"When you can't trace His hand, trust His heart." A friend shared this saying with me recently. I had never heard of it, and love it. It's actually a song title I've included below. The lyrics say “our father knows what’s best for us. His ways are not our own.” I tend to often think of the word “best” as meaning I’m going to get vegetables with no butter or salt instead of a savory burger or dessert all the time. And who wants that. But Noah Webster says this about the word “best”:
1. Most good; having good qualities in the highest degree;
2. Most advanced; most accurate;
3. Most correct or complete;
4. The best. … the utmost power; the strongest endeavor; the most, the highest perfection;
5. In the highest degree; beyond all other
I see “best” is also “good” to me. “According to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord” (Psalm 25:7). That’s His heart, His character. So "when you can't see or trace His hand in your life and what He is doing, trust His heart. That according to His character and His heart, He is preparing something that is best and wonderful for you.
My first bike I can recall in the early 70’s was a magenta (hot pink) girls bike called a Dragster. It had a white with black pinstripe long, banana seat and high, upright handlebars that seem to be as high as a mountain now days. After years of childhood fun and running the green lights and stopping at the stop signs I drew with chalk in front of my home in St. Clair Shores, it was retired to the family garage. This was the bike I even rode in the funeral procession of the deceased butterfly.
That magenta bike from my loving parents birthed in me my favorite color of magenta, otherwise known as fuchsia. Years later, I did not have a little girl to give it to. My son would in no way ride a
magenta bike. The feminine Dragster gathered rust.
My father recently cleaned his garage and said, “Hey Dee! You’ve got a bike in here. It’s red.” (Many men don’t know color). “Maybe Cameron would like it.” My father had been so busy through the
years; he didn’t realize it was in there (with all that other stuff). But I knew. My heart knew. My first bike, my magenta bike, from my parents was in that garage. I was waiting for something to do with it,
though I didn’t know what. What did I ever have the time to do with it? Was it really redeemable by anyone? Would this be considered a gift to anyone? Would anyone even be seen on a banana seat bike? Could I really hoist it up on my upper living room walls like they do at Applebee’s?
So I brought the bike home to free up my father’s garage. While taking it out of my vehicle, my neighbor who restores things said someone would really go for something like that antique. So off to Craigslist I sent my son to list it (he would receive 10% of the selling price).
‘Ryan’ contacted me with interest. He regularly buys old bikes. For several months we could not connect, but I was persistent. At last, we met today. Ryan pulled up in his gold, 1969 Mercury Monterey, which he restored. He was the perfect person. Then out came the dignified, pretty Dragster. Pleasantly in his checkered shirt Ryan said, “I restore bikes like this all the time. Ninety?” “I’ll take it” I said. “You’ll have to take a photo with me on it first.” My heart really didn’t want to let that beautiful bike go. But I consoled myself that I could let that part of me go and use the money to pay for the editor to work with me on my book. “There is a time for everything” (Ecclesiastes 3:1).
Whatever you are holding onto, let it go. God can give you something else in return. What was, was for then. Enjoy it for what it offered then. Now allow another the blessing of having it. Pass
it on. Leave a heritage of any sort. Make room for something else good God has for your life. He is not done with you.
I just got an email four hours past the time of the ‘changing of the bike’. Ryan said the bike will probably be finished tomorrow, and I get pictures! And my son gets $9! How cool.
The banana seat bike…Can’t wait to call and tell my father.
What's your zone? What's your friendliness zone? 3 feet? 5 feet? 10 feet? 200 feet?
If you're walking in a store, a park, the workplace or church parking lot or bike riding, when & how often & to whom do you say hello to? You have a sphere of influence. Where can you make a difference in others' lives? Wherever you're at, that is your sphere. But it's how you actually extend yourself within that sphere that makes a difference. That's your friendliness zone. What is yours?
I'm sitting on a park bench reading & a man walked by while talking on his cellphone & broke his conversation to say hello to me at 3 feet of distance. How nice! How friendly & warm!
Get your "friendly" out. Say hello & smile to people. Spread some care & sunshine. Open up & get to know people. I sat in Panera's one day firing up my laptop & noticed the man next to me working on his. I just popped out & said, "What are you working on?" He pleasantly opened up & shared about his project & that he was a wardrobe salesman at a large department store for many years. We talked about people's personalities, temperaments & communicating with others & about the technology he was trying to keep up with. It was a pleasant & perky conversation & I got to bless & encourage him in who he is & in what he does.
Change today's culture. I challenge you to increase how you extend yourself in friendliness within your sphere of influence. It takes nothing to come up with a random comment or question to someone & a conversation may be opened. In those few comments or conversation, you can bless with seeds of love or the full gospel of Jesus.
Everyone in the places you shop are lives God has put you in contact with. Get to know those people, their names and their lives. Interface with them in concern. How are we to change the world with the love of God if we're not close enough with them to share it with in life's interactions? You are the message of Christ, so speak up, relate & be relatable. You can also ask God to increase your territory (your sphere of influence). Then shorten up your friendliness zone within that.
I call you "Mr. Friendly" & "Mrs. Friendly!"
"Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, "Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain." And God granted his request (1 Chronicles 4:10).
Waking up one morning in a very broken state of life, I heard God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit agreeing over me saying, “We can rebuild her. We have the tools.” If you grew up when I did, you’d know those are the words to the intro of the weekly sci-fi show “The Six Million Dollar Man” airing 1974-78’. Astronaut Steve Austin was in a spaceship crash and scientists rebuilt him with bionics in surgery, costing six million dollars. I had to pull up the video below. Listen to the words and insert your own name in it.
“Denise Flynn…we can rebuild her…We have the tools…We have the capability… Denise Flynn will be that woman. Better than she was before. Better…Stronger…Faster.”
Don’t you love it! No matter what's going on right now, no matter how broken you are, if you go through it right with God, you will come out healed and better. Lean into God. Use Him for His healing love and power. Know that He wants to love on you and help you. Keep your attitudes toward him and not turning away or lacking trust and hope. Don't become bitter. Be obedient. In doing so, we can count on His promises to rebuild us.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).
“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 5:3-5
Yeah, these promises can be yours at the cost and sacrifice of Jesus. Look out for YOU…future Six Million Dollar Man and Woman in process of being rebuilt right now!
I used to be in Sales and Advertising Sales. Actually, we are all in Sales. We are selling ourselves to others all throughout life. We sell ourselves at an interview, to our children when we are promoting chores instead of Xbox, to a friend to see one movie over another, or to a significant other in a marriage proposal. (Actually, I was bought and returned on that one once, but it’s all okay now.) The list goes on.
There is a common sales and advertising slogan. “You’ll be so glad you did.” You’ll be so glad you bought my product. You’ll be so glad you’ve invested in my service. This saying has always stuck with me and I now apply it to more situations than selling or making money.
“You’ll be so glad you did.” My friends may even hear me say or write it. I wonder if they know I
am trying to persuade them when I do.
This is where the saying really fits well. You will be so glad you did not sin. You will be so glad you did not eat those extra snacks. You’ll be so glad you did not spend the extra money. You will be so glad you put in the extra time into that project. You will be so glad you did not say those extra words positioned to leap off your tongue. You’ll be so glad you gave more than you originally wanted to.
You’ll be so glad you went the extra mile. You’ll be so glad you did not withhold. You’ll be so glad you did not disappoint God. You will be so glad you did not grieve the Lord. You will be so glad you did not take advantage of His blood that He shed for you. You will be satisfied. God will be pleased and you will be with peace.
Satisfied. The word resonates sweetness. Generally, we are satisfied when we have no or few regrets. Isn’t that worth so much.
So considering “You’ll be so glad you did” the next time you really want to do something and you know you shouldn’t is a good thing. Consider it too when you really don’t want to do something and know you should. Sell yourself on it. You’ll be so glad you did.
You may have to refuse the urge several times of that thing you want to participate in. You may have to ask God several times for the grace and strength to withstand. You may have to say “Lord, make me willing.” And He will.
Life cannot always or even frequently be about the immediate pleasure, but in long term prospering. Many times we cannot easily go back to change things. It may take a long
time and much pain and prayer. I’ve been saying “NO” to a bag of chips all evening, and come tomorrow, I’ll not be wishing I had done differently. (And I’ll be so glad when my son eats
them before me.)
And this is where discipline and strength from the Lord comes in. Seek Him and it will be provided.
“I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble.” Psalm 59:16, 17
“All your commands are trustworthy;” Psalm 119:86
So consider all deeply…You’ll be so glad you did.
Choosing Dates & Mates
Have the types of dates & mates you've chosen through the years changed? If not, you may not have grown spiritually, emotionally or relationally.
A hope is that over the years as we come closer in relationship with Christ, we would become more like him in nature…in our character, transferring over to our actions & treatment of others. A hope is that we would fall more in love with God, Jesus & the Holy Spirit. A hope is that we also would have sought wholeness, healing & deliverance for ourselves. The first does not automatically take care of the last. Sometimes people hold back from further healing due to lack or knowledge of what they’re really carrying or where to receive such help from or having pride not to disclose hurts or hangons to others. We choose better dates & mates much like when we decide to put healthier food into our own bodies, we become a better grocery shopper.
The hope is that after being transformed in those ways ourselves first, we would desire another that has the fruit of Christ & has resolved and received healing from inner wounds, great doubts & behaviors that don’t model Christ. I spoke with a person who was asked “What did your former spouse & people you dated all have in common?” The common denominator lead the person asked to a realization of what trait(s) to avoid upon becoming involved again & to take responsibility to not move forward in that case. The common denominator lead the person to committing to changing themselves to make a better future selection.
If one hasn’t courted/dated in a while, what is the reason? Is it because a male/female hasn’t been found with those qualities? We really do have to be praying for the walk & growth of our brothers & sisters, don’t we? Has one found themselves keeping better company in friendships? Has one’s inner circle become filled with love & strength rather than unnecessary drama, people acting out of the will of God or hurtful people? Those are good signs that a person has reached a deeper maturity in Christ. Is it that one has fallen so much in love with Christ that they feel content with Him alone? That’s great too! So many would love to be able to say that, but haven’t come to that place yet. Contentment is beautiful.
So our goal for ourselves should be to chase God & seek wholeness & healing first & if lead, to pursue or wait to be pursued by another with the same heart & spiritual, emotional & relational health in terms of romantic relationships. Choosing the right relationships saves us hurt & increases our joy.
Wisdom & encouragement to share with others!
Denise Flynn writes about Singleness, Relationships, Goal Obtainment & the Christian walk. Order