What is the IT?

For the past few years, a group of friends and I have been challenged in December to ask God to give us a word for the coming year. My word for 2017 is JOY. I began the year thinking ‘awesome, my year is going to be filled with joy!’ It has been in many ways that I am so thankful for.

The year began with the birth of a baby boy into our family and has ended with the birth of a second baby boy into our family. That is JOY! In addition, I was able to complete a year-long contract of radio hosting. God provided messages and interviews throughout the year that brought great joy. We have a new church home. That, too, is great joy. However, among these joyful events, there have been trials, disappointments and discouragement as well. But God is reminding me at the end of this year what true joy is all about.

This month the Lord has taken me time and again to James 1:2 which says in part, “…count it all joy when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

In reading this verse, I think we have a tendency to believe that God is telling us to consider the trial all joy. We ask, ‘how can I consider this cancer joy, or this death joy, or this divorce, or this loss of job’ and so forth. You get the picture.

But as I have studied this, I have asked the question, ‘What is the IT of this verse?’ Could it be that the IT is not in reference to the trial, but rather in reference to that which we are to consider – all joy? Could it be that the IT is the Good News delivered by the angels to the shepherds who were watching over their fields at night? The angels appeared to the shepherds and said, “…Behold, I bring you tidings of GOOD NEWS of great joy which will be to all people.” Luke 2:10. Could it be that the IT is the same GOOD NEWS described in Isaiah 61:1 – the good news of Jesus Christ?

If that is the case, it changes how we would think when in the midst of trials. Count it all joy is only one phrase of the sentence. The word ‘count’ in the Greek means to consider, think about, rule over, to command, to have authority over – to be a leader. What this is telling us is that we have authority over the choices we make in our thought process.

This phrase is joined to the rest of the sentence by the word ‘when’ meaning that we will have trials. This is saying, not if you have trials, but when you have trials you have the authority over your mind to choose to think about the joy that is the Good News of Jesus, or to focus on the difficulty.

Joy is a gladness of heart and calm delight, but ALL joy is everything of anything that ever was given to those who believe in and trust the Lord Jesus Christ. Christmas is the celebration of the time in history when He came to earth as a newborn baby to live among the human race to save us all from our sin.

When trials come your way, think about the joy of knowing Jesus and claim the promises of God for all joy in the midst of the difficulty. In doing so, there is peace. The birth of this baby changed everything for you and me. Fix your eyes and thoughts on Jesus this holiday season.

Merry Christmas!

Journey of Faith

Conviction – what does that mean? I was too embarrassed to tell her I had no idea what she was talking about. But that is where my journey of faith began. I was 29 years old.

Why God?

 

When our nation is impacted by numerous disasters such as hurricanes, fires, tornadoes and flooding, people always ask, ‘where was God in all this?’ or ‘why did God allow this?’, or just simply – why? The answer to the first question is to know that God is Omnipresent meaning He is everywhere present.

But the answer to the second question, as I perceive it, is there is no answer we can determine. No one can fully answer the why question. And so you ask, why do we not have an answer? It is because there are things about God that are unsearchable – things we will never have an answer for. If you take a look at what the Bible says about the things of God that we do not know, you discover the unsearchable things of God.

First, the biblical meaning of the word unsearchable is “that which cannot be sought out or known by investigation, examination or inquiry.” And so if some things of God are unsearchable, what are those things?

  • Marvelous thingsthose are extraordinary things separated by a distinguishing action that can only be accomplished by God himself. They are beyond our power to do and too difficult for us to understand. We see the word unsearchable used in Job 5:9. Job was certainly a man looking for answers. He had lost everything, was doubted and accused by his friends, yet he said of God “He does marvelous things, wonders and miracles that are unsearchable.”
  • His greatness – We cannot understand the greatness of God because it is an attribute of God. It is in reference to the magnitude and majesty of God. It is who He is, His great and majestic actions. (Psalm 145:3) He is worthy of our praise, but His greatness is unsearchable.
  • His judgments, His ways are past finding out. Ways = a course of conduct, manner of thinking, feeling, deciding. Judgments = matter to be decided, decisions. The decisions God makes and acts on are things we will never be able to search out and examine. Oh, we can try, but will not come up with the answers that only He knows.

If you have ever been in a courtroom waiting for a judge’s decision, you sense the anticipation of his thinking, deciding and acting upon his decision; but you cannot know what he is thinking until he reveals his decision. So it is with God. Only He knows what He is thinking, feeling and deciding until it is revealed to us in some way. (Romans 11:33) “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and inscrutable his ways.” Inscrutable means ‘impossible to understand or interpret.’

  • Riches of Christabundance, fullness, that with which one is enriched. The fullness of His perfection, fullness of all things in store for God’s use. Used of the fullness of the things pertaining to salvation with which Christ is able to enrich others. (Eph 3:8) But the riches of Christ are unsearchable. We cannot understand how God could love us enough and want us to have a relationship with Him for eternity to the point that he would come to earth in the form of a man, Jesus, who would die for us to purify us from sin so we can be pure and holy before Him in a personal relationship. Yes, that is exactly what happened. As a result, believers have access to all the riches of Christ, and yet they are unsearchable. We will not know while we are on earth what all those riches contain.

It’s like a child before Christmas. They have a preview of what Christmas morning will be like because they see some gifts under the tree. But they have no idea what those gifts contain, or that there are more to come. As believers we have a preview of the riches of Christ through the grace we have received for eternal life. But we do not know fully what eternal life beyond this earth will look like.

  • His understandingreasons, intelligence, insight, knowledge, teaching, discretion. How could we ever search out the intelligence of God? He is all-knowledge! Our human brains could never comprehend or contain all that God knows and His reasons for the actions He takes. “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” Isaiah 40:28

And so, it is not for us to know all the answers to the why question unless and until those answers are revealed which may not be until we reach Heaven.

And so, if we cannot search out and understand all these things about God, what can we do? This is where faith and trust come in.

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen. (Hebrews 11) Verse 3 says “by faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” In other words, God created the world out of nothing. It is only by faith that we are able to know this.

We have faith that God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do. We trust Him as we see Him revealed through the Bible and by the Holy Spirit. We accept these things to be true by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal life.

Hebrews 11 is filled with examples of heroes of the faith from the Old Testament era. These people were looking toward the future Christ while the New Testament church looks back to the Christ who gave his life for us.

These people listed in Hebrews 11 trusted God when asked to do what we would consider to be outlandish – out of the ordinary things. You can read this chapter to see for yourself the unusual things asked of them.

Hebrews 11:6 tells us “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

The answer to what our response is to be when questions of why consume us is to have faith in God through Christ – to trust God even though we don’t understand – to move forward with what may seem out of the ordinary, but we are compelled to do and to seek Him each day. Why – because there are things that we will learn, find and know as we seek Him.

I Ch 28:9 “If you seek him, he will be found by you,”

2 Ch 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Time after time in the Old and New Testament, the scriptures tell us to seek the Lord. And we have His promise that He will be found by us as we seek Him.

Instead of seeking answers to the question of why, we are instead to:

  • Seek the Lord
  • Seek His strength
  • Seek His presence continually
  • Seek out all the commandments of the Lord
  • Seek Him and find Him
  • Seek His face in prayer for our nation

The extraordinary things He does; His attributes, His judgments and ways, the riches of Christ and His understanding, all of these are unsearchable by the human mind.

Therefore, as believers in Christ, we are to walk by faith trusting God every step of the way in what is taking place around us. Faith must have an object and the proper object of real, sincere faith is God Himself even though we cannot know how He exists or understand all about Him.  Then by faith, as we trust, we are to act accordingly by seeking Him, His word, His strength, His presence through prayer. His word promises that we will find Him. And that is enough. He is enough. It is enough to know that He is everywhere present, knows all things and is in control of all things. One day His purpose will be fully revealed for eternity.

But this one thing you can know – He loves you and wants you to spend eternity with Him. Everything else is preparation for that one thing. If you want to know how this is possible, send me a message on the “contact” page.

We Are Surrounded

“But you LORD are a shield surrounding me, my glory,

and the One who lifts up my head.”

Psalm 3:3

 

As I read Psalm 3 this morning, the word that caught my attention was ‘shield’. What is a shield anyway? In Ephesians 6 we read about the armor of God which includes the shield of faith. That shield is one that we lift up for protection from the enemy rather than dragging it behind.

But Psalm 3:3 tells us that we are surrounded by a shield. That shield is God Himself. It is not one we have to lift up. It just simply is a fact. The shield is for protection and defense. This verse tells us that God is our protection and defense.

We need to know that today. We need to trust this today. God has entrusted us with faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and will protect that within us. It is permanent and eternal.

But because of the decay of society by sin, there are times when we question God. We question our faith and become ensnared by the horrible things going on around us. When that happens, we don’t look like Christians. Our witness is damaged by our actions and words.

When we feel surrounded by evil and fear for our safety, we need to remember that God is everywhere present. He is our shield of protection, not just in front of us, but all around us. We are surrounded by Him! If I back away from a difficulty, He is there. If I move forward to face the circumstance, He is there. If I turn to the left or right, I will hear His voice saying, ‘this is the way – walk in it. He is there guiding, protecting, defending and speaking.

With the world in turmoil, with death and destruction taking place to terrorize us, it is hard to see God’s shield of protection sometimes. But we need to trust that it is there. We need to protect the cause of Christ by speaking and acting like Christians in spite of what social media tells us. Respond in love asking ‘what would Jesus say’. We must check the facts before speaking so we are speaking truth that benefits rather than assumed truth that harms. As believers in Christ, we simply cannot continue beating each other up with our words. Rather, we should trust the one who surrounds us to guard and protect our hearts in Christ Jesus.

When King David penned this Psalm, it was at a time when his own son was trying to kill him and take over the throne. But when others said of him, ‘there is no help for him from God’, David claimed the Lord as the shield of protection surrounding him. He claimed God as his shield and the One who lifted his head when despair and discouragement threatened to overpower him.

I believe this is a lesson we can all learn from. God will not allow us to linger in despair, but instead will lift our heads to press on knowing He is all around us to guide and protect. As we trust Him, He gives peace. It may not be what we perceive peace to be, but will be peace as God intends.

From Designing to Defending Women

Designing  Defending Women

Recently I saw a video clip from an old television show called “Designing Women”. In the clip, one of the Sugarbaker sisters, Julia, was defending her younger sister, Suzanne from a fellow beauty contestant. In looking back to this clip, I noticed several interesting things.

First, through the entire tirade, there was not any foul language. She got her point across without resorting to crudity. In addition, her delivery of defense was confident. It was passionate. It was sustaining.

This clip reminded me of my own sister through the years in her defense of who I am. She would not allow anyone to be critical of me in a way that was hurtful and destructive. If I shared my hurts with her, she carried them as if they were her own.

I thought of that this morning as I read Psalm 55:22. “Cast your burden on the LORD. And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” NKJV

This verse is telling us to throw down or, throw away those thoughts, difficult relationships or circumstances that have become so heavy on our heart and mind that we are paralyzed from moving forward in what God has for us. But, the Psalmist completes this phrase by telling where to throw those heavy burdens. We are to throw them on the Lord. Why? Because He will sustain you. That means He will hold you up when you are weak and weary. He will nourish your dry spirit and take upon Himself all you have thrown His way.

Why would the Lord do such a thing? Because He does not want us to be weakened in our faith or to fall into despair. “He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.” The promise for you and me as believers is security. No matter what struggles we are dealing with, God will not give permission for our faith to be overthrown, dislodged or carried away. He is there to defend us and to catch us when we begin to waver and fall.

In those moments when you feel like giving up because things are hard, you will read something, see something or hear something that will draw you back to lean on the Lord. Those are His reminders to you that He is with you always. He will not allow you to be moved from your position of relationship with Him. You are secure in His loving arms. He is your defense and will always defend your cause according to His will. He is passionate about you. He is confident in you as His child, and He will sustain you by His power that you may endure whatever hurts and pain come your way.

And then finally, what if we as believers were as quick to jump to the defense of our sisters in Christ who are facing criticism and mockery as the Lord in His defense of us? As we sit in our church pews, we are surrounded by those who have like minds. But when we go into our communities, we are surrounded more and more by those whose words and thoughts are in stark contrast. Mockery and criticism abound in the secular world. We must take up our cause for Christ in a way that defends the rights of our brothers and sisters in the faith. We must do it with passion, confidence and in a way that lifts up one another to fight the good fight of faith.  

Let Freedom Ring

As we approach the 4th of July this week, known as Independence Day; it is important to recognize that this day stands for more than vacation and fireworks. However, fireworks have been part of the July 4th celebration since 1777.

July 4th in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago in 1776 on July 4 by the Continental Congress.

The second paragraph speaks of our freedom. It says, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights,that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

What is freedom? Freedom is the condition of a citizen. It is exemption from punishment.

The Bible talks a lot about freedom. We find Paul speaking about a greater freedom than even national freedom.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1

What he is speaking of is the freedom from the burden of the rigorous demands of the Old Testament Law as the means for gaining God’s favor. This did not represent the freedom given through Christ. In fact, this demand impeded the development of the Christian life.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free exempting us from the penalty of our sinful state.

This is explained further in Romans 7:4-6. “So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ that you might belong to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God. For when we were controlled by the sinful nature, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in our bodies, so that we bore fruit for death. But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.”

What does this mean? The Law was condemning and could not free a person on a daily basis from their sin. They had to wait, sometimes, a year for their sin to be atoned and forgiven through a priest.

But through Christ, we have access to God on a daily, moment by moment, basis. Therefore, He gives a freedom like no other. He does not condemn us in our sinful state, but rather delivers us from it.

In fact, Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery; “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” She said “no one sir”. Jesus replied, “Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.” John 8:10-11

Freedom also addresses the state of citizenship. We are born as citizens of the country of our birth, but with freedom in Christ, our citizenship is in heaven. Phil 3:20. Once we become citizens of heaven through Christ, we are in this world, but not of it because our final resting place will be with Jesus in Heaven. And if we are citizens of Heaven, we should act like it by patterning our lives after Jesus.

And so, what is it that sets us free from this earth and all its troubles? The answer is found is John 8:31b-32. Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

  • What sets us free? – The truth.
  • How do we know this truth? – From the teachings of Jesus.
  • How do we know the teachings of Jesus? By reading the Bible and prayer. If you are new to the Bible, I would recommend you begin with the book of John in the New Testament.

Let’s continue with these verses in John 8:33-38.

“They answered Him, we are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

“Jesus replied, I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

But even though we are free in Christ and have access to God through Him at any time and all the time, we are not to abuse that freedom by doing whatever we want even if it is wrong.

The thinking of ‘oh, it’s just a little white lie or spreading gossip, or rebelling against authority and saying, “but God will forgive me”, is wrong thinking. Yes, it is correct that God will forgive our sins, but to intentionally do what we know is wrong with the attitude of, but God will forgive me later, is simply wrong.

As believer’s, having experienced freedom and God’s forgiveness, it is our responsibility to live accordingly.

I Peter 2:16-17 addresses this.

“Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil, live as servants of God. Show proper respect to everyone. Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

And so to live as free men and women does not authorize rebellion against constituted authority, but to freely obey the word of God and to live under earthly authorities. Genuine freedom is the freedom to serve God. Liberty is not permission to do as we please. We are to obey the governing of the land because it was God who ordained the system of human government.

We see that in Romans 13:1-2: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”

However, the highest and first authority the believer is to follow is God Himself. If someone in your life, who you consider to be an authority figure is leading you to sin against God, you are to look to the guidance of God and follow His will and His way for your life.

Rulers exist for the benefit of society – to protect the general public by maintaining good order for the freedoms granted the citizens. Lives have been lost for this freedom. Wars have been fought. Young men and women have served this nation at great sacrifice so that you and I could be free in our nation.

It began with our founding fathers and continues today. Freedom is not easy, nor is it free. Even the freedom we have through Jesus came at a great cost – His life paid the price for our freedom from sin.

And so, as I am writing this, I am humbled. I am humbled to know that I have not had to fight for my freedom, but others have fought for me. How can I not honor them and honor God, by rebelling.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

We all know that we need healing in our land. As a nation, and as believers, we must pray for the healing of our land. We have God’s promise that He will hear, forgive and heal our land.

Corporately and individually we need to ask God’s forgiveness for the rebellion, for the violence, for the immorality, for the destruction of life and the disunity that is occurring every day in our land. It is the only answer we have for being able to keep the freedoms we have been given. It is our hope.

And so as we approach Independence Day this week, let’s all enjoy the day. Let’s have fun with friends and family. But let us not forget to let freedom ring by remembering how it came about. And let us remember to pray before we begin the day of celebration for the safety of our nation, our people and especially all those young men and women who are away from home fighting for our freedom.

Independence Day is not a day for rebelling against leaders of our land, but a day of celebrating the freedom made possible by the leaders of the land from the beginning of this nation called America.

Sit With Me in the Rain

“Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.” HCSB

We have a promise from God that as we strive to know Him better, His presence in our lives is a sure thing. And by His presence, He will teach us in a way that we flourish and grow. We have His promise that He will stimulate growth in us as we open our hearts and minds allowing Him to make conditions right for learning.

Many years ago, I went with friends to a retreat in Colorado that was held on a ranch. The theme was “Loving Jesus”. On the last day, the speaker challenged us to take our Bible outside, find a place of solitude and listen for the Lord to speak through His word. Being a ‘girly girl’ back then, I didn’t want to get my hair messed up or my clothes dirty so I looked and looked for just the right spot. Finally I saw a slab of concrete and prepared to open my Bible. But just about the time I was settled, it began to rain. Oh my goodness, you can’t believe the grumbling and complaining coming out of my mouth and God heard every word. As I gathered my things to go back inside, the Lord spoke through a still small voice as if He were standing right there in front of me. He said, ‘Virginia, don’t you love me enough to sit with me in the rain for a moment.’ Whew! My knees gave way and I immediately sat again knowing I had heard a word from the Lord.

The funny thing is that as soon as I opened my Bible again, the rain stopped! But funnier still is that the passage I opened to was Hosea 6:3. As I look back on that occasion, I realize that God was testing my love and obedience to Him.  He wanted me to recognize that my priorities were messed up; that I was more concerned about my appearance, my hair and clothes than I was spending time in solitude with Him. God wanted to stimulate spiritual growth and maturity in me. Even though it has been at least 20 years since then, I remember it as if it were yesterday. God wants us to love Him enough to sit with Him in the rain if that’s what it takes to get our attention so we can listen, learn and grow.

God got my attention that day. In James 4:8, it tells us that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us. That is what He did for me that day, and that is what He will do for you. If you hear what God teaches through His word, if you come to Him and acknowledge who He is in your life; you will find His assurance. That assurance is this:

  • The more we listen, the more we grow…
  • The more we grow, the closer we become to God.
  • The closer we become to God, the more we are assured of His love and faithfulness.

Studying the Bible is about new life. It is about growth and relationship. If you want to be able to trust God more, to experience His strength, to have greater confidence; you need to read His word. You need to listen and ask ‘how does this apply to me’. Pay attention to what it says and then act upon it.

Perspective

Putting Things in Perspective

“…should I not have compassion on Nineveh?”

Jonah 4:11

This is an excerpt from “Facing Fears, Quenching Flames”, a devotional book on overcoming fear and anger. Available on amazon.com and christianbooks.com.book

 

 

Scripture Reading: Jonah 4:1-11

“Do you have good reason to be angry?” Jonah was so angry that he wanted to die. But what God recognized in him was an outburst of anger for a surface issue that covered a deeper problem. The surface issue was a plant that had died. The real issue was Jonah’s attitude toward God over circumstances that he could not control. He was still angry that God showed mercy instead of judgment for Nineveh, but the anger he expressed was related to taking away his comfort. His attitude was so resentful and despondent that he no longer wanted to live. But what purpose does it serve to be angry at God? I think we learn from Jonah’s example that it serves no purpose other than to make us miserable.

There was a pattern of behavior in the life of Jonah that God was trying to get him to acknowledge and change. His attitude led him to a place of despair and self-pity. Jonah was trying to control God and His actions, so the results would be the way he thought they should be, rather than according to God’s character of mercy and compassion. God’s point to Jonah was the value of life. He pointed out that Jonah was angry over the death of one insignificant plant, but God was concerned with the lives of 120,000 people.

This story is a picture of how anger distorts our thinking until we have unrealistic expectations of others and of God. When those expectations are not met, emotions plunge to despair. As difficult as it may be for us, God wants us to put things in perspective. Whatever it is that has caused our anger, we may never know the why or the circumstance which caused it. And so, in order to survive this frame of mind, there are several things to do that help in getting our emotions to a place of healing.

  •   Acknowledge that God is wiser and more powerful that you are – Isaiah 40:21-27
  •   Identify the root of the anger before you become bitter – Hebrews 12:15
  •   Give your emotions and circumstances to God – Psalm 55:22, Psalm 69:19
  •   Be forgiving and merciful – Ephesians 4:32
  •   Re-join the land of the living – Matthew 22:32, 37
  •   Hold every thought captive to the obedience of Christ – 2 Corinthians 10:5

This book of the Bible ends in a very strange way. It just simply stops with God’s question to Jonah. Perhaps God wants us to consider this as food for thought. Perhaps He wants us to remember this question and the point that people are more important than our personal comfort and damaged pride.

And so, what we learn from this book of the Bible is that God is Sovereign, He is the God of salvation and He is compassionate. We can trust Him to do what is best even when it is not what we expected or wanted.

Today’s Prayer: Lord, Your wisdom and power are greater than anything my mind can comprehend. Please forgive my anger and take control of my emotions that I may be forgiving and merciful as You have been to me. Amen.

 

The Blank Page

It is a new year! I can’t say I am sorry to see the last one go. 2016 was filled with tension, conflict and transition for our nation, for many of our lives personally.

For myself , it was also filled with tension, illness and transition as my husband and I moved from a metropolitan area where we have lived for many decades, to a remote area by a lake.

This move meant saying goodbye to lifelong friends, our church home of 35 years and everything near and dear to us. It meant saying goodbye to teaching Bible Study that I had done for years.

When we moved in the summer, I had already committed to teach before I knew we were moving. So my sweet husband told me that if I wanted to keep that commitment for the fall, that he would drive me the five hours each week so I could complete my commitment. And that is what we did.

It happened that I was teaching from the book of 2 Timothy. This book of the Bible is the last letter the Apostle Paul wrote and the last word Timothy heard from him. So, it was very emotional for me because it was my goodbye to a class of women I had taught for many years.

For some reason in the fall semester, I used a different Bible than I had normally used. This one was new and I was not as familiar with how the books and chapters flowed on the pages. Then, in the last week of my study, as I read the last few verses of the book of 2 Timothy, I turned the page for more.

The page was blank.

As I looked at that blank page, I was overwhelmed with grief and thought, “this is what my life looks like right now. Blank. I don’t know what is ahead for me.” No sooner had I thought these things then I sensed God in my spirit saying “What looks blank to you, I have already filled. I know exactly what your future holds – trust me.”

Trust means to be confident and secure in something or someone, and as I thought about it, I remembered one of my favorite passages of scripture:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

In that moment, I had immediate peace like a weight had been lifted because I knew I could be confident in my security with Him. I began to pray “Lord, I do trust you with my life and my future and I thank you in advance for it. Because my understanding was flawed by my human nature and grief, all I saw was a blank page, but you knew what was written upon it and I am confident you have gone before me and paved a path for me.”

One month later, as I sat in my remote lakeside home, I received an unexpected invitation to speak and teach through a radio program. I was shocked! But as I prayed about accepting and spoke with a spiritual mentor, I remembered God’s promise. The page that looked blank to me, God had already filled.

And so as I begin this New Year, I am thankful. I am thankful for God who goes before us preparing the way in which we are to go. He has made all things new in this New Year. He has provided a way for me to continue teaching, even from a remote location.

If He will do something new in my life, He can surely do something new in your life. Trust Him with your present and with your future. He will make a way for you. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 KJV

Father, what a blessing it is to know you, to trust you and feel secure in your loving arms. And as we begin this New Year, I pray for our readers and beyond, that you will teach us to love one another. That you will teach us to trust you with the blank pages of our lives. Thank you for guiding our footsteps to the places you have gone before in order to make a way for us. Amen