Friday, October 30, 2015

God Is Good to Us

This past year has been an interesting time for us. I (Scott) keep seeing and experiencing things that remind me that God's timing is perfect and that things "just" keep happening at the "right time." (Sorry about all the quotation marks; they just seemed right for emphasis.)

I'll read something to prepare for my Bible study that connects exactly with what I'm experiencing. I'll wonder or worry about something and see an answer on TV or as I'm driving. Someone will make a comment to me at just the right moment. I'll start to fret over what I'm doing and receive a note from someone complimenting me on my work. All these things "just" happen when they need to happen for me.

The most recent one of these things just happened. I've been struggling with something personally. I sat and prayed to God, both aloud and in writing, about this. I kept praying and thinking and writing and praying.... Then I saw my Bible. It's not the Bible I read every day or take to church. It's a Bible that stays in my office, beside my reading chair. I'll read it from time to time when I'm in the office (or use it for reference when needed for my work).

I pulled the Bible toward me and opened it. I didn't know where to read. Psalms, I thought. That's usually a good place for lamenting and for answers.

I opened the Bible to the middle and the pages fell open to a particular passage. There was a card in this place. (I often stick things in my Bibles, for various reasons.) Okay, I thought, this is the place. I began reading the pages that were marked there. Some great verses, ones that connected to me. I shifted the Bible a little and the card slid out. Then I noticed there was writing on it. I read the words, a verse on those pages that I hadn't read yet. A verse that directly applied to what I was feeling and facing.

Now, I don't know when I wrote that verse down and stuck the card in the Bible. No idea how many months or years ago that was. I don't really know why I wrote down that verse, except it is a good one to remember. But I knew I wrote it down for this moment. How do I know? Because God led me to it. I'm going to place that card with the verse close to my desk, where I can see it daily, for a while. Not only to help me as I think about my current situation but to remind me that God's timing it always right on time. And to remind me that the ways I obey and listen now will impact me in the weeks and months ahead.

Someone once told me that we shouldn't use "coincidences" but instead should say "God-incidences."

His ways are perfect and He's always right on time.

Monday, October 19, 2015

If Only

Driving on a long trip by yourself gives you lots of time to think. On my recent trip to Texas, I (Cindy) was reflecting on certain aspects of my life. I began to play the “If Only…” game. I bet you have played that game, too. If only I had studied Spanish in college. If only I had kept on teaching at that school. If only this, if only that. What you end up with is a life full of regrets.

Living a life of faith in God has no room for regrets. If we really take Romans 8:28 seriously, everything that happens to us is in God’s will. He not only will use what happens to us for good, He ordains it. God is not surprised by any occurrence in our lives. So here is how I played my “If Only…” game:

If only I had grown up in a family that went to church.
   My family loved me. My parents and grandparents are all gone, but I have a wealth of brothers, sisters-in-law, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and –nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins. I still wish that we had that legacy of faith that could be passed down to the younger generations. What I do have is the privilege of praying for my non-Christian family members. I have the responsibility of living a life that demonstrates the love of Christ. I have developed a deep appreciation for the need of children to have godly families. I believe that to be one reason I am so invested in preschool ministry.

If only I had told that principal he was wrong.
   One year I had a confrontation with a principal who accused me, unjustly, of slandering a student. I was so taken aback by his accusations, I could hardly defend myself. The hurt and the anger almost debilitated me. Many times I have replayed the confrontation, thinking of how I could have responded differently. But I didn’t. What I chose to do is learn and grow from the situation. Many years later I was in a similar confrontation with a parent, and I had gained enough godly wisdom to respond differently to the accusations and was better able to deal with the anger and hurt.

If only I had studied Elementary Education in school.
   When I graduated from college, I had a degree in Secondary Education with teaching fields in Math and Latin. I began my teaching career teaching junior high students in math. I struggled with classroom management (as many new teachers did), trying to manage these young teenagers. In the first few years of teaching, I often wished I had studied to teach younger children. But I did not, and unless I went back to school, I was stuck teaching teenagers. But through my struggle, I learned to love that age of kids. I developed skills in teaching that helped me be a better teacher to kids struggling to learn math. After several years of teaching junior high math, I began teaching 7th and 8th grade girls Sunday School at my church. What a blessing it was to share about God and Jesus with these bright and enquiring girls. I am still even in contact with them via Facebook. God continued to do the good work in me, helping me learn my craft and become an effective worker for Him.

 I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
                                                      Philippians 1:6

Continue in your faith in God, knowing that He will continue His work in you. Don’t let “If Only…” ruin your journey in this life.