Wednesday, October 11, 2017

BEACH MUSINGS - PART 3

Beach Musings Part 3

Some days at the beach we wake to find that there is fog so thick you can barely see the water.  It hangs like a blanket, obscuring all except that tiny sliver of beach where water meets the sand.  Just yesterday, it was clear and sunny, yet now this fog limits our view.


Often in our lives, the fog rolls in and also obscures our view.  The fog of grief, the fog of pain, the fog of uncertainty and indecision.  All of these can cause us to feel as if we've lost our moorings, as if we are lost and don't know what to do next.  

I can remember one of those times in my life when I felt like I was in a fog of uncertainty and doubt.  You see my mother was being overtaken by the fog of dementia and suddenly I was responsible for making all the decisions for her about her finances, her health, about every aspect of her life.  It was overwhelming! Being an only child, the full weight of this responsibility was on my shoulder and I was so afraid of doing the wrong thing.  My prayer life seemed to be one repeated plea, "God, help me! I don't know what to do!"  

And, of course He did.  As I prayed and cried out to Him, He led me to Psalm 32:8 and 10b "I will instruct you and show you the way to go, with My eye on you, I will give 
you counsel.....the one who trusts in the Lord will have faithful love surrounding him."  

Friend, no matter what fog you may encounter today, let me assure you that just beneath the clouds the Son is shining.  He is there for you and if you will trust Him, He will shine His light on your path and show you the way.  You will see the light breaking through and He will provide the wisdom and guidance you need to take the next step.  


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BEACH MUSINGS - PART 2

The landscapes at the beach are ever changing.  One day you may have storm clouds, dark and ominous with waves large and smashing the beach.  But, the next day you wake to find smoother waters and a sunrise painting the sky with pinks and oranges, so beautiful it rivals any painting you have ever seen!

It is much like our lives.  Things can be beautiful, calm and serene.  Life is good.  Then, suddenly, out of nowhere storms storm clouds roll in, with angry waves of turmoil and anxiety and fear that totally disrupt our lives.  Where peace had been the norm, now fear, heartache and pain become our daily companions.

But our beach landscape should also serve to remind us, that the storms do not last forever.  No matter how horrific the storm is, no matter how dark it gets as it rolls in, and no matter how much damage the storm does, it will NOT last forever and best of all....THE SUN WILL SHINE AGAIN!







Sunday, October 8, 2017

BEACH MUSINGS

It seems that our TV has been tuned to the Weather Channel more the past few months that ever before.  We were glued to it when Hurricane Harvey was bearing down on Houston and again as Irma threatened Florida as we had friends in both places.  This past week we once more had it on almost continually as another storm was brewing in the Gulf.  This time it was personal...it was messing with our vacation!

With each storm, one thing remained the same.  The weather forecasters with all of their technology and all their knowledge could only give an educated guess as to the direction and strength of each storm .  Why?  Because the Lord alone directs the winds and the waves!

Forecasters use many models to give us their best guess of which way the storm will go and granted, they do get close.  Nate started out as just a numbered storm, then gained the name NATE.  Then it was a tropical storm and finally it gained Cat 1 status.  Friday they were saying it was losing strength and would "most likely" not become a hurricane. But as it moved through the gulf, it began to gain strength and it was deemed a Category 1.  By Saturday it was feared that it would strengthen to a Cat 2 by landfall and that was predicted first to be closer to New Orleans.  People in low lying areas of New Orleans were told to evacuate.  Emergency preparations were made with visions of Katrina playing in everyone's minds. But Saturday came, and Nate veered towards the Florida panhandle causing Gulf residents to begin to scramble to prepare.  Storm shutters were put in place, gas tanks were filled, grocery stores were filled with those coming into town for fall break trying to get groceries before the store closed.  Sidewalks were bare.  Few cars were seen and residents of the gulf coast were asked to be off the streets by 8:00 pm.  Would it be a Cat 1 or Cat 2?

The Weather Channel folks positioned themselves in Biloxi, Pensacola and Orange Beach, not sure exactly where old Nate would go.  He ended up breaking apart and coming ashore as a weak Cat 1 right at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  The winds howled and surf surged but not nearly as bad as was feared.

Once again God ruled.  Only He directs the winds and waves.  They know His name and they go where He bids.

It reminds us that we can make our plans but God is sovereign and HE ultimately will bring His plans to pass.  And it is comforting to me to know that.  God continues to show man that man is not in control that HE is.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

THE LAST GOODBYE


Today I will close the final chapter on my Mother's life. Today I will close on the sale of her home.



Mother passed away CHRISTmas day, 2015, yet in many ways I began to say goodbye to her long before that. When a person has dementia, you begin to lose them a little bit at a time. Until you have experienced the devastation of this disease, it is difficult to comprehend how much memory loss affects a person's life.

At first it is just little things, like remembering where they put things....which we all do from time to time. Or forgetting what someone said or what stories they have told, thereby causing them to repeat themselves again and again. But then it begins to affect more serious things like how to perform certain tasks such as paying bills and cooking a meal. It is heartbreaking to watch someone who was so smart begin to be unable to do simple things. Then the decision making begins to deteriorate and more and more they become the child and you become the parent, a role you never wanted. Little by little the person they were begins to slip away...you are beginning the long goodbye.

I was more fortunate than a lot of people. Heart disease took my mother long before the dementia did. I am so thankful that she never got to the place where she did not know me or her family. I am thankful that she had not forgotten how to eat or to speak. I am thankful that I got to hear her say “I love you” one last time before she left this earth.

But as the dementia began to rob her of more and more capabilities, it became apparent it was no longer safe for her to live alone at home. So we faced another goodbye as I drove her out of her driveway for the last time in March 2015, knowing at the end of the day she would be moving into assisted living, never to return to her home again. It was a hard day because she did not know that she had said her last goodbye to her home but I did. On a happier note though, her new home was a blessing to her in so many ways. She had a new apartment in a beautiful place with loving people who cared for her so well. She met lots of new friends and it was a joy to come and find her sitting with them talking in the halls or dining room instead of sitting in her darkened living room alone at her home. She touched many lives there with her kindness and generosity. She was eating regularly and getting her medicine as needed. She was well cared for and safe and that was a huge blessing to me. I thank God for the wonderful people at Culpepper Place (now known as Hearthside) and cannot say enough good things about them.

Her heart disease was worsening and it caused her to be hospitalized in early December 2015. Again, when she left Culpepper that night she had no idea she would never return....neither did I. It was another unexpected goodbye. I really thought that she would return in a few days, but the Lord had other plans for her. After 12 days in the hospital it became apparent that her journey was nearing its end. She said goodbye to the hospital but hello to Hospice House.

Saying goodbye is difficult and expected. What is not expected is how difficult a hello can be. Driving into Hospice House with her was one of the hardest things I ever did in my life because I knew it was the beginning of the end. I knew it was where I would say the final goodbye to her and I was not ready for that. But God was so gracious and merciful. He gave us 10 days to prepare us for her homegoing and he put precious, caring staff there to help us through those difficult days.

We said goodbye to her on CHRISTmas afternoon. It was hard. Losing your mother is always hard. There are no words to describe that loss. Yet it was a blessing that she was no longer suffering. She was at peace. She was with her Savior. And best of all, although it was a time of parting, it is only temporary. This goodbye is really more of a “See ya later”, because I WILL see my Mother again one day in Heaven. That gives me great peace and was what sustained us all through the letting go of her earthly self.

But, her home remained and I have been in the process of selling it now for a year and a half. This place she loved so much that she refused to leave even when it was in her best interest. This place that she had cultivated and nurtured with her green thumb, growing daylilies by the hundreds. She cared for this 6 acres up until she left it that March. She had been unable in the end to do all the things she loved doing, but she still managed to get out there and pick up limbs or deadhead lilies or do something in her yard every day.

She had not been a gardener til after she retired. A friend had given her a few daylilies and soon she was hooked. She even joined the Lily Club with her sister and together they began to collect one variety after another til both of their yards were filled with God's beauty. Her yard was featured on Channel 3's Saturday morning garden show 2 years in a row....one of the greatest compliments to her of her life. The Lily Club brought bus loads of people to see her lilies and other smaller clubs came as well. She loved showing them off and quoting Matthew 6:28-29 to them “Consider the lilies, they toil not, neither do they spin, yet Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like ONE of these!” She would be careful to point out to them the intricacies of the bloom and then say “And God made all of this beauty in this ONE bloom just for us to enjoy today. And tomorrow, He will make another one equally beautiful for us to enjoy.” She not only shared them by having people come and view them, but she relished sharing them with people who admired them. She tried selling them, but she would much rather just give them away. That was my mother.





For this past year and a half many people have come through looking at her house and property. There have been several who attempted to purchase it, but each time it would fall through for one reason or another. It was discouraging and frustrating to say the least. But I had continually prayed for God to bring just the right family to this place that my Mother loved so much. And each time that a contract would fall apart and I would be disappointed, my sweet daughter would always say, “God has someone He wants in this house, and when it's time, He will lead them to it.” She was right and He did. His timing is not our timing.

Today a sweet young couple and their 4 month old baby girl will take possession of my mother's home. They are in love with this house and SO excited with all the plans they have for it. It gives me great joy to know that they are the ones who will be living there.
One of my granddaughters loved playing beneath the huge magnolia tree in the backyard and I so hope that this little girl will one day make it her hideout as well.

Even so, saying goodbye to this place today will be hard. It is closing the last chapter of Mother's life.....the last goodbye.

She has had her last goodbye. She will never have to say goodbye again. She is in her eternal home.... one that is more beautiful than she could have ever imagined. She is in the presence of her Lord and Savior, being loved and cherished forever more. She has a mansion no earthly dwelling could compare to and it is hers eternally. One day I will join her and there will be no more goodbyes. Hallelujah!! To God be the Glory!


Thursday, August 17, 2017

"SEEING" Faith

Sometimes people speak of having "blind faith", meaning that they step out into the  unknown, putting their trust in God.  Abraham may be one that is said to have had blind faith, leaving all that he and his family knew to go to a land that God would show him in time.  It is always difficult to move under any circumstances, but can you imagine just being told "OK, pack up, hitch up the donkeys and camels and start walking.  I'll tell you when you get there."  Yeah....me neither.

But there is another kind of faith, a faith I like to call "Seeing faith".  This kind of faith "sees" with eyes of faith, eyes that may see nothing visibly, yet they see past what is visible and trust God for what they cannot YET see.

George Mueller had that kind of faith.  He is definitely one of my heroes of the faith.

I read this in my STREAMS IN THE DESERT today about George:

"I went to America some years ago with the captain of a steamer, who was a very devoted Christian.  When off the coast of Newfoundland he said to me, "The last time I crossed here, five weeks ago, something happened which revolutionized the whole of my Christian life.  We had George Mueller of Bristol on board. I had been on the bridge twenty four hours and never left it.  George came to me and said "Captain, I have come to tell you that I must be in Quebec Saturday afternoon."  "It is impossible," I said.  "Very well, if your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way.  I have never broken an engagement for 57 years.  Let us go down into the chart room and pray."  I looked at that man of God and thought to myself, 'what lunatic asylum can that man have come from?  I never heard of such a thing as this.'  "Mr. Mueller," I said, "do you know how dense this fog is?"  "No", he replied, "my eye is not on the density of the fog, but on the living God who controls every circumstance of my life."  He knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers and when he had finished I was going to pray; but he put his hand on my shoulder and told me not to pray.  "First, you do not believe He will answer; and second I BELIEVE HE HAS, and there is no need whatever for you to pray about it."  I looked at him and he said "Captain I have known the Lord for 57 years and there has never been a single day that I have failed to get audience with the King.  Get up, Captain and open the door and you will find the fog gone."  I got up and the fog was indeed gone.  On Saturday afternoon, George Mueller was in Quebec for his engagement."

That, my Friends, is SEEING FAITH!!  Although Mueller had yet to see the fog lifted, he believed it so.

Now Mueller did not start out as a giant of the faith.  In fact, he actually had a rough start in life.   "As a young boy growing up in Germany in the early 1800s, he often stole money from his dad. As a teenager, he sneaked out of a hotel twice without paying for the room. One time he was caught by police and put in jail. As a Bible college student, George loved going to bars, drinking, gambling, and being the life of the party. He also loved making fun of people, especially Christians.

One day, a friend invited George to go to an off-campus Bible study. He went only because he wanted to make fun of the Christians later. But to his surprise, he liked the Bible study. For the first time, he saw people who really knew and loved God. He attended each evening. Before the end of the week, he knelt at his bed and asked God to forgive his sins.

George's friends saw a change in him immediately. He no longer went to bars or made fun of people. He spent more time reading his Bible, talking about God, and going to church. Soon he found that his friends did not want to be around him anymore.

When George told his father that he had decided to become a missionary, his father became very upset. He wanted George to have a high-paying job and not be a poor missionary. He told George that he would not give him any more money for school. George knew he had to do what God was calling him to do, even if his dad didn't support him.

George went back to college without knowing how he was going to pay his tuition. He did something he thought was a bit silly for a grown man to do. He got on his knees and asked God to provide. To his surprise, an hour later a professor knocked on his door. He offered George a paid tutoring job! George was amazed! This was the beginning of George Mueller's dependence on God.

George went on to become the pastor of a church in England.  Each day as George walked the streets, he saw children everywhere who had no mom or dad. They lived on the streets or in state-run poorhouses, where they were treated badly. George felt God calling him to open an orphanage to take care of the children.

George prayed, asking God to provide a building, people to oversee it, furniture, and money for food and clothing. God answered his prayers. The needs of the orphanage were met each day. Sometimes a wealthy person would send a large amount of money, or a child would give a small amount received as a gift or for doing chores. Many times food, supplies or money came at the last minute, but God always provided without George telling anyone about his needs. He just prayed and waited on God.
More than 10,000 children lived in the orphanage over the years. When each child became old enough to live on his own, George would pray with him and put a Bible in his right hand and a coin in his left. He explained to the young person that if he held onto what was in his right hand, God would always make sure there was something in his left hand as well."---Christianity.com

On one occasion, George was greeted by the caretaker of the orphanage and told that the children were dressed and ready for school, but there was no food for them.  George had her seat the 300 children at the table, bowed his head, and thanked God for the food.  Shortly after, there was a knock at the door.  A local baker told him that God had woke him up in the night and told him to bake bread for the orphanage.  He obeyed and he was there delivering bread to the orphans.  Not long after he left, there was another knock at the door.  It was a milkman whose wagon had broken down out front.  He knew the milk he was carrying would spoil before he could get the wagon fixed so asked if the orphanage could use the milk.  Just enough for the 300 children!  

James warned us about being doubters, "But let him ask in faith without doubting. For the doubter is like the surging sea, driven and tossed by the wind."  James 1: 6.  


Now I don't want to think of myself as a doubter. I don't doubt that God CAN, I just sometimes am not sure if God wants to or not.  What is His plan?  Had I been George on that ship, I'd have probably thought "Maybe God doesn't want me to get to Quebec.  Maybe He has another plan."  Maybe I overthink things too much.  Maybe I need to just learn to pray BELIEVING and wait to see what God does.  Isn't that what childlike faith is?  George didn't overthink the situation.  He needed to get to Quebec.  He prayed a simple prayer, trusted God to answer and expected to open the door and the fog would be gone.
 

Maybe it's time for us to have a little more SEEING faith, instead of WONDERING faith
!!






Sunday, August 6, 2017

IT BLOOMED!!

One June 24 I posted on this blog a story about a rose bush I transplanted from my Mother's house.  It had appeared that it was never going to make it, then one day, miraculously, leaves began to sprout and soon it was a healthy, plant with multiple leaves, green and growing.

Today I am happy to share with you IT BLOOMED!!!



I had been watching it almost daily to see if it would put out a bud.  And then I saw it, a tiny white bud nestled beneath the top leaves.  What a joy it was to watch it as each day it opened a little more.  That which I had prayed for was finally becoming a reality.

I think too often we give up on God coming through for us.  We live in a day of "instant everything"....instant messaging, instant coffee, express pay, express check out, etc.  We want answers from God in the same way...instantly.  But God does not work that way, at least not most of the time.

Isaiah 30:18 says "Therefore will the Lord wait that He may be gracious to you and therefore will HE be exalted, that He will have mercy upon you....blessed are they who wait on Him."

Notice that He desires to be gracious to us.  I confess, when I am waiting on His answers, it doesn't feel very gracious.  But notice too, that it is not about us.  It is about HIM being exalted.  Just like waiting on the rose to sprout and bloom.  In the waiting, it forced me to keep calling on Him again and again, drawing me back to Him.  My efforts of watering and fertilizing were OK, but I knew that if this rose was going to survive and bloom again it would be strictly up to Him.  In the end, He brought this tender rose to life and blessed me just as the verse above says.

David prayed diligently to the Lord and sometimes he got weary of God's delays or slow responses to his pleas.  Psalm 83:1 says "God, do not keep silent.  Do not be deaf, God.  Do not be idle."  I  sometimes feel that way, too, don't you?  Psalm 109:1 "God of my praise, do not be silent."

But Jeremiah 29:12 reminds us that God DOES listen to our prayers, "You will call to Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you."

In Luke Chapter 1 we learn that Zechariah and Elizabeth were up in years and yet still had no children.  But when the angel of the Lord appears to Zechariah to tell him he is about to become a father, he says "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard."  Now it doesn't tell us how long he had been praying, but one can surmise that it had been YEARS since they were old and still had no children.  But evidently Zechariah had continued to pray, not giving up hope.  And, God heard his prayer, and in HIS TIME....he answered it and John was born.

There are many instances in the Bible where individuals had to wait a long time for God to act or to answer a specific prayer.  But the emphasis should not be on the length of time, but on the fact that God DOES answer prayer!  He IS working even when we cannot SEE Him working.  He is orchestrating details, moving in people's lives through circumstances, through people, through many different things until everything falls into place that sets the stage for God to bring it all to fruition and for HIS ULTIMATE GLORY!

So when I begin to get discouraged that God is taking too long answering my requests, I hope I will look no further than the beautiful white rose blooming in my garden to remember His faithfulness and His goodness to answer when I call.




Sunday, July 23, 2017

NOT YET........

It is heartbreaking to see someone that you love going down the wrong path, a path that you know is NOT God-ordained!  Maybe they are in bondage to drugs or alcohol or living an immoral life or maybe they are just spiritually estranged from God.  But you KNOW that God has so much more for them, yet they seem to be totally blind to it.  Maybe you have prayed and prayed and yet it appears that nothing is happening, that God is just not listening.

Appearances can be deceiving!  Just because we see no evidence of it from our perspective, it does not mean that God is not working.  God works in mysterious ways.  His ways are not our ways.  And, He is not on our time frame.  God has a way of weaving seemingly insignificant circumstances into a miraculous outcome.  We just have to trust Him to do it in His time and in His way.  That is the hard part.

A dear friend gave me a devotional for CHRISTmas called 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers.  It provides a devotional of things to praise God for each day of the month.  I love it!  One of my favorite days says:

"Thank you that You plan to use for good the struggles my loved ones face---including their disappointing choices, their unwise or even harmful ways of thinking and living, and their sidetracks from going Your way....I praise You in advance for the part these difficult things are going to play in Your good plan for us---in eventual deliverance and growth and fruitfulness.  I'm grateful that in all these things, the battle is not mine but Yours...and that the final chapter has not yet been written."

Those are encouraging words to me.  God IS working.  Even if I do not see it, He IS working!  What's more we can rest in the fact that God does all things well.  (Mark 7: 37) We must not lose hope.  Rather we must remember God's promises to us and trust Him even when we cannot SEE what He is doing.  Isn't that the very essence of faith?

An entry in Streams in the Desert puts it this way:

"There are degrees to faith.  At one stage of Christian experience we cannot believe unless we have some sign or some great manifestation of feeling.  We feel our fleece, like Gideon, and if it is wet we are willing to trust God.....It marks quite an advance in faith when we trust God without feelings.  It is blessed to believe without having any emotion.  There is the third stage of faith which even transcends that of Gideon and his fleece....this third form of faith believes God and His Word when circumstances, emotions, appearances, people and human reason all urge to the contrary. "

Yes, we must learn to trust God to do what only He can do in the lives of those we love even when we see no evidence that He IS working.  We must trust that the final chapter is NOT YET written.  As our former pastor, Rick Gering, once said "There are some chapters in our life over which God writes WILL EXPLAIN LATER," but in the mean time we wait and we trust and we believe that God IS working, God WILL break through and God WILL use it all of His glory!!  

Friday, July 21, 2017

SOAK UP THE SON

When I was a child, my parents bought land from my aunt and uncle and built a house next door to them.  They shared a common driveway.  After 30+ years, my aunt and uncle passed away and their property was sold and then sold again.  My mother was given an easement to use the common driveway as it was on the adjacent property.  At one point the owner decided that he needed to fence the entire place for his horses.  This created a need for 2 gates...one at the end of the driveway and another at the entrance to my mother's property.

The gate at the end of the driveway was operated by solar power.  Now this was a good thing as long as the sun was shining.  However, let it be cloudy for several days in a row and you could find yourself behind a gate that would not budge.  Why? There was no power to operate it.  As long as the sensor for the gate was pointed towards the sun and was absorbing its light, it was energized and functional.  But when the clouds rolled in, coming between the sun and the sensor, the energy began to dissipate until soon it was depleted and rendered the gate inoperable.

Have you ever felt like the darkness was overtaking you ?  Sadness, depression, anxiety so heavy that it was difficult to function?  When the clouds roll in, they can block your view of the Son.  We have an enemy who desires to take our eyes off the Son and focus them on our problems, our circumstances, ourselves...anything but  Jesus!

So when we feel our light growing dim, when the clouds seem to be rolling in, we. Need to refocus our attention and fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  When we focus on Him, His light fills our heart and mind just like the sun is absorbed by the solar light .  Soon we will find ourselves shining with hope and joy, and we will also feel hope rising up within us.  

Sarah Young writes in her devotional book JESUS ALWAYS "I am the Sun that shines on continually , even when your circumstances are difficult and the way ahead looks dark.  Because you know Me as Savior , you have a source of  Light that overcomes the darkness.  I designed you to reflect my Glory, and you do so by looking to Me, turning your face towards the Light.  Take time to be still in My presence, with your face upturned to absorb my radiance.  The longer you stay in this Light drenched atmosphere, the more I can bless and strengthen you."

Today, position yourself to absorb God's ever present light from the Son, allowing him to chase away the darkness.  Feed on His Word, spend time in His Presence and soon you will find your darkness giving way to His glorious Light.  

"Soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!
  • Refrain:
    Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace".----Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus, Helen Lemmel 1922





Monday, July 3, 2017

FREEDOM IS NEVER FREE!!

As we approach this Independence Day, let us not forget that never has our freedom been free!  Since the beginning of this great nation, there have been those who laid down their lives for our freedom.

I don't know about you, but I never hear our National Anthem, the Star Spangled Banner, that I do not get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. When I hear of those who refuse to stand when it is played it makes my blood boil!   So when I heard this amazing story of its origin, I was again moved to tears and reminded of the immense price that has been paid for our freedom.  I hope you will take a few moments to watch and listen to this video and as you do, that you will thank God for America and for every one that has laid down his life for us.



Friday, June 30, 2017

WHEN GOD IS SILENT, PART 3

Joseph's story did not end when he was called out of that  prison cell and made 2nd in command over all of Egypt, 2nd only to Pharaoh.  His God-given wisdom and plan of storing up grain for 7 years while the crops were good saved not only the nation of Egypt, but would reunite him with his brothers and his father. It also brought his entire family to Egypt where they multiplied greatly.  Exodus 1: 5-6 "The total number of Jacob's descendants was 70.  Joseph was already in Egypt.  Then Joseph and all his brothers and all that generation died.  But the Israelites were fruitful, increased rapidly, multiplied, and became extremely numerous so that the land was filled with them."

Yes, God did great things in Joseph's life.  From our perspective, we can look at his story and SEE all the ways God was working to bring the desired end.  But as Joseph was living it those 13 years, he endured many hardships, defeats and it was NOT a walk in the park.  Still, he trusted God and God blessed him and his entire family.

However, that is still not the end of the story.  God was again silent....this time for 400 years!!!  The Israelites had become slaves in the nation they had fled to and were greatly oppressed.  Yet God had been silent for 400 years.  God had promised their ancestor Abraham that He would multiply them and He had.  But they hadn't heard from him in 400 years, then Exodus 2:23 says "After a long time, the king of Egypt died.  The Israelites groaned because of their difficult labor and they cried out; and their cry for help ascended to God because of the difficult labor.  So God heard their groaning and He remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  God saw the Israelites and He took notice."  Does that mean that God had forgotten them?  Does it mean He was asleep for 400 years and suddenly woke up and saw them struggling?  No.  He knew right where they were.  It just wasn't time yet.

You see God's time clock is not like ours.  II Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day."  We must remember that!  God has a plan, a Kingdom plan that spans all of eternity.  So what seems like eternity to us is just a blip on the radar of all eternity.

Joseph's story was part of this Kingdom plan to move the Israelites to the Promised Land and eventually to establish the nation of Israel, to set apart His people.  And one day, from this bloodline our Savior would come, Jesus Christ.

God is still working.  He is working out His Kingdom plan and we are part of that plan.   We may not see it with our physical eyes.  It may seem that He is not doing anything although we are continually crying out to Him for ourselves or on behalf of someone we love.  But my dear Friend, I assure you that HE IS WORKING!!  Do not mistake His silence for inactivity.

We must trust in WHO HE IS and trust in His goodness!  We must remember that His promises never fail.  So no matter what you are going through, no matter how long you have prayed and seemingly not gotten a response, God does hear, God does notice, God IS working.

"In times of crisis we are prone to question His care; in times of calm we tend to forget our need of His care.  It is fatal to look at circumstances, especially in crisis, for it will be impossible to be still and wait for God's time of deliverance.  DWELL IN STILLNESS AND WAIT FOR CLEARNESS! The unbelieving heart looks at circumstances and leaves God out.  Faith, on the contrary, looks only at God and leaves circumstances out."  Miles Stanford

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

WHEN GOD IS SILENT, PART 2

As a young teenage boy, Joseph seemed to have it all....the affection of his father, the fancy multi-colored coat that stoked the jealousy in each of his older brothers, and even what seemed to be the favor of God as God began to reveal Joseph's future through dreams or visions.  And Joseph was not shy about sharing these visions with his older brothers and therefore, it drove them nuts, so much so that one day they decided to get rid of him.  They threw him in a cistern to die and would have left him there except a band of gypsies came along and they saw an opportunity to both get rid of him and make a few dollars.  So they sold him, their own flesh and blood, and then carried his coat back to his father with a tale that the boy must have been attacked by a wild animal as evidenced by the blood that they had soaked it in.  It broke Jacob's heart and he would grieve for years and years over this lost boy.

Now if we left the story there, it would seem that all was lost.  Aaahhh, but with God things are not always as they seem.  No, Joseph found himself in the courts of Potiphar, in Egypt.  He rose to a place of leadership and was given great responsibility in Potiphar's house.   He had grown into a man, a very handsome man at that.  And Mrs. Potiphar had her eye on him.  She tried her best to seduce him, but when Joseph fled, leaving his cloak behind, she cried "foul" and Potiphar had Joseph thrown into prison.  Knocked down again for no fault of his own.  In fact, he was trying to do what was right when this happened to him.  Time stood still for Joseph.  Til one day he interpreted the dreams of a baker and a butler.  The butler was released and Joseph made him promise that he would put in a good word for him with Pharaoh.  But....I guess he forgot.  Because day after went by and no one came for Joseph.

Now you would think after all that had happened to Joseph over approximately 12 or 13 years, he would have possibly decided that God had forgotten him, that God didn't care, that God could not be trusted, that Heaven was closed and God was silent.  But....that was not the case.

Chapter 41 of Genesis, "Two years passed and Pharaoh had a dream".  Two years after the butler had been released and made Joseph the promise.  And suddenly they were coming for Joseph.  They cleaned him up and brought him before Pharaoh because Pharaoh had very disturbing dreams that no one had been able to interpret.  Then the butler remembered Joseph.  "Oh!  Hey!  I know a guy...."
When before Pharaoh what do you think Joseph said?  Did he brag on his unusual abilities?  Did he deny that he had helped the butler?  No.  He said "Not I, but God.  God will set Pharaoh's mind at ease." (Gen. 41:16 Msg) As Max Lucado described it "Joseph emerged from his prison cell bragging on God, Jail time didn't devastate his faith; it deepened it."  (You'll Get Thru This by Max Lucado)

Max goes on "Joseph's story appeared to stall out in Chapter 40.  Our hero was in shackles.  The train was off the tracks.  History was in a holding pattern.  But while Joseph was waiting, God was working.   He assembled the characters.  God placed the butler in Joseph's care. He stirred the sleep of the king with odd dreams. He confused Pharaoh's counselors.  And at just the right time, God called Joseph to duty.

To wait, biblically speaking, is not to assume the worst, worry, fret, make demands or take control.  Nor is waiting inactivity.  Waiting is a sustained effort to stay focused on God through prayer and belief.  To wait is to 'rest in the Lord and wait patiently upon Him...not fret'" Psalm 37:7

Yes, it appeared that Joseph had been forgotten by not only his brothers but God as well.  It seemed that God was silent for all those years, leaving Joseph to fend for himself.  According to Max, "In the chaos called 'Joseph's life', I count one broken promise, at least two betrayals, several bursts of hatred, two abductions, more than one attempted seduction, ten jealous brothers, and one case of poor parenting.  Abuse. Unjust imprisonment. Twenty four months of prison food. Mix it all together and let it set for 13 years and what do you get?  The grandest bounce back in the Bible! Jacob's forgotten boy became the second most powerful man in the world's most powerful country.  The path to the palace wasn't quick and it wasn't painless, but wouldn't you say God took this mess and m de it into something good?"

Joseph's story gives us all hope!  It reminds us that while we wait, God works.  We may not see it.  We may not see ANY evidence that God is at work.  But, that does not mean He isn't!  In those 13 years of slavery, hardship, loneliness, abandonment, imprisonment and being wrongly accused, God never left him.  Quite the contrary.  God was preparing him for one of the greatest roles of his life!  He was going to save God's people from starvation.  He was going to bring them all down to Egypt, also part of God's BIG picture.  The proud, arrogant boy in the rainbow jacket was not ready for that role. It took 13 years to make him into the man he needed to be to handle that responsibility.  But make no mistake!  Though God may have seemed silent, He never left Joseph.  And, what's more, Joseph knew it.  How do we know?  Listen to what he says to his brothers in Genesis 50:20 "You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result--the survival of many people."

Remember this.  God may be silent, but God is never inactive!  He is always working, always with you and always faithful to His plans and promises.  So trust in Him as Joseph did.  Pray and wait for  God to act.  

"Trust in the Lord with all you heart, lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path." Proverbs 3:5,6

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

WHEN GOD IS SILENT

Waiting rooms are places most of us would rather not have to spend time in, especially doctor's waiting rooms.  Minutes drag by.  You are impatient because you have better things to do and are ready to be done with this.  Or you are anxious because you are not sure what the diagnosis will be and while part of you wants to know, the other part of you wants to run.  But one thing for sure, the wait WILL end.  Sooner or later you will get to see the doctor, you will be examined and the diagnosis will be rendered.

Let's face it.  We, as humans, do not like waiting!  Whether that is in a doctor's waiting room, in a fast food line, the drive through lane at the bank or waiting in line at the grocery.  But, all of these places have one thing in common.  You WILL get through the line and get what you are waiting for.

But, God's waiting room is different.  If you have ever been in God's waiting room (and if you over the age of 12, you most likely have been), you know that answers do not always come so quickly.  And.....sometimes, they do not seem to come at all.  At times, it seems that Heaven's doors are closed and God is eerily silent.

You pray and pray and pray, taking your request before the Lord.  Yet you see no evidence He is working or even that He has heard you at all!  Is He asleep?  Is the Heavenly phone off the hook?  Is something blocking our connection?  Is He mad at you?  Lots of things go through our minds.

Did you know that this happened to men of the Bible?!  Take David, for instance, who was called "a man after God's own heart".  Acts 13:22 tells us : "God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’ "  Yet David cried out to God many times and God was silent.  Take a look at a few of these:

Psalm 42: 9 "I will say to God, my rock, 'Why have You forgotten me?'"
Psalm 44:24 "Why do You hide Yourself and forget our affliction and oppression?"
Psalm 55:1,2 "God, listen to my prayer, and do not ignore my plea for help.  Pay attention to me and answer me.  I am restless and in turmoil with my complaint..."
Psalm 77:7-9 "Will the Lord reject forever and never again show favor? Has His faithful love ceased forever? Is His promise at an end for all generations? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has He in anger withheld His compassion?"

Do YOU relate to David?  Have you ever prayed prayers similar to David's?

Then there was Job.  Job was just minding his own business when the Lord bragged on Job to Satan saying "Have you considered My servant Job?  No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil." (Job 1:8) Now I don't know about you, but I cannot think of ANYTHING better than having God Himself  say something like that about me!!!  But, Satan said that the only reason Job was so good was that God was keeping evil from him.  "Stretch out your hand and strike everything he owns," Satan said to God, "and he will surely curse You to your face!" (Job 1:11)

So God gave Satan permission to do just that.  Job lost everything he had....his home, his livestock and worst of all, ALL of his children!  Then if that wasn't enough, he developed awful boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet so he even lost his health.  Job did not know what had hit him or why.  He questioned God.  He asked God what we would ask Him  if that happened to us...."WHY?!"  And do you know God's answer?  SILENCE.  At least for a while.  When He did finally answer, it was not the answer Job was looking for.  Instead of telling him why, God questioned him.  "Then the Lord answered Job from the whirlwind. He said, Who is this who obscures My counsel with ignorant words?  Get ready to answer Me like a man; when I question you, you will inform Me.  Where were YOU when I established the earth?!"  (Job 38: 1-4)  God proceeded to remind Job that HE was God and He did not owe Job any answers.  Four chapters later, Job finally responds to the Lord, "Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." (Job 42:3b)

But my favorite of all the men in the Bible who spent time in God's waiting room is Joseph.  And we will look at him tomorrow.  So if you are in God's waiting room, if Heaven seems shut up to you, if God seems silent although you keep praying and praying, please check back in tomorrow.  And, whatever you do, don't give up !!  God may seem silent, but I assure you, HE SEES, HE KNOWS and HE CARES!!



Monday, June 26, 2017

KINDNESS DOESN'T COST A PENNY

Heard this said today about kindness:

"Kindness is the one thing that can be heard by the deaf and seen by the blind."


In a society that is so focused on me, myself and I, it is so refreshing when we witness acts of kindness.  Here is a wonderful example:



"A little redemption for the suffering human soul. The older man was paused at the top of an escalator and a few people started gathering waiting to get on. It was clear he was feeling unsure and this young man offered the simplest kindness: an out-reached arm and a "can I help you on, sir?" He quietly started to explain to the young man that he had gotten stuck on an escalator once and was a little scared. The young man gently offered an assurance, they looked at each other eye to eye for just a moment and the older man accepted his arm. Everyone else remained patient. "

Every day we have the opportunity to be kind whether to strangers, to co-workers, to neighbors, or even to our own family.  It costs us nothing more than a few moments of our time in most cases.  Yet why are we so stingy?  I challenge you today as you go about your day, look for opportunities to be kind.  

Paul reminds us to "be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another..." .  I have been on the receiving of another's kindness.  And I can tell you it is a blessing beyond compare.  

So let's counterattack this culture of self-centeredness and do something nice for someone today.  I'd love to hear some things that maybe YOU have done lately as a random act of kindness.  Not as a way of bragging, but to share some ways that others may not have thought of.  



Saturday, June 24, 2017

THERE IS ALWAYS ROOM FOR HOPE

Several months ago, my husband and I dug up a rose bush from my Mother's house and transplanted it to my house.  You see my Mother passed away in December of 2015 and her house is currently for sale.  She had had this white rose, JOHN F KENNEDY, for years.  It would sometimes be as tall as me and it bloomed prolifically every year.  In fact, it had already bloomed when we dug it up.  I had debated about moving it, but I love roses and since this was Mother's....well, I just wanted it because it was hers.

We brought it home but we didn't set it out for a couple of days due to some heavy rain.  When we set it out, it looked bad.  I wish I had made a picture of it, but unfortunately I didn't.  Just take my word for it, all the leaves had drooped except for one little leaflet near the top.  It remained green and perky.  After about a week, I decided to cut it back and cut all the dead leaves off.  The one little great leaflet remained, still looking good.  The main stalk was also green but the stalk to the outside was black. I knew pretty well that it was a goner, but I waited just a little longer to see.

I REALLY wanted this rose to live.  I prayed more than once, asking God to make it take root and to allow me the joy of having this rose to live.  Day after day I looked and day after day, nothing.  Weeks went by.  Nothing.  I fertilized it.  I watered it.  I prayed over it.

It had probably been 2 months or more when I peeked out the window just above it one morning to see if we'd had any rain the night before, and I could not believe my eyes!  This is what I saw:



The little leaflet at the top right is the one that had failed to die.  All the other little sprouts of leaves were new....having just sprouted almost overnight!  There was even one tiny leaf at the bottom of the black cane, but that cane looked so bad and was so unhealthy, that I cut it off so all I have remaining is the main part.  Thrilled is an understatement!!!!!!!!!!  I thanked the Lord for letting it live and for the sweet blessing He allowed me to have of letting Mother's rose live.

It's been about a month now and this is what it looks like now:


I am so excited!  I can hardly wait for it to bloom!  And what's more, it is so healthy and green!  

Watching this little rose bush literally come back from the dead has reminded me once again of how people can often look hopeless, but to God NO ONE is hopeless!!  God never gives up on us.  We may give up on ourselves.  Others may give up on us. But, God NEVER gives up on us!  As barren as our lives may be, as long as we have breath, there is hope.

There are people in my life that I have prayed for for years.  I see no change.  Yet I know that God is working on the inside and moving and working in ways I cannot see.  I could see no activity within  this rose.  Day after day I looked and hoped to see just a tiny sprout of a leaf.  Yet, there was nothing.  Until one day, suddenly, out of the blue...there came the leaves!  And one day, I truly believe, that God is going to bring life where now there appears to be none.  Beauty for ashes.  

So thank you, God, for reminding me again, that with you, there is ALWAYS hope.  

"Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me?  Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him more and more."  Psalm 43: 5  "For thou art my hope, O Lord God; thou art my trust from my youth."  Psalm 70: 5

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

MARRIAGE ADVICE FROM A HUSBAND

I ran across this on Facebook earlier today.  I was surprised to see that it was written by a man, Timothy Willard on his blog THE EDGES.  I was also greatly moved at his passion for his marriage.
In a day when marriage is under attack from every side, it is very encouraging to hear a man talk so passionately about being proactive above fighting for his marriage.  So I re-post it here and hope that those who read it will re-post it so others can read it and that ripple effect will take place so that many, many husbands will read it and be inspired to be do the same.


FIGHTING FOR MY MARRIAGE

The enemy hates marriage.
Last week a friend texted and asked, “Did you hear about Lysa Terkeurst? So sad.”
I didn’t know what he was talking about so I quickly Googled it. Lysa lives here in Charlotte and runs Proverbs 31 Ministries.
When I found her site, I read the post to which my friend was referring. My heart sank. Lysa informed the public that she “had decided to separate from him [her husband] and pursue a divorce."
Her husband, Art, was “repeatedly unfaithful” to her and was caught in substance abuse. As a man, my heart sank even lower.
I texted my friend: "Bro, the enemy prowls … This is a call to fight for our wives. To love big.”
Then, I thought of my own heart. And how the enemy prowls. And how we are all of us (men and women) susceptible to waywardness and the passions.
So, I scratched down a few vows for myself, as a man who does his best to love his wife and lead his three little pixies in the way Everlasting. I share them with you as kind of a “family memo.” You are, after all, my brothers and sisters.
My heart breaks for Christian marriage. But I realize the best thing I can do to help it is to do my best to keep God at the center of it, and my affections where they need to be.
So, I vow … 
To love big, and stay small. Doing what I need to do to keep the humility of Christ ever in my heart.
To get off my devices and be present for my wife and children.
To let her see me turn away from images I know my heart can’t handle.
To guard my heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
To get into the wilderness regularly. Not just with dudes, but with God.
To seek quiet, stillness, and solitude. To let it breathe through me and into my household.
To show my ladies the value in a good fire, a yummy s’more, and a terrifying ghost story.
To not give in to the rat-race of busy-ness, and be home—not just sitting around, but doing, building, playing, laughing, failing, singing, cooking, loving.
To work harder at being a husband and dad than I do at my job.
To let the blows of God mold me. For when I am in his hands, I am my best self.
To make play with my girls and wife more important than watching football.
To never let my mind get weak by the amusement and entertainment the world flings at me on an hourly basis.
To be active in my church.
To spiritually pastor and lead my household by initiating times of prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
To let praise, to God and to my ladies, be ever on my lips.
To try new things so that I will never stagnate.
To give my wife every opportunity to shine: in her home, in front of her daughters, in front of her friends, in front of her parents.
To buy her that expensive chair, and then sit with her in quiet, reading praying, and dreaming.
To defer whatever power I might think I have to God, and to my wife.
To not fuss over things that don’t matter. Like where we eat after church, or what should hang on the wall, or what movie to watch.
To live as a shield for my wife and pixies—to take on pain, so they won’t have to.
To let my wife know I live, laugh, and sleep with the real Wonder Woman.
To empower my wife’s gifts with my own.
To let her see me cry.
To kiss her just because.
To kiss her again, just because.
And again.
To be honest, to seek truth, but always with a spirit of love and encouragement.
To have the French Press hot when she walks down the stairs.
To let her know how much I learn from her.
To rub her arm in church.
To confess to her during communion.
To speak to her with a heavenly tone, and with words that make the angels cry with jealousy.
To be a warrior-poet for my girls—by setting standards, not just rules, by warding off culture’s constant voice with the sword of my imagination, and by winning the fight for their hearts with a holiness I seek like silver.
To YAWP for my wife; in triumph, in pain, in ecstasy, so we never forget the ferocity of life, and the God who makes it so.
To die. To my self. To my passions. To my lust. Over and over. As many times as it takes. 
 

Monday, June 19, 2017

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL....

Music....it stirs and moves the soul and emotions.  Just think about it...there are certain scores from movies that when you hear the first few chords, you immediately can see scenes from the movie. Who can forget the famous "Da-dum, da-dum....da-dum, da-dum, dadum!!!" of Jaws!?

From your past, are there not songs that you can hear today and immediately you are taken back to a certain place in time?  I can hear the music and words to "American Pie" from the 70's and suddenly I'm in an old VW bug cruising around Columbus MS with my college friends or hear "Jeremiah was a Bullfrog" and I'm at one of the few concerts I ever attended...3 Dog Night!

Music is powerful.  King Saul had David play the harp to sooth his tormented mind.  Spa music makes you relax and unwind.  Other music makes you want to tap your foot or dance.  Play Rocky Top and this Tennessee girl is going to clap and sing and cheer her VOLS!!

Today most of what I listen to is from the K-Love radio station, "positive and encouraging K-Love".  I started listening to this station probably 10 years ago or so when I was going through a really rough time.  My mind was being bombarded with fears and anxieties and I needed something to combat the troubling thoughts that Satan was filling my mind with.  I turned to this station and God has used it a million times since to encourage my heart, to lift me up when I am down and to comfort me when I am sad.

I could tell you story after story of songs that God has used in my life.  Yes, God definitely speaks to me in music!

One Sunday a couple of years ago, a new song was played in Church.  I didn't take to it immediately but soon I would find that to change as it began to speak volumes to me about God's love and unending comfort for me during a season that was particularly difficult.  My Mother's health was failing and being an only child I became the parent, a role I did not want but found myself in nonetheless.  Every time I heard this song it reminded me that God was a good, good Father and that He was taking care of me and Mother.  That is the song that I played on this blog yesterday.  It became the backdrop for my life during that season of heartache and loss, but it comforted me more than I can say.

A few Sundays ago, our worship team sang a song and I wept.  It is a powerful song.  It reminds us that no matter what is going on in our life, "thru it all, it is well".  Psalm 46:2 says "Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea" and Habbukkuk 17, 18 says "Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, YET I will triumph in the God of my salvation.  God is my Strength!"  Today I do not know where you are or what you are going through, but I hope that this song will speak to you as much as it did for me of the hope that we have in the Lord.  "Thru it all....it is well with my soul."

A word of thanks and recognition to Chris Copeland, our worship leader and Jenny Baker, lead soloist for a beautiful job.




Sunday, June 18, 2017

MY FATHER IS THE BEST!

As we celebrate Father's Day today, I'm sorry, but I just have to brag.  I have the BEST Father ever!!!!  You see I can honestly say that MY Father has never disappointed me.  He has never lied to me.  He has NEVER failed to keep a promise!! NEVER!!  He has provided for me my entire life.  Whenever I'm down, He picks me up.  Whenever I need help He always has words of wisdom to share.  He is just THE BEST!

Now I know that many of you also have great fathers and you are blessed too.  But I also know some of you whose fathers have walked out on you, have abused you, have abandoned you or worse.  So I just want you to know that MY Father is so kind, so loving, so tenderhearted and His love is so amazing that He wants to love you too if you'll let him.

Yes my Father is the BEST!  Many fathers would do anything to save their child from pain or heartache or even to save their very life.  But mine actually did.  Mine sent His own Son to die for me, to purchase my redemption so that I could spend eternity with Him!!!  And you know what else?  He did it for YOU too!!!!!!!!!

My Father is a good, good Father.  He will never leave me or forsake me.  He has promised to always be with me.  He loves me.  He cares for me.  He holds me in the palm of His hand.  He will never let me down and never let me go.  Oh yes, today I celebrate the BEST Father ever....my good, good Father!!!!






Saturday, June 17, 2017

WHAT IF GOD SAYS NO?





If you have walked with the Lord any time, you know that God DOES answer prayer.  Unequivocally, mercifully and often.  But, there are those times, when things do not work out the way we hoped or prayed that they would.  Then what?  Do we give up on God?  Do we turn our backs on Him, decide we were wrong about Him, or let our hearts grow cold?  That IS Satan's hope and his intent.

This song, EVEN IF, by Mercy Me speaks to all of those feelings.  The first time I heard it I was in a season of fervent prayer over something.  I felt like this song had been written just for me.   God uses songs to really speak to me, to minister to me and to encourage me.  This was one of those songs!

Bart Millard, lead singer for Mercy Me, shares his own personal testimony regarding this song EVEN IF in the video above.   The words "I know you're able and I know you can, save through the fire with Your mighty hand, but EVEN IF YOU DON'T....."  became MY testimony and I pray will be my testimony til my last breath.

Let's face it, we all wish things would always go just as planned, or should I say, just as WE plan!  But God's ways are higher than our ways.  He sees the big picture while we are just looking through the straw.  Huh?  OK....stop and take a picture of something, a picture from a magazine or the newspaper, a flyer from the mail, doesn't really matter.  Then take a straw and look through the straw.  Can you tell what you are looking at? Probably not.  Now remove the straw and look at the WHOLE picture.  Hence "looking through the straw".  God sees the whole story...HIS story and our life is just a tiny piece of that bigger story.  Yet our life is significant to Him and we do have a part in the grand scheme of things.  But we tend to get focused on this one little second rather than trying to see things from God's perspective.

Not only that, but it is not about US.  It's all about Him.  We are so caught up in me, myself and I that we can't see that what is going on with us has a bigger dimension than even we can comprehend and God is working ALL things for our good!

A friend gave me a wonderful little book for Christmas called 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers.  It is designed so that every day of the month you will have something scriptural based to praise God for.  One that I have highlighted quite a bit says this "Thank you that You have me in the place You want me just now...that even if I got here through wrong choices or indifference or even rebellion, yet You knew my mistakes and sins before I ever existed and You worked them into Your plan to draw me to Yourself, to mold  and bless me, and to bless others through me.  Thank you that, even if I'm here through ill-will or poor judgment of other people, all is well; for in Your sovereign wisdom You are at work to bring about good results from all those past decisions, those past events beyond my control...good results both for me and for others."

So I am reminded through this song EVEN IF, that God is still on the throne, He is still in control and He can still be trusted EVEN IF He doesn't intervene in the way I hope.  I will cling to Him no matter what because He is faithful and He can be trusted and He does ALL things well!

I hope that you will listen to this song and it will bless you and encourage you today as much as it has blessed me, and if so, that you will pass it along to someone else.