Don’t Judge a Plan by Its Cover

by Alice Murray @Dawgatty 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29.11 (NIV)

The small green lizard perched on the top of a picture frame on my office window ledge. His gaze was focused outside where bushes, trees, and grass beckoned to him. The poor creature had been camping out in my office for a few days. I had originally spotted him on top of my filing cabinet, but he had disappeared behind my computer desk without reappearing until now. His little had was cocked to the side as if he was thinking, “I can see where I want to be, but how do I get there?” The lizard’s plight touched my heart, so I resolved to set him free from his office prison.

Cautiously I approached the window and picked up a glass bowl beside the picture frame on which the small creature was sitting. I gently moved the picture frame to knock the lizard down to the ledge where I could trap him under the bowl and take him outside to freedom. My efforts terrified him. His tiny clawed feet skittered around the ledge as he attempted to avoid the large glass object coming down on top of him. Once trapped underneath the bowl, he ran around the edge of the bowl looking for an escape. Gently, I slid a clipboard under the bowl and carried the trapped lizard out the front door of the office where I set him free in the big outdoors he had longingly gazed at out my window.

The poor lizard just did not get it. If he looked up at me as the bowl was descending over him, he saw only a giant bent on doing him harm. But my trapping him did not spell the lizard’s doom. It may not have been pleasant to be under a bowl for a brief time, but his capture allowed the lizard to achieve his greatest dream—to be outside where he was meant to be.

Aren’t we like that poor little lizard? Sometimes God has great things in store for us right up ahead, but we cannot see beyond our difficult circumstances–the scary glass bowl descending from above.

Earlier in my life, I lost a job I really needed to support my family. But because I was trapped in that difficult position, I sought and began the job of my dreams. Once I looked past the descending glass bowl of my job loss, I recognized that the giant placing the bowl over me was my loving Heavenly Father. That bowl was a part of His plan to put me in the position to give me a wonderful future, i.e., a job I longed to have.

Humans tend to focus on the cover of their current circumstances. We need to move beyond that cover and look into the Good Book itself. It assures us that our Heavenly Father is in control and has a plan. He is not bent on doing us harm; He only wants to give us hope and a future even if we cannot see that blessing beyond the glass bowl of our current situation.

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Don’t Judge a Plan by Its Cover – Alice H. Murray, @Dawgatty, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

alice murrayAbout the author: Alice H. Murray is a Florida adoption attorney by profession and a writer by passion. Alice writes a weekly blog at www.aliceinwonderingland.wordpress.com, is a staff writer for www.adoption.com, has had her work appear in the compilation Short And Sweet book series (available on www.amazon.com), and has been published in a Chicken Soup book. In her “spare” time, Alice volunteer teaches ESL as a church outreach ministry.

Join the conversation: Has there been a time in your life when you could not see past your circumstances? How did God work things out for you?

Am I A Spitting Image?

by Alice H. Murray @dawgatty

The one who looks at me is seeing the one who sent me. John 12:45 (NIV)

One of the faculty members at a writer’s retreat I was attending caught my attention. She seemed very familiar. I had never met her before yet she reminded me of someone. But whom? Finally the answer popped up in my mind. This woman was the spitting image of the talented and famous actress Angela Lansbury. Later that day I encountered this faculty member at dinner. I proudly informed her that I thought she looked just like Angela Lansbury. Her response? She laughed, shook her head, and replied, “Everyone tells me that!”

It is not unusual for a person to remind you of someone else either by his looks, his mannerisms, or his actions. But of whom do YOU remind others? Christians are Christ’s living representatives here on earth. In that capacity, do we bring Jesus to mind to those around us?

Jesus directed His followers to go out into the world to spread the good news. While telling others about Jesus is important, we must remember that our words are not our only witness; our actions often speak louder than our words do. In fact, more people are likely to witness our actions than those to whom we may have a chance to witness in words.

The good news of the gospel is most effectively conveyed when non-believers can see the essence of Christ our behavior. As John states in 1 John 2:6, “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (NASB). We reveal Him in our daily actions and attitudes.

What do non-believers see in us? Do they see Jesus when we are impatient and snap at co-workers or family members? When we turn a blind eye to those in need? When we act in self-centered ways, rather than with compassion? If non-Christians are not familiar with Jesus based on the time they have spent with us, then we have failed in our mission as His image bearers.

Those in the world today cannot see Christ in the flesh; but they can see Christ in us. So we are called to evoke His image with our words, attitudes, and actions. Jesus was loving, so we need to be loving. Jesus cared about people marginalized by society, so we must be concerned about them. Jesus had a servant heart, so we must live with a servant attitude.

As Christians, our goal is to be the spitting image of our Savior. How wonderful it would be to be told that we remind someone of Jesus, and we could reply, “Everybody tells me that!”

TWEETABLE
“Those in the world today cannot see Christ in the flesh; but they can see Christ in us.” Alice H Murray @dogatty on @Arisedailydevo (Click to Tweet)

alice murray.JPGAbout the author: Alice H. Murray is a Florida adoption attorney by profession and a writer by passion. Alice writes a weekly blog at www.aliceinwonderingland.wordpress.com, is a staff writer for www.adoption.com, and has had three pieces published in the compilation work Short And Sweet book series (available on www.amazon.com). In her “spare” time, Alice teaches ESL on a volunteer basis as a church outreach ministry.

Join the conversation: How have you seen Jesus in others?

Order in the Cosmos

by Alice H. Murray @dawgatty

And God said, ‘Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. Gen. 1:3-4 (NIV)

My clients looked around in awe at the courtroom which we had just entered. Their eyes moved about taking in the impressive architecture and the imposing elevated bench where the judge would soon be sitting. The bailiff, a gun visible in his holster, stood guard near the door through which the judge would enter the courtroom. A large American flag flanked the judge’s bench. But what ultimately drew and held the clients’ attention was a piece of wood on the judge’s desk. It was a gavel. This relatively small object, when wielded by the judge, held the power to bring order in the court—to those before him who heard its pounding.

God, the ultimate judge, is a God of order. He does not use a gavel to effect order; His words suffice. In the beginning He spoke to bring order to a formless Earth. His words created light and then separated light and darkness. God saw that this order was good.

Order is good not only for the physical world but also in human lives. God can bring order to each of our lives in the same way He brought order to the universe. He utilizes His word to separate the darkness, our sin, from us. He sent the Word, His son Jesus, to provide light in our lives. But unless we hear His words and accept His living Word (Jesus) who is the Light of the world, order will not be attained.

One must enter the judge’s courtroom to experience the order imposed by the pounding of the judge’s gavel. Similarly, we will not receive the benefit of the order God can create and which He desires for our lives if we do not bring ourselves into His presence. We do not have to enter a courtroom for a scheduled hearing to come before God; we can read His word and connect with Him through prayer in the Word’s name at any place and time.

As there is order in the cosmos and in the courtroom, let there be order in your life. Place yourself before the ultimate Judge today so that the power of His word may rid your life of darkness and fill it with His light. His desire for us is that our lives be characterized by order and good.

TWEETABLE
Order in the Cosmos – Alice H Murray, @DawGatty, on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

alice murray.JPGAbout the author: Alice H. Murray is a Florida adoption attorney by profession and a writer by passion. Alice writes a weekly blog at www.aliceinwonderingland.wordpress.com, is a staff writer for www.adoption.com, and has had three pieces published in the compilation work Short And Sweet book series (available on www.amazon.com). In her “spare” time, Alice teaches ESL on a volunteer basis as a church outreach ministry.

Join the conversation: Has God transformed your chaos into order?

 

 

 

 

Father Knows Best

by Alice H. Murray

“You need to take me to the doctor so he can take my cast off,” my young grandson announced to my daughter one afternoon as the three of us sat in the car together. Liam explained that his broken fingers were better after being in a cast for a week. To his dismay, Liam’s mother responded that he had to wear the cast for two more weeks so that his fingers could completely heal.

Having taken Liam to the playground earlier that day, I knew he was not concerned at all about the complete healing of his fingers. Liam’s focus was on the difficulty of using playground equipment; he could not manage the monkey bars without the use of both arms. Liam wanted to be able to play on the monkey bars now, not a couple of weeks from now when his fingers would be fully healed.

This incident may have given us a chuckle, but as God’s children, we often behave in the same way. “God,” we say, “you need to remove this difficult situation I am facing. I have persevered and am spiritually stronger. I am ready for it to be over now.”

But God sometimes shakes His head and responds “no.” In His infinite wisdom, He knows more time is needed for our transformation before the cast of trying circumstances is removed.

Like Liam, we need to develop patience and learn to trust God’s decisions about our circumstances. In Liam’s case, the decision-making parent was his loving mother; for Christians, that parent is our loving Heavenly Father. The best interest of His child is His ultimate concern. And that concern is the basis for Hi response to His child’s request.

As God’s children, unfortunately, we often cannot see beyond our current comfort. We simply want to run around unimpeded on the playground of our lives now, not later, just like Liam. But if our Heavenly Father says “no” to our request for relief, as my daughter did with her son, we can trust it is because He knows what is best for His child. And as hard as it is to wait, we can be confident He is telling us “no” because He loves us.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8 (NIV)

alice murray.JPGAbout the author: Alice H. Murray is a Florida adoption attorney by profession and a writer by passion. Alice writes a weekly blog at www.aliceinwonderingland.wordpress.com, is a staff writer for www.adoption.com, and has had three pieces published in the compilation work Short And Sweet book series (available on www.amazon.com). In her “spare” time, Alice teaches ESL on a volunteer basis as a church outreach ministry.

Join the conversation: When has God made you wait? Were you able to see your resulting growth after the trial was over?

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash