Saturday, February 25, 2017


I keep hearing a reminder to listen. I have written about listening before, but I know God is reminding me to listen more.

If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”
Mark 4:23 NIV

This verse is a reminder that we have been given ears for a purpose: to hear. This verse is repeated several times throughout Matthew, Mark and Revelations. Hearing God is found as a command or theme many times throughout the Bible.   We can look back into the Old Testament at many stories when ordinary men and women were given direction and guidance because they listened to the voice of God. Moses is one example. Moses amazes me.  He started out rough. He was raised as an Egyptian prince, murdered someone, and ran away from responsibility. God appeared to him in a burning bush and explained his plans for Moses, for the redeeming of Israel, condemning of Egypt, and the exodus.  Moses followed God's direction and became so close to God that he was described as one whom God spoke to plainly and face to face. He spent so much time with God that his skin glowed. He was so close to God, that God listened to him complain, or to Moses plead for the lives of those who had deserved death.  Moses was a friend of God.
Daniel is another man who listened to God. God sent angels to meet with Daniel. God showed Daniel many great and wondrous things that led to the return of Israel to Jerusalem. Daniel was also given many revelations about the end of time to come.

I think of my own desires to have my children listen to my directions. I urge them to listen. I try to guide them and advise hem to do the right thing, get work done, and just be obedient to what I ask.  It is frustrating when they do not listen.  Last week, when I asked one to study for a test, he chose not to study.  The next morning, when I quizzed him, he was not able to give the answers. I asked if he had followed my directions to study and he had to admit he had not.  I reminded him that it was important to study to pass the test and when I tell him to study, it is because I am trying to help him do well. I told him he still needed to study before school and now he would be in trouble. His morning now had the added pressure of rushed studying and if he did not do well, it was because he had made a choice not to put in the effort I had asked of him.

Is this the same frustration God has with His children who chose not to listen?
Jeremiah 5:12 describes those who do not hear as foolish and senseless.

The Bible has several examples of those who did not heed or listen. God had given Israel some commands and even warned them what would happen if they turned from the law. They did not listen and most of the Old Testament is describing the hardships that turning from God and not listening brought  upon them. They had attacks from enemies, lost their cities, their homes, and we're taken into slavery. Consequences of not listening were harsh. All of it was warned and all of it could have been avoided by listening to God.

We have consequences when we do not listen to God. He has warned us that we take great risk of falling into the traps set by the enemy of our soul. We may not hear God warning us. We may miss out on blessings or a chance to be a blessing to someone else. We may miss out on God's call to purpose and His true plans for us. We may make wrong decisions and face those consequences.

Jesus talked about those who hear are blessed and those who do not hear are missing out on blessings.

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear.
For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
Matthew 13:16-17 NIV

He gave the parable of the sower who planted seeds and the types of ground where the seeds fell. Some seeds fell along the path, on rocky places, in shallow ground, among thorns, and on good ground. Only those seeds that fell on the good ground survived and grew strong and produced.  Jesus explained this as those who actually heard the Word and allowed it to produce in their hearts and lives.  He was teaching and admonishing his followers to be good hearers of the Word.  Another place Jesus describes His children as sheep who know the voice of the Shepherd.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27 NIV

God desires to have children who listen to him and know His voice.  Not too long ago, I was involved in a short discussion about hearing the voice of God. We were discussing the ways God speaks to us.  Some talked about finding His voice in the Word of God. Some described hearing the still, small voice or hearing through others who spoke words of wisdom or truth. Others described how God revealed himself in the midst of circumstances when they least expected it.  These are all true. God will speak to us in different ways.  He uses what He needs to get our attention or uses what we understand.  He can use our circumstances to reveal Himself, He can speak directly to us through a still, small voice or through His written Word.  I find the more time I spend reading the Word of God, the more I hear Him speaking to me. He reveals himself through the words written in the Bible, through the narratives that tell of other ordinary people that God used through the ages.  As I listen to His voice in the words of the Bble, it becomes easier to hear that still, small voice speaking to me throughout my day. When I spend more time listening during prayer, I hear Him speaking more often; speaking directly to my heart reminding me that He knows my prayers and He is working to provide the answers. I can hear him call me and tell me that He loves me. I can recognize more often that he is speaking and directing my steps and actions when I really stop and just listen for His voice.

I knew an evangelist many years ago whose life testified of his relationship with God.  One pastor described hearing him pray and how it was truly intimate. He called out to God intimately, "Speak to me, my love." God was his first love. He was intimate with God and his ministry and life revealed the intimacy he enjoyed with his Savior.  When he ministered, he could speak directly to a person and reveal deep things only God could have given him.  God would speak, he would listen.  Oh, to be that deeply intimate with God.

I have been hearing God speak one word to me lately.  I hear him say "Listen."  He is calling His people to pray more, to spend more time with Him, and to listen. Listen to Him. Hear His voice. Listen to the words He is speaking through the ministry, through His Word, and directly to your heart. He is trying to prepare His Bride. He is calling His Church to fulfill its purpose and destiny. Listen. Listen. Listen. Do you hear His voice? Listen. He is speaking.  

Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.
Isaiah 28:23 NIV                              

Sunday, February 19, 2017

how do I see myself

What does God see when he looks at you? When he looks at a person who has repented and has accepted salvation, he sees the blood of Jesus. He sees His child.

So many times, we focus on what we see in the natural. We are the ones who see all our own faults and shortcomings. We are the ones who remember  our past sins and mistakes. We are reminded by the scars and wounds we carry with us. We sometimes think  that is all God sees in us. We think He is busy looking for reasons why we aren't  good enough or unworthy. Yet, in truth, He has already taken all that for himself, forgave it and removed it as far as the east is from the west. He will remember  no more.

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalms 103:12 KJV

He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
Micah 7:19 KJV

And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
Hebrews 10:17 KJV

We are often defeating ourselves by looking at ourselves, not as children of God Almighty, but as sinful and broken. Jesus died for us and when we called out His name in repentance, He applied His blood over us, washed us clean and removed the sins. He covers us so that we are seen by God as pure and righteous and holy.

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Colossians 1:14 KJV

In Exodus, we can read how God instructed the Israelites to take the blood of the lamb and strike it upon the posts of the door. He would see the blood and pass over them. He would not bring judgement upon that house with the blood visible and covering them.  This foreshadows the grace we would receive through the blood of Jesus.

And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.
Exodus 12:13 KJV

Jesus shed His blood for the same purpose,  to cover us and redeem us from  sin. We are then covered. God sees the blood of His Son when He looks  on us. That tells me that he doesn't  see us as broken, sinful, and lost. He sees us as precious, blood-bought, pure and holy. We need to understand that by the blood of Jesus, we can stand in righteousness, walk in holiness, and declare that we are freedom from sin and shame. We are no longer who we thought we were, we are now children of the Most High. We are forgiven and redeemed. We have a new identity in Christ and are no longer subject to the old nature in which we were trapped. We are now born into the Kingdom of God. When we get that revelation of who we really are, how God sees us, we can begin to look different, act differently, speak differently,  live differently.  We should see ourselves as God sees us. Change how we look at ourselves. Stop dwelling on the faults, and perceived weaknesses and begin to walk as children of God.

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
Ephesians 2:2‭-‬6 KJV

We can put away the  old things and we are made new. We can walk as we now are: new creatures in Christ.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV

God sees His child. See yourself  through His eyes.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

most precious gift

This weekend I got to go visit my hometown in Arkansas and while making that long drive I thought about a lot of things. I thought about the bookmark my dad had given me when I was young with a special verse on it. It said, "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches." (Proverbs 22:1 ) I also thought it about when I was very small and I would like to say the "Lord is my shepherd I shall not want," when I was in church.(Psalms 23:1) I thought about how my parents taught us to read the word of God, not just by telling us to, but by reading it themselves. They showed us that the word of God was precious. They made sure we each had our own Bible to read. They made sure that we had a good church that taught us the word of God. They also tried to live the word of God in our home and in their daily lives. I understand that they wanted us to know the word of God and plant it in our hearts. They gave me a precious gift that would help me my whole life.

As I have grown older I have desired more of the word of God. I read it more everyday than I did before. The word of God is very precious and we need it in our lives. The word of God is how he speaks to his people and to this world. We learn who God is and what his character is like when we read his word. The word of God gives us access to God and helps us understand more of him and more of what he intends us to be. Without his word we do not know him. Without his word we cannot understand that he loves us and that he has our best interests at heart. Without his word we cannot know God for ourselves. Without his word we are lost and dying and don't know it. Without his word we have no salvation and no hope.

When we begin to pour ourselves into reading the word of God, into understanding the word of God, and into finding out who God is based on what he spoke to this world, we begin to change. We change more into what he created us to be. When we understand God and his plan for us, we begin to become more like him. We are changed into his likeness and into His Image as we are filled with his word and with his spirit that comes from the reading of his word. His word permeates our lives and changes everything about us when we allow his word to become truth and life to us. We grow in faith when we read His word.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17 KJV

The word of God is truth and we need to accept it, learn it and cherish it.

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 NIV

Jesus said we are blessed to hear the Word and to obey it.

He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Luke 11:28 NIV

We should not just read it, but strive to obey it and live it completely everyday.
We should find God in His word so we will recognize His voice, know His will for our lives, and have intimate knowledge of God for ourselves.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
Hebrews 4:12 NIV

He will work in us and change our hearts and attitudes to reflect Him more and be less of our sinful selves. He does the work as His word fills us with knowledge of His perfect will.

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Proverbs 23:12 NIV

So as I look back, one of the most precious gifts I have received is the word of God. I want to carry it in my heart and live it thoroughly.  I hope that verse on my bookmark holds true. I want to have a good name, or reputation, that when others think of me, they think of someone who loves God, who is reflecting God, and who lives by His word. I hope my children learn from me, that the word of God is precious and they fall in love with it. I want them to seek God by reading His word and be eager to find more of Him. So as Valentine's Day is this week, my husband  and I bought our children new Bibles. What better gift to receive on a day celebrating love, than the ultimate love story.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 NIV