DAY 36

Standard
“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

I learned this fact today and it grieved my heart:

“Approximately 1 billion people throughout the world go to bed hungry every night.”

This is a statistical FACT. However, for most of us stats are just numbers. Numbers used to quantify or classify a situation. Sadly, we DON”T pay attention to statistics. Today this statistic became real to me, as it took on human form. I had a conversation with someone today, that made me realize how much I take for granted, and how little I have to complain about. I, like many people, have had financial issues. But I have never had to take a drill and extract my own tooth…I have dental insurance. I have been hungry, but I have never had to rummage through garbage cans to find food…I have a Walmart card. I complain when my AC doesn’t work, but I have never had to sleep on the streets…I have NOTHING to complain about.

Food for thought. We have many more blessings than we think. Let’s stop looking at what we don’t have. Instead, let us be grateful for what we already have. Here’s a thought…instead of always getting, why not try giving?

So what am I thankful for today? I am thankful that someone (whom the world sees as a statistic) taught me that stats are NOT just numbers.

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

Standard
I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

Judges 8. “Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, ‘Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.’ But Gideon said to them, ‘I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you'” (Verses 22-23). I love these words. Why? Gideon didn’t believe the hype. He knew exactly who had rescued Israel, he knew who the TRUE leader was and thus he proclaimed, “not me, but GOD.” Have ever heard a really good pastor/teacher? One who just brings you into the presence of God, one that just makes you want to open your bible, and go over every word he just said? Here’s a newsflash, it is not the pastor, it is God’s spirit moving you to a place of communion with Him. However many times we mistakenly think it’s the vessel and not the one pouring into the vessel that deserves the praise. Sometimes to the determent of our pastor/teachers who are just as human and we are, and therefore prone to believe the hype. Remember Gideon’s victory? Well so did he. He was totally aware that he had nothing to do with the win, and that God had everything to do with it. Here’s the lesson: Our pastors are just the vessels, it is God who deserves the praise.

Random (hopefully inspired) Though

Standard
I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

Judges 7. “It happened on the same night that the Lord said to him, ‘Arise, go down against the camp, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.’ Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outpost of the armed men who were in the camp. Now the Midianites and Amalekites, all the people of the East, were lying in the valley as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the seashore in multitude” (Verses 9-12). If you read the above verse, I ask sincerely that you take a moment to read it again. Why? God understands that we have fears. Gideon did not say a word, but God who is aware of our every need said, “But if you are afraid…go, and afterwards your hands will be strengthened.” God gave Gideon hope. He let him hear just what he needed to hear, so that his heart would be strengthened. So that his faith would increase. If you read my DAY 261, you know my day yesterday was not the best, it was a little discouraging. But this morning God used Judges 7, 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Proverbs 20:24, and some very needed encouragement from @hope4theheartalways, who also provided a scripture Exodus 23:20 to remind me that He hears and He understands.  God is a aware of our frame, He understands that we are but dust, he knows we have fears and doubts. But if we take the time to listen, He will lean in and say, “But if you are afraid, go, and I will strengthen your hands.” Right now a song is playing and I just heard these words, “When you believe He is ALL you NEED that will be your defining moment…” God is defining us. Believe He is ALL we NEED. 

DAY 261 (2014)

Standard
Sometimes the path is right, but the direction is wrong. Plug into the navigator. (Picture by Lisa R.)

Sometimes the path is right, but the direction is wrong. Plug into the navigator.
(Picture by Lisa R.)

Today I woke up feeling great, but that mood changed almost instantly after seeing my email. It was from United Healthcare, I recently applied for a job and was called for a phone interview last Friday. I was told I would receive a response in a week about whether or not they’d proceed to the next step with me, a face to face (they were true to their word). It turns out they don’t want to see my face (as adorable as it is… ;) ). I wish I could say I was the pillar of faith, that I dropped to my knees and thanked God for not opening the door, because clearly He knew it would be bad for me. No, my response was more like, “I don’t understand Lord I am qualified for this job. How come no one wants to give me an opportunity?” Followed by a run down of what will happen if I don’t find a job soon (as if God was unaware). Yup I am a solid rock of faith… not. I got out of bed feeling dejected and wondering, what God’s ultimate plan for me was (I honestly can say I understand now why the Children of Israel whined and complained, but I also understand why because of their whining God made them wander in the desert for forty years). Here’s what I know God brought me out of my bondage. I know this because while I may be a little worried at times, the freedom I feel in my heart and in my mind is secondly only to how close my relationship with God has grown over this time. I determined in my heart at the beginning of this journey that if I was going to trust, I would trust even when I didn’t understand. After my mini meltdown, I had my devotion. God led me to Judges 6 (see Random Thought for today), the story of Gideon. Through this story God reminded me that He doesn’t always make the obvious choice. He sees what we miss and if we are going to let Him lead us, we have to trust that He didn’t make a mistake even when it feels to us like He did. After my devotion I decided to go park close to my house. To clear my mind, to change my scenery, and to talk to God. On the way to the park I got lost. Here’s the interesting part: I was on the right path, I was at the right crossroads, however, I going in the wrong direction. I found this out once I plugged in my navigator. The message was clear, I am in the right spot, but going in the wrong direction. I need to plug in to my navigator. God is my navigator, He will turn me in the direction that I need to go. I will not whine (although my human nature wants to), I will not see this door as a rejection, but as God’s way of saying,  “You are in the right place, but walking in the wrong direction.”

“A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way?” (Proverbs 20:24).

Lesson: Sometimes we can be on the right path, but going in the wrong direction. Plug in the navigator.

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

Standard
I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

Judges 6. “Then the Lord turned to him and said, ‘Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites. Have I not sent you?’ So he said to Him, ‘O my Lord, how can I save Israel? Indeed my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Surely I will be with you, and you shall defeat the Midianites as one man.’Then he said to Him, ‘If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who talk with me. Do not depart from here, I pray, until I come to You and bring out my offering and set it before You'” (Verses 14-18). I advice you all to read this Chapter it is rich with practical and honest Christianity. I have always loved the story of Gideon, perhaps because for me it is the one of the most relatable stories in the Bible. Gideon’s reactions and interaction to and with God are so very, very, well, human. He reacted the way I would have. God shows up and tells him that he will be the one to defeat the Midianites, and what’s Gideon’s answer: “Lord, uhmm, not only is my clan the weakest here, but I am the weakest among them.” Gideon’s answer boils down to this: Lord you have the WRONG guy. what was God’s answer, “I will be with you, you will WIN.” This morning I woke up and was immediately greeted by bad news. I felt disappointed and my first thought was this, “Lord I just need a chance, an opportunity.” Enter Gideon and God’s reply, “I am with you, you will WIN”. Gideon was the least of the least and God led him to great victory. God wants a willing heart, willing to follow even when we don’t understand and don’t see what He sees. Gideon could not wrap his mind around the fact that God wanted to use him, but instead of saying no. He praised Him and brought Him an offering. Right now I could whine because I didn’t get what I wanted, but I am going to follow Gideon’s example. I will praise God, because although I may not fully understand. I trust He has a reason and a better plan. He who calls us is FAITHFUL, He will ALWAYS ACCOMPLISH what He set out to do. 

Random (hopefully inspired) Thought

Standard
I have hidden Thy word in my heart. (Picture by Lisa R)

I have hidden Thy word in my heart.
(Picture by Lisa R)

Judges 5. “When the princes in Israel take the lead, when the people willingly offer themselves—praise the LordSo may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength” (Verses 1, 31). Praise the Lord when the people WILLINGLY offer themselves. Willingness is all God’s requires. A heart that willingly serves. A life that willingly gives. Many times our service is not willing as much as it is symbiotic, you know, the “you scratch my back I scratch yours” way of service. “Sure I’ll serve God, if He does…” However, that is not service. Service says I will give, even if I don’t get. It is the willingness of the heart that God looks at. This selflessness leads to the destruction of our idols, the tearing down of the wall that separates us from God. It brings us into “real” relationship with Him. And as we walk with Him we see the enemy of our souls perish. Because who can be against us, if God is for us. My prayer for us today: “May all who love God be like the sun when it rises in its strength!” 

DAY 259 (2014)

Standard
The box. Take God out of it...

The box. Take God out of it…

At the end of my first year in Bible college, God taught me perhaps the biggest lesson about His character. Today as I was helping my mom unpack the last of her things, I had a flash back to that time in my life. Today I would like to share the story: After I graduated high school I didn’t go directly to college partially because my family thought I was too young to be away in a secular environment by myself and partially because I also did not feel ready for it. I worked for a bit to learn about life and financial responsibility. Then I made the best decision I ever made, I decided to go to Bible College. Not a Christian College, but a school completely dedicated to teaching the Bible. It was the best two years of my life. I made friendships that span many countries and will continue on in Heaven. I learned about God, about myself, but most importantly my faith was now my own. No longer were my beliefs just values passed down from my parents, now I could say without a doubt that I believed God to be true, because I had experienced Him for myself. The one memory that stands out the most happened the last week of my first semester. In the final week of each semester each student would pack up all they owned and clean the dorm they lived in. Prior to the starting of the new semester sometimes new rooms were assigned. Packing up for me was a little different, though. Due to my financial situation packing meant that my first semester would also be my last. I remember the day clearly. I got up in the morning devastated at the thought of leaving never to return. I sat in my bunk looked out my window and started talking to God. It was the oddest thing because it wasn’t a prayer. It was an actually conversation (as though He was right in front of me). I told God how sad I was to not be able to see the journey that He set me on to the end. I thanked Him for all that I had learned. I praised Him, because my heart knew that even if I had to go home, He still deserved praise. I then got out of my bunk packed all my belongs and set out to clean my dorm. As I cleaned my conversation with God continued. In the midst of our convo I heard it, a voice say, “Unpack” (literally heard it). I shook it off and  continued  cleaning then I heard it again, “Unpack.” So…I did. I put my clothes in drawers and in the closet. I made the room my home. Not one box was left. I looked around and had this thought, “I hope that was you God, because if it wasn’t. I am now officially crazy.” I left my dorm and walked to the office to see if I had any mail. As I entered the door, I was greeted by the school’s financial officer. He said, “Hey, I was just about to come look for you. Step into my office for a bit.” I was nervous, I knew I didn’t have the funds for a second semester. We walked to his office, he sat behind his desk, looked up at me, smiled, and said these words. “Your next two years of school have been paid in FULL.” I looked at him, clearly I am dreaming (I think I remember pinching myself to be sure). “What?!” I knew it couldn’t have been my parents, and I had no rich relatives that I knew of. My next question, “How?!” “We received a check for you from and an anonymous donor”, at which point he showed me the check. He made a deliberate gesture at the signature line, it read… Yahew. In the memo line 1 John 5:14 (along with my name). I was floored. I walked back to my dorm in a daze. God had just paid for me to go to school in FULL! And all I had to do was UNPACK! Why did my day remind of this story? When the last box was officially unpacked, I had this thought: “I hope this is you God, because if it’s not, I am now officially crazy.”

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14).

Lesson: Unpack. Make where God has placed you, home. Then be crazy enough to trust Him with the rest. Sometimes a little crazy is a good thing ;) .