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Don’t Assume God’s Not Working

22 Jul

Kathi, holding a tiny baby, walked into a drug store and asked the clerk if she could use the store’s baby scale.

“Sorry, Ma’am,” the clerk said. “Our baby scale is broken. But we can figure the baby’s weight if we weigh mother and baby together on the adult scale.

“Then we can weigh the mother alone, and subtract the second number from the first.”

“Oh, that won’t work,” Kathi said.

The clerk, puzzled, said, “Why not?”

“Because I’m not the mother,” Kathi said. “I’m the aunt.” *

I laugh as I read that, because I’ve often assumed something wouldn’t work, but I had a skewed perspective … or a limited one.

Have you ever assumed that God’s not working in a situation, only to find out some time later that He was working behind the scenes, planning for something spectacular or even “impossible”?

Once, when I felt led away from one job to another, I couldn’t figure out why God didn’t give me the “release” to change jobs right away. A little frustrated, I determined to work hard and “finish well” for as long as God kept me in that job.

Then, months later, God opened an incredible opportunity for ministry and gave me the “go ahead;” but when I went into my boss’s office to tell him I was moving on, I was shocked that he seemed relieved!

A week or so later, I discovered why. I was one of his employees slated for layoff!

God had a greater plan that I could not see, and His timing was perfect.

M. Blaine Smith wrote about his experiences with God’s unseen activity in an article titled “Help from Behind the Scenes” (12-15-97). “If I could glimpse the unseen circumstances that are affecting my destiny,” Smith said, “I would often be encouraged by what I found.”

But then he said, “If I truly knew everything going on behind the scenes that’s affecting my life, I would be unsettled by plenty of it, for I wouldn’t automatically know how to put it all in right perspective.”

How does he resolve his feelings about this? “Yet I have an extraordinary basis for knowing ~ simply as a matter of faith ~ that Christ is working behind the scenes to bring about his best for my life,” he said. “Without knowing any of the details of what He is doing, I have profound reason to be hopeful.”

Over and over again in the Bible, we see that God worked behind the scenes for our good and His glory.

God gave Gideon a glimpse behind the scenes of how He was going to defeat the enemy Midianites (Judges 7:9-15). God opened the eyes of Elisha’s servant to see the powerful angelic army “behind the scenes,” ready to fight against the enemy (2 Kings 6:15-18) ~ one of my favorite Old Testament stories.

Smith notes that, at Jesus’ birth, “few realized that God was acting in a way which would forever alter the course of human history and the destiny of innumerable lives.”

But I’m thinking about the “behind the scenes” story of Jesus’ death! I am awed by this scripture: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

Apparently, Satan and his evil cohorts had no idea of the scope of the incredible behind the scenes plan of God in Jesus’ death and resurrection!

Friend, our loving, sovereign God is always working behind the scenes. There’s no need to worry … no need to fear … no need to manipulate circumstances.

We can rest, knowing everything is under control. Let that truth give you hope today!

Comment opportunity:  Has God ever pulled back the curtain to let you see behind the scenes to what He is doing in your life? Or have you been surprised by God’s activity on your behalf? I’d love to hear your stories!

* adapted from Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3674

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Announcement from Pam and Dawn

1 Nov

Most of our readers think of humor when they think of our book, LOL with God, but there’s a lot of hope in the book, too!

Pam has already ministered in many kinds of places where she offers help and hope to women; and for some time, the Lord has burdened me (Dawn) with a desire to reach women in prisons. But God has never given me the opportunity to go through those prison doors.

I’ve been praying for a way to make a difference with our book, LOL with God: Devotional Messages of Hope and Woman in PrisonHumor for Women. This summer, the Lord allowed me to speak with two different women about the possibility of placing our book in the hands of women in prison or with wives of inmates.

Right after Thanksgiving, Pam and I will present a special FUNdraising event of “Humor, Heart, and Hope.” Both Pam and I will speak, and there will be some fun interludes, but the “heart” of this event is to raise funds to purchase books for two ministries ~ one local and one national ~ that have prison ministry outreaches.

The event ~ sponsored by Rock Church Prison Ministry and Blended Step Families ~ will be held from 7-8:30pm on Monday, November 28, at The Rock Church in San Diego (Room 232).

Admission is $5, and we will also take an offering to benefit those impacted by the prison The Bible in Prisonministries of the Rock Church and also Speak Up for Hope.

The Word of God makes a difference behind bars … and LOL with God is an ice-breaker to get women into the Word who might never open a Bible otherwise.

Only in Christ will these women find the freedom, peace, hope, and joy that their souls seek.

Please PRAY for this event, and for Pam and me. But we also hope you will consider JOINING US if you live in San Diego County.

This is a wonderful way to express some post-Thanksgiving Day gratitude to God for how He has given YOU hope in Christ! Help us bring hope and joy to women who need it ~ just like you!

For more information, visit http://www.love-wise.com/LOL or call 1-800-810-4449.

[Note: no child-care]

Choosing Hope, Even with Cancer

3 Oct

Question: What do you call a doctor who is always on the telephone?

Answer: An ON-CALLogist.

Some funny REAL doctor’s notes:

  • Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.
  • On the second day, the knee was better, and then on the third day, it disappeared.
  • The patient refused autopsy.
  • The patient has no previous history of suicides.
  • Patient’s medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40-pound weight gain in the last three days.
  • She is numb from her toes down.
  • Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches. (1)

Our friend, Yvonne Ortega, is a delightful and caring woman. A professional counselor, Yvonne suddenly found herself “on the other side of the tissue box” when she receive a diagnosis of cancer. So she understands the emotions that come with chronic diseases, and God has given her compassion and a desire to help hurting people.

Yvonne chronicled her choices for hope and joy in the midst of dealing with cancer, and her inspirational readings encourage and bless not only women with cancer, but also those struggling with other chronic diseases. Her wise words also encouraged me (Dawn) in some “everyday” struggles!

Breastj Cancer AwarenessOctober is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a fitting time to highlight Yvonne’s book, Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer. The first thing one notices about her book is that it is solidly biblical. Each reading begins with a “Hope Builder” scripture; and she ends each reading with a prayer. But it is the readings themselves, full of practical counseling principles, that bring great insight, inspiration, and encouragement.

One of my favorite readings, because I am all about making wise choices, is “Decision Time.” Yvonne said she wished that angels and trumpet blasts would confirm her treatment decision ~ chemotherapy, radiation, tamoxifen, a combination of these, or an alternative approach. She said she prayed for wisdom daily (Proverbs  8:11; James 1:5), and searched the scriptures.

The Hope Builder for this reading is Psalm 16:7: “I will praise the Lord, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.” After doing all she could to be wise concerning her decision ~ asking others to pray for her, making lists of pros and cons, reading literature, looking on the Internet, talking with various people, and watching videos advocating both traditional and alternative methods ~ Yvonne kept looking to the Lord for her ultimate decision confirmation.

She wrote, “In my human frailty, I do not want chemotherapy, radiation, or tamoxifen. Reading a list of all the side effects of that traditional treatment frightens me … an alternative approach sounds better to me; however, I wonder if any of the methods will heal me.” (2)

Yet she knew that whatever she chose, she must walk in the will of God for her life. The doctors gave her two weeks to make a decision.

As the deadlined neared, a series of “coincidences” occurred:

  • Someone offered to take her to the hospital “for chemotherapy.”
  • One of her neighbors volunteered to spend the night with her.
  • A professional colleague told her she would bring over dinner the day “after chemotherapy.”
  • Two friends offered to flush her catheter daily (a catheter surgically inserted into a vein for putting chemotherapy into the body).

Though she continued to pray that God would allow the “cup” of what seemed like God’s will to pass from her, she told God He could have his way ~ “If He wanted me to do both chemotherapy and radiation, I would surrender my will to His.”

As peace swept over her, she fell asleep, sensing she was moving ahead in the direction God wanted her to go.

“As cancer patients, we face monumental decisions,” she wrote. “Whatever we decide, we will live or die with the consequences. I’ve learned to invite God into the process. I don’t always like His answer, but I prefer to be in His will rather than out of it.”

Key thought: “I’ve learned to invite God into the process.”

As I read Yvonne’s words, I prayed, “Lord, I say YOU are my Hope, but how many times do I invite You into the process of my choices ~ not just in the huge decisions of life like Yvonne addressed, but in the simple, everyday choices I make? Do I even care to know what You think? If I call you ‘Lord’ (Master), shouldn’t I ask you for wisdom and direction?”

Sometimes I do ask; but often I don’t. Yvonne’s closing prayer included these words, “I do not trust my own wisdom… May I be attentive to your counsel….”

That’s my prayer today. Is it yours?

Closing Note: Ladies ~ DON’T MISS YOUR MAMMOGRAMS! October is my birthday month, and a perfect time for my check-up. Pam Farrel says she gets hers in her birthday month, too, so she won’t forget. Good idea! Another writer friend, Janet Thompson, wrote a book titled Dear God, They Say It’s Cancer: A Companion Guide for Women on the Breast Cancer Journey. She has a license plate frame that says, “Mammograms Save Lives.” Janet says, “They saved mine three times now.” Again … Don’t miss your mammograms!

Yvonne Ortega

Yvonne Ortega is a ten-year cancer survivor (Yeah!), a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner, and Clinically Certified Domestic Violence Counselor. She is a positive, hope-building speaker, and author. Yvonne also hosts a program for breast cancer patients, and her wonderful website is www.yvonneortega.com.

(1) “Jokes, mostly about cancer, hospitals, or just life” ~ http://www.lawrencewray.co.uk/jokes/

(2) Yvonne Ortega, Finding Hope for Your Journey through Breast Cancer: 60 Inspirational Readings, (Revell, 2010), pp. 96-97.

[Note:  I do not endorse advertisements that are added to my blog posts without my permission.]

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