It's happened to you.
You received a phone call out of the blue; or you bumped into someone who led you to a new job, a new relationship, or opportunity that totally changed your life. You probably even said, "Wow, what a coincidence I met so and so." But did you ever stop to ask what caused that person to be right there, at that exact moment, in your path? It was Divine Alignment: the arrangement of coincidences into a pattern of alignment so astonishing they could have come only from a higher source.
In this inspiring new work, SQuire Rushnell shows readers how they can navigate life's thorniest hurdles, rediscover the deep meaning and impact of personal prayer, and develop the individual conviction and wherewithal it takes to reach their full potential and fulfill their most ambitious dreams by honoring the book's seven easy-to-follow steps.
In his charmingly avuncular and wonderfully optimistic voice, SQuire shares moving stories from his own and others' lives to show the awesome strength inherent in what he calls God's Positioning System, or GPS. All of us, he assures readers, can use our own personal GPS to grow more closely aligned with God to become vastly more effective, successful, and fulfilled in our relationships, careers, and everything we do.
DIVINE ALIGNMENT offers a comprehensive approach for living our lives in harmony with God--every minute of every day--offering a whole new paradigm for understanding the mysterious connections between people and events, challenges and solutions.
GPS STEP 1: Speak with the Navigator
GPS STEP 2: Listen to Your Own Inner Compass
GPS STEP 3: Mapping Your Destination
GPS STEP 4: Unshackle Your Baggage
GPS STEP 5: Step Out in Faith and Believe You'll Arrive
GPS STEP 6: Read the Signs, Recalculate, and Accelerate
GPS STEP 7: Gratefully Arrive with a Full Well Within
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July 01, 2012
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Excerpt from Divine Alignment by Squire Rushnell
SPEAK WITH THE NAVIGATOR
Let us begin by understanding Divine Alignment.
The Hertz rent-a-car agent advised that any vehicle could be equipped with a GPS navigational device--called "Never Lost."
I remember thinking: Wouldn't it be great if we all had GPS; a Global Positioning System . . . making sure we are "never lost"?
That's when the penny dropped.
EACH OF US IS BORN WITH A BUILT-IN GPS. GOD'S POSITIONING SYSTEM.
Right from birth, we come equipped with a highly sophisticated navigational package that--through an internal voice of intuition and godwinks--divinely aligns us with people, as well as events, who assist us in reaching our destiny and keep us from losing our way.
Let me expand on that.
When that telephone call that "just happened" to connect you with someone who "coincidentally" placed you on a whole new track, or you bumped into that person who, oh so serendipitously, led you to a life-changing experience--a new job, a relationship, or a geographical move--you were encountering Divine Alignment, guided by your personal GPS.
I suspect you never stopped to ask, "Why was that person at that precise place, at that exact time, in order for me to bump into them?" Or, "Why did that phone call occur at that auspicious moment?"
Does this describe you? Day in and day out you nonchalantly encounter one person after another as you bound from one event to the next, casually accepting life as a series of accidents. Only when you stop to open your mind to the immense possibilities of Divine Alignment do you begin to see the marvelous connections and invisible threads that connect you from one person to another. You begin to understand that your life is not an accident at all. You're not like a twig randomly floating down a stream to destinations unknown.
You begin to see the marvelous connections and invisible threads that connect you from one person to another.
Yet, as you travel through life, your hands are on the steering wheel most of the way. And one of the gifts you are given, factory installed, is free will.
You're free to go too fast or too slow. To be reckless or responsible. Or even free to drive off the highway altogether, if that's what you choose.
You also have the free will to acknowledge . . . or to ignore . . . that you are not here by accident.
The truth is, you are part of an incredible plan that was programmed into your DNA long before you were born.
How do you access that plan?
Within your own personal GPS you have a Navigator. Someone much bigger than you--and all of us--guiding your life.
The question is, How do you tune in? How do you communicate with the Navigator? How do you determine what purpose He has planned uniquely and especially for you?
Very simply--you communicate with Him.
HOW DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH THE NAVIGATOR?
The best way is simply by talking with Him. The same way you'd talk with your father or grandfather. We have a word for it:
DON'T LET THAT WORD STARTLE YOU
I've searched my mind for a euphemism--another word that isn't so, shall we say, unnerving--conceding that we are living in a society that is hypersensitive to political correctness. These days we've become so gun-shy we bolt from anything that smacks of religion.
In fact, you could be asking, "Should I drop this book here and now? I don't want to read a religious book!"
This one isn't. It's spiritual, hopefully inspiring, but not religious.
Remind yourself that this book is written neither by Einstein nor by Billy Graham. It's written by me, one of the fathers of ABC's Schoolhouse Rock! A guy who brought you TV cartoons on Saturday morning. So, how theologically heady can it be?
* * *
Okay, regarding that little word we're discussing, to be completely honest, I can't conjure up a different word from the English language--other than prayer--to express what I want to say.
Moreover, prayer is not just a word we use in English. It's a concept integral to every faith and probably every language.
In the absence of a suitable substitute, the word prayer is a perfectly fine choice.
So, I hope you're in accord; in the absence of a suitable substitute, the word prayer is a perfectly fine choice. Let us therefore boldly welcome it to our lips along with other expressions, like talk, speak, or chat.
Programming her personal GPS by chatting with the Navigator--through prayer--is exactly what Carla did. Let's let her story exemplify the concept.
It seemed perfectly plausible when Carla's friend called, looking for support.
"Alice was trying to have a baby and she wanted me to come to her apartment while she took the home pregnancy test," she remembers.
But when she got to her friend's place, Carla learned that Alice had purchased two pregnancy tests--one for herself and another as a control for Carla to administer.
"Sure, why not," replied Carla, glad to help out.
One of the tests indicated a positive result. The other did not.
"But we were confused and surprised," says Carla, "because the positive one was mine!"
The two women rushed back to the pharmacy, purchased two more tests, and repeated the procedure. The results were the same.
"I quickly called my ob-gyn," explains Carla, "who took me in for examination that very afternoon. He did an ultrasound, and sure enough, there was the little tyke."
Carla's emotions took off like a roller coaster. The surprise of discovering her pregnancy, at a time when her life was already in turmoil, ushered in all kinds of uncertainties, contrasted with the unexpected joy that she was going to have a baby!
During the next few days she began to worry and doubt if she was worthy of being a mother; she started cramping and bleeding.
Worried, she rushed back to the doctor's office.
The ultrasound was repeated. But, tragically, what was revealed on the screen was a shock; she had lost her baby.
"I was devastated," whispers Carla.
The sadness was so overwhelming that she could hardly comprehend what the doctor was telling her to do--to come back in, in a couple of days, and have a D&C procedure to prevent infection.
Carla returned home. Her cloak of grief drew tight around her. She cried and cried. She remained in bed.
"I can't describe the feeling, except to say that I felt like I was being pushed down . . . I felt heavy."
She stayed home from work, skipped the D&C appointment, took no phone calls, and didn't crawl from bed for a week.
"I was despondent . . . I continued to cry and cry. I thought I might be experiencing some normal depression following a miscarriage."
She didn't know what to do, or to whom she could turn. So . . . she called upon the Navigator.
"I was so completely distraught that I prayed, and prayed, and prayed. I begged God to please let it all be a mistake, that the doctors were wrong, promising to be the best mother in the world if I just had one more chance. I really believed I could get the baby back, somehow, if I prayed hard enough."
When Carla finally pulled herself out of bed, she called the doctor and went to his office.
"He was a little mad at me for not showing up for my appointment," she recalls.
Anticipating that he might scold her, she cautiously told him that she thought she might still be pregnant.
The doctor just looked at her sympathetically. He'd heard this before.
"You're having a normal reaction to the trauma of losing a baby," he said, choosing his words carefully. "Many women feel this way after a miscarriage. But . . ." he continued with firmness, "it's very important now for you to have the D&C."
Carla looked at him directly. She nodded slightly.
"I will. Provided you give me one more ultrasound."
He stared at her a moment. Then, reluctantly, he agreed.
She quietly lay on the examining table as the doctor and nurses prepped for the ultrasound. They ran the instrument over her tummy while looking at the results on the screen.
And there, in black and white, was the very definite shape of a baby!
Carla could not believe her eyes, which were filling with tears of joy and relief as her lower lip began to quiver.
The doctor was speechless.
"I can't explain it," he said.
It remained unsaid, yet everyone in the room thought it: Thank God Carla was motivated to skip the D&C. For surely, had she not missed her appointment, there would have been no baby.
To this day Carla remains astonished with the series of events, and how her pleadings to the Navigator resulted in an outcome that no one could have predicted.
Her daughter is now sixteen years old and Carla has lived up to her promise to devote herself to raising her. She left her career behind to be a full-time mother and has no regrets. She thanks God every day for giving her the strength to believe in her own senses, overriding the doctors, when they were so certain that she was wrong and they were right.
Programming her personal GPS by talking with the Navigator . . . prayer . . . worked.
HOW DO YOU PRAY?
Very simply, prayer is communication with someone up there bigger than you. God.
Prayer doesn't require pomp and circumstance.
It needn't be executed on your knees.
You don't have to say "thees" and "thous."
You don't even have to speak out loud. You can talk to God inside your head or write Him a letter.
Let me expand on that thought. I remember the time an elderly country gentleman named Ralph Lankler told me, with a twinkle in his eye, "I write a letter to God every morning."
"What do you say?"
"Oh, I just tell Him whatever's on my mind--thank Him for the gifts He's sent since my last letter."
"How do you sign it?"
Hmm. Nice idea, isn't it?
My point is this: You just need to communicate with your Navigator--God--the way you would with your dad or a loved and respected grandparent. When you do, you'll discover it's your daily dialogue with Him that enables you to effectively program your GPS.
It is during these quiet times with your Maker that you are also giving Him an opportunity to speak to you, through the still small voice within. You may be surprised at the number of times, during prayer, that a perfect idea pops into your head. During these moments of complete attention, you are more apt to be actively listening for God's guidance.
CAN I TALK TO THE NAVIGATOR ABOUT ANYTHING?
The Bible provides you with that permission.
If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
JOHN 15:7 (NIV)
WHAT ABOUT SOMETHING REALLY IMPOSSIBLE?
Let me introduce another story that will most likely cause you to say "that's impossible," notwithstanding the empirical evidence that I'm going to lay right in front of you.
TONI AND DAVID
Toni Espinoza, a forty-eight-year-old mother of two, looked into her friend's doubtful eyes.
She had just quietly told him something she knew would be difficult for anyone to understand. But Crawford Higgins was a longtime family friend. Over the years Toni and her husband, David, had shared many family issues with Crawford and his wife. They'd grown up together. Their kids played together. They attended the same church. Toni and David valued Crawford's opinion.
"Toni, are you crazy?" said Crawford bluntly.
They'd just been talking about the issue that had gripped their two families for several weeks, ever since David had been told by three different cardiologists that unless he had a heart transplant, he would die. Perhaps within months.
The two couples had shared information about every doctor's visit. They pooled medical research each had done. They had prayed for David's survival. But now Toni was sharing a secret with Crawford--that she had prayed for something else--confirmation that David would be well, by asking God to make it snow in their Mexican border community of McAllen, Texas. On Christmas Day!
"Toni, you've lived here all your life," Crawford said, incredulously. "Have you ever even seen snow?"
She slowly shook her head and smiled.
Crawford stared back at her.
"Do you know the last time we got snowflakes in McAllen?" He didn't wait for an answer. "A hundred and nine years ago."
Toni smiled again. For inexplicable reasons, she had peace in her heart that surpassed all understanding.
But Crawford wasn't finished.
"And . . . it has never snowed on Christmas Day."
* * *
Toni and David Espinoza, both in their late forties, live in a modest home on a quiet street of McAllen, which sits on the southernmost border of the United States and Mexico, five and a half hours south of Houston. In the dead of winter "cold," in McAllen it is seventy degrees.
Toni and David were grateful for lives abundant in joy and values. Their marriage was nearly thirty years strong, and Trisha and Lisa, their two daughters, were out of the nest and on their way.
Then the devastating news hit them like a ton of bricks.
It was midyear 2004 and David was advised that congestive heart failure had enlarged and damaged his heart to such an extent that it was working at only 10 percent capacity.
"We're surprised he's still walking," said each doctor they saw, in so many words.
"A heart transplant is your only option," they echoed. "Without it, you've only got months to live."
Soon Toni and David were driving up to Houston for further evaluations at the famed DeBakey Heart Center at Baylor Hospital. There, it was confirmed that David's ejection fraction, which should be in the normal range of 50 to 70 percent, was only 15 to 20 percent.
Ejection fraction (EF) is defined this way: "A test that determines how well your heart pumps with each beat."
DeBakey doctors advised David that it was prudent to put him on the list for a heart donor, warning that it often takes nine months or more to find a perfect match. Even if one were found, the transplant would need to take place within about three hours. Given the distance between McAllen and Houston, that would be another serious issue.
Toni and David clung to each other.
The report of each doctor made them feel pummeled. Yet what could they do but grasp for strands of hope that they would be delivered a miracle and somehow pull through?
Arriving at the most critical crossroads of their lives--with life or death hanging in the balance and the couple consumed by uncertainty--they did what you might have done; they prayed. Without even realizing it, they were programming their personal GPS by speaking to the Navigator. God.
Praying several times a day, Toni cried out to God to save her husband. Yet even as she did this, she became more and more conflicted with the awareness that in order for David to live, someone else had to die.
"That doesn't seem right," she discerned.
So, instead of a transplant, she asked God for a miraculous healing.
* * *
By early December both Toni and David were feeling a tentative peace about the ordeal, somewhat like a cease-fire in battle.
"I felt we were in God's hands," said David.
"I believed that God had already begun working to heal my husband," said Toni.
Yet she wanted something more, some kind of tangible assurance that God's miracle was forthcoming.
She spoke with the Navigator about it, privately.
"Lord, I will know David is okay, if you make it snow on Christmas Day, here in McAllen, Texas," she stated flatly.
She mentioned this to David. But when he didn't respond--one of those times that husbands don't really listen, David said later--she decided to drop the matter with him. Instead, she told three others about her pact with God: Crawford Higgins, their close family friend; her sister Sylvia; and her friend Marilyn.
"Snow in McAllen? That's impossible," said her sister.
Crawford was simply blunt. "Toni, if you're expecting it to snow here, where we've lived all our lives, and never seen snow--let alone on Christmas Day--you might as well start planning the funeral."
Christmas Eve arrived.
At eleven-thirty Toni looked through the sliding-glass doors into the backyard and blinked. Snow flurries were falling.
"Trisha!" she shouted to her daughter, home for the holidays from New York City. "That's snow, isn't it?" She wasn't sure, having never seen snow.
"Your dad's going to be okay," whispered Toni, choking back tears. "Quick, go get Dad and Lisa."
David, struggling with a cold and setting an early alarm for his Santa chores, had gone to bed early.
Toni slid open the door to the backyard and stepped onto the lawn, now speckled with snow.
Coatless, alone with God, she lifted her face to the heavens, and closed her eyes as white flecks of snow dotted her hair and stuck to her smiling face.
"Thank You, Lord. Thank You."
* * *
The next morning, Christmas Day, bundled-up children of McAllen burst from their homes to manufacture first-time-ever snowmen and fanned angels on front lawns. And, for the first time in recorded history, McAllen, Texas, received a white Christmas. The city's first measurable snow in 109 years. The newspaper heralded the rare event with a special section.
* * *
Four weeks later Toni and David drove back to Houston for three days of previously scheduled tests at the DeBakey Heart Center. On the third morning Dr. Guillermo Torre entered the small office holding David's chart.
He studied it, checking and rechecking the name on top.
His eyes began to widen. His jaw dropped. He looked up at the two of them.
"I can't explain this," he said with surprise in his voice. "You're not sick anymore!"
He again looked at the chart. Again looked up.
"David, you're going to be around for a long time."
* * *
For anyone who doubts that Toni's prayers were answered with remarkable godwinks, following continued conversations with the Navigator, the medical records from the DeBakey Heart Center tell the story. On David's initial visit, April 27, 2004, doctors wrote: "LV function is severely depressed with LVEF [Left Ventricle Ejection Fraction] 15 to 20 percent." Normal, if you recall, is 50 to 70 percent. However, four weeks after the white Christmas miracle in McAllen, on January 24, 2005, the report states: "Lower limits normal LV function. Qualitative EF is 50 percent," within the lower range of normal.
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
you can say to this mountain, "Move from
here to there," and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you.
BUT WHAT IF MY REQUEST TO GOD IS REALLY REALLY IMPOSSIBLE?
Measure whatever problems you have, whatever issues you're wrestling with, against this man's. Don was happily driving home one day from a conference and suddenly he was looking at the front end of an eighteen-wheeler truck coming through his windshield. His car was crushed. He was dead in a matter of moments.
Could your problems be any worse than that?
How could Don . . . how could you . . . how could anyone get out of Don Piper's predicament?
One word: prayer.
But you just said he was dead!!
Yes, he was in an impossible situation. He was dead. But, for the Navigator, nothing's impossible.
You perhaps read Don Piper's story; his book Ninety Minutes in Heaven has been a New York Times bestseller.
However, I'd like to share a different perspective on Don's amazing story, from the point of view of the man and woman whom God divinely aligned to "just happen" to come along into Don's life--or in this case--. . . Don's death--at the most auspicious time.
ANITA, DICK, AND DON: MIRACLE ON THE BRIDGE
"I've got to have a cup of real coffee! My headache's getting worse," said Anita, her brows tightening, as she motioned to the upcoming Dairy Queen.
Who could have ever known that Anita's urgent need for a cup of coffee was about to alter her life, forever intertwining it with the lives of others? Looking back, that cup of coffee would become a critical godwink, in her life, and in the lives of others.
Anita and her husband, Dick Onarecker, had spent that cold rainy January morning attending a conference in East Texas where decaf-only coffee was served. Anita had learned the hard way that without "real" coffee in her system, a throbbing headache was just around the corner.
Resuming the two-hour drive home, cradling the cup with both hands, Anita blinked and moved slightly forward as she looked through the windshield. A fog was still hovering over a bridge they were approaching, and something looked odd. It was an accident. There was a big truck, an eighteen-wheeler, stopped in the wrong lane! Two men stood outside the truck, looking around. One wore what looked like an officer's uniform.
Dick slowed down and the tires made crunching sounds as he steered onto the bridge, around the debris littering the road.
They passed a damaged car resting just beyond the truck. In that car, a man, stunned, seemed to be staring blankly as he sat behind the wheel.
They passed an object Anita could barely make out--logic told her it was another car--but it was no longer shaped like a car. It was flattened, crushed, and still steaming. The big truck must have run right over it!
Dick swerved around the flattened vehicle, pulled ahead on the bridge, and stopped. They both jumped out and began walking back. Approaching the flattened car, Anita and Dick could see there was a bloodied body inside.
Acknowledging his wife's sensitivity to blood and gore, Dick spoke quickly. "Why don't you go on over to that other car," he said seriously, nodding in the direction of the other vehicle. "Maybe you can help that person."
She was relieved.
Soon Anita was leaning through a smashed-out window of the first car, speaking softly, calming an older man who was still stunned, seated behind the wheel. She handed him her still-warm cup of coffee.
* * *
Shocked by the carnage--a horrible accident that must have occurred only a couple of minutes before--Dick surveyed the flattened wreckage of what was once a Ford Escort. No one could survive this, he quickly assessed.
The uniformed man, a prison guard, approached and stood next to him. They nodded at each other. Glancing past him, Dick could see the name of a nearby state prison etched on the cab of the truck.
"Don't bother with him. I already checked," said the guard, motioning at the wreckage with his head. "He's dead."
Dick stepped past the man, past a piece of human bone in the road, and bent down to peer into the mangled pile of metal. There was the body of a man, twisted and lifeless. To satisfy himself, he reached in, felt for a pulse; there was none.
What should he do? What could he do?
Pray for the man, was a clear, decisive command from within his mind. An urgent, voiceless message to pray for a dead man, to pray that he would live, and that he would have no internal injuries.
That makes no sense! he silently argued. The man is dead. Why pray for a dead man?