Archive for the ‘God works’ Category

Fences

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

There is as much guidance in what does not and cannot happen in my life as there is in what can and does – maybe more. (Parker J. Palmer, quoted in The Intentional Woman)

That quote struck me when I read it and it still does every time I read it again. When I pray for guidance, I look for opportunities or open doors. It’s what comes naturally. But what if closed doors are guidance? And what if fences that have no doors at all are guidance, too?

Every life has its fences. And there are lots of different kinds. I can try to ignore the fence, but walking into it really hurts. I can beat it with my fists until I’m exhausted. I can scream and yell until I’m hoarse. I can cry and mourn the loss of freedom. But the fence remains. Why?

Paul knew. His “thorn in the flesh” was frustrating and kept him from the things he wanted to do. He was an Apostle. You would think that God would have opened every door and torn down every fence to make the way clear for him. But He didn’t.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Cor 12:8-9a)

How would it change the way we respond to illness, disability and all the other fences if we thought of them as guidance? Would we sit down and just wait for it to be over? Or would we actually look for what is inside the fence? If it is God’s guidance, then I have to believe that there is something for me right where I am – inside the fence.

And, if His power is made perfect in weakness, then what I do inside the fence actually shows God’s power more than all the things I would like to do outside it.

(from 2004)

Attacks, hurts and trials. Oh my!

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

We all deal with trials of one kind or another. Illness. Job loss. Even outright attacks. Whatever it is, it’s hard. And, if it goes on for a long time, you can get tired. You can get discouraged. You can wonder if God will help.

I’d like to share a story with you:

In 1895 Andrew Murray was in England suffering from a terribly painful back, the result of an injury incurred years before. One morning while eating breakfast in his room, his hostess told him of a woman downstairs who was in great trouble and wanted to know if he had any advice for her. He handed her a paper he had been writing on and said, “Give her this advice I am writing down for myself. It may be that she’ll find it helpful.”??This is what he wrote:

“In time of trouble, say,
First he brought me here. If it is by his will I am in this strait place, in that place I will rest.”
Next, say, “He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child.’
Then, say, ‘He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow.’
And last, say, ‘I am here by God’s appointment, in his keeping, under his training, for his time.’”

(Quoted in Calm My Anxious Heart, by Linda Dillow, p. 171)

Lord bless you and keep you!

A surprising thot …

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

what once started out as a broken chair in a heap of junk became a treasured possession of mine. Sure, it took a lot of work. But the work didn’t make it mine, the purchase did. The work only proved how much I wanted that chair. (Debbie Alsdorf, He is My Freedom – the bold emphasis is mine)

I read this awhile ago and it’s still rolling around in my head. Ms. Alsdorf bought an old chair. A chair with layers of paint coveirng up the beauty underneath. She has used it throughout her book to be a picture of us and the work God does to uncover beauty He sees underneath.

But it’s the part in bold that really struck me.

The work didn’t make it mine. She did alot of work to take off all the paint layers and sand down the wood underneath. Then refinish it.

The purchase did. The chair was hers from the time she paid for it. When Jesus died on that cross He paid for me. I became His right then. There is no question of  ownership.

The work only proved how much I wanted that chair. Read it again. The work Jesus has done up to today proves how much He wanted me. How much He wanted you.

Christian, you are already His – because He died for you. The work to build the family resemblance – to make you more like Him – that shows just how much He wanted you. If we keep that in mind, it will change the way we think about ourselves. But more than that, it will change the way we come to Him.

A lot of the time, I operate as if I snuck under the fence and He just said, “Oh, all right!” But, He loved me before the world began. He sent His Son to pay for me. And He is working now to make me more like that Son. Think about it – that means that He’s glad when I come to Him for forgiveness. He’s glad when I come to Him in prayer. And He’s my proud Father standing beside me when I have a victory. Can you picture it?

Hold on to it!

Lilly

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

After Muffy died we both started praying. We wanted another cat and prayed for some things in particular.

Some of the things on the list:

a cat who had no home
a sweet cat
one who always used the litter box and didn’t attack us  (like Muff did sometimes)
one who adopted us (hard to discribe but we prayed that we’d know it when it happened)

Anyway, we planned to go to the SPCA and see. Each time we made plans to go something came up to change the plan. So we just kept praying.

When the day finally came, we set off for the SPCA. I had seen a kitty online named Miracle that caught my heart. So we asked for her.

She wasn’t there. She had been adopted.

So, we looked at all the others and saw a tuxedo cat (like Muff) named Samatha. We went to lunch to talk about it. When we got back to adopt her we found out she had been adopted, too.

We had to start over. The volunteer showed us a number of sweet cats. But they didn’t seem to click.

Then I saw Lilly. She was younger than I was looking for and was  a long hair kitty – also not what I thot I wanted.

But I picked her up and she looked me right in the eye. She was so scared she was shivering, but she looked at me as tho she trusted me.

I put her back in her cage and looked around some more. But I had to go back and hold her again.

This time she didn’t just look into my eyes, she relaxed and rubbed her head against my chin. I was hooked.

Since we’ve had her home, God’s hand has been even more evident. She is the most sweet, loving cat I’ve ever met. She was comfortable with us from the very first. But the most amazing thing to us – she was only put in the adoption room that day.

That’s why we had to wait. God’s plans are always good!

Goodbye, baby

Monday, March 9th, 2009

Muffy passed away this morning.

She was supposed to be Renee’s cat.

I remember when we brought her home. She was so scared that she hid under the couch all day. I let her stay there until after the dinner clean up was done, Renee went out to play and the house was quiet. Then I moved the couch and got Muff out.

I took her over to her food dish. She ate some and then went to sleep. I stayed with her until she woke up. Then we explored the downstairs together. She would take a few steps and then look at me. I’d say “ok” and she’d continue on. We explored the whole downstairs that way. Then we did the same thing upstairs. She went from room to room checking with me every few steps.

By the time the evening was through I was hooked, she had me wrapped around her little paw.

At first, she was so tiny that one of her favorite places to play was a tissue box. I’d toss a toy in it and she would jump in and scurry around after it. I set a mug of coffee down for Glenn and she was just tall enough to get her chin over the top and sneeze in his cup.

She used to give me a two second warning – if I didn’t give her some attention she started climbing up the leg of my jeans. When I had studied long enough she jumped up and went to sleep on my Bible.

She moved on to be a fierce jungle hunter of foam balls. One of her favorite games was hiding behind the drapes and pouncing on whoever went by – she was sure that no one could see her.

She was the sermon supervisor and the neighborhood watch. She had some kind of radar, too, she knew when we needed comfort and she was there with it.

I’m not sure if she was my sidekick or I was hers, but she was my friend. She was nervous. She was shy. Maybe even neurotic. But she was a blessing. And I loved her.

(To see this with the pictures go to our website.)