Gorge on power food

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Psalm 119:11  – I have hidden your word in my heart in order that I might not sin against You.

This truth stopped by to visit the other night.

It was one of those typical but painful scenes that happen from time to time.

You know those kind – when one person has spun himself into such an annoyed, touchy, tither that he can’t get out of it gracefully.  And you find your interactions adding fuel to the fire.  Furthermore, you feel justified in your self-righteous response as ‘victim’ to the high emotional detritus from the other.

We had eased into the evening routine gracefully AND gratefully, happy to be together after a day at work.  But something little set him off while we were fixing dinner.  The irony is that it occurred while we shared what God had revealed to each of us in our reading and study of the day’s assigned two chapters in Leviticus (Chronological reading plan).

We stepped over that blip and in the course of the next few minutes talked about Noah’s sons and how Shem and Japheth had graciously covered their dad’s nakedness when Ham had sported to them gleefully about the effects of too much wine.  Through our remarking about the grace given, God moved that scene into my active memory drawer.

Then came the blow-up.  Over something minor.  But anger and some internal self-recriminations took over his emotions/thoughts.  I catalogued his reactions to the file of ‘jerk-like’ behavior.

In silence we finished dinner.  I cleaned up and he headed downstairs to the ‘man-cave’ to smoke his post-prandial cigar.

While feeling self-righteous, though lamenting what had just transpired, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this fact:  He loves Mike just as much as He loves me!  My heart softened, climbing down off my high horse.  Two feet back on earth, the quick divine jab brought me to repentance.   How so?  God used the Genesis Bible passage recently moved to the easy-access memory drawer.

Shem had shown his father grace by covering his sin (sprawled-out drunken naked body) with a blanket. (Genesis 9:23)  “Can’t you do the same for your husband?” came the Holy Spirit question.

It was gentle but forceful and it caused tender love to well up.  No condemnation from God, just a sweet push forward toward my husband.  I texted him downstairs, writing how much I loved him cum ’emoticon’.   No response. But when the tired thud of reluctant steps mounted toward the living room, I was ready to enfold him in light and love.  He started to explain that he didn’t know what had come over him.  That he didn’t know how to get OUT of the pit.  I stood up, moved toward him and embraced him in my arms, soothing my wounded, now-softened best friend and husband.

“It doesn’t matter why or how it happened.  Just rest.  I love you.  It’s okay.  We all get ourselves in messes.  Let’s put it behind us and enjoy the rest of the evening.  Whatever ‘it’ was about, our fleeting time together is more precious to us.”

Just like that, we dropped it, relieved.

Score another victory for God’s Word – sovereignly pointing out my sin and enabling me to counter Satan’s false murmurings. My gratitude to the dear Spirit of God deepened, as did my desire to offer this grace covering more widely and more frequently.  It felt good!

Sarah, Sex and the Hall of Fame

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Sarah and Abraham have a baby

And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. Hebrews 11:11

The above verse resolves the perennial debate between those who pit James against Paul in this tricky question of doctrine:

  •  Which is sufficient for justification –  faith or deeds?

How is that?  Consider…..

Sarah was long past the age of childbearing and her husband was no longer virile when she overheard the angels assuring Abraham that in a year’s time she would give birth to a baby.

Sarah laughed to herself, saying, “After I have become old, shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also?” And the LORD said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?’ “Is anything too difficult for the LORD? At the appointed time I will return to you, at this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”…Genesis 18:12-14

So what happened?  Did Abraham and Sarah trust God’s message to them?  His word certainly affirms that they did.

Abraham believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. (Romans 4:3b repeating Genesis 15:6)

**

Impossible situations

What struck me the other day is that both Paul and James are correct.  Abraham and Sarah DID trust as fact the unbelievable news that they would be able carry out the physical sex act together AND conceive AND give birth to a baby. And based on their counting as true God’s promise, they physically came together in a sexual union and the aging body parts worked and…voilà…9 months later, Isaac was born.

Do you see how considering God’s word as good as reality the foundation for the actions that follow? It’s not an either faith/or action but a both/and way to live!

Let’s bring the Sarah and Abraham illustration into our lives. Where are you facing something too unimaginable for you to believe God could or would actually do the ‘impossible’?  Have you sensed God directing you to take a step of faith and trust Him to work through you, accomplishing something that common sense, or intuition or worldly wisdom say COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE DONE?

God commands us to**:

  • confess our unbelief and admit we need help to trust Him
  • believe him and roll each and every heavy, worrying situation onto Him.  Next we are to…
  • pull out one of God’s promises of future grace and relying on that,  we are to…..
  • move out and take the action, step by step as He shows us.  Finally, we are to…
  • give Him thanks and praise when He has done the ‘impossible’ through us and in our situation

(**the above formula comes from Pastor John Piper in his acronym APTAT – admit, pray, trust, act, thank)

What helps me is to rest in the assurance that if God commands this kind of obedience, then He will help me each step along what appears to be an obscured road.  Reassuring to me is the FACT that His word promises light for the next segment of the journey and at the right moment.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.” John 8:12

 

What do you have faith in?

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“Just have faith!”

“I wish I had as much faith as you do!”

Julie andrews

“I have confidence in confidence alone
Besides which you see
I have confidence in me”

The above quotes are statements about the sufficiency, the quantity and the object of faith.  The concept of ‘faith’ is something as American as apple pie.  But just what does it mean?  Is faith something we originate or are born with?  Does it last or is it as mercurial and unpredictable as the weather?  And what kind of faith does the Bible talks about?

God has been shaping my understanding of Biblical faith slowly but surely. I first woke up to the idea of faith when I was about 16 and began actually to be needy. Bulimia had grabbed me by then and I could not control it.  So my interest in faith was piqued.  However, without any knowledge of the Bible and no good teaching in church, I initially picked up ONLY what was in the air, in our culture.  Faith was a nebulous, unattached GOOD-SOUNDING quality to develop if one were a Christian. Especially if one had problems.

Faith drew closer to me through my mom, although I didn’t understand it. From a neighbor down the street, Mom heard the Gospel and believed God when I was around 16.  The transformation in her was rapid. Her topic of every day conversation changed. But as a ‘sophisticated’ teenager, I could only scoff inwardly at her for all her exhortations to ‘just trust’.   Even though I WANTED to believe.  She unashamedly and routinely encouraged strangers, friends and me to ‘trust God and have faith’.

When I myself was spiritually born at the age of 23, it took me a while to develop a Biblical foundation for understanding faith – 17 more years, in fact.  At age 40, I enrolled in a Bible study called Bible Study Fellowship.  A few months later, another ‘uncontrollable circumstance’ occurred. God again used my weakness and neediness to teach me. Fighting fear and in a financial bind, my husband and I listed our rental house in a down market. The first month passed. We paid two mortgages (for both our residence and the empty rental house).  I panicked.  But God!  That Bible study He had placed me in was a year-long walk through Genesis. I can’t remember how I came to do so, but  I grabbed hold of God’s promise to Abraham almost as a talisman to fight my fear, “Do not fear, Abraham, I am your shield and very great reward.” (Gen 15:1b)

It seemed that at least 20 times a day as waves of ‘what ifs’ assailed me, I would replace the fear thought with my weapon, God’s promise. And God was faithful!

“In You I trust, O God, do not let me be disappointed….. Indeed, none who hope in you shall be disappointed” Psalm 25 2a, 3a

He graciously met me in our need. The house sold quickly and we only had to pay the double house payments a 2nd month.

That experience shaped my view on faith.  For a long time, I actually believed that by ‘my’ faith, I could insure/make certain that God would answer my request the way I set it before Him.

Mercifully, but to my shock, God disabused me of THAT notion.  Fast forward 10 years from the house experience.  Our youngest son Wes and I prayed fervently up until the June departure deadline for his friend Sam to be granted an asthma health waiver so he also could attend West Point. We affirmed Biblical promises and waited expectantly, unwavering in our faith. But God kept that door closed, despite our prayers AND the required nomination from Sam’s senator.

Hmm, I had to go back to the Bible to sort out my doctrine!  What I’ve been learning about faith is this: God is trustworthy AND He cannot be manipulated. The faith He gives is His faith, not mine.  And it comes on His terms.

First of all, faith or relying on God in the Bible is never meant to be a blind ‘banking on’ Him.  God provides ABUNDANT evidence of His trustworthiness and why we can trust Him.  Many verses in the Old Testament testify to both His character and His fulfillment of promises. Here is a sample:

The LORD said to Moses, “How long will this people spurn Me? And how long will they not believe in Me, despite all the signs which I have performed in their midst?” Numbers 14:11

Do you see what God is saying?  He has provided proof that what He says is as good as done.  Jesus, Himself, picks up the same theme when He exhorts His followers who doubt His words to look to His miraculous works:

“But if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.” John 10:38

So what we believe in, the object of our faith is what counts.  For faith to make sense, it needs to be placed in something trustworthy and reliable, or else ‘faith’ is just plain stupid!

But how much faith do we need?

Here’s the good news, it’s not a matter of quantity.  The only kind of faith that counts is saving faith.  And that is a gift from God.  This is what Paul teaches us in Romans 12:3

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

A person either has been given faith or he hasn’t.  It’s not up to us to muster it out of the blue.  Paul teaches that faith given by God comes from hearing the good news of what Christ has done for us. Either we trust this news or we don’t.

Here’s the picture of faith that helps me.  Picture yourself struggling to stay afloat in a swimming accident.  A lifeguard throws you a life preserver that tightens around you to hold you snuggly.  All you have to do is relax and rest and let yourself be drawn in by the initiator and completer of your rescue.

Life Preserver

This is what God does for us.  But first things first!   The drowning man has to know he is in dire straits and can’t help himself.  So too, we have to understand our peril and look for rescue outside of ourselves.  That is the new birth! God opens our eyes so we can see REALITY and despair of the false and dangerous notion of either

  • a) we are not in any danger
  • b) we can save ourselves

Then He directs our attention to the one secure way out – Jesus.

It doesn’t matter whether our faith in the life preserver is large or puny.  Jesus taught that a trusting disposition the size of a very petit seed was sufficient to be rescued.

And what about the 2nd lesson from the West Point prayer experience? I’ve come to see that God DOES know best and sovereignly uses our prayers to bring about His good will.   I’ve learned to pray, counting on Him to deal with issues I present to Him as He sees fit. Unpacking that aspect of God, which brings me untold comfort, will have to wait for another blog.

In the meanwhile,  the next time you hear someone toss around the idea of faith, press her gently to explain what she means.  And then point her to the good news of saving faith.

God sees ahead and provides for our every day needs – getting real

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el roi

Let’s look at the mom who bore Abraham’s first son.  You remember Hagar, Sarah’s Egyptian slave?   Recall also God’s promise to make Abraham the father of multitudes. Ten long years of trusting and following normal reproductive practices had not produced a child for Abraham and Sarah. A bitter wife decided to initiate her own Plan B and foisted Hagar on Abraham.   And voilà – Hagar conceived.  And gloated. And Sarah couldn’t stand it.  She vented her pain of broken dreams and resentment on her slave and Hagar fled into the wilderness.

There by a stream the angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar, asking the rhetorical question about what she was doing. After an honest reply: ‘the angel of the LORD said to her,
“Behold, you are pregnant
and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael
because the LORD has listened to your affliction.”  Gen 16:11

I want us to look at this mom’s response to an unimaginable pronouncement of blessing:

She gave this name (El Roi) to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.” Genesis 16:13

If you’ve been reading your Bible for a while, you know that the names of God are actually attributes or characteristics of God. The good news about that fact is that since God never changes and is 100 % trustworthy (or He wouldn’t be God), we can count on these qualities.  Looking at the name El Roi, we know that El means God.  What’s most fascinating for me is that:

El Roi is not 2 words, but literally 3 words – (the) seeing God who sees.

And if God SEES ahead then He will not leave it at that, He also is the God who provides what we need IN those future circumstances.

Just look at the word ‘provide’: It comes from the Latin

provide (v.) 
early 15c., from Latin providere “look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight,” from pro- “ahead” (see pro-) + videre “to see” (see vision). 

So the seeing God who sees is by definition the God who supplies our needs.

This aspect of God, for both Mike and me, is growing more and more central to our lives.  Maybe what I mean is that we are growing stronger in our commitment and ability to take Him at His word and trust Him.

This past week we had some medical issues where God gifted us with some practical exercises (homework?).  The choice was clear, A or B:

A – give in to the sin of unbelief, that is the temptation to worry or

B – cast each of these cares and their component parts on the One who promises to provide our EVERY need.

I’ve been experiencing a swollen lip and uncommonly chapped lips for 4 weeks and no home remedy worked. Mike continued to urge me to see a doctor.  It’s a pain when you’re a teacher and live 45 minutes away from your doctor.  And besides, I felt stupid.

But Thursday night as I was in bed, I resolved to call the next day and SEE if just maybe I could schedule an appointment for the following Tuesday after school, the earliest that school commitments would allow. This time, I uncommonly, but deliberately chose to take God at His Word and give this coordinating detail over to Him. I slept peacefully.

When I called, I actually found out that my doctor had a cancellation at 3:45 pm THAT VERY day, Friday.  Without knowing how THAT slot would work out since I was scheduled to be with students on a tour of facilities for the homeless of Asheville, I said ‘yes’.  Step 1 had fallen into place in an unanticipated way.  Next was to figure out how I could drive away from the city by 3 pm to arrive in my hometown by 3:45.  I ‘rolled’ THOSE details onto my Provider and He came through:

  • I arranged to follow the bus to where the kids were going to be dropped off.  Found parking.  The bus returned in time to collect them and thanks to Miss GPS, I navigated from the unfamiliar location onto my interstate.  My handing over to the ruler of the universe the unpredictability of Friday afternoon traffic amid harried, tired drivers bore fruit and I arrived on time to my appointment.  The doctor prescribed an Rx and I headed to the pharmacy.
  • But the pharmacy never received the Rx sent via the computer.  A bonus extra credit opportunity from God.  I texted my doctor for the first time, not sure the number would work.  It did.  He did what he had to and later that night the pharmacy texted that the Rx could be picked up on the morrow.
  • And as frosting on the cake, the lost time after school on Friday that I normally spend inputting grades and readying for Monday, God gave me Friday morning in some unusual circumstances.  I hadn’t even WORRIED or ASKED Him about that need!

Our good God beautifully handled LOTS of details of this current problem. (God is good all the time, the horror of the evil terrorist attacks in Paris, notwithstanding).

Although maybe minor in the life of other believers, this growth in turning over to God a problem in lieu of clinging and worrying and imagining all the ‘what-ifs’ IS a major step for me.  Listening daily to John Piper sermons, his teaching that the sin of unbelief IS the root sin of all other sins has penetrated my mind and heart in a tangible way.  The drip method works!

Even Jesus taught this lesson in His instructions of the ideal prayer: in essence we plead, “Keep us from succumbing to temptations and deliver us from this and all evil!”

Unbelief IS evil in face of God’s commands to:

  • fear not
  • worry not
  • trust on
  • turn over all concerns
  • dwell on His faithfulness

What I’m learning is that I have to catch the first signs of unbelief as new thoughts of possible (bad) future scenarios spring up in my imagination. Stopping those ponderings and substituting TRUTHS about God IS the fight against unbelief.  Our baseless but SEEMINGLY real conclusions have to be weeded out ruthlessly as part of our ongoing preventative maintenance of the life of faith.  If allowed to take root, musings quickly grow into debilitating feelings.

To cement this new growth in trusting God, both Mike and I were handed our next challenge; an excruciating toothache that kept him slumber-less on that Friday night.

toothache

I quickly spotted the follow-on challenge to this week’s homework.  I handed over to my good Provider the problem of getting in to see the dentist on Saturday. And pulled up each thought/fear weed contrary to God’s word.  Result?

  • Mike’s dentist returned my cell-phone emergency message I left at 7:30 am
  • He spoke with Mike about 8:30 am
  • He told him to come by for Rxs for a painkiller and antibiotic before noon
  • When we stopped by, he actually took Mike back and looked at the crown job completed earlier in the week and is referring him to the endodontist.
  • When the pain killer didn’t seem to last long and Mike thought about the article deadline looming where he had to think clearly, write and submit his defense piece to his editor Sunday night, we together stared down the temptation to doubt. We encouraged each other to trust the ‘seeing God who sees’ ahead and supplies the need at the perfect moment.  We have learned by now that God who is intent on growing our trust won’t furnish resources AHEAD of time.

It’s now 5 pm.  Mike has finished his writing; the painkiller he took at 10 am seems to have worked well enough to keep the pain down.

We are geared up for the next need we are handing over to El Roi, that of getting in to see the endodontist SOON.  Pray with us that we won’t falter and succumb to this temptation. Satan loves to blow on any crabgrass of disbelief like he did with Eve in the garden.

Didn’t you know that weeding gloves are an indispensable part of the armor of God!

weedking gloves

What’s the big deal?

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dust

And God said to Adam and Eve: “…… you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  (or as the Amplified version puts it….you started out as dirt, you’ll end up dirt. (Genesis 3:19b)

I was upset with myself for messing up, YET AGAIN.  When I go down that road of self-recriminations, I tune out others and withdraw, my pride wounded.  It’s hard to shake that mood.  But the next morning during my Bible reading, I read God’s reminder to our first parents.  The next thought was: “Why do you expect more from yourself, Maria?  After all, you’re just DUST!”

What an equalizing and humbling assessment.  Taken a step further, if I am just an animated collection of dust, then so are you. So why fear or worry what a fellow assemblage of dirt thinks of me!

Lest you feel TOO wormy, remember God’s words in Isaiah – “Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord”, Isaiah 41:14)

Though we are little and powerless without God, we who belong to Him are fiercely loved.  Consider what God says via the prophet Jeremiah: “The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” – Jeremiah 31:3

Can you even take that in?  That the all powerful, omniscient, holy God has always and forever loved you, if you are His redeemed child?

  • Even before He created the universe…
  • Even before Jesus walked on this planet and died for you….
  • Even before your parents were a couple and then birthed you….

….the happy, triune God set His love on YOU!!!  And He will continue to love you.

Yes, we are dust and worms in one sense.

But we are special collections of dust with certain characteristics that image Him.  And evidently His plans to showcase His glory and magnify His joy include loving, creating and redeeming us!  Now THAT’s the big deal!

A dangerous question

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“Mike, what would you say is my most precious, cherished sin?”

It took him a moment.  Not to think of the sin, but to be sure I was serious about asking for that level of honesty.

The answer didn’t surprise me, but it still produced an ‘Ouch!’ because it rolled so easily off his tongue:

  • Your obsessive routines of eating, exercise, sleep and reading!

Let me set the scene, so you can see WHY this is such a squirm-producing topic.

My friend Regina gifted me with a weighty tome by puritan William Gurnall  – Here’s the link on Amazon

William Gurnall's book

 

 

 

 

Gurnall wastes no time in getting down to business.  He reminds his readers of Abraham’s ‘Let’s get real about whom and what you love most’ test administered by God as recorded in Genesis 22:2 –

  • Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Gurnall modified it to fit us!

  • Then God said, “Take your favorite sin, your most cherished sin, which you love  – X – and sacrifice it on the altar”

I’m aware of how often I sin, but to identify my FAVORITE sin, my go-to sin was hard.  So I asked the person who knows me best.

So there I was, face to face with THE QUESTION:

  •  Do I WANT to give up my routines that bring me such comfort?

Immediately the voice offered some reasonable words…

  • “Eating healthy, sleeping enough, exercising daily, READING….those are all good things!  Don’t be extreme”

The problem was, that wasn’t God’s voice.

Isaac bound on the altar

I read on in Gurnall.  In the very next paragraph he warned me that unlike Isaac who did NOT resist his dad’s securing him to the altar, OUR sacrifices will tend to crawl off the altar.

Satan facilitates the escape of the victim with a one-two soft punch:

  • What you do is not THAT bad…!

and the 2nd blow is….

  • Don’t rush or be too hasty.  Wait awhile.  Maybe you heard wrong.  Maybe your husband is just jealous of your self-discipline!

I talked this subject of idols over with one of my sons and his wife who is a true Christian sister to me. What we came away with was that prioritization is key.

  • Yes, it so happens that my habits of choice are healthy ones
  • But they can also become cherished control mechanisms for my ‘happy’ life now
  • It’s not an either/or situation that requires me to jettison them, but something easier to see but challenging to implement.

Jesus boiled down the Law to the 2-dimensional Law of Love

Love God, Love People

When my food, exercise, sleep and reading habits DON’T take away from concretely loving God and loving others, I can pursue them.  But loving God comes first and loving people is a way of loving God.

 

Practically it looks like this (I think!):

Priorities:

#1 – first part of my day I spend in Bible reading, prayer and medication on God’s truth – to get myself happy in God, which is my duty

  • Ps 32:11 – Be glad in the Lord and rejoice….
  • 1 Thess 5:16 – Rejoice always…
  • Phil 4:4 – Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice!

#2 – whenever a person comes into my presence or NEEDS to be in my presence, spend time with her or him as appropriate (yes, we all have work to do, but work can become an idol as well!)  For me…..

  • that means remembering that my husband is my covenant partner AND BEST FRIEND
  • that means phone calls to family and close friends are more important than reading
  • that means that neighbors, students, colleagues and people along my daily path at the grocery store, in line at the PO at coffee hour at church are more important than reading something on my iPhone

The leftover time is what I get to invest in God-honoring ways.  If I choose to spend that time cooking or reading or walking or browsing Twitter and Instagram, I am free to do so.

 

Question:  Whom would you ask to help you see your most cherished sin?  And how painful would it be to keep sacrificing it in order to make room for more of God?  If this Gurnall book blasts away within the first 5 pages, I wonder what else is in store for me!

I’ll keep you posted.

 

Reflections on waiting

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This waiting thing – we’re in the thick of it!

  • Waiting for the house to sell
  • Waiting to get a teaching job in NC
  • Waiting for Mike’s first paying client
  • Waiting for Wes to return from Afghanistan

Not that waiting isn’t part of others’ lives, too:

  • Our brother and sister-in-law are waiting for her immigration paperwork to come through.
  • Friends are waiting for babies – to be born and to be adopted
  • Many sisters & brothers in Christ are waiting for loved ones to be brought into God’s forever family
  • Other friends are waiting for healing and pain to subside
  • A friend is waiting for her husband finally to receive the career recognition he deserves and longs for
  • Another friend is waiting for debt to be paid off so she can marry

I realized something last night that shifted my view of how God is working.  I’m a lot more relaxed this time around selling a house.  The first time was when we were 27 years old.  Mike had moved out to Monterey, Graham was a baby and we were desperate to sell a house in Arizona.  DES-PER-ATE.  I bugged the real estate agent every day.  God was gracious and brought a buyer in 3 months, despite my total lack of faith.

The last time we sold a house, I had started growing spiritually through the means of Bible Study Fellowship, but was living functionally still as an atheist.  I was 42 this time around.  As I fretted internally, worrying about 30 times a day, “What if…..!!!!”  (at least I didn’t phone our realtor every day!), God brought welcome relief in the form of a verse.  We had studied Genesis the previous year in BSF and all of a sudden I recalled the promise God made to Abraham when the old man, like me, was fearful, tired & discouraged.

Gen 15:1 Fear not Abram, I am your shield and your very great reward!

All of a sudden, my behavior switched.  I consciously chose to sub in that very promise from God each and every time I caught myself falling into worry and fear.  I would literally shake my head and actually stand up to that worry/fear thought:

NO!  then I would say to the Lord…

God, YOU are my shield and my very great reward, therefore, I will not fear.

Instead of playing the worry movie 20 – 30 times in a day, I affirmed God’s Word over and over again.  A month later, God brought the buyer.

Now I’m 55 and we’re selling our 3rd house.  My goal is to offer my waiting to God as worship.  I want to PLEASE my Father by demonstrating that I trust him.  As Graham reminded me yesterday in a phone call, ‘We have a rich and powerful Father, so we can relax’.

The realization that struck me last night came in reflecting about how we came to find the house that we are going to purchase in North Carolina, God-willing.  From Thanksgiving through mid January, we had been ‘studying’ available houses, making a list of features, comparing them in Excel (a side benefit that comes from being married to an analytical husband!) all in preparation for a house-visiting trip last month.  Our goal was to make an offer on a house over that January weekend since Waynesville is 8 hours away by car from Newport News.

We arrived on Saturday at the real estate agent’s office and in addition to the list of houses we had planned to visit; she added one that had ‘just popped up’,  being listed 2 days earlier on the Thursday.  It wasn’t part of our ‘careful study’.

And as you might guess, that is the house we have chosen.

Do you see what I realized last night?  At just the RIGHT time, God brought ‘our house’ to us, not dependent on our analysis and searching.

If I extrapolate, at just the RIGHT time, God will bring:

The buyer for our current house…….The job offer for me……etc

Yes, our efforts are important – But God doesn’t want frenzied, desperate efforts.  Reasonable next steps/actions that come from a deep, relaxed and confident dependence on God are the kind that honor our Father.

Lord, thank you for Christ:  my Anchor, my Blissful Rock, my Big Brother, my Champion and Author and Finisher of the faith implanted in me.  Give me the humility to keep casting these cares back on You, because I KNOW You love us and have our best interests at heart.

God meets our needs very creatively!

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