Ride to Greenville

God is so great and so faithful.  He recently taught me how small my faith truly is and, through that experience, how great He truly is.

I was recently at an airport flying from Atlanta to Dallas Fort Worth.  It had been a long travel day (two flights over 19 hours) and I was worn out.  I decided to read my Bible while waiting on flight number three.  (Don’t think highly of me, keep reading…)  A kind lady, we’ll call her Sarah, sat next to me and engaged in conversation about how much she loves God’s word, how different Christian speakers had impacted her, and so forth.  Through that conversation she mentioned that she intended to take an Uber from the Dallas Fort Worth airport to Greenville for a conference.

Greenville, Texas is not close to anything, especially not close to the airport.  Uber would be an expensive option and it was apparent that she hadn’t budgeted for the distance, and cost, that this Uber would entail.  We pulled up driving directions on my phone and yes, it was an hour and fifiteen minute drive.  There was no way she was going to be able to afford an Uber to Greenville.  After two flight delays, two hours of conversation and dinner together, we parted ways to board the plane. Our conversation ended with my saying “I’ll pray for a ride to Greenville for you.”

But if we’re being honest, there was no way she was getting a ride to Greenville.  At least, there’s no rational way she would get a ride.  I did pray for a ride for her, absolutely, but no one goes to Greenville.  There was no way she was going to find a ride.

I found my seat on the plane and sat next to a lady, whom we’ll call Chloe.  Chloe was on her third flight as well, headed home from a two week mission trip in Kenya.  Through her mission trip she had encountered Christ in the most unexpected ways.  We talked for the next two hours about all the great and mighty things Christ had done in our lives over the last couple of weeks.

It was an hour into our conversation when she mentioned that her husband and six kids (yes you read that right) were picking her up at the airport and then making the two and a half hour drive home.  She lived in a small town I’d never heard of and when I asked her where it was located relative to the airport and surrounding cities, she mentioned it was north of Greenville.  (Which is random in and of itself because no one talks about where they live in relation to Greenville!)  I about died right there in my seat.  I said “Did you say Greenville?”

You can probably imagine how the rest of the story goes.  In the end, Chloe, her husband and six kids gave Sarah a ride to Greenville.

The song “How Great Thou Art” keeps running through my head.  Within 1 hour of reading my Bible and pouring my heart into worshipping Christ I became doubting Thomas by not believing that God would really deliver a ride for Sarah.  Oh ye of little faith!

How often do we doubt God’s greatness?  God’s goodness?  God’s glory?

Our God is a great and mighty and faithful God.  He taught me that day that there are no small prayers, there are no ridiculous requests.  He can absolutely do miracles, big and small.  That day, even though I doubted, God delivered.  Even though I failed, God persevered.  Even though I stumbled, God did not fall.  He is greater and mightier than we’ll ever comprehend.

Never give up hope.  Never give up faith.  God is with you all the time.  Right now.  He’s with you walking beside you through life, good and bad.  He never leaves you nor foresakes you.  You are loved and cherished.  There’s nothing too big or too small for God.  Go to him, seek him, lean on him, talk to him.

May God receive the glory for the miracle he did that day.  Many thanks to Sarah and Chloe for playing a role in changing my life.

Ephesians 3:16-19 – That according to the riches of his glory he may grant to you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith –  that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is in the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Mark 11:22-24 – And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoevere says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

Luke 1:37 – For nothing will be impossible with God.

2 Corinthians 5:7 – For we walk by faith, not by sight.

 

So Lush and Green!

My favorite road to drive down is Ottinger Rd. in Westlake, TX.  The trees on opposite sides of the road are so full and lush that they form a canopy over the road.  When you drive you’re transformed into a different world, one of beauty and possibility.

Here lately the trees have been extra green and the grass has been extra lush.  We’ve had rain almost every day for the last week, and the landscape is loving the relief from the heat of summer.  It makes the drive down Ottinger that much sweeter.

Just like the grass and trees, we, as individuals, can’t grow without the rain.  Sometimes rain in our life is gentle, sometimes the rain is a harsh, pounding storm.  For whatever reason (probably my own hard headedness!), my life seems to be comprised of more hurricanes and tornadoes than gentle lulling rain showers.

It’s through the greatest trials in life that God’s glory can shine the brightest.  God uses our sufferings in life to reach others for Christ in a way that only God could orchestrate.  He has grown my trees, watered them abundantly and woven them together intricately to display his beauty through his creation, my life.

Our lives are on display for all to see, dead or alive, messy or clean, perfect or not.  I pray my life appears abundant and lush like the trees on Ottinger Rd., and I pray that God continues to bring me storms so that I might continue to grow in my knowledge and understanding of Him.

Check out The Day of the Ugly Cry and also Blessings by Laura Story for additional encouragement.

Romans 5:3-5 – Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:17-18 – Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.  I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.

James 1:12 – Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:2-4 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Centrifugal Force

Recently Livi and I were making the 40 mile drive from work to home (she loves when she gets to go to work with Mommy) when, out of nowhere, a rock hit the windshield.  A tiny pebble is probably more accurate.  She and I both jumped when it hit and immediately looked around to find the source of the flying pebble.  It appeared that a nearby road crew was to blame.  It’s crazy to think that a pebble somehow wound up at the exact right location so that it could be hit at the exact right moment for it to be slung with centrifugal force into the just right trajectory as my car was passing by at the exact second to be hit by the flying rock.  That’s a whole lot of arranging to take place for one teeny tiny moment in time to occur.

And if God put that much thought and energy into strategically placing and slinging a pebble, imagine the thought and energy that he is, and always has, poured into your life for all the just right moments to occur.  Nothing is wasted, nothing is lost.  Not one encounter is by chance.  Not one interaction is for naught.  Sometimes you are the pebble in someone’s life.  Sometimes people are the pebble in your life.  You need to choose what kind of pebble you are going to be.  Are you going to shatter their world for Christ, changing their life and trajectory forever?  Are you going to listen to Christ as he uses others to shatter your windshield and change your trajectory?

Today I choose to be used by God to make an impact in people’s lives.  I choose to follow God wherever he may lead, trusting in him to set my trajectory.  Praise God, for all the glory is His forever and ever amen!

Proverbs 16:9 – The mind of man plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.

Ephesians 5:15-17 – So be very careful how you live.  Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely.  Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times.  So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do.

Proverbs 10:17 – Whoever heeds discipline shows the way of life, but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

Ephesians 1:3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

Chocolate Tasting

Imagine a feast of chocolate in front of you. Like copious amounts of chocolate, all different types and variations, just waiting to be sampled. You excitedly pick up the first piece, the best looking piece in the array, and close your eyes as you wait for the first flavors to hit your mouth.

That’s when the bitterness strikes. Your mouth floods with the strong bitter taste of 90% cocoa chocolate. If you’ve ever had bitter chocolate you know how impossible it is to get that flavor out of your mouth.

Life gives us bitter chocolate sometimes. Sometimes the things we are most excited about, things that seem so truly good, leave us with a bitter aftertaste. But does that make them bad experiences?

90% cocoa chocolate isn’t bad, it’s simply not for sitting down and eating straight up. It’s meant to be cooked with instead.

If you’re going through a hard time in life right now, try not to focus on how bad it feels. Instead try to think how good it could feel when used for God’s glory. How could God be glorified in what you are going through? Is there someone who needs to hear about your journey? Is there a way to bless and encourage someone with what you’ve gone through?

Look for ways to cook with your chocolate instead of eating it straight up. You’ll be surprised how sweet it tastes.

Matthew 22:37 – And he said to them “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”

Hebrews 10:36 – You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Proverbs 3:4-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 16:4 – The Lord works out everything to its proper end – even the wicked for a day of disaster.