Saturday, July 25, 2015

God Is Always Working

"On the day I called, You answered me; You increased strength within me." (Psalm 138:3)

Recently Psalm 138 has become my go-to passage. I read it regularly, daily. The verse above has become particularly meaningful to me.

School will be starting here soon. Cindy and I were talking last week about the fact that I have had zero calls or interviews for this upcoming school year. Zero. "I think that is unexpected," I said. "That no one would contact me. That there wouldn't be at least one principal who called for an interview. Especially since I've contacted some of them when I knew about openings." As we talked, I told her that I had a realization. It must be God at work. He is working out His plan (not our plan). And I am content to continue on as I am. I enjoy writing. I enjoy editing. God has continued to multiply our flour and oil, giving us what we need and more.

Then, earlier this week, my phone rang. I didn't recognize the number and tried to answer it. The phone stopped ringing before I could answer. In a time shorter than voice mail would pick up. Hmm, I thought. Then I did something that I sometimes do; I did a reverse lookup online. That number was an elementary school. Someone called and then hung up.

It's interesting what can get me on the anxiety train. I kept thinking about that phone call. The one that was missed, for whatever reason. The one I didn't get. What if. I wonder. Over and over in my head.

I had to keep reminding myself of a truth that I learned years ago: God is bigger than anything else. He is bigger than missed calls or electronic flubs. If that's a direction that I should pursue, the call will come again. I put it out of my mind. Until it would sneak back in.

I knew that God would work His will. I knew that I was content to write and not teach in a classroom. But I also remember the dream that I feel God has given me - to be a classroom teacher. So the thoughts would come back. I prayed to give those anxious thoughts to God. And no call came.

Yesterday morning I woke up thinking and praying about this. "God," I said, "I know that You are in control. I know that You are bigger than anything. I know that if no call ever comes, You are still God and still working in our lives." I took a deep breath. "I want Your will above all. But I really want a call. As I understand things at this moment, I want a call. But I give it to You."

I put it aside mentally. I moved on into my day. A couple of hours later, I got a call from a principal. She wanted to know if I could come for an interview that morning, in just two hours. I said yes. The interview seemed to go well. She said she wants to make a decision by the end of the week.

On the way home, I checked my phone. A missed call and a message. From a number I didn't recognize. I pulled over to listen to the message. Another school. Wondering if I could come for an interview on Monday. I called back and left a message saying I was interested and available. As I started for home, the phone rang again. It was the second school. "What is your schedule today?" she asked. "Could you come this afternoon?" So I went to a second interview. That went well, too.

I asked for a call. I got two calls. I don't know if either will be what God wants me to do. I see positives in both possibilities. I would take either.

But, as I marveled again at God's provision and God's answers, I learned what I really need to keep in mind. God is always at work. God is at work when there are calls. God is at work when there are no calls. If I learn anything through our journey, it will be that God is sovereign, always at work in our lives. Even when we can't see Him. Even when we don't realize it.

And sometimes He overabundantly reassures us that He's at work.

(We thank you for your prayers for us. Please pray that we will be obedient, recklessly obedient, in whatever and wherever God leads.)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Keep On Following

This is Cindy posting on the blog today.

I have been pondering so many things these past few weeks, especially since the SCOTUS decision at the end of June. It seems that our world is going downhill as super speed. Our culture is becoming increasingly self-focused, moving farther and farther away from God.  My first reaction to the SCOTUS ruling: We are all doomed! Our nation is going down the drain! We are done! I know, a little dramatic, right?

Then it hit me. I am a Christ follower. I have the Holy Spirit living in me. I have God’s Word to give me comfort and guidance. For a few minutes I had forgotten an important fact—God is sovereign and everything that happens is ordained by God. Everything that happens is ordained by God. EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IS ORDAINED BY GOD!

If I know that God is in control, what should be my response? Should I sit back and let God do His thing? Should I passively watch as the world continues to go awry? This is not the response God requires of His children. What should we do?

In John 15:18-25, Jesus tell His disciples they will face persecutions. The world hates the gospel. As followers of Christ, we will also face persecution. People will hate us because of what we stand for. People will call us haters because we cannot agree with their behaviors. We will be accused of being judgmental because we refuse to accept their way of life. But as followers of Christ we are called to stand apart, no matter the cost. But not only that, we are called to love others, especially our enemies. We are called to be witnesses to the sacrifice of love Christ made for us.

 I truly believe that the recent events point to Christ’s eminent return. He may return in my lifetime, but it may be many years, even centuries before His return. Even so, we should feel an urgency to spread the gospel. We should feel the urgency about strengthening our resolve to stand strong for the cause of Christ. We should fee the urgency to pray for our world that people would turn toward the One True God. We should be reckless in our obedience to follow Jesus.

Friday, July 3, 2015

But If Not

Do you remember sermons? I remember concepts but rarely do I remember long parts of sermons. I may go back and read notes from sermons - and then I remember more specifics. But there's one sermon that I remember that I have no notes for. A sermon from our previous pastor, not our current one. Evidently a sermon that I must need to remember.

The passage: Daniel 3. The story: A king builds a statue that all should worship. Three men of God do not. The king says that a fiery furnace awaits if they will not bow down. He gives then another chance. They refuse. He tosses them in the overheated furnace. They are delivered. He recognizes that their God is the mighty God.

But the sermon didn't focus on the deliverance. It focused on the men's response to the king when he questioned them. They said that God could rescue them from the furnace and the king. Then they said: "But if not, we will not serve other gods or worship your statue."

But if not....

Those words have echoed in my head throughout this past year. God can do ______ but if not we will still praise Him.

I can think of wonderful ways for God to move in our lives. I can hear of an opportunity and create a grandiose plan for what will happen. I sometimes ask for a sign that I'm on the right track. Sometimes I struggle with what's happening. I'm not sure what or why things are happening the way they are.

However, God is still God. He will deliver and He will guide.

But if not.

I know that God is still Sovereign. He still is on His throne. And we will praise and trust Him.