Thursday, December 16, 2010

My House Will Be Called A House of Prayer

Matthew 21:12, 13 "Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 'It is written,' he said to them, 'My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.'"

Question: Why did Jesus drive out those who were buying, selling and money changing in the temple area? After all, were they not purchasing the doves for burnt offerings and sacrifices to God as commanded?

Reflection: I've been troubled lately at the amount of sales that goes on in the church to raise funds for this and for that. From the prevalence of bake sales and vending done within the church or right in front of the sanctuary on days when services, be it Sunday worship, Bible study, prayer meeting are typically held. I can't help but wonder how Jesus feels about all this? Even though in most cases our motives are pure, often times to raise money for the church activities or school activities - and I've been guilty myself. I just am becoming increasingly disturbed in spirit by the abundance of these activities without much thought as to how it affects those spiritually and physically sick and hurting who may be distracted by these activities when they enter or leave the house of God.  Is the message that the house of God should be viewed and reverenced as a house of prayer being lost?

It started with car washes, tag sales and bake sales in the community rooms to now interjections during announcements on overhead TV Screens right after worship or before the Word is preached. Is anyone else bothered about all this? Do you see any similarity to Matt. 21:12-13? Have we now become more dependent on natural commerical means to provide for our church programming rather than on faith in prayer? A couple other scripture references that come to mind are: Isaiah 55:8-9, "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. As high as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." Also,  Proverbs 3:5- 6, which says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths."

These are just some thoughts that have been coming to mind. Your feedback would be appreciated.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Be Careful To Whom and How You Listen

Discernment
I had an interesting experience yesterday that reminded me a little of Matthew 16:23 where Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." Except, in the conversation I had with the young lady, she did have in mind the things of God and still it could have been a stumbling block if I allowed it.


Okay, I need you to fasten your seatbelts and hang in there with me on this one, because it'll be a ride.

For the last couple days I'd been feeling a little spiritually off center as though I was missing the target. My mind was crowded and I wasn't spending sufficient time with the Lord in comparison to all I had going on. Yesterday was Bible study and I had an URGENCY in my spirit to get there, like a car that badly needed an alignment. I didn't know how I was going to get there seeing that my car is inoperable at the moment and I don't know my way around yet. So I called a sister from my new church who told me I could call her when I needed a ride. However, she was out of town. I shared with her how I was feeling a little spiritually off center and my yearning to be at Bible study last night. She reminded me that we are the church and that God is with us no matter where we are and gently rebuked me for doubting and displaying a lack of faith among some other well-intentioned advice. All of which was true. But either I didn't do a good job of expressing myself or she wasn't listening to the Spirit. There was also the factor that she didn't know me very well.


We prayed together about a couple things and I got off the phone. I was a little comforted, but still disturbed in my spirit. She's someone in leadership and one whom I respect. So I considered taking her advice and not pressing my way to Bible study. I left it in God's hands.


Shortly afterwards my sister came home and she offered me a ride to the church. The series of events that proceeded was beautifully orchestrated by God. It was not only that I needed to get to church to hear a specific message entitled, "Patience Under Pressure" by a visiting missionary from Guatemala, but there were 3-4 other specific encounters God had lined up for me at the church that evening! From the moment I'd gotten to the church premises my spirit had lifted and I knew that I was where I was supposed to be that evening. The missionary even said as part of his message, "that some of our friends and family may try to comfort or give well-meaning advice out of love but may not be part of God's will." Look at God!


Sometimes, all I can do is just "look" at God and shake my head at his awesomeness. We have to be so careful whom we're listening to. When Jesus turned to Peter in Matt. 16:23 and rebuked Satan it was because the enemy was using Peter to try to obstruct God's plan and purpose. It's important that we discern God's plan and purpose in our lives and for different seasons in our lives. We must be able to discern God's will, God's voice or we will miss out.


About 5 months ago I had a similar experience on a much higher level. My decision to relocate was being questioned and rejected by the spiritual and business mentors in my life. However, I'd heard clearly from God to make the move, so proceeded to prepare, by faith, to go. It was causing all kinds of upheavel and changes, but I kept praying and moving forward. A week or two before my move I had a major clash with the primary spiritual leader in my life at the time. I left his office with a resounding headache unlike any other I've ever had. I'd always had God confirm what he was saying to me through this leader. So why not this time when it was of such major importance? I felt like my head was in a vice and I couldn't think. I knew it was the enemy, but I couldn't pray. It was 10:30 at night after Bible study. I finally cried out as I was driving to Walmart in my car, "Lord, I need to hear from you. Send someone who knows you AND knows me." (Sometimes the person may know God, but not know the work God is doing in your life. Other times, they may know you, but not know God. I needed someone who knew both.)


I called a couple friends. They were unavailable or asleep. As I walked through Walmart searching for the packaging tape I was looking for to seal up the moving boxes, I held my head and groaned audibly. A very friendly young man came up to me and greeted me. I recognized his face but didn't know his name. I'd never spoken with him before but he greeted me like a long lost friend. I was on the phone seeking comfort from a friend when this practical stranger greeted me and wouldn't leave me alone. I told him I'd get back with him once I got off the phone. The headache wouldn't leave and I couldn't think so I got off the phone and continued my search for the tape.


I ran into the young man again and he offered to help me find the tape. After seeking help from a sales associate for me, he led me to the tape in a rear aisle in the store. Immediately afterwards he started sharing his testimony with me. Within the first 5 minutes of sharing the vice around my head released. My headache was gone. He had my full attention because I knew immediately God was speaking to me. I stood there transfixed as I listened to him. He went from telling his testimony to speaking prophetically. I was in awe. He was confirming the things God had previously said to me and telling me of some things that God was about to do for me. I marveled at God and how he answered my prayer. I thought, "Wow God, you're awesome! You knew that no one really knew what you were doing in me, or that no one knows me like you do, so you came yourself to speak to me through a stranger!" It was a very special "moment" (the guy spoke to me that way for almost an hour and a half)!


So this morning as I reflected on what God did last night and as I remembered again the care of the Lord to send his messenger to speak to me at such a crucial time 5 months ago, it brought home how critically important it is for us to be careful to whom and how we listen. In both instances the people who were giving me godly counsel, were indeed giving me biblical (Logos) counsel, just not spiritually discerned counseled, or Rhema counsel. Good people, good words just not in the right season.

"Be quick to listen, slow to speak..." James :19a

Monday, November 29, 2010

He Waters My Soul

Psalm 63:1-8
O God, you are my God,
earnestly I seek you:
my soul thirsts for you,
my body longs for you,
in a dry and weary land
where there is no water.

I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.


Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
   __________________

What more is there to say?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thank You for Being You

Hi Friends,
I've been a bit swamped lately, but should have a post in the next few days. I've enjoyed reading your posts and leaving comments. I hope my comments haven't been too lengthy. It's my way of showing thoughtful appreciation for you sharing your heart.

There is one thing that's been on my mind that I hope to share in more detail soon and would like your feed back. All you are believers. How do we reach the unbelievers through our blogs? I realize I may have to create a new blog to reach them, but my heart is burning within me for us to do more to reach the lost through this medium. Any ideas?
Chat soon.

Beverly

Monday, November 1, 2010

UNITY

"Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic; love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing."   (1 Pet. 3:8, 9)


- Here again I am struck with the remembrance of Jesus' last prayer as recorded in John chapter 17, "May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." Paul's exhortation in 1 Cor. 13 also comes to mind, that the greatest of all the fruit of the Spirit is love.

- "Live in harmony with one another," Peter says. "Be sympathetic; love as brothers, be compassionate and humble." He tells us how to do it by not repaying evil with evil or trading insult for insult but rather with blessing. How are we doing? If we were to ask the world around us, "How are we doing?" By looking at our individual lives, I wonder what they would say? I think, sadly, we already know how they judge us as a whole. As I look around at all the churches on street corners, sometimes 3 and 4 on one corner, I wonder why we don't have more of an impact. Could it be failure to obey the above instruction? We fail to love one another? We fail to sacrifice ourselves for each other, as Christ did for us? Paul said in Phil. 2:3, "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others."

- We're still too sensitive. Still too caught up in our flesh. Still following the world where "I" am the center of the universe; where it's all about me. That's the opposite of Christ's example and teaching. We're still babes, where by now some of us should be more mature. Father, help us please.


Continuing in 1 Peter 3: 10-12:
"Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from evil speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

- Often God's promises are contingent on obedience to a command. Here he says if we would love life and see good days, we must refrain from evil speech. We must turn from evil and do good. We must SEEK peace and PURSUE it. This is continuous; a continuous dying to the flesh. We're in a marathon, not a sprint. We, the collective body of Christ, are in the Olympics, in case no one told you, and the world is our audience. In our race, many obstacles are thrown in our path to test our obedience, or to strengthen our faith and develop perseverance. When the other runners on the track push us or cause us to fall, how do we respond? Do we show sportsmanship or throw a tantrum? Do we get up and keep running as though it's just about us or care for any others that may have tripped and fallen or may have been hurt, like in Jesus' parable about the Good Samaritan?

- "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer." Ahhh, how that encourages me. He sees, He knows, He cares and He hears me. Whether man shows appreciation or not for the sacrifices, whether man understands or not, God does. It is He that we serve and desire to please. It is He who gives us the strength to keep going.

At the end of 1 Peter chapter 5, Peter instructs, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."

- Many of us know the first part of that popular verse well, that "your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion..." But there's strong encouragement in the second half of that verse. "RESIST him... STAND firm in the faith, BECAUSE... your brothers throughout the WORLD are undergoing the same kind of sufferings."


UNITY:
"Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
                              - Ecclesiastes 4:12

Friday, October 29, 2010

Oh, To Be Like Thee

"Oh, to be like thee, Oh, to be like thee,
Blessed Redeemer, pure as thou art.
Come in thy sweetness, come in thy fullness,
Stamp thine own image, deep on my heart."

"The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit."
                                     Proverbs 18:21

"God saw all that he had made
and it was very good."
                                  Genesis 1:31

God took the time after he had spoken and created the heavens and the earth to make man in his own image and breathe into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). No other part of his creation did he get as involved as in the creation of man and woman.
He also sent his only begotten Son to die for this man that he created, He loved him so.

My soul cries out the chorus of the old hymn above as I prepare for the debut of my book tonight. Lord, have your way.

I'm excited, but tempered. I'm excited about what God is about to do in the lives of men and women, especially that of African American men and women. There's a movement coming and I'm glad to be a participant with God, a vessel that he can use to help bring it about. I'm humbled and filled with joy that I can be an instrument of good tidings, of good news to a hurting people. "Oh say but I'm glad, I'm glad." (Another old hymn)

There's a lot that I can say on the subject, but I don't know that this is the forum for it right now. I just want to say, please pray for me. We're the family of God, the Body of Christ and there's a large segment of our body and in our country that needs understanding and healing.

Your comments are welcome.

God Bless.

If you're interested, you can tune in live at 8pm (eastern) tonight. New Vision International Ministries is interviewing me about the book and having a men's discussion panel. However, my heart is to see God move among the men and women in attendance- to spark change. www.nvim.org.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Immerse Yourself

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'" 1 Peter 1:13-15

1. "Prepare your minds for action...." How do you prepare your mind for action? I do so through meditation on the word of God and prayer. I would also add that confessing your faults/sins to a strong believer that can hold you accountable and intercede with you is also encouraged in the Word.

2. "Be self-controlled..." How can you be more self-controlled? Meditation on the word of God, self-reflection and prayer. I think it's important to assess your weaknesses and put guards up. If you don't learn from your previous mistakes, you're bound to repeat them.

3. "Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed." How do you do this? The key is to set your hope fully... YOU have to do that. No one else can do that for you. You have to soak yourself in the word and hope that Jesus prepared for us. You have to believe the Word first and believe the promises of the Word. Then fix your eyes on Jesus. Zone in as he did on the hope set before him that allowed him to endure the cross. We have to zone in on the hope set before us and not on our current circumstances, good or bad, it's not to be compared to what God has in store for us.

4. "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance." Think about what things had you bound before Christ, the sins that so easily entangled. Compare yourself to a child (for we really are children), what's your level of obedience? Again, you have to identify those weak areas and strengthen against them. I rehearse in my mind how I want to deal with certain things when they tempt me. I've identified my weak areas (and the devil knows them too) and though I recognize them and know I can be susceptible to them, I work on strengthening those areas and practice offensive and defensive manuevers. Frequently apostle Paul makes reference to the war in members or how the spirit wrestles with the flesh. This is a fight. Make up your mind not to conform or give in. We are a new creation.

5. "Be holy..." We are made holy through the blood of Jesus, however, now the word is telling us to BE holy, ie., to walk in holiness, to walk in obedience, to walk righteously.

Oh Lord,
"Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you."  Thank you for your Comforter. Thank you for your Word. Thank you that we are never alone. Thank you for your guidance. Thank you for your faithfulness, you never slumber and you never sleep. Thank you for your love, your mercy and your grace. Help us this day to walk as you would have us walk. Help us to be prepared in our minds, our spirits and bodies. Help us to walk by faith and not by sight today. Strengthen us so that we do not succumb to temptation, but walk in obedience to your word.


Because your love is better than life, we want our lips and our lives to glorify you.


In Jesus' name, Amen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prayer is a Dialogue

Without realizing it until today, the last year my prayer life has changed. I started out going on "prayer walks" because I found myself falling back to sleep on my knees in the mornings. I'd be so tired from not enough sleep and I really was hungry for more of God. The spirit was willing but the body was so weak. Evening prayers were always much better.

One day my cousin told me she went on prayer walks very early in the morning. I liked that idea and decided to try it. But instead of it being prayer walks for me, per se, they became praise walks. I'd just praise the Lord and then periodically break into speaking in tongues (prayer). Then I'd find a bench in a park and sit and watch the sunrise and bask in the glory of God and meditate on his goodness. Then I'd pray for a bit and read the Word. In the summer time it was great, but it was a little more challenging in the rain and in the winter when it was dark and cold. I still got up between 5:00 and 6:00 am and went out. I enjoyed our times together.

After I relocated I continued my praise walks, but a little later due to the area; the format remained the same. Something was slowly dawning in my spirit though. After my praise time and "prayer" I realized that I spent a lot of time in meditation, just listening to the Holy Spirit. When I caught a bad cold a few weeks ago and the weather here turned cold, I stopped going out on my praise walks. It just wasn't wise. However, I'm a little more conditioned now and I just ask the Lord to wake me up so we can have that time together and he's been gracious enough to do so.

One day last week I was in a rush and didn't take the time for meditation. I remember feeling as though I'd missed a step as when you're walking and you almost fall. Then today as I got up off my knees I realized something. The times of meditation are times when I'm actually listening to God for my instruction for the day. They're the times when He is speaking to me!

It reminded me of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24:13-31. The two disciples were walking and talking with Jesus and Jesus was explaining things to them and they didn't realize that it was Jesus that was actually there walking with them and breaking down the Scriptures to them until he sat down at the table to eat bread with them. Then their eyes were opened...

In Ephesians 6:18, Paul says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests..." I thought, prayer is listening to God just as much or even more so than speaking to God. The different types of prayers started running through my mind, petition, intercessory, prayer in tongues, but I hear little taught on the dialogue of prayer. Most of the time I hear folk talk about what they say to God, which sounds more like a monologue; whether that's praying God's Word, reminding him of his promises, binding and losing, interceding, but I don't hear to much about listening to God.

As Paul says, there are all kinds of prayers but I think we need to also remember to take the time to listen as fervently as we speak. Prayer is a dialogue. Let's practice listening too.


Help me to hear your heart Oh, God.
To listen to your heart beat.
To see your smile as you speak.
To see your tears as they fall for the lost.
Help me to hear your heart Oh, God,
as it breaks for your people who pass you by.
Help me to listen and help me obey.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Kicking Against the Goads?

     This weekend I almost felt like a recalcitrant child, I was so frustrated with things not going the way I wanted them to go. Have you ever picked up a child that's kicking and screaming because they're not getting their way? That's a little like how I felt within. But thankfully, it only lasts for a few minutes or half an hour or so before the voice of the Lord gets through to me and I calm my spirit down and say, "Yes, Lord, have your way." Anybody else ever feel that way?

     The Holy Spirit has been gently saying to me, "It's hard for you to kick against the bricks." (I know the Scripture says Goads and the KJV says, "pricks." I'm just telling you what came to my spirit. The message is the same.) The New Living Translation Bible says it this way, "...It is useless for you to fight against my will." (Acts 26:14)

     Why do we pray if we won't listen or take the time to listen? Thankfully, my little frustrations don't last long because my heart's desire really is to please the Lord and allow him to have his own way in and through my life. Often times, it's just that, like Saul, I sometimes don't recognize that it's Him trying to get my attention and guide me in a different direction.

      Remember the story of Balaam and the donkey in Numbers 22? The donkey stopped in the road three times because he saw what Balaam didn't see, the Angel of the Lord with his sword drawn to kill Balaam for his disobedience. But Balaam kept beating the donkey to move forward. Finally, God allowed the donkey to speak to Balaam to get his attention and then God opened Balaam's eyes so he too could see the Angel of the Lord ahead of him with his sword drawn to kill him. Scripture says Balaam "bowed low and fell on his face." 

     Many times during the course of our day or in seasons of our lives we won't understand why things aren't going the way we think they should; why things don't appear to be happening according to our time-line. It may be that we are even doing the "work of the Lord" but maybe not in the "time of the Lord" or in the "will of the Lord." That's a good time to Stop, Step back and Pray. (My version of the fire drill, Stop, Drop and Roll.) God is protecting us or trying to redirect our steps.

     Over the last several months there have been a number of topsy-turvy or challenging occurrences in my life ranging from seemingly small and irritating to life changing events and decisions. But each time I stopped, stepped back and prayed, God gave me his perspective on the situation and I got peace and strength to see them through and make the right choices. He is an incredible God.

     So if you find yourself today "kicking against the goads," STOP, STEP BACK & PRAY so God can share with you His will or simply give you His peace and grace to ride it through, make the right choice or turn and go in another direction.

     He believes in you and has great things in store for your life. "'I know the plans I have for you,'" declares the Lord, ' plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jer. 29:11)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

We Belong To Him: Do Your Happy Dance!

But you are a CHOSEN people,
a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD,
a HOLY NATION,
a people BELONGING TO GOD,
that you may DECLARE
the PRAISES of HIM
who called you out of darkness
into his wonderful light.

Once you were NOT a people,
but now you ARE the people of God;
once you had NOT received mercy,
but now you HAVE received mercy.

Dear friends I URGE you,
as ALIENS and STRANGERS
in this world,
to ABSTAIN from SINFUL DESIRES
which WAR against your SOUL.



Live such good lives among the pagans
that, though they accuse you of doing wrong,
they may see your good deeds and
GLORIFY GOD on the day he VISITS us.
                     - 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV, Capitalization added)

This passage just washes my soul and spirit. Doesn't it feel good to know that we are chosen?
Doesn't it feel good to know that we BELONG to God? We are His. In verse 4 of the same chapter it says, "...chosen by God and precious to him." I don't know about you but it makes me want to shout, Hallelujah and do a happy dance!

It doesn't matter where we've been or what we've done or how many times we've failed,
he's called us OUT of darkness into his wonderful light! Hallelujah!
Why? He's building a HOLY NATION. He's building a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD to represent him.
Why? So that "We can DECLARE HIS PRAISES" before a lost and dying world and continue to expand his kingdom and help others find life more abundantly as well.

We were NOT his people and there are many out there who still are not.
But now we ARE his people and we need to help others find their way.
We did NOT have his mercy and there are many who still do not.
But now we HAVE his mercy and we need to help others obtain it as well.

THEREFORE, therefore, we are urged to live as STRANGERS and ALIENS in this world.
Don't get too comfortable. Don't become ASSIMILATED and forget who you are.
Don't forget who you've become and to whom you belong.

ABSTAIN from SINFUL DESIRES that WAR against your flesh.
Fight them off. Don't allow them to stain your royal, priestly garments.
You are the temple of the holy God.

Live such a good life, a peaceful life, a Spirit-led life, an unselfish life, a servant-like life
among the pagans, the unbelievers, so that even though they may accuse you wrongfully,
even though they may hate you, they can't deny your good works.
Then when God visits, THEY will glorify God, they will recognize God, they will praise God,
they will receive God and become part of the chosen people of God.

Then they too will declare his praises and do a happy dance!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Are You Listening?

When I was about 20 or 21 years old, I was troubled and asked God one day, "You said that your sheep hear your voice. (John 10:27 KJV) I'm one of your sheep. How can I hear your voice?"  I was so busy at the time. I was working full time, had taken on a 19 credit course load in college and was the youth leader/minister at my church. I was stressed. I loved the Lord and was giving him everything I had and doing my best to please him. However, I was so stressed and though normally an A student, I got a D in my economics class. That's when I said, "Lord, I need to hear from you. Something is wrong." I was having a minor nervous breakdown.  I'd get alone at school sometimes and just stare out the window and up at the sky wondering what I was doing. Why were my thoughts not lucid? I'd even started stuttering when trying to communicate.

It was January in Massachusetts. I decided to take the next semester off and slow down the pace a little. I needed to hear from God for direction and because I believed God's Word, I set out to hear God's voice.  A friend of mine had a cabin up on a tree farm in Maine and he said I could go there for a little retreat. So I set off to find this cabin in Maine in 0 degree temperature. I was desperate. I was going away for three days to fast and pray and hear from the Lord.

It was quite an adventure. I got lost. The temperature dropped to below zero and I had to sleep in my car that night or get stuck in the 2 foot snow banks that lined the road. (This was before cell phones :-) The Lord was with me, however and kept me safe. The next morning I saw that where I'd slept was just a stone's throw away from the cabin, but there were no street lights up there and one wrong move and I'd have been stuck in the snow. Thankfully, he had a couple that stayed on the property to maintain it and I stayed with them for the weekend.

I fasted and prayed that weekend, but I didn't hear anything. I would have stayed longer but a snow storm was expected and they told me I'd be stuck there for 2-3 weeks if I didn't leave before it came. So I headed back home a little frustrated. "I need to hear from you, Lord," I cried.

The next week I heard a radio program about hearing from God. I don't remember any more what they said, but I filed it away mentally. That Saturday evening I decided to go shopping for a dress for my brother's upcoming wedding. I'd been unsuccessful so far and the wedding was in two weeks. I'd checked everywhere locally, so I decided to go to the neighboring state to a mall that I visited every now and then. On the way to the mall something interesting happened. I heard a voice say, "Turn around and go home." It wasn't an audible voice, it was in my head. Now, I had my mind set on shopping for this dress in Enfield, CT. Where was this "thought" coming from to turn around and go home? So I turned on the radio to distract me. The voice got louder. "Turn around and go home." I didn't want to "hear" that, so I turned the radio up louder. One more time I heard the voice insistently, "Beverly, turn around and go home." I cranked the music in the car at this point and the voice went away.

I went about my shopping, but did not find a dress. I was frustrated. I went all that way for nothing. On returning home that evening, I saw my mom sitting on the front stairs in the freezing cold weather in her nurses uniform. I was very concerned. It was the 1st week of February in Massachusetts. Need I say any more about how cold it was outside and it was night time. As I got out the car, my mom almost cried. She said, "Beverly, I've been sitting here praying, Lord please send Beverly home to open the door." She was locked out of the house. My mom worked two sometimes three jobs. She'd come home to get a couple hours sleep before going to her next job. I was mortified! The Lord had been speaking to me in answer to her prayers trying to get me to turn around and go home to let my mom into the house. I heard his voice, I just didn't want to at that time. I didn't like the message. It didn't fit in with my plans for the day.

That was a life changing experience for me. What if it had been more serious? What if it had been a life threatening situation and I didn't listen? I learned from that experience to hear God's voice and to obey it. That was almost 25 years ago.

I think of Samuel when he first heard the voice of the Lord. God called his name three times and on the third time, Eli realized it was God speaking to Samuel and told him, "Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, 'Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.'" There's a big difference between hearing and listening. I'd heard God's voice that day in the car, but I didn't want to listen or pay attention to it.

Recently during a conversation with a friend of mine, in response to something I must have said, he asked me, "How do you hear God's voice?" I shared the above story with him. Then he said, "A guy in my Sunday School class asked me how do I know God's voice and I didn't know what to tell him." I said, "If someone calls you for the first time on the phone, you won't recognize their voice, right? But after speaking with them repeatedly over time on the phone, after a while, soon as you hear the first word out of their mouth, you recognize who they are right?" "Right," he said. "I got it."

God speaks to those who are willing to listen. The more you listen, the more he speaks. Just as you can recognize your own mother or father's voice in a crowded room of people because of your relationship with them and the many discussions over time with them, develop your relationship with God. Instead of speaking all the time when you pray, making prayer a monologue, after you worship him, be quiet. Learn to listen. Get into his Word so that you recognize how he speaks. Satan speaks, you speak to yourself, there are so many voices in your mind. That's why it's important to get by yourself in a quiet place and seek the Lord and learn his voice. The Lover of your soul wants to speak with you.

"Come near to God and he will come near to you." James 4:8
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jer. 29:13
"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." Deut. 4:29

God wants you to seek him. Are you listening?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Did God Really Say...?

"This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it."  I just wanted to take a moment to lift up a praise before I get into what the Lord laid on my heart.

It's been a trying week with little sleep -
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I've been fighting off a chest cold for two weeks -
I will rejoice and be glad in it.



Felt overwhelmed with the circumstances encroaching upon me -
I will rejoice and be glad in it.
I have huge steps of faith to take and it feels a little scary -
I will rejoice and be glad in it!
Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!
I am more than a conqueror through Christ who gives me strength! Shout some praise!
==========================================================================

 


A brother in the Lord in giving me a review of my book, said, "Wow, this is great stuff, I needed to hear it....but is it really possible to live that way in today's world? Most people probably won't believe it. I probably wouldn't believe it possible myself if I didn't know you so well." In response to an underlying question that's being asked throughout my book, "Predator, Protector or Confused?," he said, "I've been a predator all my life, I was raised to be a predator, everyone that I know is a predator," as if to say, it's the norm, it's accepted, can I really be anything else?


When I awoke the next morning, the Holy Spirit said to me, "Did God really say...?" and he took me directly to Genesis 3:1 where the serpent said to the woman, "Did God really say...?" The prince of deception, Satan, his first words to mankind were, "Did God really say...?" He plants seeds of doubt. He makes us question what we heard from God, if we heard from God or if we heard correctly. He wants us to think that what God has said yesterday, doesn't apply to today. He makes it look ridiculous so that we rationalize our way out of obedience to God's Word.

The Bible said in the beginning of that same verse, "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the other wild animals the Lord had made." He didn't outright say, "God didn't say." He didn't refute what God said, he simply planted a thought of doubt as to whether you heard God correctly? Are you sure you got it right? That's much more insidious than to directly oppose the Word of God. Yes, he's crafty alright.


He had the woman adding to what God said and the man that God said it to, was right there and didn't even correct her.  The serpent said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden?'" (He knew very well God did not say that. He twisted it right there and the befuddled woman added to the mangled rendering.) The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, 'You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'"


That's when the serpent slithered in for the kill. He says, "You will not surely die...For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good from evil." He baited her and after she took the bait, he reeled her in with her own curiosity and ego.


His tactics hasn't changed. He's simply adapted them to fit each culture down through the ages.  Scripture says, "but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed." (James 1:14)  When we don't want to change, when it just seems too hard, when it's just going to cause too much disruption or make us uncomfortable, then we hear what we want to hear.  Did God really say...?  Because now in the light of day, now that I'm facing opposition, now that things aren't going the way I expected them too, I'm not so sure I heard right.  The devil is a liar and, "the heart is deceitful above all things..."(Jer. 17:9)


Many question the Bible. Even many Christians question and doubt some of the historical events, prophesies and commands in the Bible.
  • Did God really part the Red Sea for the Israelites?
  • How can God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit be One God (John 1:1-18)? 
  • Is God really giving new prophesies in the last days (Joel 2:28)?
  • Can no one really know the day or the hour that Christ shall return(Matt. 24:36-44)?  
  • If Jesus said, we  will do even greater works than he did because he was going to the Father (John 14), why aren't we seeing more of it?
  • Does God really want us to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44)? 
  • How can we be holy even as God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16)?  
  • How can homosexuality really be sin if I was "born" that way (Rom. 1:18-27)?  
The questions can go on and on?  But the bottom line is, Did God really say it?

Regardless of how ridiculous it may sound, how impossible, let go of your limited thinking. Believe in God and His Word. God is unlimited. We can't think as deep and as wide as He can. We can't see infinity. We can't even see tomorrow. Even the greatest minds of the past, present and those to come, if they were able to all come together and reason, their reasoning would be as foolishness in comparison to God's wisdom. (1 Cor. 1:19-25) For as far as the heavens are above the earth, so are God's ways and God's thoughts higher and beyond our ways and our thoughts. Their wisdom couldn't figure God out or out think Him.


So, if God said it, believe it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Be Encouraged

Hi Friends,

How's your walk today? Are you walking in victory or defeat? Hold your head up. Did you take time for breakfast (of your spirit) this morning to get the strength you need to face the fiery darts of today? Remember, it's they that "wait upon the Lord that shall renew their strength," and every day you need renewed strength to face the schemes of the enemy.

Imagine those on the front lines for us in Iraq and Afghanistan. They don't have time to dwell on yesterday's victories or defeats, because their enemies are not resting. No one rests until the war is over. Today, they have to fight for their lives afresh and so do you.

"Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer." 2 Timothy 2:3, 4.  One of the major strategies that Satan uses to distract us is one of busyness to take our eyes off of what is important. We all have to contend against this assault.  Life comes at us fast. Richard Foster in his insightful book, "Celebration of Discipline," (I highly recommend everyone who wants to grow in their walk with Christ to read this book,) quotes a monk who once said, the busier his day, the more time he has to spend in the morning to hear from God. In our culture today we do the opposite and that's why at the end of the day we feel so defeated. The more hectic your schedule, the heavier your work load, the more nourishment you need to see you through. Wouldn't you agree?

Remember, you are not alone.  No trial, "no temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it." (1 Cor. 10:13)

Hebrews 11 recounts numerous saints that have fought the good fight before us. Hebrews 12:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Verse 3, "Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Be encouraged. You are not alone.

Take a break to recoup and rebuild your strength if you failed to do so this morning or simply need more strength to face the rest of the day. Take a spiritual lunch break or 15 minute break to regroup (pray) and sharpen your sword to fight the remaining battles of the day. Don't be deceived. Be ever watchful. Your enemy is on the prowl. But smile; square your shoulders, lift your chin in faith, pray, sing or hum a song of praise and recall the Word of the Lord that you've hidden in your heart. You must make a conscious effort to employ these weapons of the spirit.  Now charge!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking by Faith or In Fear?

2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (NKJV)

Recently, I was privy to a discussion among Believers in a Bible study setting and they were talking about the escalation of crime in the surrounding areas and of the precautions they were taking. For about 20-30 minutes they recounted the various shootings and deaths that had taken place recently and how they can't even feel safe when their children's friends visit their homes, etc.

Let me first say that I understand and that we must use wisdom. However, my response was a little different. I felt as though all the talk of what the enemy was doing was generating fear which puts us, as Believers, on the defensive and not on the offensive as I believe we should be as children of God. I don't know about you, but I'm sick of being put on the defensive.

As I shared with them, God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Furthermore, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. Yes, we must use wisdom, but my fear is not the enemy, but that we as God's children, as the Church, as the Body of Christ, are cowering instead of attacking. We're succumbing to the schemes of Satan not destroying them. We've become too much of a social club. It bothers me that we can have churches on so many corners and little change in the communities around us. We're weak. We have a lot of programs but little power.

Doesn't your heart cry out? My prayer on January 1st this year was, "Lord, teach me to walk in the power of your Holy Spirit." I want to grow to the next level. When I think of the power houses of the Bible, they were ordinary men and women that God used to bring about change in the earth. They had to face the evils of their day and overcome them. Remember the Israelite army and how they cowered before Goliath and the Philistines in 1 Samuel 17? God used a boy, David, with no military experience, but he had personally experienced God's power in helping him to destroy a lion and a bear. He was full of faith in God to help him destroy this giant as well.

Remember Gideon? He was scared at first to do what the Lord was telling him to do, so he did it at night when his family and the men of the town were not watching. But God saw something in Gideon and used him mightily. Remember Jesus' disciples? They were bold and strong when Christ walked with them, but they all fled when Jesus was arrested and crucified. When the Holy Spirit came upon them, however,  in Acts 2, they received power to change the world around them. Some did so boldly through the preaching of the good news. Some did so through giving, some through prayer, some through hospitality, but all that received the power of the Holy Spirit were moved by the Spirit to share the good news through whatever gift the Holy Spirit had given them and make a difference in the Kingdom of God.

We're in the last days. We are not a defeated church, we are a victorious church. Our minds must be renewed and we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit to fill us with the power we need to be able to stand and do His work in these last and evil days. Ephesians 6:10 (NIV) says,

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything, to stand."

Pray for what God would have you do, then pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to enable you to do it. Every day we're in a battle. Satan is seeking whom he may devour and he uses our loved ones, our co-workers, our friends, our neighbors, rush hour traffic, or circumstances that occur throughout the day. Remember, we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Don't be ignorant of the devil's schemes. But know this, you are more than a conqueror, for greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world! Walk by faith and not in fear.
Soar

Friday, September 10, 2010

Unselfish


As I was thinking of my nephew, Aundre, today tears came to my eyes and I thought of all those who've lost love ones and how they must feel. My heart went out to them. I am happy for my nephew because he is with the Lord, but for those left behind we miss him.

My thoughts then travelled to our lives. Who will miss us if we were suddenly taken from this earth? What kind of impact are we making? Will they just miss our presence, our love, the good times or will they think about how our lives changed theirs? We have one life to live. We ought to live it wisely.

Then I pondered the purpose of life, for how can we live life wisely if we don't know the purpose? My Bible tells me that we were created to worship God and to glorify His name. It is in doing so that we find love, for God is love. It is in worshiping the Lord and getting into His presence that we find purpose and joy. It is in Him that we live and breathe and have our being. It is in Him that we live free from fear, free from bondage, free from jealousy and hatred. It is as we worship Him and learn to dwell daily in His presence that we find true life and life more abundantly. Therefore, to live wisely is to learn to worship and glorify God.

The example of the nation of Israel throughout the Old Testament (the old covenant) is an example of what happened when you worshipped God and when you didn't. For repeatedly it is mentioned in the New Testament (the new covenant) that what happened to the Israelites happened to them as examples to the nations and to us. Jesus, who established the new covenant, is the ultimate example of how to worship God today.

Jesus' example was one of obedience and service. He was a living sacrifice and the final sacrifice of atonement for our sins - once and for all. His "unselfish" and obedient act of love paid for our sins and redeemed us so that we can once again become all that God intended for us to be. We can now truly become the "sons and daughters" of God.

Philippians 2:1-11(NIV) gives an incredible depiction of the story of Christ and God's expectation of us and I'd like to share it with you. (All italics and coloring are not part of the original text.)

"If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ,
if any comfort from his love,
if any fellowship with the Spirit,
if any tenderness and compassion,
then make my joy complete by being like-minded,
having the same love,
being one in spirit and purpose.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit,
but in humility consider others better than yourselves.
Each of you should not look only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others."


"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!"


"Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every other name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."

That's it ladies and gentlemen. That's it in a nutshell. Jesus' example of love and life, was one of obedience to the Father and loving sacrifice. As a result, he's changed the entire course of man and history and he wants to continue to do so through us. How are you living? What will be said of your life? Life (in Christ) and love is unselfish. Become a living sacrifice.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

How is Your Light?

The last few days I've been pondering Jesus' words, "You are the light of the world." Today that passage lit up my soul.

Let's first examine light. When you turn ON light or a lamp it dispels the darkness, it illuminates a room so that people can see what's in the room and so that you can find your way around the room without bumping into things and hurting yourself right? In the New Testament era, there was no electricy, so lamps were used and lamps are mobile. They were held in front of you so that you could see where you were walking or in the home, they were carried from room to room as needed then put on a stand.

Picture with me millions of lamps lit throughout the world. Picture New York, Washington DC, Beijing, China or New Delhi, India at night with all the lights aglow as you watch as from a mountain or the highest point of the city. That's us in the spirit realm. Some are bright lights, some are dim lights. Some are big lights and some are small lights. Some are street lights shining for all who pass by while some are only lit in their home. We are the LIGHT of the world. If we turn our lights OFF what good are we? Imagine an electrical black out after a storm with thousands in darkness; no candles or kerosene lamps available. How horrid right?

The Son of God came to give light to a spiritually dark world. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12) However the Light of God needs vessels or lamps to house the Light of God. That's us. For it is written, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ...We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us." (2 Cor. 4:6, 7)

We are the lamps, the vessels that house the light of God and that bring light to a dark world. So how is your light? Is it lit? Are you shining in this world of spiritual darkness? Can anyone follow your light to get out of darkness? Can they see Christ in you? The next question is, "Is your light bright or growing dim?"

"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."

If you want to have the light of Jesus to illuminate your heart and life and get rid of the darkness of your sin, pray this prayer with me:

"Father, I have sinned. I am not worthy of you. But you said, that if I confess my sins you are faithful and just and will forgive me of all my sins and purify me of all unrighteousness. Forgive me and cleanse me now, Father, I pray. Let the light of Jesus Christ shine in my heart so that I can see and so that I may live as one of your vessels, as one of your children, and become a light in this dark world, in Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

If this blog has been a blessing to you, please be an encouragement to me and let me know. The Lord be with you.

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Don't Want To

My three year old nephew walks around saying, "I don't want to..." for almost everything. "I don't want to eat that. I don't want to walk. I don't want to go that way. I don't want to go to sleep. I don't want to watch that..." he says. So on Saturday I said to him, "Just because you don't want to doesn't mean you don't HAVE to. There's a lot of things Auntie doesn't want to do as well, but I have to do them anyway."

Then Sunday morning an associate pastor preached a message he entitled, "I Don't Want To." My sister, the mother of my three year old nephew, turns and looks at me and laughs. We both softly mouthed her son's name. At the end of the message however, I substituted my name for her son's name. I thought I've been pretty obedient to the Holy Spirit. There's a lot that I do that I don't want to do, especially in recent months. There's a lot that the Lord asks me to do that I don't want to do in my flesh but that I do anyway. But the Holy Spirit was prodding me, convicting me and saying to me, "There's more and it's on-going."

I went to bed around 1:30am this morning and the Holy Spirit woke me up at about 5:45am to pray. I said, "I don't want to get up yet." Then I remembered the message yesterday. What's more ongoing however, is something the Lord reminds me of every now and then when I don't want to do something He's telling me to do. He says, "Didn't you tell me that you would do whatever I asked you to do?" He gently reminds and rebukes me. It gets me moving to do His will when my flesh says, "I don't want to."

Romans 12:1 is also ever present in my mind, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as LIVING SACRIFICES, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." Can I be transparent here? God forgive me if I'm wrong for saying this, but sometimes I think it would be easier for me to just die one time and be over with it than to continue to be a LIVING SACRIFICE. I suppose this is along the lines of Paul's struggle in Philippians 1:21-23 where he says, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain...I am torn between the two. I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far, but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body." Well, let me temper my little diversion here by saying, that I do rejoice in the honor that is mine to serve Christ and explore the depths of having life more abundantly. It's exciting really, but dying daily to my flesh is not easy, i.e., "offering myself as a living sacrifice" is not easy; it's just worth it.

Sometimes.....
I don't want to wake up early,
but I'm always glad to wake up.
I don't want to get up and pray,
But Oh, how sweet it is when I press my way into His presence.
I don't want to read the Word of God,
But Oh, how sweet it is when He speaks to me through it.
I don't want to worship Him,
But it is the "garment of praise" that lifts the "spirit of heaviness."
I don't want to talk to people,
But I learn so much and grow when I do.
I don't want to eat right,
But it keeps me out of the doctor's office.
I don't want to forgive,
But God won't forgive me if I don't forgive others.
I don't want to face conflict,
But blessed are the peacemakers.
I don't want to...........

How am I any different from my three year old nephew? I do it anyway. Because love motivates me to be obedient. After all, it's not about me. It's about glorifying His name.

Every time my flesh says, "I don't want to...," to God, it's a test of my faith or trust and obedience to him.
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers,
whenever you face trials of many kinds,
because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.
Perseverance must finish its work
so that you may be mature and complete,
not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do You Know Your Purpose?

"When purpose is not known, misuse is inevitable" -Walter Charles.  It's a simple but powerful quote I've borrowed many times. Along those lines, I want to share with you a couple points of a message that an evangelist named Elder LeBaron Hedgemon from Meridian, MS brought to the youth this weekend at First Cathedral Church. He titled his message: "I Can See Clearly Now."

He began by saying you have to "See your life from a kingdom perspective" and to do so we need to see a few points clearly:

  •  You have to see clearly your PURPOSE,

  •  You have to see clearly your PARTNERS,

  • You have to see clearly your POSITION, and

  • You have to see clearly your PROMISE.
Now there's no way I can repeat the entire message to you in this forum, but there are a few thoughts on it I'd like to share with you. In fact it relates so well to my book, "Celebrating Men- Predator, Protector or Confused" and a relative passage that also comes to mind, "Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but happy is he who keeps the law." (Prov. 29:18, NKJV)

If you don't have revelation of your purpose, you won't hook up with the right parnters, you won't have understanding of your current position or season and you won't obtain God's promise(s). Having said all that and believing the latter part of the verse quoted above, "happy is he..," it still isn't easy.

Now not knowing your purpose leads not only to misuse as Walter says, but often to disaster. Even simply knowing your purpose is not enough, but it's a start. It is as the AA and multi-step rehab programs for addictive behavior teach, "you have to first acknowledge you have a problem." In knowing your purpose, that's only the first step, but the most pivotal one. If you don't know your purpose you roam through life without aim, or it's like going on a long trip without a map or a plan on how to get there.

I really like how Elder Hedgemon outlined the process. There are partners along the way who work with you in different seasons of your life. You have to know who these people are; some are quite unlikely and even unwelcome. He used the example of how even Judas was a partner in the plan of God to facilitate the salvation of man through Christ Jesus. How does that saying go, "keep your friends close and your enemies closer..." or something like that? He also insightfully used the illustration of Peter, one of Jesus' closer disciples, as being a partner with the enemy at one given time when he tried to stop Jesus from going to the cross. When you know your purpose you're alert to those who come in and out of your life. Who's consciously or unconsciously partnering with God's plan for your life?

Then what position are you currently in? The journey is part of the developmental process to fulfilling your purpose. The journey is part of your purpose.

If we get in alignment with God's purpose for our life His promise is: Life more abundantly and eternal life. Who doesn't want a more abundant life or a happy eternal life?

As I write this blog, I'm reminded of my book, Celebrating Men. The focus in the book is primarily on men, of course, but the course I recount is applicable to all. God has a purpose for your life.

**You can check out my website for further info on the book, Celebrating Men at http://www.bnilesbooks.com/.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Martha, Martha...

This world is so loud. How can we hear God among the constant flow of voices and constant bustle of activity? Is it any wonder stress and anxiety govern so many lives?

God wants our attention and sometimes if he has to knock us flat on our backs or allow us to fall to get it, He'll do just that.

[How sweet it is to hear his voice and how sweet it is to be in his presence. No other voice or fellowship can compare. Draw me Lord, keep me near.]

The Martha Syndrome: "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'

'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken from her.'"


Sometimes you have to cut the music, hire a babysitter, cut the TV off, stop the texting, turn off the cell phone and get away by yourself...de-bug yourself if you will, so you can hear clearly from God. Scared? Some people are because they don't know what to do with silence. However, you can often hear God better in the quiet. Jesus often left the crowd and his disciples to get off by himself so that he could talk with his Father. If he did, how much more do we need to?

I've often said, one of the primary ploys of the devil is to keep us so busy, so occupied with activity that we don't have time to hear from God or spend time with our Heavenly Father. Everybody, everything else captures our prime time and when we get around to it, we give him our leftovers or our hasty snatches of the morn. We give him so little, but expect so much. We miss our way.

[How sweet it is to hear his voice. How sweet it is to be in his presence. No other voice or fellowship can compare. Draw me Lord, keep me near.]


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 4:6)