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

Damage Control

Do you ever wonder how God sees us? In 1 Samuel 16:7 it says “The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” He is God and He looks at us as his children. We are told in the Bible that He loves us with an everlasting love. He has demonstrated that with his sacrifice of His only son, Jesus Christ, to save us from our sins and for us to accept His gift of eternal life. This is how God really sees us, as His precious child and looks right into the heart.

How do we see others? How do they see us? Can we say we look past the appearance and go right to the truly important part of a person- their heart? When we meet someone for the first time we will see the outward person first because it takes time to get to know someone. What are they all about? What are their passions and desires for life? Soon as we experience more time with someone the special qualities start to show and appearance, disability or illness are so less noticeable. They only make that person more interesting.

Those who struggle with disabilities, chronic pain and illness find it hard to make deep connections with others due to the demands of time the issue creates for them. Life changes and priorities need to be reassessed to fit the challenges. Cheer up! This is where God wants us to be joyful even in our circumstances. He will be the one we need to depend on and look to for strength. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. ” Philippians 4:13

My husband, John reminded me of this as we talked about my car that was recently hit by multiple vehicles and left badly damaged. No it wasn’t fair and the person responsible ran off and nothing has been repaired. You know what even after all that damage, the car still runs, the air conditioner, radio, and lights all work just fine. When you are driving along listening to worship music inside you wouldn’t know anything was wrong! I am sure as others see the outside of my car they probably wonder about it but I know inside it doesn’t bother me. I know the maker of all things personally and He will lead me on. He is the one I need to go to when the damage seems more than we can accept. When the pain of loss or illness pushes us to the brink. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

There is a story that goes with this damaged car and there is a story we all have to tell. Maybe my car will have a new outside one of these days. I do know that all of us who trust in the Lord, accept and follow Him, will have a new heavenly body free from pain and suffering one day.

Make sure you look to the inside and the heart of those you meet. Don’t be distracted by outward appearances. Give God your cares and concerns. Let Him take the damage of hurts and pains, and make something wonderful of it all. “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

Shining Inside

Have you ever felt like you can’t be who God has called you to be? Did you wonder if you heard his call on your life and surely heard it wrong? Don’t underestimate yourself. God made you, he knows you and he sees all you can be and more. He knows what you long for and what you feel is just out of your reach.

He sees that spark that you keep hidden deep inside that you continue to extinguish. Thinking that you can’t do the impossible, you choose to do the ordinary. Remember that “all things are possible with God.”(Mark 10:27) So believe it and live like it!

Take what you have inside and let it shine in the world. As you bless others you in turn will find blessings. Don’t let disabilities, illness, age, time, money or anything keep you from doing the Lord’s work. Just a smile or an encouraging word can make all the difference in a hurting person’s life.

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Go let your light shine for Him.

Life Support

Where do you go when life gets hard? Do you have a group of friends to help you in your time of need? We all need someone to come along side us to help us over a rough patch sometimes.

Here are some suggestions to help you get a new focus:

1. Read your Bible and especially go to uplifting scripture verses that will give you hope. The Psalms is a good book to find help in times of trouble. David is found crying out to the Lord many times and praising Him even during times of fear and pain. “Bring joy to your servant, for to you, O Lord I lift up my soul.” Psalm 86:4

2. Pray. Go to the Lord with your concerns and requests. Listen for Him to speak to your soul and set you on the right path. He knows all your secrets so be open in your prayer life so He can help you move forward into the amazing life waiting for you. “Hear my prayer, O Lord: listen to my cry for mercy, In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me.” Psalm 86:6-7

3. Worship. Listen to worship and inspirational music. Spend time praising God in song. Let music lift your spirit and open you up to a greater communion with our awesome God. “Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” Psalm 100:2

4. Fellowship. Find others who you trust to talk with and pray with. Make going to church services a priority in your life. Join a small group or Bible study. We all need guidance and we all need others to come along side us to keep us focused on the journey God has called us to. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in his ways.” Psalm 128:1

Life support can be found in many areas of life. Friends, family and co-workers can help at times, but let’s go to the maker of all life for the answers we seek most. God can be trusted with it ALL!