A Still, Small Voice

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Still Small Voice

STILLNESS 

1 Kings 19:11-13 – “The Lord said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’ Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”

Reflections: I realized something interesting today… Sometimes, I’m so focused on looking for God’s answer to my prayer(s) to come in one specific form that I actually miss it when He shows up and responds to my petition. Just the other day, I’d been praying to God for a solution to a particular challenge, and in my mind, I’d already envisioned what that solution would look like. I prayed about it for the better part of the week, and set about waiting and looking for God’s response. But while I was looking in one direction for the reply I’d envisioned, His actual response came from a completely different direction in a form so unlike what I’d been expecting that at first, I did not recognize it for what it was. It was like God crept up quietly, like a ninja, and completely threw me for a loop! 🙂

It wasn’t until I was meditating this morning that I realized God had, in fact, taken care of the issue at hand without my truly registering it. The situation was resolved through no action of my own and in a way that was much more like a quiet whisper than the bigger, attention-grabbing bang that I was expecting.

I think that God often operates like that, with a quiet whisper instead of a big bang, and we must quiet ourselves and attune our Spirit to His peaceful stillness so that we can recognize and be grateful for the subtle blessings and responses to our petitions when they come. It’s also important to acknowledge that God’s answers to our prayers often come in a completely different form than we imagine as we pray; but that’s okay, because God knows so much better than we do the solution for which each situation calls. And I’m so glad that He’s a God who gives us what He knows we need instead of what we think we want; because in the end, we’re so much better off if we do things His way instead of our own. 🙂

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Bright! 🙂

Breath

Don’t Give Up

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PERSISTENCE

Galatians 6:9 – “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Reflections: Have you ever wanted to just throw in the towel? Oftentimes, we try so hard to fulfill a purpose or a goal set before us; but despite our efforts, we find ourselves missing the mark the first, second, or even third time we try. Reaching for our goals can be particularly challenging when we are working in our calling; because we must battle not only our flesh (telling us we don’t have what it takes), but also the attacks of the enemy, who wants nothing more than to see us fail and give up altogether.

The reality is that we’re not always gong to get it right the first time we try, and we might not always meet with resounding success during our initial efforts, despite all of our good intentions. But the Word tells us not to grow weary in well-doing, because at the proper time (God’s time, not our own), we will reap a harvest if we stand firm, have faith, and DO NOT GIVE UP (Galatians 6:9).

Keep going, keep trying, keep pushing forward towards the mark. God would not have called you to it if He didn’t know that you could do it. 🙂 Just trust Him to see you through and know that you can do and endure all things through Christ, who gives you strength.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hang on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Song: I’ll Trust You by Donnie McClurkin

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Your Light!

He Loves Us Anyway…

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Ephesians 3:16-18 – “I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being. So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”

Reflections: I know that Valentine’s Day has come and gone, but I felt inspired by this verse to revisit the subject of LOVE. Are you feeling loved today? If not, all you have to do is read Ephesians 3:18 to begin to feel the warm glow. 🙂 Christ’s love for us is so wide and long and high and deep that the concept of it would be unfathomable to us, if not for the Spirit of God, rooted in love, that dwells within us.

And in case you forgot, neither life not death, angels nor demons, present nor future, height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL CREATION can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Now THAT is a love you can count on.

So, as you begin your week, find joy and contentment in the knowledge that someone out there loves you with an unfailing love that cannot be broken by what we do or say, or by the mistakes we make. God knows us intimately, inside and out, and He loves us anyway. 🙂 Today, and every day, you are loved!

Song: You Love Me Anyway by Sidewalk Prophets

See also:

Romans 8:38-39 – “ For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Let It Go…

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PEACE

1 Peter 5:7 – “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”

 Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Reflections: Throughout the Bible, we see frequent mention of the “sister sins” worry and anxiety. I think that these themes are so prevalent because God knows that life can be hard, and that we will, at some point, have to face challenges that make us anxious and cause us to agonize over the burdens we must carry. God also knows that in many cases, these burdens are too much for us to bear alone, and that is why each of these references in the scripture is paired with an invitation to LET THE BURDENS GO.

Peter, for example, encourages us to cast all our cares on the Lord because He LOVES us (1 Peter 5:7), and Jesus Himself offers to be our burden bearer (Matthew 11:28-30). So why do we still insist on carrying the load ourselves?

During our quiet time, when we are completely focused on God, it’s easy to leave our burdens on the altar and trust God to intercede on our behalf; but as we rise and go about our day, reminders of those troubles often cause us to “pick them back up,” and with them, our worry and anxiety. The reality is that giving our cares to the Lord is often a choice we must make countless times each day. And in those moments of doubt and worry, when we want so badly to peek over at the altar to see how our troubles are doing, we must be deliberate about keeping our “eyes” focused on God and not our problems.

Keep in mind, though, that this process is not an excuse to abdicate personal responsibility for the issues in our lives. It does, however, entail trusting God enough to accept the peace He offers as He walks with us through the struggle, and believing His promise that though we may suffer a little while, in time, He will restore us to a place where we are strong, firm, and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).

See Also:

1 Peter 5:10 – “And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.”

Song: Let Go by DeWayne Woods

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Your Light!

Praise Him Anyway…

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GRATITUDE

Habakkuk 3:17 – “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vine, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my savior.”

Reflections: On those rough days, in those trying situations, sometimes it’s hard to muster up the energy to look for the blessings in our lives and enter into a posture of gratitude. We want deliverance, we want restoration, we want healing, we want change, and we want it NOW; but sometimes, instead of focusing on the lack in our lives, God just wants us to sit with and acknowledge all the ways that He has already made.

If we take a breath to think about it, it’s really not hard to see the countless ways that God blesses us each and every day, even in the midst of challenges. We can see Him in the new life we’re given each day, in the love we receive from our family and friends, in the ways He allows us to be a blessing to others… We can see God moving and working all around us, if we take the time to stop and look. And changing our perspective, looking humbly at our lives with gratitude, makes the hard times hurt a little less and gives us the strength we need to keep pushing to the other side, where God is waiting to do a new and amazing thing in our lives.

See Also:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 – “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Philippians 4:6-7 – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.“

Song: Gratitude by Nichole Nordeman

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Shine Bright!

Whom Shall I Fear?

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PROTECTION

 John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.”

Reflections: Jesus warned us to be vigilante and on the lookout for the attacks of the enemy, who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy. He will try to rob you of your joy, stifle your hope, and extinguish the fire of your faith. This is particularly true when God is on the verge of taking you to a new level. In those moments before your breakthrough, the distractions, temptations, setbacks, and discouragements will often seem to come at you at an alarming rate.

When you feel as if you are under a barrage of attacks from all sides, stand firm, and take hope in the knowledge that the very next step may take you into victory. Hold on and know that God is always with you, and He has sent an army of angels to defend you and guide you through. You never have to face a battle alone. You are protected by the Creator of the universe, the God of angel armies, the Father who loves you unconditionally, and who will move mountains and part seas to fulfill His promises to you.

Isaiah 12:2 – “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The Lord, the Lord Himself, is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation.”

SongAngel Armies by Chris Tomlin

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Moving Forward…

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So, today marks a new day for me, and this blog entry is the first since the completion of my 40-day fast that began in January. As I move forward into this new year, I am excited about what God is doing in my life, and anxious to see where He leads me. I’m expecting big things in the coming weeks and months!

Though the 40 days are over, I believe that I am going to continue journaling and blogging for as long as the Spirit moves me. These reflections have been as cathartic and instructive for me as I hope they have been for others, and I hope that you will continue with me along this journey for the next 325 days…(Note the new blog title! 🙂 )

RELEASE

Philippians 3:13-14“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Reflections: I know a lot of people who, like me, are hoping that God will move them forward into bigger and better things in 2014. In this new year, so many individuals are hoping for renewal and restoration, to put the old things behind them and press on towards the mark…the goal(s) that God has put before them.

So often we petition God to help us move forward to a new level in our lives, but how often do we inhibit the process by getting in the way? We hold on to the old things that keep us bound and stuck in the same old place, and wonder why God hasn’t stepped in and lifted us to a higher level. We have to do the work, first, and we have to let go of those people, behaviors, or beliefs that did not serve us in 2013. Are you holding onto habits or relationships that continue to hold you back? What about old grudges or people you have yet to forgive? Whatever is keeping you from moving forward in 2014, now is the time to make a choice to release these past things and press forward to those things which are ahead. Experience the freedom of letting go, and clear the way for God to do a new thing in your life!

Let Go and Let God…

Shine bright!

Thoughts, reactions, or testimonies? Leave a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you!

Song: Moving Forward by Israel Houghton

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