PEANUT’S NEW SHIRT AND THE $100 BILL

Lightening, thunder, wind, rain in sheets and big drops. 15 minutes of torrential rain blowing hard in every direction, then done. That’s our typical summer storm here in Las Vegas and we had one on Sunday evening.

The next day I came home from shopping, got out of my car and walked across the lawn toward the new water dish I put out for the wild birds. I wanted to see if the rain had filled it up. I looked down and there in front of the dish was a neatly folded $100 dollar bill. My instinct was to look around quickly to see if anyone was looking for it, but there was no one around. I picked it up and put it into my pocket. I’ve picked up pennies and even quarters, but never a $100 bill. I smiled ear to ear.

Someone must have lost it in the storm, but no one was coming around to claim it. And I found it just in time, because a few minutes later my lawn guys came and they would have either found and kept the money, or chopped it up in a million little pieces in the lawn mower.

I tried to figure out why God would drop me the $100 but I couldn’t connect it to anything at all. I don’t believe in coincidence. Saying something is a coincidence is man’s attempt to explain away what he has no control over. I tried to tie it to some good deed, but everything I could think of fell flat and God wasn’t talking. It wasn’t until 2 days later that I understood.

I was buying dog food and bought Peanut, my new rescue dog, a little dog shirt just because I love the little guy and I thought he’d like it. Then it dawned on me that my $100 bill had come to me simply the same way. He gave it to me just because He loves me and He thought I’d like it. And He was right. I liked it a lot. God’s love is a gift.

We receive God’s grace, not just because we are desperate, or because we pray so hard or any of those other religious things we do. We can pray and believe and fast and a lot of other things, but then there’s the extra blessings God sends “just because He wants to.”

God can drop His grace on us when we least expect it. It can happen anytime, anywhere, without us doing a doggone thing.

God told Moses, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy” (Exodus 33:19).

All I can say now is, “God keep it up and thank you so much!”

Love, Carolyn

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THE POWER OUTAGE

9 o’clock the other night I’m watching TV and the lights go out. No electricity in the whole neighborhood. Thoughts fly through my mind in rapid succession like bullets from an automatic rifle: “I’ve got a generator. I need to take it outside. I have to get my flashlight. It’s dark. I won’t be able to see out there. Sh..t, I should have recharged the batteries the last time. Do I have any other flashlights? In my car. Phew!” I’m just about to get up out of my chair and all the lights and sounds come charging back to life.

A couple days later I thought about not having the batteries ready for my flashlight when we had the power outage. It reminded me of the Bible story about the ten virgins with the oil lamps. They took their lamps to meet the bridegroom and go to the wedding. But only five took extra oil for their lamps so they’d be prepared. The bridegroom was late so the five without extra oil were running out of light. They thought they could borrow some from the others but that wasn’t going to happen.

We learn from this passage that each of us is responsible to get his or her own oil. No one else is responsible to read the Bible for us and no one else can do our believing for us. The women who were prepared, went on to the party and the others missed out. (Matt 5:1-13). This parable is about being ready when Jesus comes back. Nobody knows when that will be, but there will be a day when Jesus returns and everything changes.

“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet 3:10). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess 4: 16).

Jesus said that when judgment day comes, every man will have to account for every idle word he speaks (Matt 12:36) and fire will try every work. Our works are to be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:13-15). “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?” (2 Pet 3:11).

People want to feel that their lives are meaningful and that they are contributing good things into this world. Once Jesus comes back, we don’t get the chance to do it over again. We only have one life to live here on earth right now, no reincarnation. We need to make every day count.

We don’t want to miss a chance to say something kind, do something significant for someone else, give a smile, help someone, minister healing, cast out a devil spirit, etc. “We are all the children of light” (1 Thess 5:5) and we can “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel” (Matt 5:15). Let your particular light shine.

The end of our world is imminent and according to the Bible, it could be any day. Let’s make a difference here while we can. If we think more often about Jesus’ return, we will live our lives more like the women who carried extra oil, rather than the ones whose light ran out.

Like it says in Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”

If we live like today could be our last, it just could be our best.

After the lights came back on the other night, I recharged the batteries for my flashlight. Today I’m recharging my heart for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Love, Carolyn

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WAITING WITHOUT STRESS

Here’s the problem: I would like to be writing full-time. I currently work as a painter and I like it, but eventually I’d like to do painting as a side job, and do my Christian writing as my main job. I think I’m trusting the Lord but why is it taking so long?

I recognize the problems. I can see what a possible solution might be. But what do I do with myself while I’m waiting?

The Bible says trust. But what does that mean and how do I do it consistently without doubting? Yesterday I realized that even though I think I’m trusting, sometimes I don’t act like it. I have faith and trust one day and then discouragement and doubt the next. James 1:6-8 says: “For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”

So there you have it. If my trust level is wavering, then I’m not going to receive what I need from the Lord. That’s harsh! But it’s true, so I have to find a way to keep my trust level up and stable.

The only way I know of is to continually say, out loud, what the Bible says and write it down. I didn’t make this formula up. It’s in God’s Word in several places. Daniel 6:8 says that the way to establish something you say, is to write it down and sign it: “Establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed.” And Romans 10:17 says, “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” It doesn’t say “faith cometh by reading,” or “faith cometh by thinking,” or that “faith cometh by talking to a lot of other people about your problems.”

But faith comes by hearing and the best source of that hearing is our own mouths. We’re more likely to believe and act on something we say than something someone else says. If I say, “I’m going to the restroom,” I’m more likely to go than if someone else says, “Carolyn, go to the restroom.”

From the scriptures we see that the winning combination is to write down the decree, say it and sign it. With this combination, we’ll be able to be stable and decrease the doubt or wipe it out. We will not be wavering, but trusting and we will receive from the Lord the true desires of our hearts. With the frenzy of life these days, I suggest saying our written decree every day at least one time, if not more, to confirm our trust and stability. The Holy Spirit will definitely help us with our efforts.

Proverbs 3: 5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Some of us who have grown up to be independent and learned to take care of ourselves have relied on and trusted in our own reasoning. We want to know why, when, how, and who. We want to get the facts up front and then trust, but that’s not the way God works. We need to leave all the reasoning behind for a while, and just trust Him. Reasoning gives us stress. Trust gives us rest.

Trust is love without having to know the details.

Here is my decree, as I got it from the Lord yesterday (with the scripture back-up listed at the end): “I trust the Lord. God is working in me to will and to do of His good pleasure. My times are in His hands. I cast my care on Him because he cares for me. It’s going to work out because God has a GOOD plan for my future. I do all things without murmuring because the Lord Jesus is with me and I’m following Him. I am complete in Him.” Proverbs 3:5, Philippians 2:13, Psalm 31:15, 1 Peter 5:7, Jeremiah 29:11, Philippians 2:14, Matthew 28:20, Matthew 4:19, Colossians 2:10.

If you want, you can use this decree as a guide when you prayerfully write your own.

Have a wonderful week.

Love, Carolyn

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