Obedience, Prayer

Speak Lord, Your Servant is Listening

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There are so many voices in our lives telling us who we are, what to believe, what to do, and what to think. Social media, news, podcasts, Youtube, movies, shows, and every form of media give us dozens of different messages every single day.

Like this

Don’t like this

I’m right

You’re wrong

How dare you

You’re not good enough

You’re too good

Your views are wrong

Your views are right

You’re bad

You’re good

You don’t care

You care too much

Do more

Do less

Buy more

Buy less

And it just goes on, and on, and on. 

We are being bombarded in our connected world, with other people’s opinions. Most of these people we do not personally know. Yet, they have influence, and can be quite persuasive. We start to believe everything we read, or hear, or watch on the news about ourselves, and the world, and our future. We need to be very careful what we allow in our head. Of course be informed, watch the news–if that’s your thing. But go to the source, God, before you make a decision on who, or what, or where, or why.

How much time do we spend listening to God? How much time do we spend listening to all the other voices? What influences us and our decisions? If you are a Christ Follower, there is one voice that needs to be the loudest, the Lord’s. 

Many years ago there was a child, who listened to God’s voice, and did what He said. Samuel was just a boy when he first heard the Lord’s voice. According to the historian Josephus, Samuel was around 11 years old. God spoke directly to a kid. He was no ordinary kid though. Samuel was set apart for the Lord’s purposes.

Hannah, Samuel’s mother, had prayed for years to have a child. God answered her prayers by giving her Samuel. Hannah gave Samuel back to the Lord. 

She said to her husband, “After the boy is weaned, I will take him and present him before the Lord, and he will live there always.” 1 Samuel 1:22, NIV 

Hannah brings her very young child to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. She then hands Samuel over to Eli, the high priest, to raise him. (1 Samuel 1:24-28)

Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 1 Samuel 2:19, NIV 

Samuel only sees his mother once a year. She must have loved him dearly to leave him at the temple with Eli. I bet Hannah took great care in making those robes each year. 

Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. 1 Samuel 2:21b, NIV

And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people. 1 Samuel 2:26, NIV

Samuel keeps growing both physically and spiritually before the Lord. He’s just 11 years old when something remarkable happens. Samuel hears the Lord’s voice. 

The boy Samuel ministered before the Lord under Eli.

In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 

2 One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the house of the Lord, where the ark of God was. 4 Then the Lord called Samuel.

Samuel answered, “Here I am.” 5 And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.

6 Again the Lord called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.”

“My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” 1 Samuel 3:1-7, NIV

Samuel hears the voice a third time and goes to Eli again. Finally, Eli realizes that the Lord was calling the boy. Eli tells Samuel to go lie down and if he hears the voice to say, “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening”. Then the Lord stood there and called, “Samuel! Samuel!”.

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:8-10, NIV)

I love Samuel’s eagerness. He ran to Eli the first time he heard the Lord call him. Samuel didn’t say he was too tired, or just ignore the voice. Samuel ran to Eli. He didn’t know it was the Lord at first, yet Samuel was obedient. 

God is personal when dealing with us. He called Samuel by name, twice. I can picture the Lord smiling at Samuel as He called for him. God loved Samuel deeply, and He loves you and I deeply too. 

Years later, Samuel will anoint a young shepherd boy, David, as the King of Israel. Jesus comes from the line of King David. (Matthew 1:1)

It’s pretty easy to take for granted that God wants to speak to us and actually use us in His plan. He sees the big picture. God sees the entire picture from beginning to end. (Isaiah 46:10) What may seem small to us could be one tiny part of something big God is doing.

God wants to speak to us today. Every Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has the gift of the Holy Spirit inside of us. (1 Corinthians 6:19) We also have God’s Word, the Bible. 

The Lord has something to tell you today. Seek Him. Spend time with Him. Run to Him, like Samuel did. Make His voice the loudest in your world. Listen to His voice.

Love you all,

Meghan 

 

Heavenly Father,

You are awesome, Holy God. Thank you that you still speak today. May we hear your voice loud and clear above the noise of the world, above the lies, above the distractions. Speak Lord, for your servants are listening.

In Jesus name,

Amen 

 

Bible, Faith, God, Obedience, Uncategorized

A Talking Donkey

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This amazing mule takes people up and down the steep, winding trails of the Grand Canyon. On an early morning walk during our vacation, I came across the mules getting ready to make their trek for the day. They are lovely. I can’t help but admire and respect what they do. Mules are the unsung heroes of the animal world. I have to believe that animals go to heaven, especially all the ones that have helped us humans.

A mule is the result of a male donkey and female horse. Mules are tough, sure-footed, intelligent, and instinctively cautious. Those traits come from their donkey DNA. They have been around for centuries and haul everything from people to supplies. Both mules and donkeys are mentioned in the Bible.

There’s an unusual event recorded in Numbers where a donkey speaks.

The Israelites camped along the Jordan River. The Moabites were terrified because of what the Israelites had done to the Amorites, and there were many Israelites. (That’s a lot of “ites”) The king of Moab, Balak, sends for Balaam to curse the Israelites. (Numbers 22:1-5)

“A people has come out of Egypt; they cover the face of the land and have settled next to me. Now come and put a curse on these people, because they are too powerful for me. Perhaps then I will be able to defeat them and drive them out of the land. For I know that whoever you bless is blessed, and whoever you curse is cursed.” (Numbers 22:5b-6, NIV)

At first, God tells Balaam not to curse the Israelites because they are blessed. Balak sends princes with a very attractive offer for Balaam that he will be rewarded handsomely, and the king will do whatever he says. God finally gives Balaam the OK to go. (Numbers 22:7-20)

But God was really angry with Balaam. (V. 22)

Balaam is riding his donkey to Moab when an Angel of the Lord stood in the road to oppose him. The donkey sees the angel with a sword drawn and turns off the road into a field. Balaam beats the donkey. The Angel of the Lord appears again on a narrow part of the path with two walls. The donkey pressed against the wall, crushing Balaam’s foot. He beats her a second time. The Angel of the Lord appeared a third time on the path, that was narrow, with no room to turn. The donkey lay down under Balaam and he beat her again. (v. 22-27)

28 Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

29 Balaam answered the donkey, “You have made a fool of me! If only I had a sword in my hand, I would kill you right now.”

30 The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?”

“No,” he said.

31 Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown.

32 The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me.33 The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.”

34 Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned. I did not realize you were standing in the road to oppose me. Now if you are displeased, I will go back.”

35 The angel of the Lord said to Balaam, “Go with the men, but speak only what I tell you.” So Balaam went with Balak’s officials.  (Numbers 22:28-25, NIV)

What’s the point, right? Is this just one of those odd stories in the Old Testament? No, it’s not. Yes, the circumstances are strange. A talking donkey is not ordinary. It wasn’t normal then, it’s not normal today.

Balaam was foolish and prideful. He didn’t even pay attention to his own donkey that knew to stop. Balaam was driven by greed. He was tempted.

“Even if Balak gave me all the silver and gold in his palace, I could not do anything great or small to go beyond the command of the Lord my God. 19 Now spend the night here so that I can find out what else the Lord will tell me.” (Numbers 22:18-19, NIV)

Balaam says he won’t go outside of what the Lord wants, but he makes sure the princes of Moab stay for the night.

Have you ever wanted something so bad that you ignored all the warning signs that God gave you? I have.

Balaam beat his donkey and forced her back on the path three times. Have you ever forced something to happen, that in your heart you knew was out of God’s will? I have.

God allowed Balaam to go on the path to Moab, yet warned him three times to stop. God knew Balaams heart. God knows our hearts too. Sometimes God allows us to feel the sting of our bad choices.

The hero in this story is the donkey. A simple creature that saw the Angel of the Lord and responded appropriately.

God can speak to us any way He chooses. Are we listening? God spoke through a donkey to Balaam. God speaks through the Bible, the Holy Spirit, people, circumstances, nature. I see no limit to how God speaks. He will never compromise His Word, the Bible, when He speaks to us.

I pray that I am more like the donkey, a willing servant of the Lord.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

 

Jesus, Obedience, Uncategorized

Take Up Your Cross

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Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”

Matthew 16:24 

 

The cross means freedom to me. Jesus paid my sin debt in full. It is finished. I am free. My home is in heaven, because of the cross. I have full access to God, because of the cross. I have hope, because of the cross. I am forgiven, because of the cross. Jesus’ perfect work on the cross brought the end to death, sin, and shame.

A Roman cross means one thing, death. When Jesus tells us to take up our cross we are to die to self. The NIV, NASB, HCB and several other translations say, “he must deny himself.” We must. That is not a suggestion. That implies it is required, shouldn’t be missed. I can ignore Jesus’ words and go my own way and never pick up my cross. Then it’s all about me. Jesus won’t let me stay there. Everything changed when Jesus became my Lord and Savior. He’s calling me to something different.

Jesus saving me was the easy part. I like the saved from Hell part. But what about the cost? There is a cost to following to Jesus. Do I let it cost me? Do I stay comfortable? Am I willing to lose family, friends, comfort, reputation, and security for the sake of following Jesus? What about my life?

25 “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25, NASB)

Taking up our cross does not mean:

I am poverty stricken, that’s my cross.

I am stuck in a dreadful job, that’s my cross.

I am in a bad marriage, that’s my cross.

Taking up our cross daily means death to our own selfish desires. Following Jesus no matter the cost to us. It’s about obedience and surrender to the King of Kings.

26 “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, NASB)

Nothing in this life is worth keeping if it means losing your soul for all eternity. The cost is great on this side of heaven to follow Jesus. Are you willing to pay the price? Some are not. They aren’t convinced. The price is too high. Jesus paid our sin debt in full with his shed blood. He asks for us to surrender fully to Him, no matter the cost. But, there are rewards waiting in heaven.

27 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” (Matthew 16:27, NIV)

What if you gained every single thing the world has to offer? Money, fame, houses, vacations, and any material object you could want. Yet when you die you go to Hell because you rejected Jesus. Our souls are at stake. Life is short. Eternity cannot be measured or even grasped. Let’s make our lives count.

We are to daily take up our cross. Every single day we are to die to self. We have a choice to make. For the Christian, to surrender fully to Jesus and follow Him. For the non-believer, it’s time to make a choice. Please don’t forfeit your soul for the temporary. You can choose Jesus today. He already chose you.

The cross was a humiliating, painful means to death. As Christ followers we must daily take up our cross and follow Jesus. The cost to us is everything. We give Jesus all of who we are and all that we have. I struggle with this. I want to get to full surrender. I have moments, but they are rare. I want my comfort. I want what I think is best. I don’t want to let go. Jesus is loving, and patient. He knows what I need and He knows what is best.

May we all take up our cross daily and follow Jesus.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

Lord,

Thank you Jesus for saving us on the cross. Please help all of us who follow you to take up our crosses daily. It is not easy and we need your help to live surrendered lives. Equip us to do your will. We want to serve you and make a difference for your Kingdom. I lift up any non-believers reading this. You love them so much Lord. Draw them to you.

Amen

 

 

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Joey Flynn's Extraordinary Tale, Obedience, Uncategorized

Why Did I Write A Children’s Book?

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That’s an excellent question. I’ve asked myself the same question a few times since my book was published in April. In honor of my first book signing tomorrow, I thought I would answer this. The reason I wrote a kid’s book is very simple; God. I never wanted to be a writer. I never dreamed about it. Writing was nowhere on my radar.

It all began with a character my husband created many years ago. We were newlyweds, and Tom showed me his drawing of this character, and shared his dream of creating a children’s picture book. I thought it was a really cool idea and encouraged him to make it happen. I was excited for him to pursue his dream and happy to help. My role, or so I thought, was being the good, supportive wife. I was clueless that God had other plans.

Tom and I would talk about his book, and character, and dream of “someday” as life was happening. Our first house was a fixer upper, so that took lots of our time and energy, yet we still dreamed of “the story”. Then our first baby arrived, and eventually Tom went back to school. Life and all of it’s pressures, and responsibilities, took priority over any frivolous dreaming. I just couldn’t shake it though. This idea of some story coming to fruition never left my head. Tom’s character  needed to come alive, but how?

One day, while praying about Tom’s book idea, God said, “Just write the story.” I thought there is no way that was God talking to me. That was one of the craziest things I’d heard. I decided to forget it and move on. Well, the next day, I was praying again and heard, “Just write the story.” Now things were getting really weird. “Just write the story,” was repeated to me many times, over several days. I didn’t know what to do with those words. I wasn’t even sure they were God’s words to me. I decided to file those words away and I didn’t tell anyone. That was just crazy talk. It couldn’t have been God. Why would He want me of all people, to write? Nope. It didn’t happen. Move on, and so I did.

God has a funny way of getting our attention when He has called us to do something for Him. I thought I could disregard any bizarre notions of writing a book for children. I mean, come on, that was Tom’s dream, not mine. The notion never went away. When I woke up, it was there. When I went about my day, it was there. I could not get rid of this constant nagging feeling that I indeed was supposed to write this story. Every time I would try to ignore what I was supposed to do, God would speak to me through a circumstance or even my children to remind me to write this story. He even gave me a couple of dreams/visions that shook me to my core, in a good way. His message to me consistently was, “write the story.”

This all probably sounds pretty strange, and I would agree with you. I did not understand why God would tell someone like me to write. It made no sense. This wasn’t my dream. Why not ask me to do something I was good at, or at least enjoyed. Please don’t have me write. And not fiction. After years of me questioning God, I was convinced I had to accomplish this task. I knew I could not live with myself if I never even attempted to do what He was so clearly calling me to.  I wanted to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Summer 2010, my writing journey began. I’ve homeschooled for years, and knew summer break was going to be the only way any writing was going to take place. The thought of typing everything out on a computer sounded dreadful, so I grabbed a spiral notebook and sat on the living room couch. I said, “What do I write? I don’t even know where to start.” He gently told me, “Just write.” I put pen to paper and words started coming out. It was the beginning of a story. I was so excited. I could not believe there was something there. Right away I saw that this little story was not meant to be an illustrated children’s book. It was going to be a middle grade novel. And here’s another crazy thing that happened; I was having these amazing spiritual highs like I’ve never had before. It was the most exciting thing I’d ever done. I was doing the thing God asked of me, and I needed Him to accomplish it. I felt so close to God as I wrote. He was doing it all through me.

Of course there was opposition. When you pursue God’s dream for you the attacks come. The enemy would do everything in his power to stop me from writing. Sometimes, his tactics worked. But, he lost. God’s plan for me has prevailed. It has been one of the hardest things I’ve done. I’m not a natural writer, and children’s fiction has been a huge challenge for me. And my story is a Christian story, so that has it’s challenges as well.

My writing journey has been long. It took over seven years, writing mostly during the summer, to complete my little book. I was juggling many other things, like most people. Writing is hard! I had to fully rely on God to give me every character, every word, everything! He did! God is faithful! Only God would take a nobody like me, and write a book for kid’s with His message. He gets all the glory.

There are lots of other pieces that God took care of along the way. Like editing, publishing, and all the other details in the journey of a completed book. Every time I would come to a place of not knowing how to get to the next step, He took care of it. Like blessing me with a beautiful cover by a very talented artist, and friend, Nick. I could go on and on, but I’ll save some of that for another time.

I still don’t know where this is all going, but I don’t care anymore. I am running after God’s plan for me instead of running from it. Every day, there’s a new opportunity to promote my book, or step out in some way, and I’m taking those steps. Sometimes, I feel pretty foolish. Especially when I put myself out there with little to no results. I think, “God, why did you have me do this? I don’t get it.” My Heavenly Father reminds me of His plan and tells me to trust Him. If I fall flat on my face, it’s OK. He’ll pick me up. And I’ll keep running my race.

What hard thing is God asking you to do? Have you been running from Him, like I did for years? Stop running from Him. Go for what He is asking you to do. It will be hard. You will be uncomfortable and you will have to rely on Him to accomplish it. There are rewards waiting for you unlike anything you’ve experienced. I’m not talking material things. I’m talking spiritual. Those are the ones that last.

Maybe you are already pursuing His calling for you and are discouraged. Keep going! We’ve got Kingdom work to accomplish! We are to spur one another on. Maybe you don’t know what God wants you to do. Ask Him. He will reveal it to you. The God dreams are from Him. It’s not the stuff you and I think up. The things He calls us to require Him to achieve them.

God is asking for your willingness and obedience. You don’t have to have it all figured it out. He will equip you and do marvelous things through you, if you let Him.

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Hebrews 13:20-21, NIV)

Lord,

Thank you for who you are. Perfect. Holy God. You are sure. Reliable. Constant. The Rock. Thank you that we get the joy of being involved in your work. I lift up all those who know what you have called them to, but they’ve been avoiding it, like I did. Give them courage to pursue the God sized dreams you gave them. For those who don’t know what to do reveal your plan to them. And for those who are discouraged in their call, bring encouragement, strength, and a new perspective to keep going.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

Love you all,

Meghan

Faith, God, Obedience, Uncategorized

Cast Your Cares On Him

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Anxiety. Depression. Fear. Worry. I see the same issues over, and over again on social media, and all over the internet. Friends and family are struggling with these things too. I’ve had my own issues with worry over the years. I am quite good at it at times. We are all dealing with problems. As Christians we are not immune from trouble. Jesus tells us we will have trouble in this world, but to be encouraged since He has overcome the world (John 16:33). The trouble will come. I know that sounds like bad news. It is the reality of living in a fallen world. So how do we deal with the anxiety and worry about our struggles?

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”

Cast in Hebrew is from the root word shalak, and it means to throw, cast, hurl, fling. This changed everything for me years ago when I understood what cast really meant. This was a new revelation for me from the Holy Spirit. I had read this verse so many times over the years. Now, it has taken on a whole new meaning. If I throw, hurl, or fling my cares on the Lord I don’t have them anymore. He’s got them. And, even better, He will take care of me and won’t let me fall. But first, I have to throw my stress and worry on Him. This is not a question, or a suggestion. This is a command.

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Cast in Greek is epiripto. It’s definition is to throw upon, cast upon. Same meaning as the Hebrew word for cast. In the New Testament, the message repeats itself. Again, this is not a question, or a suggestion. This is a command. The verse just before this tells us to humble ourselves first, and that God will lift us up in due time (1 Peter 5:6). So an important part of throwing, or casting our anxiety on the Lord is humbling ourselves. It takes humility to let go of our fears and give them to God. This act means we are trusting Him to handle our anxiety His way. This can be scary.

Do I trust God to sustain me? His word is clear that He will never let the righteous fall, yet I hold on to my cares and burdens. For me, it’s about control and letting go. I want God to answer my prayers exactly how, and when I say. I have been a Christian long enough to know that it doesn’t work this way. I have to fully surrender to His plan every day. His plan for me is for good, and He always takes care of me. Always.

This is why it is so important to be in the word of God daily. Feelings and emotions can trick us into thinking God has abandon us. That is a lie. God is perfect. He will never let the righteous fall. We have to cast our cares and anxieties on Him. In fact, He tells us to do so. Throw, hurl, toss your cares on the Lord today! Now that’s a sort of shocking image. Tossing and hurling our troubles on the Lord. Once we cast our cares on Him they are His. Wow! God loves us that much! He is unbelievably good! Praise Him!

Now, I know this can be difficult to do. I can cast my cares on Him and then moments later take them right back. There is no limit to how many times we are to cast our cares on the Lord. If we have to cast our anxiety on Him every moment because the burden is heavy and the pain is so deep, then do it. No one on this earth can care for you the way God can. He’s telling us to throw our burdens on Him. Let’s take Him at His word, and do it!

Love you all,

Meghan