God, Holy Spirit, Uncategorized

When God Whispers

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“I have had enough, Lord

Have you been at your wits end? You can’t take another moment of trouble, trial, pain, and hurting. I have been there countless times. I have cried out to God in pain I can’t take it anymore! Every time, God meets me right where I am at. He comforts me, encourages me, and speaks to me. God is faithful to respond to our pleas for help. He is not going to turn us away. How He responds to each of us may not always be the same.

God spoke to Moses in a burning bush. There are days when I would love that kind of certainty. Only God is going to talk from a bush that’s on fire. If that doesn’t get your attention I don’t know what would. I have not had that experience, and as far as I know, only Moses got that privilege. Moses also had the huge responsibility of leading the Israelites, so the talking bush makes sense.

God can and will speak to us in many different ways. Through His word, through Jesus, through other people, through circumstances, through nature, through the Holy Spirit. I see no limit to how and when God speaks to us. The issue is, are we listening?

I love the prophet Elijah. I’m kind of in awe of him and the hard things God had him do. Elijah came to the end of his rope. He told God he had enough. Elijah had killed all the prophets of Baal and when Queen Jezebel got word of this she was irate.

Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 1 Kings 19:1-2

When you hear someone use the name Jezebel negatively this is why. She was not a nice lady. After marrying King Ahab, Jezebel became queen of Israel but still worshiped Baal. That’s a big no-no in the eyes of God and Israel, so she was despised. Jezebel also took Naboth’s land and had him stoned to death. Let’s just say as a woman, you don’t want to be called Jezebel.

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:3-4

Elijah was done. He was tired and worn out just like we all get. Of course Elijah had the massive responsibility of being a prophet and God’s mouthpiece. So Elijah had given up and even prayed that he would die. But God didn’t give up on Elijah.

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” 1 Kings 5-9 

What happens next is one of my favorite experiences in the Bible. I love reading this and it always encourages me and I hope it does you as well.

And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” 1 Kings 19:10-11

A powerful wind comes by tearing up rocks. The wind is so strong that it shatters rocks. That has got to be God, right? Nope. The Lord was not in the wind. Then an earthquake happened. Surely God was in the earthquake. Nope. Then there was a fire. OK, this must be it. God is showing up big in the fire. Nope. All this crazy stuff happens, and still no sign of God. (1 Kings 19:11-12)

And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 

13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. 1 Kings 19:13

God was in the gentle whisper. The King James Version says “a still small voice” to describe when God spoke to Elijah. God was not in the wind, or the fire, or the earthquake. He was the still small voice. How kind and loving of God to speak to Elijah, who was worn out, in this manner. It’s calm and you have to pay attention when God speaks quietly.

God can speak any way He chooses. God loves each of us so much, and has so much to tell us if we stop and listen. I have found that hearing God’s voice takes me stopping everything around me, and just sitting quietly at His feet. Not easy to do, but so rewarding. Hearing the Holy Spirit speak is powerful because it’s God. Those of us who know Jesus as Savior have the gift of the Holy Spirit living inside of us. We have God’s Spirit in us! Incredible.

Sometimes, we need to be worn out and burned out to seek out God’s voice. Just like Elijah. If you are at the end of yourself, stop and rest at the feet of God. Ask Him to speak, and then wait and listen. He will not contradict His word, and it will more than likely be that still small voice. So quiet yourself before God, who holds you and the entire universe in His hands, and listen.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

 

 

Lord,

Thank you for your amazing love and grace. Thank you that you speak to us. Please help us to listen and know when you are speaking. Teach us through your Word, and the Holy Spirit, and whatever means you choose to speak. Give us wisdom and discernment to know your voice. Let us hear your voice above all the noise. We love you and praise you God.

In Jesus name,

Amen

 

 

Living Water  A post I wrote last year on the Holy Spirit

All scripture was taken from NIV Copyright © 2011

Photo credit: Christine Sponchia from Pixabay

 

 

Bible, God, Jesus, Uncategorized

Jesus & Coffee

CHIANGMAI, THAILAND, February 4,2015. Reading The New Internatio

Every morning I grab my Bible and stumble into the kitchen. I grind those beans and pray for the water to boil quickly so I can get that first cup from my French press coffee pot. Yeah, I’m fancy like that. Not really, but I do like good coffee. I plop down on the couch and say, “Thank you Lord”. I thank Him because I’m alive. I thank Him because I’ve got a nice roof over my head, plenty of food to eat, and coffee. I thank Him for three incredible men in my life; my two sons and husband. I thank Him for saving me.

I begin each morning spending time with Jesus. It was a discipline I started years ago out of necessity. I need Jesus in my life every moment, of every hour, of every day. I am not super spiritual or special in any way, just hungry. This is what works for me to strengthen my relationship with God, and keep me focused on what really matters in this life.

I start my quiet time, or Jesus time, or God time, whatever you want to call it, by reading my Bible first. I say a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit to speak to me and teach me what I need to learn. I always have paper on hand to write notes, which I do often. I have a prayer journal as well. I write in that throughout the month, but not daily. Bible reading plans have been helpful. Devotionals are also something I read as well. I’ve got three going right now.

You can read about the Bible I use here My Bible It’s broken in and comfortable, sort of like an old sweater. It’s marked up with highlights, and notes. I recently had to tape the binding of my Bible. It’s not pretty, but well loved. I have many reasons why I read the Bible. The more I read, the more I learn, the more I want to know. Only Jesus truly satisfies, and when I meditate on His word I am changed. Little bits at a time, I am being transformed by His word.

What does the Bible say about being in the Word?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet
And a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105, NKJV)

“Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4, NIV) 

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NIV)

“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, HCSB)

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35, HCSB)

“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11, NIV) 

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17, ESV)

This is not an exhaustive list. But these few scriptures tell us how important it is to study the Word of God.

Prayer is how I end my time with Jesus in the morning. I have a list going of prayer requests from family and friends. I lay my requests before Him knowing He will answer in His time, in His way. It is freeing for me to let go of whatever is weighing me down. I don’t have to carry it. After I’ve had my coffee, and read the Word, and read my devotionals, and prayed, I can face whatever lies ahead with confidence.

There are a few things I do to protect this quiet time with the Lord. I do not check my email or any social media when I wake up. It’s coffee to wake me up, and then the Word. If I get online or do anything else it’s very distracting and I lose my focus. This is what has worked for me.

Mornings may not work for you. My husband listened to a podcast every day that went through the entire Bible in one year. He was also going to school and working full time back then, and that’s what worked for him. Maybe you’ve got a night time routine that’s effective for you. Maybe you have no time alone with Jesus, squeezing in a quick prayer here and there.

Jesus and coffee is what starts my day but one of those I can live without. I would get an awful headache, but I can live without coffee. I can’t live without Jesus. I may start my day with Him, but He and I are talking all day. Jesus Christ is not only my savior, He is my friend, and constant companion through the Holy Spirit. The most important relationship I’ve got is with Jesus, so I try my best to make Him the priority to start off my day.

Do you have daily quiet times with Jesus? What works for you? Please feel free to share any ideas for alone time with God.

Love you all,

Meghan

 

Here are some Bible reading plans that can be a starting point:

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/3-esv-mcheyne-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/6-esv-chronological-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plans/2-esv-a-psalm-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://static.crossway.org/excerpt/reading-plan/5-esv-a-proverb-a-day-reading-plan.1.pdf

https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/chronological-new-testament.html

 

 

I recommend this devotional:

Renovating Your Mind. Read about it here: Q & A with Author Patrick Egle 

 

Faith, God, Jesus, Prayer, Uncategorized

My Prayer Closet

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Joshua made this card for me at church when he was seven. I love it because he made it, and because of the misspelling of “Lord”. That makes it all the more beloved. It shows the pureness of his heart. No spellcheck. No concern over spelling errors or perfection. It’s about the message, “Wait for the Lard”….I mean, “Lord”. He handed it to me with pride and joy for Mother’s Day. That’s the stuff that melts a mama’s heart. This precious card sits at the top of the bulletin board in my closet. I see it every single day.

My prayer closet is my actual closet. That sweet card sits among a few other little treasures that encourage me as I kneel and pray. There are pictures of my boys as toddlers, a picture of me and Tom as newlyweds, a few special cards from my husband, and a card or two from friends and family. It’s my hideout where I close the door and talk or cry out to God.

I have been flat on my face in deep pain asking God where He was. I have lifted my hands in praise thanking Him for His faithfulness. I have asked for wisdom, answers, direction, help, mercy, and forgiveness. I have laid on my back with tears streaming down my face. Looking up. Hoping for something from God to relieve the suffering. There’s plenty of room for me to stretch out. It’s all my space since Tom has his own closet.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5-8, NIV)

The Greek word tameion means “an inner chamber”. This doesn’t mean we all need to have a prayer closet or special “prayer room”. It means you need to be in a quiet, uninterrupted place. Praying to the Father requires focus and no distractions, if possible. There are plenty of times when we pray in crazy moments of chaos. We can and should pray at all times. “Pray continually,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV).

It’s important to set aside some time each day to pray. You can use a “prayer closet” if you’ve got the space, or almost anywhere can become that sacred space. When I commuted to work years ago before having children, I would pray in my car. Some people walk and pray. Many times I sit in my living room. Supposedly John Wesley’s (founder of the Methodist movement) mother, Susanna, would pull her apron over her face and pray.  The point is not where, it’s who you’re talking to.

When we first moved to Texas over six years ago we stayed in a hotel. There was no privacy, so I would go into the tiny bathroom to pray. Not pretty, but God knew my heart. He wants our heart. Not perfect, beautiful “prayer rooms” with the right Christian words in our prayers. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:7-8, NIV) Be honest with God when you pray. He already knows what we need and we can be simple and direct in our words with humility.

I have several scraps of paper on my bulletin board in my closet. Each with a Bible verse I scrawled out during our two months in the hotel. They remind me what God has done in the past and what He will do again. That is a nice benefit of having a designated prayer space. You can personalize it with scriptures or whatever is needed to keep focused on God. I also have a list I keep written out of things Tom and I are praying for that’s taped to the wall in my closet. I cross things out as they get answered.

The point to all of this is pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more. When we quiet ourselves before the Lord we have the marvelous opportunity to hear His voice. Listening to God is just as important as talking to Him. Expect an answer in His time. That’s always the hardest part of praying, at least for me it is. I want an immediate answer. We have to wait. Just like Joshua’s card, “Wait for the Lord”. So many times I have been praying for the same thing, and waiting, and waiting. Then I look up and see that card with the faith of a child and I’m encouraged.

Love you all,

Meghan