December 23, 2015

Happy Wednesday!

It is a good day in Phoenix. The clouds are still with us and the weather forecast is calling for showers on and off today. I am loving this cool and wet winter weather!

I cannot believe that it is December 23rd already. There are only two more days until Christmas and only eight more days until the end of the year. It seems surreal to watch another year slip by and to know that soon it will be 2016. The New Year looks good by all accounts, and I have great plans purposed to help me accomplish everything the Lord desires for my life. I am confident, of course; yet, without fail there is a small part of me that is apprehensive about making the turn into the New Year (just a bit fearful). Though, my choice today is to give praise to God, and to choose to be patient and to wait on Him for His leading, His guidance, and His provision. Selah!.

This morning, I am reminded of Psalm 27:14, which says, 

"Wait for the Lord; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord." 

My plan, therefore, this good day is to be patient and to remain courageous as I wait for the Lord to deliver to me the blessed promises of His word! Selah!

New Plans and Other Ideas to Ponder

So I already blogged about the potential adjunct work I applied for through my Alma mater (well, my current school, but soon to be Alma mater). I am excited to think about this opportunity, and I am excited to consider what it might mean to me, financially, to have another job that pays a regular or even 9-month contracted salary. I like the "idea" of 9-months of work. I know that sounds crazy, but I really like the idea of working for 9-months of the year, and even though I will have no summer income, the fact that my summers are free, well, that thought is just so enticing. I can manage my summers IF I have steady income that is significant enough during the rest of the year. I can save the extra income to cover my summer months, and then I can, in effect, have my summers for holidays or vacation time to travel. I love this "idea," and I am praying for this type of job. I've thought a lot about it, and I have decided, Lord willing, that 9-month positions are better than 12-month ones are for me. I like the freedom that comes from teaching two semesters and then having the long break over the summer. Yep, this is what I am hoping the Lord provides to me. It will fit me to a tee, and it will give me a good long rest right when I need it most.

Now, I must wait for the Lord to provide this job to me. He must open the door, provide the favor and blessing needed to appear qualified, and He must move within the organization to cause my resume and credentials to be appealing to the faculty recruiter. Furthermore, I must trust Him to negotiate the details, the contracts, so that I can accept whatever is offered to me. I believe He knows my exact need -- as in -- my exact monthly need for January, February, and so forth. My monthly budget is tight, but I can survive through the summer if I manage my outflow well. I have already made some changes to my expenses. I dropped DIRECTV and my own Cox Communication account, thus saving me $200 per month. I changed my cellphone plan, adding a new phone this past week. Overall, I anticipate saving about $140 total once it is all said and done. I also am hoping to pay off my smaller credit cards in January, thus reducing my out of pocket costs by zeroing out those pesky minimum payments each month. This along with some savvy saving should make it possible for me to live more comfortably and have much less worry going forward.

My hope, as I consider 2016, is that I will start to move into a position of more financial security soon. I have planned out my life in such a way that my progress to financial security has been measured. I didn't anticipate the sharp decrease in salary when I switched from corporate work to higher education. I have still not recovered from that hard shift that took me from a solid income producing path to a mediocre income producing path. The positives of the move have outweighed the negatives, of course, but I still feel a twinge whenever my income doesn't match my outflow well.

Now that I am settled in this path, however, my plan is to work toward comfort. I have given up the thought of making a lot of money. Instead, I have embraced the positives of being an educator -- noting that I love my students, my job, and my work -- which in my view, outweighs the downside of having a lower income producing career. My goal, then, is to continue to work toward a full-time salaried and benefited position, with the hope that I will find something soon. Until that time, I am content to continue to accept part-time and adjunct work as the Lord provides. I will teach whatever courses He chooses, and I will teach at the schools He provides to me. I am no longer worried or concerned about teaching more than three or four classes per semester. I need to earn as much as I can, so my prayer is for the Lord to open the floodgates of financial blessing and provide a way for me to earn what He thinks, considers, and knows I need to live on each month. He knows my needs well, and I trust Him completely to provide for me. God is good, so very good to me.
The LORD will make you abound in prosperity, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your beast and in the produce of your ground, in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give you. The LORD will open for you His good storehouse, the heavens, to give rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hand; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. The LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you only will be above, and you will not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. -Deuteronomy 28:11-14 NIV
The Word of the Lord is secure. I am trusting the Lord to provide for me and my family, to give me a good future that is filled with success and prosperity. I am not holding out for monetary wealth, please know that, but rather I am asking the Lord for His "success" in every area of my life. By "success," I simply am advocating that the Lord produce the results He desires in and through me, so be it financial stability or some other God honoring character trait. I am mindful of the fact that being a good steward financially is also a God honoring trait, so I do ask that the Lord provide and meet my needs, and then I ask that He show me how to be a good steward with the bountiful blessings He gives to me. I need His help so I can learn how to manage and to make money.

In this day and age, I must consider the immediate needs of my family, but also, I must consider the future needs of myself and those I love, in order to live comfortably on into old age. The Lord knows this, and He has made a way for me to go. I am trusting Him to show me, to teach me, and to gift me in this way -- with the knowledge, the understanding, and the aptitude -- to be wise enough to handle whatever resources He provides to me and to build financial security through honest means. He is good, and I know the plans He has for my life are also good (Jer. 29:11).

Turning Toward The Goodness of God

I have made a commitment to the Lord this good day, and that is to turn toward His goodness. You see, so often we want the Lord to shower His goodness on us, for Him to turn toward us. In truth, the Lord waits for us to turn toward Him. It is always about our turning and not His, yet so often, we believe the Lord lives to serve us rather than the fact that we live to serve Him (Selah!) I am committed to serving the Lord with gladness (Psalm 100:2), and that means to accept whatever position He desires for me.

Furthermore, I am committed to doing His will, to walking in His way, and to obeying His word (the Scriptures) in the same way as the Bible records the Old Testament commandment given to the Israelite's in the book of Deuteronomy. Yes, the Lord desires my full obedience, and I have made an accord, an agreement with Him. He is to provide for my every need, and I am to serve, honor, and obey Him with a pure heart and with sincere intention. Yes, my life is predicated on serving God and serving others, on loving Him with my whole being (Matt. 22:37), and to ministering to the poor, the neglected, and the hurting as He leads and guides me.

In return, the Lord has promised good to me, a good life, a whole and happy life, and the security and protection I need to live comfortably. I am taking Him at His word to me, and that means that I am resting in faith, knowing that as God, as the great I AM, He is able to keep His word to me. He is faithful. He is good. He is God. Amen, so be it, thy will be done! Selah!

My turning toward God signals a change in heart and in mind. I have made the decision that today and every day that follows after will be patterned according to His desire for my life. That means that today I am seeking His will above all else. I am choosing to do and to think, to work and to pray, all in His name, and for His authority and presence to dominate my life. I want nothing else but Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor. 2:2). In doing so, I am saying this:

My life as of today is formulated for one purpose, one pursuit, and that is to see the Lord glorified through my efforts, my endeavors, and all my energies as I seek to serve Him with a full heart. 

He is Lord of all, over every area of my life, and today, I know that His will and His word are trustworthy. I can rest in the very knowledge that He is God. He is God, and because He is so, I can let go and allow Him to do whatever He determines is best for me. He is good, so very good to me!

Moving On with Purpose

Today, therefore, I move on with purpose. I make the conscience decision to align my every thought (2 Cor. 10:15) and to hold it captive so that my mind is ready and willing to do His work. I ask Him to release His power and His blessing into my life so that I can do this work. I cannot do it without Him, and I must rely on Him as my only source of all Power and Authority. He alone is God, and thus, the work I do cannot be accomplished through any human endeavor. No, all work that seeks to honor and to glorify His majestic name must be empowered by the inner working of the Holy Spirit, and it must be made manifest through Him, through His way, and not through any human achievement or human consideration.

My life is good, so very good. I am happy. I am content. I live to see Him praised and to be honored and lifted up this good day. I trust Him completely, and while I know that I will fail, I will falter, and at times, I will lose my faith, I will take comfort in the fact that He alone is faithful. He is faithful to me. Praise be to God, He is faithful and He is good. Selah!

As I think about the plans the Lord has for my life, one thing is for certain: the Lord knows what He is doing. He knows what is best for me.

It has taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, to really accept this truth, and to hold it as fact. The Lord knew that it was best for me to leave my prosperous position at CVS and to start teaching at GCU. The Lord knew that it would be best for me to leave my lovely town home and move into this shared home with my parents (who need my help). The Lord knew that it was best for me to study at Regent, first and foremost, and to learn all about communication before I even considered studying any other discipline. The Lord knew that while I was heartbroken at the loss of my marriage, destroyed personally, and left feeling abandoned, someday He would heal me and restore to me the joy of living in His love and in His presence. Moreover, He knew that someday my broken heart would be ready to consider a new relationship, a different kind of relationship, and that in time, that relationship would develop into a sincere love and devotion that is founded on His word, His work and His will. Yes, the Lord knew that what was best for me, while at times painful and debilitating to me, would in the end prove to be for my good. My life has been changed from utter hopelessness to complete and joyful expectation, eagerness, and anticipation of His future delivered promises. My life is filled with hope, with expectant hope, and today I give Him all the praise, the honor, and the testimony because He has done this for me. He has changed me from what I once was, a shell of a person, and made me into this beautiful thing, this beautiful person who desires only to serve and to love the Lord, her God. Yes, this is my testimony, this is my story, and God alone is the author and finisher of it. Praise be to God, He alone is worthy of our praise! Amen!

To God be the glory, great things He has done;
So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord,
Let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father, through Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He has done.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes,
That moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He has taught us, great things He has done,
And great our rejoicing through Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be
Our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

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