Tuesday, October 9, 2012


“Coincidence is the word we use when we can't see the levers and pulleys.” Emma Bull

Two months ago, in Spokane, Washington, Haans Glassi was on a camping trip and decided to go wakeboarding. He was ready for the boat to pull him along the water, but as the boat sped away, he noticed that his hand was in a loop in the towline. He tried to free it, but didn’t get it out in time.

When he finally got his hand free, he said he didn’t feel much pain and was sure he was fine. However, when he looked at his hand he realized that something was very wrong. He was quoted as saying, “I pulled my hand out of the water and it had pretty much lopped off all four fingers, [there] was a lot of flesh and bone, not a lot of blood.”
He was taken to a hospital and has been in physical therapy twice a week since then. He still has half of his index and middle fingers and can grip most things. However, that is not the end of the story.

Last week, Mr. Glassi received a telephone call from the sheriff that he didn’t expect. The sheriff said that a fisherman was cleaning a trout he caught and found a finger inside. Investigators took a fingerprint and matched it to Mr. Glassi. The trout was caught eight miles from the site of the accident.

The sheriff asked if Mr. Glassi wanted his finger back, to which he replied, “uhhhh…no…I’m good.” However, the sheriff’s office is keeping the finger for a few weeks in case he changes his mind!

Think about all of the crazy things that led up to the “reuniting” of the man and his finger. The man lost four fingers in a lake. A fish ate the finger that was severed. It just happened that another man was fishing on the same lake and happened to catch, out of all the fish in the lake, the one with the finger inside. Then the man decided to eat the fish instead of throwing it back. As he was cleaning it, he happened to notice a finger. Instead of throwing it away, he calls the police. It just happened that the finger still had a fingerprint and they also “happened” to have the young man’s prints on file.

When it was time to pay the temple tax, the tax collectors came to Jesus’ disciples and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” They replied that he did and Peter went unto the house to talk to Jesus about it. Jesus told him to go fishing in the lake. Jesus said, “Throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us.” (Matthew 17:24-27)
Jesus did many astounding miracles. Some of them were so incredible that it boggled the mind. Over 10,000 people were fed with just a couple of fish and a few loaves. Jesus walked on the water. Lazarus was raised from the dead. All of these and many more defied the laws of nature.

However, there were also times that the miracle was not in the defiance of nature, but in the timing of the event. Just like the events leading up to Mr. Glassi being reunited with his finger, there was a miraculous string of events that led up to the coin being in the fish’s mouth.

Perhaps someone accidentally dropped a coin in the lake. (I have one friend who likes to believe that the person who dropped the coin had obtained it through deception or cheating!) It “happened” that a fish swallowed the coin. Then, the fish “happened” to be near the shore on the same day that the temple tax collector showed up. Peter, then, “happened” to drop the hook in the water at the same time the fish was near and the fish “happened” to take the bait.

The great thing about this account is that none of this was an accident or strange coincidence. It happened just as Jesus said it would, at the time Jesus promised. Remember, there are no coincidences with God. The things that happen to us do not just “happen.” They happen because God allowed it or caused it.
My prayer is that you will be able to praise God in the middle of whatever circumstances you are in, whether they seem very good or seem to be the end of the world. Trust God. Put your faith in the One who created you and knows what is best for you. Give your whole life, your whole agenda, your everything to Him and He will always lead you to righteousness.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Under Construction

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this: that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a thing created is loved before it exists.” Charles Dickens

Some men in a pickup truck drove into a lumberyard. One of the men walked in the office and said, "We need some four-by-twos."
The clerk asked, "You mean two-by-fours, don't you?"
The man said, "I'll go check," and went back to the truck.
He returned and said, "Yeah, I meant two-by-four."
"All right. How long do you need them?"
The customer paused for a minute and said, "I'd better go check."
After a while, the customer returned to the office and said, "A long time. We're gonna build a house."

Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is building our “house?” I not only talking about the “house” He is preparing for us in Heaven, that Jesus mentions in John 14. I’m also talking about the ongoing construction that is our Christian life.

There’s a song that we often hear children sing, called, “He’s Still Working On Me.” The lyrics are something that we all need to understand about the work God is doing in all of us. There really ought to be a sign upon the heart. Don't judge her yet, there's an unfinished part. But I'll be perfect just according to His plan, fashioned by the Master's loving hands He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be. It took Him just a week to make the moon and stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars. How loving and patient He must be. He's still working on me.”
I recently visited the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, NC. Billy's wife, Ruth, is buried there, in the prayer garden. Her marker is a simple stone, with a Chinese symbol on the top that means “Righteousness.” On the bottom the inscription reads, “End of construction-Thank you for your patience.” 

Ruth Graham understood what many of us need to learn. Our salvation is a one time event. It is not, in any way, earned by our efforts. However, God does not stop there. The work continues through our entire lives in this world. We are all under construction.

We will never be perfect while we live on Earth, but God certainly works in our lives to mold us and make us into His image daily. What we need to understand, is that God loves us, even though we are not perfect. We are His creation and He will continue working on us, to make us more like Him, until the day we are called home to be with Him. 

Remember, when you fail or feel as though you are not good enough for God, the person that you are now is not the finished product. You are still under construction. Allow God to lay the foundation in His Word and then build you up with His materials. Only then will you be able to say at the end of your life, “End of construction-Thank you for your patience.”

And now I entrust you to God and the Word of his Grace — His message
that is able to build you up and give you an inheritance with all those He
has set apart for Himself. (Acts 20:32)