Hearing God’s Voice

Sakura Tree

 

Many of us go along in life, merrily following our own plans, dreams and goals. Then when we reach a fork in the road, hit a boulder we can’t get around or over, or fall off a precipice without a parachute, we turn to God.

 

Then, it is hard to hear His voice. We think He is ignoring us or does not care. We know that His plans are better than ours, and we do want to follow His will; but we are so used to following our human understanding that we cannot readily hear His direction (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

We want to know and follow His truth, yet it seems that He is aloof and disconnected from us. We feel frustrated, and even angry or resentful. We vehemently cry out to him over and over, and quote scripture at Him in an attempt to force Him to immediately come to our rescue.

 

We eventually get tired of demanding; then, we get still, and we acknowledge that He is God. When we quiet our soul and spirit, we can hear His voice, and we think, “Finally!” Yet, it is not God who changes, it is us.

 

He never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). He is constantly watching over each one of us, and sees every moment of our life before it even happens (Psalm 139:16).

 

Our goal is to walk in this serenity every moment of the day. We stop relying on our human resources, and consulted Him for His will with every breath we take, not just when we have some emergency (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

God always speaks clearly. We eventually learn to hear His voice, and to stop allowing the chaos of life and our own thoughts and reasoning to drown out His directives and guidance. We even learn to enjoy His presence and the moments of companionable silence that we share.

 

Our life runs more smoothly, we experience fewer catastrophes, we recognize that He plants a seed for a miracle in every trial, and we feel His presence and His love pouring over us like a waterfall every moment of every day.

 

Prayer:

Father God, remind us that the human cliché, “God helps those that help themselves” is a lie from the pit of hell that Satan fashioned to keep us from walking in Your will every single moment of our day. I heard a preacher say, “If you do not start the car, you will never get out of the driveway.” That principle is not found in Your Word.

 

Practically, it may sound true, but it is not a Biblical concept, nor is it Your will for our life. Teach us to wait on You, trust in You with our whole heart, and not to rely on our human perception (Proverbs 3:5-6). We are the sheep of Your pasture, and You are our good Shepherd. We only learn to hear Your voice and follow it, when we consult You every moment of the day (Psalm 100:3).

 

Thought of the Day:

As we spend each moment of our day praising our Daddy God, meditating on His Word, and journaling our thoughts, desires and emotions in order to keep the thoughts of our heart from drowning out His quiet, firm voice, we live in the center of His will – continually hearing His direction, and walking in His ways.

-1 Kings 19:9-12

 

 

 

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Freedom that Lasts

Scenic View Of Mountain

 

We can dance around the root cause of our issues for years, taking pills and getting counseling for the symptoms, but never truly healing from the trauma that changed the course of our life. Exhaustion from our overly busy schedule may prevent the success of these search and rescue efforts.

 

These attempts to find healing are often frustrating, unfulfilling and basically useless therapy. Rather than using a bandage to stop the flow of “blood”, we can go to the actual root, and find out why we are slowly bleeding inside.

 

We may blame one another as the root cause of the problems, when there is an entirely different cause and effect. As we scrutinize our decisions and why we made them, we can uncover the hidden issues that are draining our personal life and our relationships from much needed unity and cohesiveness.

 

When we analyze the facts of an unpleasant issue, trace the emotion that it incites, and honestly face facts about our past and current situations, we can address and eradicate the real source of haunting negative circumstances.

 

We can also make changes in our life to adjust to one another’s viewpoint. We start by making a schedule that we can agree on and sticking to it, possibly laying aside something that we personally deem is necessary as an opportunity to reach a more important and realistic goal for everyone, etc.

 

God is always ready to speak His truth and to dispel Satan’s lies. Then, we can remove the source of the wound and heal the issue once and for all time. As we seek the Lord, and uncover the reason behind our distress, we simply follow His advice to solve this cause.

 

Our choices change our outlook on past experiences, and their effect on our life. This always involves discovering the root of our current problem, changing our perspective about the past as well as our current priorities, and asking God for His plans about our issues one at a time.

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us not to fall into the blame-game, and not to view each other as the enemy. Help us to join forces to discover the real root cause of our issues, and to solve them together with consideration for everyone’s needs. Teach us that there is no need to fight to the finish to prove that we are right, or to get our way, when we can work together to find a third option on which we can all agree.

 

Remind us that You joined us together to complement one another, to use our differences to our mutual advantage, and to support each other’s weaknesses with our strengths. This will improve our environment at work, home, church, community, etc. Our confidence in and commitment to You enables us to dwell together in unity (Psalm 133:1).

 

Thought for the Day:

As parents, spouses, best friends, co-workers, members of God’s family, etc. we can enhance our life by working together for our common good in every circumstance; preferring one another without neglecting our own needs, and finding the root cause of our disagreements or personal issues, so that we can solve them together.

– Hebrews 10:24

 

 

 

 

 

Our Godly Example

Landscape Photography of Brown Mountains Surrounding Lake

 

Sometimes, we feel like our failures are too severe for God to forgive. We wallow in despair and ward off hopelessness with every ounce of determination we can assemble. We valiantly attempt to pull our self up by our boot straps and to get on with life.

 

An abortion, murder by drunk driving, infidelity, theft, divorce, etc. are not too big for God to forgive. His mercy is everlasting (Psalm 103:17). He views our indiscretions as failings, not failures. They are temporary lapses in judgment initiated by our self-effort in life.

 

There is no circumstance that pushes us away from God that is too far for Him to draw us back. If we soar into the ecstasies of life, descend into the darkest hell of grief and trauma, fly high in our successes, are about to drown in the sea of circumstances, or find our self in the darkest night, He is always there with us and in us.

 

God’s hand guides us and holds us securely, and He makes the darkness shine like day. He knit us together in our mother’s womb, and He has perfect plans for our life (Psalm 139:7-14; Jeremiah 29:11). Our Father sent Jesus, His only begotten Son, to die for us, so He could adopt us into His family (John 3:16-17).

 

God’s love covers our multitude of sins (1 Peter 4:8). He eagerly waits for us to call on Jesus’ name to be saved (Romans 10:13). A simple, honest confession of our sins restores our relationship with our heavenly Father. He rejoices over us with singing (Zephaniah 3:17; Luke 15:7, 10).

 

There are many examples in the Bible where people repented of their sins and made restitution for their selfish callousness. We are free to pay reimbursements as well, which may restore our fellowship with those we wronged, as it cements our relationship with God.

 

Willingly relinquishing the strangle-hold that shame has on our life, we remember that in Christ we have no condemnation (Romans 8:1). We thirst for God like the deer that pants after the water brook (Psalm 42:1). We want nothing more than to decrease so that He may increase (John 3:30).

 

Prayer:

Father God, help us to restore our relationship with You, as well as with those we sinned against during our lifetime. Give us Your wisdom on how to resolve conflicts, which we caused. Help our apology to heal the wounds we knowingly or unwittingly inflicted on others. We want to effectively clear up any mistakes, and to reconcile with those whom we negatively impacted by our words and behavior.

 

Create in us a clean heart, O God, and renew a right attitude in our motives and character (Psalm 17:3, 51:10-19). We want to rid our life of the bondage that keeps us from maturing spiritually, and from gaining a deeper intimacy with You. We know that complete surrender to Your will and way is our pathway to Your peace and joy.

 

Thought for the Day:

True intimacy with God comes from our willingness to lay down every weight that so easily sidetracks us from living in the center of His will; to put aside our own goals, dreams and vision for our life in preference to His will for us; and to totally abandon our humanistic worldview as we adopt a Biblical viewpoint instead.

 

Leaning In

Photography of Body of Water and Mountains

 

There is a popular concept today that I have fallen in love with: “Lean In”. We automatically lean in when the wind blows so fiercely that we are in danger of falling over. A sailor leans in to the wind so that the breeze will fill the sails of the boat and propel it through the water.

 

This term denotes embracing the moment, and paying attention to the detail in body language, words, behavior and attitude, etc. in those around us. We lean in to each moment of our day and listen to God’s Spirit as we follow His directives, embracing what occurs.

 

We can learn from, grow, and effect even negative circumstances in our life when we lean in to them rather than running away from, complaining about or ignoring them. We stand on God’s Word in the power of His Spirit, and embrace each issue as it arises.

 

Looking for possibilities, we trust God in what appears to be impossibilities. We courageously seize the challenge rather than shirking from it, and we successfully accomplish all that God calls us to do in each moment of our life.

 

For instance, I noticed my neighbor struggling to start a machine he wanted to use. He pulled the cord repeatedly without success. I “leaned in” to his frustration, and prayed that God would allow his next tug on the cord to start the appliance. Immediately that leaf blower sparked into life.

 

At a restaurant, our server was grouchy and touchy and had a distant look in her eye. I leaned in to her distress, and I told her, “I just want you to know that God loves you and has a perfect plan for your life.”

 

She burst into tears, and allowed us to pray with her right then and there. She started attending our church, and attentively listened to each sermon; daily, she read the Bible that we gave her.

 

We can fearlessly lean in to each challenge we face in life, knowing that God has a perfect plan for us through each one of them. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of the trial, we use the Serenity Prayer (see below) to guide us, as we utilize God’s supernatural gifts to overcome the issues ahead of us.

 

Prayer:

Father God, You recommend that we stop leaning on our own human resources, and instead consult You and lean in to You before we do anything (Proverbs 3:5-6). If we follow Your plans for us and walk in Your Spirit, our intimacy with You and our faith in Your faithfulness grow. We learn to step out and fearlessly trust You in the circumstances of our life.

 

Remind us that sports figures lean in to the waves, snow slope, ball pitch, etc. by shifting their weight toward the opposing forces they experience, and we can do the same thing with our circumstances. We lean in to You, embracing Your wisdom, direction, and power to accomplish Your plans for the moments of our life. We love You eternally; and daily, we snuggle into the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 91).

 

Thought for the Day:

God is just waiting for His beloved adopted children, the Bride of Christ, His Body to trust Him in every area of our life; as we lean in to each moment of the day, and embrace the possibilities in all of them, He will lead us through a lifetime of many divine appointments and victories.

 

Serenity Prayer:
God, give me grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.

Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
Amen.

God’s Example for Us

Sunflower

 

 

Compassion is a complex emotion. Without love, there is no compassion; and without compassion, there is no true love. Compassion is the most important ingredient in a successful relationship with friends, relatives, associates and neighbors.

 

When someone reaps what they sow, it is very easy to feel like they earned their misery, and we have trouble showing them much compassion. If someone mistreats us or abuses us, we withhold love from them until we view their actions with the eyes of compassion.

 

Having compassion helps us to rise above our feelings, and to give God’s Agape love to our offenders. As God’s adopted children, we walk in holiness and humility with kindness, gentleness and patience at the core of our compassion for others (Colossians 3:12).

 

God gives us His example of showing mercy and kindness to us and others, and having compassion toward us (Exodus 33:19). He comforts us and has compassion on the afflicted (Isaiah 49:13). We cannot help but praise Him for His goodness (Isaiah 63:7).

 

When we persevere through the trials of life, God blesses us with more than we ever lost, because of His unfailing love and mercy (James 5:11; Lamentations 3:32; Psalm 103:13). God blots out our transgressions, and shows us His grace and truth (Psalm 51:1, 116:5).

 

Jesus desires from us compassion for sinners more than sacrificial offerings (Matthew 9:13). His plans for us are our delight, and His compassion enables us to live a fulfilled life (Psalm 119:77, 156). He is good to all those who trust in and honor Him (Psalm 145:9).

 

We teach our soul to praise God’s holy name by remembering the blessings He bestows on us every moment of every day: He forgives our sins, heals our diseases, satisfies us with good things, redeems our life from the pit of hell, and crowns us with love and compassion (Psalm 103:1-5).

 

Prayer:

Father God, Jesus is Your only begotten Son through Your union between Your Spirit and Mary, and we are so grateful that we are Your adopted children. You are the Father of compassion and comfort in all of our troubles (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; Matthew 1:18). United with Christ in us, we have encouragement, are comforted by Your love, and share Your Spirit with Jesus.

 

In this world, tenderness and compassion make our joy complete as we dwell in like-minded unity of love, spirit and doctrine – not doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility, we value one another in Your Body, our church family, above our self (Philippians 2:1-3). Give us Jesus’ compassion for the sick, the harassed and helpless (Matthew 9:35-36).

 

Thought for the Day:

God enables us to show one another – especially our spouse – compassion, patience, mercy, love, attentiveness, honor and respect – even if we do not relate to what they share with us, or if we fail to see the value or concern in what they need us to affirm and validate.

– Luke 6:31

 

Complete in Christ

Landscape Photo of Green Trees and Mountains

 

At times, we feel as if we are schizophrenic – divided, split, disconnected from our self and our world. We wear so many different masks, that we no longer recognize, or even know our true self, because we lost so many parts of our self throughout our lifetime.

 

Each trauma we experience displaces more of our self, and we leave that part behind – wounded, and oppressed by Satan’s lies. Overwhelmed and depressed, we choose to abandon these parts of our self in the past, because rescuing them seems hopeless.

 

At times, somber thoughts will trigger tears to flow – sometimes slow and unbidden; however often in huge torrents of heart-rending pleas for help. We have no idea how to help our self to heal, so that we can live a fulfilled life.

 

We go to self-help groups, counselors, psychiatrists for prescriptions to dull the pain of our bottomless well of internal grief, etc. but we receive no lasting help. Our soul – our thoughts, feelings and choices – is shredded and bleeding; we slap bandages on the wounds, but this does nothing to heal us.

 

When medication fails us, we attempt to heal through exercise, nature walks, new hobbies, star gazing or bird watching, relaxation techniques, mingling with strangers in local bars, or hiding under the thick blankets on our bed, etc.

 

The Good News is that God took on the form of a human being and died a horrendous crucifixion in our place to set us free from this sin-cursed world, as well as the trauma we buried deep in our subconscious mind.

 

Spending quiet time in His presence allows Him to reveal to us these hidden places that affect our words, emotions, and actions every single day. We heal by focusing on the emotion, listening to the words associated with this current pain, and asking God for His perspective on these satanic lies.

( https://www.transformationprayer.org/preparing-journey-introduction/ )

 

Prayer:
Father God, You are our peace, and You have broken down every wall that we built in our soul in order to protect our self from future pain, as well as to attempt to separate our self from the pain of our past. Jesus is our only Hope, our Shield, our Strength, our Wisdom and our Freedom into the spiritual reality of life.

 

Jesus allowed Himself to be broken and spilled out for our healing, and He wants to abide within us now and for eternity. Remind us that His presence in us is just a prayer away. Help us to take the first step of a prayer of repentance for the sins we inherited from our forefather, the sins that we committed throughout our past, and the sins we allow to govern our life even now.

 

Thought for the Day:

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no one comes to God, except through Him” (John 14:6), and as we open our spirit for Jesus to come abide within us and to cleanse us, we can sit quietly in His presence and receive His help in recovering each abandoned piece of our soul that we left behind; we are set free from our past, completely healed of our emotional wounds, and drenched in peace, joy and hope for our future.

 

 

A Good Marriage – Forging Deeper Bonds

Landscape Photo of Riverand Pine Trees

 

Working together in our marriage as partners, rather than pulling apart as adversaries, allows us to forge deeper bonds that bring fulfillment to our relationship. Even the most devoted couple experiences conflicts now and then.

 

Ignoring the issue allows it to remain unresolved, especially if we never discuss it. Give up your ideas and his, and pray together to find a third alternative that you both agree with. If all else fails, a Christian marriage counselor is very helpful in resolving an impasse and preventing barriers between us.

 

Spending time together in serving God is also very nourishing to our relationship. A few nurturing ideas are: choosing a ministry in which we can serve together; learning in a Bible study class together; going on mission trips together; volunteering together in the community; hosting a dinner party with Christian friends, etc.

 

Have fun together. Go for walks and chat, take a picnic to a local scenic place, go to a café and drink hot cocoa on a cold night, start a campfire in the back yard and make s’mores, ride bikes around the neighborhood, help an older couple do their yardwork, etc.

 

There is an endless list of free possibilities to spend some quality time together. We married our mate, so that we could have and hold each other for the rest of our life; so remember to spend time snuggling, laughing and chatting each day too.

 

When one is sick, the other can warm a can of soup, play board games together, read the same book and share impressions about what is read, listen to the Bible online and discuss the verses, watch the same TV show, etc.

 

If we work too much, or fill our schedule with too many separate hobbies and activities, this will cause our mate to feel neglected, undesirable, stressed, unappreciated and lonely. It is vitally important to make time for one another, and not to allow our children’s schedules to get too full either.

 

Prayer:

Father God, Your Word teaches us that a happy marriage is one made of a couple willing to sacrifice some of their own desires for one another’s happiness and fulfillment. Remind us that a marriage that involves a committed couple is like a tree planted by a stream; its roots are not covered with grass and dirt so that it can breathe (Psalm 1:1-3).

 

Remind us to stop to notice and to enjoy the beauties of new life during each new spring. We want to do more than to co-exist; we want to blossom as a couple and as parents. Teach us that our marriage will flourish with fruit in the growing seasons, and it will survive the coldest winters, by sending our roots deeper into Christ and His Word.

 

Thought for the Day:

If we allow our self to get too embroiled in too many worthwhile activities that separate us, we stand the chance of smothering the roots of our love; short times apart are healthy for any relationship, but our “together” time should be just that…together.