Have you ever had something happen to you and you just knew that it was God? There is no other way to explain what happened, except that it had to be God? I just love these moments in life, don’t you? I refer to these occurrences as “a God thing.” So, for example, when something happens that you didn’t expect to happen, but something good comes from it, I would say that was a God thing.
I have had some friends and family share stories with me recently that fall into this category. Back in the heat of summer, one friend had her car break down in the middle lane on I-285 in Atlanta. If you are familiar with Atlanta, this is a very scary spot to breakdown. Two lanes of cars flying around you on both sides and people driving crazy. Add in the heat from summer, plus the extra heat from being on the road and no air conditioning, and a dying cell phone that she couldn’t charge, and this is the perfect mix for a harrowing situation. She could not get out of her car. All she could do was sit there and pray. I mean, she truly could have died in this situation. If that had been me, I would have probably had an anxiety attack.
Thankfully, the police showed up. They assisted in maneuvering my friend’s car to the side of the road, without causing her or anyone else to get into an accident. When she shared this story, the first thing I thought of was that God was watching out her and taking care of her. This was a God thing.
Another friend, along with her husband and daughter, recently had some car troubles as well. They had taken a trip to the mountains. They had stopped at an overlook to enjoy the scenery. When they went back to their car, it wouldn’t start. It was going to be dark soon. And, they were already hearing the howls of coyotes. They called for a tow truck, but because of their remote location, it would take a few hours for the tow truck to get there. They didn’t have much option but to sit there and wait. After a few hours, they saw headlights coming their way.
They thought it was the tow truck coming to save them. It wasn’t. Three guys got of the car and asked if they could help. When my friends explained their situation, the guys asked if they could pray over their car and told them that Jesus loved them. The three men that stopped also happened to be named Matthew, David, and James—all Biblical names! Those three men waited with my friends until the tow truck got there, so they would not have to be out there by themselves. And, the whole time they talked about Jesus. My friend said that she knew that God had sent them to help them in a distressing situation. This was a God thing.
These stories are just a few examples that come to my mind. I bet if you look back over your life so far, you have a few of these too. And, if you really start to examine your life, you will realize that God is working in your life in a myriad of ways. Over the course of many years, you can even start tracing back things that happened a while ago, and see God at work in your life. You can start connecting the dots and making more sense of events in your life. Maybe you remember something that happened in your life years ago, that was bad at the time, but now, years later you realize that good came from it. These are God things too! And, I also refer to these events as beauty from ashes. (See Isaiah 61:3)
We may not see it, but God is working in our lives each and every day. When we grasp this basic understanding, it helps us to open our eyes to all that God is doing in our lives. Which, in turn, helps us to be me grateful and thankful. This work that God is doing in each one of us, well, that’s a God thing!
Do you ever get yourself into the same messes over and over again? You don’t like it and you don’t consciously do it on purpose, but somehow you keep finding yourself in the same types of situations? I hate to say this, but I do. (And, I am hoping that I am not the only one. Well, maybe I should rephrase that. I don’t seriously want you to be that way. But, knowing that there are other people out there like me, helps me to feel better. There is something soothing to your soul when you realize that you are not alone, right? I just don’t want to be alone.)
I have always been a hard-headed person. And, sadly, in my case, I think there is a lot of truth to that old saying, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” But, this old dog is finally ready to learn something new.
There are some areas in my life right now that I am unhappy with. And, frankly, I have been unhappy with them for a long time. I have tried various tactics over the years to overcome this unhappiness, and despite my best efforts, I still find myself unhappy. So, I am finally saying, “Enough!” No more. I just can’t do this anymore. My way(s) of doing things is not working.
Obviously, all the things that I have tried, have failed. So, the “new” trick I am going to try is something that I have learned by reading and studying my Bible. The trick I am referring to is this: doing things the way God tells us to. I am going to try doing things God’s way, instead of my way.
When people or things upset us, or make us angry, that is just the devil tormenting us. We can respond to this in one of two ways: by following our human feelings or by exercising our self-control. God wants us to deal with things in a positive way. Romans 12:21 reminds us, “Do not let yourself be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” When we respond in a positive way, that upsets the devil. Plus, when we get and stay upset and/or angry, we are only hurting ourselves more.
One of the best things we can do in situations that cause anger, is to pray for the people who caused it. This is NOT an easy thing to do. These are likely people that you don’t care much for or respect. But, God tells us that we are to love our enemies. Matthew 5:44 tells us, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
As I mentioned before, this is tough for me and why I feel like that “old dog”. I have this horrible habit of holding on to things. I don’t “let things go” even though I know I should. I know it isn’t healthy for me. I know it is bad. Yet, I do it anyway.
I also know that I am the only person who can change my behavior. No one else can make me feel or do or say anything that I don’t want to. It is all on me. Even the fact that I let certain people get under my skin. It is me who allows that. I KNOW this. I KNOW this. And, unfortunately, the devil knows this too. And, I stupidly fall into his trap time and time again.
And, I just can’t take it anymore. I really can’t.
That is why I am taking to heart being a new person in Christ. That is why I am looking at others through the eyes of Christ and praying for them. That is why I am turning over my anger and the people who cause it to God and letting Him deal with them. That is why I am trusting God to take care of these things for me. Because it is obvious I can’t do it myself. Plus, Romans 12:19 cautions, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the Lord.”
The only way I can get out of these situations that I always seem to find myself in, is to be determined to do the right things that God calls us to do. I am committed to doing things God’s way. I know that if I do things His way, I will eventually see good results.
I will end this post by saying that I know we all want to be happy and content in this life. And, I truly believe that if we are completely devoted to following God’s will for us, we will all find that happiness and joy that we seek. John 10:10 reminds us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
Growing up, I believe that most of us were taught to tell the truth. We were taught that lying was bad and that we should always be honest. As kids, we probably didn’t pay as much attention to this lesson as we should have. But, as adults, I hope you have learned by now that honesty really is the best policy. (Because, believe me, it really is the best policy!)
I think we have all heard the statement, “the truth will set you free”, but have you ever wondered what that statement was actually about? If you are NOT a child of God, you may have figured that it just went along with the “honesty is the best policy” teaching. And, while they do go together, there is a much more important and profound principle behind this statement. This is actually scripture; a Bible verse found in John chapter 8, verse 32. It says, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
Do you know what the “truth” is? If not, please allow me to enlighten you. Jesus is the Truth. In the Bible, we learn that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. (See John 14:6) So, if you take John 8:32 and replace the word “truth” with “Jesus”, you get: Then you will know Jesus, and Jesus will set you free.
Jesus offers us freedom from the bondage of sin. It is a spiritual freedom. As humans, we are slaves to the sin in our lives. And, while we will always sin in this life, we do NOT have to be chained to it for eternity. When we believe in Jesus, He releases us from the yoke of sin.
When we become saved, that is when we believe in Jesus Christ and invite Him to live in our hearts, we become a new creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new one has come!”
Once we start a relationship with God, we are fundamentally changed. We realize that our lives are no longer worldly, but are spiritual. And, while we will still sin, our hearts are changed and we become aware of our sinful nature, and therefore, we strive to sin less.
Each day that spend time with God, we grow as Christians. And, as we grow in Christ, we see the world differently. We start to see the world through the eyes of Christ. We start to care more for our fellow human beings. We start to become more kind and caring in general. And, we want others to come to know God, like we know Him. We start to realize that we have a purpose in life. And, that purpose is share the love of Jesus Christ.
So, the truth is, only Jesus can save us. And, once you know this “truth”, once you know Jesus, He will set you free! The truth is that God loved us so much that He sent His son to die on the cross for OUR sins. (See John 3:16) I believe that that is the most powerful truth in the world! And, once you know this truth, you are truly set free!
I have come across something recently that I want to share with you. I feel like it’s this little secret that I have; but it shouldn’t really be a secret at all. And, maybe it is not a secret. There is very real possibility that the “secret” I am going to share with you is something you know, and have known about, for years. But, it’s something I have just noticed recently and I am so excited by it.
So, what is this “secret” you ask? Well, if you start praying SPECIFIC prayers, great things start to happen. That’s it. That is my secret.
In my Christian life, I have always had this tendency to pray generic prayers. For example: “Dear Lord, please heal John Doe.”, “Dear Lord, please keep my family safe.”, and “Dear Lord, please help me find a good job.” (You know, everyday ordinary kind of stuff.)
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing bad about these types of prayers. (And, if you pray this way, please don’t take it as criticism.) Spending time with God, especially in prayer, is one of the best ways to spend your time. And, I encourage you to pray often. The Bible even tells us to pray without ceasing. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:17) I still pray this way a lot of times.
However, once you get more specific and do some work on the backend, something magical happens. You start to see God work in your life. I have no idea how or why this happens. But, believe me, it does! How do I know? Because I have seen it happen in my own life.
So, what is this “backend” that I mention above? I must be totally honest with you; it’s a caveat. To start seeing your prayers being answered, you must put in your fair share of the work. Your relationship with God is just that: a relationship. We all know that relationships take work, and your relationship with God is no exception. But, once you come to know God and trust in Him, this will be THE most important relationship of your life. (And, the more time you spend with Him, the more you WANT to spend with Him, and this, in-turn, makes it a relationship that gets easier and easier as time goes by. At least, this has been the case for me.)
The caveat is that you need to believe in God and trust Him. (Knowing God loves us, loving Him, spending time with Him, and being grateful for what He's done and is doing in our lives can help us have a real relationship with Him. – Joyce Meyers)
This caveat sounds simple enough, right? Well, not always. It truly depends on where you are in your spiritual journey. I feel like it has taken me quite a while to get here. Maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you have been here for years. Maybe you are somewhere in the middle. We are all different and unique in how we learn and grow.
But, once you start to figure out how this all works, that is when the magic happens. You believe and trust in God, you form a true relationship Him, you spend time with Him each day, you read your Bible, you pray specific prayers, and you start to see your prayers being answered. It really can be that simple, if you let it.
I think I have shared this quote before, but it is so uplifting, true, and appropriate, I must share it again.
One of the ways we can learn to completely trust that God is a good God is to praise Him for His goodness. Every time we do, it opens up the channels through which that particular aspect of His nature is poured into our heart.
The more you praise God for His goodness, the more you will see it manifested in your life. That’s the hidden power of praise. You will be amazed when you pray this way how God will open your eyes to see things you haven’t seen before. ~ Stormie Omartian
Now that this little “secret” is out, I hope and pray that you put it to good use in your own life. It is so amazing to witness God working in your own life.
This past week I was cleaning out my old desk. After years of using one I bought from the thrift store, which was basically salvaged and painted, I came to my senses and decided to buy a nice, new, adult one. (The old one was rickety from the start and only got worse as the years went by. I was worried that it would collapse one day and take my iMac out along with it. Plus, I had painted it a funky blue with flowers and stuff on it. I loved it at the time, but looking at it now as an adult, it just wasn’t “me” anymore. I still love bright colorful stuff, but I have really grown up in my decorating tastes. And, my hubby couldn’t be happier about it! ...I digress…)
That old desk had three drawers that were packed full of stuff. Some things I kept, some I put in a box to donate, and some stuff I just threw away or recycled. I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel so accomplished to clean up and clean out stuff. I have realized that that old saying, “less is more” is so true!
Anyway, in cleaning out my old desk, I came across a two-page article that I had printed out four or five years ago. As I have relayed in a past post, I have struggled mightily with my “job journey”. Over the years, I have done a great deal of research, spent loads of time on the internet reading articles, taken various tests, read tons of books, and even had a job coach. (And, I am sad to say, spent and wasted lots of time and money in the process.) But, as I re-read this article, I knew that God led me to save it and come back across it for a reason—and I am so glad He did!
At the time, it obviously struck a chord with me—otherwise, why would I print it out, highlight a section, and save it? For whatever reason, I was not in a place in my life where I could process or use the great information that the article shared. But, I can sure use it now. Re-reading this article was like an epiphany. And, I am now in a place where I can use it. Thank you, Lord for allowing me to save it and come back across it when I needed it!
So, what was this article about, you ask? Well, in a nutshell, a lady wrote into Human Workplace (a fabulous website, btw. I highly recommend you check it out.) asking for advice about her career. She was in a bad situation at work she wanted out of and was looking for advice and help to figure out her next move. Liz Ryan, from Human Workplace, responded with this: (This is the part I highlighted, because it really hit home with me.)
The key is to always be moving toward something, not escaping from something. What we find when we try to escape a bad situation is that no escape is possible, because until we figure out where we're headed and why, we most often find that whatever we've escaped to is no better (and sometimes worse) than whatever situation we left.
From your lips to God’s ear, Liz. I have job hopped so much in my life, you might as well call me Frogger. The reason(s) why have always been because I wanted to escape from something; be it a bad boss, a bad workload, a bad commute, or just an overall bad work environment. For the longest time, I was just looking to get out of a bad situation, to escape. And, I had no idea how to focus on where I was headed. (Mainly because I didn’t know where I wanted to go, much less how to get there.)
All I know is I just wanted out of the current bad situation, or as I refer them, toxic environments. And, just as Liz stated above, I always ended up in a situation that was just as bad, if not worse, than the one I left. I was basically in this horrible vicious cycle. I would go from one bad job to another to another. It was maddening and at times I felt like I was losing my sanity. It had gotten to the point where I had given up hope for ever finding anything even half-way decent.
However, about six months ago, an idea popped into my head. It is an idea that I would never have had, had I not been on this job journey. And, while I don’t want to share the specifics with you right now, I will say that it is an idea that I have been working on for the last six months. It is something I have a passion for. It is something that energizes me and excites me. It is something that I can use my God-given talents on. It is something that I can focus on and it is giving me the much-needed direction in my life that I crave job-wise. And, the bonus, for me, is that it is something that God put into my heart and mind.
So, I just wanted to share a little encouragement with you today. If you don’t know where you are headed in your job, or in any aspect of your life for that matter, start thinking about what gives you joy. Then, start thinking of ways you can do that activity more. Or, in the case of a job, if you can turn that activity into a way to generate income. Then, go after it. As Nike always tells us, "just do it".
Pray a lot. Talk to God. Take steps each day towards what you want. Even tiny, little baby steps. Forward progress is forward progress. Start thinking positively and write everything down. Whatever idea you have, right it down. I believe that keeping a notebook is so helpful. It allows you to remember things and stay on track. Share your thoughts and ideas with someone you love and trust. Let them help guide you and cheer you on. You need to do these things. Trust me on this!
Two crucial elements of this whole thing is to: 1) pray and trust God and 2) move forward towards something. (Don't always be escaping from something.)
Honestly, I think the most vital aspect it to put God first in your life. When you start spending more time with Him, talking to Him and thanking Him for all of your blessings, He starts to really show up more and more in your life. At least, He has in mine. And, God wants to play an active part in our lives each day. God desires a relationship with us. And, when you develop that relationship, you will notice more and more the blessings flowing around you from God. It is the most beautiful thing ever! Please don't miss out on it.
I hope and pray that you find this information as useful as I have. Now, go get out there and start working your way towards something wonderful!
Here in the Atlanta area, we are now getting the rain and wind associated with Hurricane Irma. So far, so good, especially when you consider what we all thought very bad things were going to happen.
Irma is one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. As a category five hurricane with consistent wind speeds of up to 185 miles per hour, it is the longest-lasting top-intensity cyclone ever recorded. (A category five is anything with sustained winds of over 157 miles per hour.) And, not only are the winds crazy, but the sheer size of the storm has had everyone on the edge of their seats. (And, not in a good way.) Irma can cover the entire state of Florida and is more than twice the size of Hurricane Andrew.
Irma was projected and predicted to hit south Florida and move up along either the east or west coast wreaking total-destruction in some areas, along with life-threatening storm surges and heavy rain. And, hit Florida it did. And while we don’t know exactly how bad things are down there, especially in the keys, we do know one thing; it has NOT been the catastrophic event we all thought it would be. (I kept re-playing Katrina over and over in my mind.)
When I went to bed last night, I was expecting to see thousands of homes and buildings flattened when I got up this morning. I was expecting to see to thousands of people in terribly rough shape. I was expecting to see complete towns wiped off the map. Basically, I was expecting to see hell on earth. Thank God, praise Jesus, I didn’t see any of that.
That’s not to say that horrible things didn’t happen, but it is definitely not on the level that I was expecting. And, while we are not out of the woods yet, I, for one, am breathing a huge sigh of relief. What we have left now are winds and rain that feel manageable, live-through-able.
The only thing I can chalk this up to is God. I know many, many, many people prayed about this storm. A friend of mine shared an amazing video on Facebook yesterday of people gathered on the beach in Jacksonville, Florida praying and singing to God.
He heard our collective prayers and acted. He weakened this storm, the biggest on record, and spared the good people of Florida. I truly believe this. It is because of his hand. He sees each and every one of us and He hears our prayers. And, thank the Lord, He answers prayers as well.
And, I do know we still have a sketchy evening ahead. There is a lot of rain and wind and possible tornadoes. But, I am going to keep on praying and trusting in God. He has taken very good care of me so far in this life, and I know He isn’t going to stop now.
Please join me in prayer for all of us who are feeling the effects of Hurricane Irma. Also, please pray for all the people in Caribbean who did feel the devastating effects of this hurricane. Together, we can continue to see his hand at work through all of this.
I am normally fine with rain. I usually like it because I know that we all need it; humans, plants, animals. But, not today.
It’s raining here in Fayetteville today. There is historic flooding in Texas, thanks to hurricane Harvey. As I stare at the rain outside, and imagine how it would feel to be out in that, my heart just aches for the people in southeast Texas. People are trapped. Lives have been lost. Homes have been lost. There is devastation all around. And, while I am reading and seeing some amazing and uplifting stories of people coming together and working together and helping each other and saving each other, I still have this sadness, this dark cloud shrouding me.
I want to be in a position where I can stop what I am doing and go to Houston and help. I want to put my boots on the ground and work. I want my hands to be busy, reaching out. I want to do something useful and good and productive. Something to help other people. I want to be of service in some way.
Instead, I am here at work. Admittedly, I am typing this blog post and sharing my feelings, rather than doing the work I am paid to do. (But, in my defense, we are slow right now, so I thought I would put my down time to good use. I honestly believe that sharing our what is on our minds in times of sorrow can be restorative, especially for females.)
Regardless, I am not in a position where I can just up and leave and go help. My hubby and I have made monetary donations to two different organizations doing great work in the area. And, I have been praying and praying and praying for everyone out there. So, I am doing what I can do, what I know to do. Yet, somehow, it just doesn’t feel like enough.
Harvey feels like Katrina all over again. I just hate that people are feeling helpless. I can’t imagine anything much worse than that.
So, here I sit, being sad and wondering if there is anything else I can do.
I will end by sharing some lyrics from the Casting Crowns song “Praise You In This Storm”
I was sure by now, God you would have reached down
And wiped our tears away,
Stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
That it's still raining
As the thunder rolls
I barely hear your whisper through the rain
I'm with you
And as your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
The God who gives and takes away
I am a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light and any good thing that I come across.