Life Verses – Hope and a Future

 Searching His Word
  Seeking His Heart

For several years, I taught elementary music in public schools.

Singing all day every day eventually paid a toll on my voice, so I backed down to teaching part-time. Still, my voice just couldn’t hold up, so I retired from teaching.

At various churches, I had directed children’s choirs. A position became available to lead and coordinate children’s choirs part-time. My voice could manage these small doses once a week.

After nine years, I considered retiring from that position as well. Working and rheumatoid arthritis had worn me out. Meanwhile, the Lord had begun moving me in a new direction—writing!

Any life change, positive or negative, is a challenge full of hesitation and questions. Is this really the way the Lord is leading? Am I in His will?

One Sunday, in the midst of these “ponderings,” the front of the church bulletin read:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

A few weeks later, I heard a radio preacher teach on this subject with Jeremiah 29:11 as his text.

The day came to take the big step. I sat in church with the resignation letter in my sweaty hands. Part way through the service, up popped the scripture for the day on the big screen. Of course you can guess what it was—Jeremiah 29:11.

I smiled and thanked the Lord for this affirmation.

 He has plans for all of us, wonderful plans, if we only seek His face, whether we’re headed to college, deciding on a mate, considering a job change, dealing with a difficult relationship, trying to make a decision, or yes, considering retirement.

Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him. Psalm 37:7

In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Jesus taught us to ask, to seek, to knock and: it will be given, you will find, and the door will be opened. (Luke 11:9) Pray for it, friend!

~ Joyce ~

Coincidences?

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Have you ever read a Scripture verse and the next day you saw the verse on a church bulletin? Or maybe you were mulling over a situation and later that week, a preacher on the radio talked about that very thing?

Perhaps you had a tune floating around in your head for two days and the praise team sang that song the next Sunday. Maybe you studied a concept in your devotional material, prayed about it, and then someone asked you a question about that same idea. You were able to say, “I was just studying about that this week.”

Are these coincidences? Or is God at work in your life? Some people say, “It’s a God-thing.” Indeed, God can show us things in our lives that give us strength and inspiration to know that He is at work in us.

Here is a new way to think about a familiar verse that we often use when we’re trying to give encouragement:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Let’s rearrange that verse. When we love him, he works for our good and calls us to his purposes. (He even calls us to his surprises!)

 This past week I gave the beginning devotion at a music conference for worship leaders. I led them in singing softly “Holy, Holy, Holy.” After the hymn, I talked about the importance of meeting the Lord daily in quiet time. Does that sound like last week’s blog? (You didn’t know that I was practicing on you, did you?)

I talked about the necessity of “being still”  to hear God’s voice resonating in your heart. My philodendron plant served as an object lesson of how we are to stay connected to the vine (Jesus) in order to draw strength and nourishment. I ended with an example of how He spoke to me one day during quiet time. I’ll share that in one of these blogs soon.

After my devotion, the first presenter came up. He shared about his ministry of devising various background projections on screens and on the whole wall to enhance worship. He showed colors and designs of all kinds. Once, and only once, he projected words along with the splashes of color. The words were to the first verse of “Holy, Holy, Holy.” What a coincidence, I thought.

The afternoon speaker dwelt on the idea that our lives are to point others to Christ. To do this, we must bathe ourselves in His Spirit. After his talk, a group of five instrumentalists/singers led us in praise and worship. Among the contemporary pieces came the hymn, “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Hmm, more coincidence. None of us had coordinated with the other.

After the evening banquet, we were treated to the music of a seminary ensemble of singers. We enjoyed their lovely voices and worshipful selections. One of their last pieces was called “Be Still, My Soul.” I sat there with my eyes closed, drinking in the beautiful message and music, smiling about this closing reminder to “be still.” This was not a coincident. The Lord had orchestrated the whole day around the theme of being still and seeking His holiness.

As you study his word, pray, and listen to his voice this week, be on the look-out for ways he reinforces what He is showing you. I’d be so encouraged to hear about it.

~ Joyce ~