“Jesus Thangs”

When my family settled in Texas in 2013, I quickly began learning lots of new quaint sayings and pronunciations. For example, we didn’t move to Texas, we moved to “Taxes”; and we don’t reside in Cooper (Coo-per), we reside in Cooper (kupper), using a short /u/. Among my very favorites was when my new friend Mr. Gary used his homespun Texas drawl to express a blessed coincidence when I brought him a cold Gatorade® on a hot summer day. As only he could say “Jee-im (Jim is a two syllable word in Texas), that’s a Jesus thang right there. How’d you know I was a thinkin’ about a cold drink?”

A recent visit by our Virginian friends, Guy and Connie Wohlford, brought this saying back into my mind recently. Coming through Texas on a trip to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary, in April, folks); they were kind enough to stop and visit the Cross-Dubya ranch for a couple of days. My wife Diane had not met either of them before, and I had only spent a short time with Ms. Connie at a writer’s conference last year. We were excited to share a little hospitality with our new friends and learn more about one another as we anticipated their afternoon arrival.

After helping them get settled in from a long day of driving, we shared a relaxing meal and chatted well into the night. The next morning brought “the fifty-cent tour” where Guy, Ms. Connie, and I toured the ranch. We started with Ms. Connie visiting “Elpis the donkey”, named after a beloved character in her new Easter book for children, The Lord Has Need of YOU. What joy was found in feeding treats to Elpis, Magic (who fell in love with Ms. Connie), and Mavric the bull. We spent time with the mama cows and their calves. Next, I laughed watching my friend Mr. Guy feeding hay and just loving on “Aunt Louise” as she ate hay right out of his hand.

We spoke about gardens, vegetables, fruit trees, and my front yard full of pecan trees. I wondered why my friends looked at one another when I suggested I had a pound or so of pecans they should take with them. Later that evening, I would understand. Mr. Guy and I also took a look around my workshop as I explained all my woodworking tools, lathes, and lots of raw material to use. I lamented that I’ve done very little woodturning since I became a rancher.

After a traditional Texas barbecue dinner of brisket, barbecued baked beans, coleslaw, and peach cobbler for dessert, Ms. Connie announced she and Guy had a gift for us. She scurried off to the guest room and returned with a large bag. She was commenting that while she was selling books at a country store, she came across a gentleman selling his wares and she just knew this was the perfect gift for her Texas friends.

From the bag, we revealed a beautiful hand-crafted wooden bowl made from spalted pecan wood. Ms. Connie shared with us how the maker had commented that an ice storm had brought down all his pecan trees; and he used the wood from them to create treasures like this. Diane and I were thrilled with this amazing gift, as it fits with the décor of our home perfectly. We thanked our friends for their precious gift and assured them it would be displayed in a prominent place in our home for many years to come.

Guy & Connie’s gift of a beautiful handmade pecan bowl was selected long before their visit to the Cross-Dubya. Long before they knew I was a woodturner or that I had pecan trees on the ranch. I wondered aloud, how did they know the perfect gift for our home? The only answer that made sense was “It’s a Jesus thang!” I am certain our Lord had a hand in helping Ms. Connie select a gift we would enjoy, treasure, and show His presence in our four lives.

Many of us can recall times when things just seem to fall into place and our lives are somehow made easier in the process. Examples in my life are praying for a family who would love me; and God relocated a family all the way from Massachusetts to Florida to answer my prayers. Another was praying for many years for a soulmate who was a gentle, caring, loving helpmate whom I could depend upon and grow old with. God gave me my Diane. Other times, I’ve prepared a welcome for our church only to learn my short welcome dovetails perfectly into the pastor’s sermon.

Do you view things as coincidence, happenstance, or God's provision for our lives? Click To Tweet

I’ve been learning that these things were not mere coincidence, kismet, or luck, but they are God’s gentle reminders that He is with us always; and He blesses our lives each day—often without us even recognizing His provision.

So, the next time you get the last item on the shelf that is on sale. The next time you make all the traffic lights on your way to a meeting, or wonderful friends share a perfect gift with you. Consider that it isn’t just coincidence—It’s a Jesus thang―and take just a moment to thank Him for all His blessings in our lives.

God’s blessings,

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50 thoughts on ““Jesus Thangs”

  1. James 1:17 is the perfect Scriptural amen to add to your post, J.D.: “Every good and every perfect gift comes from God, coming down from the Father of lights.” EVERY gift. Thanks for the reminder that if I look, I will see them everywhere.

    1. See Ms. Lori… a Jesus thang just happened! It wasn’t ten minutes ago, I removed that very verse from the last paragraph. My guess is because God wanted YOU to add it to our conversation my friend. Thank you so much my sweet friend. God’s blessings… your comment just brought the biggest smile I’ve had in a while. Thank you Lord for my friend Ms. Lori.

  2. There’s another sermon hidden between the lines in this wonderful story. That pecan (pronounced pee-can here in the south) tree was brought down by an ice storm. I’m sure others saw devastation and debris. But your friend saw treasure hidden in that mess.

    1. Amen Coach. I’ll have to help you learn to pronounce the word pecan the correct way. But since Florida isn’t really considered “the south” by many, I’ll let it slide my friend. Lots of good lessons here sir. Thanks so much for joining in on the conversation. Can’t wait to discuss with you and many of our friends this Thursday night at http://www.pjnet.tv

    1. Yes ma’am. Another friend, Mrs. Stephanie D. Pavlantos, shared that info with me last year. When I look back across my life, and all the good and bad things this life has brought, in it all I am seeing God at work. Funny how perspective can do that isn’t it ma’am? God’s blessings dear friend.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Marilyn. There’s no doubt in my mind that God has a hand in everything that happens in our lives. He knows, sees, and still loves us through it all. Thank you Lord!

  3. Good afternoon, J.D. I so enjoyed reading about your visit with Miss Connie and Guy. Your story helps me fall more in love with our God who orchestrates all tiny details and all big things. May He bless the rest of this given day for you and Diane. In Christ, Julie

  4. Love this JD. I love your stories and the Biblical truths shining through them. It sounds like Connie and Guy’s visit was something you needed, too. I don’t believe in coincidences. The Father knows what we need before we ask. He knows how to give good gives to His children, so often he uses everyday people to do it.

    1. Amen. I absolutely needed their visit Ms. Stephanie. Their fellowship and friendship were such blessings. I’ll always cherish the Saturday morning talk Ms. Connie and I shared over coffee while the rest of the home was silent. Am pretty certain we solved at least some of the world’s problems in that hour. 🙂

  5. I love how God already has a plan in place for our lives. He knows exactly what we need and when we need something. He is amazing! We are truly loved by Him. On another note, I was an adult before I realized that “Chestadrawers” was actually a “chest of drawers”. haha!

    1. See the things we learn by blogging. “Chest of drawers!” Who would’ve thought it. LOL I too love how He has our life all planned out before we’re even born ma’am. I am in awe when I think that even with all that knowledge of how bad I will mess up, He still loves me enough to keep me moving toward His goal for me. What an awesome God we serve my friend.

  6. Oh wow! I loved everything about this post. You and Diane shared your gift of hospitality with new friends, but it opened up many other gifts for the rest of us to share in the experience. Thank you for the virtual tour, and for letting us peek into your visit. The Lord is so good to introduce us to our brothers & sisters in His vast family. That beautiful bowl will be a forever reminder of not only the visit but the way He has designed the details for all things to work together for good – because we love Him and responded to His call.

    1. Such kind words; thank you Ms. Dottie. Our visit with friends was a blessing indeed ma’am; and perhaps one day you and the mister can stop by for a visit yourselves. We’ll always have an open door for God to cement new relationships as we share in His love. God’s blessings ma’am.

  7. Love Jesus thangs, J.D.! Always enjoy reading your posts and stories. Your visit with friends and the pecan bowl sound amazing. So like God to care about the little things in our lives.

    My twin sister and I were born in El Paso, TX, but moved to the mountians of southwest VA in second grade. So I have a southern drawl but it’s a mountian dialect. When you move on up the state to the middle and far east coast, that’s northern accent territory.

    I never think anything is coicidence, but God working behind the scenes on our behalf.

    1. I thought I heard a hint of west Texas in your voice young lady. Our God never ceases to amaze me with how very much He cares. Even selecting the perfect gift to bring to new friends doesn’t escape His purview. We are blessed indeed ma’am. 🙂

  8. God is so good and He loves to bless His children! Guy and I were certainly the recipients of that in our visit with you and Diane, J.D. Thank you, again!!
    For our 50th anniversary gift to each other, Guy and I decided to take a road trip to San Antonio, taking about 2-3 weeks. It’s a long way from southwest Virginia.
    When I asked you if we could stop by for a visit, maybe a few hours, you graciously offered your guest room for a longer visit.
    J.D. and Diane, you’re totally in compliance with God’s instructions to be hospitable. We had a wonderful two day visit, including a big dose of what it’s like to be a Texas rancher. Its not for the faint of heart nor for one who doesn’t have a passion for it. I don’t know if all ranchers love their livestock like you two but those cows, calves, donkeys, bull, dog, and cats have a sweet relationship with you.
    What a huge treat for me to get to meet Elpis, the donkey! It’s amazing to me that you named her after Elpis in my children’s books. That’s SO cool!
    BTW- yesterday I asked Guy what his favorite part of our trip is, so far. (We’ve been away from home a little over a week and have been in San Antonio for about five days.) Without hesitation, he said his favorite part is definitely our time spent with you and Diane. Not surprising—-and I feel the same way.
    As for the pecan bowl, I had been praying, asking God to lead me to the right gift for y’all. I’m glad you like it. Thanks again for extending such joy-filled hospitality to Guy and me. We treasure your friendship. May God continue to richly bless you and your precious wife, my “girlfriend” Diane.
    We love you folks and look forward to more times together— like when you come visit us in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. The Parkway is calling you.

    1. Ms. Connie; as we’ve both said “You get what you give my friend.” Diane and I pray you and Mr. Guy felt the same bonds of Christian love and friendship that we instantly felt upon seeing you two. What a great time we spent together; and we can’t wait for the day when we can sit and sip coffee around the fireplace in your beautiful log home nestled in the Blue Ridge mountains. We each have God’s beautiful creation of nature to draw inspiration from for our writing. Perhaps that was the common thread God used to bring us together. I’m just praising Him for His providence, provision, and blessings of your friendship sweet couple. Until God brings us together again my friend, His blessings.

  9. What a cheerful blessing you’ve given me today. “It’s a Jesus thang!” I’ve had many of those recently, but I confess that sometimes I don’t realize those many blessings at the time of the gift–circumstances sometimes blunt the joy. Your message today is a precious reminder of the love we Christians share with one another.

    1. I think we all tend to overlook God’s constant presence in our lives my friend. It’s as though our human spirit’s are somehow hard-wired to overlook the obvious or just ignore the commonplace. Every moment and every day is a blessing isn’t it my friend? Be well, stay strong, and remember your extended family of Christ love you guys very much.

  10. I absolutely love this post, J.D. What fun to share in the visit from Connie and Guy and read examples of God at work in our midst. Thank you. He does all things well.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jeannie. I hope they enjoyed the visit as much as Diane and I did. We’re still smiling and talking about it. It’s great when we stop to see how involved God is in our lives each day isn’t it ma’am? God’s blessings dear friend.

  11. I love it when God reveal “coincidences” to me to show me that He’s there and that He cares. It’s a gentle hug and a reminder to, “stay the course.” Thank you for sharing!

  12. I have definitely taken more notice of these “Jesus thangs” lately. A few of them happened during the night when James and I were victims of a random crime. That pecan bowl is lovely! Do you say “PEE-can” or “puh-KAHN” there?

    1. Definitely “puh-KAHN” Ms. Robin. In fact, the next town over is Pecan Gap, TX. I bet they did ma’am; and I thank God He saw fit to see you and Mr. James through that trial. It led me to two wonderful, loving folks I am proud as punch to call my friends.

  13. J. D. I didn’t realize I had a Southern accent until I moved to Boston our of college. Not just an accent, but a way of saying things. Yes, He is the giver of every good and perfect gift. Thanks for the lovely reminders.

    1. A fine little North Carolina girl like you with an accent? No ma’am; I don’t reckon singing Magnolia blossoms have an accent. 🙂 That’s okay Ms. Debbie; the first words spoken to my Chicago born and bred Italian-American wife when she first came to Texas was “You ain’t from around here are ya ma’am?” Of course, when she thanked them for something and they responded with “Preshate y’all now” she had to ask me if that was okay or not. 🙂 Thanks for today’s smile Ms. Debbie.

  14. God is always at work in our lives bringing unexpected blessings to us. I’m still praying about a situation that my daughter believed was coincidental, but I still believe God was speaking to her.

    1. Will join you in prayer my friend, that God’s will be made clear. Am coming to believe there is no true coincidence in life, but God’s divine intervention. Thank you so much for joining our conversation ma’am.

  15. We call these things, “God Winks.”
    I’ve come to realize that the fingerprints of the Holy Spirit can be found everywhere. If we’re only willing to look, we’ll see that He’s touched everything that’s crossed our paths. I love it when He points them out, though. Isn’t it amazing when He reveals how much He’s a part of our everyday lives?

    1. It certainly is Pastor Joshua. There’s great comfort in knowing He is always with us isn’t there sir? I love the term “God winks”, and only this week learned another term from a New England friend. She calls them “God-incidences.” 🙂 God’s blessings sir. And congratulations again on your new publishing contract. I can’t wait to purchase my copy of Franklin the Pup’s, and your, new book.

    1. What a very kind thing to say Ms. Joyce. Thank you so much for your comments ma’am. I am blessed every day my friend; and I pray you and your family enjoy many of those same blessings there in sunny Florida ma’am.

  16. After finally having a chance to catch up with some reading, I simply must share how our family Norway trip the end of January is one of my “Jesus Thangs.” We learned if we had come any sooner, the rains would have drenched our enjoyment and chances to see the Northern Lights. Practically on the day we left the weather turned “terrible” closing roads and ferries and forcing folks inside. And then, of course, the Corona Virus hit the entire world. We only had a small window of time to have spent a wonderful vacation with my mother to make her lifelong dream come true. Thank you, Lord, for your “Jesus thang” for our family to place in our memory bank.

    1. I so loved reading your recent post about how your mom was able to view the Northern Lights there at the top of the world Ms. Karen. That truly must have been an awe-inspiring moment. And you are right ma’am, I don’t think it was just “blind luck”, but God’s favor that the window in the weather opened up at just the perfect time to allow you and your family to get this special view of His glorious creations. Perhaps a small reward for your mama’s many years of faithful service. And thank you for sharing the story, and her follow-on interview with us. Wonderful glimpse into the sweet soul you call “Mom.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  17. Hey JD, I just read this article and tried to make a comment on twitter. Not being familiar with twitter, cause I tend to be a little bit of an ole fuddy when it comes to some of this technology, I wound up posting your blog on twitter. I don’t know how I did it, but I did. Just thought you might want to know. Never did git my comment made so I shorten it to this; I do not believe is coincidence, happenstance or any of that sort. We make the choices in our lives but as providence provides the opportunity.

    1. Indeed Mr. Monty. Things don’t “just happen”, as God knows every step, every decision, we’re going to make in our lives. I am ever grateful that He provides us opportunities to make the right choices in our lives. I lament that I haven’t always made them; yet He is ever-faithful to give us seemingly endless opportunities to choose Him. (Matthew 11:29-30) my friend. 🙂

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