#Write31Days – Post 19 – Surprise, Surprise!

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We all love surprises, well the good ones anyway.  It’s the long distance friend who shows up on your porch as a surprise.   Or, the flowers that your husband sends for no other reason than to let you know he was thinking of you.  For the woman who long gave up on trying to have a baby, the positive sign on a little plastic stick is the surprise of a lifetime.  Surprises come in all sizes, shapes, and reasons.

Not all surprises are welcome.

Being fired from your job is not the surprise you wanted this morning.  An unexpected death is the surprise that can change the life you had always anticipated.    Child Services knocking at your door because a neighbor saw your kids playing outside unsupervised, definitely not part of your plan for the day.  The phone call that your annual exam came back positive, and you need to see a specialist… not the surprise you want to share with your family.

Life is a roller coaster ride.  We have good days and bad.  There are days that go as planned, and others that couldn’t be further from how you imagined they would turn out.  Our lives can be changed and uprooted in the blink of an eye.   Not every phone call brings exciting news; nor does every piece of mail or email that comes your way.

It is easy to allow our thoughts to dwell on these negative circumstances, and forget all of the good the Lord has gifted to us.  Life is full of surprises, but the Lord is not.  He is constant, unchanging, unrelenting, and unmoved by whatever the world throws at us.  He has seen it coming, His Word has prepared us for how to respond, and He will be there to comfort us through the process.  In the end, He will be glorified… regardless of what it is the world surprised us with.

We are told….

Love your enemies.

Be of good cheer.

Live at peace with others.

Do not worry, or be anxious.

Do not be afraid.

Rejoice, always.

Think about whatever is lovely, pure, just, honorable, commendable.

Do not seek revenge, pursue love.

God wants us to respond in all things, in a way that honors Him.  Which means we respond with love, faith, trust, hope… we are to have a positive attitude, thankful in every circumstance.

This doesn’t mean we enjoy whatever obstacle or unwelcome surprise comes our way.  It means that we find our joy in the Lord, trust that He is working out a good thing, have faith that He will carry us through it, and are secure in our hope that He will be glorified in the end.   In spite of our circumstances, no matter how difficult they are, we respond with a positive attitude that reflects our assurance in God.  It is one of the ways that we show that we are not conformed to this world, but are different because of Him.  Our response is our light in a dark and dreary place.

We know that surprises will happen, because man is unpredictable.  We may not know when it is coming, or what it will look like… but we know that unexpected things are going to happen.  We can prepare for them by learning more of God’s Word, thus we will be better equipped in how we respond to whatever surprises come our way.

giveaway

For the rest of October, I will be giving away FIVE COPIES of Authentic Intimacy’s newest book, authored by Dr. Juli Slattery

25 Questions You’re Afraid to Ask About Love, Sex, and Intimacy.

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You will receive ONE entry for each of the following ACTIONS:

  • Comment on ANY of my #WRITE31DAYS posts from the month of October
  • Retweet ANY of my #WRITE31DAYS tweets from the month of October.
  • Comment on ANY of my Instagram photos for the #WRITE31DAYS challenge, from the month of October.
  • Comment on ANY Facebook post related to my #WRITE31DAYS posts, from the month of October.

That’s it!  You get one entry for every action, the more you do… the more chances you get to win.

One copy per winner, thus FIVE winners will be chosen.

All comments and retweets must be in by MIDNIGHT EST October 31, 2015.

Winner will be announced on November 5th, 2015

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GOD OF WONDERS

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Do you find yourself caught in doubt? Have you ever wondered what God is doing in your life, circumstances or in the world around you?

I wonder what God is doing in this situation?

I wonder what God is trying to teach me?

I wonder when God is going to answer my prayers?

Most Christians will admit to a time in their life where they wondered about God and his plans.

Isaiah 55:8-9 (MSG) “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work is not the way I work. For as the sky soars above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond what you think.”.

It is comforting to me, in my moments of doubt and wonder, to cling to this scripture. I may never on this earth or in paradise know what God was doing, but God definitely knows what He has in store for us. However, I still can’t help falling into moments of wonder.

I wonder what God sees in me? God sees what no one else sees, because He created me and He chose me to belong to Him. This has been part of His plan since the foundations of creation. (Ephesians 1:4-6 & Ephesians 1:11)

Ephesians 1:11 – We were chosen to belong to him. God decided to chose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose.

I wonder if God hears my prayers? God may not be appearing to answer your prayers, but what you may not see is what God is doing in the background. We have to trust that He has our best interest at heart, and that all things will be done in His perfect timing. Our prayers will be answered according to His will, not our own.

Jeremiah 17:7-8 – Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for it’s leaves remain green , and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.

I wonder what God has planned for me? If God does see something in me, if His ways are not my ways, and God is hearing my prayers…. then what exactly is it that God is doing in my life? What does he have planned? Scripture tells us that God knows us well.

Psalm 139:-4 – O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise, you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely.

God knows what we are capable of on our own, and what we are capable of when we let Him guide us. He takes our natural gifts and magnifies them. He equips those He calls & at the appointed time He has called them.

I wonder if others can see what God is doing? Sometimes we begin to wonder if others can see what God is doing, even when we can’t. We may be getting better at our prayer life, digging into the Word more, attending church regularly… but are we really different? Are others able to see Christ in us? Are we a good representation of Christ in the world? Growth and change take time. Others may see changes long before we recognize them. But God is working in us so that we become that “new creation” spoken about in 2 Corinthians 5:17. As we grow, God will move us along in His plan. It is a journey, and for some of us the journey will be longer than others.

Colossians 1:10-11 – And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience.

I wonder if God really cares about me? I am just one little person in this big world. God cares so much about us, He sent is own son to die on a cross for each of us. You and me. He has known every day we would live before the first was written. He created us, knitting us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). He puts support in place for us, to help us on our journey through this life. This support comes in the form of the Holy Spirit within us, His Word that we can depend on and learn from, our Church and sisters in Christ that we can lean on and grown with.

I wonder what will happen if and when I mess up? I am not perfect. In the parable of the prodigal son, we see a son who was raised just like his brothers… but went off on his own path. But when he returns home, his father accepts him, arms wide open and tends to all his needs. (Luke 15)

God isn’t finished with us yet. We will stumble and fall sometimes, but God doesn’t give up on us. He welcomes us back with open arms.

I wonder what I ever did to deserve the love that God has for me? Nothing.

God loves us, because God is love (John 4:8)

God loves us, because God created us. (Genesis 1:26-28)

He loves us when we don’t love him. He is faithful to the faithless (2 Tim 2:13)

I wonder if God knows how much I love him and how thankful I am for his blessings in my life?

What are you doing in your life to answer that question?

*Written for the TC3 Women’s Ministry Devotion Blog