tip of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes…”   Judges 6:20-21

That sounds so familiar.  God calls me to write and in response I question Him; Is this really Your plan or my own pipe dream? God assures me, but I want a sign.  Echoing Gideon I pray; “Show me that it’s You, Lord.”

… And Gideon said, ‘Alas, O Lord God! For now I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.’ But the Lord said to him, ‘Peace be to you. Do not fear…’”   Judges 6:22-23

And like Gideon, God reassured me and gave me peace, so I responded in faith trusting that this was His plan and signed up for the She Speaks writer’s conference.

However once I registered, I realized there was a very short window of time available to raise nearly $1000 to attend this conference; an exorbitant amount of money.

And like Gideon, I began to doubt.

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.’ And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water.”   Judges 6:36-38

God provided 70% of the funds needed in a very short amount of time, but echoing Gideon again, although I could clearly see God providing and reassuring, I wanted another sign.

“Then Gideon said to God, ‘Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.’ And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.”   Judges 6:39-40

Like Gideon, I was much more certain of the calling God had given me, but a balance of $278 lingered for weeks and the due date quickly approached.

“…the Lord said to him, ‘Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. But if you are afraid, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.’”   Judges 7:9-11a

Like Gideon, God sent friends and even strangers to validate His plan for me; verifying the gift He gave me to write, offering thankful praise of God touching their lives through my writing, and reassuring me that He would provide.

One friend continually told me, “God loves the 11th hour.”  Although I knew she was trying to reassure me, I didn’t want to hear that.  I wanted God to provide NOW so I didn’t have to worry, and in those last few days leading up to the due date, I continually focused on that $278 and questioned how God would provide.

In true God form, as He provided in Gideon’s “11th hour,” He answered that ridiculous question in mine.

The very morning the final $278 was due; I woke and prayed for God to miraculously provide, thinking perhaps God wanted me to give the remaining balance myself.  I was absolutely happy to but wasn’t sure how that would happen because we didn’t have it and wouldn’t at least until my final paycheck on Friday, still 3 days away.

A couple hours later a friend came over to visit, and although she had come to look at some items I was trying to sell, I knew if she bought them it would only be a small portion to put toward my $278.  We had a wonderful visit, she and her husband stayed much of the afternoon and we shared wonderful conversation and laughs.

As my friend got ready to leave and her husband was writing out a check for $70 for the items she purchased, she asked for a drink of water, which apparently was a decoy, and when I left the room she and her husband answered God’s call to give toward my scholarship fund.  When I returned and handed her the bottle of water, she said:

“I’m going to pay you $100 for this bottle of water,” and handed me a check in the amount of $170.

I was in shock, awe, and tears at the incredible selfless generosity this couple showed me, and at God’s provision.

But God was far from finished.  Shortly after they left, I spoke to another friend on the phone who told me she had planned to give money toward my fund but had forgotten, and would give me $100 the following day.  And, at that exact moment I received an email from another friend who said she also wanted to contribute.

”As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has given the host of Midian into your hand.”   Judges 7:15

Now tell me, how many times does God have to prove His faithfulness to me?  How many times do I have to read stories from His Word to remind me of His love and provision?  How many times do I have to see Him work in the little things?

What about you?

“Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?”   Matthew 8:26a

Apparently, just one more…

Oh Lord, please forgive me for my doubt.  I praise you for your forgiveness, understanding, patience, and provision, and am in awe and thank you so much for how you work.

I serve an absolutely amazing God.

Have you ever questioned God’s plan for your life?  That, like Moses, perhaps He’s got the wrong guy?

“But he said, ‘Oh, my Lord, please send someone else.'”   Exodus 4:13

That He should use someone who is smarter, speaks more eloquently, is more qualified, more prepared, has more money…

God’s Word tells us that He does not make mistakes.

Ever.

He knew your every moment even before He formed you in the womb.
“My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”   Psalm 139:15-16
He chose you and takes great joy in you.
“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”   Zephaniah 3:17
He chose you for a specific purpose.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”   Jeremiah 29:11

He will see you through.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”   Philippians 1:6

Breath of Heaven was written as “Mary’s song” but it applies to all of us who have doubts that we can live up to God’s plan for our lives…

Breath of Heaven – Amy Grant

I am waiting in a silent prayer.
I am frightened by the load I bear.
In a world as cold as stone,
Must I walk this path alone?
Be with me now.
Be with me now.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together
Be forever near me, breath of Heaven
Breath of Heaven, lighten my darkness
Pour over me Your holiness for You are holy
Breath of Heaven

Do you wonder as you watch my face
If a wiser one should have had my place?
But I offer all I am
For the mercy of Your plan
Help me be strong, help me be
Help me

I am blown away.  My blog, these measly, amateur scribblings of how I see God working in my life, was mentioned yesterday in a Lovebug‘s take of her most favorite blogs to flutter to!  I am absolutely humbled and in awe.

Not an hour before, I wondered if God really wanted me to write. I have been trying to raise money to attend a writer’s conference for several months now.  God has helped me raise nearly 70% of the total funds needed, but the $300 still left to pay is due next Tuesday.

{gulp.}

Then I got news that the flexible spending account I had through my employer had been canceled and I no longer qualify for the program because my hours at work have been significantly reduced.  Due to this sudden change, any funds I put toward my account have been forfeited, and now any chiropractic, optical, or major dental work will have to be paid out of pocket.  An expense that was surely not planned or expected.

{gulp.}

That was it…I lost it.  All the money I’ve been putting into that account from my paycheck, money we could’ve used for groceries, gas, lots of other needs, was gone.  I began thinking that perhaps this is God telling me He doesn’t want me to go to the conference after all, especially when it’s going to cost even more money just to travel there, when we could be using that money for better purposes…instead of me chasing a crazy dream.

I voiced my concern to a friend of mine when God reassured me through her response: “The Benny card has nothing to do with the conference.  God knew this would happen and He knows how you will get to the conference.  It will just make it more awesome!”

Then, God placed a beautiful reminder on another friend’s Facebook page:

Then, a Lovebug’s encouragement in her post Hey all You Bloggers…: “I have met some awesome bloggers and it still amazes me with all the wonderful things I read and come across.”  She even mentioned that my blog was her “inspiration dosage.”

Unbelievable.

It is amazing how God works in our lives. How just at the right time He sends a word of encouragement through a friend,

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”   Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

unveils His artistry in a sunset,

comforts us in a hug,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”   Psalm 46:1b

reveals His power in a storm,

smiles as we enjoy a warm cup of coffee,

“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”   John 15:11

uncovers His creativity in a flower,

and laughs when we finally understand and are in shock and awe of His amazing love, provision, and grace.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”   James 1:17

I love writing, receive great joy in it, and would absolutely be satisfied to just write my prayers and share my silly little stories with my family and friends.

But I pray that God uses the stories He gives me to allow even one person to see Him in a new light; that His amazing love is revealed, that eyes are opened to the truth of His Word, that He is seen as colorfully and amazing as I see Him, and that He receives all the glory from it.

“He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.”   Daniel 2:21-22

What a day!

So I had started a totally different post this morning, then quickly ran out of time (I Spy God #1) so I saved what I wrote as a draft then planned to pen more when I got home from work.

Well here I am again, but not working on the original draft.  I guess I will work on that another day.  I just HAD to tell you what happened today…and even after all of the awesome things God has done for me the past couple days!!

LOVE IT!!

So, I didn’t pack a lunch this morning when I left for work.  Ok, I took an apple because that’s about all we have.  We do have some oranges (which are for my hubby…I am NOT a fan) or we have pickles, (which I AM a fan but didn’t want to put them in a baggie)…

You remember those days when your Mom sent a dill pickle or an egg salad sandwich in your lunch and EVERYONE knew it was yours because the smell penetrated your locker, followed you all the way to the cafeteria, and most likely the pickle leaked and your lunch bag was now soaked along with the bread holding your egg salad.

It’s 30 years later, and I still was NOT going there.

So off I went.  I was sort of bummed when I got to work and noticed that the conference room light wasn’t on.  When the conference room light is on, that is the indication that someone brought goodies to share with the office, and the feast is at hand!!  It brings a whole new meaning to “We’ll leave the light on for ya’.”

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Like, yesterday, when there were veggies and dip, and some yummy cookies…it was quite a blessing because I didn’t bring a lunch then either!  🙂  (I Spy God #2)

“Oh well,” I thought.  There’s not always something brought in, and at least I brought an apple.

About half an hour later, a co-worker came in and asked if I had gotten a doughnut yet.  A DOUGHNUT?!!  Apparently someone had brought something in, but didn’t turn the light on!!

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SWEET!!  (I Spy God #3)

As I praised God for providing, AGAIN, I began wondering how we were going to provide snacks for small group tonight.  I thought I had a cookie mix of some sort in the cupboard, and maybe we had some popcorn… but all I knew was God would work it out.

“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’”   Matthew 6:31

Around lunch time I checked my phone and there was a message from one of the couples who are part of our small group, and it said:

“Was wondering when someone will be home.  Would like to drop off the water and a few other items.”

I told her I would be home by 3:00.

“Cool – I’ll stop by about 3:30ish.  I have water, cookies, crackers, cheese cubes and some pretzels.”

“…for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”   Matthew 6:8

UNBELIEVABLE!! (I Spy God #4)

My God is AMAZING, is ALWAYS working, and wants you to notice Him in your life too!!

So often I have people tell me that God doesn’t work in their lives the way He works in mine.

To that, I disagree.  God works in all of our lives and wants to get all of our attention, we just need to be willing to look and to give Him the credit!!

Next time, when something happens in your life and you think, “isn’t it cool how that worked itself out?”  Well, maybe it’s not just coincidence or good timing…maybe someone’s trying to get your attention!!

“Lord, give me eyes to see you working in my life and during my day.  Please make your presence known and don’t let me take You for granted!!

I Spy little faith

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“For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”   Matthew 17:20

As most of you know I have registered for the She Speaks conference in July… a writer’s conference to help me (hopefully) be more effective with the stories God has given me to share, as well as guide my next steps in this calling (and amazing gift) I feel God has given me.

I’ve been stressing a bit because my financial support is not where I had hoped, three weeks before the due date of May 15th

{gulp…}

Plus, my job has been essentially phased out, so that financial reduction is not going to… y’know, make things easier.  So I decided I need to be proactive and host a Pampered Chef fundraising show.  Unfortunately because of the time constraints, and getting the scholarship money raised to She Speaks before May 15th, the only date available for the show would be THIS Friday.

{again, gulp!!}   Yeah, I’ve got a week.

So, like Noah, I got to work.  I sent out a BOAT-load (heehee) of emails and Facebook invites on Sunday hoping God will do something amazing this week.

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“By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.”   Hebrews 11:7

Shocker, He has already begun answering that prayer.

“But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”   James 1:6

I received two separate, yet nearly identical, messages Sunday night from two wonderful friends saying:

“I received your invite for the Pampered Chef fundraiser. I have to be honest though; I can’t cook worth a darn, and have so much expensive Pampered Chef stuff that rarely gets used. I would be happy to help you achieve your monetary goal though. If you would like, I could send you a check directly.”

I was blown away.

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6

I was in high spirits heading to work on Monday, armed with catalogs and fliers to hand out at work, and immediately a couple co-workers approached me and said they wanted to place orders.

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.”   Jeremiah 17:7

Then, my boss approached me and said:

“The doctors said that you can work two more weeks.”

{gulp.}

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”   Matthew 6:34

I took a deep breath, figured God had a plan, and am thankful for another two weeks of work…so I’ll make the best of my time.

When I got home and checked my email, I got a message indicating that another dear friend had already placed a significant order on Pampered Chef’s website…

“… your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”   Matthew 6:8

Then Jax called.  He got news that the company he has been contracting for has gotten approval to hire two contractors into full time positions, and Jax has been encouraged to apply.  Although we’ll have to wait for the final word next week, God is orchestrating all of this, and I praise Him for what He will do!!

“At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.”   Psalm 69:13

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Sometimes bad things happen.

The Bible says:  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28

Which isn’t a lot of comfort for those going through the difficult time, I’m sure.  How can a terminal illness, the loss of a parent or a child, the loss of a job, all possibly be good?!

We, as sinful creatures, can’t see the big picture.  We can’t see God’s plan and therefore can’t see the outcome of this tragedy.

“then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. However much man may toil in seeking, he will not find it out. Even though a wise man claims to know, he cannot find it out.”   Ecclesiastes 8:17

About a year ago, the daughter of a woman I work with was pregnant with twins.  They knew fairly early on in the pregnancy that one of the babies was healthy and developing well, while the other was not.  Both babies were alive, Mom could feel them both in her belly, but she and Dad knew that within moments of giving birth, the most joyous of occasions, they would be planning the future for one and a funeral for the other.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”   Psalm 139:13-16

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Zoe and Jude were born, Zoe weighed around six pounds and Jude around four.  Both were beautiful babies and on the outside looked perfect, but baby Jude was unable to breathe on his own and within minutes Mom and Dad watched in horror as he gasped for his last breath.

“Why?”  They asked.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”   Ecclesiastes 11:5

At home, Zoe and Mom are doing well although she struggles with the loss of Jude of course, but has absolutely taken to being a mom and loves it.

“Why?”  They still ask… but Grandma, the woman I work with, has been given insight and can see the blessing through this tragedy;

  • Had Jude died in the womb, it could have caused severe complications both to Zoe and Mom
  • They were all allowed time with Jude alive, albeit a short amount, but they were able to hold him and to pour their love into those moments they were blessed with him.

“Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ To him be glory forever. Amen.”   Romans 11:33-34,36b

About 20 years ago now, God called Jax’s mom home after her battle with cancer.  She had two daughters married with families of their own, Jax was in college, and her youngest daughter was in middle school.

I’m sure none of them thought it was a good thing to lose their mother, but through it God has been glorified;

  • Her sisters came to know Christ after seeing the peace God had given her family through this tragedy
  • Her children are able to empathize with and minister to others so young dealing with the loss of a parent
  • Jax returned home to be with his dad, now that he was alone, therefore Jax and I met
  • I came to know Christ after meeting Jax, as well as countless others since… including our own children

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”   Romans 5:3-5

We will never know God’s plans this side of heaven, but we do know that all things happen for the good of His Kingdom, for His glory, and to draw us into a closer relationship with Him.

One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city.
The rabbi watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback
suddenly attacked the town, killing innocent men, women, and children.
Some of the slaughtered were his own disciples.
Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: “Oh, if only I were God.”
An astonished student, standing nearby, asked
“But, Master,  if you were God, what would you do differently?”
The rabbi replied:  “If I were God I would do nothing differently.
If I were God, I would understand.”

~ As told by Joanna Laufer and Kenneth S. Lewis in Inspired (New York: Doubleday, 1998), 5.

I Spy allegiance

Men and women for centuries have given their lives for their love of this country and for our freedom.  We are so grateful for the price they have paid allowing us the privilege to live in a free country with no fear and opportunity abundant.

That is why we pledge our allegiance to Old Glory…to our flag of 50 stars and 13 stripes, and why we feel pride when we sing out, hand over hearts, to the “Star Spangled Banner.”  We know what has been sacrificed, are inspired by the love and price that has been paid, and are impelled to stay faithful to it.

What does it mean to pledge allegiance to something?

pledge      noun       \ˈplej\
Definition of PLEDGE:  a binding promise or agreement to do or forbear
 
al·le·giance       noun        \ə-ˈlē-jən(t)s\
Definition of ALLEGIANCE
1 (1) : the fidelity owed by a subject or citizen to a sovereign or government 
   (2) : the obligation of an alien to the government under which the alien resides
2 : devotion or loyalty to a person, group, or cause

As Americans we respect the price that was paid, we love and are proud to be part of this incredible country, and are devoted to support it… but as Christians, do we show the same respect, love and devotion to the One star and His stripes?

 

We have an obligation to support it…

“Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”   Mark 12:17

        

We should be loyal to it…

“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”   1 Peter 2:17

          

Show we are proud of it…

“But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.”   2 Timothy 1:12

           

Show our devotion to it…

“Pay to all what is owed to them: …respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”   Romans 13:7

           

Stand up for it…

“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.”   Titus 2:7-8

          

Understand what has been sacrificed for us…

“Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”  John 15:13

         

There is a song that gets me every time I hear it.  I love the message because it is exactly how I feel about my relationship with Christ;

“It ought to be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance

Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling, oh
It’s like I’m falling in love

It’s like I’m falling in love, love, love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made
Me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me”

“More Like Falling In Love”  – Jason Gray

I love this country, and am so thankful and blessed to live here.  But the love I have for this country does not compare to the love I have for my Savior.  One day this country will fall from my eyes and the only thing that will matter is the One standing before me.

And like most people, I long to hear those words…

“Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”   Matthew 25:21

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