Tidbits and Blessings Blog
by Jeanie Malone
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We all have divine appointments, whether we recognize them or not. I have briefly met a stranger in a public place, sometimes to chat briefly and end up holding hands and praying, and at other times, only our eyes met, and I was overcome with a heavenly chill and firm confirmation from God this person was praying for me.
These people have come and gone, often nameless to me, but certainly not unimportant. Sometimes the divine appointment is as an anonymous kind deed. Sometimes it’s an event where you are especially moved by a speaker. God loves us so much and shows up in so many ways to show us that He cares.
Recently, my husband and I attended a Christmas party with his former coworkers from a company that shut down a couple of years prior. A kind, small-framed, elderly man came and hugged me and took my hand and asked me by name how I was doing. I didn’t recognize this man but after learning his name quickly knew he was the prayer warrior praying specifically for me and my daughter when he worked with my husband.
I knew at that moment, his prayers for us had continued without pause, even without knowing any results of his prayers. Instantly, my mind went back to the toughest couple of years of my life when I felt that I was at the bottom of such a deep pit I could barely see light above.
I knew this man’s prayers were part of God’s plan to keep me holding on when I could do nothing more.
Just today a sister in Christ purse dialed me. When I called her back, she apologized but desperately needed a moment of stillness in prayer, so we prayed together. This was no accident her phone dialed me. It was a divine appointment and invitation to pray for her and with her.
With the account of Onesimus in the Bible, we could talk about the value of new beginnings or the significance of justice and equality, but we’re going to talk about the importance of divine appointments. Read about Onesimus in Philemon 1:1-25 and Colossians 4:9.
Onesimus was a slave to Philemon, who was a friend to the Apostle Paul. Philemon was a wealthy Christian leader who hosted house-church gatherings. Onesimus stole from him and hit the road to Rome. It was no coincidence that at the same time, Paul was under house arrest in Rome for preaching the gospel. Onesimus sought out Paul, the man whom he’d known to come preach at his master’s home in Colossae. Onesimus came to the saving grace of Jesus Christ and was a great help to Paul, so Paul sent Onesimus with Tychicus, along with a letter to the slave’s owner, imploring Philemon to forgive Onesimus and assuring him that Onesimus was living up to his name, which meant, “profitable, useful, helpful.”
Onesimus went from being a slave to being a thief and fugitive on the run to helping spread the gospel. God used unlikely circumstances to unite Paul and Onesimus and reunite Philemon with Onesimus later. Their meeting in Rome was certainly appointed by God for Onesimus to surrender his life to Christ, make honorable choices, and for him to be a help to Paul.
Another account of divine appointment is the account of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Read this account in Acts 8:26-40. Phillip obeyed the angel of the Lord when he was instructed to go a certain direction on a specific road. There he encountered a eunuch “of great authority under Candace, the queen of the Ethiopians” (Acts 8:27). The eunuch had come to Jerusalem to worship and was reading from the book of Isaiah when Phillip found him.
The eunuch was eager to understand what he was reading—what we have as Isaiah 53:7, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
Phillip explained the prophecy. The eunuch believed. They traveled a way together before coming to a body of water where the eunuch requested to be baptized. His faith lacked nothing! He was so happy to now understand, accept, and live the truth.
God didn’t keep the two together for a long period of time; Acts 8:39-40 says immediately following the baptism, “when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.” God put the two together for a divine appointment to change the eunuch’s life.
Every life affects other lives in some way, good or bad. Getting to know Paul in Rome affected Onesimus, whose help affected Paul and his ministry. Phillip’s obedience affected the Ethiopian eunuch, and surely countless others were affected by the eunuch, a man of authority and importance.
Some divine appointments stand out in our minds. Others come and go in a fog but with no less power. Thank God for those divine appointments you remember and those of which you weren’t even aware. Ask God to help you tune in to Him so closely that you never miss an opportunity for a divine appointment where you bring the power of God to someone else’s life, knowing that God is using you to show His love for someone as He invites them to a deeper relationship with Himself.
God’s Word tells us “this is the day the Lord has made,” meaning He allows every obstacle and temptation we face, already has a way of escape for every temptation, and is there for us in the place where we will understand our need for Him and cry out to Him.
His desire is for us to depend solely on Him for strength—strength to overcome, strength to walk away, strength to succeed no matter what we face. He knows that our own strength is insufficient, will run out, and let us down.
Psalm 118:4-6 says, “Let them now that fear the Lord say, that his mercy endureth for ever. I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?”
The Psalmist, likely King David, called upon those who fear the Lord to speak the truth that God’s mercy endures forever. Then he prayed for himself.
The Psalmist’s action: He called upon the Lord in distress.
God’s response: God answered him and set him in a large place.
The results for The Psalmist:
8 It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.
10 All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them.
12 They compassed me about like bees: they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the Lord:
Here are some things we learn about the Psalmist in Psalm 118:
Scripture is full of examples of faithful people choosing to praise God in the midst of storms. These examples are to encourage us to make the same choice to rejoice despite our circumstances that may easily cause us to forget that our strength is in the Lord and that we have access to His supernatural peace and wisdom when we praise Him.
Psalm 27:1 mirrors what we read in Psalm 118, verses 6 and 14: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
We know that God allowed this day and all that is in it. This is true of everyday. That means that God allowed this season, this year, and so forth. Everything that happens must be allowed by God, including evil.
We all struggle with wanting God to wipe out evil. We wonder why bad things happen to “good people.” We may never fully understand why God allows evil, but we can be at peace by living in the Spirit and not the flesh.
Faith helps us hold on to hope when we cannot see the light, when we feel overwhelmed, and we are too numb to seek it. Romans 8:24-25 says, “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”
We know that God’s holy Spirit helps us hold on: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27). “Favour of God,” a God-honoring woman I follow on Twitter recently tweeted, “The Holy Spirit will cause you to desire God’s will over everything else.” This is so true when we submit to God. I am so thankful because God’s will is best. He is omniscient and we are not. Only in foolishness do we ever choose our own limited vision and thinking over God’s.
As we hold on, God gives us peace of mind knowing “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
God does not enjoy the evil, yet he allows it, and then He brings good from it.
That includes seasons and years that resulted from our choices and those over which we had no control.
Regardless of how the day or season came to us, God allowed it, infinitely for our good. He gives us control over how we respond to situations. Like the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 118, we can choose to praise God and cry out to Him; we can declare our trust in God as our strength and salvation. Taking these actions doesn’t necessarily undo the trials we face but rather guides us through to the best possible outcome.
God is sovereign, meaning He has the final say, and He always responds with the best outcome, which may or may not be what we would do if we were God.
King Hezekiah was facing death and desired to live and serve the Lord. He cried out to God. God answered him through the prophet Isaiah: 2 Kings 20:5 says, “Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, ‘I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord’.”
God added fifteen years to King Hezekiah’s life. In that fifteen years, King Hezekiah accomplished great things such as, “he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city” (2 Kings 20:20).
However, not all was easy and happy in the extension of King Hezekiah’s life. He still had free will and made some poor choices. There was hardship to come as a result of King Hezekiah’s unwise choice to show all his palace and treasures to a frenemy. In hearing that King Hezekiah was sick, “Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah”(2 Kings 20:12). In response, King Hezekiah “hearkened unto them, and shewed them all the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not” (2 Kings 20:13).
The coming result of King Hezekiah’s foolishness was delivered to him by the prophet Isaiah: “Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store unto this day, shall be carried into Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”(2 Kings 20:17,18).
God loves us and desires the very best for us, but we still act with free will and suffer the consequences of our choices, though we are still loved just as much by our eternal Creator, Savior, and Lord.
We can answer our human questioning regarding evil and difficult circumstances with these truths and actionable steps given in scripture:
Matthew 5:44-45: Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
Wisdom from James 1:
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.
13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.
17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
19 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:
20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
When all seems dark, don’t fall away from truth. There is always light, even if you cannot see it in the moment.
We are all at times challenged by the threat of discouragement. It’s a natural consequence of life. Good and bad happens to everyone, regardless of their choices and their relationship, or lack thereof, with God. Romans 2:11 tells us, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said that God “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).
It’s what we do with the threat of discouragement that powerfully determines our outcome.
Sometimes we get discouraged at what we have or what we must do. Sometimes we get discouraged because of what we don’t have or what we cannot do. This cause of discouragement has much to do with being discontent.
Though we should always seek to be and do better, we are called to be content, regardless of our circumstances. Paul said to the Philippians, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11-13).
Earlier in this passage Paul shares the key to being content: “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8).
We learn three direct actions we are to take regarding our own contentment and encouragement:
With this thought, let us see that the peace of God is the antithesis to discouragement. At times we all are disappointed and even distressed. Those temporary slides are part of being human. It’s up to us to encourage ourselves in the Lord to not let those lead us to deep, lasting discouragement which causes despair and our inability to obey God and hold on to hope.
I love the account in 1 Samuel 30 of God’s deliverance when David encouraged himself in the Lord after the Amalekites seemed to have the victory; they had taken all the women and children captive and had burned Ziklag, the place where David and his supporters found safety while fleeing King Saul. David’s supporters were now ready to stone him because of their distress. David understood their distress because his family was also taken captive.
“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).
David prayed asking God for guidance. Then David obeyed what God led him to do. God gave him a perfect victory. All the women and children were brought back safely, and the troop now had the spoil of the Amalekites to split amongst themselves.
God is always at work for our good. Sometimes it requires us to do what we don’t believe we can before we see the victory, but God always has it waiting for us. God gives us peace when we give our concerns to Him and ask for His protection while focusing on living right in Him instead of trying to undo or do things we cannot. There will always be distractions and distortions of truth. And sometimes we won’t see what is true until we choose to do as God directs.
David sought God’s leadership in his situation when it seemed their loved ones were gone forever, and his followers were ready to kill him. Then David focused his attention and energy to obey what God told him to do. He didn’t let the possibility of what may be stop him from focusing on and obeying God.
Sometimes we feel like giving up but at the same time feel like we are being pushed forward with an energy and enthusiasm only God can give. God won’t give up on us living His purpose to help bring others into the fullness of His relationship with them. We can never find and stamp out all the fires, but we can build our own fire bigger, brighter, stronger through God.
Choosing joy is strategy that became all too real to me when Satan wanted me to believe that my daughter was gone. From a young age she was spiritually oppressed and suffered from multiple mental illnesses and several addictions. She ran away from home at 17. She told lies to authorities and many others attempting to separate herself from the people who loved her most and most tried to help her. She didn’t want to go to rehab, so she ran away.
During the storm of false allegations, court proceedings, and continued addictions, delusion, manipulation, and poor choices by my daughter, I found out that she was only alive because a month earlier, God clotted her blood after she passed out in a suicide attempt when no one was around to help. This precious child was bent on destroying herself and her life. It was purely a satanic attack against one God created and equipped to serve Him in powerful ways.
She ran away the first week in May. I recall crying and feeling the intense pain of trying to understand while standing in Hobby Lobby where my mom took me to pick out something for Mother’s Day and my birthday. I was staring at a sign that said, “I choose joy.” I knew God had that sign there just for me. He was telling me to hold on to truth, no matter how oppositely things appeared. That sign was my gift, and it is in my bathroom where I read it every day. I was so thankful to have my daughter back and knew I still had a very important task ahead of me to show God’s love for this precious soul who was so cast down by satan that she wanted to destroy herself or end her life.
Choose joy. Choose to focus on God no matter what. God is the only source of truth, joy and peace. If we let distractions steal our focus, we are weak and useless; we are disoriented and directionless. We have an important purpose that we can only live when we choose to focus on and take our marching orders from God. During those rough days with my daughter as now, I must focus on God and choose joy to not lose hope. I focus on the truth of the matter, not the smokescreen satan sends to distort reality. Satan sends smokescreens our way often. When he fails, he tries again; he is determined to discourage us. We must be even more determined to stay the course and not let him succeed.
It is of utmost importance that we choose to focus on God instead of all that distorts, distracts, and tries to discourage us. Psalm 57:7 says, “My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.” God inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3 says, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” A powerful transition occurs when we choose to focus on God and praise Him as our Lord and Savior. He comes alongside us making us able to bear what we thought was too difficult. God energizes and strengthens us to do what is impossible without Him.
In the acrostic Psalm 9, David uses the chiastic structure to contrast the everlasting power of God and His name to the end of the wicked who are wiped out by righteous God. David starts with his declaration to praise God with his whole heart, to show all God’s marvelous works, to be glad and rejoice in the Lord. Then David acknowledges God as a righteous judge and as his source of strength and power against his enemies, the enemies of righteousness.
Let us follow the example of David, a man after God’s own heart, to fix our hearts on God, to praise Him for who He is, to ask for His guidance in our situation, to get up and without questioning, do whatever it is God leads us to do.
I'm tired of running from God and am trying to learn to run to Him instead.