Sunday, February 26, 2012

God Smiles

Perhaps you are or are not familiar with the phrase "God Smiles". To me a "God Smile" is a moment when God looks down on one and smiles, because He is pleased and desires to bless.

Recently I was blessed to be able to visit home, in Arkansas, for the holidays. During this time I also had the opportunity to attend the ministry conference, BOTT, in Alexandria and spend a few days with some of my dear friends on the ministry team in the U.K. while on my way home. Throughout this trip, which was a huge blessing, as well as a faith move, I continually saw "God Smiles" which brought great peace to me.

As a missionary, it is hard to feel content with "leaving your post", even if the break is greatly needed or if it is because you are trying to keep your ducks correctly in a row: 1st family, then ministry. When taking a trip anywhere, there's still a part of you that is asking "Was this the right decision?,Should I have waited?,etc." However, God has a way of speaking, bringing peace, and showing that a time of rest IS necessary and that God does bless it.

While I said there were many "God Smiles" along the way...A new sponsor here, a special donation there that in all equaled about the cost the trip itself(Praise God!), as well as a few other "divine appointments" that came to pass, there is one really big one that stands out to me....

One of my best friends and mentors, Kim Hall, and I were out having a girls day with her mom. I was the one who got to decide where we would eat. Seeing as we were all on a very tight budget, and, since living in Europe, Taco Bell had came to hold a very special place in my heart, we decide that was the restaurant of choice. Upon arrival at the restaurant, Kim & I were being our typical outgoing, boisterous selves, characteristics that tend to magnify when good friends get together. :-)

While ordering we were joking around, Kim swiping a handful of the peppermints, talking about how much she loved them. Me, acting like a starving person, probably more excited to be in a Taco Bell than anyone the cashier had ever seen. Alas, we'd made our grand entrance...for better or worse.

A little while after we had sat down and began eating, the Taco Bell employee, who had taken our order, walked by, dropped a pile of mints in front of Kim, and walked off without saying a word. We busted out laughing, then returned to making small talk and finishing up our meals. In a spur of the moment decision, right before leaving, we invited her to attend the statewide youth convention service with us that was being held at a convention center a few blocks away. She didn't give us a definate yes or no at that point, but we exchanged numbers, planning to touch base later in the day.

Later I began texting with her to see if she was coming. At first she didn't know. No skirts or dresses to wear and she'd been seeing so many of our girls coming in there looking all cute from the convention. (Pause and think about this...any one of them could have and should have invited her, but that's for another blog and another time. ;-) I talked her through that, then she said she didn't have transportation..."All she had was God and her job." I told her "done" that I would pick her up. When she made that comment I knew that this was a divine appointment and I was determined to not let her out of what God was determined to do in her life.

That night she came. She was nervous. She was indeed one of the few females not wearing a skirt...and She was at the right place at the right time for her "God Smile".

That night God reached down to my new friend and showed Himself to her in a way she had never felt Him before. Due to some unwise decisions in her life, she had lost everything, her family included, and had return back to her hometown to get life back in order. While in her hometown two daughters of The King, one who lives in Dallas and one who lives in Europe, "just happened" to be in town and cross the path of this hungry young lady who was trying her best to do right and who was looking to God for direction. And, that night at Youth Convention, God reached down and filled this young lady with the Holy Ghost.

Two night later, New Year's Eve,she rang in her New Year in worship with the saints of Rogers UPC and by the end of the night she had already declared it her home church. Two weeks later she was baptized in Jesus name. And now she is participating in Home Bible Studies with some friends of mine and is attending church faithfully.

"God Smiles"...That day we met this precious girl, God smiled on me, giving me peace that I was indeed in the right place at the right time. But more than that, He smiled on Her...

"Draw near to God and He WILL draw near to You."(James 4:8)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

He Makes Me Happy

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom....For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~Luke 12:32,34

A few days ago my sister-in-law shared with me a conversation she recently had with my nephew. She always asks my niece and nephew if they had a good dream, when they wake up in the morning. Usually my nephew tells her that he dreamed about Super Man or Buzz Light Year.(His two favorite fictional characters right now)That morning though, with his eyes still closed and a big smile on his face, this is how the conversation went:
Sis: Kaleb did you dream last night?
Kaleb: Yes, I did have a dream!
Sis: What did you dream about?
Kaleb: I dreamed about God!
Sis: Really! What was it about?
Kaleb: God!
Sis:I know it was about God, but what did God do in your dream?
Kaleb: He made me happy!

Everyday I, and I'm sure most of my family, pray that my niece and nephew will grow to love God and to have a close walk with Him. So when I read this part of the email that she sent me I cried tears of joy...God has already shown my 3 1/2 year old nephew that He delights in making us happy! He desires for us to live happy lives. When we are living lives pleasing to him, He desires for our lives to be blessed as well. And who, but God, owns "the cattle on a thousand hills"...and everything else! No one, not even the richest billionaire, could ever shower us with the extent of or the variety of the types of blessings God has prepared for His children.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. ~1 Corinthians 2:9

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
~Matthew 7:7-11

Now, for a personal story...Before moving to the Baltics I prayed for a piano. I already own a nice electric piano stateside that I like very much, and as already mentioned in one of my more recent posts, this is an instrument that I technically know how to play, but in which I desire to make much improvement. In large part this is due to wanting to be able (without being nervous) to minister in this way, if and when necessary. (I also just find it very relaxing. :-)

Anyway, I prayed sincerely and my motives were good, pure, and God centered. So, moving forward to my arrival in Latvia,where the apartment I chose to live in (basically by default) had a...(drumroll please)...upright piano in it. It didn't have any beds or hardly any other furniture...but it had a piano. An uuuugly piano, though it was probably quite beautiful at one time a loooong time ago. It is scratched up, has stains on the keys and has stickers stuck all over it. Oh, and NO soft pedal. Remember...I live in an apartment. Neighbors like soft pedals.

Upon seeing the piano I literally laughed out loud, thought, "God you sure do have a good sense of humor" and quickly began to ask the owners to please take it away. I had two roommates coming that summer who would be having to share that small room with that ugly piano, and I just didn't think it right to leave it there just taking up space. Well, the landlords claimed they knew someone who was going to buy it...but needless to say, those people backed out and the piano, 8 months later is still here. Through the summer it filled the roles of "shelf" and "table" for my roommates. Then shortly after they left, some AIMers here had to go home for a bit, so I had the keyboard they use at my apartment for a while...and that made me happy. But, then they came back, I gave it back, as planned, and then headed to the states for a visit myself, where I again got to enjoy my own keyboard for a while.

So why the huge drawn out story?..well, one night while home I was talking to God about this. I told him: God, I'm sure gonna miss this piano and I DID pray for one...what gives? God's prompt response: I gave you it! Me: What? God: Hello..that black thing in your apartment. That's your answer. I answered 8 months ago. Me: Oh...

(Don't laugh. I know you have the same kind of conversations with God! And if you don't, you should give it a try. ;-)

You see, it hit me. Usually, I pray very specifically about things, especially the big important things in life. Even things like my cars I have always prayed right down to exactly what options I wanted in them,etc...and God has always provided. However, when I prayed for this rather small thing, I don't remember ever being specific. Perhaps my faith wasn't as strong as it should have been. I dunno, but I didn't. So God didn't. Lesson Learned.

So, when I got back to Latvia, I happily flipped up the lid to that mostly in tune piano, and began playing. And I will continue to do so because I realize that I am never to toss God's blessings aside, but am to use them for all they are worth. It's like one beautiful cycle...We make God happy. He, in turn, desires to make us happy. Then, through good stewardship of the blessings He gives us, we continue to make Him happy...and the cycle continues.

God's perfect will automatically leads to God's perfect blessings.

HE makes me happy.
This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
~1 John 5:14