Questioning the Voice of God

Do you ever question the voice of God? Not question God Himself, but question whether or not what you are hearing is from the Lord.

Many new Christians struggle with this. How do I know if it’s God? they’ll ask us. We explain that still, small voice. We give them the visualization of sheep mingling together but knowing which shepherd to follow when the command is given. We tell them to spend time talking with Him.

Just as baby learns to recognize his mother’s voice and grow to trust her to meet his needs, we learn to rely on the Lord early on in our Christian walk. In time, we can easily discern the Lord’s voice and we know when something is of Him and when it’s not.

So the day Molly* asked me if she will always doubt when she hears the Lord, I confidently told her no. She would grow and she would hear Him plainly.

And then I paused.

Do I always hear what He has to say? 

The answer was no.

But it wasn’t because I didn’t know His voice. It was because I didn’t always WANT to hear.

It reminded me of a day at the pool. I was lying on a raft reading a book with only one other person there. A couple of families came in with very noisy children so I put in my earplugs. (I mean, I normally love the sound of children squealing and playing…just not in the last few chapters of a mystery thriller.) I looped my heels into the pool edge wall away from everyone and was completely engrossed in my novel. A couple of hours later, about two seconds after I read the last page, I took out my earplugs and looked around.

There must have been 60 people in and around the pool!

I was so into my book that I hadn’t noticed or heard anything going on around me.

I was shocked! How can I have been out in the open and still oblivious to it all?

Simple. I didn’t want to hear anything. I wanted my alone time without distractions so I made sure that would happen by putting in the earplugs.

That’s what we do with the Lord sometimes.

We want to do our own thing and we don’t want to hear what He has to say to us. We put in our spiritual earplugs and then pretend that we can’t figure out what God is trying to say or do in our lives.

Get out of the pool, look around, and open your eyes and ears. Now is NOT the time to be flailing around in the deep end.

I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints…Psalm 85:8

 

Living YOUR Best Life

You see it on magazine covers and book jackets everywhere: How to Live Your BEST Life with the emphasis on BEST. It makes sense; after all, no one signed up for a mediocre, less-than-fulfilling life. You don’t say “I guess” in place of “I do” or flip that tassel over after four years of studying in a field you’re disinterested in.

But what if we shift the focus to YOUR? Living YOUR best life?

I’m not talking about living vicariously through your children or suppressing your needs to fulfill a spouse. (Though neither of those is healthy either!)

I’m talking about holding your life up to a mirror and seeing what God has for YOU.

It’s hard not to be influenced by (or a little envious of) the lives we see on television and in magazines. Kardashians who spend more on birthday parties than some families make in a decade. “Real” Housewives whose closets resemble small department stores. Chrisleys, Braxtons, Busbys…

Though I’m probably the only person who could be envious of a woman whose second pregnancy resulted in quintuplets!

There are celebrities who never have to clean, cook, or shop. That may sound like a dream to an overworked, over-stressed single mom. There are families of ten crowded into two-bedroom apartments who dream of living in one of the mega-mansions from the latest magazine spread.

But while we are envying, and wishing, and dreaming, we are missing out on what God has laid right in front of us.

The family. The friends. The opportunities.

After taking stock of YOUR life, without any comparisons to the Bravolebrities or even the neighbors, look at what you have to be grateful for.

And then look at what can be changed….

Not many friends? Look around in your community for shared interest groups. During this Covid crisis and quarantine, I’ve reconnected with so many wonderful friends I’d lost touch with. That was a true blessing in disguise.

Lost your job or stuck in a rut? Pray for wisdom and look for new opportunities.

God wants to bless you!

But you have to be ready to receive what He has for YOU and not spend your time comparing it to everyone else around you.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11

 

 

 

 

COVID-19 is merely the Braxton-Hicks of the End Times

It’s hard not to look around the world today and wonder if we are living in the end times. In fact, ever since Jesus rose from the dead, people have anticipated His return.

There have been signs and prophecies all along.

I distinctly remember people certain He’d return in 1999. And again, on 11-11-11.

But now, more than ever, people are certain His return is merely months, if not days, away.

Surely it can’t get worse, can it?

Sadly, the answer is yes.

What people tend to forget, with the distractions of protests and a pandemic, is that this isn’t a war between Democrats and Republicans. Or black vs. white. Or the President vs. WHO.

This war is between God and Satan and the Winner has already been declared. (It’s God, in case you were wondering.) But Satan is going to take as many people down as he can first. And it’s the innocent ones in the middle with the most to lose.

Many Christians are either fighting it out online or cowering in fear. Satanists and those who blatantly, knowingly reject Christ are gathering party supplies for their imagined big blow-out in hell. (They are in for a rude awakening. An eternal awakening in which it will be too late to repent.)

And then there are those stuck in the middle.

Those who don’t know Christ but want to. Those who’ve turned away. Those with questions. Those whose hurts are so great they need to be set free. Those whose guilt makes them feel unworthy of the Cross.

Those are the ones we should be reaching out to, helping, setting free, sharing the Gospel…

Instead we are taking a stand with our mouths (or keyboards) fighting with people who also sit behind screens, and those in the middle fall into the chasm below. That chasm doesn’t go up, you know?

We see that we are in the end times. Whether this will last months, years, decades, or more remains to be seen. But what is obvious is that we are headed there.

Any woman who has ever gone through labor can tell you of the intense pains that accompany it. But before she reaches that stage, she often goes through what’s known as Braxton-Hicks contractions. They feel like labor pains and often send you rushing to the ER, only to be sent home and told to relax, it’s still not time. Or that they are only mild contractions. Never tell a pregnant woman her contractions are mild!

Which is where we are now. In the Braxton-Hicks of the end times. And it doesn’t feel mild. It feels intense.

But it will get worse, much worse.

That’s why the Lord reminds us that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12) This is a spiritual war.

Stop getting offended over cartoons and syrup and flags. Change them, don’t change them….I honestly don’t care. I get the arguments on both sides. But while you’re losing your peace (and joy…and sleep…) over these things that will not matter in the end, I’m focused on:

Jake* whose grief over losing a child has choked the life out of him

and

Stacy* who relapsed during the quarantine because she didn’t have the support she needed

and

Linda* who discovered through a Facebook group that people DID care and God HAS heard her prayers

and

Shawn* who has started thinking maybe there is a God after all

and

Tim and Caroline* whose baby has to have another surgery, a year sooner than planned

and

Joey* whose brother died suddenly last week

and

Shannon* a complete stranger who read my blog and started asking questions…

*all names are changed

 

I’m not even getting out of my house that much more than I did during quarantine but I asked the Lord to send people who needed ministering to and He has. I keep my eyes open and my heart pure when I do get out so that I may see the needs around me. That’s impossible to do if you are caught up in Facebook wars or family disagreements or even just unrest in your own heart. I know because I lost a lot of time during the quarantine myself. I WANTED to pull out of my funk; I just couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. At first.

But then He threw water on the fleshly fire I had burning inside over trivial matters that didn’t matter. And He rekindled that spiritual fire to serve Him. And there’s just no room left for anything that doesn’t have eternal consequences.

Keep your eyes on Him.

Keep your heart on others.