Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blessings......Almost in Disguise

The Lord has a way of blessing me that really speak to my heart and grab my attention, so that no matter how thick-headed I am at the time, I can't help but notice it was His doing.

The first time I remember being aware of this particular way of His to bestow a blessing on me in neon sign fashion (or as my husband says, knocking us over the head with a two by four) was in the middle of June, 2004. My mother and mother-in-law had just died, both losing the battle cancer within hours of each other. In a whirlwind of airplane rides, visitations, memorials, funerals and burials, I was unable to even begin to comprehend what had just happened. Our moms were both so young, vibrant, needed and loved - they were just 56 & 59 years old.

It wasn't until we finally arrived home, weeks later, that I began to try to make sense of what we had just experienced. Although, brought up in the church, my faith was still young and immature. I rarely opened a Bible, and we were still church hoppers.

On that June afternoon, some 17 years ago, I vividly recall the thoughts that were running through my head as I unpacked my bag. Those thoughts were pretty much boiled down to "What is this whole thing we call life all about??? What's the point?"

My suitcase was on the bed, and once emptied, I zipped it closed and lifted it up at exactly the moment I had placed a question mark on my thoughts. At that precise moment, I looked down to see something small and shiny on the quilt of my bed, right where my suitcase had been lying.

It appeared to be a small silver, broken piece of jewelry - shaped in a circle with two hands holding a heart and a crown on top of the heart. I recognized it and knew it was Irish but did not know what it signified - not to the Irish anyway, but I certainly knew what it meant to me.

God was blessing me with this little reminder. I asked of no one in particular and He answered me directly - "It's all about love, family and the Kingdom of God." At the time, I didn't bother to look up the meaning behind this Irish symbol (the claddagh) because it didn't matter what anyone else thought, I knew what it meant to me. (And this was pre-Google, pre-internet).

Incidentally, I called all of my family to see if anyone would claim this little piece of jewelry or knew if it broke off of something that belonged to my mother. No one knew where it came from - it just somehow fell from its little hiding spot on my suitcase, exactly when I needed to see it. I may not know where this little silver blessing came from, but I certainly know and trust the One who placed it there.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

When God Says Go........

Jonah was possibly frightened, definitely prejudiced (against the Assyrian Gentiles), selfish and all in all not someone you would consider an agent of God, especially when pulled out of his comfort zone. He may have been a prophet to the northern kingdoms of Israel, but he was a miserable example of a Godly man when the going got tough. He was more concerned about his own will rather than God's will.

Despite this, God used this lowly self-centered, runaway prophet to spread His word to a multitude (like 600,000) of pagan worshiping Assyrians. And they listened too!

God can use anyone to accomplish his will. If he wants to use you to reach the lost, He can go ahead of you and prepare the way, just as He did in Jonah's case - having Jonah be swallowed by a great fish just before he was to preach to a nation who were fish-god worshipers. Brilliant!

If God asks you to go, go.....wherever......across the street, across the nation or across the ocean. Save yourself the trouble of ending up in the belly of a fish and just go. If God would prepare a way for Jonah, the runaway prophet, He will prepare a way for you. As Jonah learned, you can run from God, but you cannot hide.

Say yes, pray and just go.

And here's a silly, little limerick that popped in my head, all except for the last line.

There once was a prophet named Jonah
Who when God said to go said "I ain't gonah"
Time spent in a fish
Helped him follow God's wish
Ta da da da, da da da da onah ----- (this is your line to complete.)