Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Ears to Hear

The story goes there were two buddies out hunting one chilly morning. As they made their way through the woods to their hunting spot, one of the friends collapsed to the ground, unconscious .
In a panic, the other friend reached for his cell phone to call 911 at which point he told the operator that his friend seemed to be dead.
The operator asked the fearful man to try to remain calm and she would help him. then, she gave him his first direction, check to see if his friend was truly dead.
A gunshot was heard, followed by the man asking, "Now what?"
The English language is complicated. Playing a game on my phone where I take letters and make words out of them leaves me feeling inadequate almost every time I play. I will get stumped and begin to "make up" words to fit the spaces only to realize as the word is accepted that the way I was sounding it out in my head was nowhere close to the real word once I could see in in front of me. And, that realization makes me stop every time to think why did I not recognize that word when I was spelling it in my head.
So many of our words have different meaning and different pronounciation with the same exact spelling.
Just reading a sentence you can make it sound and mean different things if you are not careful and do not recognize the intent of the words as they are written.
In my time talking to my Friend recently I just kept saying over and over, "Lord, let me have ears to hear."
We have lost the art of listening. We don't listen to hear any longer, we listen soley to respond.
Active listening is an art that has gone out of fashion. Modern society is too worried about being heard, we don't really care to be spoken to. We long simply for our feelings and thoughts to be validated.
Lord, give me ears to hear.
Jesus mentions eight times from what I can tell some variation of "if any man have ears to hear, let him hear."
Each time He is giving direction.
"And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. But what went ye out for to see?A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heave suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Mat 11:7-15)
"Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And whn he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon sony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Mat 13: 3-9)
"The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things what offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Mat 13:41-43)
"For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secre, but that it should come abroad. If any man have ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 4:22-23)
"Hearken unto me every one of you, and understand: There is nothing from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but the things which come out of him, those are they that defile the man. If any man hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Mark 7:14-16)
"Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." (Luke 14: 34-35)
During every single day of our lives we have opportunities to have hundreds and sometimes thousands of words pass within our hearing range. This means that every single day we have hundreds and sometimes thousands of opportunities to listen, but not only to listen, to hear.
God speaks to us in so many ways. During my prayer time I entreated Him with specific needs. And, then I listened. Not with my ears, with my heart. Before long the Spirit of God within me responded with cries and grownings to the Voice of God in me.
Are you facing a situation that seems to be "dead" in your eyes? Instead of listening for the Voice of Truth concerning your lifeless dream, your marriage on life support, your child in a spiritual coma, have you "heard" the message God has sent you but instead of hearing Him say, "Listen, is it REALLY dead?" you hear "It IS really dead" and have a funeral while there is still a heartbeat?
Do you have ears? Maybe it is time you use them to LISTEN. Really LISTEN.
Is your situation out of control? Listen. The correction and the call to obedience is not the death toll on your situation, but more than likely it is the Lord saying "Come forth" to that which you declared dead. If you will but LISTEN to direction and apply it to your life, to your problems.
He that hath ears, let him hear the voice of the Lord, the voice of power, the voice of deliverence, the voice of redemption, the voice of correction, the true sound of mercy and grace and love.
Lord, please let me hear Your voice in my life, through Your Word, through my pastor, and let me LISTEN to HEAR. I don't want to miss a single opportunity to serve You. Help me to hear Your voice above the noise of the world. I need to hear You.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

At the Heart of the Matter

What had happened was....
I had this great revelation at God spoke to me. Oh, I have heard His voice before, loud and clear.

But what had happened was....so had my heart.

My deceitful heart.

My wicked heart.

My deceitful, wicked heart, it heard God, too. And, thinking it was noble and honorable I heard from God about something I wanted to do, only it wasn't God at all. Sounded just like Him, but it was me.

And I allowed what I thought was God to change the course of my life

Only it wasn't Him.

See, your heart can mimic the Voice of God in you. And here you will be with your great revelation that God has spoken to you and now you can and SHOULD do this great thing you had already made up in your mind to do. Only NOW GOD has also told you to do it.

Heard a story of a single mother of 6 who "heard from God" and just knew she was supposed to be a missionary to some foreign country (where someone she had met on the internet just HAPPENED to reside). She excitedly told her pastor who then told her, in no uncertain terms, she had NOT heard from GOD. His will was for her to stay here and raise her children.

I thought with clear certainty that God had given me direction, that He had outlined a course for me. Oh, others tried to tell me it wasn't so, but I wouldn't listen. How could THEY know what God had told me to do?

So, what had happened was I listened to my heart, and I was deceived. Terribly deceived. The path and the distruction that followed forever changed who I am.

I won't say it was all bad. There has been good that has come out of this season. I have learned that He loves me in spite of my iniquity. I have learned that He still speaks to me and I have learned to listen for HIS voice in my life.

Through this season I have come to trust Him more than I ever imagined. He has shown me His great love for me in ways I never thought possible. Miracles have taken place as He pulled me out of the mirey clay of my life. And they continue even now.

So when the time came again to make a life altering decision, I prayed a different prayer. I told Him I could not trust my deceitful heart, I needed a word from the man of God from HIM and I needed it now.

At service that night during the altar call the minister said he was waiting on someone. I went up and he came to me and said he had been waiting on me. That God had a word for me. And after he got my pastor he began to tell me things only my God would know. Things I asked Him to tell me, direction I needed to go.

It was God's voice that caused me to leave the familiar and head for the safety of those who love me.

Here I am. Healing and growing and full of more faith than I ever imagined.

Isaiah 6:8 is part of the blessing of God my Pastor prays over us at the close of every Sunday night service.

"Here am I, send me."

Send me, Lord to the lost and the hurting.

Send me, to the broken and the bruised.

Send me to the ones that have been cast aside.

Send me to the hopeless.

Through my life you have given me such a burden for the lost, for the backslider, for the forgotten. Help me to remember what it felt like to be so outside your will that I thought I was lost forever, that I thought I did not deserve your mercy or grace.

And send me to those with a ministry of joy that comes from being able to hear YOUR VOICE above all the other voices in our lives. Let me never forget Your great love and where it has taken me from and where it has taken me to.

Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?

Help me to always test Your voice in my life.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

When It Happens To You

There is not much that can prepare you for loss. I have been a "half full" kinda person my whole life, but there are times when I am staring face to face with an empty vessel and I was in no way ready to fill it back.

Life has a way of just happening.

You can be cruising along at a steady pace when suddenly you find you either need to speed up to warp speed or stop completely, usually landing with a thud.

I will be the first to say that I thought I was strong. After carrying grief on my shoulders I figured I could over come anything.

We have a tendency as fleshly creatures to get ourselves into some terrible places. We get complacent, we get forgetful, we get lazy, we get selfish, we get silly, and we get blinded by what we consider circumstances beyond our control. We place ourselves in harms way and cry when we are harmed.

I have read back over my blogs from the past and all my words of wisdom and yet it happened to me. I failed. Not God, me. I got my eyes off of God and placed them on man, off the infallible and onto the fallible. I placed myself, my family, into harm's way because I lost sight of who I was.

It was the thud that got my attention.

The long, hard fall that shook me. It was the realization that I had bound myself up, placed myself in prison and was waiting for someone else to come unlock the door that was standing wide open.

It was me that woke up in the pig pen and remembered how it was in my Father's house.

You do not wake up one day and decide to turn your back on God. It is a slow, easy stroll, sometimes, and when you finally stop to look around, you have no idea where you are.

But, He does. He has been standing, watching for your return. You are that lost coin. You are that long, lost son. You are that ONE sheep.

And, He longs for you. He longs for YOU.

Lord, I am ever so thankful today that You have never forsaken me. Help me to continue to gain ground and find my purpose again. You have never let me down, and I want to keep my eyes on you and not the storms that surround me, at times. My Hope is in YOU.

I heard this song coming home from church about a month or so ago. I almost had to pullled the car over. So thankful for the beautiful things and people in my life. https://youtu.be/_u_eGtgUxh0

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Bloody Coat

Joseph was dearly loved by his father. He was the firstborn child to Rachel and Jacob loved Rachel. He had other sons, but there was something special about Joseph.

So, when Joseph's brothers retuned one day and handed their father a bloody coat that was ripped and torn, no other explanation, only the coat, Jacob took that coat at face value and declared his son dead, torn to pieces by an animal.

But, Joseph was not dead. He was very much alive and on the course of fulfilling the dream he had that had angered his brothers to begin with.

What they had meant as harm for Joseph, God meant it for good.

So many times we look at people and see only a portion of their circumstances and from that portion we make up our mind the state the person is in. We decide if they are alive....or dead.

But, the only evidence we  have is a bloody coat.

Riding along the other day it was His voice I heard, His voice reminding me that all isn't always what it seems.

What if the person is not dead, but merely somewhere outside of safety, hurt, bleeding, and in need?

What if the person is in a situation out of their control, but not out of His?

What if the only thing we have to go by is something someone else came up with and we just take it as truth?

In 1983, Juan Roberto Melendez-Colon was convicted of murder, mostly due to the testimony of two felons. With no real physical evidence, the jury found Melendez-Colon guilty and sent need him to death.

Out of jealousy and misunderstanding the brothers of Joesph came up with a plan to rid them of their brother. And, I am sure Jacob would have never thought about his own sons contriving such a thing against Joseph.

But, Joseph's story was far from over. He was alive and living out God's purpose for him.

And, when the day came for him to be reunited with his brothers they feared him due to his position and power, and what they had done to him.

Joseph knew God had meant it for good, for now HE would be able to save his family.

Lord, I have felt like Joseph, cast out and in the midst of trials and troubles, some of which I had no control over. I'm giving You praise today because when others looked at my life and only saw the bloody coat, You had a plan for me. Thank You for helping me never to let go of the dream You gave me, even in the worst of circumstances.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Mistaken Identity

You know, when I was a young girl there was this saying that I really liked. It sounded so callous and tough and I would hear it and think to myself, "Yeah! That's how I feel!"

Reality is a lot different.

The reason I liked that quote so much is because it is how I longed to be, but certainly not at all what I am.

"You've obviously mistaken me for someone who cares" doesn't fit in with me at all.

Problem being I care way too much.

It has never been about peer pressure with me. I really DIDN'T care if I fit in with the popular kids, and I still don't. I have always been drawn to the misfits and the weirdos. I am perfectly fine with that.

No, I don't care what the population at large thinks about me. But, I care what you think about me.

I care about how you feel, in general. If you are among the ones that are part of my life, I care deeply and passionately about how you feel. I care about your comfort. I care about your happiness. I care about the emptiness in your tummy.

I care that you are sad and I care that you feel lonely.

I care and I care and I care.......

And, then what happens? I find out that not everyone cares. And I am the one who is mistaken.

Man, I have had my share of disappointments. MORE than my share.

There are times when I wish I could be like other people and turn off my emotions, turn off that part of me that is obviously broken and just not care so much. Because caring is hard. It's painful and it is exhausting.

I see other people who are callous and tough and they make it through life just fine. They seem to have their share of people clamoring to show them how much they are cared for.

So, why can't that be me?

And, I know it never will be. I'm just who I am. Destined to always be.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Crashing Down

I have always had vivid dreams. I can still see dreams that I dreamed when I was a child in my mind like they're actual memories. And, kind of like Joseph, for a time I could hear someone's dream and it was like I could see what the dream was trying to say. Not in a hocus pocus way, but almost as though I could understand what the dream was trying to say.

I never called anyone over and invited them to tell me their dreams like a sorcerer. I would just listen and then sometimes I would be able to say what I thought the message was in all that craziness. I considered it a gift from God.

I had a crazy dream myself the other night. Someone I love was injured and I was trying to get them to the house to take care of them. I wrestled them in the car that they insisted on driving, even thought they could not sit up as we started across the bay there was much debris in the water. It hit me that the other bridge had been destroyed in a storm. Not the one on the ocean side, but the one on the bay side, the one more protected. And, as I watched in horror I saw a wave headed our way, scooping up pieces of the broken bridge as well as anything else in its path. As we braced for impact we suddenly found ourselves on the other side of the bridge safe. 

But, as we were about to drive under another bridge, I can see a tsunami sized wave headed our way. Just in front of us was a car full of a young family and the children peered back at us through the rear window. Again, I yelled to brace, hold the wheel tight and steady. I was certain the flood waters were going to kill us. 

They overtook the car. I could still see the faces of the children pressed to the window ahead of us. Suddenly, just as quickly as it came,the waters were gone. We once again headed toward home and safety. 

It took all my strength to get them inside the house and safe where I could attend to their injuries. I walked back to close the door to find that the waters were rising in the street. We were still in danger. 

Sunday my cousin and I went back to Six Flags. She convinced me to face my fears and ride Goliath. Goliath is huge. Beyond huge. I was so afraid that I was crying when we were strapped in waiting to go.

Anna was glad to be there with me. She supported me as much as I would let her. She rode beside me but I would not let her sit next to me because I was scared she would touch me and I knew I could not handle that. I wrapped my hands and my legs around the safety device like a monkey.  I have rarely been that afraid. All I could think about was the fact that this was only going to last about two minutes and then it would be behind me.

I don't really remember much about those two minutes. I only remember that I did not die and I know that next time I won't be so afraid. This was something I had to face on my own.

The thing that struck me about my dream was my overwhelming desire to get the person I was with to safety so that I could help them and attend to their wounds. But, even when we reached what I assumed was safety, which was home, there was danger. I could not protect them.

There are things in life that happen that are beyond our control. We send our kids out into the big ole world and we have to trust that they will be okay out there. We cannot enclose them in protection and keep them safe. They make choices that sometimes put them in the path of danger. And, sometimes all we can do is wait on the sidelines until the danger passes and hope that they don't drown when the waves of destruction come crashing down.

Sometimes we can save people, we can pull them out of the rising flood and drag them to safety. And, then when we look away they wade right back into the water.

Life is funny like that. We sometimes spend all of our time on the shore, sipping a cool drink in the shade and wondering why someone else chooses to swim in the riptide. I chose to sit in that seat, chose to face something that took me out of my comfort zone, and I made to the end. No one could have ridden that for me and allowed me to face what I needed to face.

I could not drag my injured love one far enough away to keep them safe from what it is they must face in my dream. Or, in reality.

I can sit there, waiting, with a nice fluffy towel to see if they emerge from the crashing waves, but it is up to them to come out. Just as in my dream, they were driving, I was merely riding along, hoping we could make it to safety so I could nurse them back to health.

And, so it is. I wait. Praying they make it back to shore.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Nothing to Fear

Let's just say I have always lived my life taking the safest route. I have a habit of following the rules because the consequences of not doing so frankly scare me to death.

I have a habit of blowing things up into gigantic proportions. It's not healthy, but it is me. It doesn't help that my nature is to pick things apart and look at them from every angle, dream up every scenario, and search for every solution.

I made a decision several years ago now. It was the right decision even though it seems that everything went the wrong way afterward. It was the right thing to do.

Because of that decision I have been forced to come face to face with many of my fears. Too many to mention here, but many of them. I am still facing some of them, and my mind is still working on them to find the solution, like a perpetual Rubix Cube.

"What times I am afraid I will trust in thee," I repeat that over and over in my life. Somehow, even in the midst of my bungling, things have turned out okay so far.

A few weeks back I went with my cousin and a friend of hers to Six Flags. Before we even left for the day I made it clear I wasn't riding anything scary. I have literally had a panic attack when waiting in line for a big roller coaster. My cousin didn't ever agree to that.

Before we left the park that day she had talked me into riding Superman. This coaster actually has you suspended face down to simulate flying. I don't know what I was thinking.

We waited in line and I mentally gave myself a pep-talk. When it was finally our turn and I was strapped in I repented of every sin I have ever done, just in case.

Next thing I know we are making our way up the first hill, facing the ground.

And, off we went. I screamed so much my throat hurt when we got off. She laughed so much hers hurt.

And, all I could think was I want to do that again.

All these years I have lived my life safely. Never taking any chances, never taking any risks, never learning who I really was.

I have found out that instead of someone cowering in the face of life, I am pretty fearless as I face my life.

So, in a couple of weeks we are going back to Six Flags. And, I am thinking of tackling Goliath on this trip. Seems kinda fitting, don't you think??