Hear What He Says

Last week I shared the verse about having ears to listen.  This is another take on listening to God…but this emphasizes not just the hearing, but the understanding of what God tells us.

Those of us who truly belong to Christ understand that we are to follow what God says.  I think God is whispering to a lot of people trying to pull them closer to Him, but they don’t hear it, or they don’t understand what and why.  But as followers we know the “code” God is using to get deeper into our hearts.  We hear Him all the time.  And we get it. The who, the what, they why.  And we know that even though we are small as a bird compared to His great vastness, He is taking the time to shine His love and care on us each individually.  We know we belong.

Now our task is to help others understand they belong as well.

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The curse

In another week the season of Lent begins.  This bit of verse is tucked into Nehemiah’s final reforms:

 On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God, because they had not met the Israelites with food and water but had hired Balaam to call a curse down on them. (Our God, however, turned the curse into a blessing.) When the people heard this law, they excluded from Israel all who were of foreign descent.

The first thing I thought of was Jesus–the blessing that turned around that curse, that included us all in forgiveness and eternal life when we believe in Him as our Savior.  It made me think of the palm branches waved as Jesus went into Jerusalem that final time on a donkey, and the open tomb where His body had laid.

Our God is pretty awesome in what He can do.  That is for sure.

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Ears listen

This weekend I could see and feel the hope from Jesus in the sunshine as a reminder of His promises of grace and peace.  Maybe you saw something too.  Today let us listen for His grace, love, and hope.  It may be in loving words from a family member or friend, perhaps a child.  Or it may even be in the distress and calls for help from a stranger.  But listen closely,  have your ears open and ready to listen.

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Grace to You

More well wishes to you this day.  This last weekend the Midwest had an unseasonable break in the weather and it was very warm.  I am sure scientists somewhere were cursing global warming (which I say I’d rather have warming than an ice age), but I enjoyed that bright sun.  It felt like grace and peace shining down from God as a little mid-winter gift.  I love that He always sends us bits of hope that we can carry in our mental pockets to enjoy.

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Teach Me the Way to Go

I am still battling a cold (may have turned into a sinus infection) and I am going to give up the battle and go see a doctor.  My brain is quite foggy and definitely has few words of reflection to share right now.  But there is all of the art from the last month to still share.  This one was done the end of December over many many cold nights, just spent doodling and yakking with God.  He truly does lift up our souls, especially when we follow His ways.  May you be blessed and lifted up this day.

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Love all

Happy Valentine’s day.  This may seem like a strange verse for today, but it not about Eros love, but Agape love.  As so many people celebrate the first kind, it is an even better day to show agape to all people we come in contact with.  No matter who they are, their circumstances, their opinions or beliefs.  We are to fulfill the law of Christ…love one another as I have loved you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Take on one another’s burdens, care for each other in the deepest and most self less ways we can.

This is hard.  It really is.  But Jesus knew what He was talking about.

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An Escape

I love this verse!  Especially when I am having a bad day and it just doesn’t seem like I am going to make it to the end of that particular struggle, or it looks like there are just more on the horizon.

Our faith helps us believe that God will not test us without giving us some escape.  It may only be for a few seconds, it may be longer, it may be for eternity when we get close to Him in heaven.  No matter what, as we endure we have hope in Him, we know He is carrying us, and that in the end He will point us in the right direction.  That He will make a way, even if it is just a little pocket, that will help us feel the strength of His love.

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By Day Commands Love

Isn’t it lovely to know that God is with us all hours of the day?  Waking and sleeping He is always with us.  He is always working toward us finding approval, encouraging us to find approval, pulling us closer to His approval.  He is whispering and singing over us.  We, too, should then whisper and sing His praises.

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Seeking Attention vs. Approval

I have a student at school struggling with this right now.  Actually, there a lot of students, because really there a lot of people that mix up seeking attention vs. seeking approval.  All any of us want, down in our very core, is for as many people to approve of us as possible.  We want the approval of peers, leaders, family, neighbors, the dog, even the lady at the grocery store.  We want to feel loved.  But we get confused and think that attention is the same thing.

God wants us to do the right thing.  He wants us to find approval here on earth and with Him in heaven.  He wants us not to just get attention, but approval–and that comes with honor and respect, which in turn becomes love.

I need to talk to my student tomorrow about this concept.  I am hoping it will help both of us remember what we need to do each day to earn approval.

I am including more of this scripture today so you can read it in full context:

Romans 13(NIV)

Submission to Governing Authorities

13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

 

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Healing wings

I like to think of those good things we were clinging yesterday like this illustration.  For those of us who take the time to revere God’s name and be thankful for the goodness we will rise up into the sky–the dawn of a new day or the setting of one accomplished–on the wings of angels.  He heals us–of our sins, what we have done or left undone.  Each and every day He heals our hearts, minds, and bodies.  He pulls us close to Him and gives us hope for the next thing–in this life and in the next.

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Cling

I am a cling wrap flunkie.  No matter whether it is a brand name, knockoff, whatever–I can’t get that thin film of plastic to stick to anything.  That is unless, I wrap the whole darn thing ten times so it looks like some monster shrink wrapped thing.

But I can cling to God.  Like that piece of lint or the dog hair or a burr that refuses to come off my favorite clothing.   I know that He is what is strong and good in my life.  He is what gives me hope in this wide world.

Do you cling to what is good?  Or do you brush it aside and focus on the bad things that happened in your day?  Uplifting quotes to make your bad day so much better: perspective in five minutes:

I found this on Pinterest and it made me smile.  We all know people that milk that bad stuff.  That go looking  for it.  Today I challenge you to find 3 good things in your experiences and cling to them.

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Understand

Let’s pray today:

God, we come before you humbly in awe of your works and thankful that you inspired humans to record them so that we may learn about your greatness, your vastness, your amazing love.  Remind us to open your record often, clear our schedules, lead us to put you first, and open our hears and minds to understand the gift of the scriptures.  Let your words sink deep into our hears so that we would believe and recognize their importance in our own lives.  Bless all those who find comfort and discernment on its pages.

with praise to you Christ,

Amen

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Wrangling

Sometimes we get so bogged down by grammar, semantics, meanings, and translations that we forget the big picture. Sometimes we get so focused on one little difference in how we read, or what we find important, that we forget the greater purpose. Sometimes we forget the line between faith and politics, teachings and laws, inclusion and exclusion.

Right here in 2 Timothy Paul reminds us to get back into the whole Bible.  To remember the whole gospel, the whole history, the whole teachings.  He warns against quarreling.  He encourages reflection on what we are really supposed to see in the Bible, in the gospel.  He encourages staying in the light of goodness.  Don’t you think God inspired Paul to write this and those who chose the books of the Bible for a reason?

 

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