Are You Listening 

Why can’t I hear God’s voice? This is a question that most of us have probably asked at some point.  When we are struggling, there are many conclusions that we may draw about why we can’t hear His voice. Is it because He isn’t actually speaking to me? Is He disappointed and has given up on me? Or maybe He just doesn’t love me at all.  

Luke 8:8 says, “Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.” This scripture is puzzling. I have ears, so why can’t I hear the voice of God? Think about the reasons you don’t hear those around you. Those may be the same reasons you can’t hear God’s voice. 

  • Too Busy – Several years ago some of my students enjoyed Pig Latin. If I listened closely, I could decipher their message, but most of the time I was simply too busy. Our lives are so busy! We are constantly busy going and doing. Busy working. Busy worrying. Busy raising kids. Busy with technology. The list just goes on and on with things we must do. Is it possible that you don’t hear God because you are too busy?
  • Tuned out – I’ve had conversations with my husband while grading papers, cooking, or anything. I heard his voice, but I may not have really heard him because my focus was on something else. Sometimes we don’t hear people because we’ve already made up our mind, and theres no changing it regardless what is said. So we simply tune them out. Then there are times that we honestly don’t want to hear what someone says. We know they may be right, but we don’t want to admit it. So we tune them out. Could you be tuning God out because you aren’t focused on Him, you’ve already made up your mind, or you just really don’t want to hear what He has to say? 

Luke 8:18 says, “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand will be taken away from them.” Its important that we are careful to listen so that we can grow in understanding His will for our lives. 

So maybe God really is speaking to me (and you), but we just aren’t listening. If I really wanted to understand the Pig Latin, I could. If I really want to hear those around me, I will focus rather than tune them out. If I really want to hear God’s voice, then I will make time to listen and focus on Him. I can’t hear him by just reading the bible. I must slow down, meditate on the Word, search for how God wants me to apply it to my life, and allow Him the opportunity to speak.  That’s when I’ll hear the voice of God!

He is Greater Than

Whatever you are facing, God has already given you the strength and faith needed. You may not always feel it, but you have what it takes to overcome because Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!! 

Satan is always at work around us. He works through our circumstances, attitudes, feelings, insecurities, and the people around us to create discouragement in our walk of faith. He hopes that we will grow frustrated, turn from God, and take matters into our own hands rather than trusting God.  But thankfully our God is greater than anything that Satan can send our way! 

During those moments when you just don’t think you have it in you to handle any more, remember that the God who lives in your heart will provide all that is required.  When you feel weak and broken by all that is going on around you, know that He has all the strength you need and can mend your brokenness. 

He is greater than any tragedy. He is greater than any illness. He is greater than any feeling. He is greater than any insecurity. He is greater than _____ (fill in the blank with any struggle you are facing). HE is GREATER period. You need only to keep your eyes on Him, and remember “Greater is He that is in me that he that is in the world” – 1 John 4:1.

Our God is Greater!

Run to God

we-do-not-knowLife can feel out of control at times making it difficult to know what to do or where to turn.  Tragedy strikes, loved ones get sick, betrayal destroys relationships, finances crumble, and many more battles can leave us feeling frightened and discouraged.

The night of my husband’s accident, my life suddenly felt completely out of control.  He did not come home and did not answer his phone when I called which is very unlike him.  I feared that something was terribly wrong, so I got dressed and began driving towards his place of employment.  I didn’t know where to go, but knew I needed to find him.

 A few miles from the house I met my cousin, a deputy, who was coming to get me.  When he pulled me over, he didn’t give me any details, just said that I needed to follow him.  I was alone in my car following him to the hospital, not knowing what the future held.  I could not even gather my thoughts enough to call family members.  I could only pray.  Pray that the situation wasn’t as bad as I imagined.  Pray that my husband was alive.  Pray for God to give me strength to face this battle.  I ran to God because I didn’t know what else to do. 

2 Chronicles 20:15 says, “Do not be afraid or discouraged.  For the battle is not yours, but God’s”.  This has often been an encouraging scripture that reminds me that no matter the struggle I am not alone, but knowing the background information makes it even more powerful to me.  Earlier in chapter 20, it says that King Jehoshaphat was told that an immense army was coming to wage war against them.  It seemed they had nowhere to run, but Jehoshaphat ran to God.  In verse twelve he says, “We do not know what to do, but we look to you.” 

God then instructed the people to stand firm and wait for God’s deliverance.  As the people sang and praised God, their enemies began to destroy one another.  Jehoshaphat and his army simply stood still and watched God at work!

My husband’s accident was, like Jehoshaphat’s, a battle that I could not fight.  There was nothing I could do to change the outcome.  All I could do was look to God and trust Him.  Praise God my husband’s injuries were not as extensive as I imagined, but it has been a difficult few months as he recovers from a traumatic brain injury.  The battle isn’t over, and we are both trying to continue standing firm and praising God as we watch and wait expectantly.  We have already seen God at work many times through this and know He isn’t finished!

When your life feels completely out of control and you don’t know what to do, remember that God is bigger than your problem.  All you have to do is look to Him and follow Jehoshaphat’s example.  Run to God.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.  Stand firm.  Watch God at work.   

Don’t Give Up On Me

“Don’t give up on me”… those are the words my husband used as he struggled with the recent changes in his life following an accident. I quickly responded with, “How could I ever give up on you? I love you too much to give up!”

When we are struggling with life, temptation, and sin,  Satan will try to convince us that God has or will give up on us and that we aren’t worthy of His love. But we must focus on the knowledge that God won’t give up on us. Instead He’s saying, “Child, I love you too much to give up on you!”

The Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and His faithfulness continues. Psalms 100:5

God our Savior showed his kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit. Titus 3:4-5

Dear Father, I ask that you reassure all who are struggling today. Remind them of your precious love and faithfulness. Carry them through and place people in their path to reaffirm your love and encourage them through the difficulties. 

I Miss You

My husband recently suffered a traumatic brain injury. I am  writing this as I sit in a hospital bed beside his and will probably share more of our journey as we go through it.

Soon after his accident, he knew me which was a huge blessing. I’ve barely left my husband’s side throughout his hospital stay and rehab.  During the first two weeks his conversation was very limited, and most of it made very little sense.

I can remember thinking how much I missed him (and still do at times) even though I was right there by his side every day. I’ve missed deep conversations which include more than short discussions regarding his comfort and care.  I’ve missed sharing old memories and laughing about new ones. I’ve missed that twinkle in his eye as he gives me a hard time.

But I also remember thinking about how our Heavenly Father must feel that way about me at times.  Is He saying, “I miss you”? I talk to him daily. I pray often as I go through my day about things that I need and about the needs of others. But does He long for more?

Unfortunately, I have to admit that I get busy with the distractions of life and a lot of my conversations with God are possibly nothing more than babbling to His ears. He has used these moments with my husband to help me realize that God is saying, “I miss you.  Slow down and really talk to me.”  I need to spend more time in meaningful conversations praising Him for all that He has done, reading my Bible, and actually listening to what He has to say. How about you?  Is God saying, “I miss you”?

The Lord is with you, mighty warrior. Judges 6:12
Battles are raging all around. I see many friends struggling with the distress of situations that seem too much to bear. These disheartening battles include cancer, heart disease, injuries, mental illness, financial difficulties, addictions, lawsuits, false accusations, broken families, and fighting an actual war. Our children aren’t even immune. Their struggles include peer pressure, eating disorders, bullies, anxiety, and even terminal illness. The list goes on and on.
The Israelites experienced many difficulties. In Judges chapter six, they faced oppression from the Midianites who, during a seven year period, often destroyed the crops, livestock, and homes of the Israelites. God appointed Gideon to deliver Israel from the hand of Midian, but Gideon was afraid and confused about how that was possible when his people were the weakest in the land. God assured him in verse 16: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.”
We all have battles which God has called us to fight, but like Gideon, we can be certain that God is with us. Often we feel weak and think our struggles are more than we can bear. Realistically, without the strength that can only be given by God, we probably couldn’t handle such situations on our own. What a blessing to know that he will be with us through the battles of life.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you.”
It doesn’t matter what we are going through, God will give us the power to overcome it through His strength! Find courage today in knowing that God will be with you through the battles of life. You are a mighty warrior through Him!

Facing My Fear

when i am afraid

What scares you?  I mean really scares you…to the point of being physically ill and unable to think of anything else.  How do you deal with fear that grips your body, mind, and spirit?  Do you curl up in a ball and just give up or do you dig down deep and find the courage to face that fear head on?

I am facing one of my greatest fears…flying.  I’ve never flown and never planned to fly because the thought of it terrifies me.  I fully comprehend the fact that it’s safer than my daily drive to work.  I am not afraid of dying.  I know that if I die I am going to my heavenly home because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior.

So why am I so frightened by something that people do every day?  I really don’t know.  Maybe it’s that sense of having no control or simply getting out of my comfort zone.  I can’t nudge the pilot to get his/her attention about something ahead.  I can’t cry out for him/her to slow down or watch out!  I won’t have any idea of what is normal and what is truly something to be alarmed about.  I just have so many questions and there are so many unknowns.  I have searched the internet to gain as much knowledge as possible, but I still worry that my fear will take over what my heart knows:  God is in control, and He will be with me every step of the way.

We all experience times in our lives in which we face great fear and uncertainty.  Moments when we feel we have absolutely no control.  Moments when we aren’t sure what the future holds.  And moments when there are many unanswered questions.  It doesn’t matter if you are facing something as insignificant as doing something for the first time or if you are facing something life changing.  The same fear can creep in and make you miserable.  Faith can help us learn to face these fears with a peace that only God can provide.

If you are living in fear and uncertainty today, I’m going to offer you the same advice I’ve been giving myself over the last few days.

  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:6-7  Keep praying!
  • I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13  With His strength, I can do this!
  • She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 NLT  I want to be so prepared spiritually that I can laugh and enjoy every moment with no fear!

Remembering that God is control will help you to face your fears.  There is nothing that will happen that you can’t handle with His help.  Also trust that He will be with you every step of the way sitting beside you, holding your hand, and even carrying you through when necessary.  You may not always feel His presence but know trust that He is there.  Finally, pray.  Be honest with God about your anxiety and share your deepest fears and concern with Him.  So put your trust in Him and face your fear with the strength only He can provide!

 

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