When In Doubt… DON’T

Many years ago a former pastor gave me a piece of advice that I’ve kept in my mind and heart.  When in doubt…DON’T!  This four-word sentence has had a huge impact on my decision making.  When I’m even the least bit uncomfortable with a choice I ponder it carefully.  I question, will it have a positive or negative impact?  Will it support or tear down?  It’s amazing what an influence these four words have had on my life.

Here are a few more don’ts:

  • DON’T judge people for the choices they make when you DON’T know the options they had to choose from.
  • Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind DON’T matter and those who matter DON’T mind. ~ Dr. Seuss
  • DON’T give up! Great things take time.
  • DON’T talk about me until you have talked to me!
  • DON’T do it!

How about these from the Word:

  • DON’T worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6
  • DON’T panic. I’m with you. There’s no need to fear for I’m your God. I’ll give you strength. I’ll help you. I’ll hold you steady, keep a firm grip on you. Isaiah 41:10 (MSG)
  • Tell everyone who is discouraged, be strong and DON’T be afraid! God is coming to your rescue. Isaiah 35:4 (CEB)
  •  Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we DON’Tgive up. Galatians 6:9 (NLT)
  •  That is why we DON’T give up. Our physical body is becoming older and weaker, but our spirit inside us is made new every day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

Do you have a favorite quote or Bible verse about the word DON’T?  I’d love to add them to my collection.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

 

 

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

Voices

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Do you hear voices….?  We all do!  All those thoughts and ideas that roll around in our minds, competing for first place, sometimes shouting, others whispering, making us the person we are at the moment …  Most importantly, in all the clamoring and cacophony, are you hearing God’s voice?  God’s voice needs to be the loudest ‘voice’ we hear.

How to really ‘hear’ God’s voice…that is really the question.

Create a place of stillness.  Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still and know Him.  He can’t be heard above the din of the world and the thoughts that go with living in it.  Quiet your mind and your heart.  How does that work?  I have a window in my study that my reading chair faces.  All I have to do is look up and out and there is a tree that personifies God’s creation.  Every season, spring, summer, winter, fall, it’s there.  A spirit of peace, calm, assurance, love, descends to my spot and I know He is God.

Cultivate an attitude of trust.  There is no way to hear God’s voice if we don’t trust that His voice is the only one we want to listen to.  Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust in Him with our whole heart.  (Not just a piece of it but every part of it.)  It goes on to say (my words) don’t trust your own understanding (thoughts).  Our culture teaches an attitude of independence that contradicts the dependence on God that allows us to totally trust Him.

Learn of Him.  Do you really know all there is to know about God and His Word?  Probably not!  None of us do.  I suspect that if you’re reading this you want to know more.  Psalm 32:8 tells us, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”  Did you get that?  He wants to be our personal teacher.  Not only that, He already knows what we need to hear and learn.  Wow!  A personal, life coach!  All that’s required of us is to HEAR Him.

Pay attention!  Block that voice that says quit wasting your time on that stuff.  There’s a report that has to be written before the day is over.  There’s laundry, lawn mowing, dishes, dusting, and a zillion other chores and distractions.  Hebrews 2:1 tells us that we must pay closer attention to what we have heard (about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Word).  If we don’t we’ll start drifting off.  We have to use all we have at our disposal to ensure that we are really listening.

It is totally possible and probable that you already know the sound of His voice.  Give it your total attention.  He wants you to hear Him.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Abba, let me hear Your voice.  Let me know and trust You.  Take away outside influence and noise so that my attention can be totally on you!  Make it so in Jesus name.

alatsee-968598_960_720This beautiful song reflects this post beautifully.  Just click on the picture to listen.

 

 

This post is in support of Holley Gerth’s new study, https://player.vimeo.com/video/152491133“>You’re Already Amazing Life Growth Guide.  It will be released on March 1st.  Watch for the review!

Words

Open Mouth

Have you have gotten caught up in the moment and said something you wish you hadn’t?  Are there times when you wish someone would put a bridle on your mouth and completely control your words?  Are there times when you wish you could sleep all day, hide, play computer games that take over your mind…? Then, guess what, that makes us all normal and still forgivable and lovable.  The real question is…How do we overcome these times?

First, we must realize we are as much an at fault sinner as the one we directed our words toward.  God knows that!  He knew when He breathed the Word.  The Bible is full of admonitions, both Old and New Testament, to guard our words.

Second, we must ask for forgiveness and then follow through with a change of heart.  I can get on my knees 50 times a day, some days 500, and ask for forgiveness but unless I decide, with God’s help, to change, the words are empty.

Then, and the hardest of all, is to ask for forgiveness from the one who has been harmed by the words.  Unlike God, they may choose to be unforgiving.  If that happens give it back to God and continue mending the relationship.

There is a delightful children’s song that says: Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.  Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.  For the Father up above is looking down in love.  Oh, be careful little mouth what you say.

Psalm 19:14  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.

Heavenly Father, creator of all words and languages, Lord of my life, forgive me for words hastily spoken.  Control my words (and thoughts) toward or about others.  Let my life be acceptable to You.  Make it so!

Attention!

attention icon.

How does God get your attention?  Does He quietly grab you in the calm of a new morning?  Does He speak through another person on a life issue?  Does He give you a ‘DeNozo’ (a tap on the head to say – – really?!)

Why does He need to get our attention?  In the day-to-day stuff of living we tend to start depending on ourselves to much and He needs to remind us who is really in control.  Through the phone ringing, dishes, laundry, taking the cat to the vet, mowing the lawn, waiting in line, daily issues He wants us to remember He is there.

So, then, how do we react?  Are we angry, irritated, grouchy, grumpy….  When these attention grabbing issues happen we often display whatever is in our hearts/minds at that point.  Proverbs 23:7 reminds us that what we think is who we are.  Jesus said in Luke 6:45 that a man speaks out of the nature of the heart.

Long Lines for the Bus

Do we consider these reminders of God’s control as a part of our daily joy?  James 1:2 says to consider it pure joy when we face trials of any kind.  Imagine what might happen if you’re having one of those days where the irritations start upon waking and just continue to pile up and you remember to ‘consider it pure joy’.  Would that change our behavior, demeanor, and attitude?  Hm-m-m-m-m–m-m

More than anything God wants us to become totally dependent on Him for every one of life’s issues.  He wants us to come to Him when we’re tired of the drama and the interruptions.  He is waiting to hear every good and bad part of our day.   He wants us!

Almighty, Most Holy Father,  my life is Yours.  I place all my good and bad in Your hands.  Take control of all today’s issues.  Let me find joy in everything that will happen.  Let me know Your Presence.  Keep me connected to You in every part of this day.  Make it so!