Tag Archives: BigSisterKnows

The Goodness of the Lord

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Don’t you love it when God shows up and does something totally unexpected? What a great reminder that He is alive, and He loves us!

This week’s blog, The Goodness of the Lord, is posted on Lift Up Your Day. Check out their site for more encouragement.


 

“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the LORD.” (Psalm 27:13-14 NAS)

 

God is in Control

Last month, I posted a blog called When It’s Not About You. In it, I mentioned a situation that was frustrating my husband Robby and me. A large pine tree had fallen from the property behind us, across the corner of our yard, coming to rest in the tree limbs above the house of our next-door neighbor, Lynn. At first, we were upset about being in the middle of a contentious situation, but then God shifted our concern to Lynn, a senior citizen.

God showed us that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (See Isaiah 55:9.) He wasn’t worried about our sense of right and wrong, or even about our finances—not because He’s distant and callous but because He’s in control of those things. His concern in this situation was for Lynn’s welfare, and He was giving us the opportunity to help her, to be useful for the Kingdom.

Robby and I were so convicted! We immediately set a date to have the tree removed. Unfortunately, the earliest date available was still weeks away. We had just stepped out in obedience and faith, and now we were playing the waiting game! Every morning, we opened the blinds and saw that awful dead tree, spread across Lynn’s roof, and we prayed that it wouldn’t fall before it could be removed safely.

 

God is Still Good

Then, something amazing happened. When I was off from work one afternoon, I heard a knock at the door. It was a man from a different tree company asking if they could access our property. It turned out that the owner of the tree finally decided to have it removed—at his expense! I sat outside and watched as they cut the tree down and gently lowered it to the ground. It was so brittle that some of the limbs cracked and fell, but there was no damage to Lynn’s house!

I called our family to tell them the good news. Not only was the situation resolved, and Lynn was safe, but we didn’t have to pay the $1500 to remove the tree ourselves! Everyone was as amazed as we were. What if I hadn’t been home that day…what if the tree company we had hired had come out earlier…how had the tree withstood the recent hurricane…why did the owner finally agree to pay for the tree’s removal….? This was definitely a “God situation.”

Robby and I were obedient to the Lord when we made the appointment to have the tree removed. We had agreed to trust in God and do the right thing, no matter the cost. Now, I see that God was setting us up—not as a test but as a reminder of His goodness and provision. What a reminder that God really does loves us, and He is willing and able to take care of our needs! (See Luke 12:28-31.)

 

Trust in the Lord

Whatever your situation is today, I encourage you to trust in the Lord. (See Proverbs 3:5.) His Word can still calm the storm; He is still our shield and protector; and He is a saving defense to His people. (See Matthew 8:27 and Psalm 27:7-8.)

Not every circumstance will be resolved the way you want, or how you plan it. But if you are obedient and make God your first priority, and if you wait upon the Lord, you will see His goodness in your daily life. (See Psalm 27:13-14.)

 

Have you seen the goodness of the Lord in your life lately? Share it with us in the comments below.

When It’s Not About You

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Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that are…well…they’re just not about us. Perhaps God has His eyes on someone in far greater need; or maybe your role is just to bring others together, to plant a seed, or to make a way for someone else.

This month, I found myself in a very frustrating “it’s not about me” situation. Here’s an excerpt from the blog I wrote, which is now posted at Lift Up Your Day. I hope it encourages you!

Excerpt:

I felt so convicted! While my heart had been turned inward, God’s heart was focused on Lynn and what she needs. I know God loves me as much as He loves Lynn and, yes, this will work out for the good for all of us. (See Romans 8:28.) But this issue is about Lynn and making sure she’s safe in her own home.

In other words, this isn’t about me….

We all love it when God moves in our lives, when we’re the focus of His blessings. But as we grow in the faith, we learn that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NAS). We should want God to trust us to be His messengers, comforters, teachers, and servants. It should be our heart’s desire to be God’s hands and feet in this world.


To read the full blog, click here.

Girls with Gusto: A Spirit of Joy

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Photo by Ashley Jones 2016.

It’s human nature to want what we want, to be happy when we get it, and to be unhappy when we don’t. Only a crazy person would be happy when everything is going wrong…right?

 

A Spirit of Joy

A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entitled A Clean Heart, which was about the first of eight major steps in our Christian journey. These steps, and how to navigate them, are the topic of the book I’m writing for young women: Girls with Gusto.

Step Two in our journey is A Spirit of Joy. As I researched this topic, the first thing I learned is that there is a difference between worldly happiness and godly happiness. Worldly happiness is a fickle thing, with its highs and lows determined by our current circumstances.

Godly happiness, or what I call joy, is tied to our relationship with God (see Psalm 43:4). I learned that if we will only anchor ourselves to Him, we can experience the kind of joy that never waivers, regardless of our situation.

 

An Excerpt on Joy

Here’s an excerpt from Girls with Gusto: 

If God is to be the source of our joy, we need to be sure that His direction is as true and straight as the North Star. Otherwise, our joy would be as unpredictable as if it were based on the shifting circumstances of the world. 

Thankfully, the Bible gives us assurance: “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow” (James 1:17 NAS). The KJV version states there is “no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” 

I love that! There is no variation. No variables. There’s not even a shadow of turning. Not a hint. God doesn’t wake up grumpy or go to bed angry. He doesn’t tell us one thing today and another thing tomorrow. He is more constant than the rising and setting of the sun (see Isaiah 60:19-20).

This surety and steadfastness are extremely important qualities of God. If we are to have a solid foundation we can rely on, it must be immovable.

 

The Crutch of Circumstance

When I went through a rough patch in my early twenties, I realized that the world couldn’t offer me real joy. That’s when I began to truly seek God in my life.

Ten years later, as I was writing about joy, the Lord began to convict me once again. Life has been really good and, while I’ve been thankful to God for my blessings, I haven’t looked to Him as the source of my joy. Instead, I’ve limped around on the crutch of circumstance, accepting the mediocre happiness of the world. The fact that my circumstances were good doesn’t make my reliance on them (instead of God) any less of a sin.

So what did God do? Did He punish me? No, but He sure taught me a lesson! Here’s a short list of things I went through over the course of a few months:

  • Robby began to travel a lot. For a while, we had more days apart than together. I didn’t realize how much I relied on him for emotional support as well as all the work he does around the house.
  • Our sweet kitty, Sue, passed away. She was our fur-baby for over four years, so this was a huge loss for us. [Click here to read more about Sue.]
  • My parents sold the house we moved into when I was 13. I like their new house more, but letting go of the past can be difficult.
  • My grandfather had emergency surgery and, for a while, we weren’t sure if he was going to be all right. Thank God, he did heal completely, but it was a stressful time for all of us.
  • I picked up every bacterium or bug came my way and stayed sick for days on end. These illnesses were putting a strain on my nerves, work, writing, and home life.

It was like everything in life that gave me comfort was being withheld, and every stressor had the volume turned up. Through it all, I felt God tugging me toward Himself, forcing me to look to Him as the source of my joy and comfort. It was a painful process, but I’m glad to be moving ever forward in my spiritual journey.

 

Your Joy

When things don’t go your way, do you feel anxious and depressed? Are you too stressed to seek the Lord?

When life is good, do you grow slack in reading your Bible? Do you get caught up in the day’s activities and forget to pray?

Remember that God is your spiritual food and water (see 1 Corinthians 10:1-5). Whatever the day brings, you have to eat and drink, right? In the same way, you need to seek God’s presence and read His Word. If you can make this a daily habit, regardless of the situation, you can have the joy that comes from God—a true Spirit of Joy.