Provisions

Trucks don’t usually make me smile.  More often than not, I’m annoyed by how they block my view up ahead on the road, or choke me with their exhaust fumes.   But a while back I was sitting in my little Honda behind a huge one, and I just couldn’t help myself.  I smiled. 

It was a truck from “Bush Brothers Provisions, Inc.”  I have no idea who the Bush Brothers are, or what they provide, supply, sell or distribute.  But I do know God was giving me a picture of a verse I had studied that morning in my quiet time.  It’s familiar and quoted often, but on that morning, sitting behind that truck, it seemed new. 

But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus”.  Philippians 4:19

This truck had some kind of provisions.  It was carrying something that someone else needed, and it was on its way to deliver it.  And I suddenly had the visual picture of God having a limitless supply of whatever it is I need.  He gets the request (or better yet – sees my need before I even ask), goes to His warehouse stocked with riches I can’t even begin to comprehend, packs it up and delivers it to me, wherever I am.  At exactly the right time.  His warehouse is never out of stock, or closed for the holiday.  His trucks are never running late.  Sometimes they bring me a different item than I asked for, but that’s not a bad thing.  The warehouse didn’t make a mistake.  It turns out to be immeasurably more than I could have imagined – and just what I needed all along.

God was on a roll that day.  A short time later I passed a truck from the “Roberts Supply Co.”  And I smiled.

The Lord is my shepherd.  I shall not want.  Psalm 23:1

No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly  Psalm 84:11

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.          2 Corinthians 9:8

Zany

“Hope is not a granted wish or a favor performed.  No, it is far greater than that.  It is a zany, unpredictable dependence on a God who loves to surprise us out of our socks and be there in the flesh to see our reaction”

Max Lucado

Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.   Romans 5:5

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord.         Jeremiah 17:7

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

Award

I have an award on my shelf.  It’s one of my most treasured possessions.  It’s not a gold cup, or a blue ribbon, or an engraved glass dish commemorating years of service.  And I am quite sure that there is no other award like it anywhere to be found.

It’s rather odd looking. It’s a rough wooden plaque with spike heels from a pair of women’s shoes sticking out of it.  They were sawed off at the base, spray painted gold and hot-glued onto the wood.

Underneath it are the words “The Digging in Her Heels Award – presented to Sharon Virkler”.

I love it. The “award” was made by a co-worker and bestowed upon me when I left a job many years ago.  Seems I had gotten the reputation of digging in my heels when I felt strongly about something.  Most of the time, I was laid back and relaxed.  But when it came to anything I felt passionately about, I stood firm.  And apparently, others noticed.

But I love the award for another reason.  I want it to be true about me in other areas of my life.  It reminds me to dig in my heels when I feel passionately about God’s promises.  It reminds me not to back down when I know that God can be taken at His word.  I’m not talking about being ornery or obstinate.  I’m talking about unwavering trust in God.

I want to dig in my heels when the storms come, when I’m tempted to give up, when it would be a lot easier to take off my shoes and take it easy for a while.  My “Digging in Her Heels” award might not be the prettiest one on the shelf, but it’s the one that reminds me to do something that God has told us over and over again to do. 

Just stand.

Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today.  Exodus 14:13

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  Ephesian 6:11

Always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.  Colossians 4:12

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.  1 Corinthians 16:13

Hero

One of my favorite Bible characters doesn’t even have a name.  I want to meet her when I get to heaven and I’m going to have to ask around to see if anyone knows where to find  “the Syro-Phonecian woman”.  All we’re told about her is where she was from, and the fact that her daughter was being tortured by demons.  But she’s one of my favorites because she was put through a faith test quite unlike any other.   Jesus ignored her cries for help.  Or so it seemed.

She had heard that Jesus was in town, and knowing that He was the only one who could save her daughter, ran to meet him.  She cried out for His help.  She expected a miracle.  And then we read one of the most startling statements ever recorded in the Bible. 

“Jesus did not answer her a word.” 

Really?  The Lord of miracles and healings and mercy and grace and love and power…ignored her?  But wait…it gets even worse.  She kept crying out, the disciples urged Jesus to send her away, and then when He finally did speak to her, He told her that He came for the Jews, and she wasn’t a Jew and it would be like throwing good bread to the dogs.  I would have turned away at that point with my tail between my legs and gone home.  But here is where she becomes my hero.

She boldly pursues Jesus and says, “Yes, but even the little dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table”.    I love this woman!  Talk about perseverance!  She was not going to walk away.  She was going to stick it out in the face of what appeared to be an impossible situation.  Her persistence paid off.  Jesus turned to her and said (with a big smile, I’m guessing), “Woman, you have great faith!  Your request is granted!”.  And immediately, her daughter was freed from the demons.

“By seeming to draw away the desired mercy from her, he drew her on to be so much more importunate for it.  Every accepted prayer is not immediately an answered prayer.  Sometimes God seems not to regard His people’s prayers, but it is to prove, and so improve their faith.” (Matthew Henry)

Sometimes when it seems that God is ignoring us, He’s actually giving us a chance to strengthen our faith.  I want to remember that.  I want to be like the Syro-Phonecian woman and boldy approach the throne – especially when things look impossible.  And I want to hear Jesus say with a great big smile, “Sharon, great is your faith”.

Matthew 15:21-28

Adapted from “Anticipatience – A New Word of Hope for Single Women” by Sharon Virkler

 

June

“I can’t believe it’s June”. 

How many times have you heard someone say that in the past few days?  I have to admit, I’m one of them.  Seems like the Spring just flew by and now we’re full swing into the hot and humid days of summer.  I actually woke up to the radio telling me that there was 100% humidity this morning.  Turn up the A/C, please.

Along with the shift in temperature and comfort, my summers always seem to be defined by some important event.  I moved to Florida in the summer.  My book was published in the summer.  I bought my first home in the summer.  I had one relationship start in the summer, and another promising one end in the summer.  I got my dream job in the summer.  I had a loved one die in the summer.  I’ve had memorable birthdays in the summer (July baby).

So as I sit here and look at the next three months on the calendar, I wonder what God has planned for the summer of 2010.  It always astounds me that God is already there.  He knows what will happen. He knows the experiences I’ll have – the joys and the tears, the delightful surprises and the unexpected disappointments.  There is comfort in that.  Nothing is going to happen this summer that is out of His control.  Nothing is going to surprise Him, or catch Him off guard. He might have gifts to give me that He knows will give me great joy to open or He might choose instead to give me challenges that will draw me closer to Him.  He knows where I’ll be when I turn the page of the calendar to September.

God is in charge of our calendars.   And I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do – because “my times are in His hand” (Psalm 31:15). 

Here we go, Lord, it’s June…

To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the sun.  Ecclesiastes 3:1

I know the plans I have for you…  Jeremiah 29:11

But He knows the way that I take… Job 23:10

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous… Psalm 1:6

Rock

This is the ultimate reason, from our standpoint, why God fills our lives with troubles and perplexities of one sort and another: it is to ensure that we shall learn to hold Him fast.  The reason why the Bible spends so much of it’s time reiterating that God is a strong rock, a firm defense, and a sure refuge and help for the weak is that God spends so much of his time bringing home to us that we are weak, both mentally and morally, and dare not trust ourselves to find, or to follow, the right road.   (J.I. Packer,  Knowing God)

He is the Rock.  His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth without injustice.  Righteous and upright is He.   Deuteronomy 32:4

No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.  1 Samuel 2:2

For who is God, except the Lord?  and who is a rock, except our God?  2 Samuel 22:32

The Lord lives!  Blessed be my Rock!  Let the God of my salvation be exalted.   Psalm 18:46