Life Interupted

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami' al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jonah and the Whale in the Jami’ al-tawarikh (c. 1400), Metropolitan Museum of Art

Have you noticed that when life is going smoothly something happens to interrupt?  It can be something small like the phone ringing when you’re trying to finish a project.  It can be something much larger like a life-threatening disease or accident, severe weather (blizzard, tornado, earthquake), birth, death, loss of a job…  When you start getting a case of the ‘why me’ syndrome give some thought to these lives that were interrupted by God Himself.

Moses             2 forty year visits to the desert

Noah               Stop, drop and build a boat on dry land

Abraham         Leave everything and travel to an unknown location

Sarah              Baby at 90

Joseph            Dropped into a pit and sold as a slave

Mary                Suddenly pregnant

Dramatic and sudden interruptions happen all the time.  Case in point…Jonah.  He was living a great life but God wanted more for him.  So God told him to go to Ninevah.  Jonah wasn’t having any of that.  That city was known as the ‘Sin City’ of that era.  So, Jonah decided to run to another place.  Really!?  Did he really think he could hide from God?  Yes, he did.  While on that journey, in the opposite direction, the ship he was on was hit with a threatening storm.  Those on board determined it was Jonah who was causing the problem, so they threw him overboard.  We know the rest of the story…

Let’s look at this from a different angle.   This is a story of many miracles.  The first two are in verse one.

Jonah 11

First – God spoke!

Second – God allowed a person to hear His voice!

When He allows one of His creation to hear His voice it’s a huge privilege.  We often hear His voice and don’t recognize it.  The difference with us and Jonah is he knew exactly Who was speaking and choose not to obey.

Then, how do we know we’re hearing God?  How do we know He’s interrupting us?  Have you ever been listening to a speaker and the words seem just for you?  Have you been reading the Word and it’s speaking to your heart?  Henry Blackaby says we hear God through His Word, prayer, other Christians, worship, and life circumstances.  God talks to us often through the Holy Spirit living in us and He expects us to listen.

When we hear God what are we to do?  Easy answer, yet hard to follow through.  We’re to drop everything and listen.  He is saying I have a plan and I want you to be part of it.

The interrupted life is not always the big events I mentioned earlier.  It can be a crying child, a husband or wife’s attention, a new friendship, an unexpected phone call, a knock on the door….  God wants us open to His voice!  Anytime!  Anywhere!

He is calling.  Are you listening?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Signs

Sign Collage

Look around!  They’re everywhere!  Stop signs.  Sale signs.  Billboards.  Not just ‘man’ signs.  God did some pretty spectacular ones.  The rainbow.  The Babe in the manger.  Reversing the sun.  What?  Take a look at Isaiah 38:7-8.

Here’s the story in a nutshell.

~Hezekiah got sick.  Isaiah went to visit him and told him he was going to die.

~Hezekiah turned to the wall and prayed, pointing out his righteous life.  He asked for nothing.

~God heard his prayer and gave him 15 more years.

~God said he would give Hezekiah a sign to assure Hezekiah He could and would do what He said He could.  God moved the sun’s shadow 10 notches backward on the sundial.  The near impossibility of that happening then or even now is astronomical.   Even though the people of that time believed the sun moved around the earth it was till going to be a really big event.

Are you watching for His signs?  (I’m not really referring to end times here.)  When God wants our attention He can use several ways to get it.  Working/speaking through other believers – Isaiah spoke God’s message to Hezekiah.  Motivation to pray and seek answers – Hezekiah turned to the wall, toward God in prayer.  Everyday activities, like watching television or listening to music, will start pointing you in the direction God wants you to go.  Discomfort/sickness – Hezekiah was on his death bed.  God signs are visible but we must be watching, waiting, and ready.  All we have to do is look!

Ah, Lord God, open my eyes, my ears, my heart, my mind to where You are working and what You want me to see.  Give me the ability to take all that is going on around me and see it through Your eyes.  Let me hear Your voice as I try to determine the right response.  Give me wisdom and knowledge to see it Your way.  Make it so in Jesus Name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

I am a part of Holly Garth’s Launch Team for her new book, You’re Already Amazing.  From time to time you will see some of her work in this spot on the blog.  Enjoy it with me.  She is a very gifted writer for such a time as this.

With Jesus

You can also find this post in Pondering and Prayer.

Listen! Concentrate! Pay Attention!

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Listen!  Can you hear Me?  Do you know the sound of My voice?  Hey you!  Paying total attention to someone requires all of everything we have focused on the One who is speaking.  Eyes on theirs.  Ears hearing every nuance of the words.  Mind totally focused on the subject.  It’s hard but it’s worth it!

Solomon was giving some fatherly advice in Proverbs 4:20-22 when he said:

Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice.  Keep My message in plain view at all times.  Concentrate!  Learn it by heart!  Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.                                                                               (The Message)

Do you know the voice of God?  Adam and Eve did.  When He called to them in the garden they knew right away that it was Him. (Genesis 3:8-9)  We know certain people’s voices even when we’re not looking at them, at a distance, in a crowded room, anywhere.  God wants us to know His voice in every place and circumstance.  How do we hear His voice?  By knowing His Word.  Yes, memorizing it!  Thinking about it!  Reading it!

So, what do we get out of it?  A body and soul that’s healthy, really healthy.  The roadmap to living.  Not just breathing in and out but a life that is fully aware of all that is going on around us and answers to the hard questions.  It’s all there.  All in the Bible.  All we have to do is open the book and start reading and memorizing.

Father, You and You alone are all that matter.  Your Word is my life guide, my way to knowing You.  Open my heart and mind to every word.  You have breathed every single word so I can know You and what You want of Your child.  Thank YOU!

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Here’s another post on the same subject: Calming The Restless Mind

You can also find this post on the Pondering and Prayer page.

James My Go-to Book

book-1156001_960_720Do you have a favorite book in the Bible?  One that you can turn to and know that you’ll find new insight into living the way God wants?  James is my go-to book.  It’s the first book I read when I get a new Bible.  It’s underscored, highlighted, marked up, and has notes in the margins.  It speaks something new to me every time I read it.

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.  You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.  So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely.  Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father.  He loves to help.  You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it.  Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought.  People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves.  Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.                                         James 1:2-8  (The Message)

Right away we’re told we’ll have tests and challenges.  Why?  So we are forced to be faithful and let others see Jesus in us.  Then, in the next paragraph,  we’re told to pray when we aren’t sure.  Pray with hearts and minds wide open.  Not just saying the words but with the expectation that He WILL answer.  And He will!  He wants to help us!

Abba, Father, hear my prayer.  In all the confusion and challenges of life hear me.  Help me show You to the world around me.  Let my faith shine!  Make it so in Jesus’ Name.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

You can read more short devotionals in Pondering and Prayers

 

 

Quit Gloating

Have you heard this? “I knew that would happen!” “S/he got what s/he deserved!” “Told ya!” There’s a word for enjoying another person’s consequences.  Epicaricacy means ‘delight in another person’s misfortune’.

God has plenty to say about this and when that happens we can know where He stands on the issue and what He wants us to do about it.  So let’s dig in…

Do not gloat when your enemy falls

God knows everything, every thought, every moment of our lives.  He knows what we’ve done, said, or thought.  You cannot hide from Him.  Sure, we know when someone has failed or worse, sinned.  God says, “Let Me handle it!”  The writer, Solomon, is saying that if we dish out disapproval  He will turn toward us instead of the person it’s aimed at.  Trust me, I’d rather have someone fail miserably than have God point His finger at me.

If I have rejoiced at my enemy's misfortune...

Job 31 is a list of the ways Job could have sinned and hidden in it is the verse above.  Read the whole chapter and you’ll discover that Job understood, totally, what God wanted him to do and he practised it.  He was not a gloating, self-centered person.  He had a very clear picture of what God wanted and he followed through.

Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves

And so, what does God want of us?  We are to be merciful.  We are to choose kindness and gentleness.  We are to model patience.  We are to forgive like God has.

Marie