Thursday, September 20, 2012
You know how someone says something and then someone else, totally unrelated to that one person, says something very similar? Ever think about when you read something and then, a few days later whatever you read, is brought to mind at just the right time to encourage you or someone else? I seem to be experiencing that kind of thing a lot lately. It's happened before. I go to my Wednesday night Bible study and we talk about what we studied during the week and how what we heard at church or at another Bible study or during our devotion time seems to go along with our study. Many times we wonder how Pastor Tom, Pastor Todd, or Pastor Casey knew what we were studying that week! Anyway, here're the latest of my "perfect timing" stories:
A few years ago I had to write my "professional biography." In it I made the following observation: "I know that in America we are told that if we work hard enough, we can be anything we want to be. I don't really agree with that. To live a happy, fulfilling life of purpose, I believe we need to be who we were designed to be. I was designed to be a teacher." I know God has a purpose and a plan for everyone. From time to time, I get a little discouraged and need a reminder. A recent post on Facebook by a friend helped to remind me of what I know. He was describing a response he heard a man give to the question, "What to you is the meaning of life?" "The man reached into his pocket and pulled out an antique match case. He opened the case and said 'This is my meaning of life...at least for me.' He, then held up a wooden match. He said, 'This is basically worthless. It probably cost less than 100th of a penny to make.' But, then he struck the match and said, 'When fire was created for the first time the world was changed forever. The meaning of my life is just like this match. If I'm not being used for what I was created for, I'm basically worthless. But when I am doing what I was created to do, I am priceless.' He kept the match case in his pocket as a constant reminder to always do what he believed he was created to do." My friend reminded everyone, "The same is true for you and me. If you are not being used for what you were created for are worthless. But, when you are doing what it is that you are supposed to be doing, you are priceless to the rest of the world." It's amazing, because this was reinforced as I prepared for my weekly Bible study and read Eugene Peterson's introduction to Ephesians in The Message Remix 2.0: "What we know about God and what we do for God have a way of getting broken apart in our lives. The moment the organic unity of belief and behavior is damaged in any way, we are incapable of living out the full humanity for which we were created." This reminded me that my belief must impact my behavior in order for me to be who I was created to be.
Another example of perfect timing involves a new study I started this week. The study is called "Sacred Rhythms" and it is about spiritual disciplines. I wasn't able to be there last week because of a doctor's appointment. I was glad to see that one of the things for that session involved breath prayers. I'm very familiar with them because I use them when I have trouble sleeping, am anxious, or need to quiet my spirit. (There's a sample from the book where you can find how to do breath prayers in the Between Sessions part.) Anyway, this week we're studying Silence and Solitude. Another friend, who always posts amazing quotes, posted this quote by John Bunyan: "If we do not have quiet in our minds, outward comfort will do no more for us than a golden slipper on a gouty foot." Wow...what incredible imagery! (The fact I collect Cinderella stories and see a slipper reference is a bonus.) Then, on the Joyce Myer Ministries Facebook page was this quote: "Think of two things you can cut out of your life to spend more time with God. Then do it." Yep, I was supposed to see that! Then, from my daily devotion book, Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, "Sit quietly in My Presence while I bless you. Make your mind like a still pool of water, ready to receive whatever thoughts I drop into it...Keep looking to Me and communicating with Me, as we walk through this day together." Same book on another day there was this: "Receive My Peace. It is My continual gift to you. The best way to receive this gift is to sit quietly in My Presence, trusting Me in every area of your life... Spending time alone with Me can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. You may appear to be doing nothing, but actually you are participating in battles going on within spiritual realms." (Oooo.....more to say about spiritual realms, but will wait for a different post!)
I am so thankful for God's perfect timing and for those who He uses as His messengers when they share encouraging words!