God’s Retirement Plan

I don’t know why God’s plans still surprise me. Perhaps it is because I am so pleased that He is willing to use me. After years of walking with the Lord and watching Him work in my own life as well as the lives of friends and family I should no longer be amazed by the details of how God works His plan out in our lives. I have watched Him provide the exact amount of money to handle a need too many times to keep track of. I remember one instance years ago when a lady in my church called and asked me to stop by her home. She had a check for me for the exact amount needed to handle some dental work for my husband. She said she knew that it had to be for a specific need because the Lord had given her a very specific amount.

Shortly after retiring while I was seeking what the Lord had for me to do in retirement, I saw information in our Women’s Ministry newsletter about a short term mission team that our Women’s Ministry leadership wanted to form, and they were looking for someone to coordinate this new area of ministry. When I read the article it was almost as if the information jumped off the page! I have felt led to do mission work for quite some time, but it was as if God sent me a personal letter inviting me to work in this new area of ministry for our church. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

God is truly the one who initiates our plans as well as the one who provides what we need to carry out those plans. All we have to do is be tuned in to His voice, follow His lead, and He will do the rest! I challenge you to begin God's plan for retirementliving a life that centers on doing God’s will, and then just sit back and watch Him work. It is truly marvelous to be able to be in on what God is doing, and I am ever grateful to Him for allowing me to that opportunity to serve Him.

About the Writer:
Anna Schaefer leads the W.E. C.A.R.E. team for the Women’s Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a widow, a mom, a grandmother and grateful to the Lord for giving her opportunities to share with other women in several ministries through First Baptist Dallas.

The Plan of God

Having grown up in small towns, I’m intimidated by big city streets and freeways. So many traffic signs everywhere! Look out for “One Way,” or more importantly “Wrong Way,” “Yield,” and “Maximum Speed Limit.”   I’m definitely not aSigns fan of “Detour” and “Road Work Ahead,” but I do realize they are a necessary part of the street designer’s plan.

God, the grand designer, also has a plan. He has revealed much about it with “road signs” throughout Scripture. Even then, a lot is beyond our understanding. God himself said, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts”  (Isaiah 55:9).

Job realized that after struggling to understand his own tragedies: “I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know” (Job 42:3). The Apostle Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 13, “For (now) we know in part…we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.”

What we can understand is that God’s plan was to create people for fellowship with Him. It hasn’t totally worked out that way yet, mainly because God permitted Satan to infiltrate this world and mess up things. While it might not always seem so, God assures us He is – and has always been – in control. In fact, His Plan was put in place “before the creation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20).

The best part of the Plan is that God would send “His Son to be the Savior of the World”(1 John 4:14). Again, Satan thought he stopped that on Good Friday, but everything went exactly as God planned. Like clockwork, and “according to the Scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3 & 4), Easter morning came.

God is in the driver’s seat. Only He knows the complete Plan, but we know it includes a fabulous Ever After —  we will live with Him and He with us (Revelation 21:3). He says, “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — these are the things God has prepared for those who love him! (1 Corinthians 2:9).

In our daily travel along the way, we enjoy the “Scenic Views” and “Rest Stops,” but we wonder about the pot holes and “Uneven Lanes.” Wrecks, disasters, and persecution leave us shaken and questioning. We wonder how bad things can be a part of God’s Plan. God comforts us saying, “I am with you always, and nothing can separate you from My love” (Matthew 28:20 and Romans 8:38-19). “In this world you will have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world”  (John 16:33).

God has a plan, He’s got it all under control, including you — so …

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:5 & 6

About the Writer:
Ruthe Turner is delighted that God’s plan for her life included serving Him through the ministry of Truett Memorial Library at First Baptist Dallas

Sit and Smile

Are you one of those people who thrives on working towards and accomplishing goals? Do you find it hard to sit down until a task is done? I am. With a young child I am starting to see that not everything that I value as important really is. In my life of independence I could spend as much time as I deemed necessary to finish a task, crossing all the t’s and dotting all the i’s. Now, as I wash dishes and look wistfully at some space that I would love to be organized, I recall the Bible story of Mary and Martha. The value that Jesus placed on relationships over doing is convicting. Jesus’s words to the sister preoccupied with doing, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary…” remind me of what Jesus truly values: loving Him and loving others (Luke 10:38-42 & Matthew 22:36-39).

Honestly, it is still a practice for me to regard my place in the Kingdom of God as a quiet following of my Savior more than a loud declaration of intent. I must practice “being available” instead of desiring some presupposed results. ASit and Smileccomplishing a 5 year plan, no problem! The old me would boast in that. Putting others first in reverence and love for my Savior, that requires Holy Spirit power!

When I think about the plan of God for each of us (which actually I try to relinquish more than interpret), I am drawn to Proverbs 31:10-31. Even though I am somewhat relieved that the woman depicted is very purposeful and fruitful in her actions, what shouts out to me more than anything is from verse 25,

“And she smiles at the future…” Proverbs 31:25

Oftentimes in the midst of worrying about something getting done, the moments to follow become more anxious, more frustrated. I want to be the kind of woman that smiles even when I don’t know the results. I want to be the kind of woman that can laugh about the future while smiling at those God calls me to love. I want to be like Mary, who chose to prioritize Jesus’s plan for the evening because she knew He had everything else under control.

This my prayer is for all of us ladies who are in need of God’s grace: “Lord, help us to cast our cares on You, trusting that You care for us. Remind us that You are accomplishing Your plan as we follow Your ways. Send Your promised peace in the midst of our daily battles so that we can spend the next moment sharing and showering love on those around us in worship to You.”

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

I Like Play-Doh®, but I Am Not the Potter!

It’s a rainy day, a day fit for remembering. I don’t know why, but colorful Play- Doh ® memories are rushing in and filling up my head! You know what I mean, don’t you—days around the kitchen table with fresh containers of colorful, sticky craft dough? On Play-Doh® days, lids are popped open, and hands roll and press, stretch and pull to make the pictures in little heads take shape in little hands. On these kinds of days when my three children were small, many times they called me to intervene—to take over the molding because their hands weren’t big enough. Things just weren’t taking shape the way they dreamed. It brought me great pleasure to take the clay into my hands and press until the finished product appeared before our eyes.Play-Doh

Right in the middle of all this remembering today, the Lord redirected my thoughts to see things clearly about His faithful, loving hands—hands so trustworthy to intervene! I have certainly called on Him to help. My hands just aren’t big enough to handle things. Wait! That is not a strong enough statement! My hands are not big enough, skilled enough, nor faithful enough to handle anything!

As mothers, we repeatedly find ourselves desperate for the Lord’s mercy and grace in our own lives and in the lives of our children. More than once we must cry out to our Father to intervene. Time and time again, we must surrender our children to His faithful care, His work, and His will. I confess that this has been a struggle for me. Though I trust the Lord with my life, I often find myself anxiously asking the Lord, “Pardon me, Lord, what are you doing in my child’s life?” I ask, knowing full well, He will answer by working in my heart. He, the Potter, presses me, the clay. He shapes and molds with precise tenderness. He is tireless, and He works on until finally, I am convicted and convinced that He always does what is best for His glory and for my good. And then, I am reminded once again, I can trust Him!

Play-DohIt is in these desperate moments that I know great comfort by the Spirit’s work in my mind and heart; furthermore, I can be fully assured of the Lord’s boundless, extravagant love for my children, and so can you. He is certainly trustworthy regarding those we love. The Lord is tender toward the desperate cry of a mother—it is her cry of surrender, and it is proof that her faith is in Him alone and not in herself.

“. . . Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand . . .”
Jeremiah 18:6

“But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father,
We are the clay, and Thou our potter;
And all of us are the work of Thy hand.”
Isaiah 64:8

About the Writer:
God’s grace has proven sufficient in Cindy’s life over and over again, and she loves sharing His truths! She is a daughter, wife, mother, and grandmother who enjoys travel, flowers, fresh herb and vegetable gardens, compelling books, a cup of robust coffee, a pot of tea and warm scones, lively family meals, good cries, hearty laughs, and long walks with her husband, Doug.