Archive for March, 2009

Lately, I’ve been reading some books by Guidepost that share true life stories of faith, miracles, answered prayers and angels.  As a servant of Christ, I know that I worship a God capable of miraculous and supernatural acts that my little mind can’t fathom but sometimes it’s easy to forget God is all around us, all the time revealing His Glory and power to those that call Him Lord.  Reading these accounts of God’s mercy, grace and goodness has lifted my spirit and strengthened my faith.  It has reminded me of how BIG a God we worship and that He is in complete control of his children’s lives, if we only allow Him to be the Almighty God that He desperately wants to be for us.

So the next time that we get flustered and irritated by the little “inconveniences of life” such as getting stopped at every red light or we can’t find our keys when we’re already 15 minutes for work, let’s stop and realize that God may be at work.  Now, enjoy a short story from His Mysterious Ways written by Karen Pane:

Everything started out wrong that winter morning.  My brother, Bruce, had an errand to do and was late meeting me for our drive to work.  When I stepped outside to wait for him, I shivered in the cold.  I dashed back into the house, threw off my jacket and grabbed my full-length leather coat.  By the time Bruce and I left, we were snarled in rush-hour traffic.

I turned off the expressway only to be blocked by a sanitation truck.  I threw the car into reverse.  Just then we heard screams:  “Help, Help!  My baby!”

Smoke and flames were gushing out of a fourth-floor window where a woman clutched a baby in her arms.  We scrambled out of the car.  Bruce ran to a fire alarm box, then raced back.  “Quick,” he said to me, “your coat.”  In an instant I took off my long leather coat and we held it between us.  “Drop the baby,”  Bruce yelled.

The baby seemed to float gently down to us, landing right in the center of my coat.  She was dressed in a pink snowsuit with her hands tucked in.  She gazed up at me, then closed her eyes and fell asleep.

Soon the firemen arrived and rescued the mother.  As she was rushed to the ambulance, she called out, “Where’s my baby?”

“The baby’s fine,” I assured her.

I was very late arriving at work.  Then I thought back to what had happened that morning.  Bruce’s errand, my change of coat, the snarled traffic, the sanitation truck…Yes, our timing was off that day but God’s timing was perfect.”

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On Monday, Christy and I were in Raleigh, North Carolina (Go Heels!!!) at the Wake Medical Heart Center for her father’s surgery to replace his defibrillator.  We stayed with him and Christy’s mother at the Heart Center Inn located within the Heart Center so that he could check in at 7:00 am.  While we were getting ready, they went downstairs to complete all the necessary paperwork. 

Finally ready, we joined them downstairs in the patient waiting lobby until he was called back for surgery prep.  While sitting there, I noticed that he was holding a red piece of paper that read, “Patient Tracking Number” with a four-digit number written on it.  Before I could ask what the paper was, a nurse appeared and called out, “0316.”  An older gentleman got up and disappeared with the nurse.  At that time, two thoughts entered my little brain;  if I had to have a “Patient Tracking Number”, “0316” would be a good one to have (think John 3:16) and that the patients awaiting to have their hearts operated on was referred to by a number, instead of their names.  Good to know that the hospital where Sammy was having surgery, at a substantial cost of money thought enough of him to refer to him as a number instead of by his name.

Honestly, this irritated me somewhat but I figured it had something to do with all the overkill privacy practices in place at the hospital.  However, it did get me to thinking about how blessed and fortunate I am to be more than a number to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He knows me intimately – all my faults, strengths, desires, problems, hurts and needs.  He also knows where every mole on my body is located, how many hairs I have, my birthmarks and scars.  With him, I don’t need a “Patient Tracking Number” because he knows my name.  He knows me personally and intimately.  He was there when I was born into this cold, dark world, when I took my first steps and said my first word, just waiting for me to know him and call him one day by his name…Jesus.  He longed to perform “spiritual heart surgery” on me, and when that time came he didn’t issue me a “Patient Tracking Number” but He called my name as he hugged me and accepted me into His family, His Kingdom.  He changed me, he changed my heart, my soul and my spirit. 

Are you longing for meaning in your life?  Are you searching for something to fill an emptiness within your soul or a hurt in your heart?  Are you searching for meaning, hope and love in a lost, dark world?  Are you stuck  in the waiting-room-of-life with a little piece of red paper in your hand, hoping someone will know you intimately?   Then Jesus is waiting for you to call His name.  He is waiting for you reach out to him in complete humbleness and repentance.  Jesus saves and redeems all that call on His name, and in turn He will call you by your name and say, “Welcome home my child.  I have waited so long for you to invite me into your life.  I love you and I want to know you intimately.  From this day forth, I will always call you by your name and I will always be by your side.  I will be your Best-Friend-Forever, and when it comes time to leave this dark world, I will be there waiting to call you home.”

If you are tired of being “just a number” in this world, then call on Jesus.  With him, you will never be “just a number” again.  You will forever be a precious child of the Risen Lord.  You will be known, you will be loved and you will never be alone again.  Are you ready to have a relationship with Christ but don’t know how?   Then just email me or comment to this post.   I would love to talk to you about the precious Gift of Salvation that God is longing to give to you.

Jesus said – “(29) Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. (30) And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (31) So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Matthew 10: 29-31                                                                     

Jesus also said – “(7) Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (8) For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”   Matthew 7: 7-8

Once every two to three months, each Child Protective Services Case Manager has to take an On-Call rotation.  The rotation is for seven days, starting at 3:00 pm each day and ending at 8:00 am the next morning.   They tell you in your interview that it’s a requirement if hired so we all understand that it’s a necessary requirement but no one looks forward to it.  It completely dominates your time and your thoughts.  You never know what type of call you will get nor at what hour.  You can get calls about runaways that are in our care, children that have been physically beaten and even child death calls.  It’s a stressful seven days and how the schedule is set-up and how the rotation is structured only adds to the stress.  I could attempt to explain but even we don’t fully understand why the rotation and schedule is structured like it is so….

Personally, I don’t like being on-call because of how it is currently structured but I have come to view it as an opportunity to glorify God and point to His grace instead of a burden.  You see, I work in a world full of negativity and darkness.  I see and hear about cruel and evil acts done to children on a daily basis.  In the world I work in, Satan is alive and well and bent on spiritual destruction.  I view my job as a ministry that can bring the light of Christ into the dark world that I often walk in. 

However, that darkness and negativity often finds its way into our building and walks the halls of our office.  The state is putting enormous pressure on us through trivial mandates and policies that only complicate our jobs and distract us from working with our families, not to mention that we all in Social Services got a pay decrease because the state “leaders” can’t bring in enough revenue and they mismanage what little they do have.  The morale in our office is exceptionally low, people are quitting and getting fired every other day and there is a heaviness lingering over our office.  And this isn’t even mentioning the spiritual “diversity” within the office that adds to its oppressive state.

Being a Christian, I look for every opportunity to glorify God and point people toward the light of Jesus Christ in this negative, dark and oppressive world in which I work.   Because I am employed with the state, I have to witness to those around me and live out my faith in calculated ways.  On-Call, as simplistic and disconnected to faith as it may seem, has actually become a powerful way in which I can glorify God and point to His Divinity in my office.  You see, I sincerely believe God when he tells us through His Word that he wants to know us intimately and wants to be involved in even the most mundane, simple and medial details of our lives.   In my experiences, God shows his great love for us most when He works in the smallness of our lives.   The God cares about me so much that He is willing to show favor on me during my On-Call rotation?   Wow, this blows my mind!  What a God we worship! 

So, how does God show me favor while On-Call?  Simple, when my rotation is near, I pray for God to show favor upon me and to work in a way that will bear witness to His glory and the love that He has for His children.  I pray specifically, asking that I would have no calls where children are removed from their homes and placed into foster care, no overnight calls, no weekend calls and most importantly, no child deaths. 

Before my rotation begins, I meet with the supervisor that will be on rotation with me and I tell her that I am “prayed” up for us and God is going to bless us and show favor upon us with an uneventful week.  I pray it, then I proclaim it.  I place it in his hands and let him work.  Has it worked?  Absolutely!!!  The three weeks I’ve been On-Call since August, I have had no child placement calls, no overnight calls, no weekend calls and no child deaths.  I even sleep better when I’m On-Call because I know I’ve placed it in His hands.

Are people in the office noticing?  Definitely!!!  After each week, many people in my office ask me how my week went, and instantly I have an opportunity to witness to them about the grace, love and power of the God I worship.  I do my best to take the interest off of me and point to my Savior, giving him all the glory.  Each time, people seem to take notice even more.  After my week ended this past Thursday, I walked past the Social Services Director (who happened to be the On-Call Supervisor for my rotation) and she stopped me and commented on how we had “been prayed up” and how good and uneventful our week was.  At one point she said, “Man, you’ve got the power!”  No, I don’t but my God does!!!  She even went on to tell me that our office needed some of God’s favor, and asked that I pray for our office because of the difficult times we’re facing.  As we were talking, another worker and supervisor heard us and bam!….there was another opportunity to glorify God and speak of His love for his children. 

God loves us so much, and wants desperately to know us intimately.  He wants us to come to him with all of our concerns, problems and requests, regardless of how large or small we view them.  You see, God views everything dealing with His children as the most important thing in the world to him.  There’s nothing that we can’t trust him with, and nothing that he won’t do for His children that is centered in christian living.  He wants us to place everything we have into his hands completely.  He aches to shower us with His blessings and favor so that we in turn can point to Him and His glorious divinity.  If you’ve ever wondered if God cares about even the smallest details of your life, the answer is YES!  He’s just waiting on us to realize it and give it up all to Him.

I will continue the “Breaking Out of Our Spiritual Slump” in the very near future but wanted to share with you  this “Handy Little Chart” that my brother’s future wife sent me.  It’s very simple and straightforward but how often do we say these things, forgetting to place everything – our worries, pain, trials, etc. into God’s hands.  Hope you will print or jot these down and keep them accessible when needed.  Thanks, Tracie!!!

 

HANDY LITTLE CHART
God has a positive answer:

You: “It’s impossible”                                                                                         God: All things are possible  (Luke 18:27)

You:”I’m tired”                                                                                                                   God: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

You: “Nobody really loves me”                                                                         God: I love you (John 3:16 & John 3:34 )

You:  “I can’t go on”                                                                                                 God:   My grace is sufficient   (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)

You:   “I can’t figure things out”                                                                         God:   I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

You:  “I can’t do it”                                                                                                   God:   You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

You: “I’m not able”                                                                                                 God:    I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)

You:   “It’s not worth it”                                                                                     God:   It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )

You:  “I can’t forgive”                                                                                          God:   I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)

You:    “I can’t manage”                                                                                         God:    I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

You:  “I’m afraid”                                                                                                   God:   I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)

You: “I’m always worried/frustrated”                                                               God:  Cast all your cares on ME (I Pt 5:7)

You:   “I’m not smart enough”                                                                           God:  I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)

You:    “I feel all alone”                                                                                        God:   I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)