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Sunday, August 20, 2017

When the Game Changes



“The ragamuffin who sees his life as a voyage of discovery and runs the risk of failure has a better feel for faithfulness than the timid man who hides behind the law and never finds out who he is at all.”  Brennan Manning



Lichens growing from the stump of a dead tree. Life goes on...

 


I placed a bid on some sensory alphabet blocks for the grand baby earlier this week. We had seen them in a doctor’s office and she was hooked. When I discovered they are out of production, I turned to an online auction and found several offers. Last night at bedtime I was the high bidder on one set for a very reasonable $23.00 including shipping.

This morning there was no announcement of winning. No notification of losing. No items on my watch list. The blocks seemed to have disappeared. Then, I discovered the very same set, listed just last night by the very same seller, with a “Buy it Now” price of $49.95 including shipping.

There’s something about a game change that makes the offer less appealing. And there’s something about having the same thing happen three times in the same week that can cause you to wonder about your sanity.

As most weeks do, this one started on Monday. That’s when I learned that one of the two classes I was scheduled to teach had cancelled for lack of enrollment. At the end of the day, I was teaching in a different program and making $2,000 less.

As Tuesday ended, I had decided to look for a more stable source of (steady) supplemental income.

By Thursday, I thought I had found a perfect fit and while I still had two weeks to apply, I seized the opportunity, sent my résumé, and received an automated response.

On Friday, I returned to the website to refer to the job description and could not even find the posting.

All things considered, I knew the events of the week were merely echoes of another game change earlier in the summer that had flattened me. I was just beginning to get back on my feet. What is up with this? I reflected.

Our first inclination when things go wrong, and one thing after another continues to go wrong, is to think we have made a wrong turn. We were just merrily sailing along with a smile, thinking how good it was, and suddenly…

We begin to think we may have missed His voice somewhere, as we get pounded by one wave of circumstances after another and become disoriented.

We wonder if we have prayed
for His guidance enough. After all, He wouldn’t lead us astray. But, if we have trusted Him to guide us each day, this is really just re-purposed doubt.

We think that maybe it’s just God’s way of changing our direction and changing us. And we might be getting close. But in this walk of faith, all the wondering and thinking and possibilities don’t give us solid answers. Those can only come from being still…from letting go and letting Him guide us to the truth… from waiting. Patiently. To hear His voice.

“What, then?” I asked.

“Faithfulness.” He replied. “When the game changes, will your faithfulness fail?”

The game will change. People will disappoint you with broken promises, the open market is bursting with bait and switch. Organizations will be more interested in making money than in making you feel secure. 


When things don’t go as you expect them to but you're there by faith, will you keep on trusting that He is with you and in you, guiding you and planning your good future? 
 
The good news is that the fruit called faithfulness is not developed by things going well all the time. Nor is it developed by your determination to be faithful. It is developed as you and I hang by our white-knuckled, weary hands, from the side of the rough-hewn, slippery remains of a shipwreck. When the winds calm down and the sun finally reappears on the horizon, you feel like you may have lost everything else but your relationship with the God who saved you.

How can a loving God allow all this to happen to one of his faithful followers? For that matter, how can a loving father allow His son to be bullied and crucified?

Faithfulness.

He knows it’s in there because He put it there. He knows what it takes to develop it. He, Himself, is faithful and His desire is to reveal Himself in us. Against the odds. Against the circumstances. Against the tide, the traditions, and the trends.

The game will change. But His faithfulness will not. In fact, it will be revealed through it all, in us.



Galatians 5:22-23
22 The Holy Spirit produces a different kind of fruit: unconditional love, joy, peace, patience, kindheartedness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. You won’t find any law opposed to fruit like this (The Voice).

 


James 1:17-18
17 Every good gift bestowed, every perfect gift received comes to us from above, courtesy of the Father of lights. He is consistent. He won’t change His mind or play tricks in the shadows. 18 We have a special role in His plan. He calls us to life by His message of truth so that we will show the rest of His creatures His goodness and love (The Voice).

 


Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful (The Voice).


 

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Eternal, “plans for peace, not evil, to give you a future and hope—never forget that (The Voice). 



Excerpted from
While it Is Called Today
a 30-day photo devotional for the believer

by Dee Marvin Emeigh

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Can You See Him Now?

Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Each of us sees God differently, according to our experience with Him, our need at the moment, or the things that currently captivate us. 

This doesn't mean He changes, like shifting sand. It means that He meets every need where we are at any given moment in time. It isn't necessary, nor even desirable that we all see Him the same way. What is necessary and desirable, is that we see Him and that we see Him as the source and supply for every need.
  • So, what is it that you need? Strength? Guidance? Friendship? Health? All of these are available, if only we would see Him as our source. The relationship Jesus came to give us, in the covenant He established, provides for these and more. 
The problem always comes down to one thing: how we see Him. This is why, on at least one occasion, Jesus asked His followers, "Who do you say that I am?" 

It's an important question, especially when we're hearing a lot of opinions about Him. The truth is, is if we do not see Him as necessary or vital, He will not be. 

We all go astray in this. 

It was true back in the day of Isaiah. In chapter 53 of his writings, we read (verse 6), "All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way..." (NAS).

And it is still true. 

We go bouncing along in the business of life and suddenly, we don't even know what hits us, but we're out of the ballpark.

How much more true today than it was a few thousand years ago, we can only guess. We are bombarded constantly with bad news, with ugly reports, with horrific events, with assaults against our morality, our intellect, our peace, our faith. We are steadily immersed in a sea of the way mankind without God lives. We look for models within church buildings and we find forms of godliness.
  •  Maxx Lucado writes: "Sin sees the world with no God in it...a godless attitude leads to godless actions...the sinful mind dismisses God...his counsel goes un-consulted; his opinion, unsolicited."
If we do not see Him, we may not be looking, for in the midst of all the world and its troubles, He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. He will be there for us to turn to, if we only will. When we want to turn and run, if we run to Him, He will turn us around and tell us to stand. He will be our strong tower and our shield. We will look for those who oppressed us and we won't be able to find them.

Isaiah 41:10'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.' 11"Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored; Those who contend with you will be as nothing and will perish. 12"You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them, Those who war with you will be as nothing and non-existent.…(NASB)