March 20, 2013 by Lillie
My sister Nancy and I recently took a trip to South Carolina to visit our brother and his family. We had a good trip—it was especially good for me because Nancy did all the driving. Our visit with relatives was fabulous—the two girls we had last seen as small children are beautiful and smart young ladies, and we loved spending time with them and our brother.
Along the way, however, we did have occasion to call on Jehovah-Jireh (God Who Provides) twice on our trip to Matt’s. My van broke down the first afternoon, but we found a dealership four miles from where we were stranded. Fortunately we were in the parking lot of a convenience store—Nancy pulled off the freeway as soon as we heard a funny noise and just made it to a parking place. The dealership towed our car and worked on it first thing the next day—it was about 5 PM when the tow truck got the van there. There was a hotel right next door to the dealership, and the dealership, cab driver, and hotel staff all were very helpful. We got the car fixed and were on the road again by noon.
As a consequence of the delay, though, we were arriving at Matt’s about midnight. We had passed gas stations everywhere for the whole trip, so we didn’t expect to have any problems. However, we didn’t realize we had to leave the freeway and go on a state highway through a few scattered small towns. Every single station we passed was closed. We watched the “miles to empty” on the car drop below the “miles to destination” on the GPS. We prayed, “Jehovah-Jireh, please get us to Matt’s house. Get us to a station that is open or get us to Matt’s on the gas we have, however You want. Please just get us there.” The “miles to empty” gauge turned to 0 just as we approached the only gas station open. Even though the gauge said there was no gas left, we got to the station and to a pump. Praise God!
In the Lord’s prayer, we pray “Give us our daily bread today” (Matthew 6:11, GW). We like to have our daily bread stored up into the future, but Jesus told us
19 “Stop storing up treasures for yourselves on earth, where moths and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. 20 Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven, where moths and rust don’t destroy and thieves don’t break in and steal. 21 Your heart will be where your treasure is. (Matthew 6:19-21, God’s Word)
Nancy and I would have liked to find that gas station twenty or thirty miles earlier, but God provided us what we needed at the exact time we needed it.
Jehovah-Jireh, God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, thank You that you answer our prayers and meet our needs at the right time, Your time, when we rely on You. When we put our faith and trust in Your goodness and Your provision, You shower blessings on us. You provide gas when the gas tank is empty, and You provide strength, comfort, mercy, and grace when our spiritual tanks are empty. You always meet our needs and answer our prayers on Your perfect timetable. Help me to rely completely on You. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Ghost, now and forever, world without end. Amen.
January 1, 2013 by Lillie
Although I followed the tradition of eating black-eyed peas for luck in the coming year, I know black-eyed peas aren’t lucky and the number 13 isn’t unlucky. There is no such thing as “luck”—our lives are in the hands of a loving, almighty, all-powerful, holy God.
So often we are quick to blame God if we experience “bad luck,” setbacks, disappointments, and tragedies. We know that God could have made things happen differently, and we wonder why He didn’t. We are much less apt to give Him glory when things go right. If we are successful, we like to take the credit. If life goes smoothly, we don’t notice but just expect it as our right.
This year I want to be more mindful of the work of God in my life. Yesterday, I briefly went into panic mode when I learned that because of technical problems, the printer could not deliver the book Jack Stories: Favorite Memories of Jack Jordan Ammann Jr. for the booksigning on Saturday. My first reaction was “groaning of the Spirit” prayer, much as in a similar situation when I was preparing my first book for publication.
My prayer wasn’t structured in beautiful language. I just cried out,”Lord, I don’t know what to do. You have to handle this–I can’t.”After several minutes of that, I posted a prayer request on my church’s intercessory prayer page and called a friend, a fellow Christian/author/publisher to ask her for prayer. She asked,”Did you call Patrick?”
I told her I hadn’t because his printing company did offset printing, and it would be too expensive for the small quantity of books I needed. Besides, it took him several weeks to produce a book. However, in desperation, I called Patrick. He said, “We recently got several digital printers, so now we offer digital printing as well as offset. And I think we can fit your project in this week.” He checked with his production department and called me back with the news that the books can be ready Friday afternoon.
Hallelujah! Problem solved—and all I did was pray and ask for prayer from others. Some would call this coincidence, but coincidences are just those times God chooses to remain anonymous. The Bible tells us, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16, ESV)
Now, if things hadn’t turned the way I wanted, would I have blamed God? No, I would recognize that for whatever reason getting those books printed was not in His plan. I wouldn’t understand the plan, and I would feel disappointed that I had a houseful of people to get books I didn’t have. But I would know that God’s plan is perfect. Just because I don’t understand it doesn’t mean it’s not God’s perfect plan in His perfect timing.
So many of the problems we face as individuals and as a society result from we humans thinking we know more than God. In our narrow, dim vision, we decide what we think should happen. We pray, and if God answers our prayer the way we want, we’re happy. But if He answers “no” or “later,” we may complain or become resentful or question our faith. We forget that we don’t see everything in eternity, as God does. We forget what the Bible says:
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. ~ Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)
We twist His Word. We say, “MY God is loving God. He wouldn’t …” Whether it’s allowing tragedy in this life or sending unrepentant sinners to Hell, the God we create in our own minds would act the way we think He should. How arrogant of us! Who are we to think we know more than the Lord? Who are we to question our Creator?
God asked Job:
Will you even put me in the wrong?
Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
9 Have you an arm like God,
and can you thunder with a voice like his?
We blame God to make ourselves look right. Yet we can’t do what God can do. We do not know what God knows. God is always right. His plan is always perfect.
God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good. We aren’t meant to understand everything in this life. But St. Paul tells us,
“12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:12
For the coming year, instead of trying to understand things far above my ways and my thoughts, I intend to focus to living my life in glory to God.
DIRECT us, O Lord, in all our doings, with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally, by thy mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
December 25, 2012 by Lillie
John 1 (NIV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Thank You, Father, for sending the Word, Your Son, to take on the nature of a human to save all of us from our sins. Open our eyes that we see the light and the glory. In His name. Amen.
December 24, 2012 by Lillie
Revelation 3:20-21 (NIV)
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. 21 To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.
Lord, I hear Your voice and I open the door and welcome You to come in and eat with me. Thank You that I will be victorious and sit with You on Your throne. Amen.
December 23, 2012 by Lillie
Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Lord Almighty, we look forward to the day when Your zeal accomplishes the return in glory of our Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, who will reign forever with You and the Holy Ghost. In His name we pray. Amen.
December 22, 2012 by Lillie
36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,
“In just a little while,
he who is coming will come
and will not delay.”
“But my righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.”
39 But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Lord, we know Jesus is coming and will not delay. We will live by faith and not shrink back. We hope to see Jesus soon, and we have confidence in that what we hope for will happen. We believe in what we cannot see. In the name of Jesus Christ who died and rose and will come again. Amen.
December 21, 2012 by Lillie
Matthew 11:2-11 (NIV)
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” 7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? 8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. 9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. 10 This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.’ 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
O Lord Almighty, we know that John was Your messenger sent to proclaim the coming of Jesus. Jesus said no one was greater than John, yet He said the least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than John. We are amazed that each of us, insignificant as we are in the world, are great in Your Kingdom. Help us through the power of the Holy Ghost to walk in Your way and proclaim You to the world through our words and actions. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
December 20, 2012 by Lillie
James 5:7-10 (NIV)
7 Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. 9 Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 10 Brothers and sisters, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
Lord, patience is difficult for us. We understand that the farmer has to wait for the rain and the season to produce a crop, but we find ourselves grumbling against each other rather than patiently waiting. Your time is not our time; help us to be patient in the face of suffering, uncertainty, and conflict. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
December 19, 2012 by Lillie
Luke 1:47-55 (NIV)
47 And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. 51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. 52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful 55 to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”
Heavenly Father, thank You that You care about the least of us and You always keep Your promises. Let us follow Your example and care for others and always keep our promises. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Amen.
December 18, 2012 by Lillie
Isaiah 35:1-10 (NIV)
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. 3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; 4 say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.” 5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. 6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. 8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the LORD has rescued will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Lord, our God, we long for the day when sorrow flees and gladness and joy overtakes us. We long to walk on the Way of Holiness. Make us strong; take away our fear; and give us faith that our Lord will come to save us. In Jesus’ name. Amen.