Psalm 143:8

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
Psalm 143:8

Monday, August 29, 2011

God's Silence - Part 1

Why does it seem sometimes like we pray and pray...only to hear silence in return?  Why does it feel like God has retreated from us in times that are already difficult?  And how in the world do we get through those times when it feels that way?  Some of us might start to worry, and fret and feel like we are all alone.  We start to fear what is happening, what is going to happen.  We question our own thoughts, feelings, choices. This would be my reaction...but I am learning to change that to a more positive outlook. 

We know that God listens.  We know that He is always there.  We know that He is all-knowing, all-powerful.  We know that He is over all and in control of all.  But why is it so easy to forget all that when it seems He is silent?

Have you ever been given the "silent treatment" by someone?   That person might feel that the best way to get through to you is to just be quiet for a while.  Sometimes I think this may be God's approach, too.  When you have a conversation with someone what happens when there is an uncomfortable silence?  Someone usually starts to talk to fill it up, right?  Often times, that's when someone may really open up, too - let it all out. Maybe God wants to hear from us a little more.  Maybe there are things we are doing that blocks His voice, or maybe we just aren't listening or paying attention very well.

Sometimes I pray constantly...on and on and on.  I like to talk to God.  To tell Him everything I have going on in my mind and on my heart.  Sometimes, I am happy, sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes whiney...on and on.  I talk and talk and talk and talk....and then I realize that it seems to be a one-sided conversation.  God's not sayin' much.  I feel a little disappointed.  Hmmm...well, I haven't given Him much chance have I?  I'm talking non-stop and never giving Him a chance to get a word in edgewise!  How can I expect to hear anything if I don't quiet down and be still....and listen?

 Be still and know that I am God.   Psalm 46:10

Be still. Be quiet.  So hard to do sometimes...especially in this world of technology!  Open your heart and your mind, turn off the background noise...and shush.  Give God a chance to talk to you!  Listen for His voice, and maybe...just maybe, you'll hear it!

Come visit tomorrow for another thought on why it might seem that God is silent.  And in the meantime, remember He is always there, always listening, and always ready to speak!

Blessings!




Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Holy Spirit Intercede

When there are just no more words...when everything just feels like you are spinning out of control into a big black hole...when you are so tired you can't take another step...when you feel one more kick when you are already down...when you just can't even pray....what then?

Surrender.  Let it go.  Let the Holy Spirit work in and through you.  Let the Holy Spirit intercede in prayer for you in groans only God can comprehend.  He knows.  He knows how you hurt, what you need, and how to take care of it all.  He knows the answers you can't find.  He knows how to heal, how to hold, how to give you strength.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.   
Romans 8:25-27
 

Monday, August 22, 2011

In this Moment

What will you do in this moment?

Think about what you've lost or rejoice about what is ahead of you?

Cry over a broken relationship or pray for God's touch in that person's life?

Ache over brokenness or accept God's peace to flow through you to soothe away those cutting edges?

Frown or smile?

Fuss over worldly things or be thankful for what you have?

Look at the things you know you must do and freeze, or step out and get them done?

Fear the world or have faith in God?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Voices



 I love this song!  I like to play it loud in my car and sing along with it.  It reminds me that even when the world seems to be overwhelmingly against me....God is for me!

It is so easy to listen to the voices that tell me I am worthless, that I am a failure, that the mistakes I make are so horrible that I cannot rise above them.  These voices claim that I will never succeed, that I can't possibly hope to achieve the dreams that are in my heart.  They tell me I am a bad mom, a selfish friend, that I was an uncaring wife, that I don't do enough or care enough or.....  These voices shout inside my head and make me want to sit curled up in a corner sometimes.  Ever feel that way?

But the thing to remember is that those voices don't come from God.  Those voices come from the Evil One who wants to break me down, pull me away from the love of God.  The one who puts negative people in my path who reinforce those words. The one who places temptations in my path to trip me up. Unfortunately, he is a master at pushing at human weaknesses so that we listen to those things and believe them.

And yet, there is a greater voice.  A voice of truth!  The voice of God.  The voice that tells me that I am His child.  That I am beloved and special and worthwhile.  The voice that lifts me up and lets me know that His arms hold me up.  The voice that corrects, admonishes, teaches, and guides.  The voice that sings over me...and you.  So let's turn down the volume on those other voices that tear us down...and listen to the One who loves us and tells us the truth. 

Have a blessed day...listen for His voice today.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

In whom do we trust?

Big question that one.  Who do we trust?  Family?  Friends?  Someone we just met?  Someone we know well?  What makes us trust someone?  Well, let's think on that.  A trustworthy person is honest.  They treat others with respect, kindness, compassion.  They follow through with things they say they are going to do.  They might even see things that you need and provide them before you ask or even before you realize you need them.  They keep their promises.  They honor their commitments.  I'm sure you can think of a few more things to add to the list.

How often do we place our trust in someone, only to have it broken?  People lie, break promises, say things they don't really mean...build you up and then break you down.  Some people cheat or con others.  When someone tells you they will do something, and then they don't, you are disappointed or hurt.  What happens when this same scenario happens over and over?  Eventually, you give up on that person right?  You don't trust that they are going to do what they say.  It gets frustrating.  Might even hurt us, or make us angry.  When we realize we can't trust someone, it causes a breakdown in the essential parts of our relationship...like a tear in fabric.

Yes, in some cases, this breakdown can be fixed.  We can learn to trust again.  And in others, it causes a relationship to fall apart.  One thing we must remember, is that no matter how broken the trust, we must find it within ourselves to forgive.  I am not saying that we always have to fix a relationship...sometimes that just can't happen.  But for our own good, we must forgive.  What happens when we hold a grudge against someone for a long time?  We become bitter, our anger takes hold of us and creates all kinds of negative feelings and thoughts that fester within us.  It steals our joy and....it creates a space in our relationship with God, too.

Now, let's take a look at trusting God.  He NEVER lies.  He NEVER breaks a promise.  He NEVER leaves us alone.  He NEVER says one thing and does another.  He is always there, always. We can trust Him.  Just look at all He provides to the believers in the Bible...food, healing, hope, abundant lives. Does He not do the same for us?  Even when tragedy strikes, He can be counted on for peace, comfort, hope for the future.  When we are broken and beaten down, He is there to pick us up, brush us off, and help us back on our way.  When we are tired, He gives us strength to endure.  When we feel so alone it's hard to breathe, He is there to place a comforting arm around our shoulders and hold us close.

There are so many people in our lives.  Some we can trust, some we can't.  We can look to God for guidance on that.  And we can remember that no matter what happens in our human relationships...God is above all that and is truly trustworthy and faithful.  No matter what!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

a little vacation...

Just a little post to say that I was on vacation for a few days...and I will soon have more posts...got lots of lessons learned rolling around in my head and I am trying to get them in some sort of order!  God has given me a LOT to think about in the last few days, that is certain!

My favorite verse of all time is Philippians 4:13.  I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  I recite this verse to myself often and even have a mug with it printed on it.  I am taking some time to draw from that strength...hope you do the same!

Blessings on your day,
Kelly

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Why did you doubt?

Yesterday my Mary Martha growth group sisters discussed the passage in Matthew where Jesus walks on the water.  You know the story?  Jesus dismisses a crowd and sends his disciples across the lake in a boat while he goes up on a mountainside to pray.  There was a storm that night.  Before dawn, Jesus went out to the disciples walking on the water.  They were frightened when they saw what they thought was a ghost walking toward them in the eerie pre-dawn light.  Jesus said to them "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid." 

Words we sometimes need to hear, aren't they?  "Take courage!  It is I.  Don't be afraid."  The strength, the peace those words can bring!  Wow!

But then comes Peter.  Lovely, human Peter.  He means well.  He does.  Or maybe he's a little cheeky?  Asking Jesus, "Lord, if it's you, tell me to come to you on the water."  Testing Jesus?  Is Peter not so sure he is who he says he is??  Would Jesus lie to him?  Of course not.  But there it is....a little sliver of doubt.

So Jesus says, "Come."  Come.  Go ahead, test it.  Come on out here on the water with me.  I am here, don't be afraid.  Step out of the boat, out of your comfort zone.  Come to Me.

And Peter does!  Yes!  Go Peter!  He steps out, eyes on Jesus.  Ready to walk on water, too!  But then what happened?  He looked down.  He took his eyes off Jesus.  He saw the waves rolling in the wind.  He saw just where he was....on water....deep water.  And suddenly, he forgot Jesus was there.  He forgot where his focus was.  He feared the unknown.  Feared the unseen threats around him.  He questioned his own ability...which was not enough to walk on water, and he began to sink.  And as he sank he cried out, "Lord, save me!"

And Jesus being full of grace and mercy, reached out his hand and caught him.  "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"  Oh Peter, why did you lose your focus, why did you let fear in, why did you doubt?

Do you ever have that feeling of drowning in stress or painful circumstances?  Where you feel like crying, screaming, kicking?  Where you aren't even sure how to breathe anymore?  Have you taken your eyes off of Jesus? 

What do we know about Jesus?  He has said he will never leave us or forsake us.  He is with us until the end of the age.  The psalmist tells us in Psalm 139 how there is nowhere we can go to get away from God...He is everywhere we go.  He knows every thought, every feeling, every pain.  The Holy Spirit lives in us, through us, and intercedes for us.  There is comfort, and peace in this knowledge.  There is reason to trust Him because we know He is not leaving us alone.

I felt like I described above, today.  And as I was struggling to function normally, two friends came into my office.  One looked at me, she has this uncanny way of looking into my eyes and knowing there is something not right. I have found that I cannot tell her even a half-truth about how I am anymore because she sees right through it.  So she stopped, mid-sentence, as she was looking at me and said "Are you ok?"  "No." I said as tears flooded my eyes and I struggled to hold them back.  "Do you need prayer?"  "Yes," I said.  They came around my desk, held my shoulders and prayed for me.  A beautiful, healing prayer that reminded me that my eyes had fallen from Jesus' face.  That I was instead, looking at the storm around me and not the beloved face of my Savior.  And I heard Jesus' words..."why did you doubt?"

Why did you doubt?  Why did you let your human fears cloud your day?  Why did you forget the promises I made to you?  Why do you think I am gone from your side?  Oh Jesus, forgive my doubt.  Forgive me for letting my fears come between us.  Doubt is not trust. 

So let's try again.  Eyes on Jesus!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The lion's den?

I like to walk in the mornings. I go down to the river and spend about an hour walking, praying, listening. It's always a great way to start the day. I watch the squirrels chase each other and the geese as they protect their young. I listen to the birds and watch the fish jump. I thank God for the beauty of His creation. Afterwards, I usually spend some time with my Bible and a notebook, in which I record my prayers and anything I feel God is saying to me that day. Sometimes I do this at the river, and sometimes I go home and sit on my back patio with a cup of coffee.

A few mornings ago, I was out on my patio in the swing with my coffee and Bible. I opened my Bible and found myself in the book of Daniel. Daniel chapter 6 to be exact. And there I read the story of how Daniel was betrayed by his fellow administrators. They plotted his downfall, and got King Darius to issue an edict that anyone who prayed to a god other than King Darius be thrown into the lions den. See, they knew that Daniel was a man of God. They knew that he prayed regularly and that he was "trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent." They didn't want him around. These men went to the king and told him that Daniel was still praying to God, despite the decree...and even though the king didn't want to do it, he had to follow his own decree and send Daniel to the lions den.

As Daniel was thrown into the lions den and the entrance was sealed, the king said to him, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" We see that the king spent a restless night, refusing food and entertainment. He couldn't sleep. First thing in the morning, he ran to the den to see what had happened to Daniel. And when he called out to Daniel, Daniel answered him!! Daniel told him that God had sent his angel to close the mouth of the lions. They did not hurt him because he was innocent in God's eyes.

And here's the verse that jumped out at me: "The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God." Because he had trusted in his God. Because he had TRUSTED....in God!!! He trusted.

What personal lions den do you face? What gaping opening is right before you that seems like it will swallow you whole? I have one. I am facing an uncertainty in my future that leaves me weak and shaking if I think about it too much. But I am being thrown into it whether I want it or not...much like Daniel. Circumstances are my "coworkers" and the lions are ravenous. Daniel was human, like you and me. He had to have felt some fear that make him shake a little, sweat a little...at the thought of facing down those lions. But Daniel trusted God. He knew that God is bigger and stronger than any lion. He knew that God spoke words and the world came into being. He knew that God breathed life into Adam and Eve. He knew that God holds everything in His hands. And Daniel trusted. And God sent his angel to take care of him. Daniel came out of the lions den unharmed.

We can learn a lesson from Daniel. Trust. Look those lions in the eye and trust in God to be there, to send His angels to close the mouths of the lions. Trust. Live your life for God, and trust Him.