The God of Impossible Situations (+ FREE course)

Hello.  If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how God uses seemingly insignificant people to accomplish His plans.  I was glad to find that this truth resonated with a lot of people.  Hopefully your faith was uplifted to believe that He can use you too, no matter how small you may feel in this world.  But what if you aren’t as much worried about how you can be useful as much as you see obstacles around you that seem insurmountable?  Should we ever see something as impossible?  Let’s look at some examples from God’s Word and find out what we can learn.

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Chosen by God

“If only I was more persuasive.  I’m not important enough to be able to accomplish this.  I don’t know enough about the subject.  They’ll never listen.  I trip over my own words.  Maybe someone else would be better….”  Moses came up with every excuse in Exodus 4 to try to convince God that he wasn’t the right person for the work God had chosen him for – leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  The trouble, however, didn’t lie in Moses’ mouth; it was in his ears.  He was so caught up in his own insecurities that he totally missed what God had said.  God had introduced Himself as the I AM.  It had nothing to do with Moses.  All power rested in God alone.  Although an onlooker would later see Moses leading the people out of Egypt, he was just a human representative.  The true Deliverer was God and He would be heading the mass as they moved from captivity to freedom.  The real question wasn’t whether Moses was capable, but was God?

Time after time God has chosen the weak to carry out His purposes.  He has used those who, for one reason or another, would be overlooked by the mainstream of society.  When I was in junior high, I dreaded gym class.  It didn’t matter if the sport of the week was basketball, tennis, or gymnastics.  I stunk at them all!  I have never made a lay-up.  I was equally talented at hitting the net with my tennis ball and lobbing my ball over the neighbor’s fence.  My final gymnastics grade depended on me doing a two minute routine.  I couldn’t do a decent somersault, let alone anything that resembled a cartwheel.  I’m convinced that the only reason I passed was because the teacher couldn’t handle me being in her class another painful year.

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Sweet Strawberries

Have you ever been to a pick-your-own berry farm? I never had during my 50+ years of life. Maybe five years ago, I bought a strawberry tower pot. It was a dismal flop – no berries! This year I decided to leave the growing to the experts, but still get the experience of fresh fruit.

This past week, my husband and I headed off to a local you-pick farm. As we were checking in, I could hear people around us who sounded like they do this every year. I felt like a child in a new school. Thankfully we weren’t given a lot of rules. Basically we were advised not to pick immature berries and to be careful not to crush the small plants.

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When You Can’t Ask For Prayer

We were racing down the runway towards liftoff, but something wasn’t quite right.  I don’t know much about planes, but I’d never felt shaking like this on any other flight I’d been on.  It felt more like I was in a truck speeding down a pot-holed dirt road than in a modern jet on a smooth runway.  I found myself clutching the arm rests with my sweaty hands while I desperately tried to see past the plane wing that was blocking my view of the ground.  What was going on?  To my relief, we finally left both the ground and the shaking behind. I continued to hold my breath as we banked into a turn, but when we leveled off and seemed no worse for the vibrations, I started to ease into normal breathing and loosened my grip.  My respite was short-lived.  The pilot’s voice came over the PA system.  He acknowledged that the sensation we’d all felt was due to a malfunction.  The tread on one of the plane’s tires had been lost.  We would continue on to our intended destination where emergency crews would be waiting to assist our landing and the process of getting to our gate.

So many thoughts were going through my mind.  Shouldn’t we turn around?  I nixed that idea, as it would still involve landing on our problematic tire.  What would happen when we landed?  Would the pilot lose control and careen off the runway?  Would the friction cause a fire?  Maybe the plane would flip over.  I quickly counted the rows to the nearest exit and squeezed the hand of my son, who was sitting next to me.

The strange thing is that no one else around me seemed to have any concern.  There were no cries, no whispers. I couldn’t even identify a panicked glance.  Everyone continued on like it was a normal flight.  The attendants served drinks.  People watched movies.  Others read books.  Was I the only one that was worried?

I realized that my fears were not productive.  Each dire possibility that entered my mind just fueled my anxiety.  I couldn’t do anything anyway.  Or could I?  I decided that it would be more constructive to use my energy to pray.  I prayed that God would protect us.  I reminded myself that He had complete control over everything that was happening.  I didn’t claim to know His purposes, but I knew whatever way this story ended, His will was perfect.    I can’t say I prayed once and then left it with God.  I prayed, prayed again, and prayed some more.  Every time the fears would well up in my mind, I’d pray again.

I so wanted to call my parents to ask them to pray for us.  They’ve been such faithful prayer partners for years.  They’ve prayed for me in so many different instances and I knew they wouldn’t hesitate to pray intensely at this time.  I reasoned that, although I couldn’t call my dad and mom while in the air, maybe I could send off a quick email alert.  I’ve never tried to email anyone while I was flying.  I tried to figure out how to connect to wifi, but had no success.  I asked my son about using data, but he was sure it wouldn’t work.  I tried anyway.  It didn’t work.  I was so frustrated.  I needed people to pray, but there was no way to ask for them to do it.

What about you?  Have you had a situation that you desperately felt needed collective prayer, but were unable to ask for it?  Maybe, like me, you were some place that prevented contact with those who could have prayed for you.  Maybe you even now have a situation that is too personal to tell anyone about.  Whatever the reason for it, I think most of us have times when we feel very alone in our situation.

I’ve been thinking about Hannah in 1 Samuel.  There we read of at least two others that knew her deepest desire – to have a child.  The first was her husband, Elkanah.  He may have been praying that the Lord would open his wife’s womb, but we are not specifically told this.  He did go yearly to worship and offer sacrifices, but we don’t know if these actions were accompanied by prayer for his wife.  He seemed resigned to her plight.  The other person in the ‘know’ was Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife.  It is doubtful that Hannah found a prayer partner in her, since this ‘other woman’ seemed intent on taunting her. The surprising thing is that Hannah didn’t even seem to ask the priest to pray for her when she went to the tabernacle to pray.  If she had, Eli wouldn’t have mistaken her silent prayers for drunkenness.  I think both Hannah’s lack of reliance on the priest and his reaction to her showed just how far the priests were at this time from fulfilling their God-given role of intercessor.

When we encounter a need in our life that we are not able to share around the prayer circles, what are we to do?  Do we despair because we are in this on our own?  I think the key is understanding we aren’t alone.  Over and over again in the Bible, God reminded people that they weren’t facing circumstances by themselves.  Do you think that these verses have an asterisk  that sets you apart from this promise?

Fear thou not; for I am with thee:
be not dismayed; for I am thy God:
I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;
yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.  Isaiah 49:10

Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.  Joshua 1:9

Yea, though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4

I sought the Lord, and he heard me,
and delivered me from all my fears.  Psalm 34:4

 

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t ask others to pray for us and with us when we’re able to do this.  I strongly believe that God has allowed people to intervene on my behalf through prayer.  I’m sure that only Heaven will reveal the many times people have prayed and God has hearkened to their cry.  But I also don’t think that God is impotent in His own strength.  He doesn’t coldly wait to react only if a certain number of prayers reach Him.  He loves us and He is all powerful to orchestrate any plan that is in His will – all…by…Himself.

Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  Psalm 59:1

 

Dear friend, if you are in a place today where your burdens feel like they are borne by you alone, look up!  God knows all about your circumstances, even if no one else does.    He will carry your burdens for you, if you’ll only let Him.

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

 

 

 

Being an Agreeable Person

I’ve been musing over some Bible verses lately.  Although some are almost humorous, all are essentially convicting.  These verses address the question ‘What am I like to be around?’  Unless you are stranded on a deserted island, you likely interact with others on a daily basis.  You may or may not live with someone, but you come into contact with people at work, at the store, on the road, at church, and/or at school every day.  Let’s look at what the book of Proverbs says.

Proverbs 13:15 – A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.  When something angers me, I seethe and stew it over in my mind.  As I mull it over, I dwell on the injustice of the matter.  How dare they!  I nurture my victim status in my mind.  I formulate what I should say (or have said) to set the other person straight.  Modern therapists would tell you not to hold it in.  Venting your anger is much healthier.  I can tell you that once I let my anger emerge from my mouth, I initially feel good, but in the end hurting someone else doesn’t solve the problem and often I live to regret my words.  Time may heal the relationship, but you can never retrieve the words you release. Continue reading

The Search for Peace

PEACE – A simple five-lettered word that has stymied people essentially since time began. I dare suggest that people have searched to the ends of the earth and looked into remote galaxies in a quest to find it.

What country can you think of that hasn’t had war as part of its history? Yes, even though Switzerland escaped being an active participant in World War I & II, it has had its share of conflict. The idioms “make peace with” and “keep the peace” are easier said than done. Diplomats can attest to the fact that even when peace accords/treaties have been instituted, there is a big chance that the hatred and violence will continue and even escalate (take Angola and Rwanda for examples).

The Hippie generation used a peace sign as their symbol. The victory designation with two fingers up was a way to state “peace” without even having to say it. Both Arabic and Hebrew use “peace” as a form of greeting.

I think the real question is, can peace really be something manufactured? Can we bestow peace by a decree or a greeting? When we go to a funeral and someone consoles the mourners with “At least they are at peace now”, do they really know that? Even in life, we can go around with a plastered on smile and fool others into believing that we have “peace of mind”, when in reality we may be plagued by inner turmoil. Continue reading

birthday cake and candles

Having a Happy Birthday

Today is my birthday.  I feel a little funny about broadcasting that fact.  It smacks with self-exultation and attempts to solicit well wishing from others.  That is not me.  I have always felt an embarrassment creep over me when the candles on the cake are lit and everyone starts into “Happy Birthday to YOU!”.  The stares I received as a child were only compounded when I got married and found that some of my husband’s family added to the verses, making me want to melt into the cake along with the dripping wax.  The reason I decided to reveal this fact is that I wanted to write about our perceptions of birthdays as we grow older.  Continue reading

When all seems dark

Hello, thought I’d jump in with a surprise post.  I wasn’t planning on sending one out until Tuesday, however I thought I’d tell you about something that happened this last week.  Since I already have my posting for Tuesday written, I figured I’d just share a message of encouragement now.

This past Tuesday and Wednesday we had extreme winds in our area.  The winds gusted to over 60 mph and they just lasted and lasted.  I’d sit in my house listening to the constant wail and wonder if that is what the moors sound like that I’ve only read about it books.  It was an eerie sound.

On Wednesday afternoon our electricity went out.  We later learned that before it was over, this wind storm took out the power at a record 800,000 homes.  I wasn’t too worried.  I had been feeling tired anyway and I just took a nap.  Besides, we had a gas fireplace, a gas portable generator, and the temperatures had been warmer than usual.

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Mary Pickford sad photo

Valentine’s Day with a Broken Heart

BROKEN HEARTHow do you feel about Valentine’s Day?  If the thought of it leaves you feeling depressed or lonely, you’re not unique.  According to one statistic, about 40% of people have negative emotions when thinking about the ‘Holiday of Love’.  If you are currently single, widowed, divorced, or have recently broken off a relationship it may seem like everyone in the world is celebrating except you.  Although I can’t change your circumstances, my aim in this short post is to give you some alternative things to focus on.  What if you are happily in a relationship and these ideas seem far removed from you?  Chances are you know someone who could use a boost in their perspective.  Read my suggestions and reach out to someone who may be lonely.  Better yet, send them a link to my blog and suggest they read it for themselves.  It might change a dreaded holiday into one they cherish.

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Sunset

New Year – End Your Day Well

Today is the last posting for my New Year series. I thought I should use this final topic to discuss setting ourselves up for a good tomorrow by finishing our day well.

My days have drastically changed in the last year. Many days have no specific deadlines now. I could wake up and go about my duties in a leisurely way, although I think that would be a foolish waste of precious hours.

Gears and cogs

There is one day that stays consistent through the waxing and waning of my life – Sunday. Sundays are…well, dare I say it?…choaos in high gear. Looking back, I have no idea how I held Sundays together when my children were little. Even now, when I don’t have little mouths to feed and little arms and legs to stuff into their Sunday best, I can barely get out the door. Some might point to the fact that I travel almost an hour to get to church or that many times I stay in my church area all day long. However, I really don’t think that my problem lies in those excuses.  I wake up 2.25 hours before I am supposed to leave. Any reasonable person (especially a person without others that are heavily relying on her) should be able to head out the door in peace with that kind of lead.

Instead, my Sunday face is not a pretty one. Most of the time I’m leaving with a look that contains a mix of frustration, panic, and even a bit of anger thrown in. Somehow those two plus hours go by with lightning speed and once again I’m walking out the door ten minutes later than I intended.

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