The Vending machine

vending-machine“But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” Job 23:10

Imagine one day I was hungry for some crispy, chocolatey goodness, and I walked up to a vending machine, put in my quarters, and pushed the button for a KitKat® (gimme a break ♫♪, gimme a break ♫♪), I pushed “E5”, and much to my chagrin out popped a Snickers®! I was so disappointed and angry! And, I had a “conniption”- I became so angry at that machine for not giving me what I wanted! But I wanted a KitKat®! I don’t want to have to deal with all those nuts!!”

How silly? Over a bar of chocolate! It was just a mechanical malfunction.

But, isn’t that what we do to the Lord sometimes? We put in our “quarters” of praying, reading our Bible, working in the nursery, teaching a class, being kind, doing a good deed, etc., and we expect God to “gimme a break!” But oftentimes just the opposite happens — we have to deal with a bunch of nuts!!

Well, obviously our Sovereign Lord has a plan, He is not a vending machine with a short circuit. He is our loving Father Who knows what’s best for us, especially when we think we know what is best, and what should drop out the bottom of the vending machine when we put in all our “good works” – which, by the way — the Lord calls “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). He knows that sometimes we need to go through some fiery trials, we need to deal with some nuts, and “when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold”.

We need to learn to be thankful for the nuts! That’s what makes us grow in our faith, and eventually makes us perfect, or mature in our walk with the Lord:

Knowing this , that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:3-4)

Remember this next time you think of God as a “vending machine.”

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Life is like chocolate, sometimes you’ve gotta deal with nuts!


Control Freaks


For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy, 1:7

Dear Reader:

Do you like to be in control? I do! I like to think that I have everything going my way, and that I have all my ducks in a row, and that nothing can go wrong. Don’t you?

Unfortunately, life doesn’t happen that way. In fact, I believe the Lord makes things go out of control in order to make us realize that we are NOT in control– HE IS!! That should be a comforting thought, but too often the fact that things are not in our control makes us fearful…

We fear many things: being alone, being hungry, being poor, losing a loved one, losing face, losing the admiration or applause of others, things not turning out the way we expected: pain in general whether physical or emotional.

Most of our deep fears are a result of a bad experience in our lives – parents’ divorce, abuse of some kind, a serious accident or injury, super-critical people in authority over us, or loss of a close loved one, to name a few… These things leave scars, deep scars. Scars that seem like they will never heal. Scars that make us fearful because we don’t ever want to feel that pain again. Fear makes us controlling. Fear makes us want to take over so we can control the outcome. If we can just do everything perfectly, and in order (my way), and don’t let things get out of hand, it will turn out all right. (As if we can!).

When we feel like we have lost control, we tend to “freak out”. The more things seem out of control, the more we try to take control. I believe you will find that those people that we call “control freaks”, or the new term, “OCD”, are actually very fearful people. (Okay, I KNOW, there are some people who truly have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but we have to remember that by its very name, it is a disorder, so we should not give in to it, but try to overcome it with God’s help). So, these “control freaks” are trying to take control of the situation before it gets out of control, as it has before, and it gives them comfort to think they are in control. BUT it doesn’t work, it seems like when I start being a “control freak”, the situation just keeps spiraling downward. I try to be in control. I think I am in control. But God really was ALL the TIME!!

The Great Physician, the Lord Jesus, came to heal us of ALL our infirmities – physical, spiritual, and even mental and emotional!

So, what is God’s answer to our fear? Power, love, and a sound mind!”(2 Timothy 1:7).

What does that mean? 

POWER – God is SOVEREIGN. His way is perfect. His way is best. He has all the answers. He is in control. He is the Almighty God, maker of the heavens and the earth, and there is nothing too hard for Him. I need to remind myself of this. That He will ALWAYS work ALL things together for our good and His glory, by His power. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us by the Holy Spirit when we are “in Christ”. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection” was Paul’s goal in Philippians 3:10.

LOVE – God is LOVE. He is not only powerful and Sovereign – He can do whatever He pleases – but, thankfully, He is also GOOD. By His very nature He is loving and kind and good.He knows what is best for us. He knows just exactly what I need. He sees the big picture. He loves me just the way I am, but He loves me enough that He doesn’t want me to stay that way! He is constantly working on me to conform me to the image of His Son. He has perfect LOVE, and 1 John 4:18 tells us, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear”.

SOUND MIND – God is PEACE, and He gives Peace of mind. What we think controls what we do. Out of the mouth comes what is in our hearts. So, keep your heart with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). Be careful what you allow into your mind. And think on what is good and true and honest and lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8). He will keep us in perfect peace if our mind is focused on Him (Isaiah 26:3). Only God, through faith in Jesus Christ, can give us this peace when we sincerely pray and are thankful to Him: “Be careful for [or anxious about] 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” (Philippians 4:6-7).

Don’t be a “Mini-Messiah” – trying to take control of things that are not in our circle of responsibility! Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart…and He shall direct thy paths. He has promised us His power, His love, and a Sound Mind when we put our trust in Him.

Here’s a little story called “A Tandem ride with God”, I don’t know who wrote it, but I hope you enjoy it:

I used to think of God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there, sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I didn’t really know Him.

But later on, when I met Jesus, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Jesus was in the back helping me pedal. I didn’t know just when it was He suggested we change, but life has not been the same since I took the back-seat to Jesus, my Lord. He makes life exciting. When I had control, I thought I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points.

But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places and at break-through speeds; it was all I could do to hang on! Even though it often looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!” I was worried and anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared”, He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed, gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me their gifts to take on my journey, our journey, my Lord’s and mine. And we were off again. He said, “Give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it, but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rocks, fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do any more, He just smiles and says… “Pedal.”

I hope this has been inspirational to my fellow “control freaks” to just “shut up and pedal”.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Let God have the handlebars, He knows what He is doing!