The process

My husband loves watching Gold Rush. The miners start with a small pan to test the ground. Eventually they end up moving a lot of dirt through these machines that shake the dirt to separate it from the gold. A lot of water rushes through the machines and in the end the stuff that comes from the machine is refined by fire.  The finished product is what the miners desire, but it has to go through the process.

As I read this scripture, I thought about how a God takes us  through a similar process. 

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.   Isaiah 43:2 NLT

In times of trouble God is there for us.   He takes all that we are, and all that we have done, all that has been done to us, and all that has been said about us and dumps it into the process He takes us through.

Even though the waters  make us feel like we’re drowning, He is there with outstretched hands saying “You feel like it, but your not drowning. Let the waters cleanse you from your hurts and refresh your spirit with My living water.”

In the shaking, we feel oppressed, but God is with us.  He is shaking from us all that keeps us bound.  Everything that keeps oppressing us, God wants to shake off our life.

He will not allow the fire to consume us. If we hold to Him, what the enemy means to destroy us, God will use to purify and restore us.

Precious metals and jewels are not destroyed in pressure, they are formed and refined. We are God’s treasure.

Shield

There is a scene in Breaking Dawn Part 2 at the very end that caught my attention. I love when God takes something controversial and worldly and uses it to speak boldly something He is trying to get through to me. He often shows up where I least expect Him. Given the opportunity He will fuse into the very fabric of our lives. We just have to be listening for that still small voice.

If you haven’t seen the story, Edward’s vampire power is reading minds. From the beginning of the series, he is unable to read Bella’s mind, even when she is just human. It is only when Edward and Bella gather other vampires to protect their child that Bella’s (turned vampire to save her life during childbirth) power is discovered. Bella is a shield, able to deflect the powers of other vampires.

At the end of the movie, Bella takes down the shield that has kept her separate from Edward since they met. Bella reveals it took practice in order to take her shield down and be totally open and vulnerable with Edward. Continue reading

He will Answer

HEISLISTENINGEver since I allowed my children to have cell phones, I have had an expectation that they will answer when I call.  This has allowed me to feel more secure when they were out with friends.  It allowed me to give them more freedom while still giving me peace of mind.

If they missed my call, there was a five-minute window where I would expect a return call or I would go where they were suppose to be.  I also expected that when they were driving or riding with other youth, they would call or text me when they arrived to their destination and when they were leaving to return home.

My oldest daughter didn’t test that too much. Even when she left home she continued this habit.  She is a young adult and I still talk to her several times a week.  My son, he needed a lot of reminding especially on the later.  He still calls me at least once a week.  My youngest she has challenged it all.  When she was younger she never really went anywhere that wasn’t school  or church related – academically or extracurricular.  But she has always been bad about answering the phone, whether call or text.  I call and get no answer.  I text and never get a response.  Not just occasionally – about fourteen times in the past few weeks.  She rarely let me know when she arrived anywhere or when she was leaving to come back home.  It drives me nuts.  She is an adult now, but still lives in our home and most of the time I talk with her less than I do my son in North Carolina.  My husband can be just as bad at answering the phone and text messages, so I know where she gets it.

Despite my frustration with youngest and my husband, I do know that there is Someone who will always answer me.  God promises that not only is He listening, but we can be sure He will answer.

Yes, sometimes the answer is “No.”

Or as I like to say “Not now, I have something better.”

But at times the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

I have a God who promises He will always answer.

One to Another

I look to the left, and begin to say “why don’t you….?” as I try to solve my neighbors issues; even though I know nothing about her personal struggle.  God quickens my heart.  “You were there once too. Remember your own struggle. She is in that process.”  

I can’t compare what I have came through to where others are now.
I look to my right and think “Why can’t  I be more like her?” Again God quickens me. “Don’t compare your weaknesses to her strengths.  Your gifts and talents are not the same because your purposes are different.” 

I shouldn’t downplay what God has placed in me because it doesn’t look like someone else’s life.

Faults. We all have them.  Some are more visible or evident than others.   Yet we all struggle with them.  In addition to comparison, I am quite opinionated and can talk too much.  I like to be right.  I like to debate. I am not always a nice person.  These are just a few of my faults.

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As Christians, we often fail to admit our faults and weaknesses to one another.  We feel guilt or shame in our faults.  Instead of admitting our faults, praying, and getting healed, we hide or minimize our faults.  In doing so, we provide a distorted image of the Christian walk. 

Living authentically, we are able to encourage others to do the same. Sharing our faults with one another enables us to release the power of God.  God gets the glory as people see the wonderful results of prayer.

When we don’t share our faults of each to another, people may see a change, but God does not get the glory He deserves.   People don’t realize through prayer the change came.

We also don’t allow people to exercise their prayer voice when we don’t share our faults one to another.  Individuals fail to realize that their prayers are just as powerful as another Christian’s prayers.  When we admit out faults one to a other, they have the opportunity to pray for God to intervene on our behalf. 

Failing to share our faults one to another, also fails to reinforce who we  are in Christ.  An individual may not see themselves as the Righteousness of Christ.  When God answers their prayer for us, it is because the righteous prayed a fervent prayer. 

Failing to share our faults one to another, also fails to build up others faith.  If they don’t pray, they can’t see the wonderful result of the words they prayed. Our faith is built up when we see the thing we prayed  for happen.

Not admitting our faults also discourages those who are struggling.  We appear to have it all together.  They are focused on thier faults.  This allows the enemy room to build the lie they are the only Christian struggling.

As believers, God designed us to be interconnected.  We are to share in the joys with others. We are to share in the sorrows. We are to share our faults one to another. God promises to meet our faults with wonderful results as we allow others to pray on our behalf. 

He is Listening

Our office has eight women, and depending on the day can be quiet or noisy depending on what each of us is doing when we are in the office.    When the coworker behind me said something to me I immediately responded.  She laughed.HEISLISTENING

I pulled my ear buds out to see what was so funny.  Apparently the other coworkers in the room had been having a lengthy conversation with me, and thought I was ignoring them.  Then I responded to the one behind me immediately when she walked into the room.   While I was on my lunch break, I plugged in my ear buds and started playing a message that I had not had time to listen to at home.   The ladies around me were talking, so I had turned up the volume.  They did not realize I had my ear buds in.

I had to explain I was not listening to them, but to a podcast and the speaker had paused just as the coworker behind me said my name.  It wasn’t that I was intentionally ignoring them, I was listening to something else.  They all chuckled and gave me the update on what I had missed so I could answer the question they were waiting on me to answer.

I John 5:15 says, “And if we really know He is listening when we talk to Him and make our requests, then we can be sure He will answer us.

God gives me His full attention. I don’t have to worry that I will pour out my heart to Him or ask an important, time-sensitive question only to find out He had his ear buds in.  Unlike myself, my spouse, my child, or any other person, God promises  to list to our prayers; if He is listening He will answer.  I don’t have to worry that the next time I mention something God will respond “You never told me that!”

I dislike having a conversation and realizing that the person is not listening.  Especially when they are responding as if they are listening.  I realize this is not a one way problem within my family or circle, I am often distracted or get so focused on something, even without ear buds in, I am not listening.  I realize that sometimes I do the same with God.

If when I talk God listens, I should be giving Him the same respect.  I shouldn’t allow a busy schedule, my own physical or emotional state, or other distractions to keep me from listening to His voice.  I shouldn’t be so occupied with my own things that I fail to listen to His voice and miss the opportunities He is placing before me.

How many opportunities do we miss because were not listening to His voice?

He will answer

mobile-1097232_1280This is one of the first scriptures that I taught my children when I first started seeking God for myself.  I wasn’t in church; instead, I was reading and studying the word for myself.  I was learning to talk to God and He met me where I was.  In all my brokenness and hurt, God was there.  Even before I called to Him, He answered.

God was looking out for me even when I wasn’t calling Him.  As a wayward teenager, God kept calling me back to Him.  Even though my words were  not to Him, He was looking at my actions.  My heart, my soul, they were crying out to Him  “Do you notice me?” as I made poor choices and rebelled against Him. I rebelled against a God I already knew had saved me.  But God wanted more than to just save me.  He wanted relationship.  He was answering me before I called Him, drawing me back to Him. Continue reading

The Household

wp-1470776831277.jpgIn exasperation I place my hand on my hip, ready to allow the venom of my words to flow as my eyes meet the countertop of dirty dishes that were not there when I went to sleep just five hours before.  I take a deep breath in and slowly exhale releasing my frustration.

The night before I was exhausted after a long day at work, but I came home after stopping to exercise at the gym and prepared dinner for my family.  After dinner, I thought that I would have some help with cleaning up and the dishes, but the other adults in the household went on about their own activities.  Going out with friends and watching television while playing on the computer are more entertaining than cleaning.  Even at that point, I tried not to allow irritation to show.  After all, I have food to eat, a roof over my head, a spouse, and children.  God has blessed me.

Still that next morning, in the silence of my house those feelings arose.  I hadn’t run the dishwasher; they could have placed their snack dishes in the dishwasher.  Thier schedule is different than mine but why can’t they do thier part in our household?  There have been times I want to hand my children a bill for having to be thier maid as things are left undone and leave.

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