Even Pigs…Have Purpose

Good Morning,  Everyone;

I bet that you are wondering about the title of my blog today? Well as you might guess, it has something to do with my Goat Tails books. Above is a picture of Scruffy having trouble again, as he so frequently did in Scruffy Finds His Way and in SuperScruff. In this picture, Scruffy has just landed right smack into the middle of  Pudgy Pig’s mudhole, where he gets pretty stuck. Poor Scruffy, he’s always up to mischief, which usually turns out badly for him, even when he’s trying his best to do something good. I think that many of us are like that too. And sometimes seemingly bad things happen to us or around us that we do not instigate…unwanted and unwarranted…downright unfair.

How are supposed to deal with these events in life? Well, as usual the Bible has some suggestions. It tells us in Romans 8:28 – that ALL things work for good; the good, the bad and the ugly, for those who LOVE the Lord. Now what’s that supposed to mean? It means that even when apparently bad things happen that God has full knowledge (though he doesn’t make them happen) and has a plan to use these events for our good…for KINGDOM goals.

Nothing slips by God. He is always at work and is always aware.  Let me give you an example. I was reading this morning in the book of Esther – chapter 4 about the pivotal time in Esther’s life. A time where one decision on her part could mean her death and the death of her kinspeople – the Jews.  Esther was the Queen and she had the opportunity to save her people from annihilation, but perhaps at the cost of her life. A huge decision and a frightening one. Esther 4:14 it says, ” …and who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” Well, Esther prayed and fasted, with her friends, then made the decision to act and her people were saved.

This story and many others teach us that God gifts each one of us for a specific purpose, which He will make known to us as we watch and pray. Each of us are special, placed on purpose in a time and a place to do His work. Ephesians 2:10 says, ” For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

I am so encouraged by this. I have been made for a purpose, and I am special to God and here’s the big news…so are you!

Have a great day, Lynn.

P.S. – A new book in the Goat Tails series will be launched late this fall…entitled, Even Pigs…Have Purpose. Surprise!! Watch for it.

Ger…it’s not fair!

 

Hi Everyone;

Today I’m going to comment on a topic that I think all of us have thought about at some time in our lives. And that is…”Ger, life is not fair!” (I’m sure some of you are wondering about my spelling of the word…Ger, well that’s kind of a joke. You see, my husband and I were hiking in Newfoundland and found the half-sign that I am pointing at in the picture and it reminded us of the disgruntled sounds our very ferocious Jack Russell Terrier makes when he doesn’t get his way…haha. )

Ok…back on topic. “Ger”…I’m not really complaining, I’m just commenting on the vast number of times that things don’t work out as we think that they should. You know- like when you work really hard at your job or on a project at school- you do your very best and you are certain that your best is good enough to win the prize…the promotion, the recognition, the gold medal. But at the end of the day, some “nobody” who hasn’t worked half as hard as you wins that coveted reward. Outwardly you smile and sometimes congratulate them, but inwardly you scream…”not fair.” In this world we expect to succeed. We expect the rewards for effort. We expect to be able to be “number one” at something…perhaps always. We take aim at our chosen targets, put in our best effort and go for it, with our own power and strength. Then DISASTER strikes. We lose the race, miss the goal, lose our health, lose a loved one, fall off the cliff that we’ve climbed…just when we are about to say…”ta da.” And we sit down and cry, “not fair.” Sometimes we look up and ask, “where are you, God?”

Oh, my, why do we suddenly blame God, when we haven’t really consulted Him before? Probably because we do not wish to blame ourselves. Now that we’ve fallen off of our pedestals, and are sitting in abject defeat, we have time to ponder…our condition, our goals and our relationship to God.

In the Bible, God presents a different picture of our relationship with Him, of our potential goals in life, of what our expectations should be. He says, “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-58 If there was one “person” on this earth that could scream, “Ger…not fair,” it was Jesus, who came to earth to live an unmatched life of service and love, then was judged guilty by sinful mankind and put to death on the cross…for what? For loving us so much, that he sacrificed himself for OUR SINS. Totally not fair, totally LOVE IN ACTION.

So, next time I get lost in my own projects and plans and am tempted to “Ger…not fair,” when things don’t work out, I plan (I hope) to stop, breath and thank the Lord who made me for giving me an opportunity to grow.

See you next time

Lynn

When disaster strikes…where do you turn?

The storms of life

Hi Everyone;

In my devotions this morning, I read, “The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” Psalm 145:18 And that got me thinking.

What do I do, when the storms of life hit…you know, the really bad stuff, like sickness that just won’t go away, like a cancer, it just hangs on – ruining your life. Or the death of the person that means the most to you or the loss of the job that has brought meaning to your life. Or the storms that catch you in the middle of a lake, with no place to land- temporary but terrifying. Disasters!! What do I do? Cry, get angry, turn so moody that no one can help me or calmly face them?

Well, I can tell you one thing. I couldn’t possibly face the disasters of this life, without God. He has promised in the verse above to be always near to those who call upon Him. Ah…that’s the key. He never leaves me, nor forsakes me, but I leave Him. When times are good, when I’m paddling in calm waters, I tend to forget the God who got me there- who was with me all the way. I pat myself on the back and offer inward congratulations for a job well done. How foolish I am.

Ah…but when disaster strikes, I run crying to God for help. And He does! Oh, He doesn’t always lift me from the pit that I dug, then fell into, nor does He always cure my health issues nor bring back the person I love. But, He always brings me peace…in the presence of trouble, that sustains me and helps me to go on. So next time the storms of life descend upon you…call, call, call upon Him, while He is near (Isaiah 55:6), because we know that He always hears us.

“God is our refuge and our strength,

an ever-present help in trouble…

therefore, I will not fear,

though the earth gives way

and

the mountain falls into the heart of the sea.”

Psalm 46:1,2

The calm following the storm…Peace.

Until next time, Lynn

Disasters, bring about change

Disasters, bring about change

Hi Everyone;

I went out a few mornings ago for my regular early morning prayer walk and as I walked I noticed these two trees, growing side by side along my path. I pondered why one tree was tall and straight while the tree right next two it was twisted and misshapen.

Both trees were reaching up to the sky for light, both were fairly tall, both were deep rooted and strong, yet something had obviously happened to the twisted tree to make it take a different route to reach the sky. But what?? Well, I suppose I will never know…but it got me thinking about life.

No two people travel exactly the same path in life. Each of us have events in our lives that change us. Sometimes wonderful events, like love and marriage or amazing accomplishments at school or work or sometimes disasters…troubles.  Sometimes events are by choice and sometimes they just happen to us (or seem to), but whatever the cause, these moments in life shape us…like this tree was shaped.

God says in His Word, that He is “in” the events of our lives and that He uses these events for good, for those who love Him. Romans 8:28. Hmmm, all events? Yep, that’s what He says. Lots of us have gone through catastrophic, even ugly events in life, surely God doesn’t mean those? I think that He does. He knows the beginning of our stories and the end and everything in between. He sees what we do not see and asks us to trust Him to carry us through the nasties of life…will you trust Him? I do.

See you next time, Lynn

Who is your friend?

 

Hi Everyone;

Today, I want to consider friends. In particular, the friends that we can go to when disaster strikes. My husband, Bob is my best friend. Throughout our 48 years of marriage, we have had tons of adventures…some fun, some really scary. He’s the one person that I would call…go running to when disaster strikes.

Who is the first person that you would call?  Your parents, your siblings, your neighbour, your donkey (cat, dog or guinea pig)? Who?

In my latest story, “Disaster! Around the Bend”, I tell the tale of a young girl, whose best friend, her most important confidant is a pet donkey. She would tell all her deepest secrets, her wildest ideas, her saddest events to him, first. Why? Well, because he has all the qualities of a great friend…he is a great listener, he accepts her as she is, he is always available, he never betrays her trust, he never shows disapproval and he never scolds her- likely because, as a donkey, he can’t really speak. I have a dog that I, also talk to; who has the very same characteristics as this donkey, and I can assure you that he doesn’t always give me good advise (not in words, but in looks and actions).Like when I’m a little turned around (aka- lost) in the bush and I ask him to show me the way home. More often than not, he leads me astray, following some rabbit trail…totally unhelpful in getting home. And while, he doesn’t exactly talk, the looks he gives me, clearly proclaim, that if I am dumb enough to follow him, surely I deserved to be more lost than I was to begin with! A prime example of the necessity of choosing better friends!

Yet, while it might seem perfect to have a critter or a friend that wouldn’t voice their opinion of our actions, I think that most of us value friends, whose opinions are based on love and respect, who are there to help us sort out / live through our disasters. Like I appreciate, Bob’s wise counsel…even though it might make me feel uncomfortable at the time. I know, that his words come from love…from a desire to help me.

Well, the Bible tells us that God is an even better friend, than my husband or my dog…He is the perfect friend. He is all knowing, all wise, mighty in power, all loving, all caring and always available. While He doesn’t always choose to remove my disasters, because my disasters help me to grow, He does promise to be with me, always. An ever present help in trouble. He’s the best friend that I have. He loves me and you beyond understanding.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

John 15:13

Now…that’s a friend! Tap into that friendship, today…don’t wait for the disasters of tomorrow.

Until next time…Lynn

Yikes ! What a disaster!

Hi Everyone;

Today, I am going to start a new series of blogs about the unpredictable things that happen in life. You know…the car won’t start, you miss the bus, you wait until the very last minute to get a work assignment done and the computer fails-leaving your work stuck inside or you perhaps, go over a falls. Ya, those regular everyday, ordinary DISASTERS!!!  But it doesn’t matter how big or small they are, a disaster is a personal catastrophe- something impactful to you. So, how do you face the disasters in your life? Do you run away screaming or do you calmly accept them?

As a Christian I am supposed to accept and even “count it all joy,” when these trials of life occur. That’s pretty hard to do…impossible, I would say, without the Lord. But that’s just the point, isn’t it? It seems that it takes the disasters in my life for me to realize that I just can’t cruise through this life without God-at some point I am bound to discover that I need His power, wisdom and strength to make it. We all do. There is no one strong enough to meet all the trials of life, alone.

Psalm 46: 1,2 says, ” God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble, therefore I will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountain falls into the heart of the sea.”

The psalmist is not talking about any lightweight disaster here, he is talking about an earth shattering occurrence, yet we are told not to fear. Why? Because God is our refuge and our strength. Believe it and apply it by faith to your next…Disaster!

See you next time

Lynn

 

How to be Super…I do it myself!

Hi Everyone

Life is a journey. From beginning to end…it is filled with the delights of discovery and the drudge of disasters. All of us experience good and bad during the course of our journeys. Most of my books look at the adventures of my life, in an attempt to discover the lessons…lessons that have helped me to grow. And growth…spiritual growth is the purpose of events both good and bad in our lives. God uses these times to change us…to make us into the Super people He has designed us to be!

Today I am going to continue the road to discovery of what it means to be “Super” according to God. We are told in the Bible that God created each of us for a special purpose that He designed for us before the earth was created (Eph2:10). In fact Ephesians 1 also tells us that as believers we were chosen before the creation of the world…that means chosen before we had a chance to do anything…nothing that would prove that we were worthy of being called Super. Well, that thought blows me away, since by nature I am an eager, beaver, over achiever- but apparently it is not the daily things that I do that make me Super in God’s eyes! That puts God firmly in control…not me…how humbling!

Over the next few blogs I am going to share one particular story with you…a crucial part of my journey, that really caused me to change my view of God.

This journey began with having to learn who God really is. What is your view of God? This is an important question to ask yourself because it will impact your reaction to events in your life. Do you view God as all -powerful, all- knowing, the designer, Holy and inerrant, but also all-interested in us as individuals…as Love itself? Or as your personal slave?

If your view of God is that He is in charge…He’s the boss, then when troubles come you will pray, believing that He is working out the situation for a good purpose…His purpose. (Romans 5:3-6, Romans 8:28-30))

The problems that God allows in our lives give us the opportunity to be patient, which develops strength of character. We need to learn to trust God…until our faith is strong.

Real Faith brings practical results…it brings Real Peace, because we know, really know that God is in charge of everything and is working out everything for a good purpose.

Our pathway to this type of Real Faith is our journey through life’s difficulties and trouble.

One of the pathways to this discovery for me, was having to move from Manitowaning to Massey…join me on the journey… I entitile this story,                   “I do it myself”,  because that was the way I approached this journey…I was in charge of this change…little did I know, how wrong I was!

 I do it Myself!

At the time of this story I lived on Maple Grove Farm in Manitowaning, on Manitoulin Island with my husband Bob and three children…RandiLynn-14, Joan-13, and Bill-9

It was a lovely farm, with lots of room for the kids and animals…where we had friends, and good fellowship but where there was very little work as a pharmacist. Unfortunately, I had to work…full time in order to keep the creditors away!! Over the years, Bob and I had accumulated quite a bit of debt, starting with student loans for university, then endless loans and mortgages accumulated from the necessity of moving for work 4 times following graduation! Anyway the bottom line was…we both had to work full time! But on Manitoulin…at that time, there was no full time work for me, only for Bob. We tried everything we could to make full time work out of part time positions, but they all involved lots of travel and no sure pay cheque.

So in the fall of 1996…we prayed! Prayed for work and for help with the debt, which we finally admitted was a problem! And God answered our prayer with a job offer!  It was a great offer…great wage, full time managing a store, benefits, Monday – Friday work…no nights, no weekends!  Perfect for the family! There was just one small problem…it was in Elliot Lake…200 km away!

We discussed the job with the family and prayed again, for clarity.

But this is where my problem really began…you see in my mind I felt that if God had given me this great job, then He was going to solve all the seemingly huge issues involved in taking this job and He would do it NOW! (because I wanted Him to…since I was in control)

NO ONE ELSE in the family wanted to move…but they grudgingly accepted the need for it and unhappily agreed!

I took the job!

I was elated, I was excited, I was expectant of a quick answer to my prayers…I was in for a BIG shock…because God does not work in our timing, but His!

My view of God was that He was…My personal Genie in the Lamp…I rubbed and poof…He performed!. This was the time in my life to learn a valuable lesson…that God sometimes says NO,  in answer to my prayers!

Ponder that thought, then join me next time to find out how I responded to this new revelation.  So long for now.

Lynn

 

We were made to be “special”…is that the same as Super???

 

 

Hi Everyone;

I bet you thought that I had given up on blogging….since I haven’t written anything for over a month! No excuses will suffice, except that I didn’t seem to have the time to sit down and…think! But, that time is over and I am back at it again! So here goes…

When I last blogged in December I was pondering the topic of being Super. I mentioned that in my life every time I began to think that I was Super it lead to disaster in one form or another! So is there a problem with being Super…or just a problem with my definition of Super? That lead me to check to see if the Bible says anything about being Super and to my surprise it does….well sort of!

The Bible tells us that each of us is Special…designed by God Himself to do a job for Him…especially selected just for us! (Ephesians 2:10) Well…if that’s not Super…I don’t know what is!

The trouble is that we don’t cling close enough to God or dig enough into His Word to find out what that Special Job is. We define our sence of “special” by the world’s standard and that doesn’t usually match the standard set by God. That was Scruffy’s problem, he felt that in order to prove his worth that he had to show-off…to hop higher, fly further, protect better than anyone else around him…but that wasn’t the right way to be Superspecial.  Nellie (his mom) told this story to give an example of being Super in action…

“Scruffy lay dejectedly in his pen, all alone, afraid to face anyone. Nellie knew that he was sad, so she snuggled close. After a while she spoke, “Scruffy, don’t be so hard on yourself…we all make mistakes, but these mistakes help us to grow…they build character. Never doubt that the Maker has made you special, perhaps not to be the SuperScruff that you wanted to be, but Super enough to do the job that He put you here to do.”…”The Maker’s idea of being Super is not the same as yours, so perhaps you should rethink what it means to be Super. He says that to be Super in His kingdom you have to be the servant of all…you have to be willing sacrifice yourself for others. Your type of Super was to be a show-off just to make yourself look better than others…do you see the difference? she bleated.  Hmmm, let me think of an example….Do you remeber seeing the pond at the end of the pasture?”

“Yes…the Scruffkids and I almost fell in when we slid down the slippery bank while checking it out.”

“Well you weren’t the only curious ones! All of the piglets checked it out, too, but with their pudgy little legs they weren’t able to stop themselves from sliding into the water. And they weren’t made for swimming.”

“What happened, Mom!”

“Well, Billyboy heard them squealing and so he yelled for Papa to come quickly and then dove into the pond to rescue them. Between the two of them, they managed to pull all of the piglets safely out of the water! Nellie exclaimed. ”

Nellie goes on to tell Scruffy that Billyboy didn’t bother telling anyone about this escapade, he just carried on with his other chores, despite the fact that he was a hero.

That story introduces the topic of what makes a person special. We know that scripture tells us that each of us is special and has a special purpose…but not all are called to do the same job…to be special in the same way…some may be quiet heros, like Billyboy, others will do seemingly inconsequential tasks that make a big impact, for God.  In the next few blogs I will share some real life stories of people showing how special they are…how they were  sometimes “shaped” by adversity for a task that our Maker had designed for them….stay tuned.

See you next time

Lynn

P.S. I would love to hear your stories…How has God impacted your life…How have you been used for His purposes and tell me if I can share it with other…send me an email …plynnhalliday@gmail.com