His Voice: A (Biblical) Love Letter

The more I read the Bible (or Biblically based books) the more I realize I absolutely love reading about God. I love wrapping my mind around the idea of what the Holy Trinity represents. The supreme power of God, Jesus and The ever present/ever powerful Holy Spirit continue to boggle my mind.

So, I’m really wondering how MaNy of you have actually read the bible? Not just a section of it. Not just a book within. Actually READ it, cover to cover; from Genesis all the way to the end of Revelation?

I ask because as much as I am a fully devoted follower of Christ, I admit until last year I had not read it. I made every excuse up in the world (to myself).

But here are some of the “most popular” excuses that are commonly used:

I don’t get it

It’s too hard

It doesn’t make sense

It would take too long.

The Bible doesn’t apply to today (the WORST perception of all)

It would be very easy to take any of those perspectives and RUN with them. Our enemy LOVEs it when we think that way. And the reason is simple…he wants us to avoid reading God’s Word. The enemy knows as long as you put off reading the bible that you are at a disadvantage, whether or not you realize it.

If you had a boyfriend or girl friend that wrote you a love letter (or a spouse off fighting a war) they put it in the mail but you never received it..what would you think?

Well, 1st, you wouldn’t think because you would have never known they EVER sent it. You were living in ignorance of whatever news they had to share.

2nd, you would have missed hearing all the things they had to say; how they felt about you, what they thought, what THEY were feeling. You’d be lacking insight into the person they were, how you changed their life or what they wanted YOU to do

3rd: The decisions you made in your life might be (or have been toTally different) had you read the letter or even received it.

The crazy part is God uses His voice to talk to us in His Word (His Word IS The Bible). From the moment we open the first book (Genesis) right up to the last verse in Revelation…God is able to speak to every-one of us, that tries to learn about Him. The Bible is a huge compilation of love letters written to us. Yes, those love letters are centuries old. But is a love letter written from a boy friend to his girlfriend in the 1800’s any less sentimental than one that was written 20 years ago? Granted, the “jargon” may have changed or the ‘writer’s style” but the feelings involved in sharing those thoughts would not.

I started my year long study in July 2012 and finished it last month. It was THE most interesting time of study I’ve had…probably more so than going to college. And why shouldn’t it be!? College is about learning how to be successful IN THIS World. The Bible teaches us not ONLY how to LiVE in this world but how to get ourselves ready for the life after (Heaven).

God is very much ready for us to hear his voice. But He recognizes that (sadly) not everyone wants to hear from Him. While the Bible is the best place to understand the core of God (Old Testament) and how He plans to save us (New Testament) when you actively start “seeking” to have Him guide your life His Voice will materialize (or manifest itself) in Your Life…in other more subtle yet surprising ways.

When you start to acknowledge that He is REAL…He will become REAL. But He will only become Real when you give YOURSELF the chance (the gift) to read the Bible and let Him introduce Himself to YOU…. as the Holy Spirit.

I challenge you to open The Bible and actually read it. I plan to read it again. I need to read it again. I just wanted to know I had read it. But having done it once MADE me realize I am in need of MORE. And God is always ready to supply more…more understanding, more wisdom, more clarity, more Love and abundant blessings. Who couldn’t use more of any of that??

Being “able” to KNOW what His voice actually sounds like is called discernment and that is another blog post for another day. So, stay tuned!

Our Worth: Immeasurable

“You’re worthless”

“WHAT…were you thinking?”

“You’re an idiot”

“You aren’t smart enough to go to college”

“How could you do something so STUPID?”

How many times have what people have said about you affected how you look at yourself?

Too often, I’ve allowed my self worth to be dictated by the “stinging” comments others make:

to me,

about me or

in spite – anger – humor

to elevate their own self esteem.

When I was driving in the car today God reminded me of how very much this concerns Him using the Audio Adrenaline song called “Ocean Floor.”

Unfortunately, all too often, our minds “playback” the recorder of memories. Those pivotal moments when someone

said something that can never be taken back (because they are deceased)

Or, it won’t be taken back – because they don’t even realize what they said “stung”

They don’t remember they said it…

(or, worse) they remember but don’t care – even if WE do.

What YOU and I have to remember is that no matter what ANYONE says about us (whether it be to our face, or behind our back) is that we have WORTH. We are precious in the eyes of God (Isaiah 43:4). Your worth doesn’t have a value placed on it by what you DO or DON’T do.

Your life is worthwhile because YOU ARE…Jesus gave His life for you: because YOU ARE that SPECIAL.

you are a creation of God’s own making. And don’t let ANYONE ever tell OR convince you of anything different!

(You aren’t here by accident….You DO have a purpose! No matter what anyone else has ever said to you)

The tongue is a powerful tool that EACH of us can use for good or evil.

The real question is…how are you going to use your tongue?

Whatever you do, whatever choices you make…however you decide to speak (or not to) remember Matthew 12:36. because we will be held accountable for EVERY idle word we say…

My goal is to hold my tongue. I try to listen. I love to observe. And it’s when I focus on observing that I am able to hear that still small voice of God directing me with His message. The gift of observation allows me to learn so much more about the people and the world around me.

I hope that in what I write/blog that I provide some means of comfort and/or inspiration. None of us were meant to embark on this journey of life alone.

You have worth.

You are worthy of God’s Love…turn to Him and seek His forgiveness and mercy.

He has a purpose in life for each of us. All we need do is ask Him what that purpose is!

Til Next Time…You are Blessed!

(I waited two days to posted this after I wrote it. I knew there was a song I HAD to include with this message and I just found it. Both songs are very fitting but for different reasons)

I had heard this song before, but I had never seen the video. I was listening to KLOVE while I was writing my next post and as soon as I heard the melody I recognized what I needed.  I’ll say this much, I got chills up my spine as I was watching it.) But I think my favorite part is the end, when the “board” is washed clean. Amen!

This song is dedicated to All of US! We all have sin and shame dragging us down unnecessarily. Don’t give the enemy the upper hand. Let Jesus take from you from whatever is keeping you prisoner, surrender them to Him…let him “drown those sorrows.”

Tuesday

Dear Father,

Thank you:

For the gift of Life this morning

For the Light you provide to see the way

For the safety of your everlasting, merciful Love.

I could approach each day with hesitation. Were it not for the promises you have made and reassurances you have given me in Your Word, I would be lost without your guidance. I long to know you more and discern your voice. I want YOU to direct me in the path I should follow. YOU know me better than I know myself. YOU have created me and know my limits. Allow me to use my strengths and weaknesses in whatever way pleases YOU. By pleasing YOU, I will be Blessed…and be a blessing to others.

Although it’s hard to understand why things happen in the world we live in…I pray for anyone who is reading this (and everyone who is feeling):

fear, anxiety and pain

rejection, anger or betrayal

hunger, loneliness, or despair

those who have lost a job or having financial difficulties

grieving a loved ones loss or divorce

Our enemy doesn’t care about how we feel, but YOU do. Help us to find YOU. Help us surrender all our hurts and give them to YOU.

YOU are the only WAY…in YOU there is HOPE. Thank you for giving us Peace..but more than anything thank you for the mercy and forgiveness WE CaN find in your SON, Jesus.

And All God’s Children said: Amen

Monday’s Prayer

Heavenly Father,

The work week is upon us. Thank you for providing us with a weekend of rest (hopefully) and reflection. All too often, we set out on our way and forget to include you in the things we do and say..let alone the decisions we make.

Life isn’t easy, but it becomes more difficult, more “burdensome” when we don’t (or forget) to include you. Giving in to your gentle guidance is like feeling the gentle breeze on a warm summer’s evening. We shouldn’t fear your hand pointing us in the right direction, but maybe that’s because we “fear” what we believe we can’t SEE.

Our vision is easily distorted. Reality isn’t always what we make it out to be. Bless us with clarity and help us to see what we need to, Help us to understand your truth. We need YOU.

Thank you, Lord, for your everlasting love, Amen

At The Movies: Concludes for 2013

The month of July is nearly over and along with it is the conclusion of “At The Movies.”

At The Movies is presented by LifeChurch.tv. I discovered the annual series 3-4 years ago when we visited our local “campus.”

I hadn’t thought about making mention on the blog here about the series ’til now, so I’ll at least “fill you in” on what was included.

Pastor Craig “covered” 4 movies and addressed their message from a biblical perspective:

We Bought A Zoo

The Impossible

Les Miserables

Wreck It Ralph

The Impossible and Les Mis were great God-inspired messages. I had just watched The Impossible at home (without actually knowing it was going to be one of THE movies used during this series…seriously…what are the ODDS?)  I will be checking out Les Mis from the library although the waiting list on that one is backed up.

I’d already seen We Bought a Zoo, (and because this was the only repeat from ATM 2012- I’d thought I’d gotten all I was going to get, the first time. I was so WRONG!) Watching/listening to the message was at least as good/if not better than the first time I sat through it!

This year I got even more out of the message, the presentation hit me this time like a brick wall. I should have blogged about it when it happened, but I hadn’t committed myself to daily blog posts…so next year.

Wreck It Ralph: I have not seen the movie. But based on the ATM presentation, I will be. I reserved this one at the library and was “Wow-ed” by the Biblical presentation this weekend. I’m not going to say too much about it here because I really want to see the movie before I do. But, I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can remember to post a comment once I finally do watch it! (lol)

If you haven’t seen At The Movies before, I highly recommend you do. It is a cool experience and well worth the (hour’s) time to give it a try. Make a “mental note” to check it out next summer…they provide the popcorn and candy; yeah, YUM!

See you ATM 🙂

Sunday Morning Worship

Abba Father,

The 7th day has arrived. The day of the week we bow on bended knee and raise our hands to you in reverence, seeking your glory . Without the sacrifice of your son on The Cross we would be doomed. Though we are sinners, drowning in temptation we seek your forgiveness and mercy. Help us to reach out to answer the door. Help us to find Peace in YOU and your promises.

You are standing on the other side and waiting for us to open the door. You are waiting patiently for us to listen to you. Your still small voice echos the opportunity of Salvation if only we will listen. Only in you and through you can we find the redemptive love that you long to share with us.

Your gracious mercy is a fountain that overflows. The blood you shed on the cross cleanses me. The gift of your holy spirit creates in me a new life and new hope

Thank you for loving us enough to send us your son…and create in Him the perfect sacrificial lamb. I am eternally grateful for your blessings and the promises of your WORD.

Fill me with your spirit, walk with me and guide me….I am YOURS.

In Christ Jesus, Amen

 

Tidbits

Saturday morning at 3am is not what I call an acceptable time to “awaken.” But wake I did. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often. Needless to say, I picked up a book and started reading. Reading is the one place where God really talks to me.

I’ve virtually stopped watching all TV. There’s very little available that I find of interest there and even less I find uplifting.

I consider myself lucky in that I can read a book fairly fast. If it’s REALLY good I can plow through it in a day or two (will I retain all that I read? That’s a topic for discussion later 😉

So, besides getting ready to read the Bible all over again…I just finished The Rules of Engagement (at 4am) and am about to get back into When the Enemy Strikes.

I just hope I don’t get another 3am wake up call to finish reading it…though I am certainly not complaining!

Time to get back to cleaning that fence….

Don’t forget…Make your day count!

Saturday Morning

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this gift; for the promise of what today offers. Though I am not worthy of your grace, I am grateful for your sacrifice. Your son, my redeemer…laid His life down for me. He paid my ransom, when I could not. He Loved me before I existed and gave me second chances when I didn’t deserve them – He gave them to us all.

Lord, we are all hurting (in some way). Hurt is felt in so many forms. As I write this, people of all ages…everywhere are going through pain (physical, emotion, psychological, financial – and YOU know them all).

For all those who are hurting, oppressed, grieving (and the list goes on) please wrap your loving arms around them. Even though there are many that may not know you yet…shed your light in their darkness. Allow them to feel the peace and warmth of your presence. Your Love knows no bounds. Introduce the love of your Son to them; forever change their lives and the course of their destiny.

I ask you for your direction today. Allow me to hear your whispers, gain from your knowledge and grow in your wisdom.

May your blessings follow us today and always…

Amen

Facing the Pressure Washer: The Fence of Life

We just got a hand me down pressure washer. Those gadgets are handy (not so little) tools. The few times I used one, I’ve really liked ’em.

I’m grateful it’s raining today. It’s going to give me a break from the monumental task I’ve started of pressure washing the VERY tall fence out back. I started it two days ago. First day, I washed a “test patch” on an interior gate. I wanted to see how it would look when “dry” and if removing the years of grime and dirt that had built up would make a difference. The morning of the second day said it all. The difference on the door was amazing. I should have taken a before ‘n after photo to show it. The door looked worn, dingy and even had a green tinge to it. The portions that I’d cleaned were just fresh, natural and nearly new looking.

So, yesterday…I continued my work. I think I spent a good 3-4 hours out there (well, the first hour I had to manually trim back a bush that was obstructing my work area – by manually I mean using a pair of hedge trimmers – and that was even harder work).

By 1pm I was back on track.  About an hour later, I sat down for a break to chug a glass of ice-water. I picked up my phone and perused through it for any news, updates or interesting tid-bits. Then, something caught my eye.

A woman I went to church with on the west coast posted a message…about being thankful for a quilt she’d received. My mind went in all directions. In the past few years I’d gotten into sewing/quilting and embroidery. I’d worked with a non-profit helping make quilts for seriously ill children. Something in my head knew something was wrong.

I messaged “Jo” asking her what she was being treated for. It turns out, she has Leukemia.

It was news I hadn’t expected to hear and if “Jo” is reading this…I am certain it’s news you never expected to receive. Be assured, I thought of you as I continued pressure washing.

Having finished my water break, I put my phone down and went back to the incredibly dirty/wet job of cleaning. I started the machine (which isn’t so easy to do) and picked up the wand. Aiming it at my target I pulled the trigger and felt the enormous power surge through my arms, to my hands and through to the end at the wood. It is an amazing site for me to watch as I glide the spray along methodically.

The area I am working on is utterly disgusting, grimy and old.

I look closely where the water comes out of the sprayer and at the point of contact there is a stark difference in contrast between the old/new  AND

To look back at the work that you’ve done and see all the nEwNeSS! How clean, fresh and different it appears. The difference in the grimy stuff and the clean stuff may not seem all that apparent until you really consider what’s involved.

The actual act of washing the fence is rather brutal. My particular wand can handle up to 2000 psi. That’s a lot of pressure! It’s that same pressure that when applied to the old, worn, dirty fence also removes the grime and “age.” Thus revealing the newness hidden underneath. I keep looking at the section I still have left to finish and am in awe at the difference between the two. Frankly, there is NO comparison. The old looks down right awful and the new…well, it’s beautiful.  Here’s a photo of the dramatic difference, so far:

IMG_4938

Up until about; oh, 6-8 weeks ago I was really tired of the trials that have been sent my way. I have had many over the years; but who hasn’t?!  But, I’ve been feeling very beaten down. Just tired. It seemed like one trial after another had shown up. What gives?

And that’s when James 1:2-4 New Living Translation (NLT)  REALLY came to life for me:

Faith and Endurance

Dear brothers and sisters,[a] when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

So, for “Jo,” Michelle, Gerald, Polly and others reading this (and I know of so many going through trials)….We are the fence. We are promised by God that we WILL have trials in this life (John 16:33). But ALWAYS remember the fence. Think of the pressure washer as the enemy. He is going to come at us with trouble. He wants to see us hurt. His goal is our destruction.

Satan aims his pressure washer at us and lets it fire away. He wants us to fold. He wants us to give up. But his efforts are thwarted with God. We must know God is right there with us, He feels our pain. He cries with us. He feels our ache; even when we don’t THINK He is there – HE IS! The best part happens after Satan has finished “firing his darts.” God will come along to build us right back up. Bear in mind, our trials can last for a VERY long time….but that doesn’t mean God will let us perish. Jesus may have been crucified but that was by no means the end…the BEST was yet to come.

Just like the next coat of transparent stain I will put on the new, raw wood. God will make the light within us shine even brighter and strengthen our perseverance.

I can’t believe it took me so long to figure out this part of the puzzle. Whatever we are going through he’s already been there. When He tells us in the Bible we need to find Joy in the trials that doesn’t mean we’re supposed to find them fun or have a good time as we’re going through them (because I don’t think that’s the point). Finding Joy means recognizing that through the hardship we will Learn and gain Wisdom. The trial IS going to hurt. But at the same time, He’s felt the pain we are going through. It’s because He doesn’t like to watch us suffer that He lavishes us with His love and makes us “GROW.” And by growing, I mean we learn more about who we are are in Christ. We better understand WHY Christ did what He did. And in following that model…we recognize we can actually follow in His footsteps and BE more like Him.

When I finally put the new layer of stain over the raw wood of the fence…it will look like new. It will look amazing. The wood will still be the wood, but it’s brilliance will shine and sparkle because of the dramatic cleansing. When we face trials or the pressure washer of life, it’s not to just let the enemy GET his way…but to give God an avenue or a means to BUILD us and let Him create in us a stronger spirit. One that can hold up to getting nailed to the cross; the same one Jesus was designed for. By EMBRACING trials, and thanking God for that MeRcY we will be stronger and understand Christ better – that’s when we are able to SHINE HIS LIGHT.

And isn’t that why we’re here? To shine our light in the darkness….as John says

John 1:5

New Living Translation (NLT)

The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness can never extinguish it

Shine yours for the world to see.

Always Trust God, Lean into Him. Ask Him to help. Just like in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-30) God will be with you as the pressure washer blows you away, soaks you and leaves you a mess…God will also help with the clean up. God won’t leave you stranded….”he will carry you in his arms”  (Ps 68;19) when we don’t have the strength to stand and walk.

“Here With Me” from MercyMe:  Your reminder that He always walks with YOU through the fires and trials…just as God walked with Jesus.

If your fence is being washed..Get ready to shine your light!

Welcome to morning

Continue reading