Tag Archive | Significant Encounters

Fingerprints

I want to share a story with you.

This story is written by Max Lucado, and it is a really good example of what is meant when we talk about the “Fingerprints of God”.

I hope you enjoy it.

Max Lucado (In the Eye of the Storm) The Old Man and the White Horse

Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before – such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. “This horse is not a horse to me,” he would tell them. “It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?” The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in his stable. All the village came to see him. “You old fool,” they scoffed, “we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone and you’ve been cursed with misfortune.”

The old man responded, “Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?”

The people contested, “Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse.”

The old man spoke again. “All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?”

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was a fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again, the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. “Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us.”

The man responded, “Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of one phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?”

“Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is one fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t.”

“Maybe the old man is right,” they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned. With a little work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgments.

“You were right,” they said. “You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken both his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever.”

The old man spoke again. “You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments.”

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

“You were right, old man,” They wept. “God knows you were right. This proves it. Your son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever.”

The old man spoke again. “It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this. Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows.”

God’s word says in 1 Corinthians 13:12 (KV) for now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Every day, if we look for them, if we are aware, we can see the “Fingerprints of God” in each circumstance, whether it looks like a blessing or a curse.

I believe that if we look only at the curse parts, we will draw more of the same to ourselves.

If we intentionally look for the “Fingerprints of God”, then more of the same will show themselves in or lives.

Let’s face it, even when those unwanted things happen, if we approach them as blessings in disguise, we will feel better and live happier, regardless of our circumstances.

Proverbs 17:22 (EXB) A happy heart is like good medicine [brings healing], but a broken spirit drains your strength [dries up bone].

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

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Fingerprints, Heartbeats and Fresh Fruit

 

Very recently, I was attending a strategic planning session for a non-profit that I work with.

The Board of Directors were present. I had never met any of them before. Myself and several others were asked simply to introduce ourselves, tell how departments fared in 2013 and then share our dreams and visions for 2014.

Simple.

But the realization that I so wanted to make a good impression on these folks, and my new found admission of introversion and lack of focus, make this seem way more difficult than it should have been.

I am not afraid of public speaking, however, in this group I asked permission to simply read what I had written, thereby, retaining my focus, and not leaving out any thing that I felt was of importance.

Much of what I read was for the non-profit itself, and aside from the basic facts, which you can read on the “About” tab on this blog, a large part of what was read, is what resides in my heart for more than one portion of my heart for my very own future.

I would love to share a little bit of this with you. Here are just a few excerpts. Please read and see if they might apply to you as well. 

“In my “spare” time, I am a writer. I love writing little Bible studies to share hard truth in an easy way. I also write on a blog called Significant Encounters. It is through these Significant Encounters that we see God, hear God, know God and become one with Him.

Teaching intercessors and others to see God’s “Finger prints” in every circumstance is also on my heart.

Then, to move from God’s fingers, to His heartbeat. To encourage listening for the heartbeat of God until it becomes 2nd nature. He lives inside of us, yet our crisis and chaos drown out His voice. We can have quietness in our hearts even when that turmoil is trying to hold us captive. Learn and share with our heart families.

It is said that the fruit of the Spirit, often grows in bad soil. Crisis. Chaos. Distress. Turmoil. The fruit that we use to feed others must be fresh daily. Therefore, we must cultivate that soil daily, even when it is in upheaval.  

Little by little, and soon enough, people will begin see the difference in us. The difference will be so apparent that they will long to know what it is that gives us our peace, even inside a messy place in our lives. They will want to know the source.

That is the point right? To do as Jesus did – Impart life.”

This is all I will share with you here. I also want you to see a bit of why I chose these passages for sharing.

You see for a long time I have been feeling the topics on this blog to be adrift. Nothing really wrong with them, however not really clearly defined any more.

My past is well transcribed here, but my past is not where I want to go, or stay.

God has given us a victorious today and a future that we cannot even imagine. We receive His “big stuff” for us in little ways. We always look for the “big thing” while all the while missing the smallest parts. These are the parts that make Him so wonderful, and build our life and godliness “little by little”. When we look back, we can see how He has grown us through the seemingly mundane of life.

In the future on this blog, I would like to continue to share “Significant Encounters”, mine and yours if you’d like to share, but I would also like to share some of those “finger prints” and then how our heart beats can beat with His. Perhaps even a “Fresh fruit” section.

No timeline here, but maybe a bit clearer direction.

Tell me what you think in the comments!

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Fearfully and wonderfully made

Wood, Hay and Stubble

Husband and I returning home from errands in another town.

Quick, get a picture of that!

Storm Coming One

Oh my that looks really evil!

Then things began to rock!

 

Storm Coming Two

Behind us, our lovely church.

Right in the path.

 

Storm Coming Three

Reminded that our lovely church building,

is simply wood, hay and stubble.

Here today, and gone tomorrow.

Sanctuary One

Our people are safe.

One casualty in a business next door.

May his family find peace.

May we love his family and our community well.

These, our pastors words today as we paused to pray.

 

My daughters words follow;

May our hearts agree;

We are the church.
We are unharmed.
The church is in tact.
This is our meeting place.
It can be replaced.
It can be fixed.
We are the church.

We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made,

and God our Father never leaves our side.

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Contemplations

There are a couple of different boards that I participate on.

One in particular, brings fabulous insight every time we meet together.

EVERY time, there is vast amount of inspiration passed around.

Our last meeting was no exception.

I wanted to share just a few sound bites with you.

I’ve taken the liberty of adding a relevant Bible verse to each thought.

Please allow them to stir up your spirit, and inspire you as well!

1.    Irrelevant vortex. (Don’t let it suck you in!) That place where the cares of the world try to drown out the things of the Spirit, the important things that God wants you to hear.

2 Timothy 2:4 (NASB) No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.

2.    Experience needs to be the loudest voice. (There is a reason for your heartache!) God has allowed many different experiences in our lives. When we have learned to overcome by following the instructions of God, He then can use us to help others out of the same mire.

 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NASB) who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves have been comforted.

3.    We must be relentless (Don’t give up!) with our message, yet there needs to be an air of freshness about it every time we speak.

Joshua 1:9 (NRSV) I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

James 3:11 (NRSV) Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?

Isaiah 42:9 (NRSV) See, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them.

Are we being sucked into a worldly vortex that always shouts “Me first!”, or are we hearing Holy Spirit and sharing our joy of Him with others?

Is there freshness when we speak?

Are the places we visit better after we’ve gone?

Do we allow our experience to speak, or let fear take away our voice?

Do we give up when others disagree, or do we stand for what we know through Christ?

 

All questions I will be contemplating.

What about you?

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                                                  Fearfully and wonderfully made

Friendship, Praise and Worship

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I’ve been going through some old writings.

Pre-blogger days.

Interesting thoughts.

Pretty sure that I am not alone in wondering how we can know these things for so long,

and yet still struggle with them.

Can any one relate?

The following is pretty much un-edited.

Comments?

 

 

Small group teaching.

Originally written in 1997.

 

Friendship, Praise and Worship

In order to be able to have true praise and worship, you must first have a relationship, a relationship of the highest calling. Does it seem impossible that the God of the universe wants us to have a relationship with Him? Webster’s dictionary says relationship means to be of the same family. The same family!!! The same family with God!!!

It also says relationship is a connection, s in a thought. Did you know that God wants our thoughts to be His thoughts? How is this possible? God is holy. God is perfect. God’s word says He wants us to renew our thoughts.  Ephesians 4:22-24 (NIV)22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

When we allow (when you allow something, it takes effort) i.e. our thoughts to be renewed, we are building a relationship with God. Think of some people in your life that you have relationship with. Are they good ones? Some are, some are not.

Let’s talk about the good ones first. How do you become friends with someone? You might go where they go or do an activity with them. You must speak right? If you were in a group of folks and never said anything how would you get to know them? How could they find out about you?

Everyone find a partner. (This partner should be someone you don’t know well, or aren’t friends with) ((Bloggers ~ please remember this was a small group setting.)) Move if you have to, it’s ok. Now I want you to look at your partner, and think of the most wonderful thing that has ever happened in your life, without saying a word! Do they know what your thought is? How could they? Now, one at a time, I want you to tell them your thought, out loud. Good for you. You just started a relationship. WOW! Was that easy or what? I don’t mean you have to chatter on and on like some folks that we know, just be open with your feelings.

There are two things we must do to build that relationship with God. 

#1 is to read His Word. Now God can and does speak to people, it’s just not the norm. So He sent is Word to tell us all about what He thinks. It’s all there guys. Anything you want to know. But how can we know if we don’t read it?

#2 Is to spend time with Him every day. The Word says to pray without ceasing. Psalm 55:17 (NIV) Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. (One gets the idea David was in a bad mood). This prayer builds the relationship. Webster’s says is to talk to God in worship or to ask for something. Why not ask God for wisdom? Wisdom on how to build this relationship! He would love to tell you. How do I know? I asked him!

Let’s read Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

. If you are talking to your friend you might say, “Well Violet, you handled that problem with the children well. You sure should work with them more.” What did Violet do? She helped the kids. You just let her know that you noticed, and at the same time encouraged her to further use her gifts. The same prayer to God might go like this, “God thank you for letting Violet help those kids today. Bless her God. Help her to use her gifts for your glory. Please show me where my gifts are God, I want to be used by you.” Do you know what you just did? You praised God for Violet, you blessed Violet with your mouth and you asked for wisdom. Not too tough eh?

Let the relationship begin! Once this relationship has begun, you will begin to know the God you are friends with.

Now you can begin to praise Him. Psalm 150:6 (NIV)Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.Praise the Lord. Webster says that praise is to say good things about, or words that show approval. We can show approval of God by thanking Him for what we have.  Thank Him for friends, family, food, shelter, transportation; virtually everything we have is a gift from God. We also need to thank Him for sending His Son to die for our sins, sins too black to mention. But Jesus cleaned them up on the cross.

The trick is to b grateful for what He has given us and not crank about what we don’t have. This is where it gets tough, but by His power we can do it. Praise = Thanks.

Next is worship, showing great love admiration or reverence for God. I like to refer to it as a state of awe. Ah……………  I used to think that going to heaven and standing around all the time singing holy, holy, holy would be boring. (Boring means dull and uninteresting) But ah…….., was I ever wrong. It is peaceful here. Sitting on my Daddy’s lap and adoring Him. Letting His peace flow over me like a flood. Letting it get down to my insides. Being quiet and letting Him fill every corner of myself with His love. Being at peace is being free from war and fighting. We are safe sitting on Daddy’s lap. (This is the best!)

Growing up in my family, the daddy was pretty bad, and then he wasn’t even there anymore. He left us. I thought if God was like a daddy then I didn’t need anything from Him. I know many of you had the same experience. Believe me, if you think you don’t need Him, you couldn’t be further from the truth. God says He will never leave or forsake you. Even if your daddy was great, your Heavenly Father is better. Who do you think taught your daddy to be one? Your Heavenly Father knew you before time began.  Before time began folks. Imagine. He knows what you need. (What do you need? Do you have something in mind?) Think of yourself sitting on His lap, and Him giving you every good thing. He loves you and wants the best for you!

The Word in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. See? It tells us to pray without ceasing. I believe this prayer is a combination of praise, worship and prayer.

You can do this daily, grow in the wisdom of God, and build relationship with Him.

I double dog dare you to try this for a month.

If God has not shown Himself to you, feel free to stop.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

 

 

 

 

Grief Choices #1

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The process that has been working in my heart concerns making quality decisions.

Not the kind of decisions like New Year’s resolutions, which are gone in two weeks, leaving behind shame and guilt, but the kind of decisions that stick. The kind of decisions that can change an entire lifetime.

Proverbs 4:23 in the English Revised Version says –  Above all, be careful what you think because your thoughts control your life.

When making these choices, there is a knowing that there will no doubt be some sort failure ahead, but with these types of choices, we are determined to assess where we went wrong, and begin again.

These kinds of choices lead us to be more like our Father in Heaven, and to have the type of fullness in our lives that God intended for us from the beginning.

Excerpt from Joshua 24:15 says choose you this day who you will serve.

I am quite aware that some will believe my approach to be over simplified.

Please know that while I in no way think my process is conclusive, I do believe that it will start the wheels turning for some in the right direction, beginning to help to find the way through any blockages they may be experiencing.

The losses I grieve began early in life, and ran through childhood to adulthood, in relationships, emotions, lifestyle and finances.

These losses led to a deep sadness of heart, and a long journey seeking wrong ways to fulfill the sadness inside. They also led to a poverty spirit.

The poverty spirit says “That’s just the way it is, get used to it”. That’s the spirit that prevailed over most of my life.

This is so opposite of the purpose that God had stated for my life from the beginning.

Psalm 139:14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

Jeremiah 29:11 says – For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

With that said, I want to share two choices here that got my wheels turning;

*I CHOOSE to let the losses in my life mature me into understanding the grace that God has for me.

James 1:2-4 (NIV1984) consider it pure joy, my brothers; whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

*I CHOOSE to have joy. To allow God to raise my capacity for it – so that it can be shared. I choose to believe His word that says that joy comes in the morning. That joy will help me to regain any strength I have lost in the grieving process.

Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

Colossians 1:10-12(KJV) That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

 

Scripture tells us something about Mary when she knew that she would give birth to the Savior of the world. Here is what it says; In Luke 2:19 – But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.

 

Won’t you ponder these things in your heart with me until next time?

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Fearfully and wonderfully made

No Through Traffic

I pray that you and yours will have the merriest of Christmas’.

 I pray that each and every tense moment;

you will be able to quiet yourself in Him,

and show His glory. After all, He IS the reason we sing!

road-block

God has been helping me to identify correctly something that has been blocking my path for quite some time.

The problem is that there are times that we are being blocked; We may not know it. We may not see it. Or there are always times, we do see it, but we do not recognize what it is.

I found myself in the latter category.

When we ask God to clean out the corners of our insides, He is of course faithful to do it.

The topic He brought to my attention could not have been any more appropriate for where I find myself today.

 I think that there are some things we could learn at any time, but God saves these lessons for us, so that the maximum impact can be made. The truth of that impact is not then lost in the business of everyday life.  

I do not believe in coincidence. Only God encounters. Encounters that change our lives at the exact moment the change is needed.  Significant Encounters.

Over time, if you will allow me to, I would like to share my process with you.

The topic that has been a blockage is grief…… See I told you, appropriate right?

Up until now I have only considered grief as in the death of a loved one.

I believe God has chosen now to help me to realize that grief can be brought about in many ways, not just loss of life. Grief can come in the form of the loss of a job, loss of relationship, loss of health, divorce or other changes in long time family structure, changes in lifestyle, whether intentional or not. It is even possible to grieve for loss of childhood or loss of whatever one did not receive as a child. Not stuff mind you, but love, attention, emotional, physical or spiritual support, the things that could and probably would have raised your potential.

My story is both long and dark, but my Father in Heaven is both Big and Bright. He shined a spotlight, on many, many of things blocking my path

Journal excerpt; Loss produces grief. God gives grace for that season, but when that season is finished, if we do not move away from grief, it saps our strength – Shock, denial, bargaining, depression, anger, guilt, confusion must give way to →hope, and acceptance.

Denying these emotions can cause festering and then manifesting in harmful ways = addiction, chronic depression, fits of anger, or physical illness.

*Seasons of guilt incompletely dealt with can turn into STRONGHOLDS of grief.

Grieving that goes on too long robs our strength. The very strength we need to move on to our next season, our season of inheritance.

(I must also cite the book “Possessing Your Inheritance” by Chuck D. Pierce and Rebecca Wagner Systema)

Please ponder these things with me, and next time I will share with you some choices we can all make to get on to the other business God has for us to do.

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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made