“Thank You” Doesn’t Seem Sufficient

11 Nov

I’m not in a habit of posting my personal prayers here, but this morning my time spent with my Heavenly Father was an expression of love that I want all the world to experience. I pray that as you read this you will open your hearts to a real, approachable God who loves you and wants your love in return.

My Father – my Lord – my King, and my Friend; my Counselor – my provider – You are so good, and so kind. You are beyond earthly words. My heart overflows with love for You. You are so immersed in everything around me. I see You in all things. You are my anchor. I am tethered to You and that brings security to my heart and soul. I search for words to express my love and adoration, but I cannot find them. My  heart is filled with gratitude for the peace and joy You bring to my heart.

Thank You doesn’t seem sufficient. I am grateful that You can see my heart, and know my every thought. All I have, and all I am are because of You. I could do nothing on my own. You open my eyes to many new things – things I would not know – they are beyond my capacity and my abilities. You create in me new things each day. I want the world to know You. I want them to know You are a real, and personal God available on a level that no one else is. You give me a love the world cannot possibly give because it is beyond their ability.

Even through all my hurt and pain – my weaknesses – my faults – my mistakes – my habits – You still love me with a love I can’t understand or explain. You satisfy my every longing. My every fear melts away because I know You are there shielding me. Nothing can breach the barricade you have place around me.

In every sorrow I have experienced – in every loss – in every trial and tribulation – You rise above them. Your presence and Your Spirit engulf me. You put all the pieces of my broken heart back together. You replace all doubt and fear with faith and hope in the future.

No matter how weak and frail my mind and body might become, You hold me in the palm of your hand as I look to You, knowing You are not going to let anything touch me that will destroy my spirit. I will be with You forever, and forever – no matter the state of my body or my mind or my emotions. My Spirit is one with Yours, and nothing by any means can hurt me.

Thank You, My Father, for a love the world cannot give – for Your peace that far exceeds my understanding – for the assurance that I will spend eternity with You and all those who have gone before me, and who will come after me.

In the mighty, precious blood and name of Jesus, Your Son, I pray. Amen

NOTE: – I shared this prayer with you because I want you to know Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour and the Holy Spirit. There is no other love or thing in this world that can fill any void in your life except for Him. There is no other God – no pill – no drink – no sex – no material thing – no experience that will ever satisfy you like the love, joy and forgiveness given to you by God. All you have to do is ask Him. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, your mistakes and anything that concerns you. It’s not difficult – He will meet you right where you are – just as you are. He will give you what nothing else in this world can give you – the love and acceptance you long for.

I pray for every soul that reads this prayer. I pray that through it you will gain a sense of God’s outrageous love for you – so much so that He really did sacrifice His one and only Son, Jesus, so that you and everyone in the world as the choice of everlasting life in heaven with Him over hell and damnation. He loves you so much that He wants you to love Him because you want to, not because He can make you do it.

This will be the most important decision you ever make. Your future depends on it.

May the peace of God that passes all understanding be with you.

You Don’t Have To Be Here To Be Here!

6 Nov

I was watching a movie the other night and was immediately inspired by a scene where a popular school teacher had died. Several children were sitting in a group, reminiscing about good times and feeling down and sad. They were interrupted by another teacher who wanted to encourage them. He said to the group,  “I know you are really sad that your teacher died but don’t you know you don’t have to be here to be here? Every time you give your knowledge away or what you have learned – every time you give something to someone – you give a little part of yourselves to them. You have a little bit of everyone who has given into your life. They are here with you, you just have to know where to look.”

Wow! So many thoughts and feelings flooded my heart and my mind. That is an awesome truth. First, I thought of my Mother who died a few years ago. I miss her so very much, yet so much of her is still with me. I  have many of her material things, but I don’t drag them around with me to keep her near me. My Mother is always – always – with me. She’s in my heart. I hear her voice when I do something I know she wouldn’t like. I hear her sweet, loving words to me when I am discouraged or hurt. I can see her face in my mind’s eye. So many of the things I learned came from watching her and listening to her. I hear many people say,  “I’m turning into my Mother.” Many of us say that as though it were a bad thing when, in fact, it can be a very good thing. That’s where the statement “. . .you just have to know where to look” comes in.

Just think about how many people have become a part of us – our parents – our siblings – our friends, and so on. We glean from each and every one of them, even if it is to determine we don’t like certain things they do, and we surely don’t want that part of them to dwell in us. More than likely, we even catch ourselves picking up certain traits of others – repeating their phrases or their reactions.

Unfortunately, deposits into our lives by others are not always positive.  Some of the deepest hurts and fears left as residue from them may  keep us bound by vows we have made as a result of the pain they have caused. They are still with us. That means we are looking at the wrong place in our hearts. (We might say, “I’ll never let anything like that happen to me again,” or “I learned my lesson – I won’t do that anymore”). Surely there are also good things deposited into us by others yet we tend to focus on the negative things and not the positive. We then begin to put walls around our hearts and push others away based on what one person did to us. Over the years, the deposits made by others can even keep us away from the destiny that God has prepared for us.

The Scriptures tell us Eccl 5:5-6 ” It is better not to vow than to make a vow and not fulfill it. 6 Do not let your mouth lead you into sin.” NIV   We should re-think any vows that we may have made and ask God to forgive us. We can’t assume that because one person has hurt us that others will. That is when it is vital that we “. . . know where to look.”

My mind races with how many ways this affects us. I’ve had a good, long life. I’ve experienced a great deal of pain and loss. (See how I mentioned the pain and loss first?) I have also been blessed with so much good – more good than bad. When I think of the pain and loss, I think of the people who are here with me, even though they aren’t here with me! On the other hand, when I say certain things or experience some feelings of fun and joy, I think of others who are with me, even though they aren’t here with me. So many of life’s experiences have made me who I am today.

The most important fact of all is that God is with me – and He is here with me even though I can’t see Him – He is here with me! There is never a time He isn’t with me. He lives in me – He never leaves me. He isn’t just a memory. He’s alive and He is with me always – at all times – good and bad. He talks with me – He listens to me – He helps me to overcome the negative things that have been deposited in my life by others. His is the influence I need to live by – nothing else – good or bad. My memories of others are part of my life forever, but they don’t make me who I am. God does that.

If you don’t know the God of Abraham, invite Him into your life. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and to come and live in your heart. He is an amazing God – Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. NIV

Only God can see to it that our  hearts are cleansed and free from everything that would keep us bound.

 

ONLY ONE

9 Sep

I am always so blessed and encouraged by our word from God through our Pastor on Sunday mornings. I get excited and inspired each time. God’s Spirit swells up inside mine and I can’t help but share what I’ve been blessed with.

I have to admit that throughout my ministry I’ve always liked sharing God’s Word with large groups. I had visions of speaking to great crowds of people because God used me to teach and to minister and I wanted to reach everybody at one time. Then, one day, He taught me a very important lesson.

I was working for the Minister of Education for a very large church. I worked hard and accomplished a great deal. My boss took a lot of the credit for the work I did (beyond the everyday work I did for him). I know secretaries are supposed to support their bosses and make them look good. I was okay with that. But I was also a leader in the church and I worked hard alongside him over a very large Sunday School Department.

I was really proud of some things I did (pride – another thing that God wanted me to be rid of), and I was anxious for everyone to see what a great job I did. At a meeting of all our Sunday School leaders my boss introduced the new program I had designed – then took credit for it! I was incredibly angry and hurt. I fumed over it for several days. I talked to God about it and told Him just what I thought about the situation.

In God’s awesome love and wisdom, He spoke gently to my heart. He told me that if I could let go of wanting recognition for all that I did He could use me greatly! Wow! An awesome word from God. I have to admit, I liked the recognition and wasn’t sure I liked the idea of giving it up, but I love my Lord and I wanted to be used by Him to reach others. I gave my anger and resentment and  all other sinful thoughts and feelings over to Him, forever remembering that God is the one to receive the glory – not me – not my boss – not anyone else!

I kept my vision of reaching crowds of people through my teaching and ministering. I had been asked to teach at several seminars, Bible studies, my and other events and I loved it. One day,  a lady visiting our church, spoke a word to me about it. She told me that God knew that I wanted to minister to His people but that I couldn’t do it all at one time. She said God wanted me to know that He would send me to the one He wanted me to minister to. He said He would show me to go to “this one” or “that one” and that I would reach them for His kingdom. He gave me that message many times throughout my life from others who even said that I would reach others even in the grocery store or in the beauty shop!

I chuckled inside because God used that  first woman to let me know He knew what my desires were, and His were the same except that He wanted me to do it “one” soul at a time. I think I realized at that point that I still kind of wanted the glory. Pride is an awful thing. It creeps up on us. Even to those who don’t think they are proud – they are proud that they are not proud!

Since those days long ago, God has brought people to me – “one” at a time, or sent me to encourage “one” at a time. I learned that there are amazing results in ministering to one at a time. It is God’s way of letting each “one” know just how much He loves them  – enough to send His son to die for them, and enough to send someone directly to them for prayer and encouragement.

God didn’t just select me for this – He selected us all. We have only to make Him a priority and to let Him use us – not for our glory or our recognition – but for His glory and His purposes. If we get the glory that belongs to God, the “ones” we reach won’t recognize just how much God loves them and wants to bless them.

The message God sent through our Pastor made me realize even more how much each “one” of us matters to Him on a personal, one on one, level. That is truly a miracle!

By the way – all those ones add up to a crowd of people!

God’s Ways

26 Aug

In today’s society it is hard to hear God above all the noises that surround us.  My biggest heart’s desire is to please God, and to do the right thing – meaning – the thing God wants me to do.

As part of the older generation I find it difficult to keep up with all the social media. There are so many good things about it – I love being connected all the time.  It’s kind of like getting out of the house without getting out of the house, or having company without having to clean the house.

Obviously, there are many “words” flying around us all the time – videos, text messages, emails, Hangout messages, Twitter, Instagram, and so on, and so on. It is easy to take our focus off God’s voice or His Word, with all the other “voices” coming at us – almost impossible to avoid all the “chatter”. Some people even need to have constant music, gaming, entertainment, streaming videos and constant text messages to be at peace.

Hearing God over all that isn’t easy. It can be done, but we have to remember to listen for His still small voice coming from among all the other voices. I suppose it’s kind of natural that as I age I rather like things a little slower, but whether we like things slow or fast we need to reserve a place for God, not leaving Him out.

If we’re too slow we can miss what He has for  us – if we’re too fast, we tend to get lost in all the noise around us. God’s ways are amazing, perfect for us, but we can either be too tired and weary or in too big a hurry to hear what He has to say about an issue. If that happens we can find ourselves in a precarious position. God IS our security. We need to hear Him before we jump off the cliff of indecision – not call out to Him on our way down to bless our jump, or to save us from hitting the ground!

Let’s get it right the first time. The way we do that is to do  it God’s way. Of course, it will probably mean we don’t get to jump in (or off) and then cry out for help. It means we take our petitions to Him first and wait for the answer. We don’t like that word – wait – not in today’s world. Yet, if we walk in God’s ways, we can actually save wasted time by doing it right the first time.

Walking with God is a choice, and being consistent about it isn’t always easy. Sometimes our adrenalin is just rushing and the last thing we want to do  is take a few minutes of our time to talk to God.  We decide to talk to Him on the way off the cliff. The thing is, that few minutes with God could save us so much unnecessary anguish.

Take time to get before God, tune into His frequency even if  it’s just for a minute or so – especially if you have a “red flag” in the pit of your stomach or feel uneasy in any way. The Wi-Fi connection you have with Him is better than any of the others. Just stop a moment and call out to Him – He will reply. He may tell you to be still – to wait. If He does, it is for a very good reason. Listen for Him. Trust Him. Obey God’s ways.

 

One Thing

25 Aug

Sunday morning our Pastor encouraged us all when he spoke to the children about starting the new school year. The title of his sermon was “One Thing“.  He wanted us all to know about the one thing  we need to remember at all times as we face life every day. The message inspired me so much that I wanted to expand on it. The following Scripture tells us what that one thing is:

  • Matt 22: 37-38 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment.  NIV

My youth and my prime are behind me. I am in the winter of my life. It’s been a rough life, but one thing has been consistent – God. All other things change. Just about the time we get comfortable, something (or someone) upsets the apple cart and we have to pick ourselves up, wipe off the dust, and keep going.

God isn’t shaken when we are. He is the one thing in our lives that remains steady. For that I am eternally grateful. He is my rock; without Him I’m not sure I could face today or tomorrow, let alone the future I face as a senior citizen. I find peace in His Word that promises me that He will never leave me or forsake me.  One thing I can count on is His faithfulness. So can everyone who accepts Him as their Lord and Savior.

I wish I knew how to express the peace and satisfaction life holds as we keep one thing in mind – He is always with us, we can count on Him – those aren’t  just clichés. Until we put our hope and faith in Him, and develop a one-on-one relationship with Him, we find life almost unbearable at times. With Him, life is not only bearable, it is fruitful, it is fun, and even exciting.

God is so real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He is alive. He is progressive. He knows how to speak to  us with the assurance of His presence, even though we can’t see Him. He is more real than any person with skin on! He is just as present with us as they are – even more so.  He is with me every moment of every day and He is the one thing that I can depend on when everything around me is unstable. He is available to each and every person that will call out to Him.

We all believe in something. We use our faith every day. Why not use that faith to believe in God and His presence? Why not do that one thing that would welcome Him into our lives – whatever it is that we might be holding back – maybe it’s yielding to Him – inviting Him into our lives. Or, it could be that we aren’t sure He hears us. That one thing might be stepping out to read the Bible on a consistent basis. That’s the main way God communicates with us. As we read it, we aren’t just reading an old Bible story. We’re reading about the lives of people who, back then, were just like we are today. They weren’t any more special than any one of us. They faced the same doubts, fears, temptations, and hardships that we face. God’s Word reveals how He helped them, and how He used them, and how He took care of them. Most important, we can read about how God forgave them and loved them no matter what they had done.

God doesn’t expect perfection from us. There is only One who is perfect – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. He came to earth in the form of man (Jesus) and died on the cross to take our place for all of our sins – past, present and future. God is not behind the times. He doesn’t grow old like the rest of us. Nothing we have in today’s world would be possible without Him – nothing.

One thing I know without a shadow of a doubt – God loves us and He wants only good things for us. The one thing we have to yield to Him is our hearts. He will do the rest. He will come down to our level and help us out of whatever situation we are in. He is approachable, and forgiving. His plans for each one of us are for good and not evil. He wants to bless us and not punish us.

God  is the one thing I can count on in my life – nothing else.

Connecting

1 Aug

Driving down a very busy road, I was trying to look at a text. I had driven a couple of miles, through several intersections  looking out the windshield, and back down at my phone.  I eventually snapped  back to the present moment, and realized I hadn’t been 100% attentive to my driving, the traffic, or how far I had traveled. That’s a scary thought.

I believe it’s the same way when someone I am talking to is looking at their phone. They know I am there, they see me, and they hear me – sort of, but their attention is divided, and truthfully, more concentrated on their electronics. Maybe others are better at multi-listening than I am.

We have gotten so infatuated with social media that instead of  looking in the eye of the person we are conversing with, we have to look at the top of their heads as they begin to converse with someone else on their phones or concentrate on whatever else has electronically distracted them. That kind of gives me a complex. I almost feel as though I am intruding .

We are human beings and though social media is wonderful for many reasons, it can also hinder relationships. We need one another. We need face to face interaction. The words we read in black and white are just that – words. We don’t see the expression that goes along with them which might cause us to misunderstand their intent. We don’t  hear the sound of the familiar voices we love or connect on a more personal level. True, we are busy people and there are many advantages to our being able to reach one another immediately through social media, but we also need the personal, one on one time together.

Our church, offers small groups called “Connect Groups”.  There are several small groups, according to attendance with new members joining along the way. I have been a member of my particular small group for a couple of years now. We meet one night a week for about six weeks at a time. We break for a few weeks and then come back together.

Our group facilitators email weekly “Talk It Over” sheets which are the basis for our discussions. We spend a few moments answering the discussion questions. When we meet, we begin our time together with refreshments and general conversation. We then turn to our Talk It Over outlines which begin with a couple of fun questions designed to help us get to know more about one another. We discuss the questions and passages of Scriptures from Pastor’s message on Sunday. It’s a great way to open the door for us to share our personal thoughts on the subject, or to ask questions if we don’t understand something.

There are facilitators for each group, but every member of the group has an opportunity to give their answer to a particular question or to ask about anything they don’t understand. It’s a powerful way of getting to know one another and the Scriptures at the same time. Everyone participates. When the class is over for the evening we leave having a much better understanding of what our Pastor taught us the previous Sunday – and we have fun doing it.

Although we do have great fun, we also share serious moments. We ask questions that have been burning in our hearts, we encourage and pray for one another, and just enjoy our time together. We laugh a lot. Our personalities begin to show as we begin to see one another as who we really are. We are no longer just another person sitting in a church pew on Sunday mornings.

I attended church just over a year  with casual smiles and greetings, but never really getting to know anyone, and leaving as lonely as I came. I was a disconnected member. We all know the feeling. We are alone in a crowd of people – watching others who are obviously part of the inner circle. We feel kind of left out and wish we felt more at ease.  After joining the weekly Connect Group, I  greet true friends on Sunday mornings with something to talk about  – we really know each other.

I’ve heard it said that if we want friendship we have to become a friend. It doesn’t happen instantly, and it’s not up to others, it’s up to us. We have to become a little vulnerable and let others in – let them know who we are.  It requires a small sacrifice of our time and effort.

I’m in my sixty’s – I’ve been a church member for a long, long time. I’ve served on the staff of several churches and led Bible Studies, Ladies Groups, Prayer Meetings, Seminars and many other church events. Connect Groups are not the same. They are unique and personal. I love being able to be a part of my church in this way.

Connecting face to face is important  and vital to us. Nothing will ever replace a friend with skin on talking to us face to face in a room full of mutual friends.

 

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

29 Jul

I did not write the following three paragraphs. I don’t remember where it came from but I read it years ago and it touched my heart. I pray that this will speak to all who read it:

As Christians we are expected to appear victorious. We are expected to be on a continuous spiritual high. We are expected to fly, as the sparrows, undaunted into the storms of life. After all, we are God’s children.

We wear masks to cover our broken spirits, and our emotional wounds. The need for affirming one another is crucial to our process of becoming real, not phony or hypocritical, people of God.

We must be affirmed and we must affirm others. Otherwise, we miss one of the main concepts of the New Testament – to love one another and to bear one another’s burdens.

Please Hear What I’m Not Saying

Don’t be fooled by me.

Don’t be fooled by the face I wear

For I wear a mask. I wear a thousand masks –

    masks that I’m afraid to take off

    and none of them are me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature with me

But don’t be fooled, for God’s sake don’t be fooled.

I give you the impression that I’m secure

That all is sunny and unruffled with me

    within as well as without,

    that confidence is my name

    and coolness my game,

    that the water’s calm

    and I’m in command,

    and that I need no one.

But don’t believe me. Please!

My surface may be smooth, but my surface is my mask,

My ever-varying and ever-concealing mask.

Beneath lies no smugness, no complacency.

Beneath dwells the real me in confusion, in fear, in aloneness.

But I hide this.

I don’t want anybody to know it.

I panic at the thought of my weaknesses

and fear exposing them.

That’s why I frantically create my masks to hide behind.

They’re nonchalant, sophisticated facades to help me pretend,

To shield me from the glance that knows.

But such a glance is precisely my salvation,

my only salvation,

and I know it.

That is, if it’s followed by acceptance,

and if it’s followed by love.

It’s the only thing that can liberate me from myself

from my own self-built prison walls

from the barriers that I so painstakingly erect.

That glance from you is the only thing that assures me

of what I can’t assure myself,

that I’m really worth something.

 

But I don’t tell you this.

I don’t dare.

I’m afraid to.

I’m afraid you’ll think less of me, that you’ll laugh

and your laugh would kill me.

I’m afraid that deep-down I’m nothing, that I’m just no good

and you will see this

and reject me.

 

So I play my game, my desperate, pretending game

With a facade of assurance without

And a trembling child within.

So begins the parade of masks,

The glittering but empty parade of masks,

And my life becomes a front.

I idly chatter to you in suave tones of surface talk.

I tell you everything that’s nothing

And nothing of what’s everything, of what’s crying within me.

So when I’m going through my routine

Do not be fooled by what I’m saying.

Please listen carefully and try to hear

what I’m not saying.

Hear what I’d like to say

but what I can not say.

 

I dislike hiding.

Honestly.

I dislike the superficial game I’m playing,

the superficial phony game.

I’d really like to be genuine

and me,

But I need your help, your hand to hold

Even though my masks would tell you otherwise.

 

It will not be easy for you.

Long felt inadequacies make my defenses strong.

The nearer you approach me

The blinder I may strike back.

Despite what books say of men, I am irrational;

I fight against the very thing that I cry out for.

You wonder who I am?

You shouldn’t -

for I am every man

and every woman

who wears a mask.

Don’t be fooled by me.

At least not by the face I wear.

- Anonymous

God’s Conviction vs. Satan’s Condemnation

15 Jul

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. . .”  Rom 8:1  NIV

As Christians we strive to please God.  Scripture reminds us, according to John 10:10,   “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  (NIV)  Those are the words of Jesus.

Following are a few of the ways we can discern whether God is convicting us by way of His Holy Spirit or the thief (Satan) is doing his best to condemn us by his accusations and lies.

 

When God Convicts He:

  • Nudges us gently and with love
  • Speaks a Scripture to our hearts for encouragement
  • Speaks clearly in our hearts when we sin which allows us to repent immediately
  • Reminds us of previous victories to enhance our faith and give us encouragement
  • Cannot lie
  • Sends friends to encourage and support us
  • Gives us joy and peace

When Satan Condemns He:

  • Accuses us of awful things, calls us names, tells us how unloved we are and that we are no good
  • Is the father of lies and tells us God’s Word won’t work for us
  • Reminds us of our failures and mistakes and tells us we will never get beyond them
  • Tries at all times to discourages us
  • Tells us God isn’t listening to us and that He won’t keep His promises to us
  • Hates us and will try to destroy us
  • Sends people to discourage us
  • Tries to convince us that to sin is not that big a deal and that it won’t hurt us
  • Constantly tells us we will fail and never amount to anything
  • Works at tormenting us and plants seeds of doubt and unbelief to make us worry

These are just a few ways we can know if what we are hearing is from God or the thief that comes to kill, steal, and destroy us. God does not condemn us. He sent His Son to die for us so that we might have an abundant life. We cannot fathom how much He loves us, and wants to encourage us.

When we become discouraged and all kinds of negative, hurtful,  and discouraging things come at us we need to recognize immediately that God is  not the author of those things. God’s way is to convict us in love. He will convict us in a manner that is clear and direct when He wants to get our attention. He won’t torment us and cause us to wonder what he is saying to us. God will correct us, His children, but He will do it in a loving manner. He will also do it in a way that we can accept and understand without condemning us in any way.

Any time we begin to have constant negative thoughts – or become depressed and guilty about our past or our failures and shortcomings – we are not hearing that from God. We are hearing it from the accuser – the one who condemns us – the thief, satan.

This is literally good (God) against evil (Satan). We need to be very careful about allowing the thief to rob us of one more moment of peace. God loves us and forgives our sin immediately when we ask Him. He then casts our sin as far as the east is from the west and remembers it no more. Therefore, God isn’t the one reminding us of our past mistakes or speaking condemning words to us.

Ps 103:11-12  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  (NIV)

When the enemy starts bringing those negative, abusive, hurtful thoughts to our hearts we have to stop him immediately. The way to do that is to refuse to yield to those things that will allow doubt and unbelief to haunt us. Instead, we need to denounce the enemy, tell him to get away from us, and remind him that he is a liar, and that he has no authority over us.

The next step is to begin to thank God for His love, His protection, His encouragement and refuse to let our minds meditate on anything but the goodness of God. Actually, the Scripture tells us in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.” (NIV)

We are not slaves to our minds. We aren’t helpless when it comes to keeping out negative thoughts, but we do have to make an effort to put a stop to it and to re-focus our thinking on the things of God. He did not leave us helpless, He gave us spiritual weapons. Giving place to His Word, the Bible, will give us all the answers we need.

Hearing Voices

14 Jul

Recently, Pastor said “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”?  That statement brought so many things to mind. Scripture tells us that Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27 NKJV

I’ve heard many people say that they don’t hear God’s voice or that God doesn’t speak to them. John 10:27 tells a different story. If we are born again Christians we are His children, His sheep, and His Word says that we hear His voice.

I like the way Pastor said it – “How much do you trust the voice who is giving you your marching orders”? We hear voices constantly – so much so at times that we can’t rest. Where do they all come from? They are not all God’s voice. We can’t claim that everything we do is directed by God because it isn’t. God’s Word, the Bible, is His Word. To know God’s Word is to know God. Without reading the Bible, we can’t know which voices we are hearing.

We hear voices on the radio, the television, people all around us, our inner thoughts, the devil and the still small voice of God. Even Jesus was tempted by satan as he fasted. Jesus, in turn, spoke the Word of God to Him and told him to flee.

Today the world around us moves so fast. We do our best to keep up, and in doing so we sometimes don’t take the time to consult with the One who was given to us as a counselor – the Holy Spirit of God. We don’t always have to stop everything we’re doing and get on our knees to talk to God although there is a time and place for that.

God is with us all the time, everywhere we go. We can talk to Him on and off all day. We can thank Him as we are blessed, call out to Him when we have a question and need guidance, or seek His knowledge and direction, as needed. He can, and will, give us instant direction if we need it. One of the shortest prayers in the Bible is “Lord, save me.” He hears us, and He knows us.

Sometimes we blame things on God that He didn’t do. We may not have trained ourselves to  focus on what God is saying to us. Listening to God and taking our marching orders from Him will assure that we remain in His perfect will. Ignoring that “red flag” we sometimes sense in our hearts is dangerous and can get us off track which gets us out of the will of God. Following God’s voice sometimes takes courage – especially if it takes us out of our comfort zone, but our comfort zone is not always part of God’s plan for us.

The “red flag” is that little bit of uneasiness we feel when we’re about to do something we shouldn’t do. A feeling that something isn’t just as it should be,  is reason enough to stop and reconsider our actions. The problem can be that we are facing a deadline and time is of the essence, but God isn’t limited by clocks and deadlines. Our trust in Him should be so great that we trust Him to work beyond a deadline. Ignoring His warning can lead to bigger problems.

God always has our best interest at heart. He knows the path we take and can lead us around the pitfalls. Our part is to listen to Him and obey His direction. The fear we feel inside can be transformed by prayer into faith. God looks on our hearts and knows we are doing our best to follow His lead. He is well able to turn things around for us and will do just that as we dedicate ourselves to following Him as He leads us.

God has a divine plan for each one of us. Getting to the finish line will be much faster and less complicated as we let Him lead us rather than take unwanted detours and distractions by following voices other than His.

 

 

We Are Becoming. . .

16 Jun

Yesterday at Church, God spoke to me through several statements made by the Pastor. One that gave me great comfort was that I am “becoming” – what God wants me to be. I was especially moved by that statement because for so much of my life I have felt as though I am not all God wants me to be. Sunday’s message jolted me out of a life-long belief that I am not doing enough to be all that God wants me to be! Of course not – I am becoming that person. It takes a lifetime. Wow! That is good news!

Sadly, some of us feel that we have arrived – meaning we have reached our destination. We feel we have earned the right to shut out everything that we don’t want to be bothered with. The truth is we never truly “arrive,” as the saying goes.

I’ve lived a good, long life, but I have not arrived. When I finish my work on this earth and depart for my life in eternity, I will have arrived in heaven. I will then still have eternity before me. I am becoming (growing, advancing, maturing). . .  I will never arrive! Awesome! I love that. What pressure it takes off me.

The majority of my life has been spent wanting to hurry up and get from point “A” to point “Z,” meaning – I didn’t enjoy a lot of the journey. I see more clearly now – it is about the journey – about becoming. I don’t have to get everything right all at one time. I get so frustrated with myself for not being all I should be (what I think I should be). God isn’t the one putting the pressure on me – I am the one putting the pressure on me! Jesus said:

  •  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matt 11:28-30 NIV

I don’t want to use the fact that I am becoming as an excuse for being lax in the things I do. What I do want is to be a little kinder to myself and to remember Jesus told me clearly to come to Him to find the rest I need. He reminds me in Matthew 11 that He is gentle and humble in heart. He isn’t the one driving me and pusing me to the point of frustration and exhaustion. I am the one doing that. All He is asking of me is that I become the person He has destined me to be. I can do that with His help.

 

 

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