Tag Archives: God’s will

Do You Doubt? Part 2


Brick Wall

If you weren’t with us on Monday, I’m quite certain you’ll need to toddle back and read that post to get what’s happening here! It’s okay, we’ll wait for you!

I didn’t research the churches on Mom’s list because I stumbled over a piece in the local newspaper about John Maxwell that announced he was going to speak at a church called Christ Fellowship on the last Sunday of the year. John Maxwell?  Throughout my years as a human resources professional, I’d trained my management team on a number of his books. This was exciting and furthermore, I recognized the name of the church from my Mom’s short list. It was a no-brainer to start there in my search for a church.

So on the last Sunday of 2010, while driving to the church, I continued to pray all the way, “Lord, get me outta here.” It didn’t matter that John Maxwell was going to be there. I wanted out of Florida – but quick.

I drove on to the campus of this mega-church with a highly cynical eye. People were smiling and waving. Signs read “New Visitor? Flashers On.” I turned mine on and was directed to special parking right in front of the church. A parking attendant met me at my car and walked me in to a place where people were eating breakfast. A healthy bookstore sat off to one side. Another volunteer met me inside and directed me to the sanctuary. I found a seat in the huge auditorium and settled in for the service. Before it even had begun I was welcomed by two different pastors. I remember thinking ‘this place is way too slick.’ People were too happy – too smiley – too shiny. I wondered if I’d fallen into some sort of alternate universe of Stepford Wives.

The lights came down and the band started to play. It is my supreme pleasure to worship Christ and when I stood and lifted my hands to the heavens, the Holy Spirit fell upon me so quickly that I was bowled over with capital L – Love. Suddenly, the place didn’t seem so “slick” at all but warm, friendly, and so full of Christ-loving Christians that I could no longer deny my joy in finding this church. On my way home I was so happy I prayed earnestly, “Lord, I want to stay here. Please help me find a way to stay here.”

I could just imagine God looking down on me and nodding in satisfaction.

What I didn’t remember at the time was the second phase of the plan that the Lord had given me in Arizona. The first phase was “you will move to Florida.” The second was “you will find a super new church.”

How easily I had forgotten that all along I was walking in His will. Had I, number one, remembered His plan and, number two, changed my attitude (instead of complaining – actually looked forward to the next item on the list) I’m certain my transition to life in Florida would have been a whole lot easier … and perhaps even pleasant.

The “plan” as I’d come to call it, seemed to skirt my memory most days. It was only a few more weeks of attending this new church when I met some ladies who were so full of the Holy Spirit, He practically oozed out of them. Driving home that Sunday I thought about my new-found friends and thought, ‘This sounds familiar.’ I dug out my journal and read number three on the list, “you will find great new Christian friends.” Doh! How stupid I’d been. Thankfully we serve a gracious and merciful God who allowed me to rail against Him time after time until I could recollect the plan he’d given me in prayer.

An Ebenezer would have been helpful. I could have considered my journal an Ebenezer, but that would mean that I’d have to actually open it and reread entries. Yet, each time a part of His plan fell into place I should have found a stone to add to the pile. It seems that only the physical representation of the stones would help a dunce like me.

So … do you doubt? Do you forget that the Lord has helped you thus far and wonder and worry about what is going on in your life?

I think it’s okay to doubt. Just don’t languish there for any period of time.  Instead, spend your time reviewing God’s work in your life rather than holding your own little pity party like I did when I moved to Florida.

How has the Lord helped you in the past? Now make yourself an Ebenezer. It doesn’t have to be a pile of stones, it could be a journal, writing on a white board, sticky notes on the bathroom mirror … anything that will remind you that God is close.

He loves you and He will never leave you.


Do You Doubt? Part 1


Brick Wall Build

For a few years now I’ve considered my faith like a brick wall.  Not that it shuts out the world … although it may also do that … but it helps me stand firm in my conviction of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  Each time I witness something of God – a word of knowledge, his voice coming through loud and clear from the Bible, a divine appointment, a miracle, His faithfulness – each instance is a brick that I mortar on to the existing wall making it stronger, wider, higher.

It’s kinda like my modern day Ebenezer.

In (1 Samuel 7:8–11) the Israelites were victorious in a fight against the Philistines but only because God intervened.

Afterward, Samuel took a stone and set it upright between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, explaining, “The LORD has helped us to this point.” (1 Samuel 7:12)

The Blue Letter Bible identifies the Ebenezer as a “stone of help.” In the Old Testament, people would set up an Ebenezer to remember what God had done for them.  It was usually a rock or a pile of rocks.  This marker in history would remind the generations of God’s faithfulness, goodness, provision, love … whatever He had given to sustain His people at that time.

Joshua also erected a memorial of twelve stones (one to signify each tribe of Israel) on the west bank of the Jordan River when the Israelites crossed to take the town of Jericho (Joshua 4:6-7).

Even though it’s not named as such in the Bible, I believe that group of stones to be an Ebenezer.  Joshua said, “Therefore these stones will always be a memorial for the Israelites.” But he could have just as truthfully said, “The LORD has helped up to this point.”

I love the idea of setting an Ebenezer to remember God’s faithfulness. To make a physical representation of a time when God has shown off one of His many attributes.  How often we are treated to God’s working in our lives only to run into trouble down the line and completely forget that we serve an awesome, omnipotent, and faithful God?

The fact that Jesus said we will face rejection (Luke 10:16), persecution (John 15:20), and suffering (John 16:33) is enough to know that hard times are going to hit us.  If we forget the goodness of God and waiver in our faith every time we are subject to some trial … where would we be?  Swaying in the wind and never clinging to the Lord who loves us and has already proven Himself to us time and time again.  Constructing an Ebenezer of some sort can help remind us that He is close.

When I came to live in Florida from Arizona six years ago, I was none too happy.  I didn’t have a job (and couldn’t find one in the economic downturn) so I was forced to move in with my parents.  Not having lived with my parents for over 30 years, I prayed every day that God would change my situation.  If I remember correctly it was something like, “Lord, get me outta here.”  Out of my parent’s house.  Out of the State of Florida. It didn’t matter. Over and over. It became my mantra.

I wound myself up in knots praying that prayer even though God had already told me my future.  If you’ve been reading me for a while you’ll remember that in a particularly intense prayer session in Arizona God told me that I would move to Florida.  Unfortunately I hadn’t been building my brick wall and had forgotten that what I thought of as my horrible situation was actually part of His plan.

Even after three weeks when I came to grips with the fact that I might have to stay in Florida for a while … wait a minute … do you like the fact that I succumbed to my “fate” after three weeks?  I really gave God a lot of time to change my situation, eh?  Oy Vey! That’s an eye-opener!  Well, after three whole weeks I yielded and finally decided to find a church to attend while I worked out my sentence in Florida.

My Mom had gone around to her friends asking for a church that might match my style.  “I told them you liked to put your hands in the air when you sang.” She said.

Grinning, because it was true and I knew my mom really thought that was kinda kookie, I took her list of three local churches where, presumably, they sang with their hands in the air.

Now I see I’ve really gone on much too long.  Please come back on Wednesday when I’ll wrap up the story and perhaps add another brick to the wall.


Bible Study ~ Stronger in Prayer

Bible Study ~ Stronger in Prayer

When I got to Day 8 which is entitled “Stronger in Prayer” I kinda rolled my eyes.  Not because I didn’t want to read it, but because I’m a poster-child for the value of prayer and know I could write a month’s worth of posts about it.  In fact, I think it’s so important that we’re going to talk about prayer all this week.  But how, I thought, could David Arthur break this important issue down to one day of study?  I was not going to be disappointed.

David initially asks if we see our life as a train or a hot air balloon.  A train that is bound by tracks moving in a linear direction or a balloon – soft in shape and form and easily able to change direction.  Paula thinks she’s more like a train, I think I might be a little of both … but more balloon like.  David likens trains to doing their own thing (because they’re rigid and can’t change unless the track is rerouted) and balloons as being led by the Spirit.  I think we would all like that, wouldn’t we?  So in tune with God that you turn at a moment’s notice this way or that depending on His guidance.

My favorite line on the whole day is when David says, “To grow strong as believers, we need to be guided, moved, and shaped by the wind of the Holy Spirit.”  And how do we do that?  Through prayer – by allowing us to speak to Him and through which He can speak to us – God can mold and shape us.  Does that seem funny to you?  Are you one who oft-times finds themselves praying and trying to shape and mold God with your petitions?

Now, I’m not one who will tell someone that they’re praying incorrectly … everyone should pray as they see fit because that’s a conversation between you and God.  But once I was leading a small group and one of the members was asking the group to pray for her to find a home.  When I prompted everyone to bow their heads, she asked me to wait because she hadn’t finished telling everyone how to pray.  My curiosity was piqued and I listened as she gave everyone a little slip of paper to read while they prayed.  I looked at the slip that she shoved into my hand and noticed that she’d taken parts of certain verses and had combined them into a sentence describing what she wanted.  I surveyed the group – most looked like they were in a state of shock.  She explained that finding this in the Bible meant that it was a promise for her to hold on to and she wanted us to remind God of His promise to her.  I looked again at what she’d typed up – it read almost like some sort of incantation – an attempt to influence God to do what she wanted.

I feel quite comfortable saying, “This is not the way to pray.”

God is not a big vending machine in the sky whom you can instruct to do your bidding.

I suggested that we pray Ephesians 3:20 over her situation:

Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us … (HCSB)

Praying this verse does two things:  (1) It asks God to do more than we’re asking for in a certain situation; but (2) it is also dependent on the power that works in us – meaning – the Holy Spirit.  If one prays this prayer and isn’t Spirit-filled, I’m pretty sure nothing is going to happen.  After the group had left I spoke to the woman about her needs and prayed one-on-one with her as well.  Sometimes, when we get desperate, we’ll do anything to get the results we want.  It becomes problematic when the results we want are not in God’s will.  Do I mean God didn’t want her to have a house?  No way.  God knows that shelter is a basic need of ours; but do we need our own home on an acre of land with trees and a river?  No, and yet that was what she was asking for.  We prayed that day that she would get a roof over her head, and that she did, within the week.

I’d like to tell you another story about how Ephesians 3:20 worked in my life, and the lives of about eight other ladies, but I’ll hold that until later.

Until Wednesday then … I pray you have a great week!