Alive!

Fear, doubt and unbelief seemed to grip the room. No one said a word. I could hear the sound of the others in the room but the darkness hid their faces. Were they filled with the same thoughts that invaded my mind?

Thump, thump, thump. I held my hand up to my chest to try to calm the racing of my heart. What if, what if this was all there was? What if we were all going to be killed for what we held as truth? What would be the purpose of it all? What would be the purpose of healing the sick, raising the dead, teaching hope for eternity if it all ended with the death of our teacher and our friend?

He had brought such hope. Did it just end? Was it over?

We cannot even imagine the long drawn out hours from the time of Jesus’ death until the day of his resurrection. We do not know the lies and thoughts that may have penetrated the minds of the disciples and followers the hours that followed his death. They may have seemed so bleak and hopeless.

The three years prior had been glorious. Miracles took place daily. New hope had risen throughout the nation. Jesus spoke with such wisdom that hadn’t been heard of for hundreds of years. He heard from God! He taught, encouraged and healed all that wanted it. Even the religious and government leaders were stunned by his wisdom.

Not too long prior to his death, Jesus was riding on a donkey through Jerusalem with what appeared to be victory. Things couldn’t have been better. People adored him!

“The crowd that went ahead of him and that were following him were shouting,
“‘Hosanna to the Son of David!
Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!” Matthew 21:9 (GWT)

People were waving palm branches and laying out their coats for him. All was glorious. Then one night, it seemed to take a turn for the worse. Yet Jesus had warned them of this moment.

But he also said he would rise from the dead.

Now I ask you,

What have you been going through that seems dark, that seems hopeless, that seems desperate? It may seem like all is lost. What was the purpose of following your Lord? There was a time when all may have seemed glorious and you were on top of your game. But then an unforeseen moment came knocking on your door and suddenly your circumstances appeared dark, and your hopes felt like they died and your dreams seemed to be unreachable.

It may seem like God is s…l…o..o..o…w about his promises and you might really feel like you are walking through molasses as you wait for his response. Yet the word paints a different picture.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV)

He hears the cries of your heart.

Remember:

ON THE THIRD DAY……

HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD!!!!!

Your days may seem dark. Your dreams may seem bleak.

But DO NOT give up.

THE SAME SPIRIT THAT RAISED CHRIST FROM THE DEAD LIVES IN YOU!!! (Romans 8:11)

Do you even understand how powerful that statement is?

The disciples and other followers of Christ may have not understood right away what was actually taking place. But their dreams had not died. Jesus had to die on this earth  in order to take the sins of mankind into the pit of hell where he left them. He did it to steal the keys of death from our enemy of darkness. AND HE DID IT WITH VICTORY.

If we could grasp that the trials we face are temporary and that there really is victory in Christ, we could see with eyes of understanding.

Like Jesus, I say to the darkness that would try to choke me, to the fear that thinks it can befriend me or to the lies that attempt to take space in my mind, “Get behind me satan. You are a stumbling-block to me. (Matthew 16:23)

Remember: JESUS DID NOT STAY IN THAT GRAVE!

So be of good courage followers of Christ. Speak life over your situation and hope into your soul.  And share this hope with those who have not tasted his goodness.

Your hope is not dead. HE IS ALIVE!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

God Bless.

 

 

When Life Trips You Up

I woke up to a few words that the Lord put on my mind. Well, they are paraphrased because quite frankly I admit that I did not write them down right away. I figured I would remember them. You know how that goes.

(Note to self: Always write down your dreams and/or words from the Lord, ASAP.)

The essence of the words were: “Let go of the things that trip you up. The days are growing evil. You have to remain alert to hear my words.”

The verse that came to my mind is Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set for us.” (NLT)

My first thought: “Seriously, the days are GROWING evil? I cannot imagine them getting worse.”

Then I thought about the things that trip me up and ensnare me, things that bring me down with heaviness.

WEIGHT THAT CAN SLOW US DOWN

Personally, I tend to want to take on all the cares and stress factors that involve my family, my future (their future) the heartaches of the world, the brokenness, the loss, the violence and the lies the world spews. Basically, I have a hard time just letting the cares disappear. I think part of that though, is the compassion of Christ. I pray or intercede often for people and circumstances. That could weigh me down, IF I do not give them to the Lord and leave the tears at the cross.

Also, my mind tends to want to relive past moments where I made an incorrect choice. IF I would let that play over and over in my mind it would drive me mad. But I have to take every thought captive and put it under the blood of Christ and remember that none of us are perfect. In fact, it is our very mistakes that create a testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness and grace. God somehow uses those very things to draw us closer to him.

What kind of things weigh YOU down? Is it fear, anxiety, anger, unforgiveness, frustration, hopelessness, despair? We have all gone down these roads. BUT remember these are just things that the enemy would love to put on us so that we CANNOT walk in triumph; so that we CANNOT walk in victory.

They slow us down.

“But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak.” Isaiah 40:31 (GNT)

The answer to the things that slow us down is to wait quietly on the Lord and trust him. Let him renew us. How? By getting to know him through the Word of the Lord and prayer and hanging out with those that know him. We have to cast our cares on him because it is not the Lord that is giving us these thoughts of despair. We need to take authority of our thoughts and verbally put them under the blood of Christ so that we can have peace.

Basically think on things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and worthy of praise. (Phil.4:8) How important it is to have our mind and heart in the right place and practice them. That is how we will discover peace. (Phil 4:9)

There are simple “good” things that slow us down, as well.

Too much entertainment can become distracting, so that our minds are filled with other things constantly. That includes sports, TV, gaming, movies, books etc…Don’t get me wrong, these things are okay, BUT if our lives are not balanced they can take up too much time. Maybe you are a workaholic, or fill your time with so much ministry or volunteering that you don’t have time with Jesus. Maybe it is gluttony. That is a big one for the people in America. It’s just easy and the church doesn’t necessarily consider it bad. But it can bring on health issues that can distract you from your calling. And the list continues…

PLEASE UNDERSTAND: There are occasions that life consumes us with family issues or even emergencies. BUT take a few moments a day to seek the Lord, even in your car.

Think about it, what is weighing YOU down so that you are slowing down in the faith?

THE SIN THAT SO EASILY TRIPS US UP

We are not perfect. Each of us have weak areas that are not totally surrendered in our lives. It is these areas where the enemy will try desperately to get into our lives and wreak havoc. Do you tend to lose your temper or hold onto anger? Do you hold grudges and don’t easily forgive? Do you gossip. complain, are given to substance abuse? Are you easily tripped up by sexual immorality or are you lazy or even complacent?  Yes, even complacency will trip you up because the Lord said that he would rather that you were hot or cold. (Revelation 3:16). Perhaps it’s dabbling in dark magic or lying constantly or lusting things or stealing. Again, the list can go on and on.

We all have to deal with the things (or sins) that easily trip us up and become even MORE cautious in those areas of our lives. That sin will knock at your door, so to speak.  Ephesians 4:27 says “do not give the devil a foothold”.

“Be ALERT and of sober mind. Your enemy, the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Whatever it is that may cause you to stumble, put a stop sign up to the enemy of darkness. And by all means DO NOT hang out with those that dabble in those areas. Be wise who you choose as friends.

“Do not be misled. “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

The Lord reminds us to be sober and vigilant. We need to make time to listen if we want to hear the voice of the Lord. And how much more important it is as the days are growing evil and confusion is consuming the land.

These words were definitely for me. But I know that they are for someone else today, as well.

Finally, I pray that each of us can run the race with endurance so that we can be found faithful when we meet our Lord, and so that we have the energy and wisdom to encourage those around us.

God bless.

Weeds among the wheat

Often we can feel discouraged because of the evil that surrounds us in this age. It seems wrong has gotten a stamp of approval while trying to live righteous is mocked.  Simple morals and kindness have been kicked to the curb as trash and worthless ideals. Lies are spoken, vulgarity runs rampant, and the guilty are set free, while the just are tried with vengeance.

I’ve heard some people state that evil is triumphing because of what they see and hear. Do you notice how evil is proudly flaunting its corruption?  I remember reading how Lot was disgusted and vexed by the depravity of sin in his day. (2 Peter 2:7) It seems it is continuing to surround us with threats of destruction.

I was reading the parable in Matthew 13:24-30 in the New Living Translation titled, “Parable of the Wheat and Weeds”. I’m sure you are familiar with it, but bear with me as you read the following:

Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.

The farmer’s workers went to him and said, “Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?”

“An enemy has done this!” the farmer explained.

“Should we pull out the weeds?” they asked.

“No,” he replied, “you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.”

The passage that was highlighted to me was, “Let both grow together until the harvest.”

Hmm“, I thought to myself, ‘the wheat and the weeds grew TOGETHER.” This thought lingered in my mind.

You may see more filth on TV. You may hear depressing lies of defeat. You may watch people choose lifestyles that are controversial, yet glorified. Your child may be taught questionable “facts” and be challenged with ideas that you never faced.

It is because the weeds are growing WITH the wheat. The weeds that were planted by our enemy are not stronger, just perhaps louder. Yet the wheat is growing in hidden strength deep in the soil of God’s righteousness.

I believe that people who are searching for God and are hungering for HIM, WILL walk in a greater power and anointing in these last days. As the harvest grows near, the followers who choose to seek the Lord will become stronger in their testimony as they walk in their God-given authority. The miracles that follow them will be powerful; even supernatural.

You may not be hearing this on your local news station. You may not be hearing it in the social media frenzy. But God is raising up an army! He plants them, waters them and is watching them grow. The weeds are simply a pesky and annoying distraction. (Weeds are invasive plants that try to steal the nutrients and water from the soil so that the intended plant will starve.)  BUT they do not have more power; they are just louder and more demanding.

Yet, the Lord allows the weeds to grow with the wheat in spite of their destructive behavior because he knows that if they are pulled too early the wheat could be uprooted with them. They both grow. And though the weeds try to suffocate the wheat, the wheat grows in quiet strength.

Do your remember when Jesus said, “greater things than these will you do” in John 14? He was speaking to his followers stating that if they believed in him they would do greater things than he did because he was going to heaven and would send the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did mighty things on this earth. He healed the sick and broken-hearted, mentally ill and demon processed. He raised the dead, calmed the storms and prophesied of things to come, all in obedience to his heavenly Father. He did so many things that the Bible states that perhaps there would not be enough room in the world for all the books. (John 21)

With that said, most Christians are definitely not walking in the realm that Jesus has available for them. Timothy warned of these people in his second letter. He states that in the last day Christians will have a form of godliness, but deny its power.

There is SO much more available to those who want to walk in his glory. Note: this is not a super hero power. This is a humble, suffering, total surrender to the Creator of our Universe, listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit, POWER. This is walking in the authority of Christ with miracles that will change hearts and minds, that will heal the sick and raise the dead. This isn’t about people who want glory for themselves. This army is a made up of people who love the Lord with all that they are: mind, body and soul.

It is all about bringing people to Christ so they can be set free from the power of this dark world and live in eternity with HIM. It is about showing and walking in the love of Christ.

Please understand: The Lord DESIRES that all will find him and be set free. Those that are weeds in the garden of life can become wheat. (1 Timothy 2:4).

I cannot get the image of the weeds and the wheat growing together, side by side, from my mind. One desires to cause havoc to their own demise, and the other is deeply rooted in the word and truth of the Lord.

Soon, very soon, the workers will harvest the field. The weeds will be burned BUT the wheat will be placed in his barn.

Soon very soon we will be with HIM in all of his glory.

Until then, you and I can grow as we choose to abide in HIM.  We don’t need to live in defeat and be entangled by the whispers of the weeds that surround us. Instead, we can be the answer for those who are lost.

We CAN and WILL do greater things in this hour.

Be encouraged. Get prepared.

God bless.

 

 

OBEDIENCE

During the Christmas season we may think about gifts, Santa, sleigh bells, cookies, music and joy.

To those that are believers Christmas day is also a day to remember what Christ did for us. So powerful was the day he was born that angels rejoiced, filling the heavens with song.

As powerful as that was, his life of obedience overshadowed it. While on this earth he set people free from sickness and death, replacing those strongholds with hope and joy.  Still more incredible was the death he endured taking on all our sins, all our sickness to the pit of hell with him and leaving them there. It was in his death that he became victorious, rising to new life, so that we might live forever with him.

All of these events melted down to his obedience to his heavenly Father. He often stated that he only did the things his heavenly Father told him to do. At any time he could have called legions of angels from heaven to fight the battle for him. It would have been more epic than any war in history or any Hollywood movie attempting to portray the battle of good vs evil.

Instead, the angels prepared for battle, alert and with swords drawn, keeping their eyes focus on Jesus. They waited and watched as the Son of God laid down his life for each of us. His life was not taken, he gave it. He gave it because of his ultimate love of the Father; his ultimate love for us. He didn’t want to endure that cross.

BUT…he said to his Father in desperate prayer, “Not my will, but yours be done!”

“During his life on earth, Jesus prayed to God, who could save him from death. He prayed and pleaded with loud crying and tears and he was heard because of his devotion to God. Although Jesus was the Son of God he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.” Hebrew 5:7-8 (GWT)

We will not be void of suffering in this world. But in the end, obedience will be the only way to bring real joy.

“He saw the JOY set ahead of him, so he endured the death of the cross and ignored the disgrace it brought him.” Hebrews 12:2 (GWT)

Obedience is a word that is peppered throughout the Word. It is a key that unlocks the joy that Christ desires for each of us. But sometimes it feels like death to obey.

Joseph obeyed and took Mary as his wife, although he did not really understand. Several times he obeyed and moved Mary and Jesus because Jesus’ life was being sought from the day of his birth. His obedience saved our Savior.

It isn’t easy to obey when you feel left out. Everyone wants to belong. It isn’t easy when you look strange or weird because everyone wants to be accepted.

I am sure it wasn’t “easy” for Noah to build an ark when there was no water. People mocked him and surely thought he was crazy. But he and his household were saved.

It wasn’t easy for Joseph to obey and run from a woman who tried to seduce him, losing all that he had because of a lie. Nor was it easy for him to see his brothers after so many years apart and forgive them for selling him into slavery. But because of his obedience he saved a nation from starvation.

It definitely wasn’t easy for Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh to repent. In fact he didn’t obey at first and found himself in the belly of a huge fish or sea creature. But later, because of his obedience, the nation repented of their ways.

Ananias obeyed the Lord and laid his hands on Saul (who became Paul) to receive his sight again. Just days earlier this man was rounding up followers of the Lord to be killed. Through Ananias’ obedience Paul did receive his sight, was baptized, filled with the Holy Spirit and immediately spread the gospel, writing many books of the Bible.

Obedience is a key.

So today, who do you obey? Do you listen to the voices of a people who pressure you or do you obey the Lord? Each person has to give an account whether they choose to obey their Lord. Even in America, the land of the free, we see people who stand alone trying to obey their Lord. Remember the lady who decided not to give out marriage license to people of the same-sex? She was mocked and ridiculed and called names. But she felt she had to obey her Creator instead of the overwhelming crowds. People also have lost their businesses in similar cases. Obedience to their belief over road what society believes as truth.

But that is nothing.

I just read on social media about a pastor and his wife from China who have been thrown into prison for not abiding by the governing laws regarding their beliefs. It isn’t that they did a horrific act of disobedience. It was that they chose to obey God over manmade rules. This is going on in several countries that disregard freedom of religion. Some are beaten, some are killed and yet the faith of Jesus Christ prospers in the face of persecution because of obedience.

Daniel did the same thing and was thrown into the lion’s den. The king was amazed that his God protected him from the lions and worshipped the God who can close the mouths of lions.

You might ask why a God of love would allow people to walk to their deaths. I don’t have all the answers but I do know that he gives grace and mercy to those who ask for it. I also know that he desire that all people are saved from the fires of hell. Only he understands what our act of obedience will do for each of us and for those who witness our walk. Perhaps it will save a soul.

Not everyone will give their lives for our Lord. But each of us will come to a crossroad where we will need to decide if we are going to obey our Lord. Do we mean it when we state that we are believers? Or is our lives filled with mushy compromise? I am asking myself this question, too. I am not saying something that the Lord isn’t already asking me. When the heat goes up (and it will) will we walk away from our Lord?

We celebrate Christmas with a world that really may not understand the power of its meaning. Some celebrate while enjoying freedom. Others may not have freedom, but celebrate the freedom that Christ can bring.

During this holiday season, I pray that you will come to know the God of creation and understand that he loves you. And if you already are a believer, I pray that this next year will be one that will draw you closer to your Lord.

Remember the old hymn, “Trust and Obey”, written in 1887 by John H Sammis. The refrain goes:

“Trust and obey for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

How true that statement is!

God bless and have a Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

Can God Hate?

GOD IS LOVE!

Though I totally agree with that statement (God is love)–I mean completely! What does it mean? What does it look like in our day-to-day walk?

We hear so many people in today’s world believe with all their hearts that if they follow the God of Heaven, the Christian God, that all they need to do is LOVE– period.  I agree that we are called to love people. There is no doubt in that comment. Again, what does that look like? Does it mean that we are to accept everything that everyone is doing because we LOVE them?

I believe there is a gray place that people fall into. I have heard some people explain it as “sloppy grace”. It is a place where the love of people gets mixed in with acceptance of sinful practices. That area isn’t just gray, it is muddy, at best. Eventually truth and love become loose words that turn into tolerance. Is tolerance bad? Well, it probably depends on what you are tolerating. It can be a deceptive policy.

“The silence of tolerance can quickly morph into endorsement.” (Lisa Bevere)

Then you hear the statement, “love the people, hate the sin”. That is a great concept, but then again we have to ask ourselves, how do we put that into practice?

I have been reading the book, “Adamant” by Lisa Bevere. In her book she has one chapter titled, “Adamant in Love” explaining how much our Lord loves each of us. His love is eternal and doesn’t flinch or fade. The very next chapter is titled, “Adamant That We Love“. Of course it is just as the title describes. We are to love others, which is not always easy. Sometimes we have to just love others by faith.  In other words, we may not always “feel” like it but we take a hold of God’s love and ask him to help us.

But the next chapter is the one that caught my attention. It is titled, “Adamant in Hate“. She begins this chapter by quoting Charles Spurgeon,

“We cannot love God without hating what he hates.”

Interesting.

She states, “God hates ALL that undermines love, for everything that debases love, debases US.”

What does God hate?

Here she quotes Proverbs 6:16-19 and then goes into detail about each item plus uses other scripture references explaining things the Lord hates. Again it is because of his PERFECT LOVE for US that he hates what will undo that love. I will be using the Amplified Version and add the list numbers.

“These six things the Lord hates; Indeed, seven are repulsive to Him;
1) A proud look [the attitude that makes one overestimate oneself and discount others]
2) A lying tongue
3) Hands that shed innocent blood
4) A heart that creates wicked plans
5) Feet that run swiftly to evil
6) A false witness who breathes out lies [even half-truths]
7) And one who spreads discord (rumors) among brothers.

This is just one of the many verses she uses. (You might want to reference the word, hate, for yourself).These scriptures are so relevant for our time. Each reason for the hatred is because it twists and corrupts HIS LOVE. It corrupts the life he has for his children.

Let me add: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 (NIV)

These are my thoughts:
There is a battle for each of our hearts and the enemy of our souls only desire is to destroy the concept of God’s love for us so that we get confused. Eventually we don’t really understand his love at all. It becomes twisted with the world’s concept of love. That is why the Lord desires us to hate evil, NOT THE PEOPLE, but hate and despise the traps that ensnare each of us.

The world cannot understand this and tends to accept the lie that we, as believers, are hateful people because we stand up for righteousness. But the truth is that we are lovers of the Lord. Our desire should not be to “tolerate” what is sinful. And it isn’t that we think that we are better because we were once caught up in the same darkness.

Ephesians 5 states: “live a life filled with love.” But then the letter continues to warn us to stay away from the sinful life we once lived and to not be fooled by those who make excuses for sin.

Often people hate the light of the Lord simply because it exposes the sin that enslaves them. The darkness hides it. But the letter to the Ephesians in chapter 5 makes it very clear, “Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.” (verse 10-11 NIV)

In my previous blog I stated that the Lord challenged me to love him with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. I believe that includes hating what he hates. It does not mean to hate those who are enslaved in sin. Love them enough to show them the light. The sin that holds them will not like this at all, but the person who is bound and wants to walk in freedom, will.

We are called to love the individual, not judge the individual. How do we do that? By being kind, helpful, gracious. Romans 2:4 states that it is God’s kindness that will lead to repentance. But on the other side we are to hate what God hates which is anyTHING that undoes his great love for us.

When we do not hate what is evil, our love is not genuine. ” Lisa Bevere

This may take his grace and wisdom to decipher. Just be wise: Do not confuse tolerance with love.

Finally: Jesus did warn us that if the world hated him, it will hate us also. If we belonged to the word, it would accept and love us. (Matthew 10 & John 15).

It is not always easy to live for the Lord, but always worth it. I have found no greater joy and peace, even in the midst of many heartaches, then following my Lord. I remember someone once said to me: “I have many things that I could regret in my life but one I have never regretted: giving my life to Jesus.”

To answer the title’s question,”Can God Hate?” I would say, yes. God can hate because he IS LOVE. I challenge you to research this for yourself.

God bless you as you continue to walk in His Light. Be courageous and filled with his wisdom and his love.

 

Following his path

The ferocious wind is howling like a hungry wolf. It picks up what it wants as it races through my life. All that I thought was valuable is being lifted into its merciless vortex and speeding violently in circles around me. I grasp at items in frantic despair.

Then, suddenly all is quiet again. Nothing fills the void of quietness. Nothing fills the void of emptiness. All I see is utter darkness. The things that swirled around me have disappeared. Loneliness takes their place.

I hear a voice say, “Come this way.”  I turn towards the voice and squint, hoping my eyes can focus in the darkness so I can get a glimpse of who might be calling out to me. From another direction a new voice is heard from the depth. Its loud demanding voice pleads for my attention. “No, this way is the best. Follow this path.”

I struggle to know what I should do. Several voices join the plea. Though they seem to be growing louder, the voice I hear clearly is not heard with my ears. It is heard with my heart. I know the voice. I have heard it before many times. This voice is soft, yet vibrates throughout my entire being. This voice speaks with authority but is consumed with peace. I choose to follow the voice inside of me that I have grown to know and love.

It is the voice of my Lord.

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

As soon as I take a step in the direction he is guiding me, a light shines on my feet. I slowly see where I am going, one step at a time. I notice that I am on a path that has not been well-traveled. There are dips and bumps but the light shines bright enough so that I can get a good footing. A peaceful sound, almost like the heartbeat of music vibrates from the light, as if it is alive. Though the other voices are relentless they soon begin to fade into the darkness behind me, as do my cares and anxieties. I know in my heart that if I continue on this path, things will work out for my good.

A thought flickers in my mind then travels to my heart.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart And lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6″ (NKJV)

I trust you Lord, ” I think to myself. And then I say it out loud with bold confidence, “I TRUST YOU LORD!”

And hence I keep following Him though I don’t always see the rainbows nor smell the roses. I walk in His peace, regardless of distractions that try to encourage me otherwise. I walk by faith.

This is a synopsis of my walk with my Lord. It is definately an adventure, as is your journey with Him, I am sure.

treasure map

Trust is like a treasure map. As you follow it, you will eventually find God’s purpose for your life.  I trust that the Lord has called me onto this path I am currently traveling . He is the one that has opened doors that no one could open. He has also shut the doors that were wide with wonder, but not filled with wisdom.

Why? Because he loves me.

It is amazing what he is doing in my life! I don’t always see his hand at work directly in front of me. But I always see it when I look behind me. I see the miracles from my past which confirms to me that he is working in my future.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares he Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

There are many voices in each of our lives that call out to us with soothing tones. They are not always bad, though they can become distractions, and not always the best choice for our lives.” Come this way and follow me,” they taunt.  The distractions simply keep our eyes off of the Lord of our salvation and can fill our minds with clutter that carry confusion.

That is when we have to close our eyes and focus on the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. Everything else…and I mean EVERYTHING else, even the blessings and good things we do, such as helping the poor, must NOT be our MAIN purpose and goal. Being good alone, though it is a good thing, CANNOT save anyone. Even that can distract us from God’s purpose. He desires a relationship with each of us.

That is why the greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord your God with all our heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30 (NIV)

Jesus explains:

“Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name, drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, “I never KNEW you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23 (NIV)

Not all endings are going to be happy, especially if we are determined to follow our own path. But even when we follow the Lord’s leading we will still need to utilize trust. One of my grandsons experienced that this summer.

I had the opportunity to take a couple of my grandkids to a theme park. One of my grandsons suddenly got filled with fear as we got closer to the front of the line of a rollercoaster. He wanted to back out. But I kept reassuring him that he would have fun.

So the brave (well not so brave) child got in the seat next to me. The person controlling the ride overheard us talking. She asked him if he was sure he wanted to go. I gave her the thumbs up.  I had never been on this particular ride but it definitely didn’t look as frightening as the one we had just ridden. I told him that there was only one big drop, the rest were little dips, at least that is how it appeared in the description.20180731_141155.jpg

Well, to my amazement those “little dips” were not as little as I thought. My poor grandson looked straight ahead and without any other visible emotions squeezed tightly onto the bar that held us in the seat.  With each drop he said in a monotone voice, “Nana, I thought there was only one drop.” He continued saying this statement several more times as we went down one “dip” after another.  A couple minutes later as the coaster cars pulled up at the end of the ride the girl who spoke with us earlier asked if he liked the ride. He said, with a straight face and a lot of pride, “I didn’t scream one time.”

He was so proud of himself, as was I.

Sometimes trust may mean that all you can do is hold on. But you don’t have to scream. You can hold on to the words of the Lord. You can hold to his promises and trust him. You can sit with someone who will endure the trials along side of you and encourage you all the way. And when that adventurous chapter comes to a close you can look at the operator and say. “I didn’t scream one time.”

The winds may blow, things may be stripped from your hands, voices may try to distract you, darkness and loneliness may encompass you, and your ride might be pretty wild. But remember what Paul said to the Philippians.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you WILL complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

Be at rest. He is holding you. Trust his voice.

TRUST HIM.

 

Can you hear the voice of truth?

It amazes me that people can read identical words or hear the exact same message and yet have complete different interpretations. They may not even hear the same words that are being said.

This became a reality to me when the “Laurel or Yanny” craze hit social media. A single word was spoken and the internet exploded. Some people heard the word “Yanny” while others heard the word “Laurel”. According to a couple different web sites, the confusion involved frequency. If a person hears higher frequencies they are sure the word is “Yanny” and vice versa.

Jay Aubrey Jones, who recorded the word for Vocabulary.com stated that he was actually saying the word, Laurel.  The word, Yanny, is not even in Vocabulary.com. Before the audio scenario debate there was the color of the dress debate in 2015. Some people said they saw a black and blue dress while others saw it as white and gold. (By the way: the dress color is black and blue.)

I realized that individuals can be extremely positive that they know the truth but somehow be very mistaken. From the moment a word is spoken it can become twisted or tainted. By the time it hits the ear of the listener it can become something completely different from what was said. It is like the game “telephone” that we played as  children.  A phrase is whispered into the first child’s ear and that child whispers it into the next child’s ear. By the time the phrase reaches the last child, it usually isn’t even close to what was said in the beginning.

The words Jesus spoke were often misrepresented or misunderstood. He often spoke in parables or stories to help explain salvation, the kingdom of God or other dynamic truths.  In Mark 4:9 he says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” (NIV)  That statement is heard several times in the book of Revelation, as well.

In Matthew 13:13b Jesus states” Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (NIV)

That is a scary thought.

The truth that can lead people to salvation, to freedom and to an eternity with their creator was not being heard. It wasn’t because it wasn’t being spoken. Jesus stood among the people of his day and yet they could not hear the truth or see it. It is the same thing today.

Jesus continues speaking in verse 14a:
“In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.” (NIV)

(I wondered how it could be possible that they could see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears, yet not perceive the truth. Jesus answered that question in the following verse.)

15a: “For this people’s heart has become CALLOUSED: they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes.” (NIV)

Calloused skin is skin that has become hardened and thick. So a calloused heart is someone whose heart has become hardened and thick. They have put up a wall over and over so that truth can no longer penetrate. They have become insensitive. People with calloused hearts have refused to listen to truth so many times that one day they do not even recognize truth. Their hearts have become so hard they cannot hear it nor see it.

That is why Proverbs 4:23 states, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” (NLT)

Jesus is very clear that listening to his voice will allow us to follow in his footsteps for our lives. He will direct each of us if we choose to listen to his guidance. He states in John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” (NIV)

You might ask how I am sure that I am following truth and not being deceived. Deception is deceptive. I have confidence because I ask my Lord to keep me in truth and reveal any area of deception. And he is faithful.

My prayer is found in Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth, and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (NIV)

If you desire to hear His voice it is never too late to call out to God for truth. He will be sure to answer! God is full of mercy and grace and wants to fill you with his hope.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:27 (NIV)

My hope is that you and I will hear our Lord say ” But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.”
Matthew 13:16 (NIV)

God bless.

Just for fun:
If you have not had the chance to listen to the Yanny vs Laurel debate open the link below and find out what you hear.  Then decide what color the dress looks like to you.

 

Yanny vs Laurel

 

 

black and blue dress

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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