Monthly Archives: April 2013

Thinking of You Today

Image

It’s is early. 6 am early. When the Lord begins to speak that He has something He’d like to share with you today.

As I sip on my hot tea, then God begins to speak……….

This what I believe He is saying to you this morning:

I am thinking of you today. As you get ready, preparing for the day ahead of you – know that I am thinking of you. Take a look in the mirror and delight yourself in what I see, because I do. I made you with My very hands. In My image. It was I who first fashioned the body of mankind and breathed into the nostrils of man – a breath that has lasted for generations. I am yours, and you are Mine. When I see you, My beloved – I see Myself. What does this mean for you? I t means I see hope, strength, and endless possibilities. On the contrary of what many believe, I do not see your faults. Your weaknesses. I see your talents, your gifts, and your natural attributes that to this day melt My heart. I see the good. Why don’t you? Am I not the Truth? Do I not reveal Truth? And speak Truth? I do, My beloved. Truth will set you free, My child. Freedom comes from Christ. Do Me a favor this week. Focus on the good. Take a break from complaint and worry. There are too many opportunities each day to celebrate Me, and the life I have given you. Don’t waste them in focusing on what will perish – on what destroys your spirit. Be joyful! Be glad! Walk in confidence today! You are Mine. You are loved. You are accepted. You are blessed by My hand. Enjoy what I have given you as your Faithful comforter and friend. I am trustworthy and I love you. Be blessed My child.

“This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

 

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, 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.” Philippians 4:8

 

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’.” John 8:31-32

 

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7

 

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27

 

Photo provided by catholicexchange.com

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hearing God's Voice

freeimage-7783042-web

Ever wonder what it’s like to hear God’s voice? Every single day?

I have.

After years of seeking out ways I could hear from this King of Glory on a consistent basis, I’ve come to realize a few things about Him.

1. God desires to speak to every believer’s heart. And every one of His children have the ability to hear from Him. This truth has brought me great comfort over the years.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

2. God can choose to speak in many different ways. Some examples of these are listed below.  And keep in mind, when He does speak, that message will always align with His Word.

  • Nature
  • The Mouths of Others
  • Holy Scripture
  • Visions and Dreams

In my walk with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit as my comforter, I have discovered that they all require time. Allow me to elaborate.

Think of any friend you currently have in your life. It can be a spouse, a best bud, or even a sister. And think about your relationship with this person. Do you two spend valuable time together? Talking on the phone, chatting over a meal, discussing important topics over coffee, or taking a stroll. Regardless of how and where you both communicate, the point still remains: you do in fact communicate. It’s a healthy and mutual exchange of thoughts and ideas. 

We can all agree that without any communication, the relationship would suffer. We also know that time and effort are invaluable resources in the growth of anything good: a job, a marriage, a friendship, a ministry, and even a relationship with the Eternal God.

We can often forget that God Himself has a heart with feelings and a mind full of thoughts. Wouldn’t you want to be the one He chose to talk to? To share the depths of His magnificent heart? Not because you’re more special than another, but because you were one of His beloved that made the time to hear from Him. Wow.

Take your aforementioned friend as an example. Would you feel compelled to share your deepest thoughts with this friend if they decided to forsake the relationship? Meaning they no longer made a real effort in getting to know you? Does God want to speak? Absolutely. He is bursting with great ideas and ways to bless our lives. The question isn’t if He’s interested; instead, it is whether we are interested.

  “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.” Jeremiah 33:3

During my time as a missionary in Australia, I attended a Discipleship Training School. One of the lectures was focused on hearing God’s voice. Allow me to share four obstacles that can hinder us from hearing God’s voice:

1. Sin – There is nothing than cause serious static in hearing the voice of God like sin. Because He is Holy, He can have no part with it. Again, it’s not that He isn’t speaking; instead it can often be that we can’t hear. Ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and repent of your sin. He will be faithful to heal you, and to restore you to Himself.

“Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

2. Listening, but not Hearing – We can approach seasons in our lives where God is speaking, but we don’t like what He is saying. So, we ignore it in disobedience and go about our lives, continuing to pray about everything else except for that one specific area. An example could be the following: God is speaking to you about dissolving a dating relationship, but you’re not quite ready to let go. You have fun with this person, and they make you feel good. So, you ignore His instruction because it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient. And you’re left wondering why your relationship with God and with this person is beginning to suffer. A good point to remember is this: if your horizontal relationships are hurting, then take a hard look at your vertical one.

3. Ebb and Flow – One of the most mysterious factors of being in a relationship with God is that He sometimes chooses not to speak. It’s not that you cannot hear Him, but that in His great wisdom, He withdraws from your daily conversations. Why would a loving God do this? Because it draws us closer to Him. King David was known as ‘a man after God’s own heart,” yet he was often incredibly frustrated with the the fact that he was no longer hearing from the Lord. But, it was these seasons of silence that lured David into a deeper dependency on God. Just as a stream ebbs and flows, so will our relationship with God. No need to freak out when He stops speaking. Simply ask Him. Cover your bases with the top two points to make sure nothing is going on within your heart, and then draw to Him.

4. Time – As mentioned before, this is probably one of the most consistent factors in whether we hear from God. It’s simply boiling down to the question: “Am I making time?” If we approach the Father and recite our list of “wants” and “needs” in a short five-minute prayer, but later wonder why we’re not experiencing deep intimacy with Him, then I have to ask the question, “are we really being fair with our expectations?”

This is a relationship, beloved. It’s being with Jesus. And allowing Him to be with you. You both talk and you both listen. It’s a healthy, thriving, reciprocated relationship where both parties feel loved and valued. This is what it means to be with Jesus

And I promise you that as we stop and take time to listen, we’ll begin to hear Him speak.

Photo provided by stockfreeimages.com

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Danger of Distractions

Image

On a cool and starry night, the unthinkable occurred. Within the impenetrable city gates of Troy, hundreds of young Greek warriors were bundled tightly together inside the wooden framework of the Trojan horse – awaiting the perfect time to be released. After ten years of warring against Troy, Greece remained focused, pressing forward with her sole intent of destroying the city of Troy.

In contrast, the Trojans were distracted. They were so enthralled with what appeared as a gift (a peace offering), they took their eyes off the course.  And their consequences were severe. Within hours, their entire city was destroyed. After years of fighting with the hope of one day experiencing sweet victory, the Trojans were defeated.

This is a dramatic end to a dramatic story.

But, this is exactly how distractions are set to operate.

For hundreds of years (as we see in the story above), generals have used distractions as a classic military strategy to conquer their enemy. Feign an attack on a weak point, cause the opponent to rush troops in response, and apply a stronger force to the point the opponent just abandoned. One party reacts to a distraction (in the form of a dilemma) while the other party uses that very distraction to conquer them.

Sounds a lot like the enemy (satan) to me, don’t you think?

Let’s look at a few points concerning distractions.

1. How is a distraction defined?

  • According to Websters, it is an act that diverts the attention of the mind; mental confusion; bewilderment; and puzzlement. Basically, they rob us of our focus.  
  •  Distractions are small annoyances that subliminally tell me I’m doing something productive, when in reality I’m completely off task. Which leaves me feeling dumfounded (where did the time go today?), frustrated (now I have to work after hours to meet this deadline), and mystified (I was just responding to the needs of others, but I couldn’t meet my deadline). Distractions feed off of good intentions, yet reject true productivity.

And this annoys me greatly. Wouldn’t you also agree?

2. What does the Word say about distractions? 

  • Focus on the eternal rather than the temporary. If our decisions are driven by the ‘here and now’ and not by an eternal perspective, we can easily be side-tracked by our emotions. A great example of this could be reviewing the motive behind the work we produce in our jobs every day. Each of us are presented with two options every single day: go to work eternally focused (with the heart to serve others in honoring the King of Glory), or go to work distracted (with the desire to be served and to boast in individual success).

 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.” Romans 8:5

Distractions cause us to respond to the world around us versus intentionally staying focused.

3. What are some everyday examples of distractions in our lives?

This will vary depending on the person. But one thing is consistent for us all: we all have demands, along with a limited amount of time.

Examples of distractions can include the following:

Self-distraction: Becoming so focused on the issues occurring in our own lives, that we forget to comfort and encourage others. We omit the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 6:33 when He admonishes us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Media & Technology: These wonderful enjoyments can easily preoccupy the mind and rob us of valuable time needed elsewhere. If we allow it. Here are a few examples:

  • Scrolling through Facebook while working on a project that requires my undivided attention
  • Reading news articles (that cause me to fear in the unknown future of this nation) when I need to sit before the Lord (and focus on His infinite supply as the One who owns it all)
  • Responding to text messages while reading the Word in the presence of the Lord
  • Watching T.V. shows while at the gym that shift my focus on my outer appearance
  • Responding to emails (that can wait) when I need to have quality time with my family or when my husband is talking

Ministerial Distractions 

  • Staying “busy” in a whirlwind of church activities, yet never focused on one specific area (to grow and mature in)
  • Constantly “pouring out into others,” yet never being “poured into” in times of stillness with the Lord
  • Serving for the approval of others (momentary acceptance and relief) rather than the approval of God (the supreme and eternal opinion)
  • Comparing our gifts, talents, and ministries to those around us (in the form of boasting or insecurity – both rooted in self producing pride)
  • Over emphasizing a spiritual gift rather than exalting the God who gives it (prophecy, tongues, interpretation, visions, dreams, etc)

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Keep in mind, beloved, that the principle of distraction is always the same: To divert our attention by using basic rules of sensation, whilst simultaneously and gently slipping past our guard.

Let’s stay focused.

Photo provided by stockfreeimages.com

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: