Let God Speak!

I was reading 2 Samuel 7:2-17 this past week and noticed something kind of interesting. It's a passage of assumption.

David calls in Nathan the prophet and basically says, "Hey I want to build God a temple." Nathan, knowing that God has blessed, anointed and appointed David, said to the king, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the LORD is with you." (2 Samuel 7:3)

Now this is where the assumption plays in. Nathan did not consult God. The rest of this passage is God telling Nathan, "Did I ask for this? I could have spoken this request a long time ago." God then goes on to instruct Nathan what he should tell David re. the temple. In a nutshell, "Solomon will build it not you!"

This whole section got me wondering.....do we consult God enough? When planning ministry items do we go before the throne to get God's take on things? Sadly not always. It's easy to assume a ministry that is blessed, anointed and appointed is doing God's will in seemingly good things. However we can't just assume God wants us to do what we want to do for Him!

Assumption does not supersede His direction. I know I need to seek Him before launching out into new ministry. This section was a good reminder for me.


The Silence was Deafening!

It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life!

Spending one day without media wasn't the toughest part actually. I did not miss the tv, radio, cell phone or computer. That part was fairly easy. I actually found that I had more free time without the "conveniences" that help us to have more free time! I was able to spend more time with the Father!

The hard part was my choice not to talk that day either as I spent the day listening. My desire to fill the silence with speech was almost unbearable at some points. I wanted to pray requests at times instead of listening for the Father. That was the hard part. Laying aside my agenda.

I did find that I spent more time in the Word than I have in a long, long time. I realized how much I missed reading the Word for pleasure. I also found the desire to pray more on a daily basis was greatly increased.

My verse for the day was 1 Corinthians 2:2 which says, "I am determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified." I tried to keep that in mind throughout the day.

So would I do this again? I honestly don't know. I am awed by the time I had with the Father and came away more settled than I expected. However if I did this again I would probably talk out loud, to the Lord at least....which means I'd listen less probably....so that would kill the reason for doing it....

My heart says yes, my mind says no....I'll have to listen to what God says.....

Over the coming days...weeks...I will be sharing some of what I felt the Lord spoke to me during this time. However first I want to continue sifting through it in prayer...


What am I afraid of?

Fear......it is so insidious. It's like a snake slowly wrapping around your leg....crawling ever so slowly towards your face, ready to strike at the slightest flinch...

I struggle with fear. Not everyday. Not anymore. I used to live in fear. As a child I was afraid of the dark. As a teen I was afraid of rejection. As an adult my struggles have been with the fear of death.

I've written a few times about fear: Faith or Fear and Fear Not are just two of my previous posts on the topic. The topic pops up from time to time. I wish it would stop. I don't let it control my life. It doesn't come up on a daily basis. However, from time to time, like the old game wack-a-mole, fear pops it's nasty head up.

I still hold to the line that fear is more a lack of faith than anything else. Especially when I see this verse I came across today: Hebrews 13:6 So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid. What can mortals do to me?"

Now either God is a liar......or I have nothing to be afraid of. God is my helper! We are told He will never leave us or forsake us. Not that bad things won't happen, bt that He won't abandon us.

So is God a liar? No.

I find that when I hit the fear wall though I need to step back and pray. I know the truth....and there is no better conveyor of that truth than the Word of God.

I know I need to put on the full Armor of God! Particularly the shield of Faith and the Sword of the Spirit. Face it we are in a war and the enemy does not want ground taken for God. We should be prepared for the battle. So let's get our armor on. Let's keep it on and fight together.

If you are struggling I want to pray for you. Just email me your request. We are in this battle together!


The Sound of Silence

Can you imagine a day unplugged from the world?

I am going to attempt this very thing this coming Monday. No email, radio, tv or cell phone. No blogging, Facebook and no talking period.

I covet your prayers this week. I have been feeling the Lord nudge me on this for some time now and I have not acted on it. Now it is almost overwhelming.....I feel the Lord calling me to a day of complete silence (from my end), reflecting on Him, listening for Him...not in petition but just in contemplation and silence. Two verses I am thinking on right now are:

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days long ago. I reflect on all that you have done. I carefully consider what your hands have made.

Psalm 119:15 I want to reflect on your guiding principles and study your ways.

I realized this week I am always bustling about and when I pray it is times of request. I know that I need to take some time to listen. My family is on board and think I should give it a run ....so pray for me.......

I want to know Him more. I want to listen....truly listen....

Anyone else up for the challenge?


20 Questions

My Daughter found this little hand held game this week at the Salvation Army. Called 20 questions the game has built in, adaptive artificial intelligence. The more you play the more the game learns. We've been throwing some tough ones at the game and within 20 questions it is getting 80% of our items right. You let the computer know if you are thinking of an animal, vegetable or mineral and it goes from there.

So this game got me thinking about God....

God doesn't need 20 questions to know what is going on in our life! Luke 16:15 says that God knows what's in our hearts. There are actually numerous Scriptures which talk about how God knows us, knows our hearts, etc.

So why do we try to hide things from Him? I remember a man in Croatia, we had a whole conversation about being honest with God. This man was afraid to admit he felt burned out at times. He never wanted to say he got angry with God. He would try to hide/deny these feelings? Why?

God already knows. We don't have to play games with God. He knows if we are angry, frustrated, happy, etc! Look at the Psalms. At least half the Psalms are laments, telling God how the psalmists felt in a situation, about life, etc. Look at Ecclesiastes, Job, etc.

God knows our hearts...let's be honest with Him, talking to Him about our thoughts, feelings, life, etc. He's listening. Share your heart.



I have a new favorite author:

Phillip Yancey

I first discovered Yancey on the mission field. I was given a copy of his book What's So Amazing About Grace? and it challenged, provoked and even angered me. Then I went back and read it last year and saw how much truth there really was in it.

About 4 months ago I picked up The Jesus I Never Knew and it hit me right where I was at.

Now I am reading The Bible Jesus Read.....

Proverbs 27:17 says, "Iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another." God has been using Yancey's writings to sharpen me of late. I would encourage you to check him out for yourself.


My God is So Big!

I chatted with a lady today who had some similar experiences to mine in her early Christian walk. We were chatting about the church and how it responds to adversity. I shared how soon after we became Christians my family hit a financial speed bump and over a period of time lost nearly everything. Being new Christians we were told by many in the church we had somehow sinned and God we punishing us. This lady expressed being told the same thing when adversity hit her life.

Sad isn't it?

I came across a question a while back which burned itself into my mind. What happens when God is bigger than your religion?

It seems to often when bad things happen Christians immediately think someone sinned. Our "religion" tells us all bad things are due to sin. However it just ain't so. I remember the Scripture where Jesus was confronted with a sick man and was asked who sinned, the man or his family? (John 9:2)

I also remember Job...whom God pointed out as righteous and told Satan he was allowed to mess with.

I look constantly in the Scriptures for those apostles who had a cushy, easy life. Still looking. Seems hardship was a given. Does this mean God can't rescue, restore, bless? Absolutely not. God can and does these things. It does mean though that sometimes our religion tells us God only blesses and only prospers and only heals....what happens when He doesn't? Does He stop being God? I believe we try to box God into our comfortable way of thinking about Him. However God is bigger than our religion. He does things the Baptists, Pentecostals, Anglicans, etc... can't justify or handle. He's God. When confronted with something our "religion" can't explain, we need to turn to the Word and look for God to answer it.

If we don't find the answers we are looking for right away, we will find within God's word, plenty of evidence about His character, to remind us that He is always good and that His thoughts are not ours. We will also find there words to challenge us: "Be joyful always..." "Do not be anxious about anything..." "Perfect love casts out fear...," and so many others.

Dig into the Word and let God blow your mind. He is awesome. He is big! He is Holy!


Color Outside the Lines - Just A Thought #30

I used to love coloring when I was a kid. It was fun to spread out on the floor, choose a picture and start filling it in with color. I always tried to stay inside the lines. I can't remember now who told me this was what should be done but I was very particular to follow the "rules" and stay in the lines.

Occasionally I would meet another kid who never even tried. They just threw color on the picture in a reasonably close proximity to the edge and if they went outside the line they could care less. One child told me they were having fun and lines didn't matter. I thought they were strange.

Strange, odd, peculiar. These are words people tend to use a lot when things aren't going the way we planned or are outside our normal way of doing things. It was also the way Jesus operated. Jesus did not do things the normal way. He totally colored outside the lines. He was not what people expected a Savior to be. He did not come with a sword to make war with Rome. He came in humility and died a King! Even in death he colored outside the lines when He did not stay dead but won the victory through resurrection!

The Bible also tells us we are a peculiar people. Titus 2:14 and 1 Peter 2:9 are just 2 such verses. What does it look like to be a peculiar person today? That is between you and the Lord ultimately. However, I do think it means we are not to conform to the standards of the world. People should look at us and see Christ. They should see a difference. Not in our "protests" but in the way we love! It is too easy for Christians today to say what they are against. However, when we love one another, when the Baptist loves the charismatic, loves the Methodist, loves the church of Christ, people will notice a difference.

It is time to be peculiar. To show we are His children by our love!

Be different. Color outside the lines!