Now What?  When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

Now What? When life is uncertain but God isn’t!

It’s that time of year when all the college students who are about to graduate are sitting around wondering if all the education and loans they have accumulated over the last 4-8 yrs have been worth it? At least that is what my daughter, is feeling as she is about to graduate, with a BFA in Graphic Design and a minor in Film and Digital Media. 

We have all had times like this haven’t we? Okay, maybe we haven’t been to school and accumulated loans and taken all this time to learn something that we’re afraid we may never get to use. But we all have been at a place of uncertainty. Maybe it’s uncertainty about your health? Maybe it’s uncertainty of how much the farm will make this year? Maybe it’s uncertainty of what will happen to our children or grandchildren? I am sure if you think about it, you can remember a time you were living in uncertainty, maybe you are even living in it now?

I remember when Jeff and I were at that place many years ago,  by saying that I don’t mean ,to sound like it has only happened to us once,  by any means. But this one particular time, before Amy was even born and before Jeff was in full-time ministry,  we were at a crossroads in life a place of uncertainty of what we should do next.

Jeff was looking for a job and there were none to be found in Alabama where we lived at the time. We were at a place we knew we needed a new start and so we thought Atlanta GA. would be a good option for us. At least we knew there were plenty of jobs available there.

So, Jeff picked up the Atlanta Journal Constitution Newspaper and began searching through the want ads. He found several jobs that met his HVAC experience and he applied. We prayed and we prayed hard for God to give Jeff a job. When Jeff finally got a call back from one of the owners for an interview Jeff was eventually hired. After working there for a bit, the owner told Jeff that he had been the only applicant to apply for the job.

Now, at the time Atlanta had 2.5million people in it. So the chances of Jeff being the only person to apply for a job was literally a miracle. Whether he blinded the peoples eyes to see that ad back then, or if he made it disappear for everyone else in Atlanta and the surroundings areas that took that paper. Because this paper did not only serve the 2.5 million people that live in Atlanta but at the time, this paper was delivered all over the state of Georgia and part of Alabama and Florida. Perhaps even further. When I think of the prayers we were praying at that time, asking God to open the right doors for us to walk through little did we know. God would go to such extreme measures to protect us and guide us.

You know I am reminded of a story in the bible where God protected Daniel. He was in the lion’s den. He had been thrown in there because he had stood up for what he believed and God closed the lion’s mouths so tight they didn’t eat Daniel. God protected Daniel that day. God watched over him. God provided a miracle for Daniel and kept him from harm.

I believe God still performs miracles today. I believe if we are following Him and trusting in and relying on God, he will be faithful to protect and provide for us. I know that is what God did that day for Jeff and I. 

There is no humanly way possible that Jeff was the only one that could of applied,  unless God had closed the eyes to everyone else to see that ad.

Time and time again, if we will only look we will see God’s hand in our lives. We don’t have to live in uncertainty,  because we know we serve a God that sees us and loves us with an everlasting love.

So no matter what the future holds, no matter if we don’t know what is ahead of us in life. We have to remember what we do know, and we do know that God knows all, He is watching over us and will take care of us,  if we will only ask, just like he did Daniel and Jeff.

God doesn’t leave His children hanging, He doesn’t leave His children alone. He loves us and if we are following after Him He will guide and protect us. So when those times of uncertainty and anxiety try to overwhelm us, what we have to remember is,  we serve a God that never fails, that can close the mouth of the lions, or blind the eyes of everyone else. He is watching over you, the question is will you trust Him?

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Pet Peeves

Pet Peeves

I have a pet peeve! I am not gonna lie, I have had it for a long time,  and I would be willing to bet, it is one of God’s pet peeves too, although I know He handles it with greater grace than I do.

When my children were younger, I like to think, I was like any mother, who would ask my children to do some things around the house, like clean their room, put their laundry away, general tasks  most moms would assign to their children. But I am sure, my children aren’t the only ones in the world to ever responded “Ok! I will be there in a minute”, to which I would respond, “If I wanted you to do it in a minute, I would ask you in a minute, but I want you to do it now!”

This frustration also coincides with people who promise to do something and then don’t follow through with their commitment as well. I think people should be a person of their word and I strive in my life everyday to do the same.

So, I can’t help but think God might have the same pet peeves as I do. I mean we can look at the bible and find Him getting a little frustrated with children of Israel, so much so that even after they had begged God for years to rescue them from their evil Egyptian tasks masters, when He finally did, they doubted Him and went against what He told them to do, and because of that, all but 2 of them ended up not getting to enter into the promised land. (You can read more about this in  the book of Exodus in the bible)

Then lets not forget Jonah,  who was told to go to the city of Nineveh and because he didn’t want to, he ended up being swallowed by a whale. (You can read all about him in the book of Jonah in the bible)

I promise, I would never let my kids get swallowed by a whale! But nevertheless I get frustrated. It has been said that delayed obedience is still disobedience.

So what has God told you to do? You may say “ Oh! He has never talked to me” But the truth is He has, we may have not heard His audible voice but He left His word for us called the bible. He gives men and woman, called Pastors, words to speak to us, every week, and we can hear it when we go to church. One of those things He told us to do in His word says, we need to go to, church (Heb 10:25)

Now when we go back on our promise to God, when we haphazardly live our life claiming we love God, but not following what His word says to do , It makes me wonder if God isn’t a little sad with our actions. If we aren’t being a little like those in the bible,  and I wonder what is yet to be.

See, we hear a lot about God’s love these days and some of us have come to believe, that love will just overlook the times we have chosen to ignore what we have known, and what we should be doing. But I don’t believe that. We are all allowed to make the choices we want, but we are not free from the consequences of those choices. Those consequences are not because God doesn’t love us, but it is because He does love us and wants us to choose what is best for us, but we often times believe we know best and decide we will do what we want to do.

I heard someone say recently “How can a book written over 3000 years ago relate to my life today”. Well, the bible can because the Creator of the Universe is the one who ordained the writing of that book and the one who inspired every word of it and the bottom line is, the Creator always gets to tell His creation what to do. 

The Inspection

The Inspection

Do you have any traditions in your home? Oh! I mean, more than just what you do at Christmas, or Thanksgiving? I mean the subtle things that happen and you may not even realize it. These things come from who you are deep inside and often from your habits and the standard of which you were raised.

 

We have one of those at our house, it is now in the 3rd generation in our family. ,You see,  my father-in-law Trammel Miller was an amazing contractor and his standards were so high all that worked for him called him the “piano man”,  because if you tune pianos you have to be a perfectionist and that is exactly what Trammel was.

 

Thus, when he came to our home, after Jeff and I were first married,  if there was something that was not maintained to Trammels standard, he would give Jeff that,  “I am disappointed with you son” Look. The look may be followed by a few intriguing questions of exactly why it wasn’t this taken care of up to the “Trammel Miller Standard” .

 

The funny thing is, there was no handbook that told my husband that this inspection would come, no official notice was sent ahead of time, verbal or otherwise. My husband just knew, if his dad was coming over to visit,  he would rush around, getting those last minute honey do list items I had for him done. Sometimes he would go back over and check what he had done,  to assure it met the expectation of Trammel Miller.

 

And even funnier thing today, is that Lee Miller now does the same thing his father did,  all those years ago when we were first married. Trammel is now celebrating his anniversary of being in heaven 4 years this month, and we all know he is running the construction crew of angels,  who are building our mansions in heaven, because that is just Trammel Miller, and God needed Trammel up there because of his perfectionism.

 

See when we now call our son to let him know we will be visiting, his family in Tulsa, it isn’t uncommon to hear Lee tell his dad. “Well, I’ve got to go so, I can get done before you get here to make sure I pass inspection when you come. ” We often laugh about it as a family but the premise is the same.

 

You see there as been a standard set that my sons automatically knows their father expects of them and that got me thinking, isn’t that just like our Heavenly Father?

 

There is a standard that has been set by our Heavenly Father who will soon be coming to visit,  and if we don’t meet that inspection, we are not gonna pass, and we won’t make it to heaven.

 

The difference is, we have been given a handbook with every detail we need to know of what He expects and it is called the bible. We have even been given a family to help us understand what He expects and that is called the church. God has even sent a helper called the Holy Spirit to help us while we are here on earth to help us choose to do the right thing.

 

So the bottom line is,  we have no excuse for not following the directions, God has laid out for us. Everyone of us can pass the inspection that is coming, but it is up to us.  

 

My boys could not care, what their father thinks when he comes to visit. They could ignore standards they have been raised with and choose to walk away from. But they realize their father loves them and wants the best for them. They know, their dad would give his life for them and only expects these things,  because he wants the best for them and believes in them and loves them. Because of their fathers age, he has more knowledge and wisdom then they do and can often tell how things are going to turn out, because he has had the same problems, been in the same situations, and doesn’t want his kids to go through what he has been through.

 

The same is with our Heavenly Father. God loves you and He wants the best for you. He has given us all the tools we need. The question is, are you using them? Will you pass the inspection with your Heavenly Father when He comes? Take the tools He has given us and use them. Don’t hesitate to ask your Heavenly Father for help. After all, that is what a good good Father does!

 

Clean Dirt

Clean Dirt

I don’t know about your house,  but it has never mattered what home I have lived in or what brand of dishwasher is in that house.  On occasion, someone in my family has pulled something out of that dishwasher that, had just been ran, that still had some piece of food left on it, to which my family member will say something to this effect “The dishes are still dirty” and I will reply “ It is clean dirt, it has been washed” We will usually laugh and then wash the item by hand.

 

You know that little scenario got me thinking. How many of us think like that in our own life. We think the little bit of dirt in our life, is “clean dirt”,  after all we are good people. We don’t mean harm to anyone and are just doing the best we can. We justify what we see in our lives often times, all the while condemning what we see in others.

 

But the truth is,  what we think about ourselves or others really doesn’t matter, it is what God thinks that really matters. In fact,  His word is the ultimate authority. The question is how well do you know God’s word? God’s word is His son’s dying wishes for our life. Just think about it, the creator of the Universe left you a letter,  with directions He wants you to follow.

 

Oh! I know some people say “I have tried to read the bible, but I just don’t understand it” to which I would reply “That is why we have churches and bible studies” It is important that each of us read those true stories in the bible. Those are lesson we can learn through others lives that have lived before us. We also see Jesus as He walked this earth and can learn from His stories as well.

 

One thing we all need to remember, past the 10 commandments, there is 1 commandment we all must follow,  in fact Jesus said it was more important than any other, and that is found in Luke 10:27  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”

 

You know if you love someone with all your heart, and I mean REALLY love, then you want to please them, but there is no way to please God if we don’t know what His word says. So how about this week you do 2 things, take just 5 minutes and start reading the Psalms and Proverbs each day in the bible, then throughout your day,  show that love Jesus talked about in Luke to those around you.

 

Because if we don’t do these things, then can we really say we have surrendered our life to Him?  It’s really like saying you’re clean dirt when you don’t. We all know that doesn’t make any sense in anyone’s book,  and the fact is, we can’t wash ourselves on our own or by what we do. God’s love is unconditional and His grace is free ,but it is only when we receive that unconditional love that we realize how much He loves us,  and in turn wants to give that love back to Him, by living a life for Him and sharing that love with others. So let’s stop trying to hand wash our lives in our own ways and follow what the Jesus says.

10, 2 and 4 Baby

10, 2 and 4 Baby

I have always been a night owl and hated going to bed. I think it is because I was afraid I would miss something. I remember my mom used  to call me her 10, 2 and 4 baby because I would wake up at 10pm, 2am and 4am. I think I finally wore my parents down because, by the time I got to be a teenager  my father made me a deal and told me that as long as I got up the first time he called me in the morning. I could stay up as long as I wanted at night. So as soon as I would hear my dad call my name in the morning I would jump up out of the bed as quickly as possible calling back to him “ I am up! I am up!” just so he would know that I was up,  and I wouldn’t have to go to bed early the next night.

 

I will never forget one night, as a teenager, my parents let me have one of my friends spend the night. About 2am we decided we were hungry so we started cooking. Of, course my parents had long been in the bed but I didn’t think they would mind. So, my friend and I looked in the refrigerator and discussed what were were going to have and we debated about eggs, but went with something else. I don’t remember what we decided, but whatever it was must’ve started smelling good, because my dad showed up from the other end of the house, in the kitchen half asleep and as he opened the door to the hallway that  separated the kitchen/family room from the rest of the house, he hollered out at us “ I am gonna break you from sucking eggs” and with that my friend and I looked at each other and said “ I thought we decided not to have eggs?” as we burst into laughter my dad turned around and went back to bed. I still believe to this day he must of been talking and walking in his sleep.

 

Of course, it was a weekend,  so I didn’t have to get up early the next day. But that didn’t stop me from making sure when my dad did call, I was right out of the bed as soon as I heard his voice the next Monday when it was time to go back to school.

 

All that got me thinking, Do you have your ear tuned in listening for your Heavenly Father’s voice? Are you looking for His return and ready to go as soon as He calls?  The bible tells us that Jesus will return one day to take us to heaven, but He will only be taking those who are looking and living for Him. The bible tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”

 

I don’t know about you,  but I want to always be ready to go when the Lord returns. I want to be listening for His voice. Just like I was listening for my father’s voice when I woke up every in the mornings. I wanted to be ready and not late because I knew if I missed it, there would be a consequence to pay. Just as there will be if we miss Jesus return.

 

But how do we make sure we won’t miss HIs return? Well, Romans 3:23  tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”It is as simple as A,B,C  Admit that you are a sinner, (Romans 10:9-10) Believe in Jesus Christ and Commit your life to Him. start, going to a bible believing church, start making Him a part of your everyday life, by talking to Him in prayer and letting Him talk to you through His word.

 

It is only when we know, Christ then we will know His voice. We can’t hear Him if we don’t know His voice. I knew my daddy’s voice and I listened for it. We need to listen for our Heavenly Father’s voice so not only when He calls us to heaven, but every day He talks to us too and has a plan for our life and that plan is more than give your life to Him and go to Heaven.

 

There is something He has planned for us everyday. He wants us to be a part of our everyday life and has a mission for us here on earth before He comes back. For some it is to love others that can’t be loved, for some it is to give more to help others, for others, it is to make a difference in someone else’s life. We won’t know what He has in store for us until we get to know Him and we can’t get to know Him until we surrender our lives to Him and choose to follow after Him.

 

See, I knew  my daddy I spent time with my daddy, and I did everything I could to please my daddy. So, the question is, do we do the same for our Heavenly Father, If you haven’t I highly suggest that you do because you don’t want to miss His voice when He calls you to come to heaven. I think you want your answer to Christ to be the same as mine to my dad “ I am up! I am up!”

” I Need to Go to the Bathroom, Get a Drink of Water and Blow my Nose!”

” I Need to Go to the Bathroom, Get a Drink of Water and Blow my Nose!”

Every family has their routines, anytime you have a family larger than 2 people, and you are planning on going together to an event somewhere, if someone asked anyone in that family, they could probably tell you which one, is going to be ready early, which family member is going to be late, and which one will be heading the group and getting everyone out the door.

 

When my children were at home, I have been known to begin a countdown about 30 minutes out. Now, of course I would have given the family plenty of warning well in advance before that , sometimes even days, but when it comes down to about an hour out, I would start mentioning  to my kids what they need to start doing to be ready, and about 30 minutes before we need to leave, my voice gets a little louder as I start walking around checking on where everyone is and how much longer it will be before they will be ready.

Then about 10-15 minutes out, I am going to start hollering out as I walk down the hall. “10 minutes, 10 minutes we are leaving in 10 Minutes”  which is the sign to my children and husband they better be getting their last minute things on and start heading for the car, then “5 minutes, 5 minutes we are leaving in 5 minutes” at this point my family knows they better be finding their shoes and start getting in the car, because if there is one thing I can’t stand, it is being late. I think it is disrespectful to the people who planned the event where ever we are going and personally, I believe in the old adage, “If you are 5 minutes early you are on time, and if you are on time you are late”, even if that means I arrive somewhere and sit in the car for 5 or 10 minutes before going in. That doesn’t bother me, in fact I kind of like the opportunity to not be rushed and just take a deep breath before going in somewhere,  instead of rushing in somewhere all disheveled .

My whole anxiety about being late probably stems from my mother. No, not that she ever cared about being on time, it didn’t matter how much notice we would give my mom about what time we were leaving.  It never failed, when the time came for us to walk out the door, She would say ”Okay, wait just a minute, I need to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water, and blow my nose.” I lived at home for 18 years before I moved out, and cared for her another 23 or so years before she died and it never failed the story was still the same every time except as she grew older, it took longer for her to go to the bathroom, get a drink of water and blow her nose,  the older she got the later we were. That is why I started telling her we needed to be where ever we were going 30 minutes before we actually had to leave, because I knew if I didn’t we would of been even later than we were. In fact momma was known for being late so often, that my father used to say we are going to bring her casket in 30 minutes late, just to keep up her tradition when she dies. (we didn’t by the way but it was tempting)

You know this got me thinking, my mom is a lot like a lot of people today. They have been warned that Jesus is coming back, they have been told that they need to live their life for Him so they will be ready to go,  but they procrastinate and don’t do it, just like my mom procrastinated getting ready to go somewhere. They are all busy just doing what they want to do, when they want to do it. Not concerning themselves, with anything but what they want. They can even see the warning signs that the bible tells us about, similar to me hollering out to the children and giving them the 5 and 10 minute warning, they ignore all the signs of the crazy weather, the brother hating brother, the world being more and more like Sodom and Gomorrah (Luke 17:26-30) , and all the issues happening in Israel.

All these are signs that Jesus is coming back again, to get His children,  just like He said he would in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 ESV “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” He also warned us “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour. (Matthew 25:13) Now I am not naming any dates or times because I know the bible says “ No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.: (Matthew 24:36) But doesn’t that verse alone tell us that we need to be ready because it could be any moment and He tells us in Luke “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:40)

My mom always had an excuse why she was late, she always justified her reason, but when we stand before God excuses won’t matter He has given us ample notice. With many opportunities to get it right. It is time we stop making excuses.God isn’t looking for perfect people to come to Him, He is looking for people who are watching and waiting for His return.

Many times people think they need to clean up their act before they come to Him. But God told us in His word.  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

God wants us with all our baggage disheveled mess we are in. He calls us daily to come to Him. The question is, will we come? Because the 5 minute warning call is about to come and unlike I did for my mother, God hasn’t given us an extra 30 minute cushion. Once He calls come to get us, that is it. There is no one let in late to heaven. We may get by down here with going to places in our own time frame, but we have no control of when Jesus will return to take His children home.

So won’t you get ready today? To make sure you are ready, all you need to do, is as simple as A, B, C,  Admit that you are a sinner, Believe in Jesus Christ and Commit your life to Him. start, going to a bible believing church, start making Him a part of your everyday life, by talking to Him in prayer and letting Him talk to you through His word.

That is what that scripture is talking about, If we will come to Him, and follow Him as 2 oxen in a Yoke, one more experienced than the other,we will learn from Him and we’ll find rest for our souls, And we won’t miss the most important event of our life, Heaven!