When God’s Agenda Trumps Yours

Gwen Smith Blog, Control, Devotions, Encouragement, Fear, Freedom, Friendship, Grace, Holy Spirit, Life Clutter, Love, Priorities, Trusting God 26 Comments

Crockpot

God used a crockpot that day.

Not mine – hers.

Her: the casual friend I ran into at the grocery store who looked put together on the outside but was pulled apart on the inside by a heart-wound that dripped of fear, insecurity, and doubt.

She was at the store because her crockpot mysteriously didn’t work that day. Though it had been loaded in the morning, the chicken was not edible come dinnertime because it was still raw. Her crockpot was turned on and plugged in, but never heated up.

It was time to feed my people and I was in a rush to grab what I needed. Always a rush.

We met at the corner of eggs and pretzels.

It wasn’t a coincidence. It was an appointment set in God’s calendar that I had no idea I was on time for. We were both on time. HE set the appointment. His Spirit led the conversation. Both she and I knew it by the divine traces of grace, truth, and peace that covered our hearts as we said goodbye through tears and a hug.

We smiled as our carts crossed paths again at the checkout line… knowing we both came for groceries but were leaving with what we needed even more. ME: a fresh measure of gratitude and an overwhelming awe of our loving Plan-changer who knows and responds to the needs of our harried hearts. HER: a personal and on-time Word from God through the lips of a friend.

The grocery ground I walked was holy.

My heart was humbled and my thoughts soared with God’s beyond-ness. The way He met us there. The way His agenda trumped mine. The way he stopped a crockpot from working. The way He loves her. The way He loves me. The way He loves us.

Oh, how He loves us!

Perfectly. Immeasurably. Personally.

My rush was hushed as I loaded bags into the trunk and left the parking lot.

The steering wheel was chilly, but my soul was warm with God’s goodness. I reflected and gave thanks. So much thanks. I was grateful for the invasion of His presence… of His agenda… of His grace.

Joy rode home with me and hung out that entire evening.

I was changed because my plans were rearranged.

Because God needed to make His love known to a discouraged daughter… and because He allowed me to join Him in the beautiful mission.

Oh, how He loves us!

The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the Lord holds them by the hand.
(Psalm 37:23-24, NLT)

 I’m desperate for this lesson to linger long. Are you?

When your day is rearranged or those plans seem ruined, open the eyes of your heart in expectation that God may have penciled you in for a special appointment. He does that, you know!? In tenderly mysterious ways.

Sometimes even through a crockpot.

Dear Lord,
Thank You for Your love that sees, knows, restores, and cherishes me. Help me to remember that my moments are Your moments. Guide me as I plan each day and teach me to hold those plans loosely so that Your Spirit might lead every step.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

Proverbs 16:3 tells us to, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and He will establish your plans.” Grab your journal or bend a knee in prayer and consider what this can and should look like in your life.

Got a divine appointment story? CLICK HERE to visit the comments section of my blog and tell me about it. I really love to hear from you!

Thanks for doing life with me,

Gwen

BIB OLB study2

Comments 26

  1. Hi Gwen,

    Blessings unto you! This message was right on time. I was born and raised in the church but in the last few years had “fallen asleep” in Christ. I was a victim of sexual abuse for many years growing up and during that time I repressed a lot…including my anger for God. I had convinced myself that my turning away from him wasn’t because I was angry with him–I was too fearful to admit that–but that I simply didn’t feel I had any purpose, or dare I say, see the “point” of being in the church. Growing up I enjoyed going to church, but my ability to maintain focus on the sermons and really allow them to feed my soul came and went. The moments I was able to hone my focus in on the Lord, I really enjoyed but more times than most my adolescent attention span betrayed me. I remember one day, after failing once again to read beyond the book of Exodus, I prayed to God to help me to fall in love with him passionately. I did not want to be one of the many Christians who call themselves a Christian and go to church each Sabbath because it was what they had always done. I wanted to be Christian that had a great testimony and was one of those Christians that was “madly and passionately” in love with God.

    This prayer of mine was made during my teen years, towards the end of my high school career and early college years I really began drifting away from God. As a former victim of sexual abuse, there was always this nagging feeling of “needing” to be loved, wanting to be loved. I also seemed to attract a lot of man, both of the world, and supposedly of God, that would lust after me with their eyes and sexualize me. I began to fall into Satan’s trap of deception, I heard from his lies that all I was a “sexual being” and meant to be used. I started to buy into this lie, I started trying to search for love through my own accord and though I did not fall into the depths of promiscuity, the mentality was beginning to take creation in my head. Mentally, I was beginning to prepare myself to go down that road, I would often repeat the lie that “if this is what I have to do to FEEL loved, then I will do it.” God ended up intervening in this through sending me a boy, this young guy is still very much developing in Christ. He falls, he stumbles, and he too struggles with sexual purity, but what impressed me by him was that he is CONSTANTLY fighting the good fight, and is such a man of conviction that when he falls he looks to get back up to fall deeper into God. See I began developing a crush on this boy, and he to me. We didn’t do much more than kissing but the temptation was strong to go further, after this guy departed from me, I began to feel thoughts of betrayal. Satan was telling me “see even a Christian boy will just use you and abandon you,” but God’s voice rung LOUDER than ever in my ears, it was his voice that told me that he had “impressed” the young man’s heart to leave from me and to seek him. To draw apart from me–despite his feelings–because they were manifesting themselves in sin. It was God who showed me that even though this Christian guy had fallen into a relationship where he should not have been kissing, that God was building him up to be a man of conviction. God showed me that this young guy loves the Lord so much, that even when he stumbles he gets back up to find him, and even when his heart desires something, he’d cast it to the side for the sake of the Lord. God revealed Satan’s lies and exposed the Lord’s truth unto my heart. He made me remember what it meant to be so “passionately” in love with Christ, he allowed that young man’s stumbling block to be a wake up call to me.

    I stopped searching for love and acceptance in people and started realizing who I was in Christ. For 22 years I have struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts and beliefs that I could never be loved. Since coming back into Christ this year, I have felt more love than I have ever felt in all my 23 years of living! I will be graduating university with a degree in Journalism but believe that God has recently impressed it upon my heart to go to Graduate School for Social Work. I have never thought about Social Work one day in my life until now, and what’s more? God has impressed my heart to go to a Christian University for this master’s degree!? I HAVE NEVER desired to go to a Christian college until this moment in my life, so I know this must be of the Lord. And though I am afraid, as Social Work is a big departure from my original plans, this devotion of yours–that I have just so casually stumbled upon–is one more clarification from God to allow his intervention into my life and to trust his way.

    Thank you Gwen, God Bless you, and if you will, please keep me in your prayers.

  2. In August of 2013 my husband and I came home from several hours of running errands in town. We live in a rural area, so we try not to go to town more than absolutely necessary. We walked into the house to find our refrigerator had died. I called our repairman, but he said the fridge was beyond repair. Ugh! We turned right around and drove back to town to buy a new one. While at the store we decided to get a new stove at the same time, since our current one was over 10 years old. The appliances were scheduled for delivery on different days. I knew the store would haul away the old stove, but I had a nagging guilt that they would be taking away something that still worked. I felt SOMEONE could use it, but none of my friends needed one. I stopped by our local Walmart for some groceries and decided to get some lunch from the deli counter. I was greeted by a cheerful lady named Maria. In our conversation, we somehow got on the subject of stoves. Maria gave a hugh sigh and said she badly needed a new stove. A big smile came across my face and I realized why I was there at that time and place. When I told Maria that I had a stove she could have she could barely contain her amazement that a total stranger would make such an offer. Maria and her husband came to pick up the stove the day before delivery of the new one. I see Maria occasionally in the deli and at last report, her new stove is still working. I am constantly in awe of how God orchestrates such chance meetings, putting people together to fill each other’s needs.

  3. Yesterday I was in Taco Bell buying lunch. The guy in front of me had a military ID. I try to tell each veteran that I meet “Thank you for your service”. So I was planning on doing that after I ordered. Then I heard God tell me to give him $20 and pray for him. Uhhh, NO! (not for the cash, I do that often, the praying part had me stumped) I argued and dilly dallied. Finally I went over and asked if he was military. He said he was retired. So I thanked him for his service, gave him the money and walked away. He came over a few minutes later to tell me he was wounded in Afghanistan in an incident when all his buddies were killed, and he had brain injuries and other physical problems. I again thanked him and we both went back to eating. Then I went over to tell him the money was from God and said “Be Blessed” and prepared to walk away. He promptly lit up and told me he had just become a Christian last week and we “new” to all this stuff!!! So (reluctantly) I asked him if I could pray for him. He said “YES”. So I laid hands on him and prayed, out loud, in public. I prayed for his healing, and for God’s guidance on this new Christian. What a trip! Then I ran outside crying. Don’t ask me why…..That happens sometimes when I am obedient to God’s prompting.

  4. My experience this week has been more divine interruption than appointment. I have been down with bronchitis all week, and have lost my voice completely. The funny thing about this is that my memory verse right now is Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” While unable to speak, I caught myself many times with sharp or nagging words on my mind that I was unable to verbalize. He stopped the unwholesome talk completely, and gave me a new awareness of how unkind some of my words have been. I thank Him for showing me how much I need to improve in this area. I love the sense of humor He shows in dealing with our shortcomings!

  5. Just wrote a comment here about how God is totally awesome, but it disappeared. ??? He is closer than a brother ,when I nursed my husband of 49yrs.who had ALS , and now , that I am a new widow. God gives me Joy instead of mourning. It is totally unbelievable as He directs my paths. God’s Peace & Love is wonderful.

  6. It was several years ago, but it is a God agenda that is forever imbedded in my mind. I went shopping during my lunch time and I received a call from my daughter to bring her some lunch – frustrated, I left the store to go get her a Jamba Juice.
    As I began backing my car up another car stopped directly behind me so I waited. It didn’t move. So I got out of my vehicle and asked the driver what the problem was. She was in tears and trying desperately to start her car with no luck. So I reached in and put the car in park for her and asked her to start it – it ran beautifully. I saw how upset she was and asked her to pull over because she shouldn’t be driving while upset and she did.
    Long story short – she needed the word of God delivered to her right at that very moment. She needed to know that she was not alone and that there was someone to listen to her. I ended up taking her to the police station where she needed to file a report on domestic abuse. I happen to know many of the officers from my volunteering as a Domestic Violence Advocate and they got her right in and some help.
    I did make it to Jamba Juice and delivered the liquid lunch – a bit late – but it all worked out – just as God’s agenda wanted it to.

  7. Had a divine appointment last Saturday at the Natick MA Farmer’s market; It was frigidly cold (around 6 or 8 degrees; snow surrounded us and I had high hopes the temperature would rise. It didn’t and there were few customers, BUT a late arrival table was put next to me. A young man who wasn’t sure who God was or if He was, but I sure am and I shared a Christian meditation site and my own faith; upshot was he hugged me and said, “God bless you,” I said He does, all the time and we left-good friends. Count one more in the God box, Father, thank you for your faithfulness.

  8. A few months ago, I went with my sister to a lady’s house that I had never met before, didn’t know she even existed but she had a cockatoo, Lucy, that she needed to re-home and my sister was taking her. She and I talked the entire time like we had known each other for years and exchanged numbers. We’ve not had the chance to get back together but have talked many many times and I was blown away as I got to know her and her story, as she could have been telling me MY story. We had never met, and even though some of the circumstances were different, the emotional and physical pain were the same. She has since told me that knowing me has changed her life, as she used to be a Christian but had turned her back on God, but is now back and doing her best to live for God. I told her it wasn’t me that changed her life, it was the God appointment that we had, when He used Lucy the cockatoo to bring a broken woman back in to His love and grace. I hope I have many more “Lucys” in my life, thank You God for putting us together and using me.

  9. I have a synovial cyst on my spine and am waiting to have surgery. The pain is especially excruciating in the morning. Today I am needed to sit with my 5 year old twin granddaughters because of some extenuating circumstances. The pain is especially bad this morning. I’m sitting here waiting for and praying for the pain to subside and the pain medicine to kick in. I opened my email and read th devotion and what peace and joy it brought to my heart. Walking is especially difficult and this verse and prayer was a wonderful reminder that God will direct my steps. Thank you Jesus for the healing power of your word!

  10. Hi Gwen,
    First time blogger to anyone, but I love the story and wanted to share what God did just the other day. Isnt it amazing what God can do at the grocery stores. I was at Kroger buying a few items. As I was putting my groceries in my car when I lifted my coat up and realized I didn’t pay for my bananas! I grabbed the friut and back in the store! Paid for them, just in time to see and hear God working out an opportunity for someone.

    The weather -24 degree that morning (brrrrrr) I was putting my bananas in my car when I heard these two women talking, one was asking for a ride home, from someone in this other car…the woman in the other car said, no. The Lord impressed upon me to ask if I could give her a ride home….she answered yes and perceeded to get in my car..first she asked how did I know she wanted a ride? I told her I overheard the conversation….which was God because I was some distance from the cars….she climbed into my car and blurted out, “my husband died three days ago” with tears in her eyes she told me, she didn’t think she was going to make it…oh how God opens doors…if it wasn’t for the unpaid bananas I would not have been apart of the ministry to this very hurting woman. I was able to share the love of God for her and she was so thankful…as we sat in her driveway and talked, I realized the truth about how we must always be a willing vessel for the Lord, ready to take the extra step and let’s not get so upset when our day has a few changes we were not expecting. Please pray for Kim and her grief…

  11. Thanks for sharing this Gwen, i tend to be so focused on the activity at
    hand (buying groceries, cleaning house, ect) I believe I miss many
    opportunities God places before me. I am working through Experiencing
    God (2nd time, 1st over 20 years ago) and this fits so perfectly with
    that study. I pray God tune my focus to Him more and more each day

  12. What a powerful message today Gwen, Thanks for sharing. God wanted you to be at the store at that moment, not a min before or after. The Holy Spirit is amazing and so so spot on, always shinning the light on the moment and concern in our hearts. You helped your sweet friend though a difficult time and yet you were filled with joy. How powerful, how wonderful, how faithful our God is. Have a blessed day you already blessed mine.
    Lisa from Atlanta <

    1. Thanks for sharing this Gwen, i tend to be so focused on the activity at
      hand (buying groceries, cleaning house, ect) I believe I miss many
      opportunities God places before me. I am working through Experiencing
      God (2nd time, 1st over 20 years ago) and this fits so perfectly with
      that study. I pray God tune my focus to Him more and more each day,

  13. 24 years ago I was living in Sugar Land about to leave the next day to spend 2 weeks with my parents the next day. I needed to pack. I didn’t want to go to the Friday night Bible study 45 minutes away. But God had other plans and prodded me into going It was that night my soon to be husband walked in to the Bible study and my friend who brought him introduced us. 6 months later he called her and asked for my phone number. We are celebrating 22 years of marriage today.

  14. Hi Gwen! A few weeks ago I was at Target with my son and I saw that I had missed a phone call from a Georgia phone number. I thought that maybe it was one of those scammers that calls you so that you will call back and they charge you long distance minutes, but something (GOD) told me to call anyway, and the person on the other end said that she was trying to call a friend and called me instead, but as she laughed, and we were about to hang up, I realized that is was Lisa, one of my oldest friends who i don’t talk to nearly enough, and that I didn’t have her programmed in my phone, and that she had accidentally programmed my number as her friend’s. But I don’t think that it was an accident. We talked for 45 minutes as I walked through Target and it was wonderful to talk to her and catch-up and what God was doing in her life. It was unexpected but I don’t doubt that God planned it that way.

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