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Posts Tagged ‘God is there’

A friend of mine is an avid urban gardener. She and her family plant beautiful flowers and raise their own vegetables in the backyard. I noticed tall cylinder-shaped cages in the middle. She explained that was for training the flowering vines and tomato vines. The cages also protect them from critters who may wander into the yard looking for a juicy snack.

It made me think of how God’s Holy Spirit surrounds us. Psalm 5:12 says, Surely, Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.

Boundaries are a good thing. We all need them in our lives. They protect us and steer us just as my niece’s tomato seedlings need their cages to grow and produce large, ripe succulent fruit. (I remember in my biology class that tomatoes are actually classified as fruit though we call them vegetables.)

Sometimes we resist these boundaries. Our independent spirit wants us to break out so we can be free. Teenagers especially. But we adults are not immune to fudging the rules now and then. We go 68 in a 65-speed zone. We make excuses for not doing our household chores and laugh about it on social media. We have that tempting brownie when we have been placed on a medically recommended diet. Who will know?

Then there are those little white lies…

However, because we are way too human in nature, we need to be caged in just like tomatoes or flowering vines. Otherwise, we may grow in a willy-nilly direction. The Lord, once we let Him establish Himself in our hearts and our lives, provides the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5) to guide us in how we are to treat others. His laws and commandments structure our behavior. We know we are the branches, attached to His vine for survival (John 15). All of these things, for our own good, and for the benefit of others, cage us in. We should be thankful for these boundaries, not resist them.

My friend also puts benevolent crawly things in her garden to ward off the ones who might chomp on her vegetables before her family gets a chance to do so. These creepy-crawlies as much as the so-called destructive ones so, the good ones also make my skin crawl. Blechh. However, she is thankful for them because she knows they have a beneficial purpose.

This extra measure of care reminds me that sometimes God brings things into our lives we do not normally consider as good, but in His wisdom, they are exactly that. For example, I couldn’t understand why my two elderly cats, the stability in my widowhood, had to die a few months apart. It was devastating. My mourning ran deep.

Then I underwent testing for allergies at the suggestion of my doctor because I’d kept having sinus issues for the past several years. Sure enough. I had developed a whopping allergy to cats!  Plus, my apartment complex underwent new management and they wanted another 200 dollars for an animal damage deposit per pet upon renewal of the lease. I had no idea both of these events were in my near future at the time the second one passed away, but God did.

Who knew my loving Lord would use tomatoes and cats to teach me a valuable lesson about his care, protection, and boundary setting reasons? Well, He did. What an awesome act of love!

cropped-storm-clouds-2-134981298598261vgu1.jpgOftentimes, tragedy can have a silver lining. God will purpose good from the devil’s evil schemes, proving once again He is in control and has a use for us right up until the end.  Even in the midst of sorrow, there can be joy, like a single sun ray bursting through the storm clouds.

This blog, Where Did You Find God Today, explores the multitude of ways God reaches, teaches, and sometimes preaches to us in our everyday lives. I hope the examples in this short article encourages you to open your faith-eyes to His wondrous ways. His lessons are all around us.

I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw (Proverbs 24:32).

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He blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased, and he did not let their herds diminish. Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled by oppression, calamity and sorrow…Let the one who is wise heed these things and ponder the loving deeds of the LordPsalm 107:38,39,43

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

It’s that time of year again. Taxes. Ugh.

But on a positive note, it encourages me to look at my financial life over the past year. Where and how much I spent on what. How much did I save? Did my freelance writing business grow or make a profit? More importantly, what can I do differently this year to have a better outcome?

Now that we are in a new year, we can take a tally of our spiritual lives as well.

In my spiritual tallying, I found that the verses I’ve quoted of Pslam 107 hold a deep truth. Now, please understand. I am not advocating the prosperity gospel that states God blesses those who are “good” and put the disobedient in the poor house like a celestial Santa Claus with a naughty and nice list. Yes, we, as good stewards, should be responsible for how we handle what God provides. But we also must realize we live in a broken, unfair world where sometimes the bad seems to win out despite our best efforts.

Despite what happens, in prosperity or calamity, there are two things that occur:

First, a lesson is learned.

Secondly, God is still there and He loves His kids.

As I crunch the spiritual numbers, I find I need to be a bit humbler. I also need to be a bit more grateful. Most of all, I need to recall the number of times I realized God was right there beside me. One time, I had a dead car battery. I prayed instead of panicking. I found out my auto insurance offered free roadside assistance, and that after getting the car jumpstarted, there was a discount store a few minutes away from where I had broken down. When I arrived, I had hardly any wait time. And when I returned home and opened my mail, I found three unexpected checks inside which totaled up to almost the same amount I’d just spent on getting a new battery installed. Thank you, Lord.

Benjamin Franklin said, “There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” I suggest he was incorrect, as intelligent as he was.

The only two sure things in life are that, no matter what, God is there and He cares enough to teach us valuable life lessons. When you crunch the numbers, that about sums things up.

 

 

 

 

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ID-100231618Today, I have to go to the dentist. Just saying the word raises my blood pressure. My chest tightens a touch…well more than that.

I have a cavern in one tooth. I can feel it with my tongue. Probably it is not more than a pin prick, it just seems that huge. Logic tells me if I don’t go through the pain of the shot, drilling and filling, it will begin to hurt more and more. At first, it maybe just a touch of discomfort. Then, Ice water will make me cringe, and next, hot soup will make me suck air. In a week or so, I will have to down aspirin, dab on anesthetic gels, and toss and turn at night. So, it has to be done.

Sin is that way isn’t it? It may seems small to the world, but to the one who is carrying it, it can be huge. But, the pain of being examined by Christ as He drills in and cleans it out of our lives is not a pleasant thing. But, like filling a cavity, it is necessary. Otherwise, after a while that sin will interfere with everything we do. Like the dentist, Our Lord has to clean out the mess before it can be properly treated. That hurts as well, but only for a while.

I know- if I had brushed my teeth more than once a day, or had not skipped those times I was too tired to floss before bedtime, or not chomped on that taffy, or downed those carbonated drinks… Little slip-ups can accumulate into something very unpleasant to have to handle–like a cavity.

Are not our lives the same way? We are accountable for our actions, and good or bad, they build up. Just as good dental habits make our teeth stronger and protect us against cavities, our good habits protect our souls and make us strong against the attacks of the devil. Whereas the bad habits can eat away at our souls bit by bit. At first we may not notice, but then, uh-oh. There it is. Just try to ignore it for very long.

I have to go to the dentist today. It is only one hour out of my life, and in reality, about 30 seconds of pain. Yet, I dread it. But, deep down I know God will be there to hold my hand and see me through it. Ditto for the sin I need to come to Him about.

I never thought I’d find God in a dentist appointment, but there you go. Where will you find Him today?

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It has been a rough week. I have been smelling sweet, pungent smoke  – all the time!!! It began intermittently , then gradually became more and more frequent. I wake up several times at night gagging. I smell it in the grocery store, in the car, at friends’ houses, in church. Then, yesterday my left eye began to act up.

I’ve spent two days being shuffled from specialist to specialist – trying to come up with some diagnosis other than the two elephants in the room – TUMOR or STROKE.  So after much prodding and discussion, the consensus has come back – it is time for the brain MRI early next week whenever they can get my measly insurance policy to approve it.  I am very phobic about them, the way some people are about needles. Truly – my blood pressure rose 20 points when they told me.

In the meantime this  intermittently half fuzzed-out and gagging from the phantom stench writer is trying to get work done, earn a living and keep from asking God why?  Warriors have been praying. Still, for the past two days questions have kept surfacing as if in a Magic 8 Ball- Will this get worse? What if I go blind, or have to stop writing? Please God, no. Take a leg, take this cup, but don’t take my writing. Okay- thy will be done. What window will crack open if this door shuts? (I have a Bible study on that by the way.  The radio interview with the Christian Authors Show airs on Dec 19th. I’ll share the link then when it is live.)

God in His sweet timing brought to me three gifts. God always has a way of doing things in threes for me. Three is an important number for me personally so it is an added touch of His grace – like a bow on the present.

The first was an email from Truth Media’s Editor Claire for a website “Power to Change -Christian Women Today” that I write for on a weekly basis –

Good morning Julie,
As I was going through emails this morning I was delighted to see that someone had written in specifically to praise one of your devos. Here’s what she said:

I was reading this on my phone so the screen was small and I had expanded text for legibility. As I read I thought, “Wow! This is really well written.” Curious I scrolled up to the top to see who had written it. Of course! Julie Cosgrove! What a gift she is to all who are lucky enough to discover her writings.

As soon as I read it I knew that you needed to see it too… So be encouraged, God is using the work of your hands for His good purposes.
Thank you for all the work you do month after month. You are very much appreciated!
Claire

Then I got five copies of The Journey  Jan-Apr 2013 edition in the mail- with a month’s worth of my devos  accepted in it for April, 2013.

Third- I got a letter from the couple I stayed with in England. I had donated several of my books and she said everyone there in the village has been reading them and love them.

They were My Sweet Lord’s reassurance that no matter what, and it is probably a lot of fuss and money over something that will turn out to be as simple as a nasty sinus infection, three things are true –

He is by my side,

He has been glorified through my work for Him, and

He is pleased.

Three reminders that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength (Phil 4:13) Even endure an MRI – again.

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