More Pizza or Manna? God Provides By Jo Russell

As Mom walked in the front door at home after work holding a flat box, her lanky teens Rick and Randy cast a shadow over the petite woman and sniffed with appreciation. They followed her and the aroma to the kitchen.

“Pizza! Extra large! Yum!” Randy took it from her outstretched arms and exclaimed as he opened the box, “Oh, man! It has everything good on it! Pepperoni! Extra cheese! Sausage! Green pepper! Olives!”

“Thanks for the ordering the supreme!” Rick gushed, “We are soooo hungry!”

What else is new in teenaged boys? Mom thought. At least they had something more to say than, “What’s there to eat around here?”

While she changed to casual clothes, her sons thought over how to set the table. With hope and hunger, the teens got out only two plates and a pizza cutter.

Randy called out through the closed door, “Say, Mom, didn’t you say you had a potluck at work today? We saw your salad in the refrigerator. You don’t want any of this pizza, do you?”

Already one of the two had started cutting the crust right down the middle into two pieces.

Hunger: a perpetual condition of growing teens.

Being hungry isn’t a new condition. Once freed from 500 years and many generations of slavery, the Israelites peered at the barren dry desert around them, complaining that in Egypt, they had meat, garlic, fish, vegetables, garden produce and seasonings—as much as they wanted!

Surely someone in that huge crowd, maybe even a teenager, might have asked, “What is there to eat around here?” An expanse of sand and rock reached out to the horizon. Along the Nile River delta, they were used to green and well-watered produce from the land. This desert didn’t even look habitable and watering holes were few.

But God reminded them of his all-knowing presence with Moses relaying God’s words: “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning, you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’” [Exodus 16:11:12]

God provided manna each day for forty years, serving it up over thousands of days and mealtimes. The daily bread stopped when the Israelites camped on the plains of Jericho and celebrated their first Passover in the promised land. Shortly after, with God’s help, they conquered Jericho without raising a weapon. They ate from the produce of the conquered land after that.

God’s provision. Just as the Israelites transitioned from a lush landscape to a bare one, depending completely on God for daily needs, so our lives may be like that at times, too. Barren and dry.  But trusting the Lord for needs, just as the Israelites did, is a rich experience that deepens faith.

“What’s there to eat around here?”  It’s a fair question. The answer is, “What God provides.” That’s a promise never broken. It proves, “Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

Whether that is pizza or manna, it will be enough.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com and her speaking engagements. [Jo lives in northeast Arizona and writes a popular humorous weekly blog on her website, http://www.button-to-god.com.]

 

 

 

 

The Certainty of Taxes by Jo Russell

Paul was making his fifth call to his tax client, and time was running out on the April 15 deadline. As he asked about stock, property sold and bought, and why Fifi’s dog grooming was listed in the category “business expense,” his client sighed with exasperation.

“Can’t this be simpler?”

“Not with all you’ve done and earned this year. But I am looking at a 1040 form on the wall of my office. It’s really simple. Just two lines.”

“Great! How does that work?”

“Like this: ‘How much did you earn last year?’”

“They always want to know that.”

“Yup. Then comes the next request, ‘Send it all in.’”

He gasped. “I think I’ll stick with the long form.”

“Good idea.”

Taxes are a long-standing financial business practice. They pay for various programs and projects – even in Jesus’ time. Sometimes we may worry that we don’t have enough. But God always provides.

There were taxes on deadlines even in Jesus’ days on earth. During that time, each Jewish male was to pay a temple tax. Though Jesus was a king and owed no tax, he provided the gold coin that paid both his and Peter’s taxes. He did this because many in the temple did not understand that he is Messiah and king, that he reigns in Heaven and is king and creator of the universe.

But he didn’t just hand the coin to Peter. He told his disciple-fisherman, “Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.” [Matthew 17:26].

Though God provides for every need, including taxes, it involves effort. And honoring God and looking toward him first has its percs. Unlike the short 1040 form, he doesn’t ask how much we made and demand all of it. He meets our needs one by one and day by day.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

Where, Oh Where, are the Plates? By Jo Russell

“For our dinner date, “Holly began, “I made reservations for The Pointe in the city. “It will be a very special place to celebrate our anniversary.”

“The Pointe? You’re going all out. Sure. I’ll even wear a tie.”

“Thank you. I’m getting dressed up, too.”

When they arrived at the restaurant, Chip wanted to know why a man took the truck keys,

“Where is he going with our pick-up? Chip demanded. “It looks like a Black Hole in space!”

“We’ll get it back. They keep track of the cars and bring them back when you’re finished. It’s called valet parking.”

Inside the dimly lit restaurant, candles illuminated the elegant place settings on a linen tablecloth. After they ordered, the waiter came and placed a salad on the china plates, a total of three. Then he took the whole stack away.

Chip gasped in a loud voice. “Where is he going with our plates? Doesn’t he know we need some for our dinner?”  Other diners looked over to assess the commotion.

Holly blushed red.

Two plates again for the soup. When the main course was ready, the waiter again returned, this time with more plates.

“Ahhh! Good thing we don’t have to wash the dishes with all those plates!” he concluded.

The lack of plates isn’t a singular problem in fancy restaurants in metro areas.

A thousand miles away, Len had been sweating over welding up the pinholes in his four-wheel drive gas tank. To celebrate finishing the job, he invited his mother and sister for a 4WD experience and beach-front cookout. But in his haste to get going, he forgot a few things.

Minor details! The gas tank was the important thing.

The four-wheel drive stalled out at the beach. It coughed and died. Len started the engine again. It coughed, hiccupped, and died.

By the third try, Len announced, “We’ll have the picnic here. I’m going to get help in starting the truck.” He had to go further than the next campsite where a resident shade tree mechanic announced, “Crud in the fuel lines.” Nothing the two tried worked. The adventure attracted even more spectators. But no one could get the truck going.

While Len hitchhiked into town for his second vehicle, his mom and sister, Joy, looked around for the disabled truck for the gear for their cookout. No plates. But the meat was wrapped in wax-covered butcher paper. They tore it into plate-sized pieces. No barbeque tools, but an open-ended wrench and one fork served as tongs to turn the meat.

By the time Len returned with a vehicle that ran, the ribs were sizzling nicely. It didn’t seem to matter that the tender meat was served up on torn pieces of paper. The three licked the sauce from their fingers.

God provides.  He also offers the opportunity for a bountiful life—with or without plates.

Jesus’ words John 10:10: “The thief comes only to kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The thief mentioned in Jesus’ words is the destroyer Satan, author of negativity, doubt, despair, and a life that ends with the death of the body. But Jesus offers instead life to the fullest~richer and more full of hope because it leads to eternal life. He offers overflowing forgiveness, love, and the path to life with him forever.

And whether we have too many plates or none at all, he answers prayers and meets needs.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven is Never Too Congested for You By Jo Russell

Pie Town, New Mexico, population 186, boasts of great pie and views.

“Top of the world, to ya!” one might hear, as Pie Town celebrates the end of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route of over 2000 miles from Alberta, Canada, to their handful of buildings and cafes featuring homemade pies.

But you’d never know driving over miles of vacant vistas with rolling hills dotted with cedars and evergreens that Pie Town has needs to post a warning. Is it a tricky speed trap? No.

For motorists headed down Highway 60 at a good clip, the sign that warns them of a possible traffic jam comes as a surprise: a flashing yellow light and sign that warns: Caution Congested Area.

What motorist on the sparsely traveled road wouldn’t wonder, “Is this a joke?”

“Nope,” reports a local realtor. “It’s really a cattle crossing. But isn’t this more fun?”

So when the Black Angus and Herefords – steak on the hoof–have a mind to amble across the highway at their own speed, warning motorists makes sense.

Caution: Congested Area. Is that what it’s like trying to communicate with God? You might have been imagining having to wait in line for his attention, like on black Friday when grumpy shoppers elbow their way to the front.

Are you wondering, “Where is God? Where is love?” They are both in the same place – on the other side of a thought.

Do you have to wait in line to talk to God?  Is he going to think your worries and needs are unimportant?

No. God doesn’t think we are trivial. He doesn’t judge us as a second-rate family member with flaws. He loves us and as plans for our time, talent, and lives. He has patience to teach us about prayer and the kingdom of God. He just asks us to persist in seeking knowledge and him.

Jesus promises, “Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8 [NIV]

Stop imagining a line-up for your questions, seeking, and prayers. For God always has time for you. Remember Pie Town’s “Caution, Congested Area.” Like Pie Town, in the kingdom of God, there is always room for one more.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

Never Out of Season for Needs by Jo Russell

As Paul and Carol slid into booths of a vintage diner, the couple surveyed the menu. With a little over 100 full-time residents, the settlement in the tall pines attracted many to the nearby trout-stocked lakes–but not during the winter. It was far from a grocery store, but  everyone coped.

At the café, as inviting as the glowing flames in the woodstove in the center of the diner were the menu items: sandwich plates and food fare that looked as appealing as a cabin in the woods. Out for a morning run, the fire chief, had stopped to chat and recommended the restaurant.

When the waitress at the café penned Paul’s order, he asked, “Could I substitute cottage cheese for fries?”

“Nope,” she responded, “Not now anyway.”

“But you printed it on the menu!”

“Yep,” she agreed without looking up from her pad, “But we don’t have any cottage cheese until May. That’s when the tourists come up. You’re three months too early for cottage cheese.”

So much for substitutes and needs.

King David had penned these words: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” [Psalm 23:1.]

Sheep depend entirely on their shepherd to lead them to food and water, protect them, rescue them, care for their wounds, and meet their needs.

This comparison of a shepherd to the Creator’s care paints a word picture of dependence on him and a willingness to trust him.

It isn’t a parallel to our being animals, along with sheep. It’s about leaning on God.

God’s care. It’s not just food- God is the provider for all needs. In his time, he may send someone to give you encouragement when you need it. God sees when your need may be for healing, whether a physical issue, emotional or relationship struggles. God is aware you may have experienced a loss – of a job, a family member, a friend. God will help.

It’s part of the benefit package of trusting and following him.

Another is that all those things we really need, God will supply at the right time–Even cottage cheese.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food, Food, Everywhere, but Not a Bite to Eat By Jo Russell

At the time the Israelites left fertile Goshen along the Nile River in Egypt, they didn’t know that they were leaving fish, onions and garlic behind for generations to come.

God would change everything. Freedom from slavery brought them on a long trek through the desert and total dependence on God. For even with a magnifying glass, finding edible plants in the Wilderness of Sin (today the Sinai Peninsula) was challenging. It was known for stone, sand, and sky.

Today, with a little irrigation, it might have potential as a luxurious winter golf resort. But not in those days.

No more baked tilapia with butter and garlic.  No thick soups full of meat, onions and seasonings. But with the annual rainfall at less than 1 l/2 inches and no rain between June and October, stews were out of the question.

The camp cooks were totally frustrated.

“Feeding this demanding mob is impossible!” complained one. The evacuees from Egypt might have populated a medium-sized metro area today. And there were about as many dietary demands as people.

“Whoever thought the doctors and people could come up with such ridiculous diets?” another cook complained.

Meanwhile, the crowd’s comments might have been notable, but apparently didn’t make it into the book of Exodus.

“But I can’t have white flour! Everything has to be gluten free!”

“No pita bread for me – or almonds, either!”

“The doctor says I can’t have dairy products.”

“No citrus fruit for me!” another might cry.

“Everything has to be sugar free for me. No sugar or dates!”

“I have to be on a low-salt diet.”

“Cucumbers give me gas!”

“Pomegranates have too many seeds!”

Not that anyone would find a pomegranate or a cucumber for three or four hundred miles.

God then provided manna. “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. “[Exodus 16:4 NIV]

He explained that it was a test to see if the people were ready to follow his instructions and lean on him completely. No baked tilapia. No onions. No dairy products.

They ground it up and made it into pancakes.

Even with all the dietary needs of the crowd, God’s food from heaven met their physical and dietary needs of the crowd–just as it does today.

And even in the light of dietary restrictions, God offers his bounty in these words from Jesus, God’s son, “Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

[Matthew 6:25-26 NIV]

If you worry about food allergies and restrictions as you peruse the grocery shelves, think about how God provides so many choices through every challenge. Value yourself and his bounty, as each day is a gift. He is still raining down food from Heaven for you.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When All Systems are Down, Be Happy! By Jo Russell

“It’s just like a small town to have only one eatery open after nine at night,” Paul commented to his fiancée, Carole. “Sorry. I’d hoped for some place nicer. But the only place open is the 24-hour McDonald’s.”

“That’s okay,” Carole smiled. “I love their senior coffee and fancy coffee lattes topped with cream.”

But as the seniors waited under the bright lights for their turn in line in the fast food place, Paul and Carole overheard the clerk telling the late night crowd the bad news, “Sorry, the computer is down. No debit or credit sales.”

When the couple got to the counter, Paul asked, “How about I write a check? That’s cash to you. Besides, you know me, Carole, and everyone else in town.”

“I do. But no checks. Just cash tonight. So sorry.”

So Paul and Carole stepped back, put their heads together, and counted the currency and coin in their wallets.

“I have $1.26.”

“And I’ve got $2.70.”

Together they looked at each other and got the idea, “Let’s check the car seats!”

“Dibs on the back!”

The senior couple dashed out to check in and under the seat and floor mats for more change.

They hit pay dirt.

“Two quarters!

“A dime and a penny!”

“Wow! A half dollar and a nickel!”

Sharing the richness of memories of their teen years, they slurped a milkshake through two straws. With fries and a drink before them, the two remembered that contentment comes from the inside out in all circumstances. And this experience brought them both a smile.

Paul wrote, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” [Philippians 4:11-13].

Paul’s challenges were much more serious than not having enough currency for a late night snack. A need for real sustenance arose often enough, but he looked beyond that. Instead, Paul focused on God, not on what he did or didn’t have. And God provided for him as he does for us. Paul advises us to be content and to look to God for our true needs.

How often do we ask for or long something that is not a need? How often does God say ‘No’?” But do more possessions that crowd closets, storage lockers and sheds fill the gap where God should be? What could be better to choose than a lasting relationship and communication with a great God of love, care, and provision?

Compare wants to needs. God always gives generously and in a timely manner.

Best of all, God’s divine communication never closes down to accept cash only. He opens the door at any hour—and it’s all free.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New and Improved? Or Timeless and Dependable? By Jo Russell

As the family of four pushed open the door and entered the warm café, eight-year-old Carrie cried at the specials board in the entry way. “Look! New apple pie!”

Wee daughter Sarah–just four–chimed in, “New apple pie! That’s just what I want, too!”

After hot lunches, the girls both ordered “new apple pie.” But when the waitress placed the perfect flakey pie wedge in front of the younger girl, Sarah’s voice dropped with disappointment. “It doesn’t look new,” she frowned. “It’s just like other apple pie.”

“Yeah,” agreed her older sister, Carrie. “If this is new apple pie, what was the old one like?  Grandma’s is better.”

“New!” is an attention-getting exclamation drawing attention to change.  Is it always an improvement? Maybe not. When it comes to a better taste, a more effective product, or a work-saving device, new may make things easier. But sometimes new is like a hot waffle stuck fast to the griddle.  The “New and Improved” mix only ends in dry crumbs even after excavation as skillful as experts at an archeological site.

Some want empirical facts before they become willing to try out God as a new product. But He is not a new brownie mix – or apple pie that will shine above all other desserts at a potluck.

Consider these words from that assure that God is timely, dependable, and amazing:

“In the beginning, you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment.

Like clothing, you will change them and they will be discarded.

But you remain the same, and your years will never end.” [Psalm 102: 25-27 NIV]

New is not needed when it comes to God and His promises. You don’t have to wonder what the old one was like. You don’t have to rewrite the agenda to make room for changes. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. And His presence is the improved recipe in all the days of your life.

And that’s better than “new apple pie”!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

What Do You Have As Collateral for Life? By Jo Russell

Sherry, the insurance representative at the hospital, glared at Jolene from her desk with a stern frown as she clutched one of the woman’s diaper-clad twins.

Her small office had suddenly burst at the seams with babies, their gear, and a twin stroller the size of a small car. The baby boy who cooed into her face expected a smile from her. Only a few weeks old, he knew he was the catalyst for love, smiles, and hugs. Not with her! The unhappy grown-up shuffled papers on her desk and began spelling out terms.

“I see what you still owe after your primary insurance carrier paid most of the bill for the twins and their intensive medical nursery care. The second carrier will not pay because you signed up too late. There is a considerable balance left. I see that you and your husband owe quite a bit on other bills. How do you plan to pay this? What will you use for collateral?”

She swiveled in her chair toward Jolene, holding the baby tighter. Though the new mother of twins thought the hospital’s delivery and care of the babies would be considered services, Sherry considered the babies goods, and she had a tight hold on one just to prove it!

The fact was Jolene had no idea how she would pay an amount equal to three years’ salary. Before she spotted a blue padded cell where the one twin would stay as collateral, Jolene  swept the child out of the representative’s arms, gathered the considerable gear, and told her, “I don’t have any answers right now. I will get back to you.”

Jolene had hit a wall and had no answers. From there, God took over. He reflected with love on Jolene and her two-baby bonus.

God proves his living creations are priceless treasures worthy of rescue. He knew Jolene’s need, as he does ours.

Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This honors the value of human life, even of life within the womb. Beyond birth, life continues to be precious. God knows the map of our lives and the plan and outcome of each day.

“When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” [Psalm 139: 16 NIV]

God knew the answers in Jolene’s life. She and her newborns discovered care and his divine provision along the way.

A few weeks after the confrontation with the hospital rep who wanted money or collateral, Jolene arrived at work and found her desk wallpapered with checks for nearly the entire balance of the bill. All checks were from the insurance carrier the representative said would not pay.

Just as God showed his love to Jolene, he continues to show daily care for us as well. To him,  the value of life is priceless. He sits in on all our challenging conferences, and his son, Jesus, has already paid our debts.

God has it handled. What covers collateral for life? Jesus. Nothing more is needed.

 

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

 

 

She Thought He’d Run Away by Jo Russell

Carole, new to the senior discount class, announced to her long-time friend Paul after their first lunch together, “I’d like to have a friend, but I’m not interested in dating anyone. I swore off dating five years ago.” She thought he’d run away.

The newly widowed man thoughtfully nodded. Then he commented, “How about going to church with me? You could hardly call that a date. You always go to church.”

“Okay.”

“We’ll go to breakfast first because we both have to eat.”

“I knew there was a catch, but that’s a good point.”

When the skilled do-it-yourself woman who knew her way around a circular saw couldn’t figure out how to build a food prep table the same height as her barbeque, she asked Paul if he could show her how. “I’m not trying to be coy. I just don’t know how.” She fixed him lunch.

Her admirer sawed, constructed and finished the table. The last hour, the rain drizzled over his head and dripped down his pearl-buttoned shirt.

“Yum!” Paul commented after the first bite of the hot lunch. “You’re a good cook. I haven’t had home-cooked food in ages.”

“Don’t read anything into it.” she explained. “I like to cook and I love to have company over.”

Carole thought he’d run away when she told him, “Stop proposing every week. It’s a relationship killer. You’ll have to wait a year.”  But he kept coming around.

Carole thought he’d run away when she told him she couldn’t date anyone her age unless he got a shingles vaccination. The next day, Paul waited three hours and paid three bills to get the shot.

She thought she’d run him off when she said, “I can’t possibly consider a serious relationship with anyone unless I know their credit score.”

He printed it up and handed it to her. As they exchanged credit scores instead of rings, Paul mentioned he wanted to see her more often. “How about Saturday?”

“I’m busy Saturday with a mission project for a widow.”  But Paul volunteered to come along with a smile and a tool box. He didn’t even mind that the widow added four extra chores to the “honey do” list.

Carole thought he’d sprint for the nearest internet dating site when she was out of town with her freelance business.

“That’s okay. I miss you, but I’ll just call you in the afternoons. Does that give you enough time?”

Carole kept thinking he’d run away. But like the new formula wood glue that held Paul used to bond her barbeque table tight, the man stuck fast, determined to win at the game of love.

Even Paul’s steadfast commitment to the relationship pales when compared to God’s stick-to-it-iveness that spans lives and generations.

God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He gifted Abraham and Sarah with a baby boy when everyone said it could never happen at their age. He did the same for Zechariah and Elizabeth, senior-aged parents of John the Baptist. God protected Joseph when he had been sold into slavery as a teen. God groomed him as Prime Minister of Egypt. All nations but his suffered from drought. God was with Daniel in the lions’ den. He enabled an orphaned child to become the Queen of Persia and save her people from extinction. He was with Apostle Paul through a handful of shipwrecks on the Mediterranean Sea.

But perhaps in spite of all those ancient stories of God’s steadfast watch care and miracles, you’d been thinking it’s too late for a relationship with God. Surely, He would run away when he knew what you had done. Does He need you? Nope. Do you need Him? Yep.

Maybe you’d been thinking, “I thought God would run away when I told him I was going to do my own thing and didn’t have time for him.”

But He just waited.

Maybe you’d been predicting that God would run away when you stopped going to church.

He just waited.

It could be that you wondered if God would run away when you realized you had a job to do and you didn’t know how to do it.

When you asked for help, He was there with more power, strength and know-how.

You just knew that God would run away when you made a bad choice and got into trouble.

But He stood beside you.

Over 1400 years before the appearance of Christ, the psalmist wrote, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” [Psalm 33:20-22 NIV].

In those days, as is today, God stands firm, waiting on you. And He won’t run away.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and  website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]