Thursday, July 19, 2012

Does God Really Speak?

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is to come.”John 16:12-13 (emphasis added)

God speaks to his children through his word/scripture. “All scripture is God-breathed…” -2 Timothy 3:16 “The word of God is living and active…”Hebrews 4:12 But sometimes I am skeptical of this fact. Perhaps the reason is because I do not listen well, or perhaps it is because I am impatient and I want to know God’s entire plan for my life all at once.

This morning it was interesting to read the words of Jesus to his disciples “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” More than I can bear? Maybe the reason I am cynical about God speaking to me is because He only speaks a little bit at a time. Could it be that His plan for my life is so marvelous that I would not be able to comprehend it if He did reveal it to me all at once?

 “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” -1 Corinthians 2:8  Is it possible that God only reveals small increments of his plan at a time to keep me from being overwhelmed? As my two-year-old nephew would put it, "sure".

God is faithful. (I know this.) He will not let me be tempted, or speak more than I can bear at one time. – 1 Corinthians 10:13 & John 16:12  It all goes back to the parable of the “talents” and being faithful in the small things (Matthew 25:14-30). Sometimes I get caught up in what God has spoken to me in the past. Or even more often, I get caught up in what God will say to me in the future. Yet, I neglect to listen and obey what God is saying to me in the present, right now.

The only way God will reveal the “next steps” in life to me is if I am being faithful in obeying what he tells me to do today. If I am not being faithful in the little things, the instructions of daily obedience that God speaks to all of us, how can I expect God to speak more and entrust me with much?

So what do I sense God telling me to do today? Share these thoughts with you. Why? I really don’t know. But out of obedience, here is what I’m learning for what it’s worth.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Silence, Who Would Have Thought?

“What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God. You, however, smear me with lies; you are worthless physicians, all of you! If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.” – Job 13:2-5

Reflecting on the story of Job, I find it interesting to examine the helpfulness, (or rather UNhelpfulness) of Job’s friends during the midst of his most trying and difficult circumstances. Initially Job’s friends sat with him for seven days. They did not say a word. But once that first week was over, Job’s friends could not stand it any longer and just HAD to open their mouths to offer a word of “comfort” and “aid”. What were meant to be healing words of wisdom were interpreted by Job as being insensitive and arrogant lies. As a result, Job’s friends merely added to the intense inner turmoil that Job was already experiencing. The lesson learned from all of this is that nobody has all of the answers to suffering, so we need not pretend that we do. There are times in life when we can show more wisdom by keeping our mouths shut than by offering a word of advice, comfort, encouragement, or instruction.

Proverbs 17:28 says “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent.”

And Proverbs 18:2 “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.”

Instead of speaking and trying to explain away one’s difficult circumstances, we should be a shoulder to cry on, ears to listen, and a person to lean on. Sometimes it is infinitely better to hold the advice and just shut up to listen.

Reflection Questions

Do I take pleasure in understanding others?

Do I delight too much in sharing my own opinion?

In what circumstances would it be better to listen than to speak?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 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…”
-1 Peter 5:7-9

Are you someone to devour? As women, it is not difficult for us to begin feeling anxious about things. Many times we let our minds, our faulty assumptions, and our reasoning get the best of us, particularly when it comes to our self-worth as individuals. These lies can destroy us. In reading 1 Peter 5:7-9, I realize that Peter’s warning to be self-controlled and alert after casting our anxiety on the Lord makes tremendous amounts of sense. The Lord brings a peace that surpasses all understanding when we give our anxiety and burdens to him.

“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 your minds in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 4:6-7

The problem here is that we have an enemy who wants us to experience anything BUT peace. For this reason, Satan will try even harder to make us anxious as we begin and continue to cast our anxiety on the Lord. This is the very reason we MUST be self-controlled and alert when it comes to the thoughts that filter in and out of our minds on a daily basis. Let’s be honest ladies, we think A LOT. Though many of us believe that our thoughts are merely a result of self generation, we need to be alert and remember that our enemy will plant the seeds of negativity and lies in our minds whenever we give him the opportunity. He is, after all, looking for someone to devour.

Where does anxiety come from? Is it not a result of our restless mind? Anxiety can be debilitating, keeping us from being the person God desires. Why else do you think Satan works so hard to get us to experience this horrible emotion? If anxiety is a result of the restless mind, then we should be asking God each and every day to guard our minds in Christ Jesus. But how does this look practically? How do we resist the devil and stand firm in our faith? Here is a quick breakdown of what I have gleaned from the scriptures.

#1 Cast your anxiety on the Lord and present your request for deliverance to Him.
(1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6)

#2 Accept the peace God offers to guard your heart and mind.
(Philippians 4:7)

#3 Be alert and aware of the enemy’s schemes to devour you.
(1 Peter 5:8)

#4 Be self-controlled in your thinking by only dwelling on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
(1 Peter 5:8, Philippians 4:8)

These steps may seem simple, but they are not always going to be easy to follow. So many of us (myself included), are accustomed to being lax and letting our negative thoughts and emotions about our self-worth and purpose get the best of us. Though the steps above may not be easy at times, I think you will find that through diligence in following them you will be  able to #1 resist the devil, #2 stand firm in your faith, and #3 take hold of the unimaginable peace that God offers.

Reflection Questions:

Am I someone who is being easily devoured by anxiety and the lies of the enemy?

What are some of the lies that creep into my mind that need to be exposed?

Out of the 4 steps above, which one do I struggle with the most and why?

What can I do to improve being less anxious, presenting my request for deliverance to the Lord, being alert, and being self-controlled?


Lord, It is my desire to take full hold of your peace and live the abundant life that you want for me to have. Please deliver me from my anxiety and fear about [insert struggle here]. Please help me to be ever on my guard against the devil’s schemes. Protect my mind and fill it with your noble truth. Help me to always be self-controlled in my thoughts, only ever thinking about those things which are right and pure. I lift up my hands in surrender to you, may your peace rule in my heart today. Amen!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Living and Active? OR Dead and Passive?

“The word of God is living and active. Shaper that any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” – Hebrews 4:12

Why should we read the Bible? And why in the world should we keep reading it over and over again? How come people don’t ever seem to get tired of the old book? And how can one possibly continue learning new things reading it for the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth time through? The words never change, so why don’t we get bored? I have pondered these questions many times, sometimes out of mere curiosity, and other times out of blunt frustration.

As I was reflecting on these questions one evening, the answer dawned on me. It is true that the word of the Lord never changes, but our individual lives and the lives around us are always in a constant state of change. The struggles, temptations, joys, trials, and fears that we experience today are very different from the ones we experienced last year, or the ones we will encounter a year from now. Because of this, the words of Scripture can take on very different meanings at various times in our lives. What we do not understand today may be something we are enlightened about tomorrow as a result of our present circumstances. As we gain more knowledge and have more experiences, we tend to relate more with certain passages of Scripture. In each stage of our lives we are faced with new challenges and obstacles to overcome, and we need new weapons, tools, and resources to conquer these challenges.

I am reminded of the verse in Deuteronomy 4:29  “If from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all of your heart and all of your soul.” 

There have been times in my life when I have been a huge skeptic of the Bible. But I am reminded why it is such an important book as I read it and seek the Lord daily. It is easier to be a skeptic when you do not know much about what you are critical of. In the past I used to think in terms of a “magic number” of minutes when seeking the Lord. Now I realize however, that building a relationship with the Lord of Hosts has nothing to do with an amount of time or a number whatsoever. Rather, it deals with an attitude of the heart. This attitude is that of a humble, sincere, and contrite spirit that says “Here I am Lord. Use me, fill me, and teach me in your presence today.”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Taken Captive or Truly Fulfilled?

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and basic principles of this world rather than Christ. For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head over every power and authority.”Colossians 2:8-10

Hollow and deceptive messages are all around us. Everywhere you look there are billboards, magazines, advertisements, commercials, Internet sites, radio broadcasts, and TV shows trying to sell us the next thing we “need” to be happy. How do we get so caught up in this stuff? It’s easy really. The messages about what will fulfill us are often transmitted to our minds almost subconsciously. So Paul warns us to beware, watch out, and stay on our guard against all the messages we are being sent on a daily basis about fulfillment. There is nothing easier than to be taken captive by the world’s messages that we need nice clothes, good friends, a dating relationship, a fancy home, and an expensive car to be fulfilled and accepted. Here is the problem; no one is ever going to feel complete after obtaining all these things. For only in Christ can one find the true fulfillment that each of us desires. In Christ, we will find ALL the fulfillment we need, because the secret to living a full and meaningful life lies in him. If taken captive by the messages of the world, we will only be unhappy and discontent. But when we take hold of the truth, we will find all the fullness of life in Christ.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gentleness and Respect

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that is in you. But do this with GENTLENESS and RESPECT, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ, may be ashamed of their slander.”
-1 Peter 3:15-16 (Emphasis Added)

Always be prepared, the scripture says. Unfortunately, I cannot say that I always am prepared. There is something to be said about being knowledgeable about scripture and talking to others on an intelligible level. But there is also something to be said about relying on the Holy Spirit for the right words to say at the proper time. The thing that catches my attention the most however, (if you haven’t already guessed) is the gentleness and respect part. A lot of Christian people have the “giving an answer” part down, but not everyone has mastered the “with gentleness and respect” part. Too often, even the most well-meaning Christians take it upon themselves to CONVINCE others that “Christianity” is the right way. Nowhere in scripture does it say we should have to convince anyone of anything. After all, WE CAN’T! “No one comes to the Father unless the one who sent me draws him.” – John 6:24- The scripture does say that we should give an answer for our hope (with gentleness and respect). Getting into heated debates, discussions, and arguments with others over this stuff is NOT respectful, in fact, God tells us not to have anything to do with these kinds of things. (2 Timothy 2:23)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Set Free

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
-1 Peter 2:24
So often I feel guilty, I feel sad, and I feel defeated. I fail and I fall short time and time again. The gloom and despair that many of us feel on a seemingly regular basis does not have to persist because Jesus took care of it once and for all when he was on the cross. Sin, guilt, despair, and sadness have no place or hold in our lives because by HIS wounds WE have been HEALED and SET FREE! He took away the sin, he took away the sorrow, he freed us from the guilt, he healed the brokenness, he drove out all the fear, he mended all the pain, he overcame all sadness, and he conquered the grave once and for all. That is MY God!

“For 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.”
-1 Peter 2:9 (emphasis added)