On October 30, 2018 I will be a half-century old. Fifty years sounds like a long time, but it was only yesterday that I was playing with hoola-hoops and lemon twists, rubics cubes and spirographs.
But, each year I sum up all I have learned in ten statements. This is this year's summary:
1. God's will, done God's way, will never lack God's resources: When I thought I was going to lose everything, my faith saw me through.
2. God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called: When I applied at the age of fourty-nine to become a corrections officer, I felt so unqualified. God saw different.
3. God presents the opportunity, it is our decision whether or not to take it: Yes, He can snap a finger to fix all your problems, but if we don't want them fixed it will be for nothing. So, He presents us with opportunities with which we can fix our problems, and appreciate God's grace and mercy at the same time.
4. God's protection sometimes requires us to sacrifice: One morning I had to break a window to get to work. On the way to work, I realized I could have been killed if I'd left 10 minutes earlier, the time it took me to break into my car.
5. God may not remove a mountain, but He will help you climb it. He may not quench the fire, but He'll walk through it with you: My recent gallbladder problems made me realize that if God was not in my life and in control, I would not have had what I needed to get through it, so I could remain where He wanted me.
6. When you act as God's hands and feet, communication with God is so much more clear. When God tells me to do something to bless others, usually it's because he wants to show me something or teach me something. I always come away feeling more blessed, as if I had received a lot more than I gave.
7. God's tests lead to restoration AND renovation. Sometimes where you are leads through some tough times, where you think you are giving up what you have. But if you allow God to continue to lead and guide you, then all you have to leave behind is just in front of you, with a LOT more to enjoy! I had to give up my baby dogs a couple of years ago because I was not where God needed me to be at that time to care for them. It is my decisions to follow God's lead that brought them back to me in a place where they and I will never have to leave again.
8. Patience is, indeed, a virtue. I've asked God for a lot of things. Sometimes the answer is "No." Most of the time, the answer is "Not right now, and not that way." My things I'm asking God for a list has dwindled. Some things I received immediately. Some things I had to wait 5 years for. I wanted to buy my grandma's property and was heartbroken because I couldn't. But God gave me something else that was better and put me in a much better place then what I would have had if I had done that.
9. Being spiritual, and being religious are two different things. Doing things to make you look like a child of God doesn't make you a child of God. There is nothing you can do to earn salvation. It is a gift that is only valued by giving it away.
10. Jesus has many faces, but one heart and one spirit. He has many hands and feet. You don't go to church, you ARE the church. Sometimes you are the only Jesus someone else will ever see. Represent him well so they too can become Jesus for someone else.