Christian Living, faith

Turn Down the Noise

Psalm 17:6 I call upon you, for you will answer me, O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words (ESV. )

The other day my husband and I got into an argument. It started with a misunderstanding. I walked in the living room to find the children watching a learning video. I asked (or attempted to) my husband a question. He didn’t hear all of what I said. There was too much noise. He told me first to speak louder, then responded with a statement that didn’t match my inquiry. We both thought we could just speak louder and the communication would be fine. It wasn’t.

Not until the television was quieted and the kids were settled did the mess actually get resolved. Both of us clearly thought we understood the other person. But we didn’t. I sought God shortly after in prayer and exclaimed in frustration, “Speak louder. I can’t hear you!” In that moment a spiritual light bulb went on. God was speaking. He didn’t need to talk louder. I needed to be quieter.

73f00d909800ade3e10faedddea9dfd6

I have been processing the times in my life when I thought God wasn’t speaking. I’ve discovered a few things.

  • God communicates primarily through His Word.
  • He doesn’t always use words
  • God speaks through His creation (sometimes people)
  • Silence doesn’t mean ignored
  • His voice is, in general, more like a whisper
  • You have to listen to hear
  • He speaks through peace or a “check/caution”
  • If we are in sin or not seeking wholeheartedly we cannot usually hear (though there are scriptural examples of God speaking through a donkey or using a whale with Jonah)

The bottom line is…God and the world around us has lessons to teach. We must be humble enough to recognize them and apply the wisdom to our lives. Sometimes our lives are too loud to hear Him.

Today, I want to encourage you to be still. Read the Word, pray, and let your prayer be a two way conversation. Speak, then listen. Or perhaps let God speak first. Just recently I’ve been doing that. My formula used to always be “I speak then He speaks.” Really, what He has to say is more important than my words. God is much smarter.

Get somewhere quiet. Or at least be in solitude with yourself. Riding a bus is alone although there’s people around you. In the car. The shower. While vacuuming. On break at work. There’s time if you really want to.

Get quiet. You never know what He’ll say.

1 Samuel 3:10 ESV And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”

Job 13:22 ESV Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and you reply to me.

Psalm 119:135 ESV Make your face shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes.

Colossians 4:2 ESV Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.

Christian Living, Politics

Render to Caesar (or Trump)

1 Peter 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor (ESV).

Opening up the political can of worms is something I’d rather not do. I like politics, but recognize it’s such a divisive, polarizing topic. Few subjects cause offense faster than politics. I understand it. But there’s a place for it. I do lean conservative but actually am fairly independent. I wish we had a good third party that could actually win but we don’t. Some speculate whether presidents are truly elected or selected. Voter fraud is an issue. How candidates are chosen and vetted is dubious. It’s all a bit shady. Different wings, same bird in essence. However, there’s something to be considered that many do not. God uses (and used) good and wicked leaders to accomplish His purposes. Pharaoh, in the case of Joseph to save his people. Another Pharoah in Egypt for the purpose of showing YHVH in strength and glory. Herod to teach a powerful lesson (God alone gets the glory). And yes, Donald Trump.

Yeshua (Jesus) actually addressed the issue of politics and government. Matthew 22:21 They said, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (ESV). Simply put, we are to honor our leaders. I’m shocked at how many professing believers are openly critical and almost rebellious of government leaders. I didn’t vote last time as I was newly post partum. I could have but chose not to. I admit I wasn’t a fan of the choices. However, it’s sad to me how believers tend to sit at a distance criticizing without actually doing something.

Are you upset about abortions? Marriage and transgender issues? Religious freedom? Taxes? Health care? Affordable housing? Let me ask you this. When was the last time you prayed about it? Have you ever signed a petition or communicated with your local representative or senator? I grow tired of seeing posts slamming our president and its administration without constructive purpose. This is an amazing quote by Thomas Jefferson: the government you elect is the government you deserve. The Church’s inaction and lack of effective communication (and lack of holiness bluntly) is why we see the current policies in place.

Today, I want to challenge you to pray for your leaders. Many believers are rebuking principalities when they really have no spiritual authority to do so. The demonic forces in place are there because leaders invited them in. Pray for the hearts of the leaders of this country. Pray for your pastor or rabbi. Pray for your boss. Pray for your husband and your parents. We all have someone in leadership above us to pray for. Complaining will do no good. God has them where they are for a reason. Yes, sometimes like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego we must honor YHVH and disobey leadership. But this is in cases of outright sin. Even then, it can be done so respectfully.

Honor God by honoring your leaders. Even the “bad” ones. Pray for them and let the Ruach (Spirit) deal with them. Just because a leader is famous and talked about often doesn’t mean badmouthing isn’t lashon hara (evil speech). It still is. Render to Trump what is his. Leave the rest to God.

Ecclesiastes 8:2 ESV I say: Keep the king’s command, because of God’s oath to him.

Job 12:23 ESV He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.

Isaiah 9:6 ESV For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Romans 13:1-2 ESV Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Christian Living, Uncategorized

Uzziah and Pride

This morning I read in 2 Chronicles. The following verses especially caught my attention: 26:3-5 Uzziah was sixteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-two years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jecoliah of Jerusalem. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done. He set himself to seek God in the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God, and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper (ESV). Uzziah started off great. But his story didn’t end well. It comes down to verse 5 in 2 Chronicles 26 when it says, “and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper.” And as long as. Those are the key words. At some point Uzziah no longer was. 2 Chronicles 26:16 But when he was strong, he grew proud, to his destruction. For he was unfaithful to the Lord his God and entered the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense (ESV).

bigstock-Warning-Sign-13397972

Abraham Lincoln is credited with a great quote: if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. I’ve said this before and it’s worth repeating. Talent or gifting means nothing without character. If a person isn’t doing something with right motives then it doesn’t please God. If it doesn’t please Elohim, it’s worthless. I have seen many with a certain call or ability end up in a place of influence in ministry. The problem is, without proper spiritual fruit, it’s all hypocrisy.

No living waters are produced from their ministry efforts. Just puffed up accomplishments to brag about. It’s like that person (we all know one) that tells you their accolades when you ask how they’re doing. Ever felt like saying, “I’m asking about you not a list of how awesome you are.” When people do that they miss something important. John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing (ESV). They think they are amazing apart from Him. They’re not.

Today, I want to encourage those who are discouraged with waiting on God’s timing. We all know somebody who appeared to not pay their dues and received much success young. There are those who hear the specific call of God on their lives and jump right into it full force. My husband went to Bible college with a man who now has a very successful ministry with millions of followers. I won’t share the name of the college or the man as I’m not out to slam him. He has achieved fame, money, and a large platform while he was quite young. However, his personal life has been dysfunctional and his ministry, very sadly, leads many astray. It promotes a charismatic mystical Holy Spirit experience that isn’t holy nor from the Ruach (Spirit). At first, my husband vented to me on how that guy seems to get promotion and he is struggling. Let me tell you clearly. That man is not to be envied. He has much to answer for. And so far, it’s not good.

Don’t worry about someone else’s calling or how their life looks. Only God knows their heart. Worry about you. Pride will destroy you. Just look at Uzziah. Seek brokenness daily. It is a gift. It keeps you in intimacy and right relationship with your Maker. Nothing is better than to be in favor with the Creator. Truly. The point is to finish well. May we hear, “Well done.”

Proverbs 16:18 ESV Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

Matthew 23:12 ESV Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
James 4:6b ESV Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”