Grace in the Little Things

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How often have you heard, “God cares about every detail of our lives,” ?  Or, “If it matters to you, it matters to Him,” ?

I’ve heard it a thousand times.  And I believed it.  But, God has a sense of humor, and a perfect sense of timing.

Currently, my minivan is on the fritz – the transmission is out (YAY….not!).  So, I’ve been driving our old F350 – I really do like to drive it, though you don’t exactly zip around town in a crew cab long bed 1 ton truck!  Anyway, the front passenger window was rolled down but wouldn’t go back up (the windows are electric, and there are also two other windows that will not roll up completely).  So, while at home, we’ve kept the windows covered to keep the rain out (what rain, you ask?  ha ha).  However, when I drive around town, I don’t like to look too much like a backwoods hillbilly, so off the covers come until I get home – you can imagine that I tend to stay home if it’s raining!

Well, a few days ago, I had to go buy groceries.  Thankfully, no rain – and it was a beautiful day!  So, off came the ugly black covers on the back windows, and off came the florescent orange cover on the front window!  I drove into town, and asked God quickly, again, to please roll that window up.

Now, let me interject here that I have ‘asked’ for that window to be rolled up several times before.  “God, will you PUH-LEEZE roll the stupid window up?”  Sounds heartfelt and very Christian-like, huh?  If I were God, I would have ignored my request, too.  Much, in fact, the way I ignore the requests of MY children when they whine, or don’t use a respectful tone.

But, the day was wonderfully cool and the sun was shining, and somehow, God had used those things to change my attitude.   I asked Him to please roll it up, tried the switch, and nothing happened.  So, I paused for a minute.

(As a quick side note, I don’t know about you, but I always do my BEST praying in the car by myself.)

I told God that I knew He did care about the little things in our lives.  I knew He could roll the window up that instant, if He so chose.  But, if not, would He just protect my truck while I was inside Wal-Mart buying groceries?  Either way, it was up to Him, and I was going to be happy either way.

I left the switch alone.

A few minutes later, for reasons I can’t explain other than the Lord, Himself, caused me to, I pushed the switch to close the window.  It rolled up smoothly, without a glitch, perfectly!  As if nothing had ever been wrong.

I laughed at my stubbornness in previous prayers – how I sounded like a spoiled, whiny child!  I told my husband what had happened and he, too, thought it awesome.  I told him the story of how I had “prayed” for that window before, and he said, “But did you really think He would do it?”

“Shutup,” was all I said, laughing and jokingly, of course.

So, my question for you is, when you pray for something, are you like a whiny, spoiled child who just wants to have his/her way?  Or are you praying truly asking the Lord for His covering, His protection, His will, and His timing?  And more importantly, are you trusting Him to answer?

The truth is that the little things can teach us so much about God, and ourselves.  There are so many lessons for me in this little story about the window that wouldn’t roll up.  How many can you see for yourself?

Facts don’t change…but the outcome can

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The facts are in. They cannot be disputed. They cannot be changed. Deal with it.

Obama is President.

It is not what we, as Bible-believing Christians, wanted, but it is a truth.

He is making unprecedented changes in record time – much to the disapproval of conservatives everywhere.

We knew it would happen. We knew he was going to go for the biggest change – and he promised the very changes he is making. And then some.

An assault has begun, nay, been stepped up, on the very fabric of American freedom and foundation.

Again, those who listened to his campaign rhetoric, knew what was coming.

Nope. We can’t change what happened. We warned everyone we could think of that an Obama presidency would mean disaster for families, conservative values, and sanctity of life preservation. But, when the votes were tallied, he won. And, since then, many of us have done nothing but complain.

Now, I am not in any way suggesting that we should stop fighting Obama – on the contrary, we should scrutinize his every move, and make a phone call if he does anything in the direction of a liberalistic ideal. We should fight for our every right as we still have them – and fight to get back any we lose along the way.

However, more even than fighting the President, we should take action where we live! How? Support organizations which uphold the values and principles we stand behind. Prayerfully and financially (along with volunteer efforts, etc.) support organizations such as the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), Focus on the Family, etc., which fight for these things everyday – often with more pull than a single individual can muster.  Instead of arguing across the fence about our right to keep and bear arms, join the NRA!  When there is an opportunity to have your voice heard, don’t sit at home and say, “I just can’t believe what those {goofy} liberals are doing now!  When will it stop?”  Get up, get out, and get going!  Stand in front of an abortion clinic.  Talk to women who are considering one and offer CHRISTIAN advice.  Do something!

But there are more opportunities: volunteer at your local pregnancy help center to help prevent abortion in unwanted pregnancies, volunteer at local soup kitchens, encourage your church to have a more active and widespread outreach ministry, pray for our leader.

God never intended for Christians to be spectators – LIFE is not a spectator sport! Nor are we meant to be mere commentators! He never wanted us to sit around bickering and complaining about things we cannot change. He did mean for us to reach out to make a difference. He did mean for us to find ways to serve the downtrodden in society. After all, isn’t that where Jesus spent the majority of His own time?

So while we do need to stay abreast of what is happening here on our own soil, in the White House Oval Office, and abroad, we cannot let it dictate our mood or attitude any longer. If we do, our words will be ineffective because there will be no action to speak of.

I encourage everyone reading this to find at least one way each week you can make a difference: write to your senator/congressman/woman, etc., volunteer, support a worthy cause, etc. Do something to promote worthy “change” – not just moan about the bad.

Your voice can make a difference

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The following is a link to a page on the ChinaAid website.  China is notorious for persecution against Christians; however, sometimes God blesses those fellow brothers and sisters in Christ with early release, better treatment, etc., due to an outpouring of concern from the international community.

Help bring justice to Shuang and her family

This elderly couple is facing a death – the husband lay dying in the hospital clinging to the hope that he will once again see his wife before he goes to be with his Savior.  Sadly, his wife is in a Chinese prison for “damaging government property,” when her real crime is believing in Jesus Christ.

At the bottom of the page are 2 ways to help this family:

1)  Monetary donation – this will help ChinaAid with supplies such as food, clothing, etc., that is much needed by families affected by persecution in China…

2)  Write emails.  Chinese officials feel pressure already due to the outcry of Christians around the world.  If they are bombarded with emails insisting they let Shuang Shuying free, there is an amazing chance that God will cause them to do just that.

In this case, writing those emails may be even more effective immediately due to the impending death of Shuang’s husband, Hua Zaichen.  I urge you to get involved – TAKE ACTION!  Christians were never intended to be idle bystanders, watching from the sidelines!  We are intended to be victorious!  God reveals His glory through our obedience!   It will only take a few minutes out of your day.  They need only be short, polite emails insisting on Shuang’s immediate release from prison.

So, go write some emails. 

 

What are you still doing here?

The Name Game

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From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1594:

JULIET:
      ‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
      Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
      What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
      Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
      Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
      What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet;
      So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
      Retain that dear perfection which he owes
      Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
      And for that name which is no part of thee
      Take all myself.

Although I’m taking this a bit out of context, Shakespeare’s intended meaning is the same:  Juliet meant that it doesn’t matter what name we give to something, it remains the same.  Think about it:  does a rose smell any different if I call it garlic?  Nope.  Still smells delicious – just with a different name.

As it is with a lie.  Still reeks, just with a different label.

A lie is a lie regardless of the packaging.  It’s sort of like being given the most hideous gift ever, something truly revolting, in a beautiful package trimmed with bows, ribbons, exquisite wrapping and a lovely gift card with real gold lettering.  The package itself does not make the gift any less revolting.  In fact, it makes it worse because you expect something fabulous, and instead, get…..horrific.

In our society, we have given way to “New Age” beliefs, numerology, scientology, kabbala (sp?), hinduism, buddhism, islam, athiesm, homosexuality, abortion on demand, success-oriented churches, astrology, etc.    And in doing these things, we heap lie upon lie.

Satan, the author of lies and confusion, loves it.  He doesn’t really care what we call his lies as long as we believe them.  But the fact remains, it is still a lie.  It doesn’t matter what name we give the religion or agenda, if it is contrary to the Word of God, it is a lie.  Regardless of the name.

 

 

Everything happens for a reason….but whose reason is it?

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I know someone who is very fond of saying, “Everything happens for a reason,” meaning that everything that happens is supposed  to happen.   It’s actually a fatalistic view of the world, of course – depending on who says it.

You see, when a Christian says, “Everything happens for a reason,” what he or she means is that the Lord can use anything for the good of His Kingdom.  However, the actual statement, is somewhat faulty.  Let’s examine.

God is in complete control – period.  However, BECAUSE He allows us free will, things happen everyday that are outside the will of God.  For instance:  adultery, murder, homosexuality, unwed mothers, theft, idolatry, gossip, etc., are ALL outside the will of God.   God CAN use those experiences for good, but that is because He can REDEEM a situation – NOT because He condones it.

The things that happened in my past – wait, let me rephrase – the things that I did in my past are there because I chose to do them – NOT because God wanted me to do them, or to have those experiences.  Quite the contrary – had I lived within His will for my whole life, I would have been spared much of the pain of the guilt of sin.  But, I chose my own way for a season.  Some would say, “Everything happens for a reason.”  But, whose reason is it?

The truth is, the things that happened in my past happened for my reasons.  They were what I wanted.  They were not what God had planned for my life.  He knew it would happen.  He allowed it to happen.  And in his infinite grace and wisdom, He chose to REDEEM my life IN SPITE OF WHAT I DID.

That’s the key – in spite of me.  God redeemed my life, saved my soul, and gave me hope not because of me, but in spite of me

God calls us to obedience, and through obedience, He can bless us.  But when we are disobedient, He sometimes allows us to feel the sting of the consequences of our actions so that we can learn a lesson for next time. 

Regardless, we serve a God who is in the Miracle Making Business.  In fact, He has a monopoly on the market.  So, when the world condemns a situation, God can redeem it for His purposes.  This is evidenced by Romans 8:28 which says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  In my KJV Bible, the word His is italicized.  Emphasized.  Special.  It is THE word to take note of in this verse – HIS purpose. 

So, yes, in a sense, I guess everything happens for a reason.  But, we need to be very careful in placing the blame of reason where it rightly belongs.  Did it happen because God supernaturally caused it to happen (and He can!)?  Or, did it happen because we were living outside the will of God and ignored His laws and precepts?

Bible Reading Challenge wk of 1/19-25/09

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Here’s your weekly reading schedule:

Mon:  Gen 45-46        Matt 13:1-36

Tues:  Gen 47-48        Matt 13:37-58

Wed:  Gen 49-50        Matt 14

Thurs:   Exodus 1-3        Matt 15:1-20

Fri:  Exodus 4-6        Matt 15:21-39

Sat:  Exodus 7-9        Matt 16

Sun:  Exodus 10-12        Matt 17

Ok, gang….we’ve read through Genesis….what’d you think?  It is SO hard to pick a favorite story!  One of mine is when the Lord told Abraham that Sarah would have a child and Sarah laughed…lol.  I like what happened next!

What about you?

What It Takes to be No. 1

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Winning is not a sometime thing, it’s an all time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing. There is no room for second place. There is only one place in my game, and that’s first place. I have finished second place twice in my time at Green Bay, and I don’t ever want to finish second again. There is a second place bowl game, but it is a game for losers played by losers. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything we do, and to win, and to win, and to win.Every time a football player goes to ply his trade he’s got to play from the ground up – from the soles of his feet right up to his head. Every inch of him has to play. Some guys play with their heads. That’s ok. You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party, or a business. The principles are the same. The object is to win – to beat the other guy. Maybe that sounds hard or cruel. I don’t think it is.

It is a reality of life that men are competitive and the most competitive games draw the most competitive men. That’s why they are there – to compete. To know the rules and objectives when they get in the game. The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

And in truth, I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and the harsh reality of head to head combat.

I don’t say these things because I believe in the “brute” nature of man or that men must be brutalized to be combative. I believe in God, and I believe in human decency. But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour – his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear – is that moment when he has to work his heart out in a good cause and he’s exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

 

 

– Vincent Lombardi

When was the last time you were “exhausted on the field of battle” in the name of Christ?  Victorious in winning souls and proclaiming His truths?  Do what it takes to be number 1 in the eyes of the Lord today – not the eyes of man.

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