Saturday, December 12, 2015

Jesus is Coming!

By Barbara Jewel Hinson, December 2015

Jesus is coming!

The advent season,
Christmas, you say.
Fills us with excitement,
of Jesus' birthday.

A lowly, little baby
born to a stall.
Brought a precious gift,
one offered to all.

And yes, He's still coming
to us today.
To give us His present,
that can't fade away.

Jesus is coming!

Yet not just to a virgin
after he's born.
Nor to a dirty manger
inside a barn.

Not only to a bustling, 
too-busy town
Nor to a bursting motel,
too full for a Crown.

Not only to some shepherds
beside Bethlehem's hill.
Nor heralded by angels
doing God's will.

Jesus is coming! 

Or rather, He's here,
calling your name.
He's seeking, He's yearning 
to give you the same.

That gift humbly brought
to earth long ago.
His presence; salvation,
grace, love, life, and joy.

He's ever knocking
on your heart's door.
Will you answer? Accept Him 
        forevermore?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

What's a penny? One cent? Pocket change? A worthless piece of money?

How about encouragement, savings, and a dedicated heart? For us, that is what it means.

Recently, we visited a church that also had a school. Those school children did more for us than the adults- because adults often give out of abundance, but children give from the heart. All the students donated new items for the "missions store", then worked hard to earn "mission bucks" to put in the offerings to the missionaries so they could buy those items at the missions store. -These were things like, like winter gloves, thank you notes, clothes for Jude, Oreos, travel items, and so forth. In addition, each class "adopted" a missionary family and, over the year, collected money to give that family.

Those students, in pennies, change, and one dollar bills gave us just shy of a thousand dollars! Incredible right? Adults struggle to give- perhaps because we are more worldly aware, or have been burned before, or felt the fight to survive on nothing. Children just give. Joyfully. From a heart of faith. It is so encouraging!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Coping with Ministry Stress

I wanted to share just  few of the things I am learning while in our pre-field ministry of support raising. Besides learning faith in God to provide there is a whole host of little lessons along the way.
Our current profession is extremely stressful. There are many different ways of coping with stress, and of course, I must always have personal time with God, but this has been what God has been showing me.

1. Be Positive
Look for the good in people, places, and situations. If I feel like complaining, I make it a game to see how many things I can be grateful for. This especially works if I'm annoyed or a little upset with Michael- I concentrate on his good qualities.

2. Enjoy the Moments
Sometimes that's all we get. A quick prayer together before a meeting. A kiss when Michael opens my car door. A few minutes to rock Jude in the nursery when he's fussy.

3. Be Myself- Don't Seek to Please
This sounds odd, I know. Let me explain- I am who I am. If I try to change myself to please every person or church we meet, I would work myself to a frazzle. Instead, I seek to please the Lord and honor my husband.

4. Weigh Advice
There are few people who I listen to unconditionally- my husband, parents, and my best friend. Everyone else, like the many people we meet at churches, I'm a careful listener. Some advice has been very helpful, other, not at all for us. I still listen, but we weigh it carefully before we adjust any behaviour.

5. Trust God, Trust my Husband
This means don't worry. It's a conscious choice. My husband was placed over me by God. God is in control. If we've discussed the issue already, I must let go, and trust it to God and my man.

6. Go to Bed
It's so easy to let the time fly after Jude goes to bed and it is easier to get things done. However, our job is physically taxing. It's best to go to bed at a reasonable time to get as much sleep as I can- especially during conferences.

7. Read & Pray with my Husband
This keeps us on the same page spiritually. Yes, we need individual time with God, but there is something especially bonding about studying God's Word and praying together; I don't understand it, but it's true.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Disguised Joys

With the gift of a child, many blessings ensue: smiles, hugs, and othe joys. There are other things that come that aren't so joyous... sleepless nights, screaming, sickness, sour dispositions, and so forth. Yet God has a plan even for these moments. Remember Romans 8:28? "And we KNOW that all things work together for good, to them who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." I love God, and have accepted Him as my Saviour. I am called by Him to share the gospel across the world. Yes, all things will work out for His good and glory. 
And so, when Jude wakes up at night screaming, again, needing me to comfort him, I look for God's purpose.
You know what I have found? Nighttime makes an excellent time to pray. It's quiet, there's nothing else I can do while comforting our baby, and when I need to fall asleep, it doesn't overly tax my mind and keep me awake. What a difference this has made in my attitude about the inconvenience of a child! Knowing that I can meet with God in this special way almost makes me happy to get up with Jude at night. Prayers for family, friends, and fellow missionaries make the twenty minutes I'm feeding or rocking Jude fly by, and I sigh for the lack of time for more.
As Jude grows, (and I do too), I'm looking forward to turning the disguised moments into sweet memories, just like the joyful ones. God is working, changing me into His image, teaching me that His plan is different than mine, helping me see it's about His glory.

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Ministry of Listening

-A homemaker mom, longing to talk to someone besides her four year old all day.

-An old lady, aching to tell of her adult son who committed suicide.

-A pastor's wife, needing to share the burden of what's going on in her church with someone who knows no one and will share it with no one.

-A child, desperate to tell someone of their new home and backyard.

-A teenager, wanting attention, yearning for love, even if she has nothing of substance really to say.

-A husband, reluctant to talk, and yet, needing to share his heart.

 Many times on the deputation trail, I find myself with people who need to listen. It shocked me at first, what people will say to a missionary's wife. I guess it's because I'm not local, but people tell me all kinds of situations, problems, family life, and so forth. I've found that even though a person may be willing to listen to me share my burden for Georgia, they can't listen fully when their heart is carrying it's own heavy burden.

And listening is more than hearing. Listening is caring. Listening is coming along side another person to help them carry their burden for a moment. Listening is praying for and with them. Listening is a ministry.

Perhaps deputation is quite accurately referred to as pre-field ministry. Do I love God so much that His love for people overflows into my heart? Do I really care for people? If I cannot love people now, witness now, listen now, I won't be able to automatically start on the mission field. THIS is my training ground. Sometimes it's hard to drop what I'm doing or thinking to listen to someone else, especially when I feel burdened myself. Again and again, I have to remind myself, this is what God has given me to do. Am I willing to listen for Him?

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Tribute to My Great "Funny" Grandma


Elizabeth Mills Stacey, my great grandma whom we affectionately called Funny Grandma, passed away at 99 years of age to Alzheimer's.

What do I remember of Funny Grandma?

Every morning, (until relatively shortly before she passed away) she drank her cup of coffee while reading the Bible. It didn't matter where she read, or the passage was interesting, or how much was going on around her, or if she was in a hurry. She took time in the Word. 

She was faithful to go to church. -Even wanting to go on days that weren't Sunday! She wanted to go to Sunday school, and everyone at her church(es) knew "her" chair. She would prepare the night before, with her nicest blouse, slacks, shoes, and string of pearls. And she always had to have her tithe ready!

Funny Grandma was always hospitable. If you came to see her, she offered you a drink, a snack, and a bed. She would not go to bed until you said goodnight and left her. She was a perfect hostess, full of stories and humor to cover even the most awkward of moments.

She was opinionated! She was not afraid to tell the truth or offend. If it needed said, or even if it didn't, she would let you know. ​When she met my son Jude, her great-great grandson, she said "Where's his hat?!" Not, "How cute". She knew babies were supposed to be kept warm wearing hats in her day! When I went to attend a friend's wedding, she told me quite plainly "Have fun, but don't drink too much." 

I remember that visiting Funny Grandma always meant laughter. I remember learning to play pick-up-sticks and to enjoy baseball. I remember that she loved her family and sent us handmade Christmas gifts as long as she was able (and I wish I had understood their intrinsic value before now). She made time for people.

She was full of wise sayings, even when alzheimer's wracked her brain. I wish I could remember them all. She firmly believed it was better to laugh than to cry, and to trust God and mend friendships. When I was once distraught over something I had been told, she asked me why I wasn't so happy. Then, when I gave her the short of it, she said "It's better to be a faithful friend than to be a popular one." Another day she told me to "Smile because God is good." ​

These are just a few of my memories of her. I feel very blessed to have known her and cared for her in her last days. She taught me much, and has left a wonderful heritage behind her. 

I will miss you, Funny Grandma.


Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Why I don’t hate the homosexual:




Friday, the supreme court ruled that states could not deny homosexuals a marriage license. Really, this is a natural course of action, given the many times our nation has rejected God. We are no longer a Christian nation, and our judges are not Christians. Why then would we expect them to make the godly, moral decision to uphold Biblical marriage?

Yet as I ponder the ruling of the U.S. supreme court, the Lord reminds me that I am not to hate the homosexual, for he is not the enemy. Hate the sin and all it means, yes, but love the person as a soul for whom Christ died. Homosexuality is not the “unpardonable sin,” (that is a lack of faith in Christ for salvation), and it is not even a “worse” sin. It is listed in Romans 1 along with pride, envy, promise breakers, deceit & lying, and dishonoring parents. –But for God’s grace bestowed on me, there go I! In fact, James says that one who breaks God’s law in one area is guilty of breaking the whole thing. If I am proud, God considers me a law breaker just the same as he considers the homosexual to be a law breaker. Both sins disobey God’s law. Therefore, hating the homosexual person is wrong. I must separate the sinner for whom Christ died from the sin which they are committing, love them as Christ does, and pray for them, even while advocating against the sin of sodomy.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Instant Out of Season

An odd title, to be sure, but perhaps one that brings to mind the following verse:

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 
2 Timothy 4:2

This verse is, of course, speaking to "young" preacher boy Timothy, reminding him to be ready always to speak the truth. Though I'm not a preacher, I often have to be ready to serve the Lord and speak truth at any time. In deputation, one always has to be ready. This week, the Lord asked me to be ready "out of season."

Easy though he may be, Jude is a very young baby and requires a lot of time and energy- and deprivation of sleep. He seems to have developed some allergies which cause him to have some trouble breathing in his sleep or not feel good, interrupting his sleep and ours. And, on top of being tired from being up with Jude, Michael and I both came down with colds last weekend. Yet, ministry goes on.

We dropped in at a church Sunday morning and "happened" to be on hand when the visiting pastor asked one of the ladies if she had a special. She did not, so the speaker was deciding if he could do one when my husband whispered, "Can I volunteer you?" while I walked past on the way to the nursery. 

Sure. ...I'm exhausted, have a headache and stuffy nose from a cold, ...but I can sing. 

And God blessed it. My husband said I sounded better than ever before. Definitely "out of my season," and yet, God made sure I was ready.

You know a funny thing? Growing up, my family sang A LOT. We loved it, and have many happy memories around the piano. But I remember a few times when we were scheduled to sing at church and one or another of us complained of a cold. "I can't hear myself." "I can't sing on pitch." "My throat is too sore." Etc. 

My mom would always reply, "Someday you will be asked to sing, and you will have a cold, and you need to be able to sing, and sing right, anyway."

She was right. God used my parents to prepare me for deputation and on-the-field ministry when I would need to be "instant... out of season". What a blessing that God could teach me what I needed to have before I needed it so that I could be ready at any time, including when I have a cold.

I know that there will be other times when I will need to serve the Lord when I don't feel like it. Yet, God will prepare me for those times too. I just need to be willing to be instant.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Joy of being Inconvenienced

Friday evening, May 1st, we drove to the hospital. I'd had contractions all day, but they weren't availing much, and since this was the fourth or so time this had happened, the doctor decided to help things along. He broke my water at 8:15. Three and three quarter hours later, (12:03 Saturday morning to be exact,) I held our son in my arms.

As I write this post, my son is snuggled in the crook of my left arm. He is adorable, though he is also a lot of work. In fact, I'm having to type this post with one hand. Such is the life of parenting.

Nathanael "Jude" Hinson, 13 days old
Since then, our lives have been busy, revolved around the new member of our family. Jude is an easy baby, and Michael is a natural dad, but still, there are many changes and challenges. Still, I would not exchange the inconveniences of having a baby around for the relatively simple life we had before Jude arrived.

Yes, he likes to be held constantly; but he'll only be little so long.

Yes, he insists upon waking me up and being held, changed, and fed a few times at night; this too will pass.

When he cries inconsolably and we're beyond ourselves to know what to do, we look down in awe of this little person God has brought into our lives and thank God he is healthy and able to cry.

When I'm exhausted and Michael's not available, I think of how much love God has for me, how He's never too tired for me, and hold Jude just a little bit closer.

Parenthood is not the only inconvenience in life, though it is a prominent one. There's that homeless person knocking on your car door, or the old lady needing help to look for her car in the Walmart parking lot (yes, this has happened to me), or the neighbor cashing in a favor at an inopportune time... I'm sure you could think of more. Yet with each inconvenient situation comes an opportunity to receive joy. Joy in knowing that you are pleasing your Father. Joy in seeing the smile from those you've blessed. Joy in knowing you've done what you would want someone to do for you or your loved ones. Inconveniences bring opportunity that will only come once at that particular time, place, and situation.

Who knows but that that "inconvenience" could become a witnessing opportunity and bring one more soul into God's kingdom?

I'm choosing to embrace the inconvenience of parenthood... what about you? Do you see the opportunity disguised as inconvenience?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Recognizing God's face

Someday, I'm going to see Jesus; and OH! what a glorious day that will be!

But what about now? Could I recognize Him based on the personal intimate relationship I have with Him?  Sometimes I forget to "seek His face continually" as the psalmist says. Does my heart say, "Thy face Lord will I seek"? Sadly enough, I think I fall short.

I think I'm more like Job. In the beginning of the book, Job is convinced he knows God; but then by the end, he knows he doesn't. "But now my eyes have SEEN the Lord." Yeah. I think I know God; but after every trial, every turn in the road, I realize I didn't. And now I see Him in a way I hadn't before.

Moses requested to see God, and the Lord allowed him to see His glory.  Abraham had such a close relationship with the Lord that He recognized Him and called Him to His tent. Later, he talked with God over the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Jacob wrestled the angelic form of Christ. Manoah (Samson's father) also said that he saw the Lord. Steven saw Christ on the right hand of God.

These all saw (a form of) God, and knew it. However, sometimes I think I'd relate more with the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Remember them? They talked with Jesus in the way, but did not know it until later. Then they wondered how they didn't know Him. Me too. I don't recognize God's hand at work, or His characteristics in another, or His loving messages to me until later. Much later. And then I wonder why I didn't recognize Him.

The answer, I think? Keep seeking. Keep looking. Seek His face evermore, as the psalmist encourages. I will see it someday in Heaven, of course, but perhaps I can also recognize glimpses of Him now. Every day. Showing Himself to His daughter. Reaching down to me for an intimate relationship.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Signs of Spring in Tennessee

What says spring to you? Flowers? Raindrops on petals? A walk in the park? Or perhaps a fresh stream... I love spring. It seems the whole world comes alive in a rainbow of greens, purples, pinks, whites, and yellows. The old dead landscape is once again quickened and decorates itself in exquisite display. Yes. God makes all things new and beautiful in His time.

Walking path, Lookout Mt. 

Early spring rain.

Petals and leaves, lacy trees.

Daffodils- these seem to grow like weeds here.

The leaves pull aside to reveal lovliness.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Is Calvary Truly Enough?

Let me clarify my question. I'm not asking if Calvary is enough for salvation, for we know undoubtedly from Scripture that it is. "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." This question is for Believers. Is Calvary enough for you?

This post has been hovering around my head for a while, as I didn't quite know how to put this idea into words in a way that an audience could understand. 

As we visit churches across the country, I am often struck with the sad state of the Church in America today. There are some fabulous Believers out there, ones with whom I have felt honored to have fellowship. We've met veteran missionaries full of tales of God's faithfulness on the field and the ripe harvest waiting for yet another missionary to step up to God's call. There are Believers who are anxious to pray for us every step of the way and send us on our way well taken care of for the journey, even at great personal expense and sacrifice. Then there are the others. An apathetic band of church-goers who try to look good on the outside, but are useless vessels for the gospel. Unfortunately, the latter group is the larger one.

Fellow Christians, what is our problem? We have been given salvation, eternal security, the righteousness of God, and all manner of spiritual blessings in Christ. Yet we are stingy stewards, keeping blessings, claimed or unclaimed, to ourselves. Instead, we scurry about like pack rats, hoarding happiness, worldly possessions, and yes, even the people around us. We can't seem to step out of the survival mode that has overtaken the faith God desires us to claim. 

I caught myself thinking this selfish way just the other day, and a question pricked my conscience: If all you had to look forward to after Christ saved you was loneliness, pain, suffering, want, and heartache in this world, would Christ STILL be enough for you? What if "all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus" did not come included in the package? What if the Holy Spirit had not come to dwell with Believers? Would you still believe?

Understanding came, and with it, shame. I, like so many of my fellow Christians, might SAY Jesus is all I need, that Calvary is the greatest thing that happened to me, that God's love is sufficient; but I don't LIVE that way. Why? I have seen God work again and again; seen Him answer prayers; experienced Him for myself. Why then can't I step out in faith?

Perhaps the same reason as you: we forget to count the cost. We forget to make the choice ahead of time that the cost is so minuscule in comparison to the privilege of loving Christ. My husband preaches a sermon in which he reminds the hearers that Paul associated following Christ with suffering. Now, honestly, none of us in America could say we have suffered as Paul did- yet we act as if what little cost we have experienced is too much to ask. 

"Give up that Starbucks coffee so I can give to faith promise? -I'm sure that's not what God meant."

"Go to Wednesday night prayer meeting? -But that's my grandson's big game!"

"Open my home to missionaries? -What if they find out we're not 'super Christians'?"

"Tell my neighbor about Christ? -I don't want to offend anyone."

"Teach Sunday school? -But Sunday is the only day I get to myself! Besides, I'm not a teacher."

And the list of excuses are endless... In essence, "I'll serve God as long as it doesn't get in the way of me living my comfortable, middle class lifestyle."

What???? What kind of Christianity is that? It's not like God called us to the easy road; no, quite the contrary. We are called to the difficult, less traveled path cluttered with obstacles. 

Friends, let's get our priorities straight. We've made ourselves more important that loving God with all our hearts; and that my friends, is idolatry, and idolatry is as the sin of witchcraft. Whoa! It's time for God's people to humble themselves, and pray, and seek His face, and turn from our wicked (selfish, self-seeking) way. Christ DIED for us. We should be lining up to forfeit a little pleasure so we can give a small something back to Him.

We need to get off our high horse, fall on our knees, and get back in the Word. Calvary IS enough, both for salvation, AND for daily living; but only if we let it be enough.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Matchbox Cars & Ministry

 Sometimes it is easy to forget the "ministry" part of "pre-field ministry/deputation" and just think of the churches we visit, acting missionary perfect, and hoping for some financial support. There are many churches that we have visited that had no intention of supporting us in the future, and some that didn't even give a love offering. But that's not the point. The point is ministry. Ministry is more than getting support. It is meeting people, making their day a little brighter, and sharing Hope to live by. It is giving a smile, a joke, an investment in someone else. It's being an encouragement to other Believers.

One way I have found to do this is through matchbox cars. I often feel for the missionary or pastor kids that go out to eat with their parents and then are expected to sit quietly for an hour or two while the adults talk. So the Lord brought to mind an idea from a teacher friend in Taiwan. Matchbox cars.



Matchbox cars are pretty durable, and the wheels are less likely to get pulled off when they're chewed. They can handle being dropped multiple times and allow for quiet entertainment. A perfect way to make friends. Now, when we're out at a restaurant with small children in the party, or in the doctor's office, or somewhere else boring for small children, I ask parents if their child can have a c-a-r. It always brings a smile. One boy even gave me a hug and proudly patted his front shirt pocket (where his car was lodged) at the next service . 

It's a little investment that makes a difference, if even a small one, and that's what ministry is about.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Midnight Appointment

As I enter into the third trimester, I must say, sleep is a precious commodity. Not only do we often sleep in beds other than our own, but I awaken to various sounds, discomfort, or baby Hinson kicking at my ribs. Many times I'm tempted to be annoyed and frustrated. Is eight (okay, I'll take six!) hours of sleep too much to ask? But alas, I am reminded that this is going to be a norm with small children (not to mention ministry on the foreign field). It is also opportunity. Reading through my journal, as I often do to be reminded of what God has taught me, I was drawn to this entry in January of last year:

"The Lord awakened me to the sound of the wind. Admittedly, I did not appreciate waking at 3:20 a.m. to a sound much like driving between two semis with the windows down. It was loud! -Perhaps like a "mighty rushing wind." At first, I attempted vainly to fall back asleep, yet sleep averted me. After a seemingly long and stretched out forty-five minutes, I realized that I was wasting my time. Here I had an appointment with the Master of the Wind, and all I could see was the annoyance of waking early. It was then that I recognized how selfish I am, for I could not view an early morning windy "rude awakening" as a divine appointment in a haven of His power. How foolish! I began to cry out to God, to converse with Him; sharing my heart and hearing His. And then, I fell asleep..."

Apparently, I still have more to learn, as sleep fades and evades and I am called into the stillness of God's presence. My calendar is booked my friends. I have a midnight appointment.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

What's the Point of Purity?

Recently I read an article on purity, from a secular point of view. It was highlighting several Hollywood artists and actors who had chosen abstinence until their wedding day. Some were still happy about their decision, many were not; and most were no longer married to the same spouse. The article seemed to point out that being pure did not seem to make a difference and is just a matter of personal opinion and choice.

But they missed the point.

Purity is not merely about saving yourself for marriage. Yes, that's important, and I'm so glad I did. Honestly, if you had asked me last year why I chose purity, I would have rattled off that I wanted to save myself for the special man I would marry. Now though, even after only six months of marriage, I can tell you that there's more to it than that. 

Purity is a heart issue. 

Keeping the heart pure is much more difficult than keeping the body pure; and more important. The purity of a heart dedicated to and focused on the Lord is far more valuable than physical abstinence. Why? Because God looks on the heart. 

He cares what's in your heart. Whether your fawning over a cute guy who winked at you, or daydreaming of a relationship with a certain someone, or flirting for the fun of it, or following your fickle emotions, or even putting yourself in compromising situations just to get the attention of a man. God sees it all, and he knows your heart. Perhaps to you it's all "innocent" and doesn't matter. Maybe you know what you're doing and don't care. Be careful girlfriend! If it seems difficult for you to stay pure in all aspects now, it will not get any easier inside the scope of marriage.

You all are probably very familiar with the verse "Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life." (Proverbs 4:23) The verse holds the idea of guarding your heart like a castle, being a door keeper, staying aware of what goes in and out. This verse is often quoted to remind girls to stay pure. Really though, it could be cross-referenced with another familiar verse not generally considered a "purity" verse: "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God; and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Girls, what we do in our minds, what we allow in our hearts, is equally important as what we do with our bodies. We are to keep our hearts like a castle, our minds like a "captive" of Christ, and our bodies like the temple of the Most High God.

THAT'S what keeps a marriage together. That's why purity is so, so very important. If our minds are stayed on the Lord, our focus on Him and His Word, our delight in pleasing Him, marriage is off to a good start. If I'm seeking to please the Lord, pleasing my husband, really is a breeze. The problem? I'm naturally selfish with thoughts not captive to Christ. I want my way, (regardless of what that happens to be at the time,) and then I wonder why I'm arguing with my husband... It's still a work in progress to "die daily" and remember the Lord of my life.

Pleasing God instead of pleasing self. That's the point of purity.

Do you have any additional thoughts? Please let me know!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Out to Prove Something

A lady from my church pulled me aside before my wedding to share something with me. She hasn't been a missionary in the foreign sense of the word. She wasn't elderly. She didn't teach my Sunday school class. Yet what she said has stuck with me, for it came from a heart that had learned to trust the faithfulness of God. She told me that "God provides. Always. In His time, not mine, and often just when I need it." Her words have proven true many times, because God IS faithful to care for his own.

While traveling on deputation, Michael and I haven't hit a point where we wondered how we were going to pay for our gas, or the next meal, or the credit card bill. (Michael is great with money and had put quite a savings away.) However, God is still out to prove Himself to us, because we WILL have those times, and we will need to remember that God provides, always, and often just when we need it. I wish I took the time to write down more examples.

-------------

The check engine light came on. Again. Michael had tried to fix it, but it refused to be fixed and pestered the dashboard again. In fact, the more Michael worked on it, the more warning messages flipped on. Apparently, it was an electrical problem, which would be expensive to have fixed.

Since my car ran great, ordinarily we would have just left it (and had for about six months). However, the tags expire soon, and in this Tennessee county, a car has to pass an emissions test to get new tags. It will not pass with a check engine light. Period. No questions asked.

With a move coming next month and a baby on the way, an expensive mechanic shop bill was not a welcoming thought at all. But then, neither is an expensive ticket for expired tags. So, we dropped my car off at the mechanics. A few days later, good news. They could fix it for only $90; far less than we expected to pay. What a pleasant surprise!
We would have picked up the car and paid the bill then, but I hadn't been feeling well, so we decided to wait a day.

That's not the end of the story though, for
God was out to prove something.

Dropping in at a church on Wednesday evening, we were disappointed to find the pastor gone for a conference. And we arrived late, which is not a good idea on deputation. However, the people were warm and friendly, the sermon was encouraging, and the song leader did announce visiting missionaries were in attendance. We were invited to visit again when the pastor would be back. We prepared to leave, having enjoyed the service, but in all honesty, a bit disheartened.

In the semi-darkness of the parking lot, a man accosted us. "Are you the missionaries?" he asked. We assured him that yes, indeed we were. He shook our hands, and we began to walk toward our car. "Actually," he said "God told me to give you this." He pressed a bill into Michael's hand. We thanked him and went on our way. People often give us $20 bills, and we are very grateful.

But this was not ordinary. It was no $20 bill. Michael and I looked at the bill staring back at us from our hands a bit astonished and humbled. One hundred dollars! Exactly enough to pay the mechanic's bill the next day, plus tax. Wow. That could not be coincidence. Once again, God proved Himself faithful to care for his own.

"O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. O fear the Lord, ye His saints: for there is no want to them that fear him. The youn lions do lack, and suffer hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. Come, ye children, hearken unto me: and I will teach you the fear of the Lord."
Psalm 34:8-11