Monday, August 19, 2013

We All Need Jesus

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio 

Psalm 18:32-34 (NIV)
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

Today has been an interesting day. I met with my Massage Therapy Instructor and had essentially my first two hour class. He showed me the various resources and some pretty cool tech things that are available for students to use. He checked through my books to make sure I had gotten all the correct editions. I have one that is the wrong edition and I will need to return it. I got my first cranial massage - which was not getting your head rubbed. I don't think I can explain it yet but I am looking forward to understanding why and how it works and learning to do it. I turned in my paper work and paid my tuition down payment.  All in all it was a really informative and great morning.

Then I came home and got a call from the auto repair place. I had already stopped by to pay for the thermostat but it was still not running right. It turns out there are considerable other issues. At this point there is white smoke coming out of the tail pipe. Which the mechanic says is coolant leaking into the engine. That fix is about 1500 dollars and then he said your timing belt is beyond time to be changed and if the engine has to be pulled you might as well do that too. Its another chunk of change and the radiator has some kind of leak. His estimate was somewhere between $2000 and $3000 dollars. So my head was kind of spinning trying to figure out what our options might be. At this point I don't have a solution. My husband travels regionally to different locations for his job so he needs a reliable car. He could use mine but we bought them at the same time and it is likely to quickly have its own wear problems. With him out of town most of the week I would still need to be able to drive something. My mom has been gracious to come up here while the car has been in the shop and to share her vehicle. So how does this all relate to the verse today?

Well for one, part of what I have tried to do from the beginning with this blog is to be open and honest. I want to share with you my walk with Christ. Not just the mountain tops but the valleys and the in betweens. In thirty some years of walking with the Lord I have seen Him to be faithful in all of those places. Some of it has stretched me quite a bit. I admit this situation is stretching. At this point I don't have an answer and there is a great temptation to worry and to get discouraged. So this situation is like an enemy that threatens to stop us from moving forward.

It is God who arms me with strength 
and keeps my way secure.

I could sit around and say we should have done this or that, and we might not be in this place. I can look at all the should of, could of, would of's and they are all water under the bridge at this point. I can't change the past but I can decide how I will navigate the present. The bible is full of accounts of God's people who find themselves in difficult circumstances and how God delivers them.

When difficulties and trials arise we can look to the Lord to help us navigate through them or we can throw a pit party and sit around worrying and re-hashing what could have been done in the past. It is possible to be so consumed with fear and worry that you can't see God's answer when its right before your nose. I think of Hagar in the desert sure she is going to have to watch her son die of dehydration. God hears her cry of desperation and shows her a near by well.

He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; 
he causes me to stand on the heights.

I am choosing to trust that this situation has not caught the God of the Universe, whom I serve off guard. He is not asleep at the wheel and while I can't yet see the solution, I am choosing to be thankful and to praise Him and to remember all the times I've been in a tough, seemingly impossible spots and seen God come through in ways beyond what I could imagine. I have every confidence that God knows our needs and is fully capable of moving on our behalf.  Who knows maybe He will use you. There is always a donate button at the top right of the blog home page. But this is not some appeal for you to give, at the same tome I'm not going to limit how God may choose to answer. I'm not sending out little prayer hankies or blessed bottles of oil or cute little pins. This blog has not been a source of income. I write because I believe that God has directed me to share my journey and insights along the way.

I've spent much of the Summer seeking Him for his direction and I suppose I think the timing today is kind of laughable.  The very day I pay my down payment to move forward in the direction I fully believe that the Lord has shown me to pursue that a giant obstacle rears up and threaten stop me in my tracks. Nope - I'm standing with young David on this one, as he faced the giant of the land in his day. He picked up a few stones in 1 Samuel 17: 45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.

Two months ago when I first met my Massage instructor to learn about the program offered. 
 I said to him. "I am confident that if this is God's plan for me that the finances will work themselves out. I did not know how and I set about doing what I could do in picking up new students. When I shared my desire to go to school with my dad and his wife they took some time to think about it and then called me several days later and said they would completely cover my tuition. They are not believers and my not see God as part of the equation but I do. No matter what they believe at this point, it is none the less an act of generosity and love and I am blessed.

I remember the story of the widow who was about to make her last meal. She meets Elijah, who has been sent from the river bank where he has been fed by ravins for quite a long while. Seems in the three year drought that the river dried up. So God sent him to meet a widow woman who was to provide for him. She was at the bottom rung of the societal ladder with no business helping this strange prophet guy. He said to her "make me a small cake first and then make yourselves one and your oil and grain will not run out." I'm giving you the New Margot version not a word for word quote. Well every day she repeated the same meal preparation and every day what she needed was there in her jars. The story is in 1 Kings 17 if you would like to read it. My point is that I believe that God blesses those who take care of His servants. I am His servant and I believe that somehow God will bless my father and his wife for their generosity to help me pursue the path that I believe God has shown me to follow. The widow woman had heard of God and the mighty things He had done for His people. She was not a Jewish person, she was from Zarephath, a neighboring country of non believing people. While others were struggling and starving God provided for her because she helped Elijah who was God's servant.

Sometimes it is as simple as letting a need be known and someone will rise up to be the answer. I believe in divine appointments. Maybe there is someone who has a good car they no longer need and God will some how bring us together. Maybe God will supply the money to fix the car. I don't presume to tell God how to solve this problem. I simply bring my need to him and fully trust that He will help us to find the answer. Its not a faith that I have to work up - "Oh I hope God will help us." It's not "Oh God I will do _____ if you get me out of this mess". It is simply "Lord we need a reliable car for my husband to be able to do his job. The one we have needs extensive repairs." God may supply by fixing the present car, or he may supply a new reliable car or He may answer in countless other ways that I have not even considered. What I do know is that Romans 8:28 is in effect. I love the Lord and I am called according to His purposes. So somehow this will work out for my good.

Romans 8:28 (NIV)
28 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.

He trains my hands for battle; 
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

He has trained me in the power of thankfulness and in praise. He has trained me to remember the past times He has helped me. He has trained me to make my needs known to Him in prayer. So while my head spun a bit this afternoon and I felt a bit overwhelmed by the news, I was never with out hope or confidence that God was in control.  I have set my mind on verses that talk about God making a way. I remember the stories in the Bible and the countless and amazingly diverse ways that God supplied for those who trusted and looked to Him. 

There are many people who are in far worse places than myself in this hour. I pray for a dear sister who just recently received a diagnosis of cancer and for another one who has been diagnosed with  MS. There are readers who have lost jobs and people who have lost loved ones. There are some fighting depression and others I know who are dealing with homelessness and some with addictions.
So rather than fuss and fret over my own needs I will pray for them. 

I am reminded of the words to a song by Amy Grant 
(I've embedded the video at the top of the page or you can use this link

"We believe in God
And we all need Jesus
'Cause life is hard
And it might not get easier
But don't be afraid
To know who you are
Don't be afraid to show it
If you believe in God
If you say you need Jesus
He'll be where you are
And he never will leave you
Sing to me now words that are true
So all in this place can know it...
We believe in God
And we all need Jesus"

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