Emmanuel עמנואל, “God is with us” Part III

If we could, for even just a day, have our eye’s opened to all of the many way’s in which God intercedes for each of us on a personal level perhaps we’d better understand Paul’s seemingly impossible exhortation here…

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice evermore.Pray without ceasing In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

Maybe that means keeping a deer from running out in front of your vehicle. It might mean keeping any uncontrolled cell growth which commonly exists within each of our bodies from becoming cancerous.

Recently, it was the job I didn’t get that I’m thankful for!

I had applied for an over the road driving job with a smaller company who ran regional freight. During the ensuing interview which seemed to go very well I remember the owner telling me that because of how junky his equipment was I would have to drive around scales and that I would be paid on a percentage of what the load paid. Despite both of those pieces of really bad news I filled out the application he gave me and faxed it back to him ready to work if and when he called!

But he never did…

So I called another company that I had been considering who I knew ran first class equipment but who also ran a much bigger territory. I was hesitant about my ability to meet their expectations because it had been over four years since I drove on that level. The thing is,God didn’t really leave me any other options! Getting back into the transportation industry with no recent experience is difficult so I was ready to take anything…

but I was also well…afraid!

I struggle with anxiety and fear quite a bit, it’s one of the biggest areas my Heavenly Father is helping me to grow in! Mostly by protecting me from things that would overwhelm me totally, other times by just being close to me in the midst of any circumstances that I feel threatened by. What faith is to me is knowing that God had control of my circumstances yesterday, and so therefore also has my today and tomorrow under control as well!

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

That’s what this verse means to me…It’s also why I’m so thankful! There’s nothing as empowering and fear squashing as knowing that the omnipotent God who created the heavens, the earth, and all that is,is with you and that He cares about YOU!

Does that mean nothing bad ever happens to me?

We all know that “Stuff Happens” don’t we…

The question most people have is when does the “stuff” STOP happening?

It stops when GRACE happens! When we come to the place where we can truly say,

“Father, not my will but yours be done”

and mean it…

Several years ago I was driving along in my truck near Jamestown N.Y. on hyw 87 on my back west after doing four drops earlier in the day. I had heard that the D.O.T. was setting up in the rest areas inspecting trucks so I was very leery of being inspected. It was later in the evening, maybe 8pm,and usually they quit inspecting at dark so I thought I was home free…then I saw it,the flashing yellow lights on the roadside sign,”surely this is some kind of construction warning” I thought,but as I drew closer startled panic settled on me as the words “all trucks must enter” assaulted my unbelieving eye’s! I was trapped and there was nothing I could do…no ramp to pull off of and “fix it” so with cold resignation I pulled off onto the ramp twoard the man waving his flashlight holding hand at me.What else could I do but accept the fact that I was screwed,perhaps my full cooperation and good attitude would as they had so many times before see me thru,I doubted it.As I pulled to a stop he stepped up onto my side step and spoke to me,

How’re we doing tonight? Oh,I’m doing fine I guess…What’re you hauling? Nothing, I’m empty. Well, have a good evening then!

And that was the extent of it, I hauled out of there on an adrenaline high that would entice any skydiver,or cause a lion tamer to stare curiously in wonder,not yet ready to dip my chip in the “crock of life” I’d just been handed,it just seemed un-real to me. Why did ‘nt he at least ask to see my log book? thats S.O.P. basic stuff,you look at the driver,gauge his condition,look at his book,and then if all seems right,you send him on,or if,as was the case here,you’re not at all busy,just send him inside anyway for the 3rd degree check,you know,wanted/warrents/unpaid tickets/child support un returned library books,lol really! but he did’nt,so I’m driving down the road thinking, WOW! that could have been a whole weeks salary down the tubes but for some reason which I can’t explain I just walked thru the fire without so much as a mark on me…Does the Lord work in mysterious ways? did he know that if I would have been shut down/fined etc…that it might break my spirit? someday I’d like to ask him.

We love you…because you’re YOU!

This is a re-post of a blog I did around my birthday last year, I wanted to move it from yahoo 360 and share it here with ‘yall…

Yesterday was NOT a good day for a lot of folks, I saw the former CEO of AIG say that he’d lost about three billion dollars…A lot of people are having to accept the idea that perhaps they’ll be working past the time they had planned on retiring. We’re all concerned with the current state of the economy, it can get to you if you let it! Yesterday was my birthday, because my mother sent me a check for forty bucks I had the money to put gas in my car, go to West Plains and buy some groceries at Aldi with my food stamps,come home and eat lunch, and then later go to church. I’ve been having an alternator problem with my car lately. Last night after church it was dark and I had to turn on the lights. A few miles outta town it died on me and I was able to limp it into a turn off beside the road. We (my wife, daughter and I) got out of the car and my wife reached into the backseat to grab the ice cream we had bought in town to go with the cake she had made. I questioned her about that, not wishing for her to carry this melting sack for who knows how long it might take for us to somehow eventually get home, she persisted. We took off walking, it was a beautiful nearly full moon lit night but it was still quite dark. Within five minutes a pickup truck drove by us, stopped…came back and asked if we needed a ride (two women) We all loaded into the truck, girls up front and me in the back. These “Good Samaritans” took us all the way to my house which is located two and a half miles off the paved road down some of the worst roads in Oregon county…I’ve never been so thankful to anybody! Driving through the blackberry thickets,the lady driving mentioned how much she liked blackberries so when they dropped us off my wife gave her a couple of quarts out of our freezer we had picked last summer. After a few minutes of letting my nerves settle we had my birthday party…the ice cream was still frozen! Then my daughter gave me my present she had made, here are some pictures of the book she made for me…

this is the cover…

We love you when you’re sad, (notice she has colored me blue) that’s me sitting in my chair.

This is me when I’m mad!

you guessed it! me when I’m happy…about getting a job!

We love you because you’re YOU!…yup, I trained this one!

It’s quite a wonderful thing in these times of upheaval and stress and so much hardship to be able to appreciate how truly blessed I am. I’m so thankful to God that He loves me, a broken sinner! and that He not only has my present circumstances under control but my future figured out too! I’m so thankful that he gave me my family my friends and for the love they show me. and lastly, but NOT leastly, for the kindness of strangers!

We’re All "bozo’s" on this Bus

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I stole that title from a comedy troupe I used to listen to called the “Firesign Theater”, funny stuff I thought…but today I want to use it to make a point about all of us. Yes ALL of us! In the past I’ve blogged about “the politics of separatism” and this is sort of related. lately, I’ve had a hard time “loving” other people.Weather it’s my wife,or a stranger on the street I continually (to myself) notice their faults and the folly of their actions. There is a lot of truth in the statement “pointing out the rudeness of others is the height of rudeness”, but also I have to reflect on how much of what I’m feeling is just me “not hating the player, but hating the game. What game? the one where WE have to be right, or that WE have to win, or that WE have to continue to fight until we do! How much of our lives are consumed with this sort of malevolence? This sort of posturing and pontification? I don’t know about you but I think that there’s far too much of it in my life! Some people refer to it as “drama” and thats pretty accurate, but if I’m ever to have any real deliverance from it I can only see it happening one way. Jesus! thats how…when I feel as though I’m being “put upon” by people, or treated unfairly by circumstances, I want to remember Him…when I feel as though I need to be stubborn and insistent about MY rights…I want to think of HIM, and what he went thru for me, and how if ANYONE has a right to be “ticked” it’s not me! thats a perspective thats sure to change your attitude, when I understand my own “drama” and look at how I’ve acted, and how the only “attitude” I should have is an “attitude of gratitude” for what is the unfathomable forgivness and grace thats been extended to me thru our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus…our eyes begin to open and our hearts are again filled with joy. Christian people are NOT perfect…but what we’ve got going for us is the Holy Spirit, and Christ himself who constantly make intercession for us with the Father. No matter how bumbling and wrong-minded we are, or how self-righteous and obnoxious we can be, no one up there ever stops loving us…amazing isn’t it? Amazing Grace is what it is…that we can live the kind of life we do, be the kind of people we are,and still have a hope of glory beyond this life of tears and struggle…Whats that? you’re not sure if you know what I’m talking about, or…none of that religious hoo-doo ever worked for me, well, know this…there is a lover of our souls, and a hater. a God we can serve, or an enemy we can be enslaved by. a perception of this life as being all there is,and a hope for eternity. A choice to love and a choice to hate, based on our own flawed sense of righteousness…why not admit that you’re a sinner (a bozo) and ask for His forgiveness (grace) and live a life that honors Him, instead of one that Dis-honors YOU! This bus is going to be leaving soon, don’t you want to be on it?