Does God Ask Too Much Of Us?

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The passage of years told their story in the lines across his brow, “age spots” dappled generously across his body, and skin as fragile as parchment.

He had known the sorrows and joys of a living a full life.

The enthusiasm of his youth had mellowed into the resolute faithfulness of the experienced.

He knew what it meant to watch all his dreams crumble and then at the last to watch them miraculously be fulfilled.

He had experienced the humbling lessons of trying to “intercede” for God and then to see those alternate plans “smack him back in the face.”

The passage of time had taught him that the truthfulness of God’s character is dependable.

The old man had learned that “God doesn’t just speak to be heard but to be obeyed.” (quote taken from Discerning The Voice Of God)

Through both failures and victories, the old man had learned that obedience to God’s voice requires a resolute and total commitment.

Through “trail and error”, the old man had learned that God’s resources and blessings always follow His will. 

In the seasoned years of his life, the old man finally felt ready to relax and to enjoy the benefits of years of toil and sacrifice.

He was ready to enjoy the blessings of spending time with a son that hadn’t come until all hope seemed hopeless.

This son had been promised by God a long time ago, and when the old man was still young, he and his wife had anticipated God’s promised blessing.

As the years had turned into decades, the “blossom” of their dreams and hopes had crumpled along with the vitality and fertility of their youth.

The man and his wife had even tried to devise a contingency plan for God, but had discovered the hard way that God’s blessings follow God’s will — not their own.

In God’s mercy and according to the faithfulness and truthfulness of God’s character, the man and his wife did at last see the full fruition of all their hopes and dreams!

A son was born to the two of them at last!  Miracle of miracles, their son was born in the autumn of their lives!

Where there had been “decay” and “deadness”, God had brought vitality and life.

Now, the old man could enjoy his son turning into a young man, anticipating the “handing over of the reins” of leadership to his son.

Feeling the creak of arthritic knees and the pain of swollen joints, the old man sat for a few minutes, marveling over the extent of the “spread” of his camp.  The tents of his servants spread out across the plain, along with the herds of sheep, cattle, and camels.  Wells, his servants had dug, pumped refreshing water to sustain the life of his household.

The colorful array of exquisite tapestries decorated the outside of their dwellings, while the beautiful designs of intricately-crafted pottery, mosaics, vases, and jewel-like creations decorated the interiors.

The old man felt a deep satisfaction welling up inside him.  It was time to rest and enjoy this “autumn” season of his life.

Into the quiet of his soul came the Voice that he had come to recognize with clarity over the years.  It was the voice of God, compelling Him to once again obey with resolute commitment.

The old man had known what it meant to follow God with unyielding obedience.  He knew what total commitment to God’s will looked like.  He had left the stability of his home lands, the “security” of loved ones and resources, the “protection” of armies, the “provision” of fertile valleys, and the companionship of friends in order to follow God.

His commitment to God was radical in its resoluteness and thoroughness.

In spite of all the “sacrifices” the old man had previously made to follow God, this new command would test everything he believed concerning God.  This latest command would be the ultimate test of the fortitude of his commitment to God.

“Was he all in for God and willing to go all out for God — even when it meant allowing the ‘blessings’ and ‘promises’ of God to ‘die’?”

In all honesty, the old man did have the fleeting thought that ran through his mind initially, questioning God’s “right” to ask so much of him.  The thought was no sooner there than the old man discarded it.  If nothing else, the old man had learned that God is a God of the impossible.

“If God required the ultimate sacrifice, then God would provide the ultimate provision.”

The old man pushed himself up. On legs, shaking not just from the weakness of age but also from the emotions of the moment, he limped his way to the animal corral.  It was time to prepare his donkey and pack provisions for the grueling journey that he would undertake in the morning.

Relaying few details, the old man kissed his wife good bye and set off on the journey, taking several days’ worth of provisions, his donkey, a stack of wood for an offering, two servants to assist, and his most prized possession of all — his promised son.

The arduous journey would take three days of bone-wearying, mind-numbing, and emotionally-draining fatigue.

During those three days, the old man continued to trudge along in his task to fulfill God’s command.

This time, he had no contingency plans.  There was no sacrificial animal that he had brought “just in case”…

Upon reaching the foothills of the mountain that was to be their destination, the old man instructed the two servants to wait for their return.

Then with one hand leading the donkey, loaded with firewood on his back, and the other hand clasping his son’s hand in his own, the old man set out.

With the carefree nature of youth, the son soon was scampering along the path, excitedly pointing out the insects, oddly-shaped rocks, and colorful flowers long their path.

The steep path ascended up the hard face of the mountain, ending at the top.  At the top of the mount, the man and his boy stood.  It was just them and God.

With unwavering dedication to following God’s commands, the old man began to untie the firewood and began to carefully stack the wood upon an outcropping of rocks.  He placed each log carefully so that it would quickly and efficiently burn the sacrifice.

Each action he performed was resolute.  He was committed to seeing God’s commands through to the end.

Then with unwavering devotion and trust, the old man hardly flinched as he turned to his son and began to tie his sons’ arms and legs together, preparing his son to be the sacrifice.

The son had heard the story of his miraculous birth over and over throughout his young years.  He had heard repeatedly how God had promised that He would raise up a powerful nation through the boys’ descendants.  The boy did not fully understand what was going to happen, but he too believed that God could and should be trusted.

With bated breath, the boy watched as his father raised a long knife over his body.

Into the silence of time suspended in an agony of hopes, the compelling voice of God spoke.

With trembling hand, the old man lowered the sharp blade.  While salty tears trailed down weathered cheeks and gnarled hands grabbed the hand of his beloved son, the old man listened as God commended him for his obedience and then revealed His provision.

A ray of sunlight caught the glint of the metal and threw a dazzling beam of light out across the mount where they stood.  As their gazes were drawn to the blinding reflection of sun, the boy and the man saw where the beam of light seemed to point.

There, standing in a tangled mass of weeds and thistles was a ram.  The strong and beautiful animal would become the sacrifice instead.

God had provided!

The old man swept his son up into his arms and quickly cut the restraining ropes, binding the boys’ arms.

Later as the old man and his son watched the last embers of flame burn out, they heard God’s compelling voice once again speak. This time, God’s voice spoke words of praise and blessing, reaffirming the promises that had been made decades ago that God would bless the progeny of this faithful old man and his son.

As the old man and his son descended the mountain, their eyes were drawn not just to the beautiful vista below but also back to the altar.

Something powerful had happened that day in their lives!  It wasn’t just mere excitement over seeing a ram and the huge relief of knowing that God wasn’t going to require the sacrifice of the boy.  It was something greater… It seemed a truth, a message greater than the moment, greater than themselves had been relayed. 

And the old man returned home to his wife, while the youthful son, exuberantly ran off to explore a new adventure.

Though presently distracted by youthful interests, the boy would later recall that powerful moment and would ponder the deeper message of God’s faithfulness and truthfulness to His promises.

Over a thousand years later, a Father would once again be required to make the ultimate sacrifice.

This Son was the Father’s only and beloved Son.  This Son would willingly lay down His life as a sacrifice, but this time, there would be no substitution. 

The full crushing weight of becoming the sacrifice for all sins, for all of mankind, for all of time would be laid upon this Son.

God Himself was the Father, and it was His precious Son who died, carrying the weight of a sin-burdened, sin-guilty, sin-weary world upon Himself.  With the bowing of His head in surrender to death, He “crucified” the record of sin against us. 

His death became the means for the death of our own sin: its guilt, penalty, and crushing hold.

Three days later when this same Son arose from the dead in miraculous risen life, He offered the means by which we too can experience a new life of complete and radical transformation! 

The life He offers to us through His own life is that of abundant grace — the grace that brought the Gospel of salvation to us and the grace that keeps us sheltered within the embrace of lavish love.

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The Adulterer

(Picture from womeninthebible.net.)

(This post was so impressed on my heart this morning that I had to write it.  I feel that there must be someone who needs to read this.)

It had been too many years to count…  Too long since she had dared to believe, to hope…

Somewhere in the distant past, she remembered that there was a time when she had dreamed…  Dreamed that someone would truly love her — love her for herself…

She was still young in years, but she had already lived a lifetime of pain, regrets, and broken dreams.

She had given up hope, closed her heart so tightly that no one could penetrate it.  It was better to feel “nothing” then to keep feeling the crush of broken dreams.

To protect herself, she had erected a barrier of anger, calloused disregard, and daring defiance to all who questioned her.

“Better to pretend indifference than to reopen wounds too crushing to bare.”

She had decided that the best way to get back at those who had hurt her was to expose their own weaknesses — to see how weak they really were.

She had learned to blatantly tempt, to flaunt her ability to expose their own weaknesses and hypocrisy…

When she passed them on the streets, she could feel their utter hatred seething beneath the surface of their self-righteous disgust.  She could expose their weaknesses, their hypocrisy…

Their hatred covered their fear — fear of exposure.

That night had been like all the other endless nights… a night of pretending passion…  Trying to make enough money to feed a tummy while a starving soul felt the gnawing ache of  emptiness…

Then in the midst of this mockery of life, familiar faces stormed into her room, disrupting the throes of passion, roughly pulling her from tossed bedding and yanking her out into the harsh light of morning.

There she stood, rippling masses of hair falling down around her shoulders, wild in all of its glory.

She stood there, anger causing her to hold her head up, nostrils flared.

As the words of her accusers poured forth, a different emotion began to work its way into her belly.  Her old nemesis, called fear.  It mocked her, mocked her weakness as a woman.  Her partner in crime…?  He’d fled the scene.  There she stood, alone, exposed, mocked.

No one knew what had brought her to this place — this place of utter desecration.  No one cared. The voices of her accusers rang out, loud and discordant, harsh and ugly.

“Perhaps, it’s better this way any way.”  She was tired of the fight.  Tired of pretending to live when her soul had given up long ago.  She was tired of fighting for survival.  She was tired of pretending to be strong and desirable, when all she felt inside was incredible hatred — hatred most of all for herself.

Her dreams had died so long ago.  Why not her life as well?  It was a farce anyway.

Then as she looked at the pair of dirty sandals that drew nearer, she realized that this person to whom her accusers were appealing was to decide her fate.

It wasn’t even curiosity that drew her gaze upward — that too had died so long ago.  It was His voice…  In the middle of raging voices, His was the calm.  He spoke, and the rage seemed to still.

All of life seemed to hold its breath.  She could see the waves of heat rippling across the tiled roofs in the court-yard.  She could see little clouds of dust swirling around the sandals of those who had minutes ago been yelling.

There He stood.  Calm.  Resolute.  She looked at his eyes with a slight taunt, daring Him to condemn her … to get it all over with.

As she gazed into His eyes, she stopped.  He held her gaze.  There was no leering, no loathing, no rebuke, no embarrassment.  His eyes just held her gaze and measured her…

His gaze held recognition and “could it be sorrow and something else?”  It was an emotion she wasn’t even sure she wanted to define — something so foreign that it made her uncomfortable, made her vulnerable.

He turned, bent over, and wrote in the dirt…  A message so simple but so profound that her accusers silently walked away.

All else seemed to blur, except Him.  She could see every detail about Him with crystal clarity: feet dirty and roughened from walking miles, rivulets of sweat trailing from His hair-line to His beard, calloused hands holding the rock He had used to write, a particle of dust clinging to his eye-lashes, lips curved in the slightest of smiles, and those eyes…   Eyes that beckoned her to look again into their depths…  Eyes that seemed to tells stories and to know a depth of wisdom and years that she couldn’t begin to fathom…  Eyes that seemed to know her and to understand her… Eyes that knew the pain, the fears, the hurts, the anger, the self-loathing, the hopelessness…

Looking into those eyes, each wound, pain, despair, and sin when recalled was healed.  It was as if He was opening each door she had closed; and with a look, was cleaning and healing each room in her soul until there was nothing left but this feeling of complete and utter peace, contentment, and rest.

She stood there, no longer aware of her own indecency.  She forgot that she was the condemned.  She forgot that she had once known nothing but hopelessness.

With breath suspended in time, she waited… for once anticipating what He might say.

He asked her a question, perplexing and yet almost too good to be true…  His answer robbed her of breath.  She didn’t even realize that tears were trickling down her face… an emotion so foreign to her that at first she didn’t even realize what it was…  sorrow… but not a hopeless kind…

This time, her sorrow was the kind that healed all the broken places that she didn’t even know were there.  And in their place the tears left behind another raw emotion that again was something she wasn’t even sure she had known what it meant previously… it was this feeling of serene joy!  It was a feeling of buoyancy, as years of anguish faded into a distant memory…

Then, He said ten final words before turning and walking away:

“Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Ten simple but profound words.  Words that would echo themselves in a constant refrain in the years to come.  Words that would reassure her when people reminded her of her past…  Words that would encourage her when times were tough, and she wondered how she would make it without returning to the old ways…

They were five words that spoke a new message to her heart — a message of hope, redemption, reconciliation, and healing…  It was a message that told her she was no longer her past.  It was a message that told her she had a “fresh tablet”, a clean “scroll” on which to write her new life’s story.

She was an overcomer because she had been forgiven.  She had been condemned but was now cleansed.  She had been abandoned but was loved.  She had been accused but was accepted.

Later, when that same man was left hanging on a tree, beaten, exposed, and mocked, she was there in the crowd at His feet.  This time, she was crying for Him. This time, it was the innocent that was condemned.  He who loved was abandoned.  He who had accepted was accused.  He who had forgiven was rejected.  He who had healed was broken.

As she gazed at the blood pooling at the foot of the cross, her eyes alone seemed to read a message — a message written in His blood — the message of eternal love…

John 8:10-11

10 “When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?

11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.”

Do You Really Want To Know God’s Will?

....and no not to heaven....unless your heaven in a forest

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As Christians, we say we want to know God’s will. 

We wonder why we don’t “hear” God’s voice, telling us what to do…

The question is, “Do we really want to hear God’s voice?”

Think about those times when you had a conviction to do something that scared you to pieces…

How about that time when you dismissed a potential calling because it sounded too absurd, too contrary to what you thought you could do?

Yeah.  That’s been me before — when I have questioned and hesitated because I wasn’t sure if I was hearing my own thoughts, listening to the pressures of others, or really hearing from God.

Waiting until you have clarity is wise. 

Yet, when you know God is speaking and you try to decide to obey based on your own comfort level with the command, then the question is, “Do you really want to know God’s will?”

I love what Priscilla Shirer says in her book, Discerning The Voice Of God:

...the determining factor for experiencing God is obedience.  We must learn to make obedience a habit regardless of our feelings.

God doesn’t just speak to be heard.  He speaks to be obeyed.

…this kind or response lays the groundwork for God to do incredible things [in our lives]. (Discerning The Voice Of God)

Obedience is not only the key that keeps the door of communication open between you and God but the only appropriate response when He speaks. (Discerning The Voice Of God)

Obedience to God yields supernatural results!

If we really want to “hear” God speak, then we must be willing to obey what He says.

“God doesn’t just speak to be heard.  He speaks to be obeyed.” (by Priscilla Shirer)

Revelation 2:17

17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.

Matthew 11:15

15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Deuteronomy 31:12

12 Gather the people together, men and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the Lord your God, and observe to do all the words of this law:

Exodus 15:26

26 And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.

Matthew 7:24

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

Matthew 13:15

15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

(Graphics by Jessica Morris.)

Feet Of Clay

A potter is kneading the clay to be used to making Lord Ganesha Idols in Pottery Town, Bangalore.

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=12073361&searchId=88b5c637595cd7c0c9675d03efa58f0b&npos=93)

With another scandalous headline concerning the Duggar family splashed across the news, my heart began to ache once again…

The story “hit close to home” because I grew up in an environment similar to the Duggars. I was surrounded by friends and affiliates who espoused the ATIA teachings, of which the Duggar family is also a part.

This is what I have learned coming out of that environment of ultra-conservatism — how it started “wrong” and how it continued to go wrong:

Note: This was not necessarily the way I was raised or the teachings of my family.  These concepts were what I was exposed to by ultra-conservative groups of which we were affiliated, people with whom we associated, church groups, etc…

1.  There was an over-emphasis on the outward (works, appearance, actions, expressions).

A lot of attention was given to how a person dressed, acted, talked.  Spirituality was based upon those outward indicators that were “supposed” to be inward indicators.

When the outward becomes our focus, it is easy to avoid looking at the inward and to cover up our inner struggles with pretty exteriors.

2.  There was an emphasis on pleasing God, but the reason was motivated from fear — fear of God’s wrath.

Growing up in that environment, God was seen more as a holy, wrathful God — that a person must appease or constantly live in fear of His judgment.

A fearful environment produces shame, guilt, condemnation, anxiety, anger, wrath, judgment, harshness, and extremes.

3.  There was an emphasis on living a “godly” life, but perfection was what was really intended.

We were expected to be practically perfect.

Our worth was judged on our performance — how “godly” we appeared.

There was no room to give grace.  There were harsh consequences for anyone who “slipped up” — even over the smallest or most ridiculous infractions.

4.  It was taught that if you lived the “godly” or really perfect life, you would be honored by the world and would receive material blessings.

This became another form of the “wealth, health, and happiness” type of “gospel”.  There was an over-emphasis on good works, called “godly behavior”, and the results were supposed to be physical and material blessings.

5.  It was taught that you could avoid sin in your life by avoiding sin out there.

Sin was blamed on the the “world”.  So to avoid the “world” meant we could avoid sin. 

This can result in condemnation of the “world” rather than a humble love that reaches out to the world.  This can also result in the avoidance of taking responsibility for our own actions.

My above list is not conclusive or exhaustive, but it reveals some of the heart issues behind the “ultra-conservative” movement.

It’s been 15 years since I was immersed in such an environment.  Since that time, God has revealed many truths to me concerning my past and revealed the wonderful freedom of His grace.

I still try to live a “godly” life, but it is no longer based on the fear of appeasing a wrathful God.  God has been so gently teaching me that He is a loving God and full of grace.  He convicts me ever so gently in a way that doesn’t leave me condemned but leaves me with a desire and hope for growth and the future to which He has called me.

God has been teaching me that I have “feet of clay”.  This means that I am not a “paradigm of godliness or perfection”.  My claim is the righteousness of Christ alone.  My standing is in His righteousness!

When I understand my security is found in God’s grace, I am able to acknowledge my own sins and take responsibility for them.

I understand that I don’t have to pretend perfection or constantly live in fear of being found less-than-perfect.  Instead, I have a desire to run into the “arms” of a loving God who is always ready to receive the repentant child back and longs to restore us into full fellowship with all the privileges of being His child.

I understand that God’s love is not performance-based or conditional.  God chose to love me and to die for me, fully aware of my sinful and unlovely condition.

I am also learning to give more grace to my children and to stop holding them to an impossible standard of perfection.  I am still learning this though…

I am learning to accept myself and others in our all of our imperfect, messy states.  God knows we have “feet of clay” and still chooses to use us, as we yield ourselves to Him.

I don’t claim to be perfect at any of this.  In fact, as my family can attest, I mess up on a regular basis, but I have the confidence to get back up again because I have a God who loves me way more than I can even dare to hope and who won’t give up on me.  I have a God who chooses to use me, with feet of clay, to reveal the power of His grace at work in my life. 

So, when we are tempted to elevate a mere human, let’s remember that we all have just “feet of clay”.  All goodness and true righteousness and true godliness is in God alone!

Soul, take a deep breath and bask in the freedom you have to walk in His power and grace and to be completely accepted in Him.  Get back up on those feet of clay.  He’s not finished with you yet.

The Invitation To Knowing God’s Will

<i>Walking into the sun  Will you always keep me warm  Give me shelter from the wildest storm  When I'm glowing  Will you tend evergreen love without end</i> ââ??º Weekend Players, Into the Sun ââ?¢Â«

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=677600&searchId=6cad826248cd3f4e93da71e7b49928e3&npos=11)

God’s will… 

Knowing God’s will seems to be that illusive, vague concept that people want to know, wish they could know, or make any excuse to avoid knowing.

But is it really that vague and illusive?  Is God’s will something we can and should know?

I’ve heard a lot of Christians say that they look for an open door and figure that so long as it stays open they can proceed, and it must be God’s will.  This could be a way God is leading, but there are cautions concerning this.

There are a lot of “open doors” that are not intended for us to walk through.

Matthew 7:13-14

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

God does not intend for us to guess our way through life and hope we choose the correct open door. 

God is Sovereign, and He has a purpose and plan for each and everyone of us and for each and every part of our day.

As much as we may want to know God’s will, God wants us to know it even more.  This means that He will be revealing His will to us through various avenues.

There are a few principles to know when seeking God’s will:

  • God’s will is never in opposition to His Word.
  • God’s will requires trust and faith in God.
  • God’s will is always in accordance with His character and purposes.
  • God’s will is accompanied by the peace of His Holy Spirit.
  • God’s will is revealed in the perfection of His timing.
  • God’s will is revealed as we obey Him in each step of His direction.
  • God’s will is often revealed within His activity in the circumstances of our lives.
  • God’s will is revealed as we surrender our own aspirations to Him.
  • God’s will is revealed through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
  • God’s will is often outside of our comfort zone and requires us to tap into divine resources in order to fulfill it.  (See Discerning the Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer.)

God’s will serves several purposes:

  • God’s will glorifies Himself.
  • God’s will helps us to become more fully the person God created us to be.
  • God’s will serves a “greater good” by affecting a bigger community than ourselves.

God’s will is revealed to us through some of the following means:

  • His Word
  • His character and purposes
  • Godly counsel of fellow believers
  • Circumstances
  • His Holy Spirit’s prompting and leading

In her book, Discerning the Voice Of God, Priscilla Shirer says that God invites us into His will.  She said to wait for the invitation of His movement and then join in His work.

Sometimes, God’s will is exciting and “earth-shattering”.  Other times, His will comes “in a still small voice.”

His will can come with quiet conviction or simple peace.

Sometimes, His will is to persevere in what you are already doing.

Sometimes, it’s just cleaning a potty or preparing a meal for your family.

Other times, it’s sell all that you have, pack up your bags, and head to Africa to set up a medical clinic for the needy, as my dear friends are doing in Zambia (See the http://www.theottsinzambia.com.)

Don’t look for the dramatic experiences; though, God can work and does sometimes choose to work that way. 

Recently, God called me to step out in faith and to do something that was the opposite of what I, in my flesh, would choose.  I had to face some old wounds and some huge “mountains” of fears.  I knew though that God was calling me to do this thing.  I kept resting in the truth that where God guides, He provides.

I know that obeying God’s leading does not guarantee that my life and His will is going to be easy.  In fact, it will probably be the opposite because His will requires His strength and grace to fulfill it.  In other words, His will is something outside what I, in my flesh, can do well and with grace.

Yeah, that does mean I have some fears that resurrect themselves at times.  When those fears stare me in the face, I have to look right back at them with assurance that God’s resources always follow God’s will. 

Philippians 4:13

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

I read this quote somewhere and loved it: “Sometimes answers sound like whispers of redemption instead of shouts of rescue.”

Sometimes, God’s will looks contrary to what we think it should look like.  It is when circumstances appear to be hopeless and God appears to be absent that we need to bank our hearts and minds on this verse:

Isaiah 55:8-9

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God has a higher purpose to fulfill than our own personal gratification and goals. 

Ultimately, His will is for our true good.

We have to submit our wills to a God who can only be faithful to His own character.  His character is good and true and just and loving and merciful.  Bank on it!

It’s tough times that will produce a tough faith when we rely on God’s character rather than our own understanding.

She loves me; she loves me not

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An Act Of Worship

this would be a sweet background!

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Sometimes, it’s easier to “do” church, to “do” worship then it is to really worship. 

Ever been there? 

I have been there before, thinking I was so “righteous” in my worship because I could state certain “Church-ese” phrases so eloquently.  I have thought in the past that I was worshiping God because my manner was so “holy”.  I have thought I was worshiping God because I was in a place that appeared to be worshipful.

The truth is worship is never about the outward.  It’s not about the look or feel of a place.  It’s not about the people in the place.  It’s not about the appearance of the other worshipers — their sobriety or their demonstrative expressions of worship.  Worship isn’t limited to a specific emotion.  Worship isn’t limited to a place or a group of people.

Worship is about a Person.  It’s about Jesus.  It’s about God the Father who sacrificed His very Son to give us a tangible example of what love really is.

I Googled the definition of worship off Thesaurus.com.  The following list includes other words that describe worship:

According to these other words, worship expresses a heart attitude (awe, love, veneration, adulation, adoration, glory, praise, etc…).

Worship describes a heart attitude that then expresses itself in adoration, praise, service, love, prayer, devotion, etc…

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

God is to be the object of our worship.  Ultimately, He has the right to ask this of us as He is the One to Whom we owe our very lives, life, and eternity. 

Atheists refuse to recognize that there is a Sovereign Power that holds this universe together.  Yet, there is a “Force” keeping atoms from flying apart.  There is a Force that started matter/life in the beginning.

Even our very breaths pay homage to our Creator.  Here’s a quote from Jason Gray’s blog http://www.rabbitroom.com/2011/08/is-the-name-of-god-the-sound-of-our-breathing:

“…God’s name, YHWH, is comprised of aspirated consonants that, spoken, are the sound of breathing.”

So every time we breathe, our bodies literally say God’s name!  Is this just “happenstance,” or is it not significant to know that the God who created us would put His very name within each breath we take to remind us that our lives are truly and literally dependent upon His life within us?

Worship occurs every time we place ourselves in full surrender to God and hand over the reigns of control to Him.

So often we want everything on our terms — even our so-called “worship”.  We want to think God is limited to specific places, people, positions, practices, phrases, etc… The reality is God is worshiped among any and all who are surrendered to Him.

Every time, personal ambitions are put aside and we are surrendered to God’s working in and through our lives, God is worshiped.

Today, maybe you are feeling overwhelmed by the drudgery of your current affairs.  Perhaps, life feels bitterly cruel to you today because of current trials you are experiencing.  Perhaps, you are lonely or alone.  Perhaps, you are living in a home with an unsaved spouse or unsaved parents and siblings.  Perhaps, you are the only individual at your work who is saved or appears to be saved.

This is for you, my friend.  No matter where you are, with whom you are, how you are feeling today, you have something to offer to God.  You have yourself!

The gift God asks and wants more than anything else is You!  Yes, You! 

God doesn’t ask you to wait to come to Him or to wait to be used by Him until you are “all-beautified” or “perfected”.   God wants us to come as we are to Him.  God asks us to give ourselves to Him — just as we are. 

Dear friends, He will take the rubbish.  He will take the wounds.  He will take the sickness.  He will take the hurts.  He will take the past.  He will take us just as we are, and He will transform and redeem what we give to Him.

Yes, dear friends, this is grace!  Jesus just wants you.  It means though that you have to surrender to Him, offer yourself to Him, and stop trying to fix what you can’t fix.

It’s all about the holy act of surrender — that is the essence of worship.

Surrender to God, and allow yourself to be a gift of worship to Him, revealing the matchless grace and power of Jesus!

The glory is and always has been His all along.

He is the reason we live and breathe and hope!

Job 33:4

“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.”

Overcoming The Fear Of Rejection

Less than 12 hours to our Persian new year....
Wish you all my friends a new year full of beauty and peace, and specially a year without war for my dear homeland - IRAN.

باز كن پنجره ها را كه �...

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I am one of those people who struggles with fears.  In fact, I am reading through the last chapter of Freedom From Fear by Neil Anderson and Rich Miller.  Excellent book!

God has been working on me to bring healing from these fears.  It’s a fight though.  It’s a fight for me to choose to want to walk in the truth and to fight the fears/lies.  It means allowing God to reveal the truth to me instead of just accepting the lie or surrendering to the lie.

One of my fears I have struggled with is the fear of rejection.

  • It’s that fear that causes us to pathetically try to please everyone, to the loss of our own dignity in Christ. 
  • It’s that fear that causes us to avoid those we presume or perceive will reject us. 
  • It’s that fear that causes us to withhold transparency from others and to have difficulty admitting true faults. 
  • It’s that fear that causes us to be overly sensitive to the way others treat us or our perception of the way they are treating us.

Fear of rejection not only causes the individual to have a hard time admitting faults, but that individual may admit to silly, surface issues to distract from the true issue(s) to make it appear like there is honesty and repentance.

Where there is a strong problem with fear of rejection, the individual will have difficulty taking responsibility for wrong actions and attitudes and will avoid repentance.

You can recognize a person who is growing in grace by their willingness to be transparent.  This doesn’t mean “airing dirty laundry”, but this means that person will share with humility and honesty personal examples of how God is working in their own lives.

Fear of rejection is also a root cause of most self-centered people.  When one is consumed with fears of rejection, it is almost impossible to truly reach out to others and to be willing to listen to them when we are self-absorbed by our own constant need for affirmation and validation.

The person who fears rejection will constantly be looking for affirmation from others.

The root cause of the fear of rejection is based on a lie.

All areas of spiritual bondage are always based on a lie we have believed about God. The lie in this case can be rooted in past hurts.  Those past hurts may have caused us to then associate those painful circumstances or harmful earthly relationships with a faulty belief about God. 

The faulty beliefs about God may be that God is uncaring, distant, disinterested, stern, demanding, passive, cold, insensitive…  Those are the lies.

In order to have freedom, we need to first recognize a wrong belief we have about God.  

The truths (answers to those lies) regarding God are the following, taken from Freedom From Fear, by Neil Anderson and Rich Miller:

I joyfully accept the truth that my Father God is…

  • intimate and involved (Psalms 139:1-18)
  • kind and compassionate (Psalms 103: 8-14)
  • accepting and filled with joy and love (Romans 15:7; Zephaniah 3:17)
  • warm and affectionate (Isaiah 40:11; Hosea 11:3.4)
  • always with me and eager to be with me (Hebrews 13:5; Jeremiah 31:20; Ezekiel 34:11-16)
  • patient and slow to anger (Exodus 34:6; 2 Peter 3:9)
  • loving, gentle, and protective of me (Jeremiah 31:3; Isaiah 42:3; Psalm 18:2)
  • trustworthy and wants to give me a full life; His will is good, perfect, and acceptable (Lamentations 3:22, 23; John 10:10; Romans 12:1-2)
  • full of grace and mercy; He gives me freedom to fail (Hebrews 4:15-16; Luke 15:11-16)
  • tenderhearted and forgiving; His heart and arts are always open to me (Psalm 130:1-4; Luke 15:17-24)
  • committed to my growth and proud of me as His growing child (Romans 8:28-29; Hebrews 12:5-11; 2 Corinthians 7:4)

In order to be healed from the fear of rejection, you must accept the truth and choose to reject the corresponding lie regarding God.  This has to be a constant practice because the lies can quickly “crop up” in our lives, bringing us back into bondage again.  When there is a long-term habit of believing a pattern of specific lies, it will take a long-term commitment and practice of learning to reject those lies and accept the truth in regards to those lies in order to find healing.

Freedom can and will occur as we begin to accept the truth and reject the lies.

“Every Christian needs to learn that Christ is the only defense he or she needs.  Realizing that you are already forgiven and accepted by God through Christ will help free you up to place all your dependence on Him.” — from Freedom From Fear

Learning to walk in freedom from the fear of rejection is still something I am learning.  I have much more to learn, but I can truthfully and joyfully say that by God’s grace, I am growing in this area.  One of the most freeing areas for me is that I have such a different concept of God than what I had a decade ago.  Not fearing God’s rejection of me means that I actually find it a happy thought when God convicts me.  I am not happy about the sin, but I am thankful He is convicting me because it means that God’s Spirit is working in me and because He loves me enough to want me to grow more and more into His image.

“How Can It Be”

I am guilty
Ashamed of what I’ve done, what I’ve become
These hands are dirty
I dare not lift them up to the Holy OneYou plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be? Yeah
How can it be? YeahI’ve been hiding
Afraid I’ve let you down
Inside I doubt, that you still love me
But in your eyes, there’s only grace now

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be? Yeah
How can it be? Yeah

Though I fall, you can make me new
From this death, I will rise with you
Oh, the grace reaching out for me, yeah
How can it be, how can it be?

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free, yeah

You plead my cause, you right my wrongs
You break my chains, you overcome
You gave your life, to give me mine
You say that I am free
How can it be? Yeah
How can it be? Yeah

by Lauren Daigle

Jars Of Clay

Ready for the firing

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2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

Last night as I cradled my daughter in my arms in the rocking chair, I felt the weight of so many burdens pressing in on me.

I don’t claim to carry some of the heavy burdens that some of my friends are carrying, but whatever our burden is, it’s very real to us.

We’ve all had those days — those days, when the weight of this world feels like it’s going to crush us into the ground.

I don’t know why I do this so often because I know better…  Maybe because I am human and a sinner and flawed… a jar of clay…  So often when times get tough, I believe the lie that I just need to have more faith, be a better parent, live more righteously, be stronger, be like so and so, be more loving, be kinder, and then this thing called life will be easier. 

I think that if I do more of something, I will be victorious and life will be easier.

Why, oh why, do I still believe that way at times (by the way I live)?!!

It all goes back to that truth that I am an “earthen vessel” or “jar of clay.” 

Sometimes, I want to demand of God, “Why did you give so much responsibility to such a cracked jar of clay?”

So often, we take pride in being strong.  We compliment each other on that too.  Oh, the burdens we place on others that we nor anyone else was meant to carry!

So, last night as I was rocking my daughter and felt so many burdens pressing upon me, I did what I should have done much earlier on…  I did what so often we believe makes us a failure.  I admitted that I couldn’t do it.

With tears in my eyes, I began to cry out to God.  I told Him I couldn’t do it.  With the name of Jesus on my lips, I asked Him to help me and told Him, “I surrender myself to You.  Help me, Jesus.  Help me.”

I read in Discerning The Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer that you will know God’s will when it requires you to do something that you can only do in His strength. 

Why do we pride ourselves on trying to be enough and be strong when we are anything but it in ourselves?

As God’s Word says, and I can attest to this personally:

2 Corinthians 12:10

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Why do we dislike admitting our faults and weaknesses?

Pride and a lack of understanding of God and of who we are in Him is what prevents us from being honest before God, ourselves, and others.

It’s when we do not fully understand God’s grace that we despise any signs of weakness or failings in ourselves and/or others. 

What we don’t realize is that “strength” in the flesh is really weakness wearing a mask.

As fallible humans, the only things we are capable of producing in ourselves is just as flawed as we are. 

What happens though when God takes a flawed, broken person, a “human jar of clay” and begins to reshape and remake it, while at the same time filling that same jar with the light of His Presence?

I love what Gloria Furman said in her book, Glimpses Of Grace:

When God entrusts the gospel to us, it makes His power all the more obvious.  God delights in glorifying Himself by using jars of clay to show that the surpassing power of the Gospel is His, and His alone.

But sometimes, we’d much rather it be the other way around.  We don’t like to be weak.  We prefer to be strong.  We deny our weaknesses and failures and cover them up with pretense and excuses.

…our greatest fear is in being found incompetent, insufficient, and ineffective.

God is praised through our insufficiencies.

These powerful quotes from Glimpses of Grace say the following:

Our preference boils down to just that — we are the ones who want to be admired.  We want to live for our own glory.

When we are reluctant to exalt God and recognize His position of authority in our lives, we resent His desire to use us in our fragile, sinful states.

“When we are reluctant to exalt God and recognize His position of authority in our lives, we resent His desire to use us in our fragile, sinful states.”

When we accurately understand Who God is and who we are in Him, we are willing to hand our “jars of clay” over to Him and allow Him to use us as He works on remaking us into His image.

I love the following quotes from Glimpses Of Grace:

The gospel [of grace] is the lens through which God sees us when we have faith in His Son — the gospel is our one great, permanent circumstance.

Jesus’ blood and righteousness is sufficient for me and gives me bold access to God’s throne room.

God is asking you: “Are you willing to honor me in your brokenness?”

I have been given a job of raising five children to love and serve God.  It’s an impossible task!  I am completely ill-equipped in my own strength to handle it and to do it successfully.  When I rely on God’s strength, I have all the gifts from God the Father at my disposal.  The impossible becomes possible.  The broken becomes beautiful.  The weak becomes strong…

This is my greatest reality — not my circumstances — but the truth:

  • Jesus… is our firm foundation.
  • We are confident because we are in Him.
  • We are bold because He has gone before.
  • We persevere through trials because He is interceding for us.
  • We declare His victory over our sin because He has nailed the condemning record against us to the cross

(Taken from Glimpses Of Grace)

What Shepherds Teach Us In Regards To Godly Leadership

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It’s interesting that God compares elders, pastors, and Israel’s kings to “shepherds.”

When God gives an analogy or tells a story, it is always to give insight into truths He wants us to understand.

The relationship between sheep and a shepherd gives incredible insight into what the role should be between those in oversight towards those under them.  (This can apply to elders/pastors in a church towards the laity, parents towards children, employers towards employees, etc…)

Shepherds have several responsibilities when it comes to their sheep:

  • Shepherds are to provide protection from the enemies of the fold.
  • Shepherds are to provide food for the sheep.
  • Shepherds are to provide water for the sheep.
  • Shepherds are to attend to any sick or injured sheep.

Shepherds also have a role when it comes to their relationship with their sheep:

  • Shepherds guide the sheep.
  • Shepherds teach the sheep to trust and follow them.
  • Shepherds teach their sheep to be attentive to their voice.
  • Shepherds work to keep their sheep calm.

Sheep have a wide variety of enemies that the shepherd needs to protect against.  The enemies vary according to geographic location and habitat.  The enemies can be wild animals, cattle thieves, poisonous weeds, uneven ground, and sometimes the sheep themselves — their own propensity to be easily scared and to bolt, thus resulting in injury.

Shepherds have various means of protecting their sheep.  In Biblical times and in nomadic regions, the shepherd’s staff or rod was used to protect the sheep, along with the sling-shot.  The rod was used to ward off wild animals or thieves.  The rod was never used against the sheep themselves. 

There have been some stories circulating about a shepherd braking the legs of a naughty sheep until it learned to obey.  I began to research to see if there was any substantiation to such a claim.  I read a number of articles on this topic and concluded that the claim of a shepherd braking a sheep’s legs is inaccurate.

Instead, we have the Biblical story of a shepherd leaving his 99 sheep to look for his lost sheep, the disobedient sheep who wandered off.  We see the shepherd returning to the fold and rejoicing over his sheep that was found.  Nowhere, do we continue to read that the shepherd then broke the legs of that naughty sheep to teach the sheep not to wander again.

Shepherds were to provide food and fresh water for their sheep.  This meant foraging for new pastures and good stream beds.  Sometimes, this meant keeping them at home in the winter and feeding the sheep themselves.  A good shepherd always looked after the physical and practical needs of his sheep.  If the old streams dried up or the old pastures became barren, it was time to move on to new fertile pastures.  The shepherd was concerned about keeping the food and water sources fresh and abundant for the sheep.

Shepherds also cared for the sick and injured sheep.  They knew the basics of “first aid” care for their sheep.  They knew what brought healing, and healing was always the goal.  The goal of the shepherd was always to restore the sick or injured back into full health.  This meant gentle and appropriate care.

Shepherds played a personal role in the lives of their sheep.  By spending hours near the sheep, the sheep learned to recognize the voice of their shepherd.  This was imperative for protection, provision, security, and guidance. Often shepherds would calm their sheep by playing musical instruments, such as the harp or a flute-like instrument.  Shepherds understood that a gentle and calm manner would protect the sheep against anxiety and help the sheep to follow the shepherd’s guidance more clearly.

The hours the shepherd spent with his sheep taught them to be attentive to his voice and to trust that voice to guide, protect, and provide.  Sheep that recognized their shepherd were much calmer and therefore able to be attentive to guidance.

Shepherds gained the trust of the sheep in order to effectively guide them. 

It’s interesting that God didn’t compare leaders to cowboys.  Cowboys tend to yell and crack a whip against the ground to scare cattle into submission.

Shepherds though never use force against the sheep.  They use a calm manner to guide their sheep.

Guidance implies personally demonstrating how something is to be done or leading towards help.

guidance

[gahyd-ns]
noun

1.

the act or function of guiding; leadership; direction.

2.

advice or counseling, especially that provided for students choosing a course of study or preparing for a vocation.

3.

supervised care or assistance, especially therapeutic help in the treatment of minor emotional disturbances.

4.

something that guides.

5.

the process by which the flight of a missile or rocket may be altered in speed and direction in response to controls situated either wholly in the projectile or partly at a base.
(From dictionary.com)

Guidance implies an ongoing relationship that assists the one being guided towards a positive direction.  It involves an investment of time, energy, and resources.

Guidance doesn’t just lead away from danger but purposely leads towards something positive (e.g., growth, provision, protection).

In the Bible, Jesus calls Himself the Good Shepherd.  Just reading what it means to be a shepherd gives us beautiful insight into how God sees us and how He interacts with us.

The voice of the enemy may try to convince us otherwise, but God’s voice is always that which lovingly steers us in a direction that is always for our good.  I love the following quotes, taken from Discerning the Voice of God, by Priscilla Shirer:

The Lord reminded me that He seeks to deliver me from the guilt of the past and move me toward the promise of the future.  His goal is never to bring guilt and condemnation by continually reminding me of my past sins but rather to bring healing and obedience by turning my attention to my future with Him.

God doesn’t point out our sin to condemn us.  God’s purpose in lovingly revealing our sin is to encourage us to acknowledge it and confess it so He can change us.  The Enemy’s voice brings condemnation.  You will know condemnation because it will bring guilt and offer no clear means of relief.  The Holy Spirit brings conviction that always provides a road map out and away from a specific sin.  His aim is always to lovingly steer us in the direction of His grace.

He doesn’t bring up the past without pointing to the future.

He doesn’t want me to come to Him out of guilt but out of love and affection.  I know He is wooing me when I feel a soothing conviction that tenderly urges me to respond to His love.

In First Corinthians 13, we are told that we can endure immense suffering through persecution, we can be able to preach a doctrinally-correct and eloquent sermon, we can do all kinds of good works for others, but if we don’t have love, it means nothing.  Ouch!

Jesus tells us that love is the key, love is the foundation, love is the “vehicle”  or “instrument” that helps to communicate God’s message accurately to His people.  What is that message?  It’s a message of grace. 

Jesus didn’t come to condemn sinners.  He came to save sinners.

Our sanctification is an ongoing work of redemption in our lives.  It’s not a work of condemnation and fearful subservience to a narcissistic god.  Our God is Love Himself.  What He does is always, always for our good.  Even His voice of conviction is only so that we can be brought into a more abundant life of true freedom.

I leave you with the following descriptions of love:

  • Love pursues.
  • Love heals.
  • Love empowers.
  • Love motivates the recipient towards personal growth
  • Love inspires.
  • Love frees.
  • Love endures.
  • Love thinks the best, regardless of past or present failures.
  • Love believes.
  • Love forgives.

When Life Seems To Be In The “Hold Pattern”

The clock on the mall.

According to my digital camera (which has never lied to me in the past), this picture was actually taken at 10:33 p.m. - NOT at 7:48, as the clock would have you believe. In fact, I can say with 100% confidence that it was ...

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Maybe, you clicked on my blog because life right now seems to be at a stand-still for you.  Your dreams don’t seem to be coming true.

If you are like some of my friends, you are suffering through chemotherapy, waiting for your husband to get a job before you get kicked out of your house in a week or few, you are longing for a baby to hold in your arms and heart, you are wondering when the guy you love will finally awaken to the fact that you can be something other than his best friend, you are wondering when your spouse will finally be awakened spiritually and will be able to share in all the blessings of knowing Jesus personally, you are clinging to hope that your rebellious child will finally surrender their life to God, you’re wondering when all the physical pain will finally end or if the doctor will finally discover something to truly help…  I hear all of those cries…  I know how hard simply waiting can be — perhaps it’s one of the hardest things we have to do at times.

Perhaps, waiting is so hard because waiting requires us to surrender and to trust.

Waiting means we have to let go of our own plans, our own timing, and we have to submit to and wait on a Higher Power.

When we grow anxious in our waiting, we have to camp ourselves — our minds and hearts on the truth of Who God is and of who we are in God. 

God is Jehovah Jireh — our Provider!

God is Jehovah-Shalom — our Peace!

God is Jehovah-Rophe — the God Who heals!

God is Jehovah-Tsidekenu — our Righteousness!

God is Elohim — the Sovereign One!

God is Adonai — Lord and Master!

God is Jehovah-Shammah — the God Who Is Present!

God is Jehovah-Tsebaoth — the Lord of hosts!

God is El-Shaddai — our Abundancy!  God is the One who abundantly supplies all of our needs.

In the blog, https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/when-waiting-seems-to-be-the-only-action-occuring, it is mentioned that God’s timing is just as important as His answer or His specific will.

So often when we are waiting on some future dream or hope or relief, we seem to think that our present is just an “empty” time that needs to be filled, endured.  We think we are just “passing time.”

God though is concerned about your now.  Your now is not outside of His Presence or care.

I love the following quotes from Discerning The Voice Of God by Priscilla Shirer:

God has invited you to join Him in His plans.  The purposes of God not only include specific plans but also very specific timing.  He orchestrates both events in your life and their timing.

The timing of the call was just as important as the call itself… I would have tried to rush ahead of God instead of waiting for His timing before I was emotionally or spiritually equipped for the demands I currently face.

God will use the appropriate means to reveal His will in His timing. 

Much of the heartache and frustration I have encountered in discerning God’s voice came because I wanted it before God was ready to give it.  I wasn’t willing to trust God’s timing in revealing His plans for me.  I tried to place my time constraints on God.

His timing is best.

Knowing too much too soon can be detrimental.

When we feel rushed and hurried to make a decision not rooted in a deep confidence of inner peace, God probably has not spoken.  Nowhere in Scripture does God tell anyone to rush into making a decision.  On the contrary, He patiently and persistently gives us clarity before requiring obedience.  If you feel an overwhelming urge to act spontaneously, pull in the reins.

I love that quote!  “God has invited you to join Him in His plans.” 

When life seems to be in a “hold pattern,” it’s not because God is keeping you from something good or that He is unaware of your plight.  It means that God is doing something good in you while you wait, if you surrender to Him.

Discerning the Voice of God also says, “Our shepherd leads, He doesn’t drive.  One difference between the Enemy’s voice and the Shepherd’s is that Jesus doesn’t coerce us with fear or intimidation.  He gently encourages and woos.”

John 10:2-4

But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.

And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.

In John 10:2-4, it says that Jesus, our Shepherd, calls us by name and leads us.  He shows us the way we are to go.

  • God invites us to be a part of His will.
  • He leads us and guides us in His will.
  • His Presence accompanies His will.

There is protection and provision for the sheep that follow their Shepherd.

There is joy and peace when we traverse the paths that our Heavenly Shepherd has for us.

Dear friend, no matter your circumstances today and when things seem hopeless right now, believe the truth.  The truth will anchor your soul and keep you secure in the midst of the tumult.

One final excellent quote from Elisabeth Elliot:

My acceptance of His timing was a rigorous exercise in trust.  I was tempted to charge the Lord with negligence and inattention, like the disciples in the boat in a storm.  They toiled frantically until the situation became impossible and then instead of asking for Jesus’ help, they yelled, “Master, don’t you care that we are drowning?” They weren’t perishing, they were panicking.  It was not too late.  Jesus got up and merely spoke to the wind and sea.

“They weren’t perishing, they were panicking.”

Today, when you feel the drudgery of the monotony, the worries for tomorrow, the pain of today, hang on to the truth.  God is not too late for His will. 

His will is always accomplished in the perfection of His timing.