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Posts Tagged ‘listening’

Is it Real?

I was at work and a customer handed me a hundred-dollar bill. Something didn’t feel right about it. I guess I have handled enough money to know when something isn’t right. I looked it over carefully and couldn’t put my finger on it so I took it. That nagging feeling didn’t go away. I almost gave it to another customer but chose not to. I’m glad I didn’t because as my manager and I looked over it for a few moments we finally discovered it was fake. We got so intent on looking for what was supposed to be there we didn’t look for what wasn’t supposed to be there. Needless to say, I was kicking myself.

It reminded me how clever the devil is. He can present something so well that it looks real or the truth but in reality, it’s not.

I realized, even more, how 1. Important it is to know scripture 2. Listen to the prodding of the Holy Spirit and if needed 3. Check-in with someone that is trustworthy to give spiritual counsel.

The Word will never steer us wrong. It’s God’s word after all. If something doesn’t line up with scripture or who God is it’s more than likely wrong. Granted the Bible doesn’t give us everything in scripture such as marrying Johnny or Nancy, but we can hold an activity or decision up in view of God’s character; are they going to strive to be a godly spouse according to scripture.

The Holy Spirit was given to us as a counselor. He will put the warning beacon up if we are on the wrong track. It’s called a check in our spirit.

If there is still confusion go to someone who is strong in their walk with the Lord and who won’t tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear.

Have you come up against questionable ideas, activities, and desires? I would encourage you to check scripture, pray and seek godly counsel.  Remember God is not a god of confusion Satan is. By doing these three things we take the risk out of missing what is there and not, there according to God. Had I checked with my manager sooner I wouldn’t have accepted that fake bill.

“For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than 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 NIV84

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If you have read this blog over the past few years you might be saying to yourself I must have miss read the title.

 

I assure you, you have not.  It was time for a change.  For me, as a mother of three, volunteer, ministry worker and every other “hat” I may wear, the newest discipline I’m learning to practice and desire more of is solitude.

 

I enjoy the quiet moments of being home listening to quiet spa- like music, aromatherapy oils and a good book.  However, even at home I stare at all I have to do and many times can’t relax.

 

As I mentioned in the past, Jesus took time for solitude and the importance of taking the time to be away from the busyness of life to just focus on God. My relationship with Him is important enough to practice solitude.

 

This is the “atmosphere” I believe God desires to bring with the words typed here.   When I was thinking of a new title the only one that came to mind was Solitude With the Father.  I couldn’t get away from it.

 

When I picture a place of solitude I think of a small one room cabin in the mountains with a roaring fire in the stone fireplace, with a Bible, journal and pen or pencil.  No TVs or smart phone or any phone for that matter.  It’s just me and the Father together reading, talking and listening.

 

The hard aspect of solitude is that what I hear does not always bring about warm fuzzies.  If I am really present and willing to hear what He has for me, I have to be open to receiving the correction, discipline, and changes He want me to make.  It’s not comfortable at times.

 

I have cried, been angry, disappointed, and on cloud nine as I have met with Him.

 

The silence can also be deafening.

 

My desire, and I believe it’s God’s desire, is that Solitude with the Father is a way to continue to share my heart with you and many things that the Father has placed there.  This is a place I hope you will find encouragement in the hard times, a place to grow in your walk with Him, and even a place that spurs you on to make changes and seek Him out in your own solitude time.

 

 

 

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I’m not a people person.  That is to say, I don’t have to have people around me twenty-four seven.  However, silence is some thing I can’t handle either.  Usually I have to have the TV on just for noise, which in turn becomes a big distraction.  Lately, it’s been Christian radio which in reality, is a better choice in breaking the silence.

Another issue I see is the busyness of life.  Now I don’t cram my days with activity after activity, but with three girls I feel like I’m running all the time.

Our culture says the busier you are the better.  The danger in this is an overwhelmed schedule that makes it harder to hear from God.  This has been true about me over the past several months.

Through circumstances of life I realized that I have been neglecting my soul.  Sure I have been in the Word and praying but there is a discipline I have been ignoring.  Silence.

Silence means listening and that can’t be accomplished unless I’m intentional about doing it.  I can rush to get my time with God done and move on with my day, but what is the point in that?  That is not how a relationship works.

The first time I sat and was still, I stared at the wall waiting, nothing happened.  Frustrated, I started my day.  Needless to say I felt guilty. I determined to start over the next morning.

I sat down and said, “Okay, I’m here God. Show up.”  I don’t recommend saying that, my attitude wasn’t the greatest but He did.

I read the portion of scripture and waited. He showed me things I had never seen or realized before.

Two months later, the women’s director of my church recommended a book to me.  Embracing Soul Care – Making Space for What Matters Most by Stephen W. Smith.  It talks about how our lives get so bogged down with schedules that we start doing things in our strength and then neglect our spiritual lives.

This book has forced me to slow down, and be still before the Lord so He can refresh, and nourish my soul.  I have learned quite a bit about myself and the Lord.  As I have paused after my reading both this book and Scripture I take time to reflect on the questions and what the Lord has for me.

*These are just some of the things God has placed on my heart through sitting still and listening.

  1. Take the clock out of the office: I had become so task oriented that I was constantly checking the clock so I could end my time with Him before my girls got up for school.
  2. Praying before I start reading. Before, I always prayed after reading scripture 1. it took longer so if I had to cut something short it would be prayer  to apply what I read.
  3. Stop recording some of my favorite TV shows. TV became a distraction and took time away from more important things.
  4. Pray more for my children (pinpoint praying not vague prayers)

Even after a month, it’s still so hard not to do anything for a few minutes.  Sometimes I learn something new, other times God brings things to mind I need to confess, and yet other times it’s just to be silent and soak up the fact I am in the presence of the God of the universe, my Father.

How about you?  Do you look in the mirror and see a person you don’t know anymore.   Are you feeling overwhelmed, struggling with your quiet times.  Maybe you feel stretched thin, tired, both spiritually and in your everyday life.  Maybe it’s time to slow down, breath in God through reading, prayer and listening.  You won’t regret it.

Silence is golden.

*Please note – God works with each person differently. What He impress on my heart may not be what He wants for you.

“For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In

Repentance and rest you shall be saved, in quietness and trust is your strength.’”

Isaiah 30:15 (NASB)

http://www.amazon.com/Embracing-Soul-Care-Making-Matters/dp/0825436702/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1424865693&sr=1-1&keywords=embracing+soul+care

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When it comes to the love of God I have found myself overwhelmed. The other day I was struggling to decide what to do for my quiet time so I prayed about it.  The passage that came to mind, was 1 Corinthians 13, also known as the “Love Chapter”.  I’ve studied it before as it applied to my marriage or parenting, but not in relation to God’s love.  However, the parallel between this chapter and God, made perfect sense.   What better scripture to learn about His love than the Love chapter.

As a Christian I am to be a reflection of Him and if that is true, there is a need for me to see God’s character.  That brought up some serious questions right out of the gate such as if God is patient didn’t He lose His patience with Israel?  Or If love isn’t boastful, doesn’t God boast about Himself?  Of course God is God and He has the right to do both.  But then how does that relate to me?

The first three verses seem to be common sense.  When I took a deeper look I believe I  gained a fresh perspective of who He is.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  And if I have prophetic powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith so as to remove mountains, but have not love.  I am nothing.  If I give away all I have and if I deliver up my body to be burned but have not love, I gain nothing.” 

I Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)

 

  1. God speaks and understands all languages, for He created them.  Not only that, He listens to thousands of them all at once.  He doesn’t have to say, “You in Russia don’t talk until I hear those in England or Mexico.”  He loves me so much that He can intently listen to anyone, anywhere at anytime and all the while be listening to me as if I was the only talking to Him.
  1. He understands all mysteries and all knowledge, yet He allows us to glimpse a fraction of what He knows such as black holes, and gives us the ability to build ultrasounds to see His creation of an unborn baby.
  1. He gave up all the riches of Heaven to put on a human body and live among us as a member of a poor carpenter’s family.  Then He made the ultimate sacrifice of shedding His blood as the payment for our sins.  That is some kind of love.  Because of His love I can be free, be part of His family and live with Him forever.

I don’t know about you, but the above gives me chills.

How do you see His love? Are you awed by it?   Do you want to reflect the same kind of love?

I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 13 for yourself. Ask Him to show you something new about Himself and give you a new perspective of His love.

As I share what God is showing me, I would also love to hear what He is showing you about His love whether it be from your own Bible study or how He has been working in your life.

 

1 Corinthians 13, Psalm 139

 

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I have heard many pastors say scripture is simple enough that a child could understand it but so complex that you can read it for a life time and never get everything out of it.

Hebrews 4:12 says that “The word of God is living and active…” For years I thought it just meant that it is relevant no matter the date on the calendar, which it is. However; recently God impressed on my heart a deeper understanding.   One verse can be applied to many different situations not just the one specifically mentioned.

For instance, take the verse in James that says “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  The context is talking about our anger, and before we lose it we need to process what was said and not react.

My oldest daughter has been struggling with a relationship.  For months now I have been telling her to talk it over with her friend, to express what she is seeing and how she feels. She chose not to.  Now months later everything came to a head and she was forced to work through it.  On top of that, the situation affected another friend. I continued to remind her, what I had been saying for months, then walked out of her room.

When I expressed my frustration to my husband his response was, “She just wants you to listen.”

I’m a fixer; she wanted a listening ear. “Everyone should be quick to listen and slow to speak…”.  That includes a mother who wants to fix things. I went to apologize.

“Honey, you wanted me to only listen, didn’t you?”

“Yeah.”

She continued to look at the book she had been reading.

“I’m sorry.  I should have just listened.  I tell you what.  When you want to talk about something, tell me you just want me to listen.  I promise I won’t be angry.  Deal?”

“Sure,” she answered in typical teenager fashion.

The Bible is truly amazing.

Have you disregarded reading a passage of scripture because you have read it before?

I encourage you to go back and read it again, asking God to remind you of a principle you have forgotten or to show you a new way to apply it.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

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