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Posts Tagged ‘God is in control. Where Did You FInd God Today?. Julie B Cosgrove’

Pray for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.                  1 Timothy 2:2 NIV

vote-1319435__180I always took the first part of the passage as an action. In my church, each Sunday we pray for the president, governor, Congress, city council and mayor. Over my life there have been times I gritted my teeth, but prayed anyway, out of obedience. After all, that is what Scripture tells us to do, right?

But God brought the second half of the verse into focus for me today. Perhaps because of the anxiety people are feeling over the presidential election in a few weeks.

So how we can live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness…not at the elected officials’ hands, but in assurance we have placed them in God’s hand, our ultimate authority.

We cannot totally depend on humans to handle or solve our national, state or local problems, no matter what they promise.God Bless America  But we can act out what our coinage states and place our elected officials and this nation’s people under God’s care, trusting in Him.  In other words, pray for them.  We may not see a change in their attitudes or beliefs, but we may see one in us.  Our hearts may become more palatable to loving our neighbors and our enemies. Our anxieties or frustrations may minimize. Hope may bubble up a bit more in our souls.

Then and only then will we find peace and quiet, godly living and His holiness.

 

 

 

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Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise.  Proverbs 6:6

ant-44588_1280I watched in wonder at the scene laying out a few inches from my feet. As some ants scurried in a line over the sidewalk to carry minute morsels back to their mound, one little ant dragged a piece of straw three times his length. At first the others skirted around him coming and going. I could almost hear their grumbling. “Look at that guy?” “Leave it to Joe to drag a stupid twig.” “Please, can’t he fall in line?”

On he trudged with his prize, not wavering in his quest. (I guess it was a “he”.) What tenacity. Finally, when he got to the entrance he stopped. How to get a stiff, horizontal piece of straw to bend and fit perpendicularly down that hole? He tried. Failed.Tried. Failed.

I held my breath. I almost reached down to help, then thought better of that idea. I might get stung!

Soon, three more ants came to his aid. Then a few others. The small stick  became covered with insects, each lending their strength to the task. At last, enough of them tugged, lifted and dragged the straw into their nest.

I cheered. People stared. Shrugging, I continued my walk.

But I saw a God-lesson in it. If we don’t give up, if we keep trying our hardest, eventually we will be able to proclaim, as Paul says: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7  Yet, Paul admitted he couldn’t do it alone. He had help from God, and from his followers.

There will be times we may have to accept help—just like that ant. If you are faced with a task and it is harder than you thought it might be, will you accept assistance, or stubbornly hiss between your teeth that you are bound and determine to do it yourself? I think sometimes God sends others to help us not only to benefit us, but them as well.

I wonder if the ants celebrated and patted each other on the back? Who knows? But, I bet like me, God cheered.

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I READ A DEVOTIONAL TODAY BY TIA GLENN-COOKE, A CHRISTIAN WHO BATTLES DEPRESSION. She said, “The only way I have found to keep myself alive and hopeful is to look for His divine brushstrokes through what sometimes feels like infinite smears of black; to open my heart to those who can speak truth into my life.”

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by Heather MacLean Smith

As a child, I made scratch art. Did you? You color the background in different hues and then cover it in black crayon. Next you use a sharp object to etch through the black to reveal the colors. A beautiful picture emerges. When I read her words, I thought of that scratch art.

God gives us a canvas filled with His colorful glory, but life begins to color over it at times. Hurts, anger, unfortunate tragedy, violence, job loss, broken marriages, severed relationships- these blacken our lives.

However, Our precious Lord can create beauty from ugliness, turn ashes into life and purpose the things that happen to us for ministry. His love, sharper than a two edged sword,can begin to scrape away the black to reveal the work of art we are. There will still be black areas because that defines  life in a fallen world. But, He uses that to bring forth something spectacular.

As He scrapes and scratches, it may hurt. Maybe we don’t get why this is happening. But eventually, others will see, and then we will as well, the marvelous work He is doing in our lives.

 

 

 

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This was taken as tornadic clouds formed recently over Oklahoma.

Who has gone up to heaven and come down?  Whose hands have gathered up the wind? Who has wrapped up the waters in a cloak?  Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and what is the name of his son?  Surely you know!  Proverbs 30:4

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While lecturing and book signing in San Antonio, I spent the night with my sister. When I blurry-eyed stepped into her shower, this is what greeted me.

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SIN AROMA. I had to laugh. It was 6:30 in the morning and I’d already found God today. San Antonio is a bilingual city, so labels are in English and Spanish. “Sin Aroma” means “unscented”, But it got me to thinking. What is the aroma of sin? Isn’t it often undetectable?  Unlike natural gas, which is also undetectable, nothing is added to temptations to let us know danger lurks. No nasty, scrunch up your nose odor to warn us to back away.

The father of lies’s temptations are often what we think we want, need or even believe is God’s will for us. So we dash ahead without taking it to God in prayer first for verification and blessing.

James wrote in his letter, “Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, give birth to death.” (1:15)

Then fact that sin can wash over our body and we still “feel clean” is evidence that we live in a fallen world. But when we become the Body of Christ and He lives in us, sin’s enticement is more detectable. The more we allow ourselves to be washed in His Blood, the more protected we will become.  As believers, we all need a “body wash” (jabon corporal) at least once a week (worshiping corporately) to slough off the sins that have begun to stick to us like sweat.  As individuals, just as we cleanse our skin each day, let us also remember to wash our souls.

Now everyone sing…”What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus…”

 

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As I  glanced for oncoming traffic before I turned the corner, my eyes absorbed the whole tragic scene and immediately pooled with tears. A chunk of my heart ripped into my throat.

I saw the flashing EMS lights, and two EMT’s wheeling an old woman on a gurney. Another EMT helped an elderly, hunched-over man, white hair and beard disheveled, with a cane. His shoulders heaved up and down as his face reddened with tears.

But, I was turning the other way to head for a meeting. Besides, what could I do? I’d never been in this neighborhood. I’d never seen this couple in my life, but the connection was immediate. I recall the morning when they wheeled my late husband away on the gurney. Six hours later at the hospital we pulled the plug…

I scanned my Facebook home page and saw an acquaintance’s report about her teenage son’s latest set back with cancer. Just home from the hospital after months of chemo and infection fighting, they were back in the ER, in a city hours away from me. I recalled the times my own son was in the hospital fighting for his life…

I saw on the news a young family left homeless by an apartment fire. Their dog didn’t make it out. The small child squeezed her mother’s hand as she wailed for her lost friend, and watched her home devoured by the flames. I was reminded of the night my room caught on fire…

Then, situations I cannot fathom flash into my life via the internet, TV and radio.

Another plane halfway around the world has crashed. More lives lost…

An insane and upset person opens fire on an innocent gathering of people…

Sixty children are left in a truck in the middle of the summer, most likely smuggled in by traffickers. Most are dying, if not already dead…

What could I do?

Do you ever feel that way? Someone wiser than I once said we are not human beings but human doings. When we hear of a tragedy, we immediately ask, “What can I do?”

Praying hands_God whispered the answer into my faith ear once again and it dashed to my soul. PRAY – it is the best you can do. Prayer opens the floodgates of Heaven, and multiplies our capabilities a thousandfold. Prayer connects the Almighty with the weak and hurting. Jesus prayed for others until His dying breath. He prays for us still.

Why do we so often underestimate its power?

Why do we feel we need to do more? Maybe because praying doesn’t seem like doing. Our hands are still and folded, not busy. Results are often not immediate, though they can be.

If, when you are made aware of a tragedy, you can physically render aid, do so. But as you dash to “do” that, lift the whole thing into God’s capable hands. Pray He gives you the tools you need to help and the right words to say.  But, if you don’t feel capable or are too removed from the scene, then call on the One who loves more deeply and knows more vastly what is going on.

Pray… it’s what all of us believers could, and should “do.”

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I have begun to power walk, well for me it takes all my power to do this, for a half hour early every morning after I have my Bible and coffee time. I live in a large apartment complex, and a few other people are stirring at that daybreak hour. ID-10018835 However, I have begun to notice something that disturbs me down to my core. Averted eyes.

Today, I passed seven people, and only one looked at me and returned my smile – a child. Everyone else turned away, or changed directions when they saw me approaching with my water bottle, walking shoes, and sweat-beaded brow. Now surely an overweight, sixty-year old 5’2′ woman is not threatening. So, instead of thinking it was all about me, I began to observe that they reacted the same way to others who were heading for their cars, walking their pets or taking out their trash. No one acknowledged the presence of anyone else. Heads down, eyes averted, they went about their business.

What happened to the friendly “howdy” and wave? When did people become so wary, so sullen, and so solitary? When did we begin to disconnect from each other? Is cyberspace to blame? Population growth? Unstable economy? I think those may be symptoms, but the disease is greater than that.

People are lost. They have no hope. They need a Savior.

Such is the destiny of all who forget God; so perishes the hope of the godless. Job 8:13

How can we help people to hope again?  By showing them our hope that is unmovable.  .

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Psalm 62:5

I will continue to walk, and continue to nod and smile. Maybe the small silver cross I wear will catch their attention. Perhaps they will see something in me they are lacking. And maybe, just maybe, after our eyes begin to connect, they will let me get close enough to wish them a good day and to tell them I hope God, who is the source of my hope, blesses them. I just might be the one person who smiles to them, or acknowledges them positively with caring eyes.

I also hope I start to jiggle less and less as I walk more and more .But, at least now God has given me a purpose outside of myself for my morning strolls. I walk to bring hope to averted eyes.

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