A Panda on the Roof: Hope for the one who feels stranded

Have you ever felt stranded . . . abandoned and left all alone? Find hope in this story of a panda on a roof.

I really do not know how the stuffed panda got on the roof of the garage.

It was late October and the boys had been playing outside for quite awhile when I looked out the window and saw all five of them staring up at the roof of the garage. There, lying peacefully on the top of the roof, was my four year old’s stuffed black and white panda bear.

panda on the roof

While none of the boys would claim responsibility, they were all eager to be the one to retrieve it. This task proved to be more difficult than any of them imagined and soon even my husband was taking part in the rescue effort. For the next several minutes I watched with amusement as they all took turns throwing objects up at the panda, hoping to knock it off the roof.

As time went by and the objects continually missed their intended target, I began to wonder if there was any hope for the panda or if we would have to leave it stranded on the roof until the wind eventually knocked it off.

pandas on the roof

Do you feel as if you are stranded on the roof of a garage? Do you wonder if there is any hope for you . . . if you will ever be rescued from the situations that hold you captive . . . the painful memories, the sordid past, the accusing thoughts?

I wonder if Rahab felt stranded.

She certainly had every reason to. A prostitute in an ungodly town, Rahab listened to the reports of the foreigners with great interest. These foreigners served a God different from any she had ever heard of before . . . a God who exhibited true power and authority, yet who also cared for His people. Would this God also care for her? Would this God give her a second chance at life . . . a chance to start over and rid herself of the sins of her past?

When the spies showed up at her door, Rahab took a step of faith that would change the path of her life forever. Rahab hid the spies . . . on her roof.

It was on the roof where Rahab took another step of faith, asking the spies to spare her life and the lives of her family members. The spies agreed to protect her and her family so long as she hung a cord of scarlet thread in the window of her house. She hung the cord, the Israelites marched around Jericho, the walls came down and Rahab and her family were spared.

Rahab. The prostitute. The one with the horrible past. The one who, just days before, seemed to be stranded in her life of sin.

And the one who eventually ended up in the genealogy of the Messiah.

I can’t remember how much time passed before the panda was freed from the top of the garage. I do remember, however, the celebration that ensued the moment the panda dropped to the ground. And I will never forget the way my four year old reached down and picked up the panda, wiping off the dirt and wrapping his tiny arms around the stuffed animal. How the panda became stranded in the first place was no longer important. The panda was free – and the panda was loved.

panda off the roof

Will you allow Jesus to free you? Will you, like Rahab, take a step of faith and trust Him to remove the stain of your past, the guilt of your sin, the fears, the pain, the hopelessness?

I do not know how long you have felt stranded or how you even got there in the first place. But I do know that, when Jesus frees you, there will be a celebration unlike any other. Jesus will pick you up, wipe off the dirt, and wrap His arms around you. How you became stranded will no longer be important. You will be free and you will be loved!

By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.”

Hebrews 11:31 (NASB)

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I pray that you will surrender to Jesus and experience His rescue today!

Cheri

Banana Bread & Mismatched Socks

Giving Thanks — When It’s Really Hard to Be Thankful

She started losing her hair on Thanksgiving weekend.

It had been a tough autumn. Unexpectedly diagnosed with cancer, she had seen life as she knew it drastically change. The mundane tasks of working and raising a family were replaced with the fatigue and nausea of chemotherapy. Every day was a challenge and the accompanying emotions were intense.

She would give anything to go back to the mundane.

And now it was Thanksgiving, and, to top it all off, she was losing her hair. What could she possibly have to be thankful for?

Giving Thanks when it is really hard to be thankfulGive thanks in all circumstances. ALL circumstances. It is easy to give thanks on the good days, but “all circumstances” encompasses all kinds of days – the good and the not-so-good.  So what happens when we are living in the middle of the “not-so-good”? What happens when the “not-so-good” overpowers the good and it feels like there is no end in sight, when we are reminded to give thanks in all circumstances but every part of our being screams out, “But you don’t know MY circumstances! I have nothing to be thankful for!”

And it sure feels that way sometimes.

How can we possibly give thanks for cancer? For the sudden death of a loved one? For the tragic accident that took our young child? For all the cold, ugly, horrible circumstances that attack us and leave us wounded?

The answer? We can’t . . . and we aren’t expected to. Notice, the Bible says to give thanks IN all circumstances, not FOR all circumstances. We do not need to be thankful for the tragedies in our lives, but we DO need to let those tragedies focus us on the hope that we have for the future . . .

A future free from cancer. A future free from tragedy. A future free from pain, hurt, sorrow, and mourning. A future that is waiting for us . . .

A future for which we can be truly thankful.

Are you in the trenches right now? Is your life filled with doctor’s appointments, fear, uncertainty, and pain? Are you approaching this Thanksgiving Day with a feeling of dread . . . trying to plaster on a fake smile as you go through the motions of counting your blessings, only to fear that counting your blessings somehow diminishes the pain of the trials you are experiencing?

Are you losing your hair on Thanksgiving Day?

Remember, dear friend, your present situation does not define your life. Your life is defined by a future that is not of this world . . . a future that is waiting for you in heaven! Your future is bright!

And that is something for which we can ALL give thanks!

In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world! (John 16:33)

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I don’t know your situation, but I pray that this blog post will speak to your heart.  Life is hard.  But we serve a God who is faithful and promises to be with us through it all.  I wrote this post because I don’t think God wants us to deny the hard times.  He doesn’t want us to put on those fake smiles and hide our true feelings . . . he wants us to live an HONEST life, and that means HONESTLY dealing with the hurt and pain.  I believe that it is possible to do this with an attitude of thankfulness by focusing our thankfulness on the promises of God.  I really do not know how people who do not have a relationship with Jesus Christ make it through the difficult times, because sometimes the only way to make it through the difficult times is to remember that the difficult times will not last forever.  Some day those of us who follow Christ will be in heaven with Him forever . . . and He Himself will wipe every tear from our eyes.

Hold on to that promise this Thanksgiving!

Cheri

Mud Pits and River Banks: A Devotion Just for Kids

Do you have a child in your house?    Today I have something special just for him!  Following is a devotion written for kids (although you adults might enjoy it, too).  So, gather your children around and spend a little time with them looking at an Old Testament Passage in a slightly different way.

NOTE:  This devotion is taken from my children’s devotional, My Brother’s Feet Smell as Bad as Noah’s Ark! (and 30 Other Devotions That Stink).  For more information on the entire book, scroll down to the end of the page.

AND, to give your child his own copy of this one devotion (which includes the pictures from this chapter as well), download the pdf here:

mud pits and river banks

mud pits and river banks a devotion just for kids

Have you ever gone swimming in a mud pit? My brothers and I have and it is a lot of fun. However, it is also pretty messy, and the muddy water leaves a smell that stays with you long after your swimming time is over.

Oh, and the mud can leave a ring in the tub after your bath (which your mom will insist you take the moment she sees that you have been swimming in a mud pit). And I should mention that your mom will probably force you to clean off that ring with your bare hands, no matter how much you mention child labor laws.

Perhaps I should explain.

It was an extremely hot day in early August. My brothers and I were trying to figure out something to do. Mom had kicked us out of the house for awhile . . . she had been mumbling something about having a headache and five kids who weren’t making it any better. Anyway, she told us to get some exercise. When we asked her for ideas of what we could do, she had said, “I don’t know. You guys are smart. Think of something!

So we thought of something.

“Hey, what if we fill up this big hole with water?” one of my brothers had suggested, pointing at a huge crater in an abandoned lot on our street. “Don’t you think it would make a great swimming hole?”

Upon further examination, we realized that our hose was long enough to reach the hole from the faucet on the side of our house, so we began to fill it with water. When the hole was filled, it made a perfect little pond.

“Last one in is a rotten egg,” I yelled as I dashed into our new pool. My brothers all followed me, and we spent the next hour in the water.

It was the perfect afternoon.

Only, my mom didn’t see things quite the same way.

When she saw us about to enter the house, she threw a hysterical fit.

“How did you get all covered with mud?” she cried, “What have you been doing all afternoon?

“Exercising,” my older brother responded.

And then she saw our lake. But to her it wasn’t a lake . . . it was a mud pit.

There was a man named Naaman who had a disease called leprosy. He also had a servant girl who had been taken captive from the Israelites. One day, the servant girl suggested that he visit the prophet in Israel who might be able to heal him of his leprosy. It was worth a shot, so Naaman took a trip to Israel.

When he got there, the prophet didn’t even come to see him face to face. Instead, he sent a messenger with instructions for him to dip himself seven times in the Jordan River.

“Are you kidding me?” Naaman replied, “Why do I need to go to the Jordan River? There are rivers in my own nation that are just as good. Why this one?”

You see, when Naaman looked at the Jordan River, he didn’t see healing waters. All he saw was a muddy pit.

None of you will enter into this house until you have sprayed all the mud off with the hose, and then each one of you will take a bath!” We could tell that mom was upset. She gave us her instructions and then went back in the house, mumbling something about needing an aspirin and why we had to all be boys.

Getting the mud off of us with the hose was a lot of fun. Taking a bath? Not so much. Some of the mud was caked on pretty hard. It took a long, long time to get the mud off. I didn’t think my youngest brother would ever be clean.

But eventually we were squeaky clean once again.

“Why don’t you at least give it a try?” Naaman’s servants coaxed him.

And so Naaman decided to go for a swim. Slowly, he walked on the muddy river bank and into the cool water, where he dunked himself under the water seven separate times.

And when he came up that seventh time, he was squeaky clean once again.

When the baths were over, my mom walked into the bathroom and looked at the tub. “Get in here and clean out this tub!” we heard her holler.

I don’t know what her problem was. Brown bathtubs are in style in some parts of the world.

But brown tubs are not good enough for my mom. “Clean it out!” she demanded again, even after my older brother informed her that there were child labor laws she should follow. She handed my brother a washcloth and walked away, muttering something about early bedtimes.

You know, we all have things in our lives that make us dirty. I’m not talking about outward dirt, like the leprosy of Naaman or the mud of my brothers and me. I’m talking about dirt on the inside – sins we commit that keep us muddy, dirty and stinky.

But God provided a way for us to get that dirt off. He sent Jesus. Because of Jesus’s death and resurrection, we can have all of our sins washed away. We can be squeaky clean!

Just like Naaman.

Have you had your sins washed away?

Or are you still playing in a mud pit?

“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7, NASB)

THINK ABOUT IT:

1. What do you think would have happened to Naaman if he had refused to dunk himself in the Jordan River?
2. How do you think Naaman felt when he discovered that he had been made clean? How do you think his life changed after that?
3. Have you ever been made clean? If not, what is keeping you from asking Jesus to make you clean?

PRAY ABOUT IT:

1. Spend time today thinking about your life and your relationship with Jesus. Do you have a relationship with Jesus? Or do you need to start one today? Pray about what you need to work on in your life.
2. Spend time today thanking God for how He has washed you and made you clean. Thank him for the gift of forgiveness.

DRAW/WRITE ABOUT IT:

1. Draw a picture of Naaman being healed from his leprosy.
2. Have you ever been baptized? Draw a picture of it.
3. Write a story about how you became a Christian.

For more on this story, see 2 Kings 5:1-15.

From: My Brother’s Feet Smell as Bad as Noah’s Ark! (and 30 Other Devotions that Stink) by Cheri Gamble, copyright 2015, Ministry Mom Books, all rights reserved.

Click below to order a copy of this book for your child:

my brothers feet on amazonbrothers feet pdf

A Plea to the Church in America

What is wrong with us?

I can’t get the picture out of my mind. 21 Egyptian Christians. Killed. Because they were Christians.

I try to write, but all I can do is stare at the screen. Hundreds of thoughts scream in my head, but the screen in front of me remains blank. How can I adequately express my feelings about this gruesome, unjust act? How can I honor the memory of the men who were murdered in cold blood?

And then one thought rings out above the rest.

What is wrong with us?

We watch the persecution of Christians on the other side of the world with mild interest. We talk about their suffering. We even pray for their perseverance.

And then we go back to our lukewarm lives, our comfortable churches, our watered down view of Christianity.

what are we doing

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we complain about the style of music in our worship services.

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we grumble because it is too cold in our sanctuaries.

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we complain if the services last too long, the minister forgets to shake our hands, the children are too rambunctious, the color of the carpet is not right . . .

WHAT IS WRONG WITH US?

Somewhere along the line we have become much too comfortable with our definition of Christianity.

Somewhere along the line we have forgotten.

We have forgotten that, when Jesus said, “Take up your cross and follow me”, He meant it. To follow Jesus is to live a life of sold-out commitment, a life that refuses to compromise the truth for convenience, a life that puts Jesus above everything else.

EVERYTHING else.

Even life itself.

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we pick our kids up from youth group and ask, “Did you have fun?”, as if Christianity is all about having fun.

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we plan goofy games, attend lavish conventions in cozy hotels, argue about which version of the Bible is the best, and brainstorm ways to bring in more people than the church down the street.

21 Egyptian Christians die for their faith.

And we are busy planning our next big “event”. We do all we can to get people into the doors of our churches so we can all sing happy songs together while talking about what a joy it is to be a Christian. We hope that they will make a commitment to Jesus, but we skirt around the issue of what a commitment to Jesus really is.

A commitment to Jesus is all or none.

You can’t have Jesus and continue to live a lukewarm life. If you are truly a follower of Jesus, you have to FOLLOW Him . . .

even if that means following Him to the cross.

A Plea to the Church in America

Lord,

Forgive us for watering down what it means to follow you. Forgive us for defining Christianity from an American point of view instead of from a Biblical point of view. Please help us to be courageous Christians. Help us to follow you wherever you might lead. Help us to stop our selfish, “all about me” attitudes, our inclination to always want our own ways, and our desire for comfort over commitment. Help us to follow you whatever the cost, and to be brave and true to the very end, whatever that end might be.

In the strong Name of Jesus,
Amen!

Snowmen and Spiritual Growth: Is your faith in danger of melting?

My boys like to build snowmen.

Or, rather, I like to have them build a snowman each winter so I can have cute snowmen pictures to put in my scrapbooks.

Whatever the reason, my boys build a snowman together every year, and watching the way the snowmen have changed from year to year has been very interesting.

The first year my boys built a snowman together, it was a tiny snowman, barely as big as the smallest boy. It stood lopsided, with a knit cap on its head, tiny rocks forming its eyes and a strand of tinsel serving as a scarf. “Look at our snowman!” my boys yelled out to me. That was my signal to grab the camera and shoot the pictures, being sure to compliment them on their hard work. They had, after all, built this snowman completely on their own, and it served its purpose well.

snowman

Isn’t that similar to how we begin our Christian walk? Excited to be following God, we delve into our new life, a little lopsided and certainly not perfect. “Look at Jesus!” we yell out to all who pass us by. Serving His purposes, we stand tall, unashamed of how silly we may look to others.

The following year, my boys were determined to make the biggest snowman they could. Rolling the snow into enormous balls that stretched wider than all of them and taller than the smallest of them, they were convinced that they would make a snowman worthy of the record books. Watching out the window, I was well aware that their snowman was a huge undertaking . . . there was no way they would be able to lift the snowballs they had made on their own.

Sure enough, when they went to lift the first giant snowball, it would not budge. I watched as they pushed with all their might, desperately wanting to get the ball lifted and put into place. Nothing happened.

Mom! We need help!” my oldest shouted from the front door.

And when their dad came home, he went out with them and helped them lift the snowballs and complete their snowman.

This one stood over six feet tall, sporting a Santa hat and beige blanket as a scarf. It was a snowman to be proud of. Happily, I grabbed my camera and took a picture, complimenting them on the great job they had done.

snowmancollage

Soon our faith begins to grow. We spend more and more time in the word of God and we discover the power of the Holy Spirit. This is an incredible time in our Christian lives. Knowing that we serve an awesome God, we attempt awesome acts in His name. When our attempts lead us to try that which is much bigger than we are, we do not give up. Instead, we call on the help of our heavenly Father and, together, we get the job done.

Sometime during that winter, a friend of ours found out that our boys enjoyed making snowmen and she gave us a snowman making kit. This kit came with everything they could possibly need . . . a corncob pipe, a carrot nose, and even two eyes made out of coal! All they needed to add was the snow. But the winter was almost over . . . the snow was melting . . . the boys would have to wait for the next winter to use the snowman kit.

When that next winter arrived, the boys were overjoyed. At the first significant snowfall, they came running in, asking me for the snowman kit. Working carefully and diligently, they created a very adorable, very perfect looking snowman.

I got out my camera, took the shots, and had a great time scrapbooking the pictures.

snowman5

As we progress through our Christian life, we receive a lot of advice and encouragement from other believers. Brothers and sisters in Christ come along beside us, teaching us and helping us grow in our faith. Offering suggestions that we eagerly accept, they guide us into a deeper walk with the Lord. Our lives begin to look more and more like Christ and less and less like the imperfect, lopsided mess we used to be.

But then another season comes upon us . . . one where we begin to become complacent in our Christian lives . . . one where it is easy for laziness to replace zeal, for apathy to replace enthusiasm. . .

One that threatens to break us down completely.

Snow was more than abundant the following winter. Every time there was a brand new snowfall, I encouraged my boys to go out and build a snowman. “We will later,” they told me.

But later kept getting later . . . and later . . . and later. . .

It’s not that my boys didn’t play in the snow that winter. On the contrary, they were out nearly every day, building forts, having snowball fights, and crafting tiny sledding hills with the freshly plowed snow. They just did not want to make a snowman. Perhaps they were tired of making snowmen, or they were afraid their snowman would never compare to years past. Whatever the reason, it was dangerously close to spring and I still did not have my snowman picture.

Please go out and make a snowman,” I begged.

Finally, my boys agreed to make a snowman. When they called me to see it, all I could do was laugh.

They had laid three huge snowballs side by side, placed a blanket over two of them and stuck a teddy bear by the first one. This resulted in the appearance of a snowman who was lying down, cuddling with his teddy bear while taking a nap.

snowman6

I grabbed my camera, took a picture, and posted it on facebook. This was one to remember.

Unfortunately when this happens to Christians, it is not one to remember. All too often, we become complacent in our Christian life. We forget the excitement of our earlier years and do not even try to maintain the same level of enthusiasm. “Someone else can do the work in the church,” we say, “I’ve already done my share.”

We become lazy. We take on the appearance of a snowman, lying down, covered with a blanket while clutching a teddy bear.

And a snowman, lying down, covered with a blanket while clutching a teddy bear will soon melt away.

This is not God’s plan for our lives. God wants us to serve until the end, never losing our excitement or enthusiasm for the Kingdom. God wants us to always be like that snowman, standing tall, depending on Him to help us with the details.

That is the picture that we need to capture for our lives.

Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”

Romans 12:11 (NIV)

 

Coming Friday : The first in a series of Friday Family Bible Times using SNOW as its theme!

The above post is adapted from  “Banana Bread & Mismatched Socks: 100 Devotional Thoughts From My Every Day Life” (2014).  Buy your copy today!

http://www.amazon.com/Banana-Bread-Mismatched-Socks-Devotional/dp/1500519839/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412530696&sr=8-1&keywords=Banana+Bread+%26+Mismatched+Socks

All These Things: Testimonies of God’s Provision

Being in ministry has many rewards – a huge paycheck is not usually one of them. There are times when it can be very tight financially, but God always takes care of His people. This article contains several amazing testimonies of God’s provision for His people.

It all started with a bag of clothes.

Or, rather, three bags of clothes. Three totally different bags of clothes from three totally different women, each bag stuffed full of fashionable women’s clothing and given to me during the same one week period. Everything was just my size.

Then there was the phone call. “Cheri, I had a party at my house and no one ate anything. I have a bunch left over. Could you use it?”

“Sure,” I responded, unaware that I was about to receive an abundance of fresh vegetables, a variety of chips and dips, meatballs, cheese, and an incredibly delicious chocolate cake. “This is the best lunch ever!” one of my boys proclaimed as we feasted on the surprise meal.

Later that week, my husband came home with a huge ham and a bag of potatoes. “They said it was too big for them and they wanted our family to have it,” he explained.

“Do you think God’s trying to tell us something?” I finally asked my husband. “Something like ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you?’”

And when my husband reminded me of the check we had received in the mail earlier that week to help with car repairs, I was convinced. God was reminding us in a very tangible way that He had never let us down in the past and He would not let us down now. He would take care of us.

Being in ministry has many rewards – a huge paycheck is not usually one of them. There are times when it can be very tight financially, but God always takes care of His people.

Reflecting on the goodness of God in my own life made me curious about the lives of others. Surely there were other people out there with stories similar to mine . . . other people in ministry who could attest to the fact that God truly takes care of His people.

So I asked. And what happened next turned out to be the most meaningful facebook discussion I have ever been a part of. In the end, all I could do was sit back in amazement at the testimonies of an awesome God who always takes care of His people. After reading the following testimonies (shared with permission) perhaps you will do the same.

pregnant6Providing For a Baby — Just in Time”

“Things are much easier now but the ‘lean’ days and God’s faithfulness is always at the forefront of my mind. I home schooled and was a stay at home mom. There was a time when I was pregnant with our 3rd child that we had no insurance. The church could hardly pay us our salary and sometimes didn’t, and although I taught piano lessons, summer was coming and the day was nearing when our son would be born. We had scrimped and saved enough money to pay the doctor but had no money for the hospital. The doctor, who was a Christian, told us it was time to make a reservation at the hospital for the C-section. We had no money. We had no insurance. We had been tempted to get some Government help but decided we should live by faith. When our doctor found out about the financial situation, he was appalled. He told us about a (government) program and we still drug our feet. But we applied ….. and were rejected. So we proceeded to try to take out a loan, and then got a letter from the government that they changed their mind. Weird….that never happens unless maybe you apply and reapply again and again. But now I needed this card or a certain number to make the reservation at the hospital. Of course we were only a month out from having the baby and everyone told us that the paperwork takes 6 months to process. So we prayed and I just relaxed knowing this baby was going to come one way or another . . .access or not . . . insurance or not . . . money or not. My mother in law took me to the hospital where I had no reservation. We stopped at the mailbox before we left our house. There in the mailbox was the yellow envelope containing the access card with the number needed. When I went to the admitting desk, the guy looked panicked when I told him the story.  They had one room in the maternity ward left. He said this was amazing and he had never seen anything like it. God is good! I had a healthy baby boy. . . . now 21 years old…. and studying to go into the ministry!!”

tomatoes“Providing Food”

“We live in a rural area, and have been blessed with fresh veggies and canned goods, home-baked goodies, and help with our own ‘rookie’ gardening, canning, and hunting ventures. Many, many years ago, I was laid off from work, and almost out of food. The people who were renting the apartment next door were from Alaska, and couldn’t take the heat in the Deep South. They gave me bags of meat, veggies, and things that they couldn’t take home with them. Unexpected checks and finding a $20 bill in the street are just a couple other examples. No matter how bleak the circumstances look, God always comes through!”

dental work“Providing Shoes and Dental Work”

“There was a time when our daughters were little and they needed shoes badly. We had no money to buy shoes. We took our need to God, and Him only. Within a few days there was a check in the mail with a note that said, ‘For the girls’ shoes’. Another time, my husband needed dental work done, and he had not been to the dentist since before we had gotten married. His family dentist was about an hour away at the time. He needed to have two teeth pulled by an oral surgeon. Again, no money to pay. On the way home, both of us were praying about it. He took the babysitter home and when he came back to the house, I was sitting at the kitchen table, crying. A letter had been in the mail with a check from friends who felt God impressed them to send us this money. It was enough to pay the oral surgeon, the dentist, and gas for two trips back and forth the hour’s distance.”

jeans“Providing Clothes”

“This story is about an evangelist who lived in our area when we lived in the country. They were on very limited income as well. We would call each other with statements like, ‘I’ve got buns, do you have any hot dogs?’ and we would get together and share. But what impressed me about the wife is that she would periodically go through her closets and give away clothes… NICE clothes. She would have her children do the same. And within one to two days there would be a bag or box of new clothes on her doorstep. She said she didn’t know who they came from. That happened over and over.”

toilet paper“Providing Unexpectedly”

“God has provided for us in some dramatic ways: once, He “healed” a hole in our water holding tank for our well (water was shooting through the hole onto the wall. When we went to assess what needed to be done the next morning, the hole was GONE!), our vehicle died and we had no funds to replace it and a couple had God lay on their hearts to *give* us a nice vehicle that lasted us for at least five years. Probably the thing that spoke to us most about how much God cares about the littlest details is when my hubby was out of work, and we were beyond ‘broke’. I decided we needed a little cheer in our day and decided to splurge and bake a cake from what we had left, and used the last of our cocoa and flour in the process. I had also put out our last bar of soap that morning, and put the last roll of toilet paper on the spool. After we ate dinner (and cake!), we went to Wednesday night church: we had only enough gas to get to church, but not home. We knew we needed to go: we both were teaching classes that night, I had to lead worship practice, & the boys had Rangers. After church was over a lady came up to me and said, “Do you have enough gas to get home?” Only God!! THEN, another lady came up to me and said, ‘I need you to stop by my house on your way home from church tonight.’ We did. She met me at the door and said, ‘I felt I needed to do this, but I’ve never had anything quite like this happen: God told me to get these things together for you, and it is just a WEIRD collection!’ We carried several bags of groceries and miscellaneous items into our house and set them in the kitchen floor, and our boys began to help us unpack them. Our youngest said, ‘Mom, God gave us a miracle!‘ Yes, He did. And not only did he give us gas money to get home, and groceries, but among those things in the bags were a container of cocoa, flour, two bars of soap, and toilet paper! You can’t tell this lady God doesn’t care about every single detail of our lives, big and small!”

chicken“Providing for Needs”

“I grew up in a household of 6, my parents were inner city missionaries and we saw God come through over and over. One time in particular, we had nothing in the fridge except ice and light. Someone knocked on the door and left bags of groceries at the doorstep. To this day we have no idea who did that. Now I am married to an associate pastor with 3 kids and we find ourselves in the same boat financially. I remember one Sunday we had $50 in our bank account and no food for dinner. We decided to give that $50 to the Lord. We went to church and someone gave us a check for $50 and someone else had a trunk full of frozen chicken that they gave to us.

bill“Providing Financially”

“My husband is a pastor. We have very limited insurance on our daughter. Two years ago she started to have some health issues that are still left unsolved, nothing life threatening. We carried her to several doctors, including specialists. The bills were mounting up and we did not have the extra money to pay for them. I had one office automatically send our bill to collections which upset me badly. I prayed and cried out for help. The very next day I received a personal bill from his office with ‘Paid in Full’ written in his handwriting. I called the office and the lady in the billing department said it was correct. She said the funny thing about it, is that he has never done it before. He came in that morning, told her to pull our bill. He told her he was awakened in the night and told to do this! I cried and told the woman it was God answering my prayers. She said yes it was and to pray for that doctor because he was not a believer.”

Let me say it again, GOD ALWAYS TAKES CARE OF HIS PEOPLE!!!

Weary, worried servant . . . rest in Him. He knows your needs better than you do. He will not let you down. If He knows how to clothe the grass of the field, which is alive today and is tomorrow thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you?

And He might just use three totally different bags of clothes from three totally different women in the process.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).

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