Saturday, November 21, 2009

Please share the ways you L.I.S.T.E.N. to God

Hello everyone,

I am beginning to write Bible study #3 in the the 4 Part "Listening Heart" Bible series. Book number three is "Hearts Who Listen for the Master Physician's Voice: Experiencing the Healing Power of Jesus. I would love for you to share with me the ways you listen to God. Listening to the God's magnificent voice brings healing. I would love to use your stories in my recent study. Thank you very much.

Always Listen,


Thursday, November 19, 2009

To Listen Means You . . .

When thinking about what listening to God means to me, an acrostic came to mind. To listen to God means that I:

L ive loved
I ncrease Knowledge of God
S tay Surrendered to God
T rust God
E radicate Sin
N urture Balance
Living loved is one of the most important things we do as Christians and always includes accepting Jesus' work on the cross. If we don't receive the great love he has for us daily we are unable to obey the two greatest commandments--to love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, with all of your mind, and with all of your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:29-31). Jesus followed these commands with the statement, "All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commands." In others words, if we live loved and allow our love for God and others to permeate all that we do, things will work out for our ultimate good (see Romans 8:28 for this promise).
Increasing our knowledge does not mean we have a goal to expand our head knowledge. By increasing our knowledge, I mean to stay in the Bible continually. When we regularly spend time alone with God in his word, our listening skills are honed naturally. Book smarts are but a by-product of our time spent alone with God. The real benefit comes from the fact that the more we know about God, the more our faith grows.
Staying surrendered to God takes the most effort on our part. The sin nature that lives in us demands to be in charge. In turn, complete surrender requires a conscious decision (sometimes moment by moment) to believe God's promises and take him at his word.
Trusting God. Those two little words are a loaded statement. Talk about things that make you go, "Hmmmm." Every difficulty I face I hear God whispering in my ear, "Trust me." Will I trust God with my problems? With my life? Or will I stubbornly march on attempting to fix my kids, my alcoholic brother, my health, and so forth in my own power? Oh Lord, save me from myself. Trusting you is the only way to make it through life challenges sane.

Eradicate Sin. I like this word eradicate. It means: to tear out by the roots, uproot; to get rid of; wipe out; destroy. After many years of listening, I have learned I must get to the root of sin before I can tear it out. Even though new roots of sin grow and will continue to grow until I get to heaven and receive my new body, I destroy them as they pop up with serious prayer while asking God questions like: "Why do I do the crazy things I do?" "Why do I react to ____ (insert person or thing here) in that way?" "Why do I repeat the same actions when I know it hurts me?" God's answers bring healing as each sin is eradicated.

Nurture Balance. A state of equilibrium, balance is the result of the power and ability to decide. As a woman, I struggle with the ability to decide which causes my spiritual and emotional equilibrium to get out of whack. My most effective way back to the center comes when I meditate on 2 Corinthians 10:9. When I take the time and effort to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ I nurture balance. For instance, when I call myself stupid when I fail, I correct myself by remembering, "To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy-to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen" (Jude 24-25).

Jude 24-25 says it all, doesn't it? May we continue to L-I-S-T-E-N to God and receive all that he has in store for us. Amen.

Photo by ninakupenda81 courtesy of

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New Beginnings

I just finished one of the most incredible and memorable weekends ever. My family and friends gathered for the memorial of my father and to celebrate the new life in my niece, Shanna, for a baby shower. A celebration of a life lived and a life yet to be lived stirs a range of emotions from deep sadness to great joy. These last few days held lots of tears and even more laughs as we fellowshipped together and shared life's celebrations.

As I prepared the devotional to dedicate my new grandniece, Olivia, I thought of one of my favorite praying mamas in the Bible, Hannah. She came to mind first because she struggled with infertility, just like Shanna did. They both prayed and prayed for little ones of their own. God answered their prayers. And in Shanna's case, the LORD "remembered her (1 Samuel 1:19)" through the modern marvel of invitro fertilization.

The times in which Hannah lived are much like our own today, when everyone does as they see fit. During the period of the Judges, the Israelites were in dire straits because they lacked leadership. The priesthood was defiled, and in those days the word of the LORD was rare; there was no sustained prophetic message from the Lord (1 Samuel 3:1), and the law of Moses was being ignored throughout the land. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

As he often did in Israel's history, God began to solve the problem by sending a baby. Babies are God's announcement that he knows the need, cares about his people, and is at work on their behalf. (Praise the LORD!) The arrival of a baby ushers in new life and a new beginning. Babies are sign posts to the future, and their conception and birth is a miracle only God can do, even if it's done in a petri dish.

To make the event seem even greater, God sometimes selects barren women to be the mothers, as when he sent Isaac to Sarah, Jacob and Esau to Rebekah, Joseph to Rachel, and Olivia to Shanna. It's an awesome fact that humanly speaking, the future of our nation, rests with the prayers of Godly women. And yet when you think about it, how much in history depends on the prayers of suffering and sacrificing people, especially mothers.

Let's pray together for new beginnings while focusing on our children, in whom our future rests, asking God to intervene and then allow him to work in our lives by surrendering all to him. Our future is secure in His strong hands. Amen!