Categories
Reflections

4 Practical Ways God Positions His Devoted People

Have you ever felt betrayed because someone moved away from you emotionally, physically, spiritually, or mentally? I have. It’s hard not to take something like that personally. We can avoid a good amount of heartache if we understand the practical ways God positions His devoted people.

This is a follow-up post to Introducing the God Who Positions His Devoted People – Part 1. If you would like to start there, please do! Otherwise, let’s examine GPS – God’s Positioning System – and use it to stay the course He has laid out for us.

4 Practical Ways God Positions His Devoted People

1. God positions His devoted people emotionally.

I refer to this phenomenon as “the tying and untying of heartstrings”. Sometimes we’re drawn to, or away from, things with an unexplainable urgency. God positions us, emotionally, to do what He asks us to do.

A map, a guidebook, and a compass
Photo by Abdessalem BENYAHIA on Pexels.com
God gives thorough, well prepared instruction.

On the surface, this is easily misunderstood. Separation can be a difficult process all around, and it can feel like a punishment. But it is actually an amazing blessing. Let me tell you a true story.

When my children were little, we were deeply rooted in Southern California. We felt we would never leave our church, the school the kids attended, or the halau (Polynesian dance studio) where our family performed. Yet one after the other, we were forced out of each of those institutions as tuitions, situations, and locations changed.

It was a painful and confusing time. But when God moved us to Hawaii soon after, we understood. Our heartstrings were already untied from what might have held us back. God had prepared us, in advance, to joyfully go where He wanted to position us next. And that is the perfect segue into the second way God positions people.

2. God positions His devoted people physically.

God puts us in the physical locations where He needs us to be. Whenever my husband and I change our home address, we try to remember it isn’t just about a new house. God positions us near specific neighbors, teachers, bank tellers, etc. He has plans to use our interactions with our new community to bless and teach us all.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 3:14b, 15

And as I’ve seen Him do it with us, I need to allow Him to do the same with others. I cannot hold too tightly, or be resentful, when He moves people, and positions them physically for His purpose – even if the process separates them from me. They were created for His glory, not mine.

“Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them.”

1 Corinthians 7:17a

It might not be as big as a household move. Just today, my husband, son, and I went to a local business at 10am, their opening time listed on-line. They were closed, and the sign on the door said they’d open at 11.

With an hour to wait, we ended up at a nearby restaurant. Was God physically positioning us there to bless someone? Possibly! He doesn’t always create an unexpected turn of events, but when those occur, it is a good idea to be extra vigilant for divine appointments.

3. God positions His devoted people spiritually.

What do you think about this one? I am going to tell you another true story to illustrate why I include this as a way God positions His people.

My family had found a wonderful church. We were heavily involved, serving, and being served. In God’s timing, He moved us on.

We switched to a church where things were done differently. They focused on distinct attributes of God and worshipped Him in unique ways. We gained a fresh perspective from experiencing Him with that congregation.

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8

When circumstances changed again, and we landed at the next church, it all came together. We could clearly see how God had positioned us spiritually, teaching us over the previous several years. He had given us a foundation for real spiritual growth and ministry. God is consistently contributing to our understanding of who He is, what His plans are for us, and how He positions His people.

“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.”

2 Corinthians 4:6

4. God positions His devoted people mentally.

This is one that I’ve come to notice recently. I have encountered brilliant people who will not embrace God because they cannot fully comprehend Him. And I have met little children who love Him with all their hearts.

“And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’.”

Matthew 18:3

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Romans 12:2

I’m not saying God positions us to be simple minded, but rather heavenly minded. He enables us to surrender our prideful desire to completely grasp Godly things with our human intellect. He positions us mentally to accept Him. When we open ourselves to His prompting, the Holy Spirit does His convincing work, and our faith grows.

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

2 Timothy 3:14, 15
Compass held over a ridge with a canopy of trees below
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We must align ourselves with God’s coordinates for us – body, mind, and soul – and encourage others to do the same.

Some say it’s wrong to move on from connections, situations, institutions, and such. They see it as a failure of loyalty. And I guess, at times, it can be that.

But when we realize God positions His devoted people emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally, we shouldn’t be surprised when shuffles happen. Instead of taking offense, hopefully we will encourage everyone to follow God, wherever He leads. Separation is painful, but it is temporary. We will have comradery for all eternity once our work on earth is done!

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,

    for I have put my trust in you.

Show me the way I should go,

    for to you I entrust my life.

Teach me to do your will,

    for you are my God;

may your good Spirit

    lead me on level ground.”

Psalm 14:8, 10
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Reflections

Introducing The God Who Positions His Devoted People – Part 1

Imagine yourself downtown after sunset. You stayed longer than anticipated. You never meant to be there alone after dark. You wish you weren’t.

You turn down an alley through which you’d passed earlier. It sure looks and feels different at night! You quicken your pace.

Through the shadows comes a hooded figure clutching something long and thin. Is it a weapon? You notice your heart pounding.

You contemplate turning around but realize the quickest way to put distance between the two of you is to cross paths and continue in opposite directions. You set your shoulders and posture forward.

The approaching figure momentarily passes through hazy remnants of a distant light. You get a quick glimpse of the weapon… It’s a Bible. How do you feel?

Introducing ‘the God who positions’ His devoted people

When it happened to me, I felt relieved. But more than that. I regarded the once fearsome stranger as a comforting gift.

The alley actually felt safer than when I thought I was alone. I had an ally there. Another Christian in the shadows meant a multiplication of the presence of the Holy Spirit. Any other spirits lurking around were out of luck.

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

Matthew 18:20

Because of the Spirit of Jesus inside me, I can hold my God-given position.

If it had just been me and the Holy Spirit within me in that alley, would He have been any less able to hold back evil? Of course not. As the adage goes, you + Jesus = majority, every time.

Nobody overpowers Jesus without His permission. And He gave His Spirit to me. He dwells inside me.

Thank you, Jesus, that I’m sealed and protected in You.

I have a prayer that I say when I am in situations which feel threatening. I say “Thank you, Jesus, that I’m sealed and protected in you.” It reminds me that He decides my fate. Whatever does, or does not, happen to me is because He does, or does not, allow it.

Even if the worst happens, it results in glory. My eternal destination is decided – sealed and protected.

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

Philippians 1:21

“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”

Ephesians 1:13, 14

God positions devoted people around me for my benefit, theirs, and His.

The Bible also says there is strength in numbers.

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9, 12

I believe this is why God warns about being unequally yoked. Separate strands are fragile. United, they are greater than the sum of their parts. The same is true of God’s devoted people.

Who is God to you?

I read a terrific blog post by Lightbourne Creative, called “The Priviledged Life: Waiting for a Thaw”. I encourage you to read it. The author describes an experience she had by which she gained insight into an aspect of God which she found meaningful. She called Him “the God who thaws” and explained why.

It made me think about what God was doing in my life and what aspect of Himself He was revealing to me. I have seen Him physically locating and relocating many of His devoted people. My whole Amazing News series was about Him doing that very thing with me. I want to acknowledge Him as “the God who positions”.

What do I notice about “the God who positions”?

“The God who positions” brings like-minded people together. He multiplies the presence of His Holy Spirit in purposeful places. He strengthens His people with the support and encouragement of others.

Chess board mid-game
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God’s devoted people occupy positions at His direction.

We are to the world what chess pieces are to a chess board. “The God who positions” sees everything and strategically places His devoted people in both offensive and defensive posts. He moves us around, as needed, to protect, defend, and advance His kingdom.

I hope to expand on that some in my next post. But for now, what has God been revealing about Himself to you? If you were to fill in the blank, what would you call Him? The God who ____________ . How come?

In fact, if the prompt starts your fingers typing, like it did mine, when I read Lightbourne Creative‘s post, write away! And then tag me so I can read all about it. I can’t wait to hear about who God has been to you lately!

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 10

Whoa! My friends, I had a close call! Have you heard the phrase “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”? How about “Ignorance is bliss”? Not true!

Let me tell you how grateful I am to walk with a God who knows and sees everything and is watching out for me. This story is going to go a little bit backwards because I have to start with this…

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that we’re here! We have moved into our new home!

To all who have been reading, praying, supporting, and encouraging along the way, thank you! It is astounding that I posted Part 1 of this Amazing News series just 26 days ago. It has all taken place within 1 month!

So much has happened! My head is totally spinning. God was not kidding when He told us He would step in and work once we stepped out in faith. He made the impossible possible, thought of details we hadn’t considered, and even took care of the finances. And to top it off, He winked at me.

Well, not a literal wink, but this thing He did – this thing I’m fixin’ to tell you about – it was as if He tipped His hat and winked because He’d done something only He could do, and done it just because He could. Do you know what I mean? Have you seen Him do that before?

We took two days to drive from the house we left in California to our new home in Arizona. At about the half-way point, we stopped at a hotel to spend the night. Our minds were in a million places.

Notes and books and blank pages
Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com
All the lists, so many notes, yet worried we’d draw a blank.

We were wondering if we’d done everything we were supposed to at the place we left. We were thinking about all there was to do in the place we were going. Mostly, we were acutely aware of our valuables, which we had with us for safekeeping.

I brought my computer bag into the hotel. In it, I had my personal laptop, my iPad, and my work computer, along with some important papers and such – things I wanted to keep in sight. I set it in a little closet-like nook. I also put my dog’s bed there, because it was out of the walkway in our small hotel room.

We didn’t sleep well. Truth be told, we hadn’t been sleeping well for a couple weeks. Overactive minds are hard to quiet, right?

Man in a room full of boxes, with a box on his head
Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com
Moving is tiring, but hinders rest.

We were sportin’ a fairly substantial sleep deficit as we went through the motions and checked out of our hotel room. As I was putting the dog in the car, something didn’t look right. His bed was missing – I’d left it in the room!

I went back to the front desk, got a new key, and returned to our room. When I got to the closet nook, sure enough, there was the doggie bed. And my computer bag!! I had no idea I’d left it! I sat down on the bed, clutching the bag for a second. My heart was pounding, my mind racing.

Thank you, Lord! He reminded me of the doggie bed and sent me back to the room. And there, He handed me something much more valuable, which I would have left behind.

He was a loving Father just doing something nice for His kid. He didn’t impress on me that He was teaching me a lesson or that He wanted exceeding praise, although He sure got that – and is still getting that from me! It was just a gesture – a wink and a smile. It left me feeling blessed, loved, and so relieved!

Happy woman with computer in one hand and other arm in the air
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com
Praise the Lord!

If I had gotten all the way to my new home before I realized my computers and important documents were missing, I would have had to go back immediately. That would have been an additional 12 hours of driving on top of the 12 we were already doing. And that is IF they would have still been there for me to go back and claim.

I’m not kidding – my fingers are shaking as I’m typing. That could have been disastrous! My work computer, especially, would have been very problematic to lose.

The rest of the trip was relatively uneventful. We did listen to a very good audio book, called Doing Life with Your Adult Children, by Jim Burns. I recommend it. I think it’s tagline, “Keep Your Mouth Shut and the Welcome Mat Out” is perfect.

I’m pinching myself – we’re here! New home, new town, new opportunities. And, praise God, old computers!

Walking with Him is an adventure! Sometimes He leads us through hard things. Other times He blesses our socks off.

He teaches us. He disciplines us. And occasionally, He winks. He does something that only He can, incites awe, and lets it be. Those moments prove how much He adores us.

What I didn’t know (that my computer bag was left in the room) could definitely have hurt me. My ignorance was far from bliss! But God!

He is omnipresent – He is everywhere.
He is omniscient – He knows everything.
He is El Roi – the God who sees me.

Tell me some amazing news you’re excited to share. Has God taken care of you recently? If nothing comes to mind, be on the lookout – sometimes I think we just miss it.

When we’re focused on things going wrong, we tend to skip over what is going right. Oh, my precious friends, there are things going wrong, but so much is going right! I can’t wait to hear what God is doing in your life!


Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU, from the bottom of my heart for sharing this month with me. Thank you for reading and participating in these Amazing News stories. It has been really exciting to share them with you.

I know writing them helped me gather and settle my thoughts. I hope God was glorified. I pray you were encouraged.

YOU have been prayer warriors, cheerleaders, and support persons of the most incredible kind. God bless you! You are precious and you are loved.

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 9

Oh, the freeway! How I love to hate it! I love the ease with which it allows travel between cities, but I hate the nervous knowledge of all that could go wrong at such high speeds.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share today started on the freeway.

We hauled our last pile to the dump and finished transporting our daughter’s belongings from her storage unit to her new apartment. Our van had made so many heavily loaded runs around town in the past few weeks, I’d lost count. It was a work horse for sure, and it was time to retire it.

We packed our airbed, duffel bags, and dog into our tiny little Prius. Our house was empty! We left a key in a lockbox for the housekeepers and drove away, my husband in the van and me following in the Prius. We went to meet a friend, who facilitated the donation of the van to a local church.

A few quick signatures and we were a one-vehicle family. I shifted into the Prius’ passenger seat so my husband could drive. A few minutes later, we had merged onto the freeway headed towards our kids and grandkids. It was time to say goodbye. I was lost in thought.

I don’t think the state of California realized there would be this many people here caught up in the freeway system.

Richard Grieco

Suddenly, the Prius dashboard lit up like a Christmas tree! The lights were intense and foreboding, silently hollering for attention. I fumbled with my phone as I googled what it could mean and what we should do. There were no easy answers, other than to get to a mechanic, and get there fast!

The warning lights on a Prius dashboard
The exclamation point in the triangle was uncannily boisterous and bright!

We immediately turned around and drove to our usual repair shop. Our guy was busy and wouldn’t be able to look at the car for several days. We couldn’t wait because we were headed out of state, for good, in less than 24 hours! We asked for a referral to another mechanic ours would trust. He suggested we go to the dealership.

To the dealership we went. Back on the freeway, the lights were still illuminated, and the car’s performance was declining. We were praying. I’d reached out to some other people who were praying too.

By the grace of God, we made it! We pulled up and the clerk met us at the car. He asked, “What time is your appointment?”

My husband explained that we didn’t have an appointment. We were moving out of town, but all these lights had come on. He gestured to the dashboard. The man glanced around with hesitation, during which time the words “Please Lord” catapulted from my heart to the Heavens.

Pug looking out the car window
Photo by Jordan N on Unsplash
Our broken little car contained everything the movers hadn’t taken.

The man said “Well, let’s get you checked in and see what we can do.” I breathed a “Thank You” to Jesus, as I took our pug and went to the grassy area in front of the building. My husband went inside to do the paperwork. It could be a few hours before we knew anything more.

It did not take long, however, for the mechanics to determine that all the hullabaloo had been over the water pump, which needed to be replaced. A short time (and a hefty price tag!) later, we were on our way again. The dashboard lights were at rest, and so were our nerves.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that God watches over us with incredible vigilance!

It may seem, at first, like this was a stroke of bad luck. The last thing we needed on our way out of town was car trouble, right? But if you have been reading this Amazing News series, you know that God has been incredibly intentional. This too, was a fantastic blessing.

What if the water pump had gone bad just 24 hours later? We would have been headed out of state. We could have been out of range for cell service. We would have been in unfamiliar territory, not knowing where to find a mechanic or dealership.

“For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.”

2 Chronicles 16:9a

As it played out, not only did we have a replacement for the broken part of our car, but we also had peace of mind. The Toyota mechanics had run their diagnostics and confirmed that the water pump was the only problem. Honestly, we should have had the car looked over before our trip, but we were buried under all the other tasks for our move, and we didn’t think of it. God did! He was watching over us with incredible vigilance.

Additionally, when we did make it to say goodbye to our precious family, we had the fresh reassurance that God was intimately involved. We experienced His provision, getting us to, and through, the repairs. And that superseded any worry we might have felt. He was with us, caring for us, and holding our whole family in His all-capable hands.

Mechanic with a tool in the engine of a car
Photo by Brigitte Miller on Pexels.com
God knows and cares about what is happening, unseen, under the hoods of our lives.

What seems to be going wrong in your day? Are there warnings signs on the dashboard of your life that demand attention? The amazing news I am really excited to share is that God is watching over you with incredible vigilance. He knows when you need to pull off the freeway of frenzy and get the care you need. His timing may not seem convenient, but it is perfect!

Precious friend, do you need to get back to church? Do you need to repair a broken relationship, with God or someone else? Is it time you took a break or relinquished control?

Please tend to that toward which God is drawing your attention. Do it today. Act now. You’ll be glad you did. You are worth it!

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 8

Hello from my indoor campsite! As I write, I’m perched on my inflatable mattress in my empty house. My husband and I have stayed behind to repair, clean, and tend to all the necessary little things which must be done before returning the keys to our landlord. It is surprising how much sound travels and echoes in a home without furniture.

The amazing news I’m really excited to share happened last week.

It happened twice, actually, on Tuesday and Saturday. Tuesday was the day we moved my daughter into her new apartment. Saturday, movers came to take our things out of state. There were two days last week, on which rain was predicted. Can you guess which two?

The amazing news I’m really excited to share is that God controls every detail and He mercifully held back the rain!

I’m pinching myself at how intricately involved in this move He has been. There is very little I can do to adequately thank Him, but I can testify of His goodness and power. And that is exactly what I’m aiming to do with this Amazing News series.

Tuesday and Saturday

Oh my goodness, Tuesday morning, we woke to incredibly heavy rain! I expected to get completely soaked carrying my daughter’s things. By the time she picked up her keys, not only had the rain stopped, but the sidewalks were also completely dry! What a blessing!

Saturday was our moving day. The weather report predicted 80% chance of rain, starting at 7am – right when the movers were to arrive. It never came. It was cloudy and cool, but there were no more than a few sprinkles of precipitation all day.

Screenshot of an hourly weather report showing rain expected
Screenshot shows rain to arrive later than expected.
Screenshot of an hourly weather report showing no rain expected until late afternoon
Screenshot shows rain delayed further.

At the risk of sounding bratty or ungrateful, I started to wonder why God was blessing us so much. Why did He provide an amazing home for us, miraculous apartments for our kids, continued employment for me, and even hold back inclement weather for us? It seemed like too much.

There have been many other times when we were sure we were doing God’s will, but nothing went right. That is Biblical – look at Job. He was pleasing God completely, yet catastrophe, after catastrophe, came His way. (Job 1-2:10)

There is also scriptural precedence for things going smoothly, against all odds. Take Joshua, for example. God told him to lead an army to take the city of Jericho, but when they got there, God just wanted them to march around the city until He brought the walls down. It was unexpected, but they obeyed and enjoyed tremendous success. (Joshua 6:1-20) I am experiencing that kind of wonder.

Rainbow over a city next to the water
Photo by Matthias Zomer on Pexels.com
God of wonders…

If you’ve been reading this series, you know God gave us clear direction about moving to Arizona. It didn’t make immediate sense, and we wavered in our obedience. He didn’t pave the way until we stepped out in faith and began the process. Once we did that, He stepped in and has miraculously worked out the details, one after the other.

I know there are many people around the world, and even within my reach, who are suffering extreme setbacks. And here I keep showing up with more amazing news I’m really excited to share. So many of you are happy for me, and so sweet in your support.

But I’ll bet some of my readers are wondering why God is choosing to bless me, while they are also doing the right thing and are suffering hard things. I asked Him about it today. I wondered flat out, “Why are You being so nice to me?” I felt like He gave me an answer and I wanted to be open with it.

Double rainbow over some rural homes.
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com
God chose a phenomenon of weather as a sign that He keeps His promises.

When I asked God why things were going so supernaturally smooth with this move, He impressed on me that something was coming which would make me question it all. He is being undeniably apparent in the process now, and giving me the words to blog about it, so I will have the proof and accountability to stand with confidence later.

When the enemy comes and says we shouldn’t have left our family, or whatever else happens, I will be able to look back at my own record of the scriptures, words, and miracles God gave me. It makes me nervous to know we’re going to need such reassurance, but it also makes me resolute.

God said it, we did it, He’s blessed it. Whatever He allows next is His prerogative and I will submit. I am thankful that God has put His fingerprints on every step of this process. I am awestruck at what I’ve seen as I’ve watched Him work.

Thank you, my friends for graciously connecting to this story as it unfolds. I have a few more posts-worth of amazing news that I am really excited to share. This move is almost done! I appreciate the chance to testify to the omnipotence of our great God. And I’m extremely grateful for YOU.

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Emotions

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share – Part 7c

Wow! This has been an incredible week! To say moving has been hard work would be an understatement.

  • Physically, my husband and I have been loading, hauling, cleaning, repairing, and then collapsing on makeshift beds.
  • Emotionally, we’ve been saying goodbye to our friends, siblings, parents, kids, and grandkids.
  • Spiritually, we’ve been disciplining ourselves to keep our eyes on Jesus, even when many things don’t make sense.

I will be honest- there comes a point in each day where I run out of desire and ability to keep doing the work. I quit. I shut down.

But I have the most amazing news and I’m really excited to share it with you! This is the third verse God gave me when I prayed for encouragement. (You can find the first two here and here.)

God finishes His projects!

The Amazing News I’m Really Excited to Share is that God keeps His word, fulfills His promises and finishes His projects.

I am a work in progress. The hard things He has me doing are part of His master plan. He is working it out in me. I may have to take breaks or want to give up and quit, but He never does!

God will complete everything He starts in me, in my loved ones, and in you! Does your assignment seem too hard? Is the renovation on your body, mind, or spirit requiring more than you have to give? Do not despair. God will see the project through successfully!

God has a perfect project-completion record!

How encouraging it is to know that God will not leave us half-baked. He will not abandon a project mid way. He, who started a work, will be faithful to complete it for, with, through, around, and in you!