The Dance Card

dance

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I sat there in church, soaking in the worshipful music and lyrics, allowing the music and words to soothe my heart.

My heart was saddened with a weighty decision ahead of us.  Either outcome required sacrifice and a sense of loss.  My husband and I were torn…

Each word of the message seemed directed right at us: the entreaty to trust the Lord, to not avoid the discomfort of the hard decision, and to not neglect His will and calling upon us.

The night before, I had sat in a meeting and kept seeing this picture of Jesus stretching out His hands to me.  I saw the beautiful, nail-pierced hands.  For some reason, I kept getting this impression that He was imploring me to take His hands.  I didn’t realize the significance of that until more than a day later.  He was asking me to walk with Him, to “take His hands,” to trust Him.

As I sat in church Sunday, suddenly, I saw this picture of a dance card (odd that such would come to me), and then it was as if I heard His voice.  He spoke to my heart, and I “heard” these words: “[…], may I write my name on every slot on your dance card?  Will you dance your life with Me?”

God knew my deepest needs.  He knew that in order to take His “hand” and to trust Him, I also needed reassurance of His love.  He didn’t command that I obey Him, but He asked me, while at the same time, reminding me of the depth of His love for me and that there is also joy in His will.  He wanted me to dance with Him…!

I am still pondering that one…  It was so unexpected!  After something like that, I want to question this and wonder if it was all in my head, and then I remember that He does love me that much!  He does ask me to trust Him but never without reassuring me of the unceasing merits of His love — the depths that have no end and the heights that have no ceiling…!

The question for you and I is:

“Do I want Him to claim me for every dance on the dance card of my life?”

There is freedom there!

wedding

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“Do You Trust Me With Your Dreams?”

dreaming of

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I was struggling…  Life was pulling me in many directions, but my real struggle was with something greater — the root of my struggle.  I was trying, pushing myself, and oh so stressed!  I was trying to force something.  That something is my dreams.

Then, God and I had a talk.  Well, it was more like He spoke conviction into my heart, and I knew it was truth.  It was this penetrating question, “Do you trust me with your dreams?”

I knew then that was the struggle.  I was trying to force my dreams in my strength, my time, and my way.

God was asking me if I trusted Him enough with my dreams.  I then realized that was the issue.

That question helped me to recognize again that all of life comes down to one penetrating question, “Do you trust God?”  And the answer is almost always a definitive “no” if you don’t really know He loves you.

God then flooded my heart with so many reminders of His love, but the greatest one was the cross.  This is what He spoke to my heart, when I asked myself, “Do I trust Him/believe He loves me enough?”:

He spoke this to my heart: “Because I was willing to give my life for you.”  If He was willing to sacrifice everything, including His relationship with His perfect Abba Father and suffer the ultimate of all suffering for me, then I know.  I know He loves me enough.  He loves me enough for anything life might send my way.

The point is, dear ones, the problem is not with our faith — our faith in His power.  The problem is with our awareness of His love.  The truth is we often don’t really believe or comprehend His love for us.  We are still measuring it by the tragedies of our life, by the false earthly representations, and by the twisted thinking of those who claim to represent God.

What God spoke to my heart this morning was this:

As the parable of the father in the Prodigal Son, so He will always pursue me — no matter what I’ve done, always desiring to bring me back to Himself.  And with that, I whisper, “God, don’t ever stop pursuing me and bringing me back within the security and fullness of your Love.”

Wrote this to friends this morning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgGUKWiw7Wk — And then I finally found Love — Love so perfect, so infinite, and I am reduced to an unashamed curtain of tears … to this overflowing, overwhelming awareness that I am “found,” “seen,” “heard,” and complete within Love. We all yearn for perfect, infinite Love… we want someone or something to truly know us and to truly love us within that vulnerability and transparency, allowing us to blossom within the security of unfathomable, immeasurable Love! Within the embrace of lavish love, my heart unfurls, and the fragrance, vibrancy, and life blooms!

My heart is coming unfurled.

I may be accused of being more emotional, but the truth is my heart is learning that it can be more vulnerable.  My heart is being allowed to feel more because I have found a “Safe Haven.”  I can “risk” my heart when I know there is truly no risk with God. 

How about you?

Do you trust God with your dreams? 

Do you trust Him with your heart?

How Trusting In God Plays Into Forgiveness

trust me

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This happened not too long ago…

God was bringing to my mind a person that I needed to forgive.  As I was dialoguing with God about this situation, acknowledging that I needed to forgive and asking Him to help me choose to forgive, He asked me the question, “Do you trust me?”

“Do you trust me?”

It struck me then!

Forgiveness is trusting God with the offender/offense.

Forgiveness is giving the offender/offense to God and no longer trying to be judge and jury over them.

What We View As Faith In God Is Often Not About God At All

Faith

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As my sleepy body was awaking this morning, I began to contemplate faith again…

This topic is weighing heavily on my mind and probably because it is something that I, myself, have still much in which to grow.

As I was pondering faith, the thought came, “What we think is faith is often not about God at all but about us.”  Let me explain…

Often when we think about faith, we think in terms of how much faith we have or in our ability to trust.  In other words, we look at ourselves — our ability to trust or have faith.

The truth is faith isn’t about you or about me.  It’s about God.

Faith is recognizing God for who He is, and it’s staking your mind on the promises of God — regardless of your present circumstances or feelings of “faith.” 

Faith is deciding to live the truth of God’s Word.  It’s anchoring your soul to its truth — no matter what is going on around you.

Faith is what keeps the enemy’s lies from “hitting their mark” and causing us great harm.  (See: https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2016/02/13/putting-on-our-primary-defense-weapons/)

We are often so unprepared for the battle because we revert back to looking to ourselves — our abilities to fight the battle.  We forget that the battle is the Lord’s, and that it can only be fought in His strength and by using His “weapons.” 

Yes, we have our part to play in the battle.  We have to resist the enemy, and we have to put on our armor.  In doing so, let’s not become confused and think it’s a matter of our own faith that will keep us. 

In looking at our own abilities to have faith, we begin to take our eyes off Jesus, and we will begin to “sink,” as Peter did.  Instead, we need to keep our eyes on our God — on His greatness, His power, His victory, His forgiveness, His grace, His righteousness, His love, His truth.  It is then not difficult at all to trust in so great a God!

It’s Not A Matter Of How Much Faith — Rather It’s A Matter Of Having Faith

Mustard Seeds

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Twice today, I read references to the Matthew 17:20 verse that speaks of having faith as a mustard seed.  At first glance, it’s easy to overlook the significance of the analogy used in referring to faith.

So often when we think about faith, we want to quantify it. 

We worry about having enough faith to face certain situations or whether we have “enough” faith to be used mightily by God in a situation.

That’s why the analogy given in Matthew 17:20 is so insightful.  The mustard seed was one of the smallest seeds known to the common people during Jesus’ time on earth.  Jesus tells the people that if they had faith as [small as] a mustard seed, they could command a mountain to move, and it would.

The mustard seed wasn’t known for its greatness of size but rather for the opposite.  It was known for being insignificant in size; yet, it existed.

The analogy or truth being made is that it’s not the size of our faith that matters; it’s the fact that we have faith.

If we’re honest, we’ll recognize that when we are trying to determine whether we have enough faith for God to use us, move in our lives, or respond to a request, it’s really not about having more faith.  It’s really an issue of having faith, period.

The fact, we are doubting our faith may indicate that our faith itself is at risk.

God doesn’t quantify our faith.  He just tells us we have to faith.

That’s why we are told that we just need faith as a mustard seed.  The point is: we just need to have faith.

If you are struggling with trusting in God, perhaps the question you need to ask yourself is, “Who is my God?”

Start reading about Him and getting to know Him personally.  Let Him speak to your heart and reassure you that He is indeed a God in whom you can trust.

Matthew 17:20

20 So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief;[a] for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

 

The Connection Between Pride And Fear

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I believe God gave me one of those “light-bulb” moments when I began to realize there is a big connection between pride and fear.

At first glance, they can seem like total opposites.

Pride seems to indicate self-reliance and an over-inflated ego/view of oneself.

Fear, on the other hand, seems to speak of the opposite.  It speaks of self-doubt, doubt of others, circumstances, objects, and events.

The opposite of these two negative qualities is that of faith and humility.

Humility speaks of a sweet submission, a concern for others, and love.

Faith speaks of trust, reliance, and a measure of humility as well.

Just as pride and fear go hand-in-hand so do faith and humility.

When people are self-absorbed, we would call them proud.

What produces an obsession with self?

I believe that a lack of contentment and resting in the Lord brings about a preoccupation with ourselves. 

When we are “complete” in Him, we are secure in who we are in God, and we don’t need the validation of others.  It is insecurity that causes us to be preoccupied with ourselves.

What is faith — the true definition of faith?  Is it not a complete trust in the Lord and submission to Him?

Pride relies or trusts only in itself and will not allow itself to be mastered by anyone else.

It takes faith to humble ourselves before God.  It takes humility to submit ourselves to the care of God.

Faith is submitting oneself to the care of someone or something.

Fear, on the other hand, refuses to completely surrender to anyone or anything other than its own rationalizations or self-preservation.

For example, if I have an improper fear of riding in a car, I will refuse to get in one or will ride in it while anxiety roils through me.

There is no sense of security or peace while I am encountering the object I fear.

When I am proud, I am relying on myself — my own rationalizations, self-preservation, and strength to protect me.  I am my own “master.”  As my own “master,” I instinctively know that I cannot control everything or anything and thus I live in fear of the things that I can’t control.

Let me reiterate that again because it’s worth repeating:

As my own “master,” I instinctively know that I cannot control everything or anything; and thus, I live in fear of the things that I can’t regulate, contain, or dominate.

An indication of both fear and pride being alive in my life is if I struggle with “control.” 

Those who are able to put their trust/faith in the Lord and surrender to Him (in humility) experience the greatest peace and flexibility.  They understand that relying on themselves is the greatest position of weakness, but relying on God, the Great I am, is their greatest source of security.  They are confident and “relaxed” because they are “resting” in God — in Who He is — rather than in who they are themselves.

Pride produces fear.  It’s that simple.  It’s also a good chance that if you “suffer” with pride, you “suffer” with fear.  The opposite is also true: if you “suffer” with fear, it’s a good chance you “suffer” with pride.

Humility and faith are two of some of the best characteristics for walking in freedom.

Humility frees us from the bondage of self.  Faith frees us from the bondage of everything else, including ourselves.

Knowing the above truths have caused me to look more closely at my own heart and life and to be convicted of more areas that need to be yielded to the Lord.  It’s not from fear or “self-righteousness” that I confess these things but because I desire to walk in greater freedom in my spiritual walk.

The Message That Keeps Resonating With Me

All this feels strange and untrue
And I won't waste a minute without you
My bones ache, my skin feels cold
And I'm getting so tired and so old

The anger swells in my guts
And I won't feel these slices and cuts
I want so much to ope...

(http://www.everystockphoto.com/photo.php?imageId=2262824&searchId=bc0e09031dae94ae6ee2ea1ed81dcd6c&npos=20)

Surrender.

Submit.

Two words that keep resonating with me because this is a message that God has been impressing so soundly on my heart over the past few months.

Both words can sound offensive or frightening, depending on how they are interpreted or applied.

There have been so many misuses and abuses of the word “submit” that it can evoke a lot of unpleasant memories for some of us. 

How amazing it has been for me to relearn the true meanings and proper usages of these words and to find within them, not a place of weakness, inferiority, insecurity, or failure.  Instead, I have found these words (submit and surrender) to become synonymous for victory, strength, peace, protection, and guidance in my life.

In my Bible study book, Discerning the Voice of God, I read the following quotes:

“What hinders me from hearing [God speak to my heart] is that I am taken up with other things.  It is not that I will not hear God, but I am not devoted in the right place.  I am devoted to things, to service, to convictions, and God may say what He likes, but I do not hear Him.  The child attitude is always, ‘Speak, Lord, for Thy servant heareth‘.” — Oswald Chambers

Most of us spend more time emphasizing our bodies and souls than our spirits.  We want to do what feels good, appeases our emotions, seems rational to our mind, and suits our will — with little thought to what the “control tower” is saying in us … How do we begin focusing on the control tower [His Spirit] within?  We begin our day surrendering ourselves to Him and asking Him to heighten our spiritual senses to see and hear Him throughout the day … You can cooperate with Him through obedience and spending intimate time with Him.

As you yield to and obey the Holy Spirit’s leading in your life, He conforms your soul to the image of Christ and uses your body as the instrument to carry out His purposes.

Paul didn’t say to experience victory in this area, you have to fight really hard.  He just said to present, yield, or surrender your body.  (Roma. 12:1-2.) Through Jesus, you have already been given victory as a gift (see I Cor. 15:57.)  You experience it by presenting your body to God as an instrument for Him to use.

The Holy Spirit is always busy making us like Jesus, but we must cooperate in this effort.  …every part of our body has been given to us not for our own gratification but as a “tool to do what is right for the glory of God” (Rom. 6:13).  Give your hands to Him for His work, your feet to walk His path, and your ears to hear Him speak.

Often the Spirit’s leading will contradict our logic and feelings; but when we submit, we will experience a deep-rooted peace about our decision.

The words, surrender and submit, have become precious to me now because I know how they apply in my relationship with the Lord.  Those two words are the key to walking in peace, righteousness, grace, obedience, joyfulness, and faith.  They are the answer to experiencing the peace and joy and life I’ve always wanted.

I have written numerous past blogs on this topic: of my Christian walk being so much of a struggle.  I know that I am not alone in these struggles.  I have heard so many Christians state or write almost the exact same thing.  Life for myself and for so many Christians is so much of a struggle to do God’s will.  God’s will often seems more synonymous with work, a struggle, difficulties.

Jesus though says:

Matthew 11:30

30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The Christian walk only becomes burdensome and a struggle when we attempt to do it in our own strength, in our own efforts.  If we sense a struggle, then we have a good indication that we are not resting or submitted to God’s will. 

The struggle is an indication that we are trusting in ourselves, in our own reasoning, our own faith, our own sense of timing or justice or whatever.

When we are submitted to God, we have surrendered ourselves — all of us — to God. 

Surrender means we are yielded to His purposes, to His timing, to His will.

The struggle indicates a battle.  It’s a battle between walking in our flesh, trusting in ourselves, and between trusting in God enough to submit and yield ourselves to Him.

If we are not fully submitted to God, I can guarantee you that there is a lack of trust.

The “root” to that lack of trust is a fear or lie you have believed that is keeping you back from being able to fully submit to God.

Submission to God is crucial in our walk with the Lord.  When I am at a place of complete surrender to God, I have found the greatest source of peace.  I cannot even begin to describe how amazingly beautiful this kind of serenity of soul is!

Being surrendered to God enables me to be fully “connected” to my Power Source, fully receptive to His leading, fully guided by His Spirit, fully at rest (peace) in Him, fully “engaged” to act as He directs, fully protected by being in the center of His will, fully filled with His Holy Spirit so His fruits are manifested in my life.

Surrender to God is where you find true and lasting victory.

Submission to God is where you find power to act decisively, guided by His Presence.

Are your actions, attitudes, words stemming from your own purposes and guidance, or do they come as a result of spending time with the Lord, waiting on Him, listening to Him, submitting to Him, resting and trusting in Who He is and in the infallibility of His good will?

When Waiting Seems To Be The Only Action Occuring…

Pete's a German shepherd-chow mix.  I took him for a walk one morning.

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Those minutes that drag into hours…  Those days that drag into weeks… Months… Years…  Prayers that seem to go unanswered…  Pain that seems to never release its hold…  Regrets…  Old habits…  Difficult people…   Painful wounds from the past…  Loved ones who still remain enchained to themselves…  So many dreams that seem to be fading, dying…  when the waiting seems eternal… and hope is fading…

Perhaps that’s you today.

When waiting seems to be the only action occurring, let’s look at the apparent action.  What’s happening while we are waiting?

Corrie ten Boom said the following regarding waiting:

If you want to hear God’s voice clearly and you are uncertain, then remain in His presence until He changes this uncertainty.  Often much can happen during this waiting for the Lord.  Sometimes, He changes pride into humility; doubt into faith and peace; sometimes lust into purity.  The Lord can and will do it.

Anne Graham Lotz says the following in regards to waiting before acting:

I never make a major decision, especially one that will affect another person, before I receive direction from God.”

Priscilla Shirer said this about her friend Anne Graham Lotz, “…she is resolved to wait on Him for guidance before coming to a final decision on a matter.”

Two verses concerning waiting from God’s Word:

Habakkuk 2:3

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Psalm 27:14

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Proverbs 8:34

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

Proverbs 8:34

34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

We also see the word “endure” in God’s Word — another word that speaks of a steadfastness in waiting.  It speaks of carrying a “load” while waiting.  It speaks of not getting “bogged down” in the waiting but the waiting actually accomplishing something within us.

John 6:27

27 Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

1 Corinthians 13:7

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

2 Thessalonians 1:4

So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure:

2 Timothy 2:3

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 6:15

15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

James 1:12

12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

These verses indicate that something is being accomplished while we wait.  In my previous blog, https://graceinthemoment.wordpress.com/2015/06/19/whose-leading, it speaks of how God was doing something that was so wonderful that it couldn’t even be imagined.

 

While we wait, we need to believe that God is working.  It might be a work that needs to be accomplished in us while we wait so we are prepared to receive the manifestation of God’s answer.

Sometimes, the purpose for our waiting is to prepare us for God’s answer. 

It may be that we are not ready for the immediate outcome of God’s answer; thus, we must wait so that He can change us so we are prepared to properly receive and respond submissively to His answer.

I love what Priscilla Shirer says in her Bible study book, Discerning the Voice of God:

The process of waiting for a message from God can be just as important as the message itself.  In waiting, my faith and intimacy with the Lord grow.  Often something I learn while waiting prepares me for the message so that I am not as surprised by it as I might have been otherwise; thus, I am more willing to obey.

Discerning the Voice of God goes on to say:

The value we place on an object or person dictates the amount of time we are willing to wait on them … we should be willing to wait patiently and not move until we have received it [the answer or direction from God].

Did you get that powerful challenge?  The value of an object or person dictates the amount of time we are willing to wait. 

Whom are we waiting on?  God!  How important is He really in your life?  That will determine how long you are willing to endure and to wait patiently.  That will determine how patient your waiting is.  That will determine the outcome of your waiting.

Perhaps, the action that needs to occur is ours — yours and mine.  Perhaps, there’s something that needs to change in our own hearts in relationship to God. 

Do you trust God enough to wait on Him — no matter how long the process takes?  God is Almighty and all-knowing.  He knows the perfect timing for the completion of His will in you and in the events of your life.  Perhaps, the problem with your waiting is with your trust.

What lies are you believing about God that are holding you back from fully submitting your will to Him and from resting in the perfection of His will?

I love what Discerning the Voice of God says in the following quote:
Habakkuk purposed to remove himself from the depression and anxiety of his ground-level circumstances and get above them.  He took his eyes off his circumstances and watched only for God.
What about us?  Are you and I still wallowing in the immediate ground-level circumstances in which we find ourselves, or are we keeping our eyes fixed on the “Author and Finisher of our Faith”?

I love what the following verses say in regards to waiting:

Habakkuk 2:3

For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

2 Peter 3:9

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

These verses remind us that God’s plan will be accomplished in due season — in His season.

We wait on God while our waiting serves a purpose. 

Our waiting teaches us to rest on Him, which requires humility, submission, and trust.

The timing of God’s answer is just as important as the answer itself.

Discerning the Voice of God says the following:

While the righteous man trusts God will fulfill His Word, the proud man (self-reliant) depends on himself to bring things to pass.  When we seek God in faith, He promises us great reward.

Our waiting reveals whom it is upon which we rely.  It is either ourselves or God.

Upon whom do you rely?

 

Who’s In Control?

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Two days ago, I went to the Christian bookstore and eagerly purchased three different Bible study books.  I couldn’t wait to begin a new chapter of growth in my relationship with the Lord and walk with Him!

My study yesterday led me to Habakkuk 1.  It drew my attention to verses 2-4:

Habakkuk 1:2-4

O Lord, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save!

Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention.

Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.

Habakkuk assumes that God hears and will answer.  Yet, Habakkuk is questioning and doubtful as to when and why not now?

Sounds familiar!

How many times do we doubt if God is personally involved or cares about each minute detail of our lives?  How many times do we question whether God is speaking because we doubt our own ability to hear Him properly?

Sure, we all technically know that God cares, but we live as if He isn’t concerned with every detail.  We live as though we need to take charge of certain details, “just in case God doesn’t bother to communicate His will or give us His strength for the specific situation.”  So, we “charge ahead”, forcing our own will on ourselves and others.  Then, we wonder why things begin to turn rather “ugly” and why people are hurt or offended.

What if instead, we stopped.  We waited.  We rested.  We prayed.  We “fed” ourselves with “manna” from being in God’s presence?

Doubting our own ability to hear God correctly has some definite truth and wisdom.  The Bible warns about deception, and our souls are still affected by our sinful nature.  (Which nature, I might add, God is transforming.)  We can and are easily deceived.

Yet, we have to be careful that our fear of our ability or inability to hear God is not based on our own abilities to hear Him.  This fear might indicate that we are relying on our own abilities to hear.  For example, we might think, “If I am such and such a way, I will ‘hear’ God or understand what He is saying.”  Again, there is some definite truth to this.  Yet, truth/God’s Word is not dependent upon our ability to perceive it. 

Don’t rely on your ability to hear Him.  Rely on His ability to speak truth and on His desire to speak it to you.

He speaks to us through His Word:

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

He speaks to us through creation:

Luke 19:40

40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

Romans 1:20

20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Psalm 19:1-3

19 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

He speaks to us through His people:

Philippians 4:8-9

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

2 Timothy 3:10

10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,

1 Corinthians 10:11

11 Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

James 5:10

10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

He speaks through His Holy Spirit dwelling within us:

1 Corinthians 2:13

13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

Ephesians 3:5

Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

1 Corinthians 2:10

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

Habakkuk questioned God, wondering and doubting when God was going to answer.  God answers Habakkuk with the following:

Habakkuk 1:5

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvelously: for I will work a work in your days which ye will not believe, though it be told you.

God is saying to Habakkuk that God is doing a work so marvelous that Habakkuk wouldn’t even be able to believe it because it’s that marvelous.

God gives specific instructions to Habakkuk:

  • Look
  • Observe
  • Be astonished!
  • Wonder!

I love what Discerning The Voice Of God, by Priscilla Shirer says:

“While Habakkuk waited on God to answer, God was already answering!  God wanted to restore Habakkuk’s confidence by showing him that He was not idle and uninterested in the demise of Judah.  Even though the prophet wasn’t seeing God respond in the way and timing he expected, God was speaking and moving.  He always is — even in His silence.”

Notice the change in Habakkuk’s attitude, belief, and response after this word from God:

Habakkuk 1:12-13

12 Art thou not from everlasting, O Lord my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O Lord, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction.

13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

This prayer is a prayer of praise to the One Who is mighty.

This prayer is full of recognition of Who God truly is.

This prayer is full of eager expectation of what God will do.

This prayer is full of personal trust in the Lord.

“Could your level of expectancy be a factor in how clearly and frequently you hear God’s voice?” (Discerning the Voice of God)

Psalm 5:3

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

Ecclesiastes 5:20

20 For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.

Psalm 139:17

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

Amos 4:13

13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name.

Amos 4:13

13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name.

John 8:47

47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

John 10:27

27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

How good are we at listening? 

Do we “listen” for what God wants to say to us, or are we too busy telling God what we think the passage means?

Are our prayer times more about us telling God what we want, what we think, or do we spend the time also listening to Him, quieting our hearts before Him and ready to receive what He wants to show us?

I believe one of the greatest “marks” of godliness in a believer is a heart “position” of complete “resting” in the Lord and surrender to Him.  It is an attitude of utter reliance upon God and expectant readiness to obey His promptings.

If we aren’t waiting on the Lord’s leading before proceeding ahead, the questions to be asked are: “Who is leading?  Who is in control of our lives?”

The answer really is our self.

God is certainly Sovereign, and He will bring His will to pass no matter what.  Yet, God gives free will.  Love always allows for a choice.  When we disobey God, this is not His will.  When we hold onto our unbelief, this is not His will.

Every day, we are given multiple opportunities to submit our wills to God — to choose His grace and power to walk in the new “life” He has given us as His children over our own old sin natures.

We though. must. make. the choice. to surrender.

Do you want your own fallible, mortal, limited self as the one to whom you “bow before” — the one you serve?

Or…

Will you acknowledge that there is a God who is good, loving, powerful, holy, and therefore utterly trustworthy?  He is doing a work that far surpasses your wildest imagination.

Oh, dear one, trust Him.  Wait on Him.  Look.  Observe. Be astonished!  He will bring it to pass, in the perfection of His will.

Hope

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Hope… One word that we all need.

Some possess it and some are seking futilely for it.

The key to finding hope is perhaps best answered in the following questions:

  • In what do I hope?  Is my hope in circumstances, in feelings, in my ability to cope, in people, in things, in places, in promotions, in jobs?  All of those things are temporary and changeable.  There is no security in that which is situationally-shifting
  • In Whom do I hope?  Do I hope in a god that only promises “peace” if people, places, circumstances, feelings, and the environment are pleasant?  Do I hope in a god that only offers a paradise or rewards, based on how I perform?  Do I hope in a god that lived decades or centuries ago and is now dead?  Do I hope in a capricious god that cares not for the individual follower? There is no substratum of hope from a god that has no ability to offer life —  spiritual and eternal life.  There is no sanctuary of hope in a god that does not personally care for each individual.

If our hope is in a God who loves us perfectly because He is righteous and just, then we can rest in Him — even when circumstances around us are anything but peaceful.  There are the valleys and the “shadowlands” of life, but if we have a solid hope, rooted in a solid faith in a true and loving God, then we can have hope.

In what or Whom do you hope? 

Psalm 37:3-6

Trust in the Lord, and do good;
Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your justice as the noonday.

Psalm 31:24

24 Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Ephesians 3:16-21

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.