By Jane Horvath
“But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” Genesis 3:9
My love of cop shows started when I was 10 years old. The television program name was Car 54, Where Are You? It was a comedy that ran on NBC from 1961 to 1963. The story was about two NYC police officers based in the 53rd precinct of the Bronx. Car 54 was their patrol car. As a child, it was funny to me that no one ever seemed to know where the officers were located. The radio was constantly heard broadcasting, “Car 54, where are you?”
In Genesis 3:9, God calls out to Adam and Eve. He asks them, “Where are you?” Unfortunately, it is not funny in this instance. It is tragic, but also full of grace. God knew exactly where Adam & Eve were when He asked. They were hiding from God as a result of deception and disobedience. That is the tragic part. God was calling out to them. He was offering them a chance to confess. The confession of their sin would re-establish the relationship with Him and remove their shame. That is grace.
When we are in the middle of challenging circumstances, God wants to know where we are in our heads and our hearts. He wants to know if we are being deceived by the enemy or trusting in His plan for our lives. We need to be sure we are not hiding in shame and blame. Call out to Him and let Him know exactly where you are. He will meet you where you are. Learn to hide in His shelter, safe from the enemy (Psalm 27:5-6).
Today, God is asking, “Where are you?” He is not asking for a physical address, He wants to know where we are in relationship to Him. He is giving us the opportunity, seasoned with grace, to confess our sins without condemnation (Romans 8:1). He’s providing a chance at forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Give Him the answer to this question every moment of every day.
By Jane Horvath
Ephesians 3:20 starts by saying, “Now unto him that is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Many of us have memorized that scripture and prayed it back to God asking Him to do “exceedingly abundantly” in a given situation. However, I was not always sure how that looked until God gave me a great word picture to help me understand it.
I had been saving for a particular household item for months (probably a couple of years would be more accurate). Since this item was not a necessity, other needed items became more pressing, and I would borrow from the want fund in order to purchase the necessary items.
Then, one day God did “exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think.” He provided the item to me free of charge, and the item was much nicer and bigger than what I would have purchased myself. Just remember, this was not a needed item; it was just something on my “wish list”.
So what did God provide? A new TV. He gave me a 55” TV FREE OF CHARGE! I would never have purchased that size for myself. I had a 22” TV in my living room (at least it was a flat screen TV). What I really wanted was a TV that made it easier for my older eyes to watch. The one God provided is just the right size because whenever I see the TV hanging on the wall or I watch a program, God reminds me that He is able to do “exceedingly abundantly.” Moreover, if He does that with a want or a dream, just imagine what He will do for a real need!
Now when I pray Ephesians 3:20 back to God about a situation in my life, I remember how He provided “exceedingly abundantly” in the recent past and ask Him to do the same in my current situation. I have a better idea of what that might look like, and I am confident He will continue to show me in tangible ways what those words from Scripture mean for my life.
By Jane Horvath
Have you ever had a situation that astounded you or made your heart stop? I am not talking about a beautiful sunrise or sunset or the birth of your child or grandchild. I am referring to that phone call you never wanted to receive, the work situation, the overwhelming health problem or the relationship that seems beyond repair.
One of my new favorite shows is Code Black. A few definitions of code black, a medical term, is mass casualties or personal threat. Any of the situations above could fall into these definitions. We do not live in a vacuum, so work, health and relationship issues can feel like a personal threat and may involve mass casualties. In every episode of Code Black, someone’s heart stops beating for one reason or another, and the doctors and nurses use a variety of means to restart the heart.
When these situations occur, what means are you using to restart your heart? On the other hand, would you prefer to be just another casualty? What will it take to go from the flat line of your heart not beating to hear your heart beat again?
In Code Black, sometimes the heart starts using basic CPR. Other times a powerful medication like epinephrine is used. If all else fails, the heart jolts to life with a defibrillator. In the case when our hearts stop beating because of overwhelming circumstances, God may use a variety of means to start our heart again.
Many times God uses a verse in His word, a song or a text from a friend to jolt my heart back to life. Other times, it is a message from church or something from a book I am reading that startles me back to life. For other times it takes counseling over a period of time for me to start hearing a faint heartbeat.
I do know that the longer it takes me to recognize my heart has stopped beating, the longer it takes it to start beating again. God is the common denominator for my heart to start beating. He uses people, places and things, but God is the one who breathes life back into my body and soul.
If your heart has slowed or stopped beating because of overwhelming circumstances in your life, do not be another casualty. Instead, seek God through His Word or through a person who knows the life-saving treatments to start your heart beating again for Him.
By Jane Horvath
I have had the opportunity, privilege really, to go on several mission trips. One trip was to a school in Jamaica where we were involved in their ongoing building program. Construction is not my forte. However, we were bringing most of our own food for the trip and cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner for our group was part of our responsibility. Now, cooking for groups was an area of expertise for me!
Part of our planning responsibilities was making menus and gathering as much food and dry goods as we could prior to our trip. I reached out to the director of the food services at the school cafeteria associated with our church with the hope of getting some donations. The director was very helpful, but there was one problem: She wanted to donate a big, industrial-size can of baked beans. I HATE BAKED BEANS. I could not think of any reason why we should bring this giant can of beans. After all, probably many people felt the same way as I did, and it was going to be hot (really hot). Why would anyone want hot beans after working in the heat all day long? Moreover, do we really want people eating beans when we are sharing our bedrooms with up to six people?
Well, guess what? I did end up reluctantly bringing the can of beans. I was not planning on opening the can and cooking them. I figured I would leave them with the missionaries to dispose of as they saw fit — through their stomach or in the garbage. At least I did what I was supposed to do — bring the beans.
As we were unpacking the groceries, the missionary saw the beans and exclaimed, “Those are my favorite beans, and I have not had any in the five years since I have been here.” THAT was the reason I was supposed to bring the beans. Serving can be difficult in America, but it can be even more difficult in another country. Isolation and feeling as if God does not remember who you are can be a lie we hear and believe.
It was obvious God knew the missionary well and used a willing participant (the cafeteria director) and an unwilling participant (me) to bring His gift of love to this missionary. I do not think we ate the beans that week, I cannot remember. But I do remember being thankful that I brought the beans even though I did not want to do it. God knows exactly what can encourage us and often he uses us, willing or not, to encourage others.
By Jane Horvath
Ephesians 3:20 is a wonderful verse to memorize and pray back to God. It is a reminder of what God wants to do in our lives.
Many years ago, a small group of friends and I were treated to a weekend away in Charleston. This was a time in my life when the only way I could afford to visit Charleston was to travel down with a group early in the morning, spend the day, bring my own food rather than eating out and drive back the same day. We would share the cost of the gas and have an inexpensive, fun day. We used to joke about the fact that we could write a book about taking inexpensive vacations. We had the corner on doing just that.
However, this time we were able to stay two nights in a hotel and the cost of our meals was covered. In addition, our host had a boat and paid for the gas for the boat and provided snacks during the day. It was a wonderful, relaxing time.
One of my best memories from that trip was dinner on Saturday night. We went to a very nice restaurant in downtown Charleston. When I saw the prices, I gulped hard and wondered what I could possibly order that I could afford. Additionally, if our host was paying, I wanted to pick the least expensive item on the menu. Then our host said these words, “I want you to choose your meal from the left side of the menu rather than the right side.”
You may wonder about the significance of those words. I certainly had no idea what our host meant when he said it. Then he explained: He did not want us to choose our meal based on what it cost. He wanted us to pick out what we really wanted to eat, regardless of the cost. I had never had someone make such a generous offer.
Recently, God brought this memory back to my mind as I was preparing to pray about situations in my life and in the lives of my friends. I realized that I too often pray from “the right side of the menu.” I think about the requests we have and pray as if it is up to me to have to provide for the request. Consequently, I pray minimal (appetizer-sized) prayers. When God reminded me of this memory, He showed me that He wants me to pray from “the left side of the menu.” He wants me to remember that He can do far beyond what I’m able to ask or imagine. He also reminded me that “my God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)