God Places People in our Lives for a Reason Devotion

A few weeks ago, the Lord laid on my heart to give the fourth Sunday church devotion.  I texted my Sunday school teacher and asked who was giving the devotion, he wrote back that his wife was giving it, so I thought it was a done deal until he wrote back saying that she was willing to let me have her spot and she will give her devotion at Youth night, which is in the evening of the same day, anyway this is how the devotion unfolded.

See the notes below for the devotion:     

Prayer – Thank God for the Church and the church visitors and the church members.  Thank him for all my blessings…thank you for sending Jesus, your only Son to die on the Cross for our sins.  Thank you for Brother Dickie (interim Pastor, every two weeks) and family, for sending him to fill in, in our time of need, thank you for using Brother Dickie as a vessel to deliver the message you’ve laid on his heart and may we have an open mind and an open heart to receive that message.  Dear God, send us a pastor, the one you have picked out for us.  Give me the words to say, the message you have laid on my heart.  We love you, in Jesus name we pray, Amen

Good Morning Church family.  It’s an honor to be standing before you today.          

Start out with scripture John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another, as I loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Amplified 34 I am giving you a new commandment, that you [f]love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.”

We have this written on our refrigerator door “Love Like Jesus”

Talk about the church and how we love one another, that we help each other out.  That’s why I love this church.  I wouldn’t want to be a part of any other church. 

Tell the story of Luke and Dee inviting Manuela to church.  My wife helped at Luke and Dee Dee’s farm and they invited her to church and that is how this wonderful relationship with God started or continued for me. 

Tell the story of how we met Miss Lori Goodner.  And that she is at Church and what a blessing it is to have her here and to have her friendship, that God puts people in your lives for a reason.  He used an innocent child to crawl up in her lap and blessed us with her friendship.

Last year when we were registering the girls, Charlotte, 4 and Julie 7, at school.  We were going from one station to the other, signing the kids up for car rider, school bus, lunch meals, etc., etc. and we noticed Charlotte climb up onto someone’s lap.  Embarrassed we apologized, but the lady was not put off by the innocent little one making herself at home in her lap, she said it was fine.  We were able to finish registering the girls and spoke to Mrs. Lori and got to know her, made friends with her on Facebook, making it official, and invited her to church.    

Manuela met Travis at an arrowhead digging school event.  Somehow, we put two and two together and figured out that Travis is Mrs. Lori’s Son. 

We met Neil and Sheila at Jenssen Park at their granddaughter’s birthday party.  Funny story, did you know, Sheila’s maiden name is Taylor, when she married Neil, she didn’t have to change her last name.  We knew Leah Taylor from school which is Neil’s daughter-in-law.  Again, God’s hand in, blessing us with them in our lives. We get to be blessed with specials from Neil and Sheila at church. 

That’s what we are supposed to do, Love one another and invite people to church. 

Second verse: Romans 12:6  

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Amplified Version: Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them accordingly: if [someone has the gift of] prophecy, [let him speak a new message from God to His people] in proportion to the faith possessed; if service, in the act of serving; or he who teaches, in the act of teaching; or he who encourages, in the act of encouragement; he who gives, with generosity; he who leads, [d]with diligence; he who shows mercy [in caring for others], with cheerfulness. Love is to be sincere and active [the real thing—without guile and hypocrisy]. Hate what is evil [detest all ungodliness, do not tolerate wickedness]; hold on tightly to what is good.

God gives everyone a special gift and my wonderful wife has been blessed with the gift of giving.  She has a Big, loving, generous heart filled full of love, and all she wants to do is give, generously, you would much rather give that to receive and I love you for that.  I thank God every single day that he put you in my life.  That’s what God does, he strategically places people in our lives for reasons, like Luke and DeeDee, like Mrs. Lori, and Travis, and Neil and Sheila and the rest of you.      

Close out with a prayer, thank you God for putting all these people in our lives, for  Luke and Dee Dee inviting Manuela to church, thank you for using an innocent child to climb onto Miss Lori’s lap, thank you allowing us to meet Travis and his family and for bringing Neil and Sheila and Leah and her family into our lives. Thank you, God, for all the visitors and the members of this church and that hopefully the visitors will be members someday.  Thank you for all your blessings and forgive me for all the many times I have failed you.  We love you Lord, in Jesus name we pray Amen.          

Dove: Courage is Beautiful Commercial

I was watching “The Voice” the other day and I saw this commercial.  I love this commercial because courage is beautiful. 

Thank you too all the health care workers, endlessly, working countless hours.  I can’t imagine what you are going through, seeing people pass away right before your eyes, but let’s not forget, there are also many success stories that bring a smile to your face and warm your heart, knowing you helped reunite people with their families.  Thank you for relentless dedication.    

This spot captures the vulnerability of this situation.  It also shows a glimmer of hope in the health care workers’ eyes, that this is going to be alright, eventually, and that we are in this together.  The workers also show that they are strong and they are working together to keep us safe, that right now, it’s about them, the health care workers, but soon this will be about getting on with our lives and getting back to some of our families we haven’t seen, and going back to church and worshipping God with our church families. However, the Church is not defined to the four walls of our Church.  Hopefully, you have been reading your Bibles, praying and watching devotionals and Church services on line or enjoying drive-in services.     

Right now it’s about helping one another.  If we learned anything from this it’s that we should help one another all the time, not just when there is a crisis.    

We are truly blessed to have such a great Church family and neighbor to help us when we needed it. We returned from Germany about a month ago and they have certainly been there for us, helping with groceries, a lawn mower battery, the lawn definitely needed our attention when we returned.  They helped with whatever we needed and we are thankful. 

These trying times will bring us closer together and remind us that courage is beautiful.  Thank you Dove for showing us that and for donating to Direct Relief. #UnitedforAmerica      


Public Prayer

In case you missed it, country music singer, Kane Brown’s drummer, Kenny Dixon passed away in a car wreck last weekend and was clearly distraught over losing his friend and band member at the CMT awards, telling everyone that he “loved the country community, God Bless you guys and stay safe” ending with “I love ya’ll”, after accepting the CMT Artists of the Year award. 

Thomas Rhett stepped out on faith and asked everyone in attendance if it would be alright if he prayed, saying “I don’t know if this is very conventional, but can I just pray really fast? Is it okay with everybody? Father God, we love you so much. Loss is something we can’t comprehend, and so right now I pray that you would be with Kane and his family and his drummer Kenny and his family, and bring them peace that only you know how to bring somebody.”

This is exactly what we need in the World, more people to step out in faith and not be afraid to proclaim their love and faith for God, to pray for our Country and to be unconventional, to pray for whatever is bothering you.  To have enough love for one another to lift them up to God to help heal them. 

Reba went on to say this at the awards ceremony “Thomas Rhett, God bless you for praying for us, you’re special. … You said that might not be aired on this, but he knows, it better be aired. It better make the cut. Because that’s what we need in life, a little bit more God. We’ve got to give this world back to God. We’ve got to give him the focus and attention that he needs.”

I’m glad Reba supported Rhett’s prayer.  It’s sad that we have to wonder if the prayer would be edited or taken out.  It should be more common ground to pray before these events, at sporting events asking for their safety.  I think we need to bring prayer back to school.  That’s what the World needs, but we are more worried about offending people. That’s just my opinion though.

You are more than welcome to pray for me and my family.  I’ll take your prayers, don’t be afraid to pray.  I say pray in public on National television.             

Faith and Patience

I work in Arkadelphia, Arkansas and I commute 1 hour and 45 minutes one way to work. We moved from Germany to Mena in April 2018, I’m a government employee and there weren’t very many GS jobs near my hometown in Mena, where my wife and I wanted to live.

But, I kept looking on USA jobs for job opportunities in Mena or at least in the area. I finally found one I was qualified for and applied for it a few months ago (It seems like almost 6 months). If you have ever applied for a job on USA jobs, you know it takes a long time to get notifications on the status.) I interviewed for the job over the phone and I would much rather interview in person, with a firm handshake and look the interviewers in the eye while answering questions while dressed for success.

I was nervous and I didn’t like my interview, but I prayed that if it was God’s will, they would pick me for the position. I rationalized it with God, saying I would have more family time, I wouldn’t have to worry about deer jumping out in front of me, or wrecking my car. I wouldn’t have to worry about bad weather. I would save money on gas, and oil changes, wear on tires, etc., etc. But God knew all this.

I kept my faith, but I hadn’t heard back from them in what seemed like an eternity, but in reality it was probably 3 or 4 weeks, so I called the forest service and checked to see if they had made a selection and they stated they had, but it was taking a long time for the notification to be announced. And two days later, I was notified that I was selected for the position. If I hadn’t have been selected I would have been disappointed, but I would accept that God needs me there in Arkadelphia, however, I kept my faith and tried to be patient and it all worked out and I am still thanking the Lord for this opportunity to be closer to home.

Fishing Trip Prayer

We’ve been busy and I finally got a chance to go fishing yesterday. I looked at the radar and there was a little patch of rain nearby and a long line to the West of us. I pressed play on the radar to try and figure out where the rain was headed, but I was having a hard time predicting if it would rain or not.

I was about to grab my gear and go, but my wife wanted me to wait until Charlotte, my three year old, woke up from her nap, so I honored her request, but I was hopeful that I didn’t miss my chance to fish without thunderstorms and heavy rain.

On the way to the undisclosed location, I said a little prayer that it wouldn’t rain hard and there wouldn’t be any thunderstorms. The radar looked like it could rain any second. I had the van already packed with my gear and I made sure to bring a rain jacket.

We arrived at my fishing spot and I jumped in a boat and paddled out to my favorite fishing spot. It had just rained and it was in the afternoon now, so it wasn’t ideal fishing conditions. The wind was blowing me from one side of the pond to the other. I paddled from one side of the pond to the other a few times and I said “Ok, if this is where you want me, this is where I’ll stay, take me where you want me Lord.” And I didn’t fight it, I just fished right there. I was getting frustrated because I had been there for about an hour and not one bite. I even tried different fishing lures. I saw a big bass attacking and eating a perch, right by the boat. I didn’t even think to try and scoop the fish up with my net though.

I started getting some bites, but nothing serious. Keep in mind I am not a professional fisherman and I like to fish with Zoom Brush Hogs on a big hook, so oftentimes the bass get off. So now that I am at least getting some bites. I’m getting more frustrated that I am not catching any fish and I forgot my basket to put any fish in that I may catch, so I am thinking that the reason I am not catching any fish is because I didn’t bring a stringer or my basket, which makes no sense at all. It would make more sense that I would catch a lot of fish because I didn’t bring a stringer.

Anyway, now the sun is coming out, it’s getting hot and it’s really not ideal conditions for fishing. And now I am praying that I could catch a big fish because I know there are BIG fish in this pond. I hooked a huge one before, but didn’t officially catch it and I didn’t get a picture of it either, but the Lord blessed me with good weather and that is what I asked for. My prayer was to not have thunderstorms or heavy rain. I didn’t pray to catch any fish.

Now, I am praying that a big fish would take this lure like he is serious about it and swallow it or that it is hooked in his lip. The prayer was to actually catch a fish and that the fish wouldn’t get off the hook. I was just about to give up. I was making my way back to the shore and I hooked a monster bass and he was wearing me out. I was afraid he as going to get under the boat and get off. And the Lord blessed me with a great catch. It even jumped up and “tail walked” on me and still couldn’t get off the hook, it was hooked pretty good. I recently bought a big net for an occasion just like this, but it sure is hard to scoop up a 6 lb. bass by your self. I ended up releasing the fish because she had eggs.

I give all the glory to God that he allowed the fish to get hooked so good that the fish could not get off the line and into my net. Like I said, I am no great fisherman anyway. And the Lord first blessed me with no rain, like I asked for, then I prayed to catch a fish and I did. I told the Lord thank you for allowing me to catch that fish. The Lord does answer our prayers, but we have to be careful what we ask for. If we pray and have faith he will provide.

The Power of Prayer

On Thursday, my wife called me and told me that a tornado was spotted in Mena and it was headed our way to take cover, so I got in the safest place I know in the house, the bath tub and I started praying for not only my safety, but our safety. The kids were at Church camp and my wife wasn’t home yet.

Another friend of mine, on Facebook, said that it took a few seconds for it to register, that it wasn’t noon on Wednesday, when she heard the sirens warning people in Mena.

I’m not going to lie, I was somewhat afraid, but I also knew that God had my back. He wasn’t going to let anything happen to me, unless it was time to call me home to heaven and that did comfort me.

God heard my prayer and the tornado didn’t fully develop. It could have been much worse than it was. I truly believe God heard me and possibly others praying and his hand was on that cloud. There definitely is strength in prayer.