God’s Plans Work

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”

 

      Many Christians question the plans of God for their lives especially when major suffering is involved. Why did God give me these terrible, evil, and undependable relatives? Why did I have a stroke and lose the functions of my limbs, and God expects me to be thankful to Him? Why did my son commit suicide, where was God then? Why did our house burn down in the disaster but our neighbour’s home was fine? I am sure you can think of many more events that Christians go through that seem like God has abandoned them. Like many of you, I do not have the answers to these difficult questions except to say as Job did when he was in the middle of his trial that Satan provoked. Job 19:25 For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at the last He will take His stand upon the earth.

       I was looking back upon the events of my life, and I asked God to show me when He was there along the way, My heart was opened up to an interesting point of view. I reckon I could say I was seeing it from God’s vantage point. When I was five years old my mom, baby sister, and brother had escaped the brutality of my father’s inability to be a man of nurturing character. At the end of that long journey, when we were safe and far away from my father’s vicious outbursts of insanity, I found myself living on a farm in Northern Ontario. It was my grandparents’ farm and I was free to play in the fields eat wild strawberries, and raspberries, and grab a piece of rhubarb that was as tall as I was. Playing alongside the shallow creek was a place of adventures to heal the pains that were lodged in my soul. Thank God He becomes the Father to the fatherless. Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.

      If we could rise a bit and see the terrain and landscape from God’s point of view, we would be able to see a young girl who was a couple of years younger than me, two miles further down the creekside playing and imagining her little girl’s dreams. Her name is Monique Levesque. What God could see and Monique and I could not even imagine was that approximately fifty-plus years later we would meet on the other side of the country at a church in Kelowna, British Columbia. Not only did Monique become a good friend, she became an integral part of my life.

       My blog is written and posted in three languages, and Monique translates my articles into French. She also translated all the articles that would make up the French book Le Tiroir De Débarras. God saw us way back then in the fields of Northern Ontario and said, “I will get these two kids collaborating on devotional material that will meet the needs of the French community.” Oh, how true it is, our ways are not His ways. Isa. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. What God saw in us while we played children’s games was a plan He set into motion so that His purposes would come to fruition. I have no idea what further plans God has for Monique and I, but I am at peace that He will fulfill what He has written down about our lives.

      Another memory that God showed me as to how He has been with me my whole life, was that when I was a teenager my friend Scott Moore was being told by his mother that she did not want him hanging out with me because she felt I was a bad influence on Scott. Fast forward a few years and Scott and I meet up in Kelowna British Columbia. The interesting thing that Scott’s mom did not know was that I was not a bad influence on him. On the contrary, Scott was a good influence on me. Scott has also become important in my life in that he helps me out graciously by editing my weekly blog articles. Scott’s mom did not have God’s view on how we would bring healing words and devotional thoughts to the Christian community. God looked down on a couple of scruffy hippies and said, “I will bring them together in Christ, and they will bring honour to my name when they are older.” I am sure when God sees Scott’s mom as she is now with Him in glory, He hugs her and says, “Everything is working according to plan.”

       I have seen more of God’s plan for my life in the way he brought my friend and book editor into my life. As we look from a higher distance and take in the map of North America, God saw Jami Rogers who lives in Michigan raising her family and working out the hardships of her life. While I was in Kelowna, God had a plan and said, “I will bring these two writers together and they will work towards getting quality material put into blogs and books. As my book editor, Jami has also become a best friend and fellow collaborator in making sure my books are well presented. Clay Kessler my publisher was introduced to me by a mutual friend and again God’s divine plan was moving forward. Clay has more than supported me as a book writer. His belief in what I write has caused him to go the distances with me and now has created the website called sirnorm.com where the accumulation of all we do, is now combined and available to all. God’s view is of a higher plane.

      As I look around and see the guilty, the criminals, and the evil systems seemingly getting away with their offences against humanity, I too wonder where the justice is, and if God is doing anything about the carnage taking place on this fecal crater of a planet. Perhaps the burden of Habakkuk is upon all of us and we are having a hard time seeing past it. Hab. 1:3 Why do you make me look at injustice? Why do you tolerate wrongdoing? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. 4 Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. Habakkuk’s view could be the outcome of our final thoughts on the events we are living through. However, God has a plan for each one of us despite the hard circumstances we might be living in. Maybe you are wondering if God knows you even exist. Then you might want to ask Him to show you how He has been with you your whole life. Ask the Lord to show you His fingerprints that have been upon your life to this day.

       The above events that I wrote about are a few of the things God showed me when He had been there right besides me through all my good times and sufferings. Thank you, Lord, for your goodness towards us.

Childlike Faith

Proverbs 7:24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth.

      Childlike faith is not complicated, and this is why it works. You do not have to explain to a child the ten steps to receiving and six ways of affirming, plus three levels of asking God’s favour to answer prayers. Children just ask, believe, and then get on with playing. Now we who are supposed to be wise and full of the Holy Spirit tend to mess this simple process up with multiple steps and hoops to jump through to get God’s attention, let alone answered prayer. Maybe this is why Christ wanted us to observe the simple faith of a child. Matt. 19:14 But Jesus said, “Permit the little children, and do not forbid them to come to Me, for of such is the kingdom of the heavens.” 
      Matt. 18:3 “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Childlike faith is not to be mixed up with childish faith which is a presumptuous and foolish fatalism. 1Cor. 13:11b I put aside childish things. We are not to be childish and immature in our faith but rather we are to respond by believing what God says about our lives and situations in the same way a child believes when a parent lovingly explains certain facts about life that are going on around them.
      The heart of God is moved by childlike faith because children have a simple confidence in the love that God has for them. 1John 5:14 This is the confidence we have before Him: If we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of Him. God’s will toward us is that we would be willing to believe the love God has for us and that we have a repentant heart toward Him. 2Pet. 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Childlike faith understands friendship with God because the child’s heart is open to believing anything is possible.
      At the wedding of Cana, the servants obeyed Mary with childlike faith by doing what Jesus told them to do. John 2:5 Do whatever He tells you,” his mother told the servants. The servants may have been asked what they were doing filling six thirty-gallon clay pots with water. Their response would have been a simple, “Jesus said to do it.” Blind Bartimaeus said without doubt when asked by Jesus what he wanted. “I want to see,” was his response, and his eyes were opened. There does not seem to be much indecision when childlike faith is being used. Heb. 11:6 Now without faith it is impossible to please God, since the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
      In the Gospel of Mark, we read the story of the four men who carried a paralyzed man to Jesus on a stretcher. When they could not reach the Lord because the crowd was too large and was blocking the entrance, they went to the top of the dwelling place where Jesus was ministering. They broke through the roof and lowered the man toward Jesus. The word records the Lord’s reaction to their faith. Mark 2:5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” When Jesus saw their faith, – is a powerful statement. What did Jesus see that so moved the Lord to have it recorded this way? The four men may have said, “If we can get him in front of Jesus, then he will be healed. A child would reason in the same fashion. Just like the woman who was afflicted with the issue of blood said, “If I can touch the edge of his garment, I will be healed!” These are statements that need no signs or course studies in faith.
      We can all remember at some time, the Lord answering a prayer we simply asked to be met. We left the request at the altar of God’s divine goodness. Like a child, we smiled and said, “Praise the Lord,” when the answer came through on our behalf. In most cases, the answered prayer was beyond what we had asked or even thought possible. The joie de vivre we experienced was so exuberant that we knew the Lord had blessed us with His favour and love. Faith in God is just that, it is faith in the love God demonstrates toward us through our relationship with Him. 
      Sometimes, our forced assumptions as to what we think faith is can cause all kinds of problems within our walk with the Lord, plus create division between our brothers and sisters in Christ. We can become childish in our reactions to what God is doing because we assume a misguided understanding of faith. God’s word is the foundation of faith and from His word, we approach God as His children. Prov. 7:24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children; pay attention to the words of my mouth. Childlike faith says, “Yes God, Your will be done according to Your word.” May God’s face shine on us and give us the desires of our hearts, so that we may be the blessing of the Lord He intended us to be. Have faith in God. 

Smile By Faith

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.


      Luke 18:8b But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?
      Good question. How many will have kept their faith through all the trials and tribulations that are coming against the saints on the earth? I am so grateful that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is the gift of faith. 1 Cor.12:7 A manifestation of the Spirit is given to each person for the common good, 9a the same Spirit gives great faith to another. We can call upon the Lord and ask for His faith to be poured within us so that we can confidently walk by faith in what God has called us to do. This is truly a win-win blessing.

      This is why we can smile by faith, no matter what valley of darkness we are going through. The facts may be that you are fighting a terrible disease, but God’s truth says, you have been given His word that heals. Psalm 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. The facts in your life may find you struggling at every turn, but God’s truth is, you are more than an overcomer in all battles. Rom. 8:37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. 
      Asking God for His faith to be at work within us so that we can fight the good fight of faith, is a gift worth asking for. Wouldn’t you rather face the enemy of your soul with God’s powerful faith? Count me in on that blessing. Prov. 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.
      Sarah, in her old age, gave birth to a son, by believing God’s promise to her. Her faith turned into laughter. Gen. 21:6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. The years that led up to this miracle were not always easy for Sarah. However, there came the day when Sarah’s faith put a smile in her heart, because she had been smiling by faith at the promise God had made to her. Gen. 21:1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
      We all have dreams and visions that we want to fulfill in this life. By faith, put a smile on your face and in your heart, and keep pressing into God’s word for your life. There will be trials and obstacles along the way, but we are fit for the fight. We have the God of the universe living in our hearts. We have the gifts of the Holy Spirit within our grasp if we ask for them. No wonder Satan hates us – we have everything he tried to steal from God. But God, out of His love for us, gave us these wonderful blessings.
      When the Lord returns, how many will He find on the earth who have faith? We live in a very secular world-system that makes it clear what side of righteousness we have to choose. It will take honest faith in the Lord to make our walk with God genuine and of Godly substance. We are going to have to smile by faith in a lot of the strange and confusing circumstances that are becoming commonplace in the world. 
      God was not caught off guard by the events taking place in our time. He knows what we need to get through our personal battles and have victory over the temptations of this present life. God’s gift of faith is needed every day, and I ask for it regularly. By faith, I can put a smile on my face, and walk in the grace of my salvation through Christ who loves me. In Jesus name, may the Lord find faith at work within us when He returns. Amen!

Turn Your Faith Back On

Proverbs 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.


      Pope Francis wrote in his book, Happiness in this life, “A saint that is sad, is a sad excuse for a saint.” He also wrote, “A gloomy disciple, is a disciple of gloom.”
      As believing saints and disciples in Christ, we should be the happiest people on earth. By the grace of God, we who are the saints of our Lord can bring hope to those who have lost their way in this ever-changing world. After all, we do have the Godhead living within our being, and the ability to be a heavenly-encouragement. These Godly blessings should be flowing out of our lives. Philemon 1:7 For I have great joy and encouragement from your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother. 
      Sometimes, we, the saints of the Lord, can become battle-weary and begin to lose the vision that was once clear and attainable in our hearts. Tiredness in our soul can affect our faith and walk with God. Therefore, we have to choose to turn our faith back on. Gal. 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 
      It is not up to your pastor, spouse, friend, or leader to get your faith working again – it is up to you and God. Where the aforementioned people can be helpful, is after you have chosen to turn your faith back on. Once you have prayed and asked God for help and strength, God can use these people to spark your soul into a faith-filled life. 
      God instructed Samuel the prophet to anoint David as the future king of Israel. David had conquered and killed the giant Goliath. He was on the heavenly fast-track for kingdom promotion. He was married to King Saul’s daughter and living the good life in the palace. What could go wrong? Everything went wrong. David was falsely accused of treason and conspiracy to take the kingdom from Saul. He ended up hunted and running for his life. Now, having to live in caves and on the outskirts of villages in the hillsides, he had become a fugitive. 
      David must have prayed to God, and said, “I thought Samuel said I would be the king of Israel. I must have misunderstood. What did I do to deserve all this calamity in my life?” David had to encourage himself in the Lord and decide to turn his faith back on. He travelled to the town of Nob, and there, he was given Goliath’s sword. 1 Sam. 21:9 “The priest replied, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here, wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want to take it for yourself, then take it, for there isn’t another one here.” “There’s none like it!” David said. “Give it to me.”
      God knows exactly what we need and when we need it. Just as David’s faith needed encouragement, God reminded him of who he was, and that his future was still in God’s hands. The sword David used to cut off Goliath’s head was a timely reminder of all the victories that David had gone through. 
      David also remembered that the prophecies that had been spoken over him were still true and an inspiration to turn his faith back on. He was walking through the wilderness of his life, but God met him and reminded him of the vision and promise for his life. Now, David could say with courage. Psalm 63:9 But those who intend to destroy my life will go into the depths of the earth. 10 They will be given over to the power of the sword; they will become a meal for jackals.
      If gloominess and sadness have replaced your saintly shout in the Lord, then turn your faith back on. God knows what you need and that your strength will come through the joy of the Lord and faith in His name. Neh. 8:10b For the joy of the LORD is your strength. 
      What have you let go of that was once the vision of God for your life? How have you let the circumstances of life take your call, strength, and ministry away from the forefront of your mind and spirit? Turn your faith back on and get with God’s eternal vision for your life. 
      We can count on God to preserve the dreams He sowed in our hearts when He created us. As saints in the Lord, we stay on the path God has laid out for us so that our life’s purpose may be fulfilled. Prov. 2:8 He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints. There will be times when we fail, but our faith in the Lord can lift us above the failure and put the shout of victory back in our hearts. 
      As saints in Christ, we can help many overcome the sadness that is prevalent in this world. May our God remind us of the giants we have slain and the victories we have won in the Lord’s name. Yes, we are more than conquerors, through Christ, who gives us the victory. Amen!