Tag: God Speaks

Through Nature – God Speaks

The air was still, and cold enough to make your breath visible. There was a crispness in the crunch heard underfoot. The panorama of clear blue sky, bright shining sun, frigid lake and majestic mountains lay ahead like a still life watercolor. The one newly added element of beauty: a crystal, sparkling cover of frost on everything close to the ground.

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Just yesterday, each individual blade of grass stood erect at attention, solid in its color, shape and form. Broad leaves on the grapevine fanned out, completely concealing clusters of heavy, ripe fruit. Tiny blossoms on the ground cover delicately looked up to form a carpet of color.

Beautiful? Yes. But this morning, the frost gives a fantastic surreal quality to the whole scene.

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The cold has caused everything to bow down.

The tall blades of grass, still firm at their bases, are bent low in their length, all in a similar posture. The grape leaves droop from the stem, revealing bountiful clusters beneath. The small flowers, already low to the ground bend in humble submission. And yet, in this portrait of prostration, this vista of genuflecting humbleness, there is an exalting of each individual entity.

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The frost has covered and completely encased each blossom, each leaf, each blade of grass, redefining its shape and form in glittering beauty. The special uniqueness of each stands out and is magnified in glistening profile by the sun! What a picture of being humbled, but exalted, of bowing low, yet being lifted up!

Scripture tells us that one day every knee will bow, and for those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift them up. This very scene is played out in nature for us to see and appreciate.

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It’s as if the plants represent us: bowing in the presence of our Lord. The frost is like the Holy Spirit on those who are believers. His light will shine on us and define us with a beauty that surpasses our own and exalts us in His presence.

 

This magnificent scene, so uplifting in its beauty, was short-lived; lasting only a few minutes before the heat from the bright shining sun took its toll on the icy beauty..

The image it created in my mind of what is to come will be with me always.

I remain grateful that through nature…God speaks.

More Lessons – from the Pool Boy

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Like I said last week: God is always so gracious and faithful to meet me where I am.  This time, He met me as I was The Pool Boy

Life is like a swimming pool. We want to share our lives with others, but God showed me that, like a pool, we need to keep up the maintenance

Read the last post to see the first 2 lessons: You have to Skim and You have to Go Slow.

Here are 2 more things He taught me as I  enjoyed my day outside cleaning the pool.

 

 

3 – Don’t let go of your pole!

PoolboyPolePool poles have a tube within a tube to help you push debris to the drain, usually in the deep end you can’t otherwise reach.  It telescopes to be hidden when you don’t need it, and pulls out to extend your reach.  There will always be places in your pool that are beyond your reach, even with a pole.

It will be a temptation to give the underwater piles a little extra “push” to get them all the way to the drain in one pass.  Doing this almost always causes you to overstretch your reach, and move your hand down to the very tip-end of your pole.  Don’t do it!

So slippery when wet, it’s very easy to lose your grip on the pole and drop it off into the water.  It will keep going down in the last direction your pushed it; probably all the way to the bottom of the deepest part.  And you will have to go in after it; with all the dirty leaves and dead things.  Your presence in the water will stir up everything you’ve already swept, and you’ll have to wait even longer till it settles again and start over.

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So use your pole – and don’t let go!

Don’t let go of the tools God has given you to handle life’s difficulties: prayer, praise, His Word, the Holy Spirit, other believers.  Problems have a way of overlapping into more than one area of your life.  These tools will extend your reach and help you get a handle on whatever lies at the bottom. Be prepared to reach into every area where problems may be: attitudes, relationships, behavior.

4 – Plan to cover twice

Things re-settle.  Often, the eddies and underwater wave action will carry things farther than you think, not where you want them.  So plan to go back over areas a second time.  Sometimes brushing in one place will cause something to be pushed into an area you already swept.  So you need a second pass.

pool-3515225_640In life, often one problem stirs up other issues.  Or as the details of circumstances settle, there are loose ends that need attention.  Issues need to be revisited to be sure what was agreed upon has actually turned out the way it was intended.  And sometimes problems arise not from the actual issue, but with the resulting emotional responses to what has happened or changed.  Review the events and results yourself, and if need be, with other people involved in the issue.

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In life, as in swimming pools, everyone enjoys an inviting, refreshing, clear place to be.  To relax, to relate, to have fun.

Even with the storms of life, you can be that place for others who can them be a blessing to you.

Grab your tools.

Be the Pool Boy!

Lessons from The Pool Boy

God is always so gracious and faithful to meet me where I am.  Even in doing mundane tasks, like pulling weeds or sorting laundry, He teaches me about life.

This morning, I am spending some time outside, and I am: The Pool Boy.

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Everybody enjoys an inviting, refreshing swimming pool; with calm sparkling water, where you can see clear to the bottom.

It’s such a delight to slip right in and slide through the water – or cannon ball in, creating a big splash!

 

But few people are eager to enter when they can see dead tarantulas and scorpions on the bottom, leaves and dust clouding the water, and lifeless mosquitos and dragonflies floating on the top.

Pools require care to maintain.  And so it is in our lives.

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Rains, winds and storms come.  What blows around, settles down.  And it makes a mess, dumping dirt, leaves, insects and trash into your pool.

 

The storms of life, too, leave messes in their wake.  Disappointments, missed opportunities, broken dreams, ruined relationships, tragedies; all create stuff for us to deal with.

Here are 2 lessons I learned from being the Pool Boy that have an application in how to handle life.

1 – You have to skim often

You have a skimming net and a pole.  With it you scoop and dispose of the floating debris off the surface – the little things, light and easy to skim.  Because, what you don’t deal with as floaters, become sinkers.  You’ll have to deal with them sometime, and it’s easiest now.  On the surface, you can get to them with the least amount of effort.  Plus, it lets you see what’s on the bottom more clearly

Eventually, what doesn’t get skimmed off the top, will make its way to the bottom, lay there and rot.  Sinkers have to be pushed to the drain to get to the filter and go through it to be cleaned out.  And sinkers can gum up the works.

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In life, whenever you can, deal with the little things while they’re still “little things.”  Those annoyances, irritations, things that make you lose your focus or your ability act with kindness and generosity, can often be dealt with easily if nipped in the bud.  If not, they can become major issues that are much more difficult to deal with.  

 

Think of something in your life that’s bothersome.  Is it something that could become a bigger problem of you don’t deal with it now?  Even though we may not like confrontation, clearing the air in a situation or relationship can save you trouble farther down the road.

2 – You have to go slow

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A brush on a long pole helps you brush the sides and the bottom to guide the dirt and sinkers along to the drain.  And you have to go very slow.  Every movement in water creates eddies and currents – underwater waves.

Going fast just stirs up everything.  Then you have to wait for it all to settle again before making another pass.  If you go slow, you can gently push the problem debris to the drain to get sucked into the filter.

It’s tempting to want to brush fast, and use more force, like sweeping a floor.  But that won’t get you what you want, and you’ll end up making a bigger mess and causing yourself more delays.

In circumstances and relationships, don’t just take control or rush in with brute force to get what you want.  Take time to understand what’s going on.  Think and pray about the best course of action.

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So, life is like a pool.  And God has given you the lessons and tools you need to keep up with maintaining it.

 

 

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If you want your life to be inviting to others, take care of the little, surface problems while they’re still small, and easy to deal with.  That may mean making an apology, offering forgiveness, keeping your mouth shut.  Be guided by scripture and the Holy Spirit.

 

When you tackle bigger issues, move slowly and be prepared to use extra resources that will extend your reach. That would mean take time to pray about your actions first.

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How does you “pool” look?  Inviting?  Refreshing? Uninviting?  Has a recent rainstorm left you with some work to do?

Grab your tools.  Be The Pool Boy!

 

Googling God part 2

How does hearing from God work?

Physical ears

Outer ear collects sources of sound – the sound waves.  For us to “hear”:

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It has to be within our range of hearing

It has to be loud enough

It has to be clear enough

 

hearing-106483_640Middle ear directs the sound to the ear drum where the sound is transferred from the vibrations of the ear drum to 3 little bones that conduct the sound through the cochlea where the sound is turned into nerve impulses and sent to the brain to interpret and understand what we hear.

We’ll look at 3 reasons we miss out hearing that have a spiritual similarity:

  1. we don’t hear because we aren’t listening –our ears are not pointed towards where the sound is coming from
  2. there is so much noise that the signal gets muffled or confused
  3. there is infection that needs to be cleaned out to restore our ability to hear clearly

Spiritual ears 

Our spirit hears everything our physical ears hear and our brain processes.  But there is another level of understanding that we can access with our spirit that allows us to filter messages that have a deeper spiritual meaning.

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So we need to engage our spirit and focus it on listening, interpreting and understanding those meaningful messages.

 

  1. As with our physical ears, we need to point our spiritual ears where God is speaking.  We need to tune our spirit into God’s frequencies.

What are His frequencies?

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The previous blog asked some specific questions and gave ideas to help you identify how to listen in some of these areas.

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So the first question is: Are you tuned in and exposing yourself to the sources God is broadcasting on?

solution-2480514_640Listen to Christian sermons and podcasts.  Read the Bible.  Spend time in prayer.  Become aware of God’s Creation around you.  Examine your circumstances for what is bringing you blessing, confusion, pain.  Ask God to make you aware of how He is speaking to you and spend time in that area.

  1. Like our physical ears, the message we are trying to receive won’t be heard if there is too much other noise surrounding and masking it

chairulfajar_-655482-unsplash (1)So many things compete for our attention every day: books to read, movies to see, music to listen to, places to go where there is noise and busyness.  Advertising tries to convince you that their product is exactly what you need to solve all your problems and meet all your needs. Whether it’s insurance, a new car, or the latest tech, we are overwhelmed with media and input and our minds flooded with so many options and choices that they block out the messages God is speaking to us.

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And that’s just the outside noise.  What about the inner voices you speak to yourself every day?  We are usually much more critical of ourselves and those negative voices have an impact on our ability to hear from God as well.

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The next question is: Are you tuning out the world and the other voices that are clamoring for your attention so you can focus on hearing God?

solution-2480514_640There’s a simple solution.

prayer-888757_1920Before you pray, or read scripture, listen to a sermon or podcast, take a nature walk, or search your life circumstances, invite the Holy Spirit to silence all ungodly voices and distractions.  Ask that confusion, preconceived ideas, biases, and misconceptions be sent away.  And ask the Holy Spirit to reveal truth, clarify meaning, and show application to your life.

  1. The infection that needs to be treated to restore our spiritual hearing is sin.

Sin is like an infection blocking our ability to communicate with God effectively. Sometimes there is sin we are aware of that needs to be dealt with. Being willing to turn from it and ask for forgiveness is the way to remove that block to your hearing God. If you are unsure of any sin, invite God to search you and show you where sin may be causing a hearing problem, and remove it.

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The question is: Have you cleaned out your spiritual ears lately?

 

solution-2480514_640Thankfully, God has prepared a way for our sin to be forgiven and be removed as far as the east is from the west. 

I John 1:9-10 tells us:  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If it would help to have a guide for personal reflection on possible sin issues, see “When Hearing is Blocked” on my main menu.

listening-3079065_640When you are ready to tune into God’s frequency, and invited the Holy Spirit to silence other noise and lead you into hearing; be prepared to be blown away!

I believe God is speaking to us any time we are willing to listen.  And I believe when He says something, it’s important enough to write it down.  Keep some kind of record of how and when you hear from God.

But don’t run off with some word you think you heard without checking it out. Hold it up against what the Bible says.  And maybe even ask other believers what they think for some confirmation.

Next time I’ll share a simple way to know if what you heard is from God.

 

 

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.