Thursday, April 30, 2009

Hide and Seek

So this was my Bible Verse of the Day from yesterday:
Deuteronomy 31:8
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you;
He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

So it got me thinking. I know that was a collective groan I just heard. She’s thinking again…but you will be glad I did if you continue to read this post. I was thinking about what this verse has to say about “seeing God.” I think it practically yells out, (with jumping and pointing, even) “THERE HE IS!!!”

God is so big that he goes BEFORE us and stays WITH us…all at the same time! That’s mighty big. It’s also mighty comforting, don’t you agree?

He will NEVER leave us and he will NEVER forsake us. We all know what the word leave means. Has anybody ever told you to “make like a tree and LEAVE”? No? Just me? Oh well. Hopefully we all know what leave means. But how familiar are we with the term forsake? Webster defines it this way: to renounce or turn away from entirely. That’s not just leaving, that’s leaving and forgetting. Pretending that the being never happened. That has to hurt in a big way. Have you ever been forsaken? Do you feel that way right now? Well, the thing is you may be forsaken. But not by God. He can NEVER forsake you. He said he never would so that means he can’t because he IS Truth.

If you feel forsaken by God let me assure you that he is still right there, where he’s always been; before you and with you. He hasn’t moved away. Stay with me here. Picture yourself playing a 2-year-old version of Hide & Seek with God. You know the version I’m talking about, when a child covers his eyes and thinks he’s hiding from you. It’s the I-can’t-see-you-so-you-can’t-see-me thing. God just stands there waiting for us to take our hands from our eyes and have the courage to face what he has for us.

That’s why the last part of that verse is so perfectly appropriate: do not be afraid or discouraged. Take courage in the fact that even when you can’t see God, it doesn’t mean he’s not there.

There are so many people who feel left and forsaken right now because of the economy and its negative effects on their families. I know several instances where at least one member of a family has recently lost a job or had a company forced to close. There are people who can’t pay their bills, much less their mortgage payments. They feel forsaken. My heart goes out to these people. It’s scary. I know. I’ve been there. More times that I care to remember. But it’s a good thing - that remembering. Because when I remember, that’s when I see the evidence: God was with me through the whole thing. Even when I felt the most alone.

One of those times was the first time I played the What If… game with God. It’s what Beth Moore calls Then What? in the Esther Bible Study (highly recommend, by the way). It’s where you play out the scenarios of all the bad things that could happen to you from the point you feel you can’t get through. Mine went something like this:

What If… my husband loses his job and can’t get another one, like, REAL fast?
Then… we might not be able to pay our bills.

What if… we can’t pay our bills?
Then… we will suffer the consequences (i.e. utilities cut off, vehicles repossessed, home foreclosed on, etc.)

What if… those consequences come to pass?
Then…worst case, we are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.

What if… are homeless, living in a cardboard box under the interstate.
Then… we are still living and we’re still together.

What if… you’re not together? What if you are alone?
Then… I would still be breathing. I wouldn’t like it. But I would do it.

What if… you got sick and you lost your life because of all the bad stuff that happened?
Then… my life on this earth would be over, but my soul would still live FOREVER in the presence of GOD. (Big sigh!!!)

So when I finished with my little game and I saw how it could all play out, even down to the most drastic and dire circumstances, how could I continue to worry about it? I had come to the conclusion that even if I lost my very life, I could not lose my soul. That part is held tightly in the hands of God Almighty and he will never let me go!

Now, I know it’s quite a jump from losing a job to dying, but it was my game, ok. I made up the rules. You can make your own game. And I encourage you to do just that. Think about how you will respond when not-wonderful things come your way. I don't mean for you to play this game for the sake of thinking up things to worry about. It's about making up your mind right now how much you trust God to be who he says he is and to do what he says he will do. Don’t wait until you are in the thick of a crisis to try and figure it out. You will be too close to it then. Do it today. Determine in your heart and mind that God will never leave me or forsake me; I will NOT be afraid; I will NOT be discouraged.

Then when you SEE God, PLEASE come back here and share it with us. God gets the glory and we all share the encouragement.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

When you ask, expect to see...

I hear people say all the time that “it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.” I don’t deny this truth. I’ve got my destination covered (Praise the Lord)! But I have to remind myself on a regular basis to pay attention to the journey. Have you ever been traveling along an unfamiliar road and been searching so diligently for your next turn that you don’t even see the houses, buildings and scenery you are passing? I find myself doing that every day as I travel the road that is my life. I’m always looking for the next thing I’m supposed to do. The next task that has to be completed. The next project or event that needs to be planned, promoted and pulled off (how’s that for 3 Ps?). But now that I’ve jumped into these bloggy waters with the sole intent to share where I see God, I find myself paying more attention to my journey.

I have honestly been amazed at the ways and places He has shown up. I know He’s been here all along, even when I wasn’t looking. But life is so much richer and full of color when we experience it with Him. It’s the way He intended it from the start.

I’m about to rattle off some examples from the last couple of days where I saw God. I won’t share too many details because these are not my stories to tell. But I am thankful that God allowed me to peek into His work so that I could share with you a glimpse of His glory.

I saw God… in the healing business.

A devastating diagnosis from several months ago comes up against the prayers of faithful belief and is defeated. Unexplainable, but totally possible with God.

A 2 year-old who fell from a second story window leaves the ER hours later with only a cut on her head.

An elderly gentleman who had a stroke at the breakfast table with his daughter and son-in-law (an ER nurse and fireman) is fully recovered by the time the ambulance arrived.

A baby born on Friday morning under non-idyllic circumstances, is holding her own in the NICU with the Great Physician in attendance.

I saw God…in answered prayer.

A family looking for a home to live in, feeling pressured by an agent to go one direction. God said, wait, I have something better for you. And boy did He! Over and above what they even thought possible.

I saw God…in relationships.

Friends gathered together sharing a meal, a few laughs and praising God for changed lives.

People serving each other in Jesus’ name and making a difference. Speaking value into lives and proving that EVERYBODY matters to God.

I saw God…in changed lives.

People taking that next step and following Jesus’ example of baptism. Publically professing to the world that they belong to Him.

And people actually beginning their own journey with Christ today. Oh, how the angels did rejoice right along with us that Hell has fewer reservations and Heaven has more future residents because of God’s grace and the fact that people accepted the free gift of ETERNAL LIFE through faith.

This is just a taste of what God has shown me in the past week. I can tell this is going to be a great ride. Thanks for joining me. Please feel free to leave your own stories in the comments of places where you see God at work. We can all use the encouragement to keep looking.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Why Blog?

Why do I want to write a blog? Only heaven knows! So far the process has been very slow and tedious. I didn't know what I would name it. I can't find a template and color scheme that suits me. I really have no idea what I'm doing so it takes me 10 times as long to do this since I'm learning as I go. (I really need some tutor sessions, I guess)

So, where did the name come from? Listening to country radio on a trip home to/from AL one weekend. Heard a George Strait song, I Saw God Today. It is really about how the writer's whole perspective of life changed the day his daughter was born. The title caught my attention and I began to think about it. Where do I see God on a daily basis? Then, where should I see God on a daily basis? Once I had decided that I liked the name as a blog title, panic set in. What would I write about? God said to me, "Are you kidding? Did you really just think that?" I know, I know...God is everywhere. Duh! But I didn't want to write about beautiful sunrises and sunsets, thunderstorms and gentle breezes and all things wonderful in nature. Don't get me wrong. I certainly believe the God reveals Himself to us through His creation and nature. My point is that I wanted something more personal, I guess is the word I'm looking for. And God assured me that I would have no shortage of material...if I just let myself be open to seeing. Still, I was a little hesitant. I felt really inadequate to do this. But when God tells you to do something, He doesn't expect you to do it in your own strength. Even though my "life verse" is Phillipians 4:13, my heart has a time getting through to my hard head sometimes.

So that's the background. I've been making notes and hope to get this thing rolling soon. In the mean time, my challenge is to watch for God everyday. He's always there and He's always working around us. When you see it, remember it and praise Him for it. That's worship.