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AngelontheHighway

I am always lifted up and encouraged when God speaks to my innermost spirit through some event. Some would say that it is just coincidence, an accident that was merely by chance, fate, or luck that I was in the right place at the right time. But I beg to differ. Most Christians, I believe, would consider those incidents to have been orchestrated by God. These orchestrations, you may have also heard referred to as divine appointment, a God thing, a God wink, a touch from heaven, or God-incidences. It can be life changing. Now read the story below (shared on FaithHub three years ago), and tell me then if you don’t believe in God incidences.

Every now and then God puts us in the position where we have the opportunity to be someone else’s guardian angel.  His hand guides us so that we’ll be in the right place at the right time.  It’s up to us to recognize His intention and do His will.  It’s not a coincidence that you happen to be there right when a complete stranger needs a hand.  God put you there.  The following is a terrific story from an anonymous author who found himself in that position and was able to be someone’s guardian angel.

I just had one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and wanted to share it with my family and dearest friends. Here it is:

I was driving home from a meeting this evening about 5, stuck in traffic on Colorado Blvd., and my car started to choke and sputter and died.

I barely managed to coast, cruising, into a gas station, glad only that I would not be blocking traffic and would have a somewhat warm spot to wait for the tow truck. It wouldn’t even turn over. Before I could make the call, I saw a woman walking out of the “quickie mart” building, and it looked like she slipped on some ice and fell into a gas pump! So I got out to see if she was okay. When I got there, it looked more like she had been overcome by sobs than that she had fallen. She was a young woman who looked really haggard with dark circles under her eyes. She dropped something as I helped her up, and I picked it up to give it to her. It was a nickel.

At that moment, everything came into focus for me: the crying woman, the ancient Suburban crammed full of stuff with 3 kids in the back (1 in a car seat), and the gas pump reading $4.95. I asked her if she was okay and if she needed help, and she just kept saying “I don’t want my kids to see me crying,” so we stood on the other side of the pump from her car. She said she was driving to California and that things were very hard for her right now.

So, I asked, “And you were praying?” That made her back away from me a little, but I assured her I was not a crazy person and said, “He heard you, and He sent me.”

I took out my card and swiped it through the card reader on the pump so she could fill up her car completely, and while it was fueling walked to the next door McDonald’s and bought 2 big bags of food, some gift certificates for more, and a big cup of coffee. She gave the food to the kids in the car who attacked it like wolves, and we stood by the pump eating fries and talking a little.

She told me her name, and that she lived in Kansas City. Her boyfriend left 2 months ago and she had not been able to make ends meet. She knew she wouldn’t have money to pay the rent January 1st, and finally, in desperation, had called her parents, with whom she had not spoken in about 5 years. They lived in California and said she could come live with them and try to get on her feet there.

So, she packed up everything she owned in the car. She told the kids they were going to California for Christmas, but not that they were going to live there.

I gave her my gloves, a little hug and said a quick prayer with her for safety on the road. As I was walking over to my car, she said, “So, are you like an angel or something?”

This definitely made me cry. I said, “Sweetie, at this time of year angels are really busy, so sometimes God uses regular people.”

It was so incredible to be a part of someone else’s miracle. And of course, you guessed it, when I got in my car it started right away and got me home with no problem. I’ll put it in the shop tomorrow for a check, but I suspect the mechanic won’t find anything wrong.

Sometimes the angels fly close enough to you that you can hear the flutter of their wings.

 

If you have a Godincidence to share, won’t you please email me at inspiration.and.hope@aol.com so that I can share your story?

Have a blessed and Merry Christmas!

Bill Hutzel

 

 

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Mind Noise

MindNoise2B

This morning, my mind was a jumble of unrelenting chatter and noise. Like the airwaves, the DJ announces a song. I begin to listen, but it is soon interrupted.

RadioNoise

But I don’t turn off the station. I continue listening to the static and noise on the car radio, hoping that it might go away, but it doesn’t. As I continue listening, the air wave noise turns into an annoying “bzzzzzt-baba-bzzt-baba-bzzzzzzzt”. Isn’t it sometimes that way when we go to pray?

Crazy-busy thoughts infiltrate my mind at times and don’t let me have a moment’s peace. We are over-scheduled, over-committed and over-extended. Most people you will ask how they are, will reply that they are super busy or crazy busy. Nobody in today’s society seems untouched. As a result, when I go to pray, my mind continually flitters back and forth between God and my tasks for the day. This is not an uncommon problem; it is all too familiar.

Or perhaps the noise is of a different sort, a reminder of a difficult relationship, personal or professional failure, financial difficulty, or health concern. For some, when they find the time to be alone to pray, they tend to dwell on those things rather than resolving to hand over their burdens to God.

But how far will we allow our minds to wander and be distracted? Until we resolve to hand our schedules and burdens over to God, albeit difficult, these thoughts will continue to distract us and reverberate in our minds.

Nevertheless, there is hope.  When we drift away from God, or when we fail to hear God, the Holy Spirit continues to tug at us, prompting us to “tune in” to His presence again. Sarah Young uses the analogy of a boat tied to an anchor. “An anchor on a short rope lets a boat drift only slightly before the taut line tugs the boat back toward the center.” Similarly, as we drift away from God, the Spirit within us gives a tug, prompting us to return to God in our thoughts and our prayers. As we strive to connect with God and learn to pray to God, the length of rope on our soul’s anchor is shortened. You wander only a short distance before feeling that inner tug – telling you to return to Him.

God’s tugs serve to remind us to relax and let Him lead us through the day. He reminds us that He has everything under control. He reminds us that those who seek Him will find Him. He reminds us that if we commit our ways unto Him, we will be successful. He reminds us that He is able to restore that which was lost. “You will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find peace when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29: 12-13).

“You are responsible to be faithful. God is responsible for outcomes.” – Quote by Jenni Catron

“Now set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God.” (1 Chronicles 22:19).

Prayer: Help me Lord to love You with all my heart, with all my soul, and with all my mind. Tug at my heart always to keep me faithful and return my thoughts unto You.

 

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

Thanksgiving

Rockwell thanksgiving Thanksgiving was first observed here in America following the arrival of the Mayflower at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. It was a time for the Pilgrims to acknowledge God as faithful, earnestly giving Him thanks for His abundant blessings. But it was neither a feast nor a holiday. When they arrived in the New World during the winter, it was very difficult for them to find food and shelter. Most of the passengers would not survive their first few months here in America.

In contrast, for most of us today, the Thanksgiving holiday is a time to celebrate with family and friends, to watch football, and to be festive. All well and good, but it is also a time to give thanks for our well-being, for all that has been given to us. It is a time to reflect, to gather in unity, to find hope, and a time of reconciliation. It is a time to give back in gratitude for all that we have received. It is a time to be thankful in all things.

The poem “Thanksgiving” by Ralph Waldo Emerson might, I think, reflect what many of us will say as our thanks to God this holiday.

For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food,
For love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.

But do our thanks go beyond thanking God only for what we see as His abundant provision? It is a time to be thankful in all things the Bible says. This morning I opened a hymnal to “Thanks to God for My Redeemer” – song by John Hultman, 1910; words by August Storm, 1891. I thought about the words. Am I thankful to God only when things are going my way, or am I also thankful to God for the storms in my life, for the mishaps, for those things that are not always pleasurable?

The words to “Thanks to God for My Redeemer” reflect the heart of one who is satisfied always, in both abundance and lacking.

Thanks to God for my Redeemer, thanks for all thou dost provide!
Thanks for times now but a memory, thanks for Jesus by my side!
Thanks for pleasant, balmy springtime, thanks for dark and dreary fall!
Thanks for tears by now forgotten, thanks for peace within my soul!

Thanks for prayers that thou hast answered, thanks for what thou dost deny!
Thanks for storms that I have weathered, thanks for all thou dost supply!
Thanks for pain and thanks for pleasure, thanks for comfort in despair!
Thanks for grace that none can measure, thanks for love beyond compare!

Thanks for roses by the wayside, thanks for thorns their stems contain!
Thanks for homes and thanks for fireside, thanks for hope, that sweet refrain!
Thanks for joy and thanks for sorrow, thanks for heavenly peace with thee!
Thanks for hope in the tomorrow, thanks through all eternity.

I wonder how many of us will “give thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20), not only for what we see as His abundant blessings, but of sorrow and joy, through pleasure and despair, through lacking and abundance.

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me”  (Philippians 4:13).  Thanks be to God.

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

Can you hear Me01

AM I CRAZY, OR DID GOD JUST WINK AT ME?
Sometimes God speaks to us in a small, still voice, or perhaps it is just a wink. It is not necessarily the same type of experience that Moses witnessed with the burning bush where God called out to him in an audible voice from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”. It is often times more subtle than that, and if you listen, you just might hear God speak to your inner spirit. In fact, I believe that many of us have been winked at by God, but have just not made the connection.

When God winks at us, it is His way of saying “everything is going to be okay”.
In the book “When God Winks at You” by Squire Rushnell it reads –
“You’ve had another one of those days. Everything seems uncertain. You think: Wouldn’t it be great to wake up one morning and have everything certain? Certain about your job? Certain about your future? Who could you talk to about this? Bigger question, who’d listen?
Tentatively your eyes drift skyward.
Hello?
Are You there, God?
Then your mind quickly assesses the immensity of your request. You want God to listen to you, right now. How ridiculous. There are six billion people on this planet. What if they’re all calling God at the same time?
You slump. Deeper into the dumps.
Then — something happens.”

Something small happens, like you open your Bible and a verse jumps off the page at you. It speaks directly to you. You ask yourself, could God be speaking to me? Is this one of those Godincidences, a wink from God?

“And why shouldn’t God speak to me?”, I thought.
The Bible is filled with examples of God speaking to man. Yet, my human nature tries to explain it away as coincidence as I try to make logical sense of it.

On one occasion, I started questioning whether or not my inner spirit had really heard from God. I needed reassurance.  Was God listening?
When I opened my email Inbox, my eyes scanned the page and found an email sent by my brother Jamie.  The email subject line was  “The Voice in My Head”.  “Uh oh”, I thought, without first reading the email,I really am hearing voices in my head, aren’t I?

My brother is the CEO of EDC Communications. It is not a religious article, but it starts out “I hear a voice in my head. No, I am not crazy … Sometimes it’s so subtle that we” (and I will finish the sentence in my own words), fail to identify the source of it or just ignore it out of fear of what other people might think.  Perhaps that is what I was doing now, failing to identify the source of my messages as being from God.

That very same evening I felt led to turn on Daystar, a Christian broadcast station. At the very moment that I turned to the station, the Reverend Jesse Duplantis was speaking of hearing from God.
What!?“, I thought.  “A message about hearing from God?
The message couldn’t have been  more spot on.

Jesse was returning home from a ministry trip, and while just prior to boarding the airplane, God spoke to him and said “Jesse, do not board the plane as there will be trouble with it“.
Hoping that this was just self-talking, Jesse questioned God, and God repeated Himself.

If I were to surmise what was going on in Jesse’s head at that very moment after being on a speaking engagement road trip for 3 weeks, it most likely would have gone like this …
Ahh, come on God, I am tired and worn out and just want to go home” 
“Reeeeeea-lly?

“Please tell me it is not true”.
Then, if Jesse were not frustrated enough already, God spoke again.
“Go and tell the person in charge of boarding the airplane that I told you that there would be trouble with the plane and that it was advisable not to board; that you would not be boarding, and that you wanted to take the next flight”.  
I am sure that the person in charge of taking the boarding passes thought that Jesse was certifiably crazy.
Jesse did not board the plane as God had instructed him.
When the plane was taxiing on the runway, one of the engines exploded and everyone had to evacuate.

Every small miracle, every “Godincidence” or “God wink” that we try to explain away as coincidence may be God’s way of communicating with us, an answer to prayer, a word of encouragement or assurance. It is God’s way of reassuring us that He has everything under control, no matter how difficult the situation.

So when should you act on that voice, thought or feeling? Sometimes that decision will be easy, for it will be based on experience. Other times it might be when we are feeling the Spirit of God during worship or when we are rightly related to God and conversant with Him through prayer and praise.

Prayer: Lord, should You decide to wink at me, help me to discern when it is from You; and then once I am assured that it is from You, may I have the faith and courage to act upon it.

 

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

 

Me in a sling_Crop4

In my previous post entitled “Coincidence or Godincidence?” I asked you if you believed in divine intervention, or whether you attributed significantly related events to coincidence. Let me phrase that differently. When the simultaneous occurrence of events appear significantly related, do you believe that they have no causal connection or do you believe they have a divine connection? Many of us who tend to doubt and deny aspects of experience that aren’t measurable and verifiable, might say, “Oh, that’s just coincidence”.  But what if that coincidence occurs multiple times for the same event?

It was the end of October 2012 that Storm Sandy caused much damage to the North East. It was the second most catastrophic storm in US history, just behind Hurricane Katrina. The storm was also not just an atmospheric storm but also a personal storm for me. It was a time that I could have relinquished to despair and blamed God for my misfortune. Let me take you back.

The day before Storm Sandy came ashore and wreaked havoc with much devastation, I fell in my driveway and fractured my wrist in two places and crushed it. The doctor would give me the bad news that I would have to have surgery. But for some reason, I declined the surgery, and asked if he would set the fracture the old fashioned way. What would the worst case scenario be anyway, that I would have to return a couple of days later for surgery if it didn’t work? So the doctor agreed, but not without first disapproving of my request.  So he set my broken wrist in a temporary splint and bandage, supported only by a sling. When Storm Sandy finally hit, electricity was out for days and weeks in some places. I would not see the doctor again for another 1 ½ weeks due to a State of Emergency and mass outages. God would remind me during those days of waiting, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6).

“You are responsible to be faithful. God is responsible for outcomes.”
Quote by Jenni Catron

The day after I fractured my wrist, I went to church. During the service, I felt as if God spoke to me and said “Bill, you are healed”. Did I actually hear God speaking, or was I certifiably crazy? Did I really feel a surge of warmth travel through my arm when the pastor anointed me with oil, laid hands on my arm, and prayed over me?

In the days following Storm Sandy, God would comfort me by His Word, reaffirming through His Word that I was healed. And it would be a number of events in sync with God’s Word that happened that would be that affirmation.

After Storm Sandy passed, I went out to look at the devastation on my property and found five “trees uprooted”.  Feeling somewhat discouraged, I went back in the house.  It was then that I randomly opened my Bible directly to a passage in Job, chapter 19 verse 10, that said “He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; and he UPROOTED MY HOPE LIKE A TREE”. WOW!, that got my attention in a big way! I don’t believe that this was a coincidence. A day or two later, again I randomly opened my Bible directly to a passage in Isaiah, Chapter 58 verse 11 that said … “and the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and GIVE STRENGTH TO YOUR BONES”. This was the second attention grabber. Several days later, again, God showed me Proverbs 3:5-6 that said “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight.” If you continue reading on in Proverbs 3 verses 7 and 8, it says “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”

Although the word bones got my attention again in this last verse, I don’t believe God was  necessarily speaking to me here of physical healing only, but also of spiritual healing. Had I also continued reading the rest of Isaiah 58:11 after the word “bones”, I would have also seen that God was also bringing spiritual awakening and health to my soul for it said “and you will be like a watered garden, and like a spring of waters whose waters do not fail.”  A watered garden denotes continued prosperity and blessedness. Fruit is only desirable if it is sufficiently watered, otherwise the plant that bears it withers and dies and the fruit cannot be eaten. It is therefore God’s desire for us to be “like a spring of water whose waters do not fail”.

When I finally did get to see the doctor over a week later, he took x-rays. “So what is the verdict Doc?” I asked. “It is remarkable!” he exclaimed. “So are you going to put me in a hard cast now”, I asked.  “Not yet”, he said.  “Let’s wait and see”.  “For what?” I said.  Apparently he had reservations about stabilizing the wrist in a permanent cast for fear that it might revert to being broken. Over the next two weeks I went back to see him a couple of more times, and each time, he said that it was remarkable, simply amazing! “Do you believe in miracles Doc?” I asked. He answered back with a big “AMEN!”

What is remarkable is that the doctor did not put me in a hard cast until week four, and up until that time I was only in a splint and bandage dressing.  What is remarkable is that for the two or three times that I rolled over on my arm in my sleep, I did not fracture it again or compound the fracture. What is remarkable is that I was not in a cast for up to 3-months as predicted by the doctor based on his initial prognosis that I had a severely fractured and crushed wrist that would require the surgical insertion of 3 pins and a plate.

On my next follow-up visit which was two weeks after he put me in a hard cast, he seemed perplexed. “Do you want to take this thing off?” he asked me. “Sure”, I said, equally perplexed.  And remarkably, it was one week later, after he took the cast off, that I played a concert with members of the NJ Flute Society.  Another miracle attesting to God’s divine intervention.

 Coincidence, stranger than fiction, or divinely guided? What do you say now?

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

MidAtlantic

Picture of me at the Mid-Atlantic Flute Fair

Do you believe that God can speak to you? Did you ever wonder why you opened to a particular passage in the Bible that was relevant, and wonder if it was because of divine intervention? Perhaps you are being divinely guided.

Looking back on the first day of the National Flute Association convention that I was exhibiting at in Chicago this August, I asked God to speak a special blessing to me. I was anxious, as is normal for a big show, and concerned that I might not recoup the cost of exhibiting, or of not making enough sales in a traditionally slow month to pay my bills at the end of the month. I own The Flute Loft, a musical instrument business.

So on day one, just before going down to the convention hall, I asked God to speak to me through His Word. I randomly opened my Bible and began reading. I opened to Psalm 150, a psalm of praise. Psalm 150:4 said “praise him with strings and flutes”. Was it purely by accident or coincidence that I opened to this passage? I don’t believe so.

For those of you that believe that I randomly opened to this verse was just coincidence, I will not convince you otherwise, but I believe God was trying to get my attention. The reference to the musical instrument flute,  was I believe, divine timing, and really got my attention being that I was exhibiting flutes at a flute convention. However, whether it was a flute or some other instrument really doesn’t matter. What God wanted me to know from His Word was to always remember to praise Him in all things, and to trust in Him for my success. And with praise comes trust in God and God’s abundant grace.

How do we praise God? We praise God with strong faith, with love for Him for which He is delighted, and with the confidence that He is in control. So then, what God was trying to get through to me was, “Don’t be anxious. Don’t worry about what tomorrow will bring, but live for the moment. Relax in My presence and trust me for your fortune and destiny, for I will always be by your side. Now just trust me and let go. And remember to praise Me always for I delight in it”.

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

Things are not always what they appearNo matter how obvious something seems, it just may not be what you think. There is an expression that says “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck”? And rarely, is what appears to be an obvious truth, not the truth.  This humorous phrase implies that a person can identify a subject, without closely examining it, by its appearance only. But what if that duck looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, but needs batteries? Is it a duck?

The following is a true story.
A woman was flying from Melbourne to Brisbane …
Unexpectedly, the plane was diverted to Sydney.

The flight attendant explained that there would be a delay, and if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in 50 minutes.

Everybody got off the plane except one lady who was blind.

A man had noticed her as he walked by and could tell the lady was blind because her Seeing Eye Dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of her throughout the entire flight. He could also tell she had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached her, and calling her by name, said, ‘Kathy, we are in Sydney for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?’

The blind lady replied, ‘No thanks, but maybe Max would Like to stretch his legs.’

When the pilot exited the plane with the lady’s Seeing Eye Dog, all the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill.
The pilot was even wearing sunglasses.
People scattered.
They not only tried to change planes, but they were trying to change airlines!

How many times have you jumped to a conclusion prematurely about something and were completely wrong? I would venture to say “a lot”.  Proverbs 25:8 says“Don’t jump to conclusions – there may be a perfectly good explanation for what you just saw.” – Proverbs 25:8 (MSG).

In the Book of Job, Job’s friends wrongly concluded that their friend Job suffered because he was being punished for sins he had committed, for they believed that God would not cause anyone to suffer innocently. But the Bible says that Job was a righteous man.

“Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24,). Do not be quick to judge based solely by a book’s cover.

Origination of phrase:
The phrase,“when I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck”, is thought to have been coined by an Indiana poet by the name of James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916). The phrase is sometimes referred to as the “duck test”.

The more common wording of the phrase may have originated during a labor meeting of the United Auto Workers in 1946 accusing a person of being a communist:  “I can’t prove you are a Communist. But when I see a bird that quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, has feathers and webbed feet and associates with ducks—I’m certainly going to assume that he is a duck” (Sentinel, John, September 29, 1946, “Communist Expose The Case of the Duck”).

Source of story herein:
Tall Tales … — Bell Air R/C Flyers, http://www.bellairrcflyers.com/about/tall-tales-truisms/

Prayer: Lord, help me to not judge the worth or value of something or someone by its outward appearance only, but help me to look more closely before making judgment.

 

Copyright 2014 by Bill Hutzel

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