Finding Thankfulness

The season is here again. It is Thanksgiving time. Lots of talk about being thankful can be heard all around us. What do you do if you don’t feel so thankful and are having a hard time finding what you are thankful for?

Here’s a suggestion-look around and you will always find something to be thankful for. Maybe it can be as simple as a nice day, or as amazing as a beautiful sunset. Make a list of the things you see and before long you will have lots of things to be thankful for. God gives us so many blessings but it can be hard to see them when life becomes challenging. We all have times when we must work to see the good things right in front of us.

“I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” Psalms 9:1

Dear Lord,

We come to you with a thankful heart. Let us not only be thankful to you this season but each and everyday. You are our provider and protector. You are our uplifter in times of trouble. You make a way when there seems to be no hope. Help us to always go to you first in times of need. May we always come to you with a heart that is open and thankful for all we do have. Help us to see pass the clouds to see you shine in our lives. Amen

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” Psalms 100:4

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Road Trip of Life

We recently went on a road trip that took us through multiple states. It was long at times but worth the effort to see all the sights and sounds we saw. As we traveled, it became apparent to us that our “little road trip” was giving us some very important life lessons.

We were stopped in traffic for over one hour due to road construction, so patience was something we had to develop. It was interesting to see a car or two weave in or out of the line trying to find a quicker way to move on. Just like in life sometimes we need to slow down and take the clear path, instead of rushing forward to find a major road block in our way.

We also had our GPS on our phone tell us that there was a speed trap ahead- well that’s helpful. We do try to follow the speed limit so we looked and said ok we are fine and kept moving. Up ahead we saw flashing lights and a car stopped meaning that the warning must not have reached that person and they were in trouble. How many times do we hear God give us a warning and don’t listen. We then find ourselves in a big problem that could have been avoided. Following the rules is needed and that is why God gives us boundaries to protect us from harm.

Tunnels were another thing we drove through on this trip. Tunnels are not my favorite but can’t be avoided if you need to get to your destination and there are mountains in your path. So you turn on your lights, hold the car steady so not to hit the side of the wall and keep going. There are lights in the tunnel too, flashing quickly by as you travel through. Just as you are getting weary, you see the other side, the opening with the sun shining as you exit the tunnel. Have you had a tunnel experience in your life? Have you held on tightly praying for answers or a breakthrough that just doesn’t seem to come? God is there with us through the tunnel. His light guides our way if we stay the course. He is showing us the opening with freedom on the other side. Keep going and don’t give up.

After a long journey it is wonderful to get back home. Home is where we feel comfortable and secure. Home is where we find rest and people we love. On the road trip of life, don’t forget that this is not our forever home. Jesus died for us to give us a home in heaven to be with God forever if we believe in Him. Please make sure you know the Lord in a deep personal way so that someday when your road trip is done, Jesus will say to you “Welcome Home.”

The Desire of the Heart

Do you have a desire in your heart that you keep hidden? Something that really you want but can be scary to voice? Sometimes the desires we have are not what God would consider the best for us. Sometimes He shows us another desire that will fit our need much better. Sometimes He totally provides the long awaited heart desire in a miraculous way!

God wants us to trust Him with our life, our plans and our heart’s desire. He wants our attention, our praise and worship. He longs to hear us in our quiet time share our most intimate hopes and dreams. He is there in the hard times that set us back and make us question all we thought was so close to our touch. He is there to walk with us as we learn to continue to pray even when we see nothing is changing. God wants us to trust Him completely.

Is this an easy task? No, it is hard to wait and continue to hope in something we have not seen yet. Waiting is hard and time can seem to drag along with no answers. Let God mold you and show you who He wants you to be. Put God first daily. Keep praying, keep growing, keep praising and wait for your miracle!

Our grandson, Kaleb once announced when he was very young, “Sometimes you just get a miracle!” So true. John and I have seen miracles in our life and in the lives of our family and friends. We are still amazed and so thankful for them. We pray that those reading this will also get that miracle in their life, that may have just started as a heart’s desire between you and the Lord. Never forget our God is a God of miracles.

God in Control

Most of us have heard it said “God is in Control.” Have you ever really thought about what it means? We usually think more deeply about it when we lose a loved one or a tragedy is in our midst. We wonder why if God is in control this could have happened.

It really comes down to God wants us to trust Him in all things. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding ” Proverbs 3:5

We may never know all the reasons for life’s problems until we meet Jesus face to face. He wants us to believe his promises and keep his words in our hearts in times of turmoil. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

As we enter into the Easter weekend we know that when Jesus went to the cross all looked very bleak. Many did not understand what was happening and the pain was very real. Even Jesus’s followers could not see past what they were experiencing at that moment. They did not remember the times Jesus performed miracles and told them he was leaving and preparing a place for them. “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:3

All they could focus on was that day. If only they knew that what looked so bad was going to turn into a glorious celebration! We do the same thing. We look at our current circumstances in troubled times and give in to despair. We need to remember our past blessings and how God has brought us though worse. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

We need to move our focus off the present and into the future where all is made right. God is in control. He has always been and will always be. We are his creation. Jesus gave his life because of his love for each of us. Thank him for this great sacrifice, accept it, follow him and trust him. Let us move our eyes from the crucifixion to the resurrection and rejoice.

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” 1 John 3:16

Still Finding His Purpose

Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone to see God work. He sometimes asks us to do things we see as impossible but he makes them possible.

Over 6 years ago, John asked me if I would help him start a group for people with disabilities at our church, Calvary Chapel Melbourne. It was a desire and vision that God put in his heart to help encourage and support those with physical disabilities, chronic pain and illness.

So it started, we did our research and found help and ideas for the ministry at Joni Eareckson Tada’s website joniandfriends.org. They had many resources for us to use and learn from. We put together a binder with many of the resources we found and ideas we wanted to explore. The group name was something the Lord gave us when we were working on the binder in the summer of 2013. John’s favorite verse is Romans 8:28 and the verse was exactly what we wanted Finding His Purpose group to be. To seek the Lord in all things even during the really hard times in life. Continue to look beyond the problems to see his ultimate purpose in the circumstances. To know God still has a plan and a purpose for us even with our limitations.

We also looked for other support groups in our area that had a similar focus to see how it worked. God led us to a very active group called “Choosing Joy ” held at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. We found their group description online and contacted the leader, Andrea Goff. Andrea was so kind to correspond with us by email to answer lots of questions we had. The group had been meeting in their church for four years already.

We met with many of the Calvary Chapel Melbourne pastors and shared our desire to start the group. Our first pastor leader was Eric Ward and we all made arrangements to go to Fort Lauderdale to meet Andrea and her pastor leader, Joel Sonnenberg.

Our meeting was so informative and we really felt like we could start this group. So on Thursday January 23, 2014 we had our first meeting. It has been 5 years now and we are still learning and leaning on the Lord for our direction and support. God has blessed us so much. We have met many inspiring people along the way. Members who keep going even when the times are tough, and pain takes it’s toll on their lives. Pastors who encouraged us to move forward. Family and friends who share our vision and prayed for us as we serve.

As we move forward we hope the future will bring many more inspiring stories to share and victories of changed lives. We want to thank Calvary Chapel Melbourne and the pastors for believing in us and allowing us to serve. We thank Pastor Eric Ward for helping us get off to a great start. Thank you to Andrea Goff and Pastor Joel Sonnenberg for encouraging us to begin. We thank our first co-leaders Susan and Gerry Lachapelle for helping us and supporting us in prayer.

A special thank you to our current pastor leader, Pastor Dave Barnes who gives us encouragement, direction and is always there to help. Thank you to our current co-leaders Melissa and David Valentine for serving along with us, praying and helping us move forward.

Thank you to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for guiding us and directing our path along the way. May we always remember that this ministry is yours and we are just caretakers of it. We seek to honor you in all we do at Finding His Purpose.

John and Cynthia Miller

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His Purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Christmas of Hope

Christmas brings back so many great memories for many people every year. It is a time to remember our childhood and our special family times. We are blessed to have wonderful Christmas time memories and new ones we are making with our family and especially our grandchildren. Everyone has someone they have lost and Christmas seems like the pain of loss can be worse. As Christians we do have the hope of seeing them again and that is very comforting. Christmas can also be a stressful time with many demands on our time.

How can we move through this busy Christmas season and not get caught up in the rush?

Keep Christ at the forefront of all your Christmas celebrations. As the saying goes “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Too often we forget the true reason for the season and leave Jesus out of his own birthday celebration! Remember him in all you do at Christmas and all year long.

Focus on the good memories. We all have loved ones who have passed away and miss their presence. Remember the good times you shared with them. Maybe keep a tradition that they loved and make it a part of your celebration to honor them. Don’t forget to love those who are present. Love those around you, spend time with them and make new memories.

Hope for the future. Take time to reflect on the past but also look with hope to the future. Christmas is a time to celebrate the fact that Jesus came to earth. He was the hope that many were waiting for- our Savior. He is our hope of a new life here on earth and life everlasting.

May this Christmas bring with it a hope of peace, joy and a bright New Year to you and your loved ones.

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family. A special Merry Christmas to our Finding His Purpose family and May God Bless you in 2019.

John and Cynthia Miller

Remember God’s Faithfulness

God is so faithful. He is always working for our good even when we cannot see it at the time. As I look back I now see where God placed me in the right place I needed to be. I remember times he provided when it seemed hopeless. I have seen him work miracles over and over again and I stand in awe. I do not ever want to take them for granted. I thank God for all the things he has done in my life and in the lives of those I love. He has given me many desires of my heart, my precious children, grandchildren and a husband who loves the Lord and is committed to serving him. I have seen the Lord bring us through trials of illness, and the stress that disability can cause if we don’t keep our eyes on him.

Take time to look back in your life and I am sure you will find trials that you did not understand. It is hard to see the hand of God working behind the scenes, but he is! I bet as you think about the situation,you now understand more and can see where God was with you.

Look for God moments where he shows you something or brings everything together in a sequence that could only be God. These are the times that we are amazed. We are comforted when he reminds us that he hears, he sees, and he is there in our struggles. Did you learn something? Did he provide when you needed it most? Was he there to comfort you at a low point?

Great is your faithfulness, oh God and let us always remember that. “Strength for today and a bright hope for tomorrow ” He has you today and you can trust He has your future.

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23