The Little Things

Gift

A few weeks ago a friend from church said she had something for me in her car. I followed her out, and she gave me a box of baking soda for cat litter odor control. Somehow it had ended up in her bags at the store and she had paid for it but had no indoor cats, so she thought of me. I don’t use the product, but I thought I could pass it on to other friends. Little did I know….

Young Man

My tomcat, Young Man, has been having some digestive issues, to put it delicately. He’s older than the other two cats and the sudden changing of food formulas has wreaked havoc with his digestive system. I have been praying that his substantial weight loss was not some terrible and expensive disease because I love the fur ball and money is tight.

God provided a way for me to take him to the vet, and I spent a day or so continuing to pray and trying not to think the worst. After some stressful moments for me and Young Man, we arrived at the vet’s office and waited what seemed like an eternity, but was actually only 15 minutes, to find out his tests results were all good. The vet reassured me that it was just inflammation caused by too much changing of food and that he was very healthy otherwise. I was relieved to finally know what the problem was and how to correct it. It was one less worry to carry around.

In the meantime, the baking soda has mitigated some of the other issues, such as smelly cat syndrome, caused by the condition. So, God not only answered my prayer about his health and the funds to find out, but he also provided a way to deal with the consequences. A bad smell is a small thing but God answered my need even before I knew I was going to have it.

SparrowsIn Luke 12:6-7, it says: “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows” (KJV).

God cares about even the little things in our lives and is working on our behalf. Sometimes we receive it before we know we need it, and sometimes we receive it in what seems like the twelfth hour, but God always moves at just the right time. He is, as the song below says, an “On Time God”:

On Time God  [Click to watch music video]

 

Road Blocks and Obstacles

Road ClosedRunning into road blocks, road construction, or other unknown obstacles make me irritable. Have you ever considered that God places irritating obstacles in our path for a reason? For instance, I had made plans to finish an outline I was working on by a certain date, but during that week my work load increased exponentially. I was later getting home every day and too tired to do anything besides eat dinner and start getting ready for bed. I felt frustrated that I wasn’t able to reach my goal. That weekend I went to a seminar that changed my approach to the project. The outline I was planning led in the wrong direction.

In Genesis 12, God told Abram to leave his home country to a place unknown to Abram. It was by faith that Abraham walked into the unknown, but he didn’t go alone. God went before him and made a way for him. God already had a plan made out and knew exactly where Abraham needed to be. There were obstacles along the way, but God used them to direct Abraham to the right place at the right time. Abram was probably tempted to stop in several different places along the way, but God used incidents to keep him moving. For example, when they went into Egypt because of the famine, God used a run-in with the pharaoh to push him forward instead of lingering. God even used a multitude of riches and a conflict with Lot to move Abram even further south until he was exactly in the land God had set aside for him. Many of the places he had journeyed through seemed good, but God wanted to give him the best.

DirectionsWhen we run into obstacles, often it is because we are headed in the wrong direction or are tempted to settle in a place that is comfortable but short of God’s plan for us. Our plans are not always God’s plans. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” We have to trust that God only wants the best for us, so his plan has to be better. When we quit struggling to make our plans work and follow His leading, we will find joy and contentment that we never dreamed possible.

Not My Battle

Money Troubles

On more than one occasion in my life, I have come to a problem where I couldn’t see a solution. I have looked at a stack of bills and a list of income and thought that will never work. There is no way to stretch the money to cover all of that. I would worry and fret and try to think of ways to expand my income or reduce the bills, but it never worked. Eventually, I would remember to pray. Usually I had to get to the point where I honestly said, “Lord, You’re the only one who can do this because there is no human way possible. I leave it up to you.” Then the answer would come and everything would get paid and always in a way I had never imagined. It was a God thing.

These kinds of situations show up as frequently in the Bible as they do in my life. For example, Judah was about to be attacked by a vast army, and the king was afraid, so he sent for a word from God. In 2 Chronicles 20 a prophet replies, “15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” The people stopped and worshiped God, and in the meantime, their enemies killed each other without them lifting a finger.

Notice the words “…for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” As humans, we are prone to be independent and control freaks, but God calls us to depend on Him. Sometimes, or quite often, He has to put us in situations where we realize our need for Him; otherwise, we are lulled into a false sense of security. We think, “I got this.” In reality everything we have we owe to God, including our very lives. He is the one who is in control.

Battles is the LordsThe worry will get you nowhere. Luke chapter 12:25-26 says, “ 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?” Worry accomplishes nothing except raising your blood pressure. It doesn’t solve anything and makes your life miserable. John 10:10 says, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” The enemy wants you to be scared and to steal your joy, but Christ came so we could live the abundant life.

So, the next time you face a situation or a problem start with prayer instead of making it a last ditch effort. Relax and let the Lord fight the battle. Do your part in being obedient and then watch to see what He will do. Take a moment and listen to some advice from a man who knew about seemingly hopeless situations:

The Battle’s Not Mine by The Freemans

 

 

 

The Old Ways

Old WayThe other day I was playing a computer game and was getting frustrated because I couldn’t beat a certain level. I closed out of the game and came back an hour later only to realize that I had already beaten that level the day before. I was fighting a battle I had already won. How often do we do the same in our spiritual lives?

In recent months I have felt God calling me to change careers. While I have been teaching English for almost 20 years, I have always wanted to be a full-time writer. I have struggled with writing on the side, but there was never enough time to really devote to it. I taught part-time, so I often had 2 or 3 jobs, which made it even harder to focus. When the current school I was working for closed its doors abruptly, I kept hearing the following verse:

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

Music Notes

 

 

God is Doing a New Thing by Lara Martin

 

 

I have started down this path before, but I always ended up back with several part-time jobs with the best of intentions to write on the side without any success. It was time to try something new. New is often scary. There are times when God wants to move us into a new season of life. Sometimes it is through the loss of a job, but it could also be through a change in health or the loss of a loved one. We were comfortable in the old way, not necessarily because we were happy, but because it was familiar. God doesn’t call us to be comfortable. He calls us to be obedient. Sometimes He uses a change in circumstances to shake us out of complacency so that He can move us to where He needs us to be.

Once we begin to move, there will always be a temptation to go back to the old ways, to the familiar, but the old ways will never be as comfortable as they once were. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians  5:17). The new man will never be satisfied with the old ways.

So, let’s follow Paul’s advice: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).