Tag Archives: Discernment

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 . . .

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God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

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

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

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?

 

 

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 . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accomplish Great Things – Me?

14 Feb

“Accomplish great things – me?” You say, “I’m not Moses. He was a great man of the Bible, and I’m just ordinary.” 

Accomplish God’s Plan For Your Life

You can  accomplish great things with God’s help. It might surprise you to discover that Moses, too, was just an ordinary man. Reading about him in Exodus will shine a light on just how ordinary he was.  He was not a great man. He was just a man who God used to accomplish His will. It is always God we look to, not man. We need God, in all we do and in all we are.

Moses was born after Joseph died and a new king ruled over Egypt. The king decided that the population of Israelites (God’s children)  was growing too fast and he feared that they would become greater than the Egyptians. He also feared that if they became too great they would join the enemies of Egypt and fight against them.

In order to get more control over them, the King decided to set hard taskmaskers over them. God’s people became even more afflicted, but the Israelites were still multiplying. (God has promised to Abraham that his descendants would multiply greatly, and God always keeps His promises.)

The King came up with another plan. He instructed the Hebrew midwives to kill any male child born  to the Hebrew women, but to let the daughters live. The midwives feared God and did not do as the king had commanded them. They told the king that the Hebrew women were “lively and gave birth before the midwives could get to them.”

Since the midwives were obedient to God, He multiplied their numbers even more. So, the Egyptian people were instructed to throw every baby boy born into the river and drown them.

Moses was born at this time in history. His mother hid him successfully as long as she could but the time came when she could no longer keep him hidden. She feared for his life. She  placed him in a basket and sent his sister, Miriam, to place the basket in the river, and to keep an eye on it so she could report back as to what happened to Moses.

In God’s divine plan, the daughter of the Pharaoh was bathing in that very same river at the very same time that little basket floated by. (God’s timing is always perfect and miraculous!) She sent one of her maids to see what was in the basket.  When she saw the baby she knew it was one of the Hebrew children, and she had compassion on him because he was crying.

As another great part of this miracle, Miriam asked the Princess if she would like for her to find someone to nurse the baby. Guess who Miriam took the baby to? – You guessed it – back to Moses’ mother! And, to make that even greater, she paid Moses’ mother to feed him and take care of him until he was old enough to return to the King’s palace. God is just so good. His ways are truly amazing.

Moses Returned To The Palace

The day came when Moses was returned to the Pharaoh’s daughter, and she named him “Moses” saying, “Because I drew him out of the water.”

I find it so interesting that God had a plan for Moses before he was even born. Even though everything man could do to stop that work from taking place, God would not and could not be stopped. His perfect will for Moses and the children of Israel was set in motion. They needed someone to deliver them from captivity. God heard their prayers and Moses was sent to accomplish that task.

God sent Moses to live in the palace of the King who did all he could to destroy him! What’s even more spectacular to me is that Moses was raised in the King’s palace and learned all of the Egyptian ways. He experienced all the earthly material things of the King himself.

Moses Lacked Faith

Moses had received a great education and all the King had to offer, but he lacked what was most important to a child of God – faith. As he grew older and discovered more about his heritage. One day he made a big mistake – (interestingly, this mistake was used by God to make Moses into the man God wanted him to be from the beginning).

Moses saw an Egyptian man beating one of his Hebrew brothers. He checked to make sure no one was watching, then killed the Egyptian and buried his body in the sand. The next day Moses discovered that his secret had been found out and he fled from the palace in fear that he, too, would be killed when the Pharaoh discovered what he had done.

Moses fled into the desert and dwelt in the land of Midian. There he became a shepherd and took a wife. This was the new life of Moses. He no longer enjoyed the fine life of the king’s palace and his royal duties. He made a big mistake and traded his kingly robes for a shepherd’s robe in the desert.

The Desert

The Desert

A tree in the desert

One hot day in the desert, Moses saw a fire burning in the middle of a bush, but the bush was not consumed.  He decided to take a closer look. He went closer to the bush, burning – but not burning up. When he got close to the bush, and God spoke to him from the middle of that fire! He told Moses to remove his sandals because he was standing on holy ground.

Do you ever take a closer look when something gets your attention? Or, do you let it pass and continue on your way? As disciples of Christ, it is extremely important for us to acknowledge the whispers of God – the small signs He places in our path to get our attention. Lots of times we just go on our way, oblivious to what God is saying to us. Know this, God is always with us and many times His Spirit gives us signs along the way as encouragement and warnings as to His will for our lives.

Self Doubt

This is the part I like best – God begins to tell Moses that he is now ready – he’s been prepared to do the work he was prepared for. God had taken all of Moses’ rights and wrongs – all of his mistakes. Every event of his life up to that point had prepared him to be the answer of thousands of prayers being sent up from the people of Israel for deliverance.

I don’t think Moses intended to be stubborn. Mostly, he doubted himself. He gave in to doubt, fear, and even unbelief. He doubted whether God could accomplish such a great task using a man like him. He was focusing on himself and what he could do rather than on God and what HE could do.

He questioned God about many things. I don’t think God minds our questions. I believe He would rather us ask Him in prayer and seek His answers in the Bible than to run to friends or other sources. After all, He IS The Way!

Moses offered up to God every excuse he could think of as to why he was the wrong person for the job. God answered his questions. Moses even asked God, “Who am I, that I should go to the Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”  It  makes sense to me that he would ask that question. I certainly would have, and most of you probably would, too.

In the midst of the argument against his assignment, Moses challenged God by asking Him what he would do if the people did not believe him. God assured Moses that He would be with him every step of the way. He also told Moses something key to how God works in us. He asked Moses what it was he held in his hand. Moses had “only” a staff.

God can use what we have, whatever it might be, for His glory. Even if we don’t know how to do what He asks of us, He will see to it that we are prepared for what He calls us to do.

Next Time

In the next blog, I will continue with how God used an ordinary man to do a great work – not a work to bring honor to Moses, but a work to bring honor to God. When God gives us direction – He is responsible for the outcome, if we are obedient.

What is in your hand? Will you argue with God about what He wants from you? Even if you have nothing in your hand and God calls out to you, He will provide what you need.

It’s okay to ask questions, we are instructed to do that in the Bible. Initial doubt and fear are understandable. Give it back to God though. That’s part of His plan for you – not to carry the burden, but to let Him carry it.

Exodus  1-4 The Essential Everyday Bible Commentary NKJV

Check out https://www.biblegateway.com/

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.

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?

TRANSITION (Part 2) – Is God Happy With You?

14 Sep

We’ve been talking about change – It appears to me that many of us are heading for change in our lives. One way we can tell is that our Spirit within begins to get a little uncomfortable. We’re not sure why and we begin to question ourselves about certain issues in our lives. I have always likened it to climbing a ladder – the feeling you have when you are in between steps – you’re not fully on the bottom step nor are you fully on the next step – you’re pushing with one side and pulling with the other. It’s like you are still where you are, but shifting to another level – you’re not firmly on either step.

Many of us don’t like change – some fight against it with everything they have, and dig their heels in refusing to budge. Others look forward to it with anticipation and eagerness because they have learned to trust God, and have let Him lead them. They are confident because He has never failed them, and He knows what’s best.Blog Pix

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this subject, Pastor Brett Jones, a senior pastor at Grace Church, Humble, Texas, spoke with us about growing to our full capacity – maximizing our opportunities. God gave each of us talents and abilities that He gave to no one else. That is so exciting to me! It doesn’t mean any of us are any better than the other. It just means our God is a personal God and He isn’t making “cookie cutter” disciples out of us. He cares enough about each and every one of us to give us something special from Himself so that we will be equipped to do the work He planned for us while we were yet in our mothers’ wombs.

When we tell God we can’t do something, He will send someone else. I don’t know about you, but I would not like it at all if God had to send someone else to do what He originally intended for me to do.

IS GOD HAPPY WITH YOU?

Listening to the message Pastor Jones was giving us I had one of those “Seriously?” moments – an eye opener, if you will. Pastor said, “Just because God provides for us doesn’t mean He’s happy with what we are doing”. That was a “Selah” (Pause, and calmly think of that) moment for me. God has provided for me in so many ways – ways that seem like miracles to me many times. The thought that while doing so He may not be happy with what I was doing astonished me! Then, Pastor said, “Provision does not mean favor”. – Another startling revelation to me. He explained that God blesses us and continues to give us favor because of His amazing love for us – not because of what we do or not do.

I always feel blessed by God. He is good to me all the time – (in case anyone is wondering, I DO make mistakes, and have problems just like everyone does). I just thought that since I do see God’s favor all the time and I am so blessed by Him, He must surely be pleased with me. I want Him to be pleased with me. Now – what if He isn’t?

10604440_270154343182016_9023185512106127701_oThis is kind of what I mean about that awkwardness we feel when it’s transition time! We find ourselves in a place of feeling safe – comfortable – things are fine just like they are (in our way of thinking). Then, we learn we can never get too comfortable. God won’t allow us to just sit comfortably by while life moves  on by. If we’ve finished here on this earth we might as well go on to heaven, don’t you think?

Sometimes I remind the Lord that I am 68 years old, in case He has forgotten (but he hasn’t – remember, according to Psalms 139 God formed me in my mother’s womb and he planned every day of my life before I was born. So, that’s how I know He knows how old I am, and what I am still capable of doing. Sometimes I just have to speak to my old body to keep up.

So, the next jolt for me in the sermon was that we should not just be saved – we should do what God put us here to do! I really never thought of that. I do try to stay in tune with what God requires from me. But what He has in mind and what I have in mind sometimes differ. We have different ideas about who I am and what I can do.

Pastor Jones again, “The goal of God is not just for us to go to heaven – it is to fulfill our assignment.” Did you know we all have assignments? Do you know what yours is?

Think about this – pray about it – meditate on God’s Word, and ask Him to give you the answers.

We’re going to go a little deeper in my next post.

TRANSITION

11 Sep

The DicBlog Pixtionary describes transition as a period of changing from one state to another. Other meanings include:

  • change
  • passage
  • move
  • transformation
  • conversion
  • metamorphosis
  • alteration
  • switch
  • progress
  • development

This was Sunday’s message presented by Pastor Brett Jones,  one of our senior pastors at Grace Church  http://gracechurchlive.com/locations/humble-campus/.  I have been considering some major changes in my life for many months now. Actually, the seed was planted a few years ago, but I had so many doubts and pre-conceived ideas about making any changes. I was fearful that I was too old and just not qualified to do what I dreamed of doing. I lacked the faith to follow through. So, even though I never really gave up on the idea I did do exactly what the following message is going to speak to. God knows just what we need and when we need it!

It’s not always easy to make changes, and some of us don’t like change at all, so we decide to stay right where we are continuing to do just what we do. Pastor Jones referred to a Scripture in Exodus where God’s people were calling out for help – they were suffering – they were being mistreated. God told Moses that He had heard their cries and seen their suffering, and that He had a plan to rescue them. :

  • The people were suffering and cried out to God
  • God heard them and He was concerned for them
  • God had a plan to rescue them
  • God already had an answer waiting, and a place to take them

Pastor Jones explained to us that God had already set the destination – He had already made preparations for them. What had to happen next was that the people had to recognize God was directing them. He sent someone to help them and they struggled with recognizing  the man God sent because he was just an ordinary like you and me. So, they began to question, criticize and complain. (Sound familiar?)

Many times we have mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas about the way our situations should work out. We can get so focused on that one idea that we literally don’t see the forest for the trees. We are unwilling to look at any other options.  So, we prefer to stay in our comfortable little world because at least we are familiar with it, and we let fear convince us that anything different would be too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

The truth is that remaining in the same rut (Charles Stanley calls a rut an open-ended grave), is much harder t10623321_270154349848682_7235250059908727006_ohan stepping out in faith toward what God has already prepared for us. Most of our limitations in life are given to us by us, according to Pastor Jones. We just aren’t willing to adjust our capacity to take a step forward. We focus on our shortcomings, our failures and our limitations instead of what God can do, but God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine!

God doesn’t get in a hurry and we shouldn’t either. I am impatient much of the time, as I imagine many are in today’s world. However; I’ve learned (the hard way) that God doesn’t expect me to be stressed, always hurrying, frustrated because I’m not meeting my own goals, and sometimes just plain weary.

Pastor Jones told us that when God gives us an opportunity He expects us to follow through. God wants us to grow to our maximum capacity, and maximize our opportunities.  One of the most powerful statements he made was that if we don’t have the capacity to do something, we will pull it down to our level.

Pastor Jones explained it this way; he likened it to the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when they could have made their trip in less than a couple of weeks. Look at what they did:

  • They continually complained about their situation
  • They blamed their leader because he didn’t do more for them
  • They doubted God and Moses and continued to mumble about their situation
  • They saw miracle after miracle but it wasn’t good enough for them, they still doubted God
  • They continually wanted to go back to slavery because it was what they knew
  • They didn’t have the capacity to move forward and enlarge their vision

As a result, all of the Israelites under the age of 20 were not allowed to receive the things God had planned to give them. Even Moses, himself, didn’t get to enter the Promised Land because he became frustrated and angry, and struck a rock demanding water from it instead of waiting on God.

We are all subject to the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. We sometimes believe that the way things are just isn’t  our fault. We limit ourselves so much to our small world that we fail to look up and see that God can, and will, save us if we ask Him and then let Him.

We need to ask God today for help in maximizing every opportunity He gives us, and to help us look beyond our own finite world. (Finite means something has an end or finishing point.) Let’s don’t look around us and determine our lives are dull, stale, a waste – or finished! Let’s look to God, the author and finisher of our faith, and follow as He leads us to our destination – with the full assurance and expectation of achieving all He has for us.

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.

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