Tag: Bible

Googling God part 3

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I believe God is speaking all the time. Are you willing to listen?

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When you have tuned into God’s frequency, (see last 2 posts) and invited the Holy Spirit to silence other noise and lead you into hearing Him; be prepared to be blown away!

I also believe when He says something, it’s important enough to write down.  First, so you don’t forget it.  Next, to check to be sure what you heard is really from God.

hand-453220_640How can you know if what you hear IS from God or some other voice?

When you believe you have heard from God regarding a situation in your life, or direction you should take, or a decision you have to make, put the answer to these 3 tests:

question-mark-40876__3401 – Does it agree with what God has already said in His Word?

question-mark-40876__3402 – Will it produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and those around you?

question-mark-40876__3403 – Will it draw you closer to God in your relationship with Him?

 

You are looking for 3 yes answers to confirm what you have heard is from God.

If you hit a no, I would urge you to go back to God and ask again, making sure you have invited the Holy Spirit to guide you into truth.

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Do you know what God already has said on the subject, and does it agree with what you think you are hearing?  God will not contradict Himself.

For instance, if you know that God has said “do not steal” then you can be sure that the voice telling you to steal what you need is not from God.

solution-2480514_640So, look in the Bible.  Again, God will never tell you something contrary to what He has already said in His Word.  You can use a Concordance – a list of words used in the Bible and where they are found.  There’s one in the back of many Bibles, or online.

If you need help, a Christian friend or pastor can help you find scripture dealing with your topic. Be sure you find what the Bible says, not just what you think it says.  For instance, “God helps those who help themselves” is NOT in the Bible.   Neither is “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”

If there is nothing on your topic, or you are unsure, ask God to reveal the truth of your matter to you.

James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it shall be given.”

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Is the anticipated result in the situation the Fruit of the Spirit?

 

James 3:14-17 tells us the wisdom of the flesh will produce envy, selfish ambition, disorder and every evil practice.  And that the wisdom from heaven is pure, peace-loving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit.

Galatians 5:19-23 also outlines what is produced.  The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, gentleness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control.

solution-2480514_640You are looking for how it will affect your situation, the people around you, your relationships. Of course, you can’t predict the future, but you can usually be reasonably sure which way the outcome is leaning.

So, what will be produced by you following what you believe God is telling you to do?

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Will it draw you closer to God asks about the condition of your heart.

 

I believe EVERYTHING we do either benefits your relationship with God, or weakens it.

solution-2480514_640Ask yourself:  Does this benefit my relationship with God?

Will it help me become more like Jesus?

If the answer is No, pray for the strength to say “No” to whatever you have heard.  It is not from God.

Philippians 4:13 God has promised “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.”

If all 3 are “Yes” then commit your way to the Lord and thank Him for direction.

 

YIELD  sheet

Here’s a worksheet to get your thoughts down on paper and see how what you are hearing lines up with scripture, what it will produce, and how it will affect your relationship with God.

 

 

My concern

 

 

What I think God is telling me

 

 

What Scripture says

 

 

What will it produce

 

Will it benefit my walk with God?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Googling God

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The perfect answer to all your questions

The answer to your search for direction, peace, power, purpose

A perfect “wireless” connection that is never out of service, out of range, broken, interrupted by weather conditions, satellite position, or earthly circumstances

If you are seeking directions for how to fix something or the answer to a trivia question, if you’re like my kids, you automatically go to Google.

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We might be watching a movie and my husband says – “Isn’t she the same actress that was in…”  And I say “No honey, that was another person.”  My son immediately, in the middle of the movie, pushes pause, and picks up his phone to “google” the answer.  Issue solved.

No more discussion.  No argument.  The facts are confirmed in a few seconds.

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Don’t you wish you had access to answers for the important questions in your life? As easily as that?

Can you imagine saying “Google, who should I marry? Google, what should I be? Google, where should I live? Google, why am I here?”

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Truth is, we already have a connection to the God of the Universe – who created the earth, the stars, the cosmos and everything in it.  He also created us: you and me.  And He has wisdom about you and me that He is willing to share, if we just ask.

 

James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask of God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”

To get Google’s answer, you have to have an internet connection and a way to receive that signal.

I believe God is speaking to us, or sending out His signal, all the time, through His Word, His Son, His Creation, and our circumstances, among other ways.  His is a constant, uninterruptible, full-strength signal.  But we need to be receiving it to hear.

God has given us, built into us, a receiver to hear Him.  It’s our spirit.  We are all made up of body, mind and spirit.  As a believer, we have the Holy Spirit within us who helps hear Him even better.  And the Holy Spirit helps us understand what we hear.

  • hurry-2119711_640Try setting aside some time daily or weekly to get alone, to just be still and listen to what God might have to say to you.

Start the conversation with a thank you or a question and then quiet yourself.  For some people it helps to be outdoors without the distractions of the house or apartment.  For others, a quiet room works.

Don’t expect to hear a physical voice, although it can happen.  Ask the Holy Spirit to help you sense what God is saying.

  • Observe what is around you.  If outside, are there birds, trees, flowers, clouds, mountains, water, some piece of God’s creation that might have a message for you?  What do you see that shows you something about yourself, or about God?  If inside look at the art, the colors, the items and check any memories or feelings they evoke.

Do you need a fresh look at an area of your life or help dealing with emotions that may have surfaced?  Do you see something outside yourself that reflects some inner truth?

  • hand-453220_640Read your Bible.  Start reading and read until you hear something that resonates with something you are going through – a message of instruction, or encouragement, or a revelation about yourself or God.  A verse may stand out with a new significance or understanding than it has had before.  Or it may shine a light that gives you a new perspective.

Ask what this means.  And what it means to you.  Is there something you need to do, or stop doing with this new understanding?

  • Talk to God.  You can say anything to Him.  Whisper your fears, yell your frustrations, rage against your circumstances.  He can take it all.  Pour out your heart about what you are facing.  Ask for His perspective.  Or for clarification on an issue.

Then pause to hear His answer.  Do you need a change of attitude?  A course correction? Do you hear a word of encouragement?  Direction?  Or feel a sense of comfort?

Nature, the Bible and prayer are some of the ways God speaks.  It might also be through a church sermon, or a book, movie or podcast.  It could be through a trusted friend, a stranger or situation.  And the answer may not be immediate.  Keep listening.

What works best for you?  Is there a place?  A time of day or night?  It doesn’t always have to be the same.  God is broadcasting.  And I believe He has a message just for you.  Will you “tune in”?

Next time we’ll talk about how hearing works with our physical and spiritual ears.

 

If a Rose needs support – do I – Part 2

rosetrellisI’ve discovered putting a mature rose bush on a trellis can be a thorny and painful process.

Especially when the branches are heavy with blossoms and when the winding arms have already started down a path contrary to the direction I want them to go.

It’s the same with me. I’m the rose bush.

When I’ve been going my own way for a while, it takes more effort to change direction. To be willing to bend to the new way – even if I know it will benefit me in the long run.

 

 

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My trellis is the Bible. It’s the firm, never changing, God-inspired framework that guides and supports my life.

Often I know what I should do in a situation because the Bible is clear on its teaching. And I’m familiar with what it says. In these cases I don’t even have to think about my decisions.

Those instances seem natural to me. There’s comfort and support in the sturdiness of the framework that backs me. It helps bear my weight . And I lean on its structure as I grow.

Other times I come upon a verse that says something new to me and I feel a conviction to make a change in my attitude or behavior that causes some discomfort as I align myself to the structure of the trellis. That particular scripture becomes a sticking point for me that lifts me up, giving me guidance and new direction.

20180623_161520And then sometimes, there is a greater challenge. Without much thought, I allow myself to stray in a direction that feels freeing at first. It may be that other people are going that way and I think it would be fun.

But further down the path I see it leading me in a direction that takes me away from what I know is good. And I have to make a hard choice.

Sometimes it means making a U-turn and I have to bend over backwards to come back into alignment. That’s uncomfortable as I pull away from the people and activity I had joined. Uncomfortable because I want people to like me. And I want to be known as reliable and trustworthy, not fickle and inconsistent.

On rare occasions though, a U-turn isn’t possible. I simply have to cut off the branch entirely and discard the pieces that went in the wrong direction. This brings fear and embarrassment. Fear of what other people will think of me. They may question my choice, tease me, call me names, or talk badly about me behind my back. It hurts when I feel rejected.

Embarrassing because I made a bad choice and got myself into something I didn’t anticipate and couldn’t handle. These occasions are sticky, thorny situations. They are painful.

Painful because of the rejection I feel, but also a loss. I grieve the time and effort and resources wasted. And I grieve the loss of the relationships and doing something I enjoyed, at least for a while.

Fastening even one branch of a rogue rose bush to a trellis can be a painful chore. Its thorns scratch and grab at my sleeves, causing little snags or tears in the fabric. Sometimes they scratch and grab at me, leaving the skin on my arms full of small, bloody reminders of my efforts.

In my own life, redirection or pruning can cause just as much soreness and pain.

climbing-roses-1431123_640I haven’t finished the rose bush project yet. But as with my own life, we’re both works in progress. Thankfully my Gardener has a beautiful plan for me. With His endless patience and boundless grace He won’t give up on me no matter the scratches.

I love gardening.

And I love my Gardener!

 

If a Rose needs support – do I?

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I bought a trellis for my rose bush this weekend.

It’s for its own good.

It gives stability for the plant’s long, gangly branches that hang down to the ground. And it provides a framework to display its beauty.

But does the rose understand what I’m doing for it?

Does it resent being tied to a frame – limiting its growth to one direction or one plane? Is it grateful for the support? The stability it offers? Will it feel different from the other plants that don’t get that kind of support?

 

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This project caused me to think about my life and how I am like a rose bush

I want to have the freedom to go in any direction I choose or feel led. But do I need a trellis?  And would that look like for me?

 

 

book-1936547_640For me, the Bible gives me guidance, structure, some might say wisdom. But do I see it as wisdom and embrace it willingly? Always? Or sometimes, do I see it as restriction, leading me in a limited path that seemingly restricts my freedom?

 

I would love to say I embrace it all the time. But I have fought it, tried to get around it, occasionally wondered what my life would be had I taken a different path.

I hope, with the support of the trellis, my rose bush will stand tall, displaying its beauty and fragrance for all to enjoy.

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And I hope my life will be the same. That God will be my gardener. And that I will embrace His Word to direct, guide, encourage, support and strengthen me whenever and however I need it. So that I will stand tall, displaying His honor and His grace for all to see.

 

Memorial Day

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Having recently lost my Father, who was an officer in the United States Army, this Memorial Day feels much more personal.

 

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I was raised with lots of parades and military air shows with troops marching in formation. It was a reminder that freedom is not free. That the wonderful country I lived in was made free by the strength of the force of the living military and the blood shed by past soldiers.

 

bastille-1296479_640Until I was made aware of the oppression of people in other parts of the world, I took for granted that I was born to parents who loved me, provided for me; in a country where education was free and for everyone, and where I could choose to be whatever I was willing to put in the work to become, marry who I wanted to, and have children as I wanted to.

In the Bible, there is a Hebrew word “zakar”. It means “to remember, to recall, or call to mind. It’s not just a passive recall, but an active commemoration. It can even mean to re-enact, to bring the event remembered to the forefront of your mind, to focus intently upon it, to see it clearly and appreciate its significance appropriately through the enlightened perspective of time.” Teaching by Bill Bullock a Torah Teacher.

That expanded meaning of remember challenges me. Why is it I can remember toothpaste or cereal jingles from my childhood, but I can’t remember significant events that impacted my life? Or conversations that steered me towards a better path, or kept me from bad decisions? Or prayers that were answered bringing my father safely home to our family?

ebenezerThe Israelites would often set up a stone or pile of stones to commemorate significant events. I can do the same with a piece of art, or jewelry, a song, poem or picture. I can place things on my desk or in my home or yard so that when someone comments on it, I can tell the reason for its significance.

 

What do you need to remember, commemorate? How will you do it?

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