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Our Reasonings Or God’s Secrets?

20 Jun

photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0There are differences in imaginations, reasonings and the secret things of God. Do you know the difference?

Dan 2:22-23   22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you. . .NIV

When adversity and/or great tribulation comes our way – suddenly and unexpected at times – our first reactions will speak loudly of what we believe about God and how much we trust Him.

2 Cor 10:3-5   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  NKJV

At times, circumstances arise for which we have no control and no knowledge of how to handle them or cope with them.  Our imaginations begin to run wild. We begin to let the events play over and over in our minds. We lose our composure and our emotions are completely unstable. Our peace goes out the window. Confusion sets in and we find it difficult to focus on any one thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful storm. The waves are high all around us, the water is rough and our boat is being tossed uncontrollably.  We have to do something, but what? This is where our reasoning comes in.

I found myself in similar circumstances recently.  I am a child of God. I serve Him and walk with Him daily.  I know His Word teaches me to keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Isa 26:33 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. NKJV

Keeping our minds stayed on God during trying times is a deliberate action on our part. It is not always an automatic response on our part.  Walking with God doesn’t come naturally to us, as does walking in the flesh. It always comes down to choice. It is never easy, as we determine what easy means. The difficulty lies in giving all of it to God. Easy to say, hard to do. The struggle within us is almost unbearable at times.  While God is telling us to be still and trust Him,  the turmoil within us is screaming for us to do something quickly!

Our faith and trust in God is tested in these life events.  As we walk with God, on a daily basis, constantly acknowledging Him and seeking Him, we being to be more aware of His presence. At times, we feel that He isn’t nearby, that He is far away and we are alone in our situation. The way we “feel” doesn’t determine the truth. Jesus IS the truth and He is THE WAY. What that means is HE is the one we focus on during these trying times. Only He can guide us to the answers we seek. As we begin to develop our relationship with Him and turn to Him in all things, from the smallest action to the most important, the faster we can  overcome our own reasonings and imaginations.

Ps 119:105-107  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. NIVP

119:108-109  108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.  NIV

Picture a lamp at your feet in the darkness. It lights up only a small portion of what is ahead of you. We can’t see what is ahead or around the corner. We can only see where the next step is. That is how to follow God daily; especially in the midst of trials and tribulations. We should grab our lamp and let God lead. Otherwise, we will stumble and fall in the darkness. Of course, we can get back up and stumble some more. Or, we can pick up God’s lamp (His Word, His guidance) and avoid the pitfalls.

God has the answers. He IS the solution. His timing is perfect. He knows the way we take.  He knows the pitfalls. Why not take His hand and “The Lamp” and let Him show us the way?

Merriam Webster’s Definition of “Reason” (ing)  

  1. a (1) :  the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :  intelligence (2) :  proper exercise of the mind (3) :  sanityb :  the sum of the intellectual powers

  2. 3archaic :  treatment that affords satisfaction

This is what faith is:

Heb 11:1  11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  NIV

As God’s children, we don’t live and walk by what we see. The circumstances can change. We can change our minds or make wrong decisions. God is the ONE who IS the Way.

When trials come (and they will)  God wants us to run to Him FIRST, not last. He alone knows what we should do. We can’t expect Him to bless our decisions if He is not in them.  He wants our love and our friendship.  Do we want it as much as He does? Or would we rather stumble around in the dark hoping we miss the pitfalls? He leaves the choice to us.

 

 

 

 

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God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t – Part Two

8 Sep

Continued from August 30

NOTHING BY ACCIDENT

. . . God prepares our way as we struggle day by day, putting one step in front of the other – sometimes not knowing where life is taking us.

As providence would have it, Ruth decided to go and work in the fields to glean the corn so that she and Naomi could eat. She just happened to select a field owned by a well known kinsman of Naomi’s husband named Boaz. One day Boaz saw Ruth gleaning in his field and asked the worker over his servants who she was. When the worker told Boaz it was Ruth, he had already heard what she had done for Naomi. She had proven herself as a notable woman in her deeds – everyone heard about it and then saw it. Boaz recognized that God had recompensed Ruth for all she had done for one of his own and saw that God was rewarding her and covering her with his protection.

Boaz gave instructions to his workers that they were to allow Ruth to continue to glean in his field. He even told them to drop extra corn so that Ruth might pick it up. He commanded them not to rebuke her or send her away. He also ordered them to watch over her and to keep her safe.
Boaz showed much kindness to Ruth for which she was very grateful.

One day, Ruth humbled herself and bowed low before him in thanks and asked him why she had found grace in his eyes. He told her that word had come to him about how she had devoted herself to her mother-in-law since her father-in-law’s death. He also knew she had left her father and her mother and her country to live in a land and people she knew nothing about. Boaz told Ruth that God wanted to repay her for these things and because she had put her trust in God and turned from pagan idols. Then, he told her that he wanted her to stay in his fields, close to his maidens. He wanted to make sure she was protected. This was God’s way of watching over her, again, unknown by Ruth.

When Ruth went home and told Naomi of the day’s events Naomi praised God and told Ruth that Boaz was a near relative who could redeem them. Naomi was a godly, perceptive woman. She wanted to find a home for Ruth and a husband. She wanted Ruth to prosper.

When the harvesting was finished, Boaz went among his workers to the threshing floor where they were winnowing the harvest. There was food and drink and celebrating.

Naomi told Ruth to bathe and perfume herself and change her clothes. She wanted her to put on her best clothes but not to look like a harlot. Naomi then instructed Ruth to go to the threshing floor where Boaz would be eating and drinking. She told Ruth to stay out of sight, not to let anyone see her, but to watch and see where Boaz slept. Ruth was to wait until he fell asleep and then go and lift the covers and lie down at his feet. Naomi told Ruth that Boaz would then tell her what to do. Ruth agreed to do everything Naomi told her.

Once again Ruth proves her courage her respect and complete trust in Naomi. Keep in mind that Ruth was from a foreign land. She knew nothing of the customs of Naomi’s people. God’s love continues to draw this young woman and continues to soften her heart. She was not an Israelite. She was a woman from another land. God had forbidden marriage to the pagan women there. It is even believed by some Bible scholars that Naomi’s sons died an early death because they married against God’s will.

This is an amazing act of God’s mercy and grace. God opens His arms to receive everyone. His love drew a pagan woman to Himself through one of His own. He then completely changed her through her hardships and made her into a virtuous woman, worthy of a good husband, a man of stature and wealth. Incredible!

The picture portrayed here is one of extreme proportions. To summarize, the two sons of Naomi sinned against God by taking foreign wives, forbidden women because of their heritage. Then, one of the very same women turned her heart over to God through her commitment and dedication to Naomi, one of God’s own people. God open the door for Ruth to marry into this godly family. How true it is that God’s ways are so much higher than ours!

To Be Continued . . .

The Rewards of Obedience vs. The Cost of Disobedience

18 May

Obedience Or Rebellion?

1 Sam 15:22-23   22 But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Obedience is far better than sacrifice. Listening to him is much better than offering the fat of rams. 23 Rebellion is as bad as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you from being king.” NLT

As God’s children we want to please Him. Our inner struggle is constant though it might not be prominent. There is a undurcurrent within us that we have become accustomed to. I don’t believe it is because we are bad or purposely rebellious. With me it’s more about sometimes not knowing for sure what the right thing is. Of course, many times it is very obvious what is right and what is wrong, but I want to speak to what is buried deep within our hearts at the root of our reasoning.

I have always been a confident person in most areas of my life. Even as a child I was compliant – always wanting to do the right things. To rebel was not in my nature, at least not to the point of being defiant. When I faced decisions that I believed were wrong, I somehow just couldn’t force myself to comply. In the few times I did, I was in constant turmoil until the situation was terminated.

As I am reaching the winter of my life I can see that even though I was unaware of it, God had a plan for me. (He also has one for you!) Here is proof in a few of my favorite Scriptures from Psalms 139, written by King David:

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. 2 You know when I sit and when I rise;you perceive my thoughts from afar. 3 You discern my going out and my lying down;you are familiar with all my ways. 4 Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD. . .

13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, 16 your eyes saw my unformed body.All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me,and lead me in the way everlasting.  NIV

Notice starting with verse 13 that God created our inmost being – His eyes saw our unformed body and all our days were ordained for us before one of them came to be! Selah – Pause and calmly think of that.

None of us are here by accident. God made us – He created us with a purpose and He knew today, right now, what you and I would be doing at this very moment. – No words can express the emotion for knowing that.

The Rewards of Obedience

It takes us a while to realize there is more to life that “me.” Seriously? It is human nature from the moment we are born into this world. We spend a lifetime struggling with ourselves vs. the good and the bad.

Recently I had an assignment from God. You might ask “How can you be sure it was from God?” I know because He instructed me clearly to do something I have said at least a million times that I would not do! The interesting thing is that He won’t force me to do it. It won’t even hurt me NOT to do it. In fact, it would be easier for me NOT to do it. After all, I could just chalk it up to “not being sure it was God.” Or, I could just stop thinking about it and move on.

Well, I don’t know about you, but God won’t allow me to do that. It’s that deep, small voice that continually woos me. I can make it go away – at least for a little while. Then, I sense it wooing me again. I then begin to get deliberate in praying about it to make sure I haven’t imagined the entire thing.

God is so good about giving us little sign posts along our journey. If we aren’t sensitive to the Spirit we might not recognize them. We might think “It’s only a coincidence.” God gave us the Holy Spirit to teach us and to counsel us and to lead us into truth. We have the choice as to whether we listen and follow His instruction or to just ignore it until it goes away.

God’s Instruction to Me

That brings me to my main point – My obedience to that still, small voice could be a life changing event for a child of God who is seeking desperately to find a solution to a great problem. My attitude, though I didn’t realize it was wrong, kept me from even considering offering my help. The reason? – I didn’t want to get involved. It was all about me and the price I wasn’t willing to pay to obey God. It wouldn’t really have hurt me, except that I would disappoint God by my disobedience.

No, that’s really not all my disobedience would do. God made it clear to me that to be disobedient could rob someone of a complete change in their life – a life free from hell on earth. I know it sounds drastic. In fact, it is.

Could someone else do it? I don’t know. That’s not the issue. The issue is will I choose to obey or not? Maybe I am the only person that could help. The consequences of my disobedience could be amazingly wonderful or disastrously terrible.

Think about that for a moment. I did. It kept me awake all night asking God if He was really asking me to do something I was adamantly opposed to doing. I’ve missed God before. Not always on purpose but because I am always still evolving (really). I’ve also missed Him out of ignorance of the Scripture or misunderstanding. Sometimes I’m just rebellious. Ugh! It’s hard to even say.

I learned from Charles Stanley that when God is speaking to you and you are struggling with what you think He is saying to you that peace will eventually develop and you will know God is leading you. If that peace does not develop, I call that a “red flag.” There isn’t a deadline that God can’t push back or overcome. Don’t look at the deadlines – look to the God who created you and made you for this day.

Send Me – Yes, No or Maybe?

God was searching for someone to send to His people and Isaiah said:

Isa 6:8  8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me !”
NIV

Have you ever said that? I have, however: I recently discovered that many times my “send me” reply is conditional on  my terms. Goodness! God really has a way to slap us on the wrist, doesn’t He?

I’m hoping you can see that our minds and hearts are so full of the busyness of the world that God’s voice doesn’t always make through to our hearts. It isn’t His fault. It has to do with the condition of our hearts and our natural instinct to rebel. Sorry to have to say it.

The Final Outcome

After struggling with myself and trying to determine whether I had simply lost my resolve or if God was actually trying to get through to me, peace began to develop. Let me add, the peace was in my spirit, not in my head. My mind was spinning with many doubts and questions and concerns about something I had been claiming as impossible for me to do for many years.

But, when I opened my heart and let God – He began to use His sweet Holy Spirit to speak to me in His ways by speaking to me of How Jesus would handle the situation and my purpose for being one of His disciples.

The Future? – What does it hold for this situation? – I don’t know. It’s a little scary. But I know the Creator of the Universe. He made me – formed me from a tiny seed planted within my Mother. He had a plan 69 years ago for what I would do this very day. He’s the One I look to, not the situation I dread. Do I have a plan? No. Do I know what the outcome will be or what will happen along the way? No. Am I nuts? – I’m not sure, but I don’t think so.

God has proved Himself to me over and over and over. As I heard from Sunday’s message by Pastor Scott Jones at Grace Church, not all of the amazing miracles and things Jesus did while He was on earth were recorded. I can identify with that because my Father God – My Friend, Jesus – and the Sweet Holy Spirit – are constantly present in my life doing things for me that are too many to count.

He is trustworthy – are you?

 

 

Back to Goliath

28 Mar God Is With Us

Continued from last week . . .

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield-bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

In the beginning David didn’t have much of a part to play in the battle that was taking place. He was just there to deliver food to his older brothers. I think it so odd that the war was so close that David could walk the distance to deliver food for his brothers. And, to think – they could actually hear the giant, Goliath, yelling obscenities at them.

David was struggling with the fact that not one soldier was doing anything about this enemy of theirs. He questioned them about it, wondering why someone didn’t shut him up. The truth is that they were all afraid. They had heard of the giant’s reputation. No one had ever survived his attacks. They knew that to fight him meant sure death.

David’s reaction (remember, he was just a boy – not a soldier) was one of great wonder and frustration. He reprimanded the soldiers for allowing this man to dishonor them and God with his taunting. David’s brothers made fun of him and told him he didn’t have a clue about anything because he was just a shepherd boy. They demanded he go back home and leave the Goliath to them.

David didn’t go home. He went out into the desert to pray. As he prayed his faith grew stronger. He went back to where the soldiers were and offered to fight the giant. Of course, they laughed and jeered at him, and  made fun of him. His brothers were embarrassed and even questioned why God had anointed him to be the future King instead of one of them.

David went to Saul, the reigning King, and asked for his permission to confront Goliath. King Saul also denied his request telling him he could now allow such a young boy to be subjected to sure death. David didn’t quit there. He continued to present his case to the King until he was finally given permission to fight Goliath. The other soldiers gathered burial clothes for David and attempted to deliver them to David’s brothers. The brothers were angered and refused the burial garments. Saul tried to persuade David to put on his armor and carry his spear, but David refused. They were too big for him, and too heavy.

Amazing!

God had seen in David a man after His own heart. He knew that David had faith in Him and that he would follow Him in obedience, not looking at circumstances, and not doubting God’s provision and protection. Can we say that about ourselves? At what point would we have given in and given up? Apply this to your situation today. What Goliath are you confronted with – a difficult circumstance – the loss of a job – not enough money – a failed relationship – illness? There are many Goliath’s in our lives. Some we feel confident to face. Others, not so much.

The most amazing part of this story to me is how much negative reaction was happening around David. No one even gave his request to fight Goliath a tiny bit of thought. The had already accepted defeat. They even believed this giant was so big that even God couldn’t stop him!

After warning David again and again, they realized they couldn’t stop him so they just gave in, expecting Goliath to kill him. In the movie, David’s brothers asked him what he was going to do since he wasn’t going to take the King’s weapon? David replied, “I don’t know.” Have you ever been there – said that? I have.

David made his way down the mountainside right into the enemies’ camp. All the while the enemy soldiers were taunting him, laughing at him, and making fun of him. David kept his eyes on Goliath who was also jeering at him and laughing at him. This is what he said to the enemy soldiers:

1 Sam 17:45-47 “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. 47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” NIV

David just kept staring at him as he reached down and gathered five stones. As Goliath threw his head back in laughter at David, David released the pebble from his sling which hit Goliath in the forehead and killed him immediately. The soldiers stopped jeering and gasped at what had happened. King Saul’s soldiers, watching from the mountain began to cheer for David’s defeat of the giant.

Back to Our Personal Goliath

This Bible story is more than an “old movie.” This event took place. What some call “Bible Stories” were written down by God’s chosen men, inspired by His Spirit. They were recorded so that we could learn about God and His ways, and so that we could get a better picture of how vital our relationship is to Him AND our obedience.

I have personally faced a few giants in my walk with God. David’s encounter was and is uplifting. He made it a point to trust in God and not in himself. He knew that he, alone, could not win the battle. He wasn’t even sure just how to proceed. What he did know was that God is bigger than any giant we face, but we can’t just wander around in fear, murmuring to ourselves about what we’re going to do. It also doesn’t help to begin accepting and preparing for defeat!

Walking with God is our assurance that we can face any giant – any – with God at our side. We will always be victorious, even if things don’t turn out exactly like we want them to. With God, HE takes the weight of the load off our shoulders, as we put our trust and confidence in Him and as we seek Him for answers – and the most important part  – that we obey as He directs us.

 

 

 

What Is Your Goliath?

22 Mar

Watch Out For The Giants

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

I’ve been facing Goliath for several months – circling him with my sling, trying to work up the courage to let God be God, and to trust Him to guide that small stone from my sling to the Goliath that I face. While circling my thoughts run rampant. “What if I miss the target?” “What if I make things worse than they already are?” “Maybe I should just drop this sling and stones and just run.” “There must be another way out.”  Goliath was a giant – he was huge, and scary. His voice thundered and he roared at the soldiers, and they were all afraid. No one had ever escaped this giant. To fight him meant sure death in their eyes.

This story in 1 Samuel describes how we feel when facing the giants we face in our lives today. I have been facing several for months now and have allowed them to beat me down so far that everything seemed hopeless. I admit that reluctantly because now that I have come out of it I am disappointed that I allowed it for so long. It happens slowly – very slowly. That’s why the enemy can beat us down so far. We get our eyes off Jesus and begin to give in to negative thoughts.

How It Happens

Here’s how it happened with me. It wasn’t obvious or intentional. My focus changed gradually to my circumstances and my lack – things I wanted and couldn’t have or make happen. That’s when the reasoning takes over and the doubting. Dread steps in along with fear. Worry takes over working itself up to outright fear.

The trip down wasn’t obvious. Everything seemed to be going along the same as usual – until it wasn’t. I was already praying and doing all I knew to do, thinking I had a handle on everything. I found myself walking around my home asking God what was wrong with me. Depression and lethargy were taking over every moment of my day. This was my Goliath.

So, What Do I Do About It?

I had already been praying and searching for answers – doing all I could to force myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had been fighting a bad chest cold and cough which was making matters worse. After about six weeks I began to feel better which immediately made my outlook better to begin with.

God seemed to be sitting back and letting me flounder. I’m not blaming Him, I just don’t   understand why it takes so long sometimes for me to get it! But – in the process – I am discovering things about myself that need to be fixed. And, so I did.

A couple of days ago I was watching a very old movie that caught my eye, simply called “Goliath.” I knew the story. It caught my eye because many years ago God had nudged me to read and study about David and Goliath. I was going through some traumatic things and His Word in the Bible is always encouraging.

I had heard the story from childhood and all throughout my adult life. I have read it many times. (Hint: Never assume you already know it all or that God’s Word, even though you might have memorized it, isn’t new every morning.) God’s Word is progressive. It IS new every time you read it.

Back to the movie. At first it didn’t seem very exciting – the scene was in a desert with only sand and rocks and soldiers. Didn’t matter – I was multi-tasking – playing solitaire on my tablet. I looked up every now and then to catch a glimpse of the characters. I especially wanted to see who was cast to play David – the young shepherd boy God had anointed to be the next King. I also wanted to take a look at Goliath to see just how big and mean he looked. He looked about like I suspected. But . . .

David – the young shepherd boy who would one day become King as God had decreed and Samuel had anointed – that was a different story. He wasn’t as I imagined him at all. He truly looked like a young teenage boy.

God Doesn’t Look At Things The Way We Do

Saul’s soldiers were dressed in sharp-looking uniforms with great helmets, shields and swords. The opposing group looked very scary and mean. Goliath was taunting God’s men saying awful things about what he was going to do to them, and his mission was accomplished – they were scared. They had heard of his reputation and knew that no one had every survived his attacks. None of the soldiers would volunteer to fight him.

David just happened to be there to deliver food to his brothers. It’s hard to imagine a war where the men are so close that they can yell at one another, but that’s how it was. David heard Goliath taunting the soldiers of God and couldn’t believe that they were allowing him to do so. After all, he was God’s enemy and David couldn’t understand why Goliath was being allowed to  get away with his taunting and his  threats.

Continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jesus IS The Season

23 Dec

Without Jesus Christ there would be no Christmas! HE IS THE SEASON. We celebrate Christmas every year with all the hustle and bustle of the season. We rush around to decorate, cook, and shop – and shop some more. I’m just as guilty as everyone else. I find myself regretting I can’t buy the things I want to buy or “should” buy for others. Now that I can’t, I realize that I have always invested too much energy on trying to please those on my gift list. I worry that my gifts won’t measure up – if you know what I mean.

Funny how we link our value and the value of others to what we can buy for them – what we can give them. Sadly, as a society, we have gradually pushed Jesus aside, or at least not acknowledged His place – HIS gift of HIS life on the cross for us.

I find myself concerned that I will disappoint those I love if I can’t meet their expectations. How sad that is. I am still paying for Christmases long past and gifts that are now at Goodwill (at best), or completely forgotten – as I’m sure others are.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if we worked as hard to make sure we pleased Jesus as much? HE is THE gift of this season, and of every minute of our existence. There is a song I love called “I Can’t Even Walk Without You Holding My Hand”. Do we realize how true that really is?

We want to keep Jesus first, we mean to. This isn’t meant to bring condemnation to anyone at all. I hope just the opposite. I pray that we will realize that the gifts we give to one another don’t show our love to our friends and families like the fruits of the Spirit –  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23.

These are the gifts that continue to give throughout eternity. They never grow old or unnecessary. My Christmas prayer for each of you this season is that you acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. All you have to do is invite Him into your heart and life. Approach Him just as you are – no more excuses – no more delay. It’s time – HIS GIFT for you is eternal life – a life of peace and joy unspeakable – even in the midst of hard times. HIS is the ONLY peace that will see you through whatever it is that you need Him for.

Ask Him now to forgive you of every sin – none of them are too great for Him to wipe clean and remember no more. He is so real. He wants to know you and for you to know Him. He wants a personal relationship with you. This is HIS birthday – a gift of your acceptance of Him would please Him more than anything else you can ever do, now or forever more.

It sounds simple; it is. He won’t force it on anyone. He doesn’t expect perfection from us because He knows it’s not possible. That was the reason He gave His life on the cross for us. He just wants our love and acceptance – that is the truest gift of all.

Meditate on the fruits of the Spirit, listed above. These should be the gifts we give to those we love. There is nothing more important, except for the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

If you are ready to receive Him as your gift to Him and to yourself, simply tell Him you are sorry for your sins and ask Him to forgive you. Then, tell Him you accept Him into your life. You might not feel any different. There probably won’t be bells and whistles sounding off. What happens is in your heart and in your spirit. He doesn’t get in a hurry. He will walk with you every moment and will help you know what to do. Just Be. That’s all. Just Be.

Merry CHRISTmas. Happy Birthday Jesus. This is YOUR birthday.

 

God Speaks (Part 1)

9 Nov

D0Ib5j36RymFSNPX5X1m_darkoceanGod Speaks

One critical point to understanding and experiencing God is knowing clearly when God is speaking. If a Christian does not know when God is speaking, he is in trouble at the heart of his Christian life!

God speaks through the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways. He also speaks through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church or other believers.

Many Different Ways

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets and in other various ways (Heb. 1:1)

One truth that is evident throughout the Bible is that God speaks to His people. In the Old Testament, God spoke through:

Angels
Visions
Dreams
The use of the Urim and Thummin
Symbolic Actions
A Gentle Whisper
Miraculous Signs
And Others

How God spoke in the Old Testament is not the most important factor. The fact THAT He spoke is the crucial point. Those He spoke to KNEW it was God, and they KNEW what He was saying.

2 Tim 3:16-17  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.  NKJV

The pattern in Scripture is that God may not tell you all you need to know in the beginning but He will tell you what you need to know to make necessary adjustments and to take the first step of obedience. What is your part?  – To Wait until the Master gives you instructions. That can be really hard because we want to make things  happen.

If you start DOING before you have direction from God, more than likely you will be wrong.  Bible examples: Noah knew the size, type of materials, and how to put the ark together.  When God told Moses about building the tabernacle, He was very specific about the details. When God called Abraham and said, “Go to the land I will show you” – that was not very specific. That required faith. But God said, “I will show you”. God always gives you enough specific instructions to do NOW what He wants you to do.

When you need more directions, He gives you more in His timing. If you do not have specific instructions from God in a matter, pray and wait.  Learn patience. Depend on God’s timing. His timing is always right and best. Don’t get in a hurry. Don’t skip over the relationship to get on with the doing. When we understand spiritual truth, it is because the Holy Spirit is working in our lives..

When we move from the Gospels to Acts and to the present, we quite often change our whole mind-set. We live as if God quit speaking personally to His people. We fail to realize that an encounter with the Holy Spirit is an encounter with God. God clearly spoke to His people in Acts. He clearly speaks to His people today. From Acts to the present, God has been speaking to His people by the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual truths can only be revealed by God. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him’ – but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God . . . No one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” I Cor. 2:9-12

Jesus said the Holy Spirit  “Will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

You never discover truth – truth is revealed.  The Holy Spirit reveals truth to you, He knows you personally and He knows how to speak to you so that you understand.

Mos of this was an excerpt from Henry Blackaby’s book “Experiencing God.” I highly recommend it.

God Speaks, And He Wants To Talk To Us

26 Oct

And He Wants To Talk To Us

I began to hear God speak to me as a young woman. At first I didn’t recognize it was God speaking.. I would kneel to pray.  At times I  would hear what I can only describe as thoughts floating up from my innermost being – not like I was thinking about something, but like someone was talking to me. I didn’t know at the time that the someone who was actually talking to me was God.  I never had heard of that before and I didn’t understand it at the time.

Of course, I had a mixture of feelings and my mind was racing about what it all meant. I began to read my Bible more and buy Christian books to learn more about God.

The fear was present because of my lack of knowledge about what was happening to me spiritually.  I did not yet know God like He wanted me to. I didn’t know at the time that He wanted me to pray about what I was “hearing”.

I always  kept  my  pen  and  paper  close  so  I could   write   down   what   God   spoke.     It  never   seemed unnatural  to  me  –   at  least  not  until   I began  to  share  it with  others.    Only   then  did  I realize  that  people  thought it strange  that  I  would   say  to them,  “God  told  me”. . .  I was  confused about why everyone wasn’t as excited about it as I was.  It didn’t take long for me to  learn   to be a little less boastful about it but I couldn’t deny it. I wanted to know more about Him.  I began to read and study all the books I could get my hands on.

For    nearly   twenty   years I  have  been  talking   with God  and  writing   down   what  He  says.  I was a secretary back when secretaries took shorthand, so that part seemed natural to me.

God spoke to me at times on  behalf  of others, always to edify and encourage them.  I   was concerned that if I gave them what I had written  down they would think I was “off my rocker.”   But as I sought  God  about  it,  He  reminded   me  that  He  spoke  and inspired all of the words that were recorded in the Bible!

As you read through this,   God may use these words to speak to you.   If He speaks to your heart,   you will know it. I describe it as a quickening in your spirit. The words you read may sort of “jump off the page at you” or seem very significant to you.  When that happens to me, I write it down. If I’m reading the Bible and I read something that causes me to connect to a situation in my life, I realize God is speaking to me. I underline that part of the Scripture and put the date next to it, verifying that it was a promise from God on that day.

If you have a problem with this sort of thing, you aren’t the first.     You need to talk to God about it.   Let Him answer   your questions.  I can’t explain Him or His ways. I love Him and I can’t deny His voice.

John 16:13-15 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not be presenting his own ideas; he will be telling you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.  14 He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me.  15 All that the Father has is mine; this is what I mean when I say that the Spirit will reveal to you whatever he receives from me.  NLT

Note: The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth in many different ways. He knows us personally. Therefore, He knows just how to get His message to us. He knows what will get our attention. He uses our conscience, the Bible, nature and anything else that will get our attention and convince us of His truth.

The Bible was inspired and written for our edification. It holds a wealth of truth. We can read about the men and women of God and see that we aren’t too different from them, basically. We can learn from their mistakes. We can learn about God’s character. We can even see that the men and women He used to do His work weren’t perfect; they each had their own problems.

When we “hear Him speak” in no way will we hear anything contrary to the Word of God/The Bible. It will either confirm or deny what we believe we have heard. (Some translations are easier to read and understand than others.)

My First E-Book Now Available On Amazon

8 Oct

Book CoverGrief, pain, hardship and tragedy happen to all of us equally. God gives us all the same opportunity to come to Him through Jesus, His Son. There is a misconception that Christians should be free from pain and suffering. They should have it better than everybody else, and that if they are having problems there must be some deep dark sin in their lives.

God is often judged by the circumstances that affect the lives of His followers. If something bad happens to them, it might appear that God failed or that He is punishing them or teaching them a lesson. The misconception is that Christians are loved by God more and therefore He treats them better and gives them more.

God is frequently viewed as a mere option in our world today. Even some Christians view God’s participation in their lives to be necessary only if they are unable to handle something on their own – especially a crisis.

This series of books will visit many of the hard questions asked about God and what it means to be a Christian. Step by Step guidance will help the reader understand how to become a Christian, how to live daily walking and talking with God, and how to understand His will for your life.

Walking with God is a deliberate action taken by those who want to be born again into life everlasting with Him – it requires only believing in Jesus Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins, and learning how to live and walk daily with Him in your heart and at your side.

God is very real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He isn’t spooky or strange. He is loving and kind. He is good and loves each and every one of us more than we can even understand.

God doesn’t just love Christians. He loves every single person in the world. He doesn’t favor Christians. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Knowing and following Jesus Christ doesn’t mean a life with no sorrows or pain.
The difference is in our hearts. Walking daily with God and talking to Him at any time you want to is better than having your best earthly friend by your side all the time,and even better than any other person you believe to have everything you want and/or need.

God is the peace you need, and the protection you need, He has the provision you need, and the guidance you need. He can and will direct every step you take, if you let Him. It’s not always easy. That’s where faith and trust come in.

God is the one thing in this life that has never changed and will never change. But, it doesn’t mean He is old fashioned or out of date. There is nothing on this planet that wasn’t already arranged by Him long, long before time, as we know it, began.

The first book in this series is part of my testimony. It starts about the time I graduated from high school. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church because my mother made me, and all I knew of God was that I was supposed to love Him and be good.

As it is said, “Life Happens”. I went to church from the time I was a little girl and accepted Jesus at a Baptist Camp at the age of nine years old, I didn’t really come to know Him until life started invading my space. Those were the times I began to “consider” God – wondering if He was really there and wondering what He wanted from me.

I am now 68 years old. I can tell you it has taken a long life of mistakes, pain, hardship, suffering and grief – just like everyone else I know – Christian or not. The only thing I would change if I had a “do over” would be that I would have worked harder at getting serious about my relationship with God and I would not have worked so hard at doing things my way. I would have spent the necessary time getting to know my maker and letting Him guide me rather than having Him constantly have to bail me out of my troubles and set me back on my feet.That’s life. After this one there’s one in eternity. Where will you spend yours?

Pre-Conceived Ideas

6 Aug

Father, You alone never fail me. You alone never change. You alone love me no matter how I act or behave, or fail. I never have to fear your rejection or separation from you. I never have to wonder if you have forgiven me when I mess up. Your love is the only perfect love.

  • John 5:1  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. NIV

This morning, as I went to prayer I was thinking about some of life’s disappointments and failures. As I meditated on it God began to lead me into the words of adoration above. There is complete rest in the knowledge that God is always on our side. He fights for us and no one can stand against us. The outcome may not always be what we think we want and it may not make us feel good. God is not in the business of making us feel good. He wants us to be complete in Him and He is continually working within us to cleanse and purify us.

Sometimes we don’t even know what is deep within our hearts until it begins to come out. Don’t stop that process. God wants us to let it out. He wants us to be aware of what is within us, otherwise we’ll stay the same. God doesn’t want us to  stay the same.

Charles Stanley says that a rut is an open-ended grave. God doesn’t want us in a rut. There are times when everything around us seems to be falling apart. I call those times “transition times”. I explain it as climbing a ladder and the feel of leaving the lower step to go to the next step. It’s that “in between” step when you know something is changing and you’re not sure just what it is. You’re also not sure you want to go there. God doesn’t want us to stay where we are. It has taken me a lifetime to figure that one out.

Every time I get comfortable God puts the ladder in front of me and says, “Climb”. I sometimes sit and stare at the ladder, knowing it’s going to lead me to another rung and I like the rung I’m on. However; the ladder doesn’t go away it stays IN the way until I start to climb again.

I can assure you that God’s plan for each one of us is so much better than we can imagine or think. If we could just trust Him, blindly, and keep climbing – what a wonder we would see in our lives. It’s never bad. It’s always better. Things might get a little out of whack around us, but Psalms 91: says:

  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”
    3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge;his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night,nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
    9 If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge — 10 then no harm will befall you,no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” NIV

Look at verse 7 – it says that a thousand may fall at your side . . .  that means to me that things might get a little crazy around us but we are still in His hand and if we’ll just stay there He will protect us.

I wish I had the words to tell each one reading this how much God loves you and how good He is. All of our failures and disappointments can’t even come close to His love and His goodness – His provision and His protection.

I encourage you to keep walking – put one foot in front of the other. Don’t let fear and panic get you to turn to your own methods. Trust Him. God honors our faith. As long as we do our best (not being perfect) God will direct our path and take us through the storm. It usually isn’t immediate. But, the storm will pass and you will be in a better place.

Give Him a chance. Let Him show you His love and His power. Put aside your fears, your pre-conceived ideas and you won’t be disappointed. God is bigger than mankind. We can’t even come close to understanding His ways or just what He’ll do to deliver us.

Taking matters into our own hands is like jumping off a building and then screaming to God on the way down, “Bless this stupid thing I’m doing, God”. Then we wonder what could have possibly gone wrong.

God Alone can make things right. Try it His way – just try it. He won’t fail you.

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