When God Winks

Wafts of fried chicken wet our appetites as we back our boat away from the dock. Can’t beat this weather, I think as I determine to make the most of our last family outing before our oldest son returns to college for his summer session.

This boat might be old, but it still has kick. The wind cools our skin as we zip across the lake to our own quiet cove, tucked away from other boaters. Eric, my husband, kills the engine and we dive into the bucket of chicken while taking in the blue sky and surrounding pine covered mountains. With three teenagers, it doesn’t take long to clean out our lunch.

“Who’s up for wakeboarding?” Eric asks as he turns the key.

Silence. Not from our kids – from our boat engine!

Maybe he needs to push the button on the throttle first? He tries a second time . . . and a third . . . still nothing, not even a click from the starter.  

Handing the oars to the boys and pointing, Eric lays out the plan: “We need to get past that point so we can flag down a boater for help.” The boys are good sports as they start to row. But we’re not the only ones enjoying the water today. Persistent boat waves from many boats on the lake prove to be a daunting challenge with our heavy boat. None of us voiced what we all knew to be true. It would take at least a couple of hours before anybody would see our dilemma because the closest boat is not very close.

“Maybe we should pray,” I offer. We bow our heads. “Lord, please bring another boater and/or a sheriff soon who can help us get back to the loading dock.”

I kid you not, maybe three or four minutes pass before a fishing boat rounds the corner. I signal them with our orange flag. “They’re heading our way!”

“We see you!” A lady yells. It’s not long before the boat with two couples are within 20 feet.

“How’s the fishing?” I ask, my attempt at small talk.

“It’s been great . . . catching lots of Kokanee,” the lady answers.

“Looks like you need a tow. Do you have a rope we can use?” The dark haired man (I’ll call Nick) asks. Well aware of disrupting their fishing, none of us were about to object to receiving a tow. So Eric throws him our rope as Nick assesses our boat. He secures one end of the rope to their boat. Without hesitation, he dives into the water and ties the other end to the lower tow hook on the bow of our boat. And without much more verbal exchange aside from saying “thank you so much”, we gratefully accept their help.

Back at the main dock, Nick declines our offer to pay him something, but tells us to repay the favor to the next person who needs a helping hand. I tell him that he and his friends are a speedy answer to our prayer— which was that God would send a boater and/or a sheriff.

“Well, I am a deputy sheriff in another county” he says with a big grin.

I think God must have been smiling, perhaps winking too. Not only did He remind us that He is closer to us than our heartbeats, but He also cares about every little detail of our lives. He may not answer every prayer that quickly. But He certainly hears our prayers and savors the time and attention we give Him.

Nick and his friends could have ignored us and kept on fishing. But instead, they dropped what they were doing, and helped us out. What an example and huge blessing! My challenge to myself, my family, and to you Dear Reader, is to be watchful and intentional on how we might bless others. Have a wonderful week!

Unique Opportunity: Reach North Korea With the Gospel

We starve, but it’s not food we want. We thirst, but not for water. We are sick and have no medicine but we know that only the Gospel can heal our people.”

With tears in her eyes, this is what one woman told FEBC President, Ed Cannon, from his recent travel to Asia to meet with a group of North Korean refugees.

Who is FEBC? Far East Broadcasting Company is an interdenominational ministry whose sole purpose is to share the Good News to the world through radio, the Internet, and emerging technologies. FEBC seeks to cooperate with and support existing missionary efforts and the ministry of the greater body of Christ worldwide, based on a common belief in the Bible as the infallible, authoritative Word of God.

What is the one message FEBC proclaims? “The truth of salvation through Jesus Christ.”

Where does FEBC minister? For 73 years, FEBC has been committed to reaching people in the most unreached places on earth. The 10-40 Window, a geographic area between lines of latitude 40 degrees and 10 degrees north of the equator, hosts 69 nations containing 4.65 billion people. This is where 90% of the world’s poorest people live; 95% of these people are unevangelized. The Christian minorities here are often heavily persecuted for their faith.

FEBC is committed to seizing the moment by boldly positioning all of their resources for God. Their broadcasts are heard in 113 languages and 49 countries around the world aired from 149 stations and transmitters, totaling 842 hours of programming a day/365 days a year. Last year alone, 2.6 million responses to the Gospel were made in response to their ministry. While these numbers are impressive stats, the reality is that these people are being transformed because of the hope they now have through Jesus Christ.

And now God has uniquely positioned FEBC to broadcast the Good News into one of the darkest, most hopeless place in the world: North Korea. President Ed Cannon writes: “With the help of friends like you, we are dramatically expanding our ministry through a powerful new radio tower in South Korea that will blanket the entire country of North Korea with the Gospel!”

The cost estimate of this radio tower is $320,000. Would you pray for this endeavor as well as prayerfully consider giving to this ministry? You may check out their ministry at their website: FEBC. Here is a link to donate toward the radio tower in North Korea: https://www.febc.org/north-korea. Thank you for your consideration!

Trusting God

Spinning around and around, Annie, my daughter, and her friends whooped and hollered as I pushed the merry-go-round faster and faster. The fun and excitement would squelch any apprehension some of the girls had due to their first sleepover. It was my daughter’s ninth birthday. This would be her best party yet! Pizza and an outdoor movie would come next before camping under the stars in our backyard.

But as the spinning came to a halt, so did the girls’ smiles. Sadie was the first to speak. “I think I’m going to puke!”

One by one, the girls slumped down on the ground before coming to a unanimous decision. “Could you please take us home?”

What choice did I have? I’d be known as the barbaric mom by insisting they stay the course. I was sure the girls viewed me as a monster mom as they silently crawl back into our van. I did my best to mentally assimilate my words to their parents for the change of plans while hoping these pale-faced friends’ stomachs would settle soon.

While Annie and her friends laugh about that evening now, it was no laughing matter at the time!

All of us experience daily change of plans that stretch the most patient among us. But what about the big surprises that jolt our world? The unexpected diagnosis from the doctor, an unforeseen emergency, a financial crisis . . . the list goes on.

The temptation is to analyze the problem from every angle until we come up with a plausible solution. But what about the times when our circumstances spin out of control, making the bravest of us weak-kneed, sick to our stomachs and gasping for air?

Not to diminish problem-solving, or simplify the stress, pain, or need for support from others, but I believe the first step should be going to God in prayer. Because He is all-powerful, all-sufficient, and loves us more than we can imagine, we can lean in and put our full weight of trust on Him.

The following Bible verses are a few of my favorite passages that speak of the benefits of trusting God.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” 1 Peter 5:6-7.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go,” Joshua 1:9

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you,” Psalm 9:10.

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you,” Psalm 84:11-12.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight,” Proverbs 3:5-6.

Do you have a favorite verse about trusting God, or experienced a time God helped you through a crisis?

Israel’s Deliverance, Exodus 14:10-31

Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.’” – Exodus 14:13-14

You may read Exodus 14:10-31 here: Bible Gateway.

Perhaps this is the first instance of the Israelites’ bitter grumbling as they accuse Moses of bringing them out of Egypt only to die in the desert. I wonder if the Israelites’ cries were louder than the pounding hoofs of the Egyptians’ horses as the men swept in for the kill.

Moses, however, tries to assure them that God will deliver. But Moses’ words seem to fade in the dust as the Egyptians draw closer. So Moses does what any normal person would do—cry out to God.

Although this passage of Israel passing through the Red Sea is one of the most popular and dramatic events recorded in the Old Testament, the following verse stood out to me: “Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on . . . . ‘” (v. 15).

Why would God tell Moses to stop praying and get moving? Aren’t we suppose to seek God in everything? Especially in times of great stress and uncertainty?

I found The Life Application Study Bible commentary helpful (and convicting!): “Prayer must have a vital place in our lives, but there is also a place for action. Sometimes we know what to do, but we pray for more guidance as an excuse to postpone doing it. If we know what we should do, then it is time to get moving.”

Layman’s Bible Commentary writes: “Moses knows that God has guided the Israelites to this place—between the Red Sea and the Egyptians. The pillar has led them there (13:21-22; 14:19), and God has explained His plan to Moses—so that He could gain glory through Pharaoh and his army (14:1-4). Moses knew that God had promised to bring the Israelites into the land of Canaan, which was across and beyond the Red Sea (Genesis 15:13-21; Exodus 3:7-8; 16-17; 6:4; 12:25; 13:5). Moses also knew that God had given him power through the use of his staff.”

Well, you know the rest of the story: God delivers Israel—once for all—from Pharaoh’s dominion in dramatic fashion; the nation of Israel is birthed; and the destruction of the Egyptians in the Red Sea is God’s culminating act of divine judgment.

I love the animation and visual effects from the “Prince of Egypt” movie. Enjoy!

 

Paul’s Desire to Visit Rome, Romans 1:8-15

My family’s first boating trip this season gave us opportunity to try out our worn, but workable, canopy. Although it kept us from getting soaked by the onslaught of rain, it also blocked the mountainous scenery, which challenged our joy quota. But an hour later, when we docked for lunch, the grey clouds gave way to blue sky and sunshine. We felt rejuvenated! My kids, along with my husband, whooped and hollered while playing “King of the Dock” before tubing behind the boat.

- K.D. Manes

– K.D. Manes

Although the apostle Paul experienced dire circumstances with water (deadly storms and shipwrecks), Romans 1:8 suggests one source of his refreshment as he opens this section with thanksgiving and prayer for the reader.

I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world.”

What a great thing to be known for. These faith filled believers shined brightly amidst Rome’s darkened society. Although this Roman capital was artistic, literary, and wealthy, it also bore the stains of immorality and idolatry.

Why did Paul thank God through Jesus Christ?

The emphasis in verse 8 is on Christ being the only mediator between God and man (1Timothy 2:5).

  • Love and forgiveness flow from God to us through Christ.
  • Our thanks flow to the Father through Christ.
Paul’s Prayer and Desire to Visit Rome

The bulk of Paul’s prayer is in verses 10-15. He wanted to visit the Roman church to: 1) “impart a spiritual gift”—to mutually encourage and strengthen each other through their faith, and 2) help in the gospel harvest among the Gentiles as he had done elsewhere.

Paul obligated himself to teaching and proclaiming Christ his Savior as salvation to all.

Although Paul had prayed to visit Rome, his attempts were waylaid. When he finally did arrive, it was as a prisoner—slapped, shipwrecked, and bitten by a poisonous snake (Acts 28:16). God did, however, answer his request for a safe arrival.

Has God ever surprised you with His timing and/or answers to prayer?

He may answer our prayers in unexpected ways, but the One who reigns in power and wisdom is in control of our storms.

God is With  Us