A Year of Smiles – Day 155

wow-smiley-astonished-emoticonReason to SMILE #155: WHEN GOD “SHOWS UP”

Music was playing. Children and youth were on stage singing and dancing – oops! I mean performing worshipful motions to their songs – and the majority of the congregation was clapping along. The kids were on their fourth and last song and they were truly enjoying themselves as they praised God to “their kind of music”.  I was having a great time as I clapped, sang and watched our kids perform.  In fact, I was pretty pleased that everything was going so well.  Then, it happened…

Have you ever noticed that every now and then, God likes to stir things up a little?

This morning as our kids were singing about the victory God gives us when we choose to love and follow Him, a young man with autism was sitting with his parents in the congregation.  This young man loves music and well, he really did not have the best of views from his seat in the sanctuary.  He was wiggling and inching around in order to see what was happening on stage.  Finally, he decided to remedy the situation.  He got up and walked across the front of the sanctuary to another spot as daddy followed quickly behind him.

The music continued as this young man walked around the front of the sanctuary a bit as if dissatisfied with any view he tried.  Finally, he opted for the best view in the house – the stage.  He walked up onto center stage, turned around to face the congregation and began swaying and bouncing to the music.  Suddenly, the church was awakened.  Cheers erupted all over the sanctuary. Members stood to their feet and applauded as spirits all over the sanctuary were lifted by this young man’s actions.

Often I hear Christians declare after a great moving of God, “Yep. God showed up today.”  The funny thing is, though, God is always with us.  He’s promised that in His Word.  “I will never leave you,” He said.  Yet we say, “He showed up” as if He’s left us for a while and we’re surprised He thought to pay us a visit.  Maybe I have it all wrong but I find it strange that we are so surprised by the presence of God. Or maybe it’s not that strange at all.  Maybe our surprise comes because there’s been something in our lives (lack of obedience, broken fellowship, etc.) that has prevented us from sensing His presence… Just maybe.

God is always with us.  Sometimes, our sin keeps us from recognizing His presence and we need to restore our relationship with Him.  Sometimes, we need to stand on His promise and live our lives expecting to sense His presence and see His mighty works.  And sometimes, we need a young man who only wants to see what’s happening on the stage to open our eyes and remind us that God is always there!

Thank you, God, for stirring things up today by using this young man to remind me of your presence in my life.  And thank you, dear Noah,  for the SMILE!

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A Year of Smiles – Day 144

Reason to SMILE #144: CHECKLISTS

It’s almost time for Vacation Bible School and for me, that means checklists – lots and lots of checklists.  From choosing a curriculum to ordering supplies to recruiting volunteers to decorating the facilities, it all begins with a checklist.

Of course, at the beginning of the planning process, the lists seem overwhelming. There’s always so much to do in a short amount of time on a very limited budget. But every year, each item on each list invariably gets checked off and VBS is a success.  In other words, God always provides!

This year is no different… well… except for the fact that my budget is non-existent.  Having no funds puts a huge damper on planning. Regardless of the seeming roadblock, I made my lists. Not having Vacation Bible School just wasn’t an option. God has always provided. Why would he stop now?

God hasn’t stopped providing. My church family has generously donated craft and decorating supplies as well as snack items for VBS. And tonight, I was handed a check to cover all the remaining supplies needed. WooHoo! The roadblock I thought existed was nothing in the eyes of our God.

All the items on my VBS lists are now nicely paired with lovely check marks. How could I not be SMILING?

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