God Orders Our Steps and Our Stops

Steps stopsI met a woman who lives not too far from me. As we began to become better acquainted, she spoke to me about being a part of a conference of which she was in charge. It seemed good to me, but I asked for a little time to pray about it.  Several days later,  I got back in contact with her, and the offer was off. She had found other speakers and no longer needed me. I could tell she was a bit miffed and felt I had waited too long, but nonetheless the “deal” was off.

I was a bit disappointed because I often travel far from home. Here was an opportunity to travel less than an hour away!

Shortly after that a group in North Carolina asked me if I would come be a part of their conference, and I accepted the invitation. It happened to be the same weekend as the one that did not work in Alabama.  It was only thirty miles from my son’s home, so my husband decided to go with me, and a wonderful thing happened. We, along with the other grandparents, all gathered in the sonogram room, to discover that a grandson was on the way. The smile on my son’s face, and the excitement in all of us was over the top!  We enjoyed a lunch together with lots of joy and laughter.

While I spoke at the conference, Gaylon spent the weekend with Bryan and Sarah. They shopped till they dropped and even bought a few baby gifts. It was a great weekend!

Two weeks later we received a call that Bryan had suddenly passed away, and was now a resident of heaven. One of the thoughts that came to me was gratitude that two weeks earlier we had a weekend with Bryan and Sarah. If I had spoken in Alabama, that weekend in North Carolina would have never happened. God knew we needed that final, happy memory of our son as he grinned about having his own son on the way.

Often our schedules get messed up, or our plans don’t work out the way we desire. I have learned that God is working in my behalf, and He controls my STEPS and my STOPS. I am so glad He does! I am so glad that my last memory of Bryan is with a big smile on his face.  I am so glad that I can tell Tucker how incredibly happy his dad was to see that ultrasound and find out he would have a son.

Trust God with the steps and stops. He won’t do you wrong!

“We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

Are Some Sins Greater Than Others?

sinsThere are many heated arguments these days as to whether all sins are equal. Too often the argument centers in on one area, or one person wants to dismiss the severity of the sin about which they are arguing.

God said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  In other words, if living like God desires is the target, then all of us miss the bull’s eye. There is no getting around that fact. Lying, stealing, cheating, sexual immorality, gossip and many others all miss the target. They are sin in God’s eyes.

One writer said, “Every sin is an act of rebellion against God. Any sin, no matter whether it is an angry thought or outright murder, is a declaration of independence from God, a means of saying, “I am going to do this my way instead of your way. I choose my will rather than your will.”

That is a great description of sin. Sin is sin. That is the truth!

It is also true that not all sin has the same consequences. For instance, stealing a candy bar from a store has consequences, but killing five people has greater consequences. There are consequences on the killer, the ones killed, all the families involved, etc. Lying to your boss about why you didn’t come to work misses the mark, and is sin in God’s eyes. There are consequences such as the company losing the hours of work, or the boss finding out and the employee losing his/her job. An adulterous affair can have more far-reaching consequences.  Sexual sin is missing the mark in God’s eyes, but sexual sins are also called a sin against one’s own body. They destroy marriages and families, leaving seeds of distrust and harm that can take years to overcome.

Even Jesus used a comparative in speaking of sin, “Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:11

Is all sin equal in God’s eyes? Yes and no. All sin is equal in causing us to be separated from God, but some sins are more significant because they bring about more serious consequences. There must be a word of caution here! The fact that some sins are judged to be more serious than others must not give us license to evaluate our actions on the basis of whether a certain act is a little sin or a big sin. We are commanded to live holy lives, lives that honor God. The Holy Spirit within us gives us the power to live overcoming lives.

“However, remember that whether our sins are relatively small or great, they will place us in hell apart from God’s grace. The Good News is that Jesus paid the penalty for our sins and the sins of the whole world at the cross. If we will repent and turn to Jesus in faith, our sins will be forgiven, and we will receive the gift of eternal life.” – Billy Graham

I’ve Fallen and I Can Get Up!

FalldownverseOften when I need to make phone calls, I will go for a long walk. This enables me to get a little exercise, and make the necessary phone calls. Now, come on, you know that’s smart!

Yesterday, I needed to make a couple of calls, and I knew they would be a little lengthy, so I set out on a walk that lasted forty-five minutes. As the call was coming to an end, I arrived at my house. I began to walk up and down the driveway until the call was finished.

At one point I was close to the shrubs around the front of my house, and I noticed a dead vine was wrapped around one of the bushes. I decided to stick my foot in the middle of the bushy vine and remove it.  As I jerked the vine with my foot, I found it to be stronger than anticipated. In a matter of seconds, I became entangled in the vine and fell hard to my concrete driveway. OUCH!

As I lay there for a moment, the pain was real and it was sharp. I have cuts and bruises to prove this!

Even though it was painful, I knew my only option was to rise up and walk again. There was nothing beneficial about staying down.

This is life, even for the believer. We walk with God. We move with God. We serve God. It’s a great walk, but inevitably there will be falls along the way. Those falls can bring so much pain.

Proverbs 24:16 is very clear: “For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again…” This verse tells us that believers are not untouched by the falls of life. Even God’s people will have times when they have problems, failures, disasters, and adversities. We know the pain of sickness, financial woes, broken relationships, loss and more.

If you are in the middle of a fall right now, don’t despair. There is hope! It’s easy to think, “I am done; it’s all over now.” That’s not true. You can’t see so clearly when you’re down on the ground wallowing in the dirt. But, child of God, you will rise up again. The second part of that verse is just as true as the first part! The whole verse is true … there will be times of trouble, but there is triumph in the midst of trouble!

Child of God, rise up! Don’t give up, and don’t give in. God is on your side, and He will give you the strength to walk again, live again and be fulfilled again.  Today, I rose up out of my bed and started walking again.   There’s a little pain in my walk, but this too shall pass.

Circumstances can’t keep God’s people down. As you go through the ups and downs of life, look for the power of God to meet you there. He will be close-by when you are down. He will give you strength to get back up. Yes, you will rise again!