I had been advised to check my blood pressure on a regular basis. Due to circumstances, this hadn’t been done for more than two months. The day a follow-up medical appointment was scheduled, I set up my portable machine. Sometimes the reading is higher in a clinical setting and I wanted to have a realistic comparison before I left home.
I secured the cuff on my arm and started to read my morning devotions while the machine did its work. The results were not what I wanted to see. Maybe I hadn’t put the cuff on properly.
The procedure was repeated and the outcome was just as discouraging. I was relaxed and felt no stress so how could my blood pressure be so high? This wasn’t looking good.
I cleared the machine and started again. This time I prayed for God to give me peace about whatever the results may be. I felt fine and didn’t want an increase in medication but if that’s what I needed to stay healthy, I would accept it without a fight. When I opened my eyes and looked at the screen I saw my blood pressure was perfect this time.
Just to be sure, I took it twice more, once while reading and once while praying. The positive impact of prayer was undeniable.
Many times I have experienced peacefulness envelope my mind during and after prayer. What I hadn’t realized was the effect this also had on me physically.
I now had undeniable evidence of the positive effect of prayer on mind, body and soul. No matter how I look at it, prayer is good medicine.
My husband and I were attending a church service when we heard the cry of a child. The fussing became muffled but didn’t stop.
A few minutes later we could hear the child being removed from the sanctuary. That is when things intensified. Not only did the crying get louder, but a little voice also started yelling, “No daddy. I don’t want to go out.” The wailing and pleading continued as the father moved to exit the building with his distraught child.
Later, upon reflection, I recognized that I have shown the same type of behaviour with my heavenly Father. When I choose not to behave the way God wants me to, I am being rebellious. I fuss and complain because I’m not getting my own way.
God may choose to remove me from the situation but that’s not what I want. Instead, my desire is for things to change to accommodate me. I let it be known that I want to stay where I am. In essence, I’m also saying, “No daddy, I don’t want to go. Let me stay here.”
In this state, there is no reasoning with me until God has my full attention. If I’m not focused on Him, I’m not hearing or understanding what He wants me to know.
God is not surprised when I act this way. Although this behaviour seems to be an inherent part of human nature, it doesn’t mean any of us are given permission to act as rebellious children.
It is only when I am still, quiet and completely focused on the Lord that my rebellious thoughts will be captured and I will no longer act like an unruly child.
“We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5 NLT)
I saw a small boat grounded on a rocky area at a bay we visited. It appeared to have been there for quite some time. The name written on its hull was Freedom 55.
This seemed ironic as Freedom 55 was the familiar slogan for being able to retire early and enjoy the so-called good life.
Many people put their trust and hope for the future in monetary investments. They think if they have enough money they will be happy and secure.
These same people find their lives on the rocks when the stock market takes a downturn and their hard-earned investment portfolios fail them. The assurance they counted on for a comfortable future is now gone.
I don’t want to imply that money isn’t necessary but I do know from firsthand experience that it can also promote a false sense of security. Been there, done that, have the battle scars to prove it. My goal is to never be a slave to money again.
My security is not determined by the amount of assets I hold. My freedom comes from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My hope for the future is rock solid because I know Jesus will never turn his back on me. He sees my true value and I am guaranteed to spend eternity with Him.
Do you have that security? It’s the only one that won’t leave you stranded.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 NIV
The area we stopped in for the night was under a heavy rainfall advisory.
The forecast for the areas we’d be traveling in over the next couple of days didn’t look good so we decided an early start in the morning would be our best option for getting ahead of the weather.
Long before daylight we were on the road again. An hour later, we came to a complete standstill. All we could see in the darkness was a long line of tail lights ahead of us.
We turned the motor off and waited for things to start moving again. The night faded into morning light. A cold wind permiated the van and we got blankets from the back to wrap around us.
When we heard a washout had occurred ahead, we knew we could be there for hours. Since there was nothing we could do but wait, we decided to make ourselves comfortable. We moved to the back of the van, turned the furnace on and relaxed. After playing a couple of games of cribbage we made lunch.
Instead of stressing about the delay, I wondered what God was protecting us from by holding us back. We were safe, warm and had food, water and a bathroom so knew He was taking care of us. Later we learned of jackknifed semis and multiple accidents due to icy roads.
Almost five hours later a police car came by to announce the road was open to one lane traffic and we could proceed. I was surprised to find that the actual washout was 140 km from where we had been stopped.
This situation reminded me how God uses what I think of as delays in my life. He provides what I need to stay safe while He works to clear the road in front of me. Sometimes the work is done much farther ahead than I realize.
My role is to be patient and trust that God has everything under control.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding ” Proverbs 3:5 NLT
Where in the last week did you see God at work? This is an interesting and thought provoking question.
Was it in your life or that of another? Maybe an unexpected contact with someone gave you a much needed boost. What if this wasn’t a chance encounter, but one orchestrated by God? I have received several blessings like this in recent days.
I have also seen God at work in the beauty of His creation. The greatest artist of all time has painted the trees with spectacular colours. Judging by the number of other leaf chasers with cameras busy capturing the images, many appreciate His handiwork. I wonder how many stopped to thank God for this colourful display.
A more personal example of God at work in my life happened yesterday. Our van started acting up and the check engine light came on. This is not welcome at any time but much worse in an unfamiliar area on the Sunday of a long weekend.
We prayed about what we should do and the Lord led us to a location just off the highway where a mechanic was on duty. Soon we had the diagnosis of a faulty sensor and were able to be on the road again with peace of mind. Our immediate reaction was to thank God for taking care of us.
There are many more stories I could tell you about God at work in my life. When I look back, I see His fingerprints everywhere. They will be in your life, too. Often they are spoken of as good luck or happy coincidences. They are much more than that.
I ask you to reflect on the past week and give thanks for what God has done in your life. I’d love to hear some of your stories.
“Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13 NIV
I experienced one of the most profound moments of my life while on vacation this summer. My husband and I were at the Bay of Fundy and saw the bay full of water at high tide. At low tide we were able to walk amid the rocks and shells on the ocean floor.
This experience moved me to tears. At first I couldn’t understand why it was having such a deep impact on me.
The farther out I walked, the more I thought of the biblical story where God parted the waters of the Red Sea. The Israelites faced certain doom from the Egyptians pursuing them. God intervened and saved them by dividing the sea to enable them to cross on dry land. He then closed the waters, destroying their pursuers. First came trust in God to do the seemingly impossible, then came the miracle that saved them.
Walking on the sand in this bay that was filled with water just a short time earlier, reminded me of the times God has done something miraculous and unexpected in my life. He may have saved me from self-destructive behaviour or other dangers, but I know when I come to Him in complete faith and trust, He will take care of me. He always has and always will.
The visit to the Bay of Fundy was a powerful reminder of my personal Red Sea experiences.
“And as for you, lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus 14:16 NET)
Do you ever doubt where your GPS is taking you? My husband and I were in that situation recently. An incident on our route caused us to change direction. We wondered where it was taking us as we encountered twists and turns and seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It was so easy to get turned around and lose our way.
This was only one of several times we doubted where we were being taken. Sometimes the route took us off of the major highways and along bumpy side roads. We complained bitterly that this couldn’t be right. Where were the smooth roads we thought we’d be taking?
Farther on, we may discover why this was the case, while other times we were left wondering. What I do know is that we discovered some beautiful scenery on these roads less travelled. Things we would not have seen or experienced otherwise. Maybe that was reason enough.
Life is like that. Everything seems to be going along smoothly and then I have an unexpected detour. I find myself on a bumpy road and lose my sense of direction. Confused, I cry out to God, “Why is this happening? Where are you taking me?”
These are not the right questions. I know from experience the Lord is faithful. Everything I go through has a purpose. So, when I find myself thrown off course, the better question to ask is, “How can this be used to bring God glory?”
I have a granddaughter who plays the snare drum in a Pipe and Drum band. It was a thrill to watch her playing as she marched in a local parade. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins all gathered along the parade route and cheered as she marched by in full Scottish attire.
My father would have loved this. He had a fondness for these bands. When I was a young girl, I was in a parade with my Brownie pack. My dad was given the task of taking photos. There may have been one or two of me but the majority were of the pipe and drum band! He would have been so proud to see a family member taking part in this activity. The only way it could have pleased him more would have been if she’d been playing the bagpipes!
Another granddaughter does Highland dancing. We have watched her in various competitions over the past year. The intricate foot movements and the swirl of her kilt show her dedication to Scottish traditional dances.
My husband was born and raised in Scotland. If I trace my family history back several generations, I also come across Scottish ancestors. We appreciate the desire of these girls to honour their heritage.
It also reminds me that as a child of God, I should be involved in activities that reflect this heritage. Do I honour God by spending time with him? Do I follow his example of loving my neighbour? Am I generous with my time and resources?
God loved me enough to call me His child and make me a member of His family. As such, my actions should reflect this heritage.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NLT)
You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19 NLT)
Getting up in the morning seemed hard for me during high school years. The days often felt long—an hour bus ride beginning and end of the day, then farm chores or sibling care, and two hours of homework. My energy often flagged by the end of the week, and I could barely get out of bed.
Mom was up each morning to get our breakfast ready. My sisters and I only had to sit down and eat before catching the bus. Mom even set the kitchen clock five minutes fast. Enter a recurrent dream about missing the school bus, always near the end of summer.
In the dream, I’d be part way out our country lane, and the school bus would come. Usually the driver saw us coming, and he’d wait, but in the dream, the driver never saw us, and he’d go right by. I could never run fast enough.
One school morning, I hit the snooze button once too often and really did miss the bus. Dad would take me, but I’d have to wait until he was ready. He got me there in time, enough to grab books from my locker and get to my first class.
It took only once to realize how that extra ten minutes of sleep messed with my day. I had to make the effort to be up on time—that was my responsibility.
We can ask God for help, yet we need tomake an effort too. Solomon asked for direction to rule his kingdom (1 Kings 8); he still had to do the hard work to make it happen. In the same way, we can ask for guidance, then we must set our mind and body to the tasks before us.
Carolyn R. Wilker is an author, editor and storyteller from Ontario. Reading came easily in primary school, and she was hooked on books and words.https://www.carolynwilker.ca/
The day couldn’t have been more lovely, the sun sparkling on the lake, the beach slowly filling with families. A little red-haired girl caught my attention. She stood still on the shore, her small head bent over something in her hand. She started forward, stopped and peered at her hand, took a few more steps and stopped again. As she approached, I could see a moth cupped in her palm. She tilted her hand each time it moved, stopped when it crawled dangerously close to the edge and moved slowly forward when it was secure. Eventually the little girl reached her parent, holding her hand out for her mother to admire the precious treasure.
My delight in watching that little girl deepened as I realized God had just given me a picture of Himself. His care for each one of us is no less complete than the careful protection she provided for that small moth. Isaiah 46:4(b) says “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” God holds us in His hand and takes great care to keep us there. In John 17:12, as Jesus prays to His Father on our behalf, He says “I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost …”
Like that child who was so pleased with her treasure, Jesus delights in presenting us to His Father. In John 17, He asked his Father to protect us, to set us apart from the evil in the world and draw us into a complete relationship with Himself. He says “May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
How incredible to think God loves us as much as he does His own Son!
Marcia Lee Laycock writes from Alberta Canada where she lives with her pastor/husband. She is the author of two contemporary novels, four fantasy novels, and four devotional books. Visit her online at www.marcialeelaycock.com