There was a time when I had to work with some individuals, that, let’s just say, had different opinions on how to do things. Very strong, non-bending opinions, and they made it known, they were right! I didn’t share the fowl taste their behavior put in my mouth. Instead, I kept a pleasant face and did my best to swallow the dry, over cooked, attitude.
Later, when I was talking to my friend, I shared, okay complained, about them. I went on and on until he cleared his throat. I asked, “Too much?” He immediately replied in a deep rough voice, “Yes!” I stopped and we started talking about what was going on in his life, but the yukky flavor was still in my mouth.
It wouldn’t pass, and about five days later I started talking to God about it. Would you believe he told me to tell them “Thank you”?
I knew I had to obey, and I did, but I didn’t understand “why”?
After receiving God’s instructions I later opened my devotional of the year, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young to read that day’s selection. I share it with you below:
And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel. 1 COR. 10:10
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.” HEB. 12:28-29
“Thank you, Heavenly Father for loving me so much that you continue to guard my heart. You instruct me so evil will not be able to take up residence there in my inner most being. As I yield my life, my words, my thoughts to you I am directed to clean house, and remove even the smallest measure of dirt.”
You hear the announcement, and yes, you look down at the number on the tag you pulled out of the dispenser when you walked in, even though you already know it wasn’t your number they called. You might as well be holding number “2275”.
Sad, but at least in America we are so impatient. We are spoiled. We are used to getting things now. Unfortunately, there are times when we take that attitude toward waiting for things from God. We make our needs known to God, and then we have to wait for the answer. Depending on the situation it can be extremely difficult. We wonder, “Did He even hear me?”
When we don’t see the answer we expect, and by the time we feel we need it, we can develop an attitude, toward others and even toward God. The truth is how do you know God isn’t working on it? What do you think He is doing? Here is what Oswald Chambers says:
“We look for visions from heaven and for earth-shaking events to see God’s power. Even the fact that we are dejected is proof that we do this. Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him. One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”
I like how Chambers worded this issue. When we “ask” God, then our next step is to “trust” God. Know, be confident that He has heard you and that He “is” working things out in the way that is “best” for you. Keep in mind, God isn’t working on one request at a time, but on every request of everyone around the world who ask, all at the same time. He doesn’t take care of one request and then call the next number of whoever is line. Yes God is that omnipotent and powerful, but also so loving that He puts on every job a personal touch designed just for you. And that my friend is called, “Love”!
My wife and I had been praying about something that could become a stream of income for us. We would have to do some work first to make it happen, and that work would require spending some money. And you know the old adage, “You have to spend money to make money.”
We wanted to do this, but was hesitant to spend the money, but a few weeks ago I suggested we start with step one. I felt a prompting in my spirit that we should at least complete that one task. Today, I’m glad we did.
After step one was under way, I started telling my wife I was getting a sense of urgency in my spirit to complete the project. We reviewed the amount of money it would take and decided to “go for launch!”
We didn’t act fast enough. This past Monday we received an unexpected message from an acquaintance of mine that I have not spoken with in two years. He asked me if I knew of anyone who had a particular item as he was trying to prepare for the arrival of his girlfriend, and I responded we were developing one. His request had a due date, so needless to say, I have been working this past week day and night to get our project done. The same project I was feeling the urgency in my spirit to complete two weeks ago.
Don’t be like me. Don’t ignore, don’t put off those little promptings from God in your spirit. He’s trying to lead you, guide you, and yes, even provide for you. We knew this was of God, because we had only told two of our closest friends about what we were doing. The other confidence we received knowing this was God working is this; his girlfriend is a Filipino, and if you have read past blogs you will recall that my wife is as well. Now his girlfriend will have an immediate connection to help adjust to America.
God is so incredible as He is able to move and work in multiple individual’s lives at the same time, to accomplish his will. You gotta love it. I do.
“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” JER. 29:11 (MSG)
We are spoiled. We have access to all kinds of technology these days, but my favorite is “GPS” (Global Positioning System). No longer are we dependent on paper maps or atlases to tell us where we are. I recall traveling across America and pulling into a rest stop, and looking at the big state map on the wall and searching for those familiar, reassuring, words, “You are here”.
It’s nice to know where you are. It’s also good to know where you are going, but God doesn’t always provide one, or the other, or both. “Blind faith!” But there are times when you can look back at where you have been and at what you have done, and project a path toward the future. Doing so may provide some clue as to what God is up to and what He may have for you. It’s kind of like solving a mystery.
As much as we may want to know where God is taking us the important thing to remember is to be obedient each and every day. In other words, do today what you know is the pleasing and perfect will of God. Taking each step, each day will lead you to the destination, action, or even the provisioning God has for you.
The challenge is to keep going, to not get discouraged, but to keep putting one foot in front of the other. That process is how individuals have done amazing things, so why wouldn’t it work in your journey with God?
I find Paul’s words encouraging. I hope you do as well:
“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” PHI. 3:12-14 (MSG)
I suppose, in some way, you could define “GPS” as “God’s Positioning System”. I also find it comforting that although I may not know what God is doing in my life, or where He is taking me, He always knows, “Where I am!”
You really can “walk with God”. It’s not a clique only found in the Bible at all, but something you can ask for, something you can expect, count on, and do.
Leviticus 26:12 “And I will walk among you and will be your God, and you shall be my people.”
Each morning my wife and I join hands to pray over our breakfast. We include the words, “and God lead us this day. Guide our steps. Direct us to those who we need to spend time with and when there give us your words to speak to them.” It’s not something we have memorized, so the actual words may come out different each time, but that keeps it fresh.
I knew of a child and when called upon to pray over their evening meal she said the same thing every night. It got to be kind of a joke to the whole family. In fact, it didn’t take long for it to get the nickname, “Prayer number 505.” The family got seated each night for dinner and settled by 5:05 PM.
I know God has guided my steps for most of my life. After all, He has lead me to my wife April, and I am now experiencing the fullness of what it means to be married, at least how God intends a marriage to be. But it seems as if in the last month his direction has been every day, and in the last week especially.
God has lead us to the right people, at the right time, to have the right conversations. A big blessing this past week has been putting together our new room, “The Conference Room”, as my wife labeled it, because it is there we meet with God. We dedicate that room for time with God, whether in his word, or in conversations with him, as we pray for friends, family and others around the world. Or perhaps we will just sit and wait for God to provide wisdom, understanding and direction for a particular need.
The original idea for this room only came about Sunday just over a week ago, and before a week could go by, the room has taken shape, and is only in need of a few final pieces, like photos hung on the wall of those we pray for. The room came about so quickly because we wrote out a list of what we wanted and we prayed over it. Then, early in the week, I told a friend of what we wanted. He mentioned, the next day, seeing a chair for our room at a new discount store where the proceeds go to build housing for those in need. A cause I can get behind and support, by shopping at the store.
So needless to say we visited the store and bought the majority of the pieces we desired from that store and the bookshelf came from a curbside, discard pile of a homeowner’s furniture. The bookshelf just needed a little cleaning up and some minor repairs. There have been times in my life when I may have been discarded, thrown out of someone else’s life and Jesus looked at me and said, “He just needs a little cleaning up and some minor repairs.”
My wife’s and mine first action in our new room was to pray, and dedicate it to God. For his purposes, to his Glory, and to advance his kingdom. This blog post was also written there, so from “The Conference Room” to your heart comes a message from God to you.
Dream with God. Ask him to make it happen. Write it down. Doing so will increase your faith. It will help you start seeing it even though it is not there. Then, ask God to lead you and guide you to the right places, at the right time, to have the right conversations. That is walking with God.
Direction. We seek it a lot, especially for those who have a strong and thriving relationship with God. We want to go in the correct direction and not waste time or resources. I sure messed up the other night. I live in a city that doesn’t receive huge amounts of snow that often and as a result the city doesn’t have the equipment to remove it as say, Chicago does. So when the meteorologist were predicting 6, 8 to 10 inches of snow, and hyped it up, I left where I was sooner than I needed to in order to get home safe.
I realize now I could have asked God for direction on when to leave, but I didn’t. I acted out of fear instead. At times, it’s hard not to. There is something innate about us that wants to be moving. This inward motivation makes it difficult to sit and wait, and when it comes to waiting on God for direction it is even harder. Do we not trust Him? We should! We have His word we can go to and read of His promise to guide us:
1–2 I look up to the mountains and hills, longing for God’s help. But then I realize that our true help and protection come only from the Lord, our Creator who made the heavens and the earth. 3 He will guard and guide me, never letting me stumble or fall. God is my keeper; he will never forget nor ignore me. 4 He will never slumber nor sleep; he is the Guardian-God for his people, Israel. 5 Jehovah himself will watch over you; he’s always at your side to shelter you safely in his presence. 6 He’s protecting you from all danger both day and night. 7 He will keep you from every form of evil or calamity as he continually watches over you. 8 You will be guarded by God himself. You will be safe when you leave your home and safely you will return. He will protect you now, and he’ll protect you forevermore! Psalms 121(TPT)
I was having a conversation this morning, with a friend, about this very topic. He has been asking God for direction when it comes to finding his spouse. There are a few potential mates and he has been trying to discern God’s will on the matter. As we continued to speak, it became obvious to both of us that he needs to stay in “neutral” right now. If you think about the gear shift on a car from neutral you can go forward or backwards, but you can move in an instant. Your only other option is “Park”.
A parked car doesn’t need to be steered,
because it isn’t going anywhere!
So I challenge you, if you find yourself needing direction, guidance from God, be patient and be willing to sit in neutral for a while. Keep your foot on the brake. You are ready to move, and you will, when the time and direction is right, therefore not wasting either time or resources, and when it comes to matters of love, possibly not suffering another heartbreak.
Believe it or not, after my divorce, when it came to meeting a woman to potentially marry, I used to ask God to send her to my door and have her say, “Hi. I’m God’s woman for you.” In turn, I would say, “Great. Let me get my coat.” I was living in the Chicago area back then and it is cold 9 months out of the year. Guess what? It never happened. I didn’t like all of the effort it took to date after divorce, and I wasn’t real sure I even wanted to remarry, but one thing I did know, if God wanted to lead me that way He could have.
My approach was kind of like praying for money, but not going out and looking for a job. I used to tell my concerned friends, “Hey, I’m not looking for a wife, but my eyes aren’t closed either.”
One sure way to receive direction from God is to be moving. You can’t steer a car if it’s not rolling. With that said, you don’t stop praying while you are in motion. God can certainly open and close doors, or lead you to someone who knows someone who God can use to meet your need, or desire.
I know of a single woman who is looking for a mate. She keeps doing it her way, which seems as if she takes the first man to message her, and she gets involved in another long distance relationship that eventually ends badly. After a few days of hurt, and anger she’s back at it again. The problem is this; her expiration date is approaching. I get the sense she is not focusing on God first, and trusting him to lead her. There is nothing wrong with saying, “No” to a man when you get a check in your spirit. God will give her the desires of her heart when the right man comes along. In the meantime, she can have intimacy with God.
It’s important to yield to the plans of God.
I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. Jer. 29:11 (MSG)
For six years, before my retirement, I planned on buying an RV, travel America, and write. That didn’t happen then, but I now see a chance where it may happen in the future. My wife likes to add this phrase after making plans of her own, “If God permits.” Not a bad way to live at all.
“for we walk by faith, not by sight [living our lives in a manner consistent with our confident belief in God’s promises]” 2 Cor. 5:7 (AMP)
It’s not easy walking with God, I get that, but it sure is exciting!
Whether you need direction for a spouse, a job, a place to live, what to say to someone who needs to hear from God, etc. choose to live in boldness. Don’t sit in your living room and wait for the answers to come to you, oh, and don’t expect a billboard along the highway either, but get up, get out, and move. Then trust the one who has the wheel of your life. You’ll enjoy the destination that much better!
I would like to nominate April for “Wife of the Month”. For the month of September, she can use the special parking space. That is, if she was here in America, and if she could drive. She has completed the immigration process, but can’t take the final step because her country is still in “lock down” mode, so the U.S. Embassy isn’t doing interviews. Being separated is difficult, but I can see how God has used it for His glory thus far.
Last week, I sent her the following message, and though it is personal, she agreed to let me share it:
Baby, I love you! I simply love you, because you have God’s DNA in you, and it shows. In you is peace, joy, faith, hope and love. Of course the greatest of these is, love. Because love, never fails! Baby, when you look back over our short marriage, you can see a trail of love that has dripped over the mountains we have overcome, and across the ocean that separates us now. Without love, God’s love, we would not have come this far. The story of “Mark and April” would have been a short one, but as it is, our story, is still being written.
I couldn’t wait any longer Baby April. I know our 18 month anniversary isn’t until next week, September 1st, but I just had to let the words above out. I was unable to contain them any longer. So Happy Anniversary, April. I am so happy to be known as the American, who married April Joy Santiago Cruz, and has so far, survived. I am a lucky man who is blessed by God. He loved me so much that He hid you from the eyes of others, for such a time as this. I know two, maybe three of those men looked your way, but because of your wonderful faithfulness to God they gave up in their pursuit.
Our story, feels like it is taking forever to be written, but I know we are steadily moving every day toward his destination for our lives. Baby April, each day it gets easier to love you, because you, like God, are love.
To you April, the love of my life,
I am grateful for God’s love, and for his tender nudge to try marriage again, after checking the “Divorced” box for 24 years. April struggled with her singleness a lot, and most who knew her started believing “marriage” had passed her by. But God had a plan that took years to connect two individuals who were 8,149 miles apart. It’s like He set her on a shelf, so she would be available for me that one Friday afternoon, in October 2018, when I first saw her face on a Filipino dating site.
It’s hard to trust God, who doesn’t always share what He is up to, but when you do, it’s worth it! God is so amazing, and I am so grateful, He first loved us.
August 1969. I would celebrate my seventh birthday in September. I didn’t want to go to hell for being a liar, and a convicted cookie thief, and according to the big man, wearing a black suit, speaking loud, if I died without accepting Jesus in my heart, I would have. Pictured here, his name was H.D. Pieratt. He was a fine example of a man, after God’s own heart.
You might say, I first confessed I was a sinner and recognized Jesus as God’s son, then asked him to forgive me of my wrong doing, because I was scared of hell. That viewpoint stayed with me for several years, until I learned about God’s love.
What might have started out as a fire escape plan turned into a loving relationship with God as I got to know him. Ten years after making his acquaintance, I dedicated my life to going, doing, and saying whatever He wants me to.
It’s sad, but there are individuals who have only accepted enough Jesus to keep them out of hell. Their more afraid of eternal damnation than they love God. You have probably encountered one of them, because they don’t reflect the love of God. The light, the truth, the hope in them is dull, and in fact, they might have hurt you. I’m sorry if you have encountered one, and have gotten hurt. Also, I feel bad when I let situations get to me and I choose to extinguish the light of God in me if only long enough to let my flesh rule. I always regret those moments and ask God to forgive me and help me not to do it again.
I feel like Paul, when he wrote in Romans 7:15:
I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. (TPT)
Training will help me to love first in those situations, and in all others. The only way to act, and react with love is to continue to get to know the source of love, God. For God is love. 1 John 4:8. It comes down to your heart’s desire, and God knows what those are, so he will help you be more like him. The light of God, in Rev. Pieratt, shined upon my heart when I was a child, and I’m so thankful. I was drawn to it, I was drawn to God, and that is how it all began.
Be love. Our world needs a lot more Truth, light, and love!
Whenever you sense God leading you into a new direction, and more questions rise than answers, it can be difficult to say, “Yes” to him. If you share the plan with some others, their lack of knowledge of the power of God can cause them to react in a negative way. Don’t be offended. Don’t let them discourage you. If by now you have walked with God and you know his voice than by all means head it. No matter how crazy it may seem.
Their reactions come from not knowing God’s voice for themselves, or their fears, projected on you, probably stem from a lack of trust, perhaps from young faith. Never-the-less be obedient to God, and let your success be a testimony to them of God’s mighty hand.
My pastor, Joel Budd, of RiverGate Church in Tulsa, OK., has taught me a couple of things regarding this:
Be wise in who you share what with. You do not have to tell everyone what God has directed you to do.
Come up with short phrases to share the plan, or mission. For instance, when I recently moved to the Philippines, I told people I was getting married. Yet I believe there is a whole lot more God wants me to do while I am here than to only cultivate a young marriage.
Following God, no matter what, and letting the results speak for themselves, is wisdom. A healthy fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Proverbs 9:10)