CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?

Remember that TV ad a few years ago when the person would move different places trying to get reception on his cell phone?

I wonder if God thinks that about us sometimes!

How do YOU hear from God?

Maybe you feel God really doesn’t talk to you……”He doesn’t care about me….He has only the major stuff in the world to concern Himself with.”

Well……do YOU talk to Him?

Our Father God is all knowing, all seeing, and He is everywhere!   He will listen to you as you speak to Him through His Son Jesus.

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…..”  I Timothy 2:5

So, to have a relationship with your Creator you must talk to Him….then LISTEN.

The listening part is the most difficult for all of us humans.  I say “Dear God, give me a written sign, in English please!!!”

If you need an answer from God my advise is to seek out the answer in the Bible, meditate on it, pray about it, ask for wisdom, and a peace will come into your inner-most being with the answer.  Sometimes the answer is not what we want to hear.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

What I’ve noticed as I get older is that looking back on events in my life I can truly say….”Oh!  That’s why that worked out that way!  I see it all clearly now.”

Sometimes it’s a process (one of my least favorite words!) that doesn’t happen quickly.   And wrong choices I’ve made and repented for, God, in love, has turned it around for my good.!!!

Beloved, TRUST GOD.  He sees, He hears, He answers the best way for each one of us in His time.

LISTEN…….HE IS SPEAKING TO YOU.

CAN YOU HEAR HIM NOW???

Ear

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God is in the Details

There are some crazy stories in the Bible, aren’t there?

If you grew up in church like me, you were puzzled about many of them. One in particular I remember was found in 2 Kings chapter 6 about an ax head breaking off the handle and sinking to the bottom of the river. It was borrowed, which made no hope of retrieval even worse, I suppose. But when the man who lost the ax head went to the prophet Elisha and told him about it…

The man of God asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed Elisha the place, Elisha cut off a piece of wood. He threw it into the water at that place and made the ax head float. Elisha said, “Pick it up.” The disciple reached for it and picked it up. (2 Kings 6:6-7)

End of story.

Cue my mother, Gladys. Great preacher that she was, and confused child that I was, I have a beautiful understanding of this passage these days. It wasn’t because of a sermon she preached, but a real life incident where God showed himself to be the same God today as back in the days of the great Kings of Israel. Many, many years of hearing the story told over and over again has solidified my belief that God cares about the details of our lives.

I remember her being so excited about planning a series of outdoor meetings one summer in the church parking lot, calling it “Brush Arbor Days.” This was in the early 1970’s – the beginning years of the Jesus Movement, and since we were in Southern California and had access to these things, she booked a few bands out of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, along with some gospel singers from Los Angeles, set up a stage and chairs in the church parking lot, and planned several nights of summer revival for the community.

As you can imagine, this involved needing a lot of sound equipment our little church didn’t own, so it was borrowed. One night, as things were being set up, the crew noticed a box of microphones missing. Without missing a beat, my mama recalled the scripture in 2 Kings 6 where God floated a borrowed ax head and got a group together to begin praying to float the ax head. They prayed fervently for those stolen microphones to float back to our little church before it was time to return them, or have to pay a big price. And you know what? That box was left at the church steps with an “I’m sorry” note. I can only imagine the story from the other side – how did the thief know that box must be returned?

For the rest of my life, I have remembered this story about the time God floated the microphones. God cares about the details.

Just last week a friend sent me a text asking me to pray for her daughter whose laptop had been stolen at school. Her request was that her daughter would learn through this experience how God works in the details of our lives. As I prayed for this situation, my mind returned to those microphones so many years ago, and the story in the Bible about the ax head floating to the top of the river.

And you know what? God floated that laptop. He cares about the details.

 

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Timing Is Everything

I have been trying to write something for today for a while…but I have to be honest. It just wasn’t happening.

I’ve had a rough few weeks, as I found out my best buddy, my sweet pup Lacey had cancer. I spent every moment with her as we enjoyed our last couple of weeks together – and then the time came to let her go. I just haven’t been able to focus enough to write about that, or anything else for that matter.

So, here I am. Sitting in a hotel room in Dallas, Texas at a convention for my new business. Still dazed by the trauma of my loss.

BUT, as my cousin Nikki (who is here along with me and my Aunt Tami too!) reminded me today…God’s timing and attention to detail is truly remarkable.

See, I almost had to cancel this trip that would allow me to see my sweet family and friends from the West Coast and allow me to learn more about growing my business. I was planning to do that to spend that precious time with my little Lacey.

BUT GOD, in His infinite wisdom (as my dear Mother Karen reminded me yesterday), allowed me to be free to make this journey. Plus, He allowed me to have a week to grieve. He gave me a sweet last two weeks with her – but then He gave me time to pull it together and get to Dallas. To get a change of scenery and ENJOY the company of my family and friends.

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How kind our God is to us – even amidst our trials – He is there.

Life will always ebb and flow with the good and the bad – but, if we truly look, we will notice God’s grace and blessing in the details of it all. For that, I am thankful.

Here I am in the midst of a trial – but able to be surrounded by people who care for me and love me through it.

His timing is truly superior to ours – even when we don’t see it right away. I am learning to trust God’s timing, and to have faith that He is the one ordering my steps.

Do you trust Him with His timing in your life?

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OK, America.

I am learning patience and it’s not easy. I have to remind myself daily to trust in the one who is bigger than me, the one who holds my life, and the one who knows what is best for me.

I was visiting my cousin Kristin in North Carolina and we were joking around and being our silly selves when she wanted something from me and said, “But I want it NOW!” And I responded, “OK, America.” She started cracking up, because she realized how true that statement was.

We have the “I want it NOW” mentality. We live in a culture that wants everything and wants it NOW. We don’t want to wait for anything.

What is patience anyway? If it’s something I want, why can’t I have it now?

 

Having patience is a journey. We learn about ourselves, about others, and about God in the process. If we had everything handed to us when we wanted it without having to work or wait, we wouldn’t learn a single thing! We wouldn’t grow in character. We wouldn’t be stronger. We wouldn’t be wiser.

 

Even though patience is really hard (believe me I know!), take it as a learning experience and see how you can grow from it. And know that God has a reason for everything. We may not see it now, but God is holding something from you in this moment for a reason, and in the end it will be better than you could ever dream or imagine.

“Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” 

Proverbs 14:29

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God is in Control

I don’t know what I would do without God in my life. Life is tough and throws curve balls at us, but life would be much harder if God wasn’t in it.

 

Without God, I would not be following my passions and having him pave the way.

Without God, I would not be the joyful person I am today!

Without God, I would be worrying about the day to day.

Without God, I would be stressed about my future.

 

I can think of many times I planned something and it didn’t end up happening. I wanted to get my EMT and move to Tahoe to be ski patrol. I wanted to go grad school to get my doctorate in Physical Therapy. I have planned to do many things that have not worked out, but God ends up making them even better. Instead of moving to Tahoe, I lived in San Diego and met amazing, life-long friends. Instead of going to grad school, I traveled to 11 different countries.

God has better plans for us then we have for ourselves, we just have to give him complete control of our lives and be willing to say YES to what he wants us to do.

Life without God is hard. Life with God is so much easier. I don’t know where or who I would be today without Jesus. I would probably be super stressed, not know where to go in life, and I wouldn’t be living a life of abundance.

Giving God control and trusting him is something we must do daily, hourly, every second. We have to choose Jesus over wanting to have control of our lives. If you think about it, there is not much you can control so why not have someone who is greater than anything in all the earth be in control? Let go and let God take over.

 

God knows what he is doing…Do you trust him enough to give him complete control of your life?

 

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8:6

 

“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

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(This picture reminds me of joy and celebration in living a life with Jesus. This was taken after winning a volleyball game on the beach in Nicaragua.)

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UGLY JUNK

For eight months I was blessed to live in an apartment on one of the northernmost beaches of Massachusetts. I watched the Atlantic Ocean change every day. The heartbeat of the sea was sometimes calm with small waves lapping against the sand like a lake. Sometimes those waves were angry and frantic, especially during the epic storm named “Sandy.” Even the color of the sea changed from day to day depending on the sky of blue, grey, or spotted with white puffy clouds.

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Although I was safe in my shelter watching those violent storms, I certainly recognized the power of the waves as they pounded the shore, and I was constantly thankful for God’s laws in commanding the waves to keep a boundary, lest they overtake the earth! (Job 38:8-11)

While walking along the beach after the most violent of storms, I was disgusted at the “garbage” that was regurgitated from the turbulent sea. It is one thing to know that we, as humans, have violated our oceans with waste, but also to realize some of the items “thrown up” were from shipwrecks where lives were lost.

On that day of seeing and smelling “garbage” I also found beautiful pieces of sea glass, tossed to smooth perfection.

What a contrast, I thought, and so like our lives.

In our life experiences we suppress years of “ugly junk” deep in our innermost being. When the ”junk” is stirred up it comes out in anger, sadness and depression. Like those one time broken pieces of glass, jagged and ugly, we are confronted with the sharp edges of our lives. We can either push the sharp edges back down until the pain becomes unbearable, or we can allow Almighty God to gently toss and tumble the hurts until those experiences are formed into something beautiful. It may take many years, but the process is a release of control…yes, an absolute giving up of those hurts to the Master to knock off the sharp, rough edges and form a one-of-a-kind, beautiful person, who is an example of trust and faith in God.

The sea glass was once a bottle, dish, or maybe a sugar bowl that was useful, but now it is a broken shard that has been refined into a beautiful, colorful, smooth piece that can be made into elegant jewelry or some other art form that pleases the eye!

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Dear Lord, help us to allow your clean up of the “ugly junk” in our lives and give it over to you to make something lastingly beautiful and useful out of our brokenness. We want to be beautiful on the inside as well as outside so that others will see Your beauty shining through us. Thank you, Lord, that you care enough to take us through the storms of life. Amen.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”

A Repost from October 2013 – because it is a good reminder from time to time!

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TO BE CHILDLIKE

Last Sunday I taught the sweetest little 1st and 2nd graders in Sunday School! This is the first time I have taught this age, and I loved it. Why? Because they come with no pretense….willing to learn about the Bible and God and Jesus. They are like sponges, soaking up the lesson about how Jesus loves and knows each one individually.

In the Gospels we learn that Jesus took time with the children, even though His disciples tried to keep them away. And, after the disciples were arguing among themselves as to who would be the greatest in God’s Kingdom, Jesus used one of the children close by and said an amazing thing.

Mark 9:36-37 “He took a little child and had him stand among them. Taking him in His arms, he said to them, Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the One who sent me.”

And in Mark 10:14 Jesus said to his disciples, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Then He took the children in his arms, put His hands on them and blessed them.

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Wow! Those are strong words!!! You know, when we “grow up, and are mature” we don’t want to be childish……..but how about being childlike? Accepting God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in a childlike attitude is simple faith. We become so “right” in our ideas of Who God is and what His Word says according to our interpretation that we forget….
there is no way to figure God out!!! We must trust and believe Him in simple childlike faith.

Being with those children last Sunday morning reminded me that to be childlike, we are most like how God would want us to be. He wants us to be appreciative, innocent, and open to what comes next. He wants us to experience Him without theological correctness, without emotional repression, and without self-consciousness. He wants us to be real, to be open to anything He may tell us, or call us to do, and to enjoy our relationship with Him in open communication. Just blurt out what’s bothering you….He knows your thoughts and intents of your heart anyway. And be sure to tell Him how much you love Him and how awesome He is!

What a freeing idea…..go for it. Allow yourself to become as a little child in your simple faith. It may seem silly….but actually, it is profound and life changing!!!

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God’s Timing is Perfect!

One of the great things about getting older is that your perspective on life changes. One major shift I am noticing in my own life is my perception of time. When you’re young you feel like everything needs to happen NOW and your patience is weak. Today’s Internet culture makes people feel that way as well. We seem to lack patience and many people won’t stick with something long enough to see the result they desire if it seems like it is taking too long to get there.

We want what we want, and we want it now.

I am learning, albeit slowly, that God’s timing is perfect. This is true for the major events in life as well as the details of the everyday. We will never fully understand His timing with some things while we are here on earth because He is infinite and we are here for a moment. However, if we pay attention, we will notice when His timing is right even when it differs from our expectations. He knew every second of our lives before He put time in motion.

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Have you ever been late getting somewhere and then on the way driving you see a terrible car accident? Maybe if you had left at the “right time” you would have been the one in that accident. Perhaps this was God’s way of protecting you.

Do you ever think about what you thought you’d be doing at this stage in life? Maybe you have been working toward a goal that you have not yet accomplished. Don’t worry. Perhaps God is still working to prepare you for what you will face once that goal is reached. Or maybe He is guiding you toward something better than you imagined for yourself.

Stay the course. Keep working. Keep hoping. Keep believing.

A couple weeks ago I was on a great trip to visit my family on the West Coast. My Aunt Tami and I took a road trip from L.A. to Portland, Oregon. It was great fun!

On the second day of our trip we got going later in the morning than we had planned, and then we spent a lot more time site-seeing than planned. We realized we would never make it into Oregon in time to get a hotel for the night and wondered how this may affect the rest of our trip and our arrival time at our cousin’s house the next evening.

The weather was foggy and rainy as we passed through the Redwoods on the way to the coast. Just as we broke out of the forest and saw the beach, there was the sun! We had two perfect hours of beautiful sun and no fog as we enjoyed that beach. Had we been “on time” we never would have been there at that moment! We expected a gorgeous sunset because of all the clouds, but just as the sun was setting a heavy fog came in and we could no longer see anything! We got in the car and found a little hotel. Turns out we were just in time to get to a restaurant to eat in the tiny town and had we stayed for the sunset we would have had to skip dinner. We had already traveled about nine hours without a meal!

The rest of the trip followed suit. Many things happened because our “planned timing” was off. Things that we would have missed if we had been on our own timing.

This example is only meant to remind us that God cares about the little things. Even when we are on vacation enjoying the beauty He created. Because Tami and I chose to see that timing as a gift, it was significant. What joy we shared as we gathered driftwood, dug our toes into the beautiful black sand and took photos of the beauty that surrounded us. We knew if we had passed through earlier or later in the thick fog we would not have even noticed that we were passing by that beautiful place.

There are trials in life that don’t make sense to us now, but remember that your life and all it’s troubles are in God’s hands. An unexpected death of a loved one. Cancer in a friend who lives a clean and healthy lifestyle. The loss of a great job. God cares for us always during those times. He has a plan and we can be confident that if we love Him with all our heart and soul and love our neighbors as ourselves, He will always carry us and see us through.

If God cares for us in the timing of simple pleasures in life, then we can be sure He cares for us in the timing of major life events as well.

Take heart in the midst of your trials. God’s got this.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.  2 Peter 3:8-9

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My Heavenly Father Watches Over Me

Today, sitting outside on our front porch, I was captivated by two little birds building a nest under our eaves.

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They sang beautifully as they worked, coming back with some small twig for their nest. Nothing spectacular, just a small effort. Yet it brought out a beautiful song of Praise.

There are so many little birds you would not think they would gain the Heavenly Father’s attention, yet Jesus said NOT ONE of them falls to the ground but what the Heavenly Father sees it – making each one significant in His eyes.

I began to sing, “My Heavenly Father watches over me. Though billows roll, He keeps my soul, My Heavenly Father watches over me.”

Is God interested in insignificant me? Yes. He is.

He sees us when the billows (a large undulating mass of something, typically cloud, smoke, or steam) of life rage around us, and He keeps us. We are not insignificant to our Heavenly Father.

Written by Gladys 3/30/04

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Learning to Trust God in Every Circumstance

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Yesterday a retired lady in her late 60’s came to visit me. She talked about everything she was going through.  She had been a woman always in control, but now God was facing her with learning to trust Him.

So… TRUST.

One of the most beautiful words in our Christian vocabulary is “Trust.”  We use it in relation to our fellow man.  We use it in relation to our possessions.  We use it in relation to our faith in Jesus Christ.  Webster defines the word as meaning:  “a firm belief in the honesty and reliability of another.”

In the Gospels we read of the time when mothers brought their young children to Jesus to bless.  The disciples were agitated by this time consuming event.  But Jesus told them to let the little children come.  And He further said that unless we all became as little children we could not enter the Kingdom of God. (Mark 10:13-14)

What is the principal here?  Just simple trust.

Children have an innate trust in the adults of their life unless that trust has been marred by cruel actions.

My prayer is, “Lord, help me to trust You in everything, no matter what the circumstances.” Getting the Word into your mind and spirit will help.  With God nothing is impossible.  He has never failed.

Sure cuts down on the worry!

(This was written by Gladys on April 7, 2004)

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