Divine Appointmets – A Missed Opportunity

Growing up as a shy melancholy, I did not change very much when I first came to Christ. I still hesitated to talk to people, for fear of rejection and ridicule. Yet, I wanted to tell others about God’s divine love.

An opportunity arose a few weeks later, when a school chum pulled into the gas station just outside the window of the office where I worked. I knew my boss would not like me to take time away, and I figured my friend was also very busy.

So I just ran outside for a moment, greeted him and told him I had some good news to tell him as soon as we could get together. He was married to my boyfriend’s sister, so I did not think much time would pass before we could chat.

I ran back to my desk, excited that this would be my first opportunity to share with someone about the love and mercy of Christ in my life. A smile adorned my face for the rest of the day.

That very night…my lifelong school friend…committed suicide.

When my boyfriend gave me the news, I was devastated for his wife and their families, but more distraught because the Gospel of Christ may have saved his life both physically and spiritually, if I had only taken the time to speak to him when God gave me the opportunity.

I felt such deep remorse for days. I cried out to the Lord for forgiveness of this sin of omission. At the funeral, I cried more for my failure than I did for his family. I felt bereft and condemned by Satan’s shame.

The next day at work, I stared out the window, watching the cars come and go at the gas station next door. I judged myself for my failure and felt such regret that his life ended too young, and that his eternal destiny was already set.

My failure haunted me for weeks, until I stopped rebuking myself long enough to listen to the Lord. The shame of my failure left, but in its place came a dogged determination never to miss another divine appointment to share the love and grace of the Lord.

Prayer:
Father God, Your mercy and grace to forgive our sins of commission and omission humbles us and increases our love for You. I know that You had a plan for my school friend, and he chose to end his life rather than to surrender His life to You (John 3:16-18).

Thank you for the many opportunities You continually give us to share the Good News of the Gospel of Christ with everyone You bring into our life. Help us never to hesitate from fear or human reasoning, but to step out of our flesh and into Your Spirit, and to open our mouth and allow You to fill it by Your Spirit (Psalm 81:10).

Thought for the Day:
Not everyone will accept the Gospel of Christ when we share it with them; but we take them to a crossroad in their life where they have to make a choice to accept or reject the Lord. – John 3:16-18

Divine Appointments – The Fruit of Obedience

For my 15th birthday, my parents bought me a guitar and some lessons at the local community center. This started a love affair for me, which lasted until this day.

The smooth surface, richly colored wood and shiny strings melt my heart every time is see a guitar. I love the moving melody, which flows from the guitar’s inner chamber, and the fact that I can praise God and play the guitar at the same time.

After Christ saved me and renewed my spirit, I continually played the guitar and worshiped Him. In the wee hours of the morning, when everyone else was asleep, I went down to the basement and sang at the top of my lungs until the floor joists rattled.

When I discovered classical guitar, I felt led to take lessons. With three small children, a pastor husband and a church full of people, I looked beyond reason and common sense and signed up for classes.

My young instructor was very talented and inspiring; yet, what he showed me would take hours of practice; and I knew there were not enough minutes in the day for me to dedicate to learning this skilled art.

That week, I did my guitar class homework, but I prayed about whether or not to continue taking lessons. The Lord told me to go to one more class and to take my young instructor the book, “Evidence that Demands a Verdict”.

Confused, but wanting to walk in the Spirit, I did just that. My instructor politely accepted the book, gave me another lesson and promised to visit us at our church some time.

Many months went by and I forgot this episode in my life, as I immersed myself in the hustle and bustle of life. Then, one epic day, my former classical guitar instructor rocked my world.

He entered our church facility and pulled me aside. He told me a tale, which caused me to cry the whole time he related it:

His girlfriend broke up with him several weeks after my last lesson, and he had to move. In the midst of packing, he decided to end his life.

He removed his gun from his dresser drawer and placed it on the coffee table in the living room. Leaning back on the couch, he contemplated his life and exactly how to terminate it.

As he blankly stared straight ahead, his eye noticed the book I brought him those many months before. He leaned forward and opened it to a random page and started reading.

The page he opened to answered the exact question that had been gnawing at him for half of his life. He read the page twice and then continued to read, opening Josh McDowell’s book to random pages over and over again.

Eventually, he fell on his face before the Lord, repented of his sins and rose to walk in a new life. He came to our church that day to hug my neck and to thank me for listening to the Spirit and buying him that book.

God not only spared this young man’s life, but He set his feet on a new path of leading worship in the blessings and glory of the Lord. That one divine appointment had a ripple effect, which changed many lives in the future, including mine.

God has divine appointments for all of us (Acts 16:9-11, 25-34). He will even use strange and unattainable desires in our heart to direct us to the right place, at the right time, to the right person, whose life He wants to impact for His Kingdom.

Prayer:
Father God, there is nothing too small or too great for You. You use our lives for Your purpose, to grow Your Kingdom and to draw the world to Your unconditional mercy, love and grace. Fill us in all of our being with all of Your fullness, so that we may have the richest measure of Your presence and become Your Body wholly filled with You (Ephesians 3:16-19).

Help us to discern the leading of Your Spirit through each moment of our life, and anoint our body, soul and spirit to make a difference in the lives of those You bring our way. Teach us to humble our self under Your mighty hand and use us for Your honor and glory (James 4:10; 1 Peter 5:6).

Thought for the Day:
“Disappointment = His-appointment. Change one letter, then I see that the thwarting of my purpose is God’s better choice for me.” —Young

I Just Want to Die

Aging, chronic pain, financial setbacks, loss of a loved one or home or job, rejection from a friend or mate, and a myriad of other issues all contribute to the depression, which can cause suicidal thoughts. We want to escape the physical, mental and emotional pain, which is often more than we can bear.

We contemplate methods of ending our life, believing the lie that suicide is our best option. However, suicide is a coping method, which is a permanent solution for a temporary problem. Most suicides fail, and some leave us disabled; but if they succeed, they cause our family and friends more pain than we ever experienced in our whole life.

God has an answer for our pain. If we cast our cares on Him, He takes care of us (Psalm 55:22; 1 Peter 5:7). He will lead us to the perfect food, medication, therapist, doctor or friend who will help take the edge off our pain. For instance, liquid Cherry Flex may relieve your chronic physical pain, prayer may relieve mental anguish, and making new friends or learning a new hobby may just kick emotional agony out of our life.

God created each of us for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10). He has the days of our life numbered (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16). If we terminate our life ahead of time, we deprive Him of our services for His glory. He has people for us to meet and ministry for us to accomplish before our life ends. His ways are perfect and He provides for all of our needs according to His glorious riches (Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:31; Philippians 4:19).

Prayer:
Father God, life is too hard sometimes, too full of negative issues, which drain our energy and make us weary and depressed (Isaiah 40:31). Help us to look into Your face to find the light of life we need to reap and not faint (John 1:4; Galatians 6:9). Give us a greater measure of Your grace to lift our soul out of the depths of sorrow and pain, and to direct our life for Your glory (Psalm 130:1). Remind us to lend a helping hand to fellow sojourners on planet earth, to encourage them and to help them to find meaning and purpose in their life as well.

Thought for the Day:
Our light affliction is fleeting and temporary. – 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

Even Good People Fall Short

Many people base their righteousness on their thoughts, words and deeds. They are good people and they live an exemplary life with no overt issues, which would alert them to their sinful nature. Yet, even these model citizens must come to the place where their faith is based on what Jesus did for us, rather than on their self-righteousness.

Even good people sin in their heart (Matthew 15:19; Ecclesiastes 7:20). The inclination of the human heart, even from childhood, is to do evil (Genesis 8:21). Our spirit is dead at birth, and we have only a body and soul by which to relate to this world. We innately know that we are not complete; and we look to people, places and things to fill that void. This futile exercise is continually unsuccessful.

We end up weary and some contemplate suicide. Many people are too proud and self-righteous to call out to God for His salvation. Yet, anyone who does is Born Again in his/her Spirit. Our only requirements are to turn away from sin and to believe that Jesus died for us personally. Then, God molds us into His temple and dwells within us by His Holy Spirit.

We cannot earn our spot in heaven or our access to God. This requires perfection, and we all fall short of God’s perfect glory (Romans 3:23). Only Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, could take the punishment for our sins and give us the free gift of His righteousness in exchange (Romans 6:23). God’s Spirit then leads us into all Truth and reminds us of His Word, which guides us throughout our lifetime (1 Corinthians 3:16; John 16:13, 14:26).

Prayer:
Father God, we are mere mortals and we are all born in Adam’s sin (Job 15:14). However, You fill us through our entire being with all of Your fullness (Ephesians 3:19). Through the power of Your Trinity within us, we live victoriously as we walk in Your perfect plan for our life (1 Corinthians 15:57). Our carnal, worldly friends, relatives, associates and neighbors may attempt to draw us back into worldly pursuits; but as we focus on You, You keep us in Your perfect peace and on Your straight and narrow road (Isaiah 26:3; Matthew 7:13-14). Thank You, that as we surrender our life exclusively to You, we reap Your rewards (Matthew 5:12; Philippians 4:19).

Thought for the Day:
We find the fulfillment and completion we long for through Christ in us, who is our only hope of a glorious life now and throughout eternity. – Colossians 1:27, 2:10