God Showed Me His Love on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day was hard for me this year. Rather than feeling loved, I felt incredibly lonely as I walked through the airport. I was flying home for my grandmother’s funeral.

I thought back to a few years before when my Great Grandfather’s funeral had been on Valentine’s day. Will this day ever bring me anything other than pain? I wondered.

As I sat down at my gate to wait for my plane to board, I felt numb. I pulled a book out of my backpack and tried to read.

“How’s your book?” the lady beside me asked.
“Oh, it’s good,” I answered.
“What’s it about?” She asked.
I groaned mentally. She’s probably not religious and will think that I am crazy for reading this book. How on earth am I going to explain this?

Normally I would have been all too eager to use my book as a lead-in to talk about my faith. But that morning I was struggling emotionally. I could not be rude, however, so I answered as best I could.

“Well, it’s about five young missionaries who were speared to death in Equador in the 1950s while trying to share their faith with an isolated people group.”
“I’ve heard of that.” She said.
“I am really fascinated by this story,” I ventured “because just two years after the spearing Elizabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint the wife and sister of two of the men who were killed that day went to live among that very same tribe. They chose to not only forgive the men who brutally killed their loved ones but also love and serve them. I want that kind of love.”
“That’s what this world needs more of.” She said. “We cannot forgive like that without the love of God working in us.”

Our conversation continued like that. We talked about how we had both come to know the Lord, His working in our lives, favorite Scripture passages, our jobs and how we can use them to share our faith and glorify God.

I was amazed. My God met me at the airport through a total stranger. He encouraged my heart and filled me with hope.

He reminded me that I am never alone.

When we love and serve the Lord Jesus, even the most lonely days can be beautiful. He promises never to leave us. He promises to give us Himself.

Often it is the lonely days, the hard days that we see God’s hand most clearly. If we look He will meet us and show us His love every day of the year not just on Valentine’s day.

Jumbled Efforts and our Amazing God

I rested my chin on my hand and tapped my pen against my desk. A blank card sat in front of me. What should I write?

Because I was in one of the advanced classes at Bible College, I had arrived a few days ago. The students who were attending the basic class would arrive tomorrow. I was excited. For the moment my room was empty, just me and my stuff. Tomorrow I would have three new roommates. The card in front of me was to one of them. I wanted to do everything I could to make them feel welcome. After agonizing over the cards for a while, I finally finished them, wrote names on the outside of each envelope and laid them out on the desk. Going over to the door, I looked again at the names. Suddenly I realized that the door tag was different. The name Morgan had been removed. What happened? I wondered sadly. Walking over to the desk, I removed the card that I had written to Morgan and put it at the back of a stack of blank cards.

When the students arrived I was excited to get to know them all. While we were waiting for dinner one evening, a girl struck up a conversation with me. I learned that her name was Morgan. Immediately, I thought of the card in my room. Did I write anything that would make it exclusive to my roommate Morgan? I didn’t think so. Later I went back and re-read the card. It was very generic. After all, I hadn’t really known the girl I was writing to. I had basically said that I was excited to get to know her and glad she was here. I had also included my favorite Scripture verse at the bottom. Ok, I thought I’ll give this to the other Morgan. At least that way it won’t be wasted and maybe it will bless her. Setting it on my desk with the intention of delivering it later, I began working on a homework assignment.

The card sat on my desk all week. Every time I saw it I thought, oh I need to take that to Morgan. Finally one afternoon I thought, if I don’t do it now I’ll probably never do it. Picking up the card, I walked downstairs to Morgan’s room and slid the card under her door.

Later that day, I received a letter from Morgan. In it, she shared with me that she had stepped out in obedience to what she felt the Holy Spirit was calling her to do that afternoon. As soon as she did so, the enemy attacked her. Her mind was filled with doubt and she began to struggle. It was then that she noticed my card. The Holy Spirit used my card and especially the verse at the end to confirm that she had done the right thing and that He was pleased.

When I finished reading her card, I sat back in amazement. The card I had given to her was intended for someone else. Even after I decided to give it to her I had meant to deliver it days beforehand. I saw so clearly the goodness of God at that moment. He knew all along who would receive that card and when. He knew what she would need to hear and He gave me the words to write.

What an amazing God we serve! He can use even our jumbled efforts at service to bless others beyond our wildest imaginations.

His Story or Yours?

What is your view of history? Do you see it as a chain of random events brought about by the desires of men or do you see the hand of God guiding and orchestrating?

In Acts chapter 13 Paul preaches a stirring message to the Jews in the synagogue at Antioch. In his sermon, Paul reminds these Jewish worshipers of their history placing God at the center of everything. God, not man, is the major player in history.

According to Paul, God chose the Jews, exalted them in the land of Egypt, brought them out of Egypt, destroyed seven nations in Canaan, distributed Canaan to the children of Israel, gave them judges, gave them Saul and David as kings and raised up a Savior for Israel.

Far too often when I look at history I see the works of men and miss the hand of God. God is not distant. He is involved in history. Throughout all of history to this very day and hour, God is working.

As Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional Convention on July 28, 1787, “God governs in the affairs of men.”

If asked, most Christians would certainly agree but how often do we actually think this way? When we look at the history of the world, do we see the hand of God? What about when we look at the history of our own lives? Do we see God at work throughout our lives or do we give coincidence credit for much of what happens to us?

Throughout his epistles, Paul constantly exhorts believers to give thanks. According to Paul, we ought to be giving thanks always, in everything and for everything. Paul’s prayers throughout scripture overflow with thanksgiving to God. Could it be that Paul was so quick to thank God because he had learned to see God’s hand in history?

When we see our lives as the accumulation of random coincidences, we have little for which to thank God. When instead we recognize the hand of God guiding and providing for us throughout our lives, our hearts will overflow with thanksgiving.

When we view history as a chain of random events brought about by human beings, we have little for which to thank God. When, however, we recognize the hand of God throughout history, we can praise Him for all that He has done in the past.

When we fail to see God’s hand at work in the past we will most likely struggle to trust Him with the future. If God has not been involved in history up until now, why would He suddenly get involved in our lives? If God’s hand is absent from the past we have little hope for the future.

If, however, God has been at work throughout all of human history, we can trust Him with today and tomorrow. We can rest upon the fact that the God who has walked with his people all throughout history and to the present hour will continue to do so in the future.

What about you? Do you see the hand of God working throughout history and your own life? Consider how the Lord had been faithful to you over the years and rest upon the fact that the same God who guided and directed your past holds your future.

Twelve Stones

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It is a New Year! This time of year often causes us to look to the future and to what it may hold. We look forward with excitement and anticipation or possibly with boredom and indifference.

But as we look forward may we also remember to look back. Find some time in your busy schedule and reflect upon the goodness and faithfulness of God to you. What prayers did He answer for you this past year? How have you seen Him working in your life?

We, humans, tend to be forgetful. We forget God’s faithfulness toward us. We forget His love and His mercy. We forget how He has answered our prayers and intervened in our lives.

In Joshua chapter four, after the children of Israel walked across the Jordan river on dry land, God commanded them to set up twelve stones as a memorial. In time to come when their children asked them about the stones, they were to tell of the faithfulness of the Lord and how He had parted the waters of the Jordan river so that they could walk through on dry land.

It is amazing to me that the Israelites needed these rocks to remind them to tell their children this story. They walked straight through a river on dry land. Wouldn’t they want to share that experience with their children?

We, humans, are forgetful. We are so busy with our lives. We are always moving full speed ahead. In all of our rushing to and fro we forget.

We see God provide manna in the wilderness, water from a rock and a way through the river and we are amazed at His goodness, His love, and His provision. But all too quickly we move on with our lives and fail to recall His mercy.

It is easy to read the account of the children of Israel in the Old Testament and judge them harshly. They watched God perform miracle after miracle on their behalf and yet they still complained every time there was a threat or problem. What was wrong with them? Why couldn’t they trust their God?

How often do we behave the same way? We see God work in our lives but the second we have a problem we forget His faithfulness and begin to complain.

Powerfully God comes to our aid and rescues us but all too soon we rush on with our lives and forget.

Stop. Slow down. Remember.

How has your God been faithful? How has He proven His goodness to you? What stories do you have of answered prayers?

Think of His faithfulness to you. Grab a friend and share it with them.

Our God is good. Set up 12 stones and go forward into this New Year with His faithfulness in mind.