Monthly Archives: December, 2011

There’s Always A Napkin

Today I decided to venture out to the shops with my children. Whenever one embarks on the road, there is always the possibility that one will get hungry and feel the need to stop somewhere to grab a quick bite to eat. For me, I can stop almost anywhere and find something that will take care of my hunger pains. I have never been picky when it comes to food. My children are not like me; however, and if a certain item is placed before them, there could be some hesitation.

Whenever we go to a restaurant or a fast food establishment, we are at the mercy of the facility. There are occasions when we can order it “our way,” but the reality of the situation is that we are not preparing the food and we are therefore out of control. We do not know what brand of food was used in the dish. We are not able to set the cooking temperature. We are not so sure if the green stuff is oregano or parsley until we taste the food. Maybe there is too much ice in the drinks when they are presented. Perhaps the napkins fall apart when used.

In my case today, I took my children to McDonald’s; it is something we rarely do because I’m not too fond of fast food. As we were driving down the road, I noticed we were not given napkins. I could not believe it. No napkins! That’s not how I do things. I always have a napkin for each person who is eating because it’s “what you are supposed to do when presenting a meal.” Then my pondering mind remembered the last time we stopped somewhere for something to eat. The bag I was given was loaded with napkins and I kept some just in case a situation like this would arise.

Those napkins were just what I needed today. God gives us just what we need. Even when we are handed a bag with no napkins, it is not the end of the world. In my case, I found some napkins I was given earlier. At times when we are in need, we are led to the solution like in my situation with the napkins. Sometimes what we need is right in front of our eyes hidden, and then there are occasions when we must be a bit creative. There are also scenarios when the napkins will come to us via an outside source. At the end of the day, we have the napkins. God makes sure we have what we need.

The big issue is to acknowledge that God is in control and that He will provide all that we need. Philippians 4:19 states that He will supply us with all we need, but many people have a problem understanding that verse. There is an issue with recognizing a need in comparison to a want. I need food and water. I want a piece of chocolate and some coffee. It is like wanting to buy only Nike brand shoes though any pair of shoes will do.

Having a preference in a brand is not a sin. The panicking and the inability to be flexible can be an issue. When we become anxious over a situation and firmly plant our feet in fear of losing ground, we do not allow God to move. We act selfish. We stand like a statue trying to keep ourselves upright. Our foundation becomes like sand, and as hard as we try to stand firm in our position, whatever it may be, we begin to tip. We slip. We fall.

When there comes a time that you feel an unrecognized need in your life, do not get worried. Do not firmly plant your feet so that you cannot budge further. As with anything, first take it to God. Also, try to understand if it is truly a need or if it is simply a want. When God created man, it was not with a label, “Must have every cable channel available.” It is not that we cannot have every cable channel available, but that we should not have our focus on that alone.

It is important that we have our eyes focused on God and that we listen to Him for direction. He can lead us to the napkin. When an issue arises, we also need to not panic. It is important to take time to think and use our experiences and knowledge to our benefit. God made us as creative beings so that we could use our minds for the better. A step back to reevaluate a situation can bring great results. Perhaps we are supposed to use what is around us to construct a napkin. Finally, there is the possibility that someone else could cross our path with a napkin. Some situations are for the glory of God. In the end, the napkin is always there. God always provides the napkin if it is truly needed– like with everything, we just need to remember to say thank you and to use it wisely!

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:19 [NASB]

Defogging Christmas

The weather has been very peculiar lately, but I am not going to complain. At a time when we typically are feeling the below freezing chill, we are able to enjoy temperatures that near the fifties. Today the warm weather combined with some precipitation, which brought some fog into my area. Since I was a little girl, I always loved fog. It was definitely fun to look at what was “not there” and try to imagine it as it was the day prior, when everything was in clear view.

Just as fog distorts and covers up what is always there, so do we have periods when we cannot see God. We know He is there, but He is silent. Or perhaps we have so many outside noises around us that we are unable to hear Him or see Him at work. Maybe we are not looking at the big picture because we have our focus elsewhere at the moment. Either way, the truth is that God is always here. Sometimes we need to simply take the time to look, and to continue pressing forward with our walk of faith, knowing that God is with us.

Certainly we are to live by faith, as 2 Corinthians 5:7 asserts we should, “live by faith, not by sight.” When Jesus appeared on the road to Emmaus, he was there. The men did not know it until it was revealed later, but it doesn’t change the fact that He was present. When Mary Magdalene was crying at the tomb with Jesus there watching, He was there despite her not knowing that He was the One present. She thought He was the gardener until she heard Him speak. It doesn’t change the fact that He was there with her.

Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29). John 1 makes it clear that if we believe, we are children of God. With Christmas day coming in the week ahead, it is important to not let the hustle and bustle of the holiday season create a fog around the true meaning of Christmas. As children of God, it is important to follow Christ as we celebrate His birth and the hope we have in Him. Christmas is not a time for fruit cake, but a time for really showing the fruit of the Spirit as we celebrate God and His love for us, and hope breathing.

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:8-9 [NIV]

The most precious Christmas gift!

Made New

I have a problem with clothing. It seems no matter how hard I try, I am always staining my shirts. As a result, I typically do not purchase clothing that is white. Who wants to have a shirt that so easily shows every mistake? Nonetheless, I wanted this one shirt and it only came in the color white.

It only took a few wears and the incident occurred. I was out in the rain and my red hooded sweatshirt bled into the collar of my white shirt. I did not even realize it was happening until it was too late. Now though I was not wanting to purchase a white shirt in the first place, I was now trying my hardest to make this shirt white again. I scrubbed it with bleach. I got out my stain removal stick. I used peroxide. I tried every trick I could think of and I even resorted to searching online for other options.

In the end, I could not repair the damage done to my shirt. The only thing I could do was to change the color of the shirt to adapt to this new color that was found on the collar. There was no other option for me, and so I made the change and my shirt is as good as new.

This incident reminded me of sin and how it invades our life, even at times when we don’t realize it. It reminded me of how only through Christ and His blood are we able to be clean. We can try every stain remover, but nothing will remove the damage of our sins but Christ who cleanses us so that we are as white as snow.

This episode also got me thinking about how we are so stubborn to change. There are times when God is moving us in one direction, but we dig our feet into the ground and stand firm in our position. We think we know best. As I worked so hard to have my shirt stay white (which I never wanted in the first place), the shirt ended up being pink. Perhaps pink is the better color.

It took so long for me to fight the color change. I thought I knew best. God knows best. God’s plan for my life and for your life is the best plan. We can avoid the white shirt because we don’t wish to go down that path, but He can make that the only option. We can try to work for our salvation or sidestep through each and every sin, but only Christ can cleanse us and bring us true salvation. We can fight every twist and turn, but in the end, if God wants the shirt to be pink, it’s going to be pink.

When we accept God and His grace into our lives, and when we stop fighting and reach out our hands and say, “Here I am,” it is then that we can achieve true peace. Today I rejoice that I have a pink shirt– a shirt made new– because I know that God is making me new.

“Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” – Ephesians 4:24 [NASB]