Category Archives: God

Finding the Balance: Listening and Speaking

Listen and hear my voice; Listen carefully and hear my words.
‭‭ISAIAH‬ ‭28:23‬

Someone once told me that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason.  Yet, listening is something that is difficult to do.  Is it because we are so selfishly caught up in ourselves or maybe it’s because we want someone’s attention?  Could it be because we want someone to care or understand our perspective?  Is it possible that we are lonely and need human connections, or could it be that we have only been speaking Mickey Mouse and Big Bird to children and we are just excited to converse with another adult?  Is it possible that there is no one at home to listen or could it be that we have short-term memory problems and we are afraid we will forget what we need to say until a time when it’s too late?  Maybe we just need to be heard and feel valued.

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True listening requires taking control over our thoughts and quieting our minds.  This is very difficult for most of us in a world where we are constantly flooded with input and information.  That is one reason scientists tells us that meditation is good for our health. Over the years I have learned that it is when I’m the most quiet and I’m able to control my thoughts, I hear God.  I don’t sit around with my legs crossed mumbling mantras, but I do sit quietly and contemplate scripture.  More often than that I sit quietly and tell God how much I love Him.  It’s not an exercise for me, because I mean it.  However, it is very therapeutic.  I also try to take a short inventory of my blessings each morning.  When things seem the worst, it helps to realize how many blessings we have.

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Yet, listening goes beyond listening to God to the world around us.  This morning I noticed my grandson stuttering trying to get my attention.  He needed me to repeat what he was saying, so he would know I was listening.  He needed me to hear him.  This past week someone wrote an email about me not performing a task well.  At first I was a little irritated because there had been no conversations concerning the request, and I didn’t realize it was a task expected of me.  Then, I took time to listen.  I watched and listened for an hour, calming my thoughts so that I could understand.  I heard the need for validation.  I heard loneliness and the plea for recognition.  I heard knowledge and the request for respect.  I heard wonderful ideas, and inability to physically put dreams into action.  Then, I asked myself “am I all that different?”

We need to find a balance between speaking and listening.  No one should feel the stress that causes stuttering or frustration that results in inappropriate correspondence.  We all need to listen and we all need to be heard.  If you are having difficulties with a relationship, quiet your mind and listen.  Listen to God and listen to those around you.  I assure you your mind will better understand.  Some of the best listeners I know are also gossipers, or people who gather information to manipulate.  Take the high road and don’t fall into these traps.

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You need to be heard too. Find someone with whom you can share stories and confide. You can always talk to God, but we all need people who understand.  If you don’t have anyone, I’m here.

Have a glorious Saturday!  God bless you.

 

 

Spread the Love Friday – Questions from Followers

In the beginning [before all time] was the Word ( Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.
‭‭JOHN‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Happy Friday!  It’s a great day to spread God’s love.

Yesterday I received the following questions and comments from Nationofnope. “You seem to know something on the subject so will you please tell me what a god is? Bare with me here and be descriptive enough that a ten year old would understand. just a direct response to the question. It does seem like a simple question but you’d be surprised at how people tend to jump all around. Thanks.”

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Let me start my response by saying that I’m a student of Theology.  I stress the word student and pray that some of my followers will assist with this response.

What is a god?  Well, I guess “a god” could be most anything, any person, or any being that people look to for answers, fortune or origin.  Throughout time people have worshipped and made sacrifices to all kinds of things.  Recently, a man was in my office and told me that he believed alcohol or food could be considered a god.  That really put my diet into perspective.

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A more important question to me is who is “God”.  God, or Yahweh, is the most sovereign and supreme of all gods.   Yahweh, which means “I Am who I Am” and “He who Exists,” often has other names attached, all of which have different meanings.  By reading and studying the Bible, we learn that God is the creator of everything.  He is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient, which means He is everywhere, all powerful and all knowing.  God is not a person.  However, the Bible tells us that we were made in His image.   God is a righteous judge (Psalm 7:11).  God is loving, kind and faithful, but He has rules for living (Deuteronomy 7:9).  The American justice system is based on God’s laws.   I believe from conducting a thorough study of the Book of Jeremiah that God has feelings.  He loves us, but can also feel frustration and anger towards us.  He is also very forgiving.  His miracles are around us every day.  All you have to do is pay attention.

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Studying the Bible I have seen that no matter how many times God performed miracles in the Old Testament, the people kept making the same mistakes, worshipping idols, sacrificing babies and conforming to the ways of the world.  When I’m reading the Bible, I’m sometimes amazed at how the people slipped backward so many times after huge miracles.  So, God sent his son, Jesus, who was born of a virgin and came from the line of David.  When you study the Bible you can see references that go back and forth through time.  Jesus’s ministry lasted about three years.  Jesus was crucified, died, was buried and arose from the grave.  The grave was more of a tomb, but that is just a matter of semantics.  Through Jesus’s sacrifices we can be forgiven from our own wrongful acts.  All we have to do is believe, ask Jesus to be our Savior and repent of our sins.  Once we become Christians, we should strive to love God and our neighbors (other people) by helping others, and living a virtuous life.  I pray to God in Jesus’s name, because he is an advocate with God on our behalf.  While God is Jesus’s father, I refer to him as my Heavenly Father.

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We know God by studying our Bibles, praying, having faith, attending Church, going to Bible study classes, and enjoying fellowship with other Christians.  I have never seen God like we would see another person, but I see evidence of Him around me every day.  A big part of being a Christian is having faith, which is believing with your heart what your eyes can’t see.  I like the way TobyMac says it “you can’t see the wind, but it moves the leaves from the bottom to the top of the tallest trees”.  Knowing God is about feeling his love.

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This is an overly simplified description of God.  I hope everyone will jump into the discussion.  God bless you.

 

Remember Our Military

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Good morning!  Christmas is almost here. I’m busy cleaning house and preparing for Christmas Day celebrations.  I have one child and grandchild asleep in our Family Room and one child traveling in this morning.  My brother and sister who live in central Florida are traveling tomorrow.  I ask that you pray with me this morning for all the people traveling during the holidays.

Yesterday, a member of my blogging family, GP Cox
http://www.pacificparatrooper.com sent me the image below.

I’m a follower and a reader of his blog.  I especially enjoy the history aspect.  However, this image touched my heart.  I would dare to guess that every person who reads this blog has either a family member and/or a friend who serves or has served in the armed forces.  I have many people in my ancestry who have served.  I have retired uncles, and my father-in-law is also retired from the military.  I have cousins who have and are currently serving.  BFF23559-7BE3-4CCA-BDD7-E422EDCE6380 My son-in-law serves in the National Guard, and my nephew recently began serving in the army.  My supervisor at work is a retired Marine.  I have had several retired military people who have worked under my supervision.  Some of my closest friends have served in the military.  Stop for a minute and just think of all the people you know who have served, or are currently serving.  Maybe you are one them.

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Sometimes we take for granted what this means for us.  Sometimes we don’t stop to think about what these men and women are going through or have gone through, when we should.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve become desensitized by commercials that play repeatedly.  Some soldiers are away from home and family this Christmas.  Some parents have left their children behind to serve.  Some parents have said goodbye to their children, who decided to serve when they were barely old enough to leave home.  Some have already served and have memories of loved ones who were killed during service.  Some we see every day.

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Today, I ask you to stop for a few minutes and remember the men and women of the armed forces.  USO have Facebook pages that provide information on where to send gifts, letters and texts.  You don’t have to spend a lot of money to let someone know they are loved.  Then, visit my friend’s blog and tell him how much you appreciate him.  I’m so thankful to have come to know him through his posts.  What a blessing!  8D037CF4-9170-42C7-93FE-4979E1C51319You don’t have to wait until Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day.  You can show you care all year.  Trust me when I say that you will receive blessings beyond your imagination!  If you are reading this and you are in the military, I appreciate all you are doing!

God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Where to Go for Answers

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
‭‭John‬ ‭1:1‬ ‭

Good Morning.  We live in a beautiful small town in Northwest Florida.  In the early mornings before it gets so busy, I notice the beauty of this quiet little town.  This morning I’m enjoying the stillness.  It’s so quiet I can hear God talking to me.

Now, there are good and bad things to all cities, small and large.  One of the bad things in our small town is everyone knows everyone.  The people are closely connected.  Everyone knows your business.  There are no secrets.  Whereas, if you live in a big city, you can go unnoticed.  The bad is also a good thing.  Since everyone knows everyone, where ever you go you will see someone you know.  We look out for each other, and are quick to notice strangers.  We are kind to strangers, but not so quick to include them into our small town family.  It takes a little while for them to assimilate.    You see, the good and bad in our town are like a double-edged sword.  Looking out for everyone is great, but when you want to run to the store unnoticed, it’s not going to happen.

I was thinking this morning that this double-edged sword thinking is common in many things.  I’m the Municipal Development Director for our City.  People come to me and complain about the laws.  They get really worked up and upset.  They think the laws are too strict for a small town.  The same people come and complain when their neighbor is doing something and the law allows it.  Hmmm.  There is no easy answer, because you can’t make everyone happy.

Often these same situations happen in families.  My friend is a new mother.  At first her family was upset because she wasn’t working.  Now, they are upset because she’s a working mother.  Imagine her frustration.   She can’t make her family happy, and she wants her children to enjoy close family bonds.   I remember similar dilemmas when my children were little.  I was asked, will you let your baby cry and learn to calm himself, or are you going to be one who quickly picks your baby up when he cries?  I remember thinking, this is a trick question, because the answer is somewhere in the middle.

Have you ever felt like you just don’t fit it, or maybe like you are being smothered?  Do you feel like there are no right answers and you can’t find real happiness?  The best thing to do is study the Bible and talk to God.  It’s amazing how similar the issues were in Bible times.  No matter how many times I read the Bible, I learn something new.  God doesn’t want you to be unhappy no matter where you are. For example, Jesus instructs in Matthew 22:38 -39, that we are to love God with all our hearts, and love our neighbors like we love ourselves.  We are taught about acceptance of others in Romans 15:7 “[w]herefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” The stories in the Bible are relevant as well.  Read the story of Ruth and how she took care of her mother-in-law.  She was rewarded by God.

Today, I encourage you to first, forgive yourself and others.  Then, read God’s word and ask him to guide you through life’s problems.  God bless.

Use Your Gifts to Change the World Wednesday – Embrace the Adventure

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
‭‭2 Samuel‬ ‭22:3‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Happy Wednesday!  It’s a great time to use your gifts to change the world!

Have you ever had a challenging day?  I mean one of those days when people search you out to pick a fight.  I have enjoyed a string of those days lately.  It’s quite frustrating to know that you are minding your own business and folks are letting loose on you.  Wow!  I know God must be teaching us lessons or using us to teach others lessons during these trying moments, but I sometimes lose my temper.  Growing emotionally and spiritually is tough sometimes!  As I study my Bible, I realize that I’m not alone.  The people in the Bible were constantly having trouble with others.  So, I have concluded that life is an adventure.  Everyone goes through trying times.  It’s the attitude you take with you that makes the difference.  You can wake up and say “I’m going to climb this mountain and enjoy the scenery”, or you can say “oh no, I’ ve got another mountain to climb.”  You have to climb it anyway. Why not enjoy the trip!  With the right attitude you can enjoy the trip and influence those around you in a positive way.  That’s what changing the world is all about.

I challenge you to change the world by facing mountains with a positive outlook and a smile.  God bless you.

 

 

Try Something New Tuesday – Lift Others Up

WE WHO are strong [in our convictions and of robust faith] ought to bear with the failings and the frailties and the tender scruples of the weak; [we ought to help carry the doubts and qualms of others] and not to please ourselves.    Romans 15:1

Happy Tuesday!  It’s a glorious day in  northwest Florida.  There is crisp fall chill in the air, but the sun is shining bright.  Every Tuesday we try something new.  Today, I encourage you to help someone.  There are people around us all day long who need help.  The smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.  So throughout the day, look for someone you can help and follow through.

Are you a gossip?  Do you find it hard to keep your mouth shut?  Have you ever felt the effects of gossip?  Did you know that gossip is a sin?  Yes,  gossip is a sin.  How could we believe otherwise, when we know Jesus taught that the second most important commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 19:19).  That means love others as much as you love yourself.  Treat others how you would like to be treated, and zip your lip.  Leviticus 19:16 tells us that we “shall not go up and down as a dispenser of gossip and scandal among” . . . [our] “people, nor shall” . . . [we secure ourself by false testimony or by silence and] “endanger the life” of our neighbors.  The phrase “dispenser of gossip” makes me laugh a little, but it’s true.  We have all done it, at least once, and we have all experienced it.  Gossiping is very hurtful.  I don’t know why it’s so hard to tame the tongue.  Often, I think no harm is intended.  We are just talking to each other and trying to sort things out.  Yesterday, I heard a story about someone at work that made me want to warn and protect the others around me.  Fortunately, before I said anything, I stopped.  The ones I wanted to protect heard the same information.  There was no need for me to say more.

Gossip occurs in families too.  It is much easier to promote yourself in the eyes of a loved one, if you are making someone else look bad.  Don’t stoop to these levels out of jealousy or any other motive.  You are a child of God who is loved.  The smallest talk can cause the most pain and disfunction in families.  When you stand before God, do you want to see how you hurt people or how you lifted them up with your words?

Join me in lifting others up with words of love and helping the needy.  God bless you.

Tell Me Something Good Monday – Peace of the Lord

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.  Philippians 4:7

Happy Monday!  The weather is changing here.  The last couple of days have been cooler and damper than usual.  Like TobyMac’s song, I feel it!  However, what I feel is in my bones.  The good news for me is I made it to work today!  Some people dread Monday, but every Monday I work is check on my list.

I’m in the final days before receiving my B.A. in Theology. One of my last classes is on the Blood Covenant.  Funny, on the way to work this morning I listened to Billy Graham preaching on the Blood of Christ.  He told a story about a young college girl who had received a Guinness World Record for taking the longest shower.  I don’t remember what the exact amount of the time was, but it was more than 100 hours, and that was many years ago.  He went on to explain that you don’t have to shower for hours for Jesus.  His blood washes all the dirt, we see and don’t see, away.  That is so true.

Philippians 4:7 is one of my favorite Bible verses.  Our church had a supply priest a few years ago who would finish his service with this verse.  I could just feel the peace when he said it.  It almost felt like my heart melted a little.  When you think about a peace that goes beyond anything anyone can understand . . . Well, that’s something good!  A couple of weeks ago there was some talk that the end of the world would be that week.  Someone asked me about it.  I really don’t worry about the end of days as we know it.  First, I believe what the Bible says in Matthew 25:13.  We won’t know the day or hour when Christ returns.  Second,  why should I worry.  I have a pardon for all my sins through Jesus, and I have peace in knowing he’s with me.

As you go through your day, enjoy the Peace of the Lord.  God bless you.

Love One Another

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.  Numbers 6:24-26

Happy Saturday!  I woke up to this video and it spoke to me. You never know what someone else is going through.  So, if someone lashes out at you, remember they might be tired from fighting a battle you know nothing about.   I hope you enjoy your Saturday!  God bless you.

Spread the Love Friday- On Fitting In

He makes all things beautiful in His time.    Ecclesiastes 3:11

Happy Friday!  This morning I’m enjoying spending time with my grandson. He’s growing up so fast.

Speaking of growing, our kitten continues to grow.  Last night my husband and I were reading, when Dominic decided he wanted to sit in a box that was too tiny for him.  It reminded me of the many times I’ve tried to fit in, when I really didn’t.  I remember a time when I was about 12 years old, when I wanted to be part of a group of girls.  I had to do what they said to belong.  One day I got my hair cut differently.  They didn’t want to be my friends anymore.  When there was a new kid at school, who they didn’t like, they wanted me to be mean to the girl.  They wanted to choose my boyfriends.  Well, as you can imagine, after a while I grew tired of their shenanigans.  When I married my first husband, I didn’t fit in with his family.  They loved to party.  The booze drinking began early in the morning and lasted throughout the day.  Marital infidelities were common.  I just couldn’t fit it in.

You’ve probably never had problems with fitting in, but you may have noticed others who didn’t fit.  Have you ever wondered why?  Have you ever left someone out because they were different?  Have you ever gone along with the group when they weren’t so nice to someone?  Have you ever seen this group situation happening and didn’t know what to do?  What usually happens is people go along with the group, even when they know the group is wrong.  However, the same group will leave them out when they don’t do what the group likes.  Over time my ex-husband’s drug and alcohol abuse, along with numerous infidelities tore us apart.  The tighter I held on, the more he pulled away.  After two years, we were divorced.  While God wants us to love one another, He doesn’t want us to sacrifice our beliefs and behaviors. Fortunately, His love is strong, even when we make mistakes.

Psalm 93:4 says “mightier than the waves in the sea is his love for you.”  Have you ever thought about the power of the waves in the ocean.  The waves are so strong that they can overturn ships.  They can erode rocks.  The power of waves is used to generate electricity.  Gazing at the ocean is hypnotic.  We even have apps and devices that simulate the sound of waves, because of the relaxation benefits.  So, in terms of might, God’s love for you is enduring and everlasting.

If you don’t feel like you fit in, maybe it’s because you don’t.  Maybe the problem isn’t you at all.  Have you ever considered that maybe you don’t fit in because you don’t want to be controlled?  Maybe you don’t fit it, because you aren’t willing to lower your standards. Maybe the small thinking of the group puts you in a box that’s too tiny.  While we can all be kind and love others, God doesn’t want you to lower your standards or treat others badly.  If you feel like you don’t fit in as a Christian, maybe it’s because you are a leader for God.  Rest securely in God’s love when you don’t fit with what society say says is right.  Next time you don’t fit in, ask yourself two questions.   Why do I feel this way and what can I do to show God’s love to others?

So, what can we do to resolve this issue?  There will always be people who want to control us and make us feel bad, but the good news is they can’t make us do or feel anything.  We are in charge of our actions and emotions.  God is careful to protect our free will.  Not only can we make good decisions about our behaviors and attitudes, but we can be Christian leaders.  Our combined actions will help others to learn how to treat other people.  Imagine what would happen if every time we felt left out, we used the opportunity to spread God’s love.  Wouldn’t that be awesome!

When you go out today, start a new movement.   Be a Christian leader spreading God’s love.  God bless you.

Forgiveness Thursday – Feels Like Friday!

Taste and see that the Lord is good.  Oh the joys of those who take refuge in him.  Psalm 34:8

It’s Forgiveness Thursday and a wonderful day to serve the Lord.  We celebrate Veterans’ Day in the working world tomorrow.  You know that feeling you get at the end of your work week,  that Friday feeling?  I have it.  Today, take time to tell a Veteran thank you.

I have so many people come to me hurting.  Are you hurting?  Do you have an emptiness or despair?  There is only one thing that will fill that emptiness.  You can eat, drink, take drugs, isolate yourself, go to parties, but none of these things are long-term fixes.  Don’t waste any more time on these fillers.

Today, put your trust in our sweet Lord.  God bless you.