Browsing Category "Listening to God"

Beautiful ‘God Things’ Between You and Your Savior

 

Prase God‘God Thing’ # 1, A Call to Study the Book of Daniel: Saturday, June 8, 2013

I don’t understand the book of Daniel.   Yesterday morning I read Daniel 9:26 and decided I needed to better understand it, especially the part about a flood.  “And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.”  I decided to start a bible study in Daniel at my own pace, thought this one by It Is Written might fit the bill.  I printed up the first lesson, ready to come back to it at the right time.

Providentially, the following morning at church, our pastor left the book we were working on (Revelation) and preached on the book of Daniel, quoting the above verse.   …Okay, Lord, I’m listening, but I’m very slow to understand so it will take time to digest this book, but you have my attention.  This will be my first serious attempt to study biblical prophecy.

‘God Thing’ # 2,  Answered Prayer at Church: Sunday, June 9, 2013

On to another “God thing” from this morning, as many call it in my circles.   Months ago I asked a woman at our church if we could get together for a meal.  We exchanged phone numbers, then I promptly lost the number, and haven’t seen her at church since (we go to a big church).  Over the past few days I’ve been feeling convicted about this and so this morning, before church, I prayed for her and wrote her name in my to-do list, fully intending to look for her number even if it meant cleaning out my entire closet.  If you have ever seen my closet, you know just the thought is a grand undertaking.   Then, while at church, though I barely recognized her because it has been a while since I saw her last, there she was right in my path.  I told her I had just prayed for her that morning.  We exchanged phone numbers again and this time I recorded her number in my day planner right away.  Thank you, Lord.

‘God Thing’ # 3, Better Health by God’s Hand: Sunday, June 9, 2013

And another “God thing” that just happened.  I’ve been praying for a friend at the nursing home, who is paralyzed from the neck down from a terrible disease.  Over the past month, I’ve had the privilege to see God grant her better health after years of going down hill.  At one point her health was so bad she had to have all her food mashed up and she could only get out approximately two sentences within a half hour of my visiting.  Her mind was all there but she had no way of communicating, it was terrible.

She loves the Lord and she’s thrilled about feeling better.  Though still paralyzed from the neck down, now she can communicate far better and it feels so good.   My daughter had her bible class praying for her, and, of course, she prays for herself, and I pray for her regularly.  I believe prayer moved the Lord to heal her as much as He did because the disease only goes one way, and that is downhill.  It is a gift from God that she can communicate again, it’s another ‘God thing’.

She has a lot of faith & it is beautiful.  Since we saw so much improvement over the past month, she thinks God will do a miracle and give her the ability to walk, “I’m going to do cartwheels” is what she tells me.  She insists that I help her get out of bed, and I go along with it until I feel like its gone too far & she could get hurt.  If God’s going to do a miracle, He won’t need me to help her.   We then discuss God’s will, and praise God that Kathy will most certainly be doing her cartwheels in heaven, because of the work of Christ on the cross.

‘God Thing’ # 4, God’s Encouragement to Walk Circumspectly: Monday, June 10, 2013

Light ShineAnyway, Kathy and I speak on spiritual matters and yesterday she asked me about sin in my own life.  I told her that I am always learning, and growing in Christ.  That I strive to ‘walk circumspectly’ with the help of the Holy Spirit.  When that word came out of my mouth, I thought it a strange choice, then I was privately amazed it somehow got from my mind to my mouth without it being butchered because I’ve never actually said it before, and I’m not a gifted speaker by any means.  Okay.  I just used the word circumspectly.  Cool.

Before this morning could not have told you where ‘circumspectly’ was in the bible.  Though I probably could have told you it was somewhere in the epistles, it certainly isn’t a favorite verse or a well worn page.  And though I wasn’t thinking about what I said yesterday, this morning I opened my bible to Ephesians 5, and when I got to 5:15, “See, then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise…”, I recalled the word falling from my mouth yesterday.  Curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to look up the word on Blue Letter Bible to see how often it is in Scripture.  “Circumspectly” is only used in Ephesians 5:15.  Cool.  Another ‘God thing’.

Best not to over analyze about what the Lord is ‘trying’ to say to me when He does this kind of thing.  Best not to read hidden messages into a very simple and obvious one.  He is the Good Shepherd, and He guides us with loving encouragement, or, sometimes, sharp rebuke.  I’ve learned to just smile, and look to heaven, thanking the Lord of creation that He should be mindful of man, of me, and then look for the next good thing He has already prepared for me to do.  He’s amazing.

Looking for Your Own Wonderful ‘God Things’

If I were to only tell you one of these ‘God things’ you might brush it off as just coincidence, and I would understand because I would do the same with only one such experience.  That is why, dear friend, I am trying to maintain this journal.  But I can’t keep up with God, I simply cannot write down all the ‘God – things’ that happen each day.  This entry is nothing special, it is a typical daily walk with the Lord.  There was a time when I was a believer but I didn’t see God at work in my every moment.  At that time I could go a week without praying or reading Scripture, and think I was just fine, though maybe I’d feel a little guilty because I neglected my Lord.  If I were to do that now, I know I would miss so much!  My eyesight would become dull, God would let me go my way, and oh, how I’d miss His guidance!  Ours is a walk with God.  Ours is an intimacy with God, this is our claim as children of the Most High.  “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost…”  Heb 6:4  It is impossible for the believer to go any other direction but toward God because it is such a wonderful journey!  If you haven’t seen God in your daily life, then, by all means, jump on board and seek Him with everything you’ve got!

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”  Heb 11:6.  God still rewards those who diligently seek Him in faith.  And the best part is that often His rewards are simply reminders that you are walking with Him, He rewards faith with Himself.  I write these things down because it is my prayer that you would read this and start to believe that if Hebrews 11:6 is relevant for a simple stay-at-home mother of 4, it is also relevant for you.  I sincerely hope you will get excited about the Lord and want to seek His will with all that is within you.  And as you seek first the Kingdom, with opened eyes ready to see God at work, I am confident God will reward you with your own seemingly little ‘God – things’.  Wonderful things that will remind you God is there, that you are walking with Him, that He is your friend, beautiful ‘God – things’ that are just between you and your Savior.

28 Apr
2013

The Eternal Significance of a Turtle

 

(Journal Entry: 6-12-2010)  A Turtle’s Journey Across the Road

Yesterday I prayed for an eternal opportunity for the day. I got through much of the day without seeing the opportunity, and was praying about it in the car driving to pick up the pizza.  Then I noticed a little turtle crossing the street.  It was trying with all its might but it was very slow and didn’t have much of a chance.  I drove past with a strange notion that maybe that was my opportunity that I had been praying for; maybe God wanted me to save that turtle.  It seemed a bit impractical because I was suppose to be picking up the pizza, not saving turtles, so I hesitated and drove by it. 

Though I drove past, I continued to feel compelled to go save the poor thing so I turned the car around.  I was too late.  After finding it smashed on the road, I had the sinking feeling that God had prompted me to save it in the first place, and if I had been more careful to listen to Him, right now the little turtle would be happily continuing his little turtle journey to the pond on the other side of the road. 

The Lord graciously reminded me that my hesitations can bring much bigger consequences than smashed turtles.  I must learn to respond immediately when prompted by the Spirit. 

(Journal Entry: 6-13-2010)  Do Not Ignore It

Update: I opened to Deuteronomy 22 today, and God used verse 4 to speak plainly regarding yesterday’s lesson.  “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.  Help him get it to its feet.”  I believe I was suppose to get that turtle.  Maybe not so much because its wrong to let a turtle die, but because I felt a nudge of the Spirit, and ignored it until it was too late.  Seems the Lord is training me to recognize what that nudge feels like, so that in the future I can respond immediately.

(4-28-2013, Almost 3 Years Later)  To The Street Corners

This morning during prayer I became grieved over my own lack of vision and joy.  Christ suffered so severely in my place and my life is hidden in Him for all of eternity, and I lack vision and joy?  I considered various times recently I could have become dead to myself and alive in Christ, but chose to be dull instead.   

On Friday the 26th I was picking up the pizza and saw a woman wandering down the street, not trying to get any place quickly.   I had the notion to stop to speak to her about the things of eternity.  Though it would have only been a 5 minute stop, I was concerned the pizza might get cold and so went on my way. 

This morning I felt strongly that I had ignored the Spirit’s nudge that Friday, and so asked for grace.  God, in His mercy and kindness, chose to respond to my prayer by providing Matthew 22:9 & 10.  When I read “Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.  So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find…”, I knew Christ was speaking plainly to me regarding that woman on the road.  I believe I was suppose to have stopped, as the Spirit had prompted.  

This whispering of the Spirit in Mat 22 “go to the street and invite to the banquet anyone you find”, reminded me of three years earlier, when He confirmed His prompting to save the turtle by providing Deuteronomy 22, “If you see your brother’s donkey or his ox fallen on the road, do not ignore it.” 

I marvel at how He cares.  Why are You mindful of me, Lord?  You.  Infinite and Almighty, you are there with me while I pick up pizza, prompting me to stop for both turtles and souls.  Who am I that You should care and see and record each deed, each word, each thought, “a scroll of remembrance was written in His presence”  Malachi 3:16.  Because of your love and grace, You are mindful of me, God Almighty; Oh, that I would more mindful of You.

Coincidence: The Thief that Stole the Glory Due God

 On Wednesday, March 13th, I awoke with Hebrews 11:6 on my mind and my heart.   The quiet darkened bedroom a lovely sanctuary containing this unspoken verse, spoken only to my soul. 

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

And then in the moments that followed, still in the darkness of that quiet morning, the Lord began the conversation.  Though I had not read that verse recently, and though I rarely read Hebrews, and though by no means intended to, I opened my bible precisely to Hebrews 11 and the first thing I laid my eyes on, the very first thing I read, was Hebrews 11:6. 

A chill ran down my back as thanksgiving poured from my mouth because the blessing of His presence was so evident.

The next day, on March 14th, I spoke to an ‘atheist’, though I think she was probably more of an agnostic.  She told me that both of her parents were born-again believers.  Being a mother myself, my heart was heavy for these believers who were most likely heavily praying for their atheist daughter.  She told me that her parents became Christians on their honeymoon, by the same evangelist, on the same day, but at separate times during the day and without knowledge of the other one’s decision.  It was only later in the day that they realized they both had the same experience. 

After telling me that she said, “isn’t that cool?”  And of course, I agreed enthusiastically and proceeded to ask her how she perceives such evidence for God’s providence.  She shrugged her shoulders and quickly answered with one word, “coincidence”. 

What a thief this ‘coincidence’ word is to the glory due God’s name. 

God Provided the Donkey and Colt

I told her that it couldn’t possibly be coincidence.  The Lord then used my experience the morning before to explain to this young lady that not one sparrow falls to the ground without the Lord knowing about it, that it is all Providence, not coincidence.  I recounted heartily how God had spoken the morning before, how the verse was on my heart while I laid in my bed and then the Lord provided it exactly that morning during my devotions.  I described the chills that ran down my back, that I knew beyond any doubt that it was God, not coincidence that gave me that verse in the quiet and then in the written word. 

And she said, “but that has never happened to me personally”. 

I told her just because she hasn’t personally experienced God, that others haven’t had personal experiences.  I told her she has never truly sought the Lord for herself, but has depended upon her parent’s faith, and so now she has concluded something that isn’t so.  

She was, in fact, experiencing God at that very moment, if she’d just have the faith to see it.  The Lord used the very verse He provided the morning before, that “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  That verse was actually intended for her, it was not only mine!  She had not personally experienced God because she has never diligently sought Him for herself. 

She agreed with me that it was true she had never diligently sought God for herself.  I left her with a hug and a 15 page packet about the scientific evidence that God exists. 

I have no doubt that all this occurred because God truly does reward those who diligently seek Him.  I am sure this young woman’s parents have been praying for their daughter, that she would come to a personal faith in Christ.  I believe that was why I woke with the verse on my heart on March 13th, and then I immediately opened to the verse for my devotions, and then the next day was given opportunity to use the experience for the glory of the Lord in the life of another.  The Lord works in mysterious ways, and He most surely does reward those who diligently seek Him.  Please pray that this young woman would come to faith because the Lord’s hand is upon her already.

16 Mar
2013

Praying for the Peace of Jerusalem

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been praying that the Holy Spirit would lead in what to pray.

Though I normally get right to my morning devotions, this morning I rather randomly checked my email first and opened only one message before beginning to pray.  The email was from the Jerusalem Prayer Team concerning what is happening right now in Israel.

In the email Mike Evans, the founder of this organization and a personal friend of Prime Minister Netanyahu, says, “I am leaving in the morning for Jerusalem to stand in the gap as your Ambassador. Please pray for me on this trip. President Obama will arrive in a few days to promote his “peace plan” that calls for dividing Jerusalem and returning most of Judea and Samaria (the so-called “West Bank”) to the Palestinians. This is a spirit battle that you must fight with me. ”

This news was laid heavily on my heart and I cried out to the Lord on behalf of Jerusalem and the Lord’s chosen people, praying earnestly for the peace of Jerusalem as scripture commands in Psalm 122:6. sacrifice

As always, I then asked the Lord to lead me in the reading of His Word, and He did.  I never know where He will lead.  I never know if He’ll speak about what I just prayed about, or if He’ll bring up something from days ago, or if He’ll rebuke, or teach, or direct, or comfort.  I only know He’s there, and that I’m there with Him because of His grace.

Immediately after praying about this threat to divide Jerusalem, the Lord provided comfort and answers through His Word.  By the hand of Providence, I unexpectedly opened scripture to Ezekiel 36 & 37, chapters of prophesy which are very applicable to our time, and to this very hour…

The first words given this morning were Ezekiel 36: 1-6, “And you, son of man, prophesy to the mountains of Israel, and say, ‘O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the LORD!  ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because the enemy has said of you, ‘Aha! The ancient heights have become our possession,‘  therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people“—

‘therefore, O mountains of Israel, hear the word of the Lord GOD! Thus says the Lord GOD to the mountains, the hills, the rivers, the valleys, the desolate wastes, and the cities that have been forsaken, which became plunder and mockery to the rest of the nations all around—’therefore thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I have spoken in My burning jealousy against the rest of the nations and against all Edom, who gave My land to themselves as a possession, with wholehearted joy and spiteful minds, in order to plunder its open country.”

I believe America will be open to the wrath of God if we continue down this path of enmity toward Isreal and toward God, and it greives me greatly.  I fear what will become of us as a nation.   Our only hope is in Christ, who has made a way of salvation for those who believe.  Maranatha.

13 Mar
2013

Surrendering to God’s Will Might Be A Leap of Faith

Yesterday morning, I was outside while a woman was walking by my house.  I believe the Holy Spirit quickened my heart to speak to her regarding the things of God, but I hesitated and disregarded the thought.

Leap of Faith

When I prayerfully examine what it is that makes me hesitate, it always comes down to fear.  My most spiritual objection is, “what if it isn’t the Holy Spirit, but just my own whim of a thought?”   But there is great selfishness driving that thought as well, because if I only act when I am positive the Holy Spirit is guiding me, then I never need to worry about faith.  Faith is like walking off a cliff; you might fall, you might not, there is no guarantee.  All you know is God is there, and so whether you fall or float…God.  That’s it.  Just, God.

Then there’s also the discomfort of being inconvenienced by doing the exact opposite of what I had in mind to do.  Instead of living as anticipated, God suddenly said it was time to leap outside of my own comfort zone into a world where I had no control.  I mean, it was 9 a.m., I simply stepped outside to get our trash can from the side of the road, I had no intention to embark on a gigantic leap into the unknown.

Now doesn’t that sound like the Spirit we know?  The One who counsels us and convicts, ever urging to love our neighbors deeper, and fuller.  The Spirit who conforms this fleshly temple to love the world as He does.  I can easily let that woman pass by without any care of her whatsoever, but not God.  No, the indwelling Spirit jumps and pushes, like a mother about to give birth.  The Holy Spirit loves all, at all times, whether I’ve had my Wheaties yet or not.  It is the will of God that “all men should be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth” 1 Tim 2:4.  This is the God I worship; The One whose heart yearns for the gospel proclaimed, so that all men might turn, and be saved.

The worst that could happen is that I am rejected and thought a fool.  Am I willing to fall for You, my Savior?  Gracious Holy Spirit, why have I not surrendered all to You by now?  Sure, there are times when I say ‘yes’, but why not always?  Give me faith like Moses, who esteemed “the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” Heb 11:26.  Risen Lord, I plead with you to purge this pride, fear, and selfishness that so often guides my behavior; I want to buy from you ‘gold tried in the fire’, Rev 3:18, and salt so this sacrifice might be seasoned, Mark 9:49.

Faith is simple.  When God nudges you to action, don’t second guess it, or over think it.  As believers, the Spirit dwells within us already and so the good deeds that come into our heads should not be brushed off as whims, but rather prayerfully regarded.  Keeping in step with the Spirit is as simple as faith.  With the indwelling Spirit and your own surrendered will, you can discern God’s will at any situation, at a moment’s notice, and at every turn, by simply asking who you see plainly in front of you.  Do you see the visible or the invisible?  Faith is the result of “seeing Him who is invisible” Heb 11:27.  “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go…” “And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

God loves everyone, at all times, and in all places, and “we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them, Eph 2:10.  By renewing the mind, God’s good and perfect will becomes clear, Rom 12:2.  We see the ‘good works’ which He has prepared beforehand, but we must also ‘walk in them’ by taking the next step, which is often more like a leap.  So, may I encourage you, dear believer, next time the gospel is on the tip of your tongue, don’t hesitate, just leap.  Just, God.

12 Mar
2013

Evangelism with Fear and Trembling

I spoke with a woman about the gospel the other day, or perhaps I should say I stumbled through the gospel, trying to speak.  All the essential elements of the gospel were there and she responded somewhat positively, but I’m sure my voice trembled and I was so nervous; it was embarassing.  I prayed about it afterward and pleaded with God to help me improve, so I’m not such a fool for next time.  

The Lord’s Response: 1 Corinthians 1 & 2

The Lord answered that night during evening devotions, when my husband handed me his bible because mine was downstairs.  I providentially opened directly to 1 Corinthians 1 and the following verses were the Lord speaking that night, providing comfort and confirmation.

“…in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”  1 Cr 1:21-25

And then in 1 Corinthians 2: 1-5,

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”

A Fool for the Gospel

That night God did not confirm that He would help me preach the gospel without fear, in fact, He confirmed the opposite.  He confirmed that the fear and the trembling was all a part of His plan, and that He was going to use it for His glory.  He said that when I am weak, then I am strong.  When I think I can’t do it, that’s just the time to dive in, that’s exactly the moment the Lord was waiting for.  He promised me power in my weakness and strength in my fear.   

Jesus, You love the world more than you love my comfort.  If you tap me on the shoulder, and tell me to talk to that one or the other one, then make me a fool, Lord.  Though I tremble with stage fright, I don’t want to miss my queue, so push me out on stage.  I’d rather die a fool for You than live having missed the show.

Scripture Reveals How to Surrender the ‘Pride of Life’

Jesus, what must I still lay on the alter to surrender to your Lordship?  What is in me that is dulling the power of my prayers?

And the Lord provided 1 John 2:16, “for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.”  And the Lord highlighted “the pride of life” for a number of minutes.  What is this “pride of life”?  

If the “lust of the flesh” concern sinful indulgences of the body, and the “lust of the eyes” are the things one can see and covet.  So the “pride of life” is the indulgence of the ears, the thirst for applause, the hunger for a name of high regard.   As Matthew Henry comments, “A vain mind craves all the grandeur, equipage, and pomp of a vain-glorious life; this is ambition, and thirst after honour and applause. This is, in part, the disease of the ear; it must be flattered with admiration and praise.”      

I confess, Lord, this “pride of a life” is a temptation which has daily overcome me.  Like fingernails running down a chalkboard, it is repulsive.  But Lord, how do get rid of this prideful sound? 

And in answer, the Lord provided Romans 8:13, “for if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”Stained Cross

How to Put Pride to Death

But how do I put to death my pride, Lord?  How is that possible? 

And the Lord answered again, this time with John 19: 1-30.  I just read this chapter to my 6-yr-old the day before, except I was using a different bible.  I did not intend to go here again today, but the Lord providentially used it again, perhaps as a way of cementing His voice into my soul. 

“And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.  Then they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck Him with their hands.” John 19:2,3

Jesus, God of entirety cloaked in human flesh, beaten, scorned and mocked.  Jesus, Creator of the bird and fox, Provider of the bird’s nest and the fox’s hole, had Himself no place to lay His head.  “Hail, King of the Jews!”.  At this point, the fate of the Teacher came to a crown of thorns and a purple robe stained red, with no place to lay His head. 

Room for Only One Voice

The path is so narrow, without room for empty praise, and there is only one Voice ahead.  When I deceive myself with vain glory, bring to mind the praise You endured, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and replay that terrible scene in my head, Jesus.  Mortify my elevated self with these words, ‘a servant is not greater than his master’.

I ask something of a miracle, Lord, that praise would fall on me in the same way as rejection.  That both praise and rejection would only bring to mind the scorn of the cross lifted up; God Almighty in designed subjection to the dust of the earth and flesh, the blood, the thorns, and the hard wood.  Increase, Lord, as I decrease.

19 Feb
2013

So It Is With Everyone Who Is Born Of The Spirit

Christian, don’t make the mistake of missing one morning without a quiet conversation with your Savior.   What joy you forfeit, what peace you dismiss for a few more minutes of sleep, or yet another Facebook check.  These things pale in comparison to the riches found in your quiet moments with Jesus. 

outstretched armsThis morning I read Christ’s words in John 8:14, “but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.”   Then, suddenly, a great gust of wind shook my cozy house, affectionately reminding me of the ways of the Holy Spirit as written in John 3:8.  So I turned there to savor these words of Christ about the Spirit, “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes.”  And then another forceful gust of wind rattled the house.  It is marvelous, Lord; the wind outside, the Spirit inside, Your voice resting on my table.  

“So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  You hear the sound of the wind, but you can not tell from where is comes and where it goes.  Like Christ, the Spirit comes from heaven, and will eventually go to heaven, delivering up the born again soul that has clung to Him.  This is why we must be born of the Spirit; the Spirit is of God and will return to God, but the flesh will wither and rot.  Worship wells up in me and streams out my eyes because the One who commands the wind is even mindful of me, and Psalm 8:4 is tossing in my mind, and Mark 4:41 holds my heart still, “who can this be, that even the wind and the sea obey Him!” 

Christian, do not miss your morning conversations.  He waits to speak to you, He rises to greet you!  “Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you”  Isaiah 30:18.

The Gospel: The Greater Thing

 
Son of Man“Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.”  Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”  John 1: 48-51

On January 3rd, 2013, during my morning devotions, I opened to the last part of John, verses 1:48-51.  These verses struck me as very significant and applicable, though I didn’t fully know why.   It seemed as though Jesus was encouraging my belief that He speaks directly to me through His word.  As if He were saying, “because I said unto thee” (John 1:50)… then fill in the blank with all these various ways which I have noticed the Lord speaking through His word…”believest thou?”.   And then He said, “Thou shalt see greater things than these”. 

I knew I would see greater things than the Lord speaking through His word.  But this is really something to consider because I am absolutely stunned that the Lord speaks to His people through His word.  Why do I think He’s saying I’ll see anything greater?  And what is possibly greater than that?

I read John 1:51, “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man,”  but I didn’t really gather what it meant.  I was out of time so figured I’d come back to it later. 

The Wonder of God

After my morning devotions, my girls and I worked on their devotional books for church.  I was amazed to find out what the prescribed verses for that day was in their workbooks.  It was John 1: 47-48.  Then, driving my son to His doctor’s appointment, we passed a church with a sign that said, “Greater Things”, I think it was publicizing a series of sermons or something.  I tried to think nothing of it but I know God too well for that.  God is so cool.

Writing this out sounds crazy, but God is amazing and I am only writing what happened as it happened.  Interpret it as you like, but remember God knows every detail, every single hair on our heads, and He documents every single word ever spoken and He knows every single thought ever thought from every single person in all of history.  “He tells the number of the stars” Psalm 147.  Though I don’t understand why He would be mindful of man, I see no bounds to what He can and can not do. 

The Greater Thing

Came To ServeDays passed and I realized that I was heavily thinking about the Gospel, day in and day out, more than ever.  That great event when God became man and chose death by torture for Himself, thereby paying our sin-debt.  I am amazed by it; utterly stunned.  It is the central thought in my waking moments and the driving force behind my prayers.  I am thinking about it while I do dishes, while I make the bed, while I am shopping.  These meditations of the gospel produce abundant thanksgiving and worship and compassion.  

Compassion for those who have not heard of this life-giving and eternal event which fills my heart, mind, and soul.  This joy and wonder about God’s plan of salvation drives me to memorize scripture and prepare my own gospel presentation to anyone and everyone that would listen.  I only need 5 or 6 minutes of their time.  I have been a Christian for 23 years and never before have I been so driven by the Gospel. 

John 1:51

I have since realized with awe-struck wonder what John 1:51 means; “hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.” It is speaking about the Gospel; Jesus is the bridge between man and God.  I believe God opened this thought to me: God has bridged the gap between Himself and mankind through His Son, Christ Jesus, and that is even greater than God speaking to man through His word. 

The Gospel is the greater thing, and God has graciously increased my understanding of the magnitude of His mighty work at Calvary, I understand a little better my part and privilege to share that understanding to the world He so dearly loves, in His good timing, in His good ways, and for the glory of His good name.  Praise be to God.

Lord, What Do I Write? Holy Spirit Led SEO

I had just read Luke 11:33, “No man, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a secret place,” so I prayed that the Spirit would teach me how to light this prayer journal, this blog, since it is one way I proclaim God’s goodness to me.  In other words, I was asking God to teach me how to get internet traffic to this site so it could truly be a ‘lampstand”.  Right now I don’t think anyone reads it because I haven’t spent much time at all on Search Engine Optimization, or on link building, or any such thing, so I hardly get any traffic.  

 Whose Keywords Should I Use?

What am I listening to?

At one point I did spend a couple of hours looking up what the SEO people call “long-tail keywords”.  SEO people say to find the longer phrases that people are typing into the search engines which other websites are ignoring because they are so long.  I found plenty but I had a very difficult time trying to fit these keyword phrases into what I have already written.  I don’t write what people want to hear, I mostly just record answered prayer, so it was very laborious to try to fit the phrases into what I already wrote, and it also didn’t sound natural.  I realized I’d have to write by becoming inspired by the phrases themselves if I really wanted to incorporate them.  That didn’t sit well.

Anyway, as I was asking the Lord how to glorify Him, how to light this lamp and proclaim His goodness, I glanced back down at my bible directly at Luke 12:11 and 12.  As if in direct answer to my inquiry, these words popped out loud and clear, “take no thought how or what thing you shall answer, or what you shall say; For the Holy Spirit shall teach you in the same hour what you ought to say”. 

“Take No Thought” Recording A Prayer Journal

By definition, recording answered prayer is a form of writing which requires exclusive submission to the Spirit, and so every word is essential to the whole.  God isn’t interested in my keyword phrases; that’s just not how He wants me to do things for this blog.  Prayerfully led link building is good enough for me to build traffic. 

The Lord wants each word typed to be owned entirely by Him, “take no thought” about what I am to write, be taught by the Holy Spirit alone.  Spend no time desperately inserting man-inspired phrases but instead use that time for eternity, seeking first the Kingdom, and it will turn out just the way He intended it to, traffic or no traffic.  The best prayers and praises are not words chosen for their popularity, but groans and thanksgiving formed into words from the Spirit alone.  “But seek first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Matthew 6:33