Tag: God Speaks

God meets us – right where we are

Thank You, God, for meeting me right where I am…

my-lakeI have been lamenting the fact that I can no longer walk around the lake, the beautiful lake where You spoke to me so many times and showed me things about my own life and about You through Your creation there…the birds, the flowers, the trees, the sky, the mountains. You used each one of them to convey a message to me about who You are, and who I am, and how I should live.
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And then I look at my yard and garden, and lament that I no longer have the ability to work in my garden where You spoke to me so many times through seeds, growth, planting, watering, weeding, and the beauty and abundance Your provision.

bed-1846251_960_720And even as I do this lamenting, I find myself rejoicing! For even here in my bed where I spend more and more time each day due to the loss of energy and good health, I find that You are speaking to me here too. Of resting, reflecting, readjusted, reprioritizing. And I can find delight in Your willingness and ability to reach me wherever I am, whatever the circumstances of my life.

Each time I moved out of a phase I worried I would lose the revelations and inspiration You brought me. I would cling to each stage because of the beauty and the blessing You shared with me wondering if I would ever hear from You again. The truth is, as I moved through my life You have always been there beside me whatever the stage or phase I was going through. Meeting me wherever I was and now wherever I am. And the tears flow for the time I’ve spent lamenting what I had, instead of embracing what I have.

I am finally believing that when You say You will never leave me, that’s exactly what You mean… You really mean it! That You will be with me wherever I go even if I can’t go to the same places I used to go to be with You. You will come to me.

The truth is You always did. It was never me going to You where are You were. It was always You meeting me right where I was.

I no longer need to strive to get back to those places or the circumstances where I heard from You before. In truth, You are everywhere! You are as close as a whisper, as present as the air I breathe. And whatever comes, I know now that my hearing from You is not dependent on me or my circumstances but it is, and always has been, simply a condition of who You are and that You are true to Your promises.

womanbackpackarmsraisedIs there a time you were hearing from God more clearly? Have you struggled to get back to that place or put yourself back in those circumstances?

It’s not the place or the circumstances that matter. God is right here beside you. You need only reach out and ask Him to speak to you.

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He is not limited by your location.

He is not constrained by your circumstances.

He is only awaiting your invitation to speak into your life.

Tell God You’re listening…

Invite Him now.

What a season!

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What a season we are in! And I don’t mean winter.

question-mark-5470199_640human-5480043_640We are in a season of media frenzy and we have been for some time. Stories pop up on my phone constantly, and call for me to read them. Many inflame and upset my heart and my mind and bring confusion to my thoughts. So many issues seem unjust, unfair, just plain wrong. And they offer no solution.

My solution, is to be still to listen for God’s voice. I take a walk and lift my eyes to the mountains or to the sky. I watch the clouds, or the pine trees bending in the gentle wind. I watch the geese wintering here from Canada.

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I sit quietly and read scripture. Some I read out loud, looking for the truth of who I am, created by God; and who He is and His love for me and every individual He created in the world. And I let the truth wash over me.

praying-5406270_640From within the truth I look out onto the world with compassion and I pray for it: its leaders, its people, the issues that so perplex and confuse us because of the false news and misinformation being propagated.

I pray for the hearts of men and women and children to be turned to the Lord. And for God to speak to those in power who control governments, the media, the militaries, the corporations, the churches, synagogues and mosques, and the field of entertainment – and for those people to listen.

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For me, it has become a season of prayer.  And of listening more intently for God’s Voice.  He does speak.

And especially now, I’m listening.

God Speaks Through a Tree

When was the last time you asked God to speak to you? To give you wisdom?  Direction? Encouragement? Or even correction?

He speaks to me a lot through His Creation. And often trees have played a big part.  This year, this Fall, I’m hearing that it’s time to let go of some things, just like the trees let go of their leaves when the time is right.

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Not that I intend to strip my house bare of items we need to live, but there are some things that we’ve been holding on to that we could do without.

Beyond the physical items, there are more important things I need to let go of:  negative emotions, unmet expectations, anger, regret, hurts, disappointments.  These take up even more space in my life and have a greater impact on it.

How do you let go of past hurts and unmet expectations?  Unproductive attitudes and unresolved anger?

It starts with identifying them. 

smiley-2979107_640Set aside time to think about and write down where your mind goes along those lines and how strong your emotional response is to those things.  Make up a scale 1 – 5 and give each item a number according to how much it bothers you.  These are your leaves.  If you want you can cut them apart so that each issue/leaf has its own slip of paper.

Thinking about it, put a YES or NO by each one indicating whether or not there is something you can realistically do about the issue. 

writing-1149962_640Next write down what action you can take that may lead towards resolving the issue for you.  Praying is sometimes the only thing that comes to mind and is always a good step especially if you’re unsure how to move forward. I realize knowing what you can do and wanting to do it are two different things.   

On a separate paper, start another list.  These will be your branches.  If you indicated a YES, write down any lesson you’ve learned about the issue – like what hasn’t worked in the past and what you’re willing to try or do about the issue now.

female-865110_640If you indicated NO, write down something you’ve learned – a lesson so you don’t make the same mistake again, something you can do that will help you move forward beyond it, a way you can change your perspective so that it’s no longer so emotionally charged or even some unexpected good that has come out of it.

Here’s an example of a Leaf.  My kids moved far away to take a job they needed and it was my expectation they would always live close and I am disappointed, heartbroken.  Because I love them and it affects my ability to be with them there is a very strong emotional cost.  5 out of 5.  No, I cannot change this.

And a Branch.  Lesson learned: always show my love and appreciation while loved ones are near.  And what can I do?  Learn new ways to show my love and stay connected now: FaceTime, Zoom calls, care packages of food or gifts or just small items that say “I care,” cards, actual letters they can read, reading the same book or watching the same movie and then talking about it together, praying for them or even with them over the phone.

If you are the tree, the negative emotional issue is the leaf.  The branch that the leaf is attached to is either something you can do about it, or some lesson you’ve learned in dealing with the issue.

fall-foliage-1740841_640You can let go of the leaf – the hurt, the unmet expectation, the disappointment, the regret.  But you keep the branch – the lesson you learned, or the action you will take.  And the branch will continue to grow and bear fruit in the future.

autumn-212733_640To complete this Leaf exercise, gather your leaves, and taking one leaf at a time, read it out loud asking God to bless you as you name it and the negative response connected to this issue, and then let go of it, dropping it into a leaf bag to dispose of. 

As you drop the leaf, thank God for any lesson you’ve learned from the situation and ask for the strength to take the steps you’ve written on your branch for that leaf. 

Bag up your leaves and put them in the trash!

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Now take a walk. Ask God to speak to you through His Creation. Notice the trees, the wildlife, the sky whatever is around you that He’s made.

Ask him if there’s anything He wants to say to you personally about your life, your circumstances, your relationships, your attitude, or your behavior.

Ask Him to silence all other voices in your head that come from your own thoughts or from the world or from any source other than God.

And then open your eyes and your ears and your spirit to God alone.

When we listen…God speaks!

Lift up your head!

Lift up your head.

In Hebrew: Naso et-rosh.

The English version of most Bibles translates this to say: take a census, or be counted. In Numbers 4:1-2 this makes an oversimplified statement of the historical activity.

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The Israelites had left Egypt, spent two years in the desert, and constructed the Tabernacle. They were no longer slaves to the Egyptians. Now they were to look to the Lord their God for new direction and a new life purpose.

Naso et-rosh does not just mean “take a census.”

In context, to those people, the weight of the meaning of those Hebrew words meant so much more!

Naso et-rosh means to lift up your head, gaze intently into the clarity of the Holy One and accept the purpose and the passion for who you were created to be.

religion-3452582_640Usually we live life running busily from one task to another – even trying to multitask to get more done in less time. But in these times of worldwide pandemic and isolating at home we have plenty of time on our hands to take a moment for a spiritual refreshing.  We can make the time to seek in prayer and in God’s Word the essence of who we are and who God wants us to be.  

Many of us will emerge from this pandemic with cleaner houses and a few extra pounds.  But you have the opportunity to emerge with a new sense of God-given purpose and direction. 

Set aside 10 minutes each day this week to hear from the Lord.  Wait expectantly to hear something exciting.  Imagine yourself, His child, passing through ascending tongues of fire (like Moses saw on the burning bush – fire that burned but did not consume the bush) and coming into His presence.

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Ask God to speak to you, and then listen – with your spirit.  Write down anything you believe you hear.   About who you are. About how He created you with special gifts and talents and a unique personality.  About where He is already working and how He invites you to join Him in that work.

Confirm what you have heard by comparing it to what God says in His Word and with the fruit of the spirit.  For more on how to do this see my blog post Googling God part 3 click here.

“Naso et-rosh”  invites you to spend time with your Creator in order to seek out and receive from Him.

Accept the invitation.

Lift up your head!

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.

frosted leaf

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.

frosted bent flower

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.