Thought for the day: Advice. Who do you go to for advice? Why? We all have that person, or people, we seek advice from when we are at a crossroads. The real question is: do you follow their advice? It has worked both ways for me. There are a handful of people who I go to. And by handful, I mean less than five. God is included in that count. Sometimes I listen and follow, other times…. Perhaps I didn’t like what they said (including God), so, I did my own thing anyway. You? I’m pretty sure, our stories of doing our own thing all turned out similar. Difficult, and stressful. Can you relate? Why, do we do that? Two words: pride, easy. Our pride that we know best gets in the way, and we want an easy, comfortable, life. Yet, we get the opposite. You? There was a man that at every trun in his life sought advice from God. Moses. He led the Israelites out of Egypt. No simple task. Throughout the Book of Exodus we can read over and over, he cried put to God. May we take his example and when we cry out to God for advice, DO what He says. “Then Moses cried out to the LORD,… So Moses did this…” Ex. 17:5-6 #spreadthewordacrosstheglobe #advicelistenanddo
They say: God’s timing is perfect; God’s way is the best way; God will lead you on the path He has for you; and God has something better in store for you.
Those are a few things I’ve heard over the last six months. And yet, in the last six months I’ve seen none of those come to fruition. I’ve even spoken those words to others, and to myself. But lately when I hear those things my response has been “well that’s the rumor isn’t it.” Does that mean I no longer trust God, or believe Him? For some of you reading this it may be longer than six months, it may be years.
There’s an area in my life that has not come to fruition in years. So I can relate on the waiting. This writer does not claim to be a patient person, nor ask for patience. No, no, no. Careful with that.
Recently I sat in a church service where people were sharing their testimonies’ and one of them shared “we were faithful, tithed, and now we are debt free!” Speaking for myself my eyes flashed a picture of my current circumstance and I immediately tuned out. Instead my conversation with God began – I too tithed faithfully, yet received double debt, AND no job, while being on the path I believed you had for me. Can you relate?
When I shared my frustration with some of my friends here came the “sayings.” Again I responded with “well that seems to be the rumor.” I share this with you because I don’t want any of my readers to think I have a perfect life and everything is roses all the time. I am just as human with my own faults, struggles, doubts, and fears. Sometimes it’s not until my fingers hit the keys of my lap top, and I begin to seek out His answers for me that I begin to see His view. If you can relate let’s go through this together. When life gets hard it makes it somewhat easier to have a friend go through it with you. Let me say too, I do not negate my friends they mean well, they love me, and want the best. I love and cherish each one of them. However, when you are on a different road it’s sometimes hard to relate. So girlfriend, guy friend, if you’re on the same road of Struggle Street let’s do this together.
“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Ro. 1:12 NLT
What is the rumor?
- Is it that God knows best?
- Is the underlying tone God strings us along only to bring us to our demise?
Look at the last question that is what Satan would want us to believe in an effort to get us away from God. We need to be careful not to allow bitterness to seep in and take over.
“Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Heb. 12:15 NLT
According to Merriam Webster On-Line Dictionary rumor is defined as, “information or a story that has passed from person to person yet has not been proven to be true.” Yes, you and I may be in our positions because of decisions we made. However, God uses everything (that word is an all-inclusive) for the good of those that love Him, and who have been called according to his purpose. Ro. 8:28. Even if you are in your current position by someone else’s decisions Romans 8:28 still applies.
The question remains: how do we get past the rumor and move on to truth?
There’s a saying that is used when people are in the middle of a difficult time: you can’t see the tree when you are looking at the forest. I know – that’s the rumor. Thought I’d try a little humor! It made me chuckle, hopefully you did too. Using the metaphor combined with God’s Word let’s try looking at the tree past the forest.
In Joshua chapter four the Israelites just crossed the Jordan River and God has directed them to gather twelve stones one for each tribe represented. I imagine the look on their faces must have held the question: what for? God proceeds to tell them because the stones will serve as a reminder of what God has done. (Jos. 4:1-9) Rumor or Truth? No rumor there. They lived it, breathed it, saw it, felt it, and walked it. That my friends is pure truth. For a moment let’s take a look back into our own lives. Grab a pen, pencil, crayon, lipstick, or mascara, whatever you have handy to write with, and a piece of paper. I’ll wait.
Moving past the rumor write down events in your life where God clearly was at work. It may have been 5, 10, 15, even 20, years ago, write it down! It’s all relevant. There may be one big thing or several things, our goal is to make our own standing stones.
“These stones are to be a memorial to (us) forever.” Jos. 4:7b parenthesis mine
If God did for the Israelites (and for us), does he change? Rumor? No.
“I the LORD do not change.” Mal. 3:6a NIV
God does not change, but our circumstances do. The rumor Satan would have us believe is that God changed. Things may be difficult now, the future unknown and unseen, yet –
“God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.” Ro. 11:29 NIV
So the next time the forest blocks the tree –
- Point your face towards the heavens
- Get out your standing stones
- Recite them out loud with confident conviction – there is no rumor – it’s all truth: I lived it, breathed it, saw it, felt it, and walked it! Our God does not change.
“For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth.” Dn. 6: 26b – 27a. NIV
When we seek Him, He allows us to find him. (Jer. 29:13-14) At this I am humbled, and grateful, that we serve a God that is merciful, understanding, and loving.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2014, re-post with edits Dec. 2016
*picture by fisherynation, 12stone
I’ve heard many times from sermons, and from the Word of God itself – Everyone has a spiritual gift from God. And, it is up to us if we uses them or not. I guess that’s where our free will comes into play.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 1 Pe. 4:10 NLT
Did you notice the word variety? That would mean there are more than one gift God could have given us. Maybe some of you have more than one, and perhaps we only have one. One that is the most dominate. Have you ever wondered what the gifts are? Most of us would equate that with wealth, and the accumulation of a lot of *things.* But, that is not what God means when he says “spiritual gifts.” The gifts could be anyone of, or a combination of:
“In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophecy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.” Ro. 12:6-8 NLT
As for me, my gift is kindness. Another word for that is compassion. Although I knew what my gift was – I tried not to use it. Why? Because what I typically found was, it got me in some sort of trouble. No matter what someone didn’t like what I did, or had to say. Being kind got me nowhere. At least in my own eyes that is what I saw. Yet, I quickly learned God was not going to go along with me ignoring the gift He gave me.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isa. 55:9 AMP
Over the years my children would invite their friends to stay the night. Over time I noticed a reoccurring theme – their friends would just start talking and I always knew what to say to them. God would organize the words from my mouth. It was exactly what needed to be said to that person and just the right time in their life. Each scenario was different. Each time I’d think – wow! God is so good! I’d like to say everyone took the advice that came from me, but they did not. Some were able to be helped.
In the recent past my son had a friend stay the night. This friend was living with his foster parents. Over time I got to know him pretty well. He would stay at our house every other weekend. He would share what happened to him, how he felt, and what was on his mind and heart. Sometime later his foster parent contacted me to see if I was interest in becoming a foster parent myself. What?! My reaction was simple – No.
All the reasons as to why not went through my mind as to why not, and each one made perfect sense to me. But friends, the more I would not listen to God the harder it got each time I would see him. Oh there goes God again with his ways, and thoughts. He was going to get his way. Have you ever had that? Something is presented and it. Just. Won’t. Go away. That is the Spirit trying to get your attention.
“I will instruct you (says the Lord) and guide you along the best pathway for your life; I will advise you and watch your progress.” Ps. 32:8 TLB
So, like an obedient child, I contacted the case worker and things just took off! Imagine that! I also had peace about it. Of course that was no surprise, because when God directs our steps He has already went ahead and prepared the way.
Things moved quickly! On a Thursday we filled out the paper work, then went down to get finger printed. I told the case worker and within one hour our prints and back ground came back. Everyone was surprised on how fast everything came back. Except for me and my husband. We knew. We knew Who had already gone ahead and worked things out. By Tuesday the following week the young man was in our home to live.
I know for a fact that this is God’s plan for us to be parents to this young man. This young man God has a plan for, and we are so thankful He has allowed us to play a role in his life. God is good.
Whenever you question, or get a pressing feeling over and over, that is God. Listen, and do what he is leading you to do. He will never steer you wrong. Nor will He go against His word. If what you sense is going against what God says, then it is NOT of God.
Pray to God and things happen. He will move mountains for you. God has entrusted me with the gift of compassion, and now I embrace it to help others.
“Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.” Ro. 11:33 NLT
What is your gift? Are you using it for God’s glory?
By, Melissa Mills, June 2016
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by riverglenwealth, openwalls, pollyanna
Has there been a time in your life where the same set of words kept showing up? Perhaps you thought it was a coincidence? But, instead it was divine intervention.
What did you do? Did you ignore the words? Reason them to fit your life? Or, listen and yield to what the words were saying? Depending on your situation, and the words, I’m sure all of our answers would be different. And, I will admit I’ve reasoned a few. How did it turn out? That’s for another day.
What I wonder is… if we do not listen, take to heart, and yield to the Words. Would we have missed a great opportunity that awaited us? Would the opportunity present itself again? Do we want to risk missing what He has in store for us?
Lately, there have been a set of words that keep resurfacing. The words first began when I had the privilege to volunteer for Vacation Bible School (VBS) at my church. It so happened the words began in my life as the motto for VBS, “and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.’” Isa. 30:21 HCSB (italics mine)
Those last seven words reappeared today with a little more volume than before. Sometimes when God is trying to tell us something He begins softly, and as He makes His message clearer the volume gets louder, and the words appear more often. The problem I have, and I wonder if you do too, is I can be so busy, or so involved with things I want, that I miss it. Or perhaps I just simply ignore the words.
Have you ever tried to get a message across? You keep repeating yourself, yet the other person just seems to ignore you. Or, if they don’t by their lack of action it is clear they have chosen to ignore you. If you’re like me you will convey your message only for so long, and after the words spew out like lava from a volcano, left unattended to over time you become indifferent to the situation. Any of us know that once indifference sets in it is typically the beginning of the end.
But, thankfully with God indifference does not set in! He keeps after us.
“He will be gracious if you ask for help. He will surely respond to the sound of your cries.” Isa. 30:19NLT.
I love how the Holman Christian Study Bible explains Isaiah 30:21, “There are two ways – a crooked path that represents an evil life heading toward death and the straight path of godliness that leads to life.” (p. 1173 HCSB) When I read that my mind immediately went to a childhood story that I heard many times. You may know it too – Hansel and Gretel, by Brothers Grimm.
There are paths in the forest in which they have been left in. Hansel decides to leave bread crumbs so they can find their way back. But, the birds eat the crumbs. At that they are to decide which path to take. Do you now see it? There is a path that represents evil, and a path that leads to life. Which one do they take?
If you know the story you know what happened. They ended up at a witch’s house – evil. Yet, they escaped, and were reunited with their father – life. I will leave out all the details in case you have never read the story. It is one of the Fairy Tale Classics.
Even though it is a fairy tale, I can relate. Can you? We are faced with a decision. There are two answers. One that will lead to not necessarily a witch’s house – evil, but to a lesser life than what God had originally planned for us. The other that will lead to a life that experiences all of His best. When we hear “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isa. 30:21
“A road will be there and a way.” Isa. 35:8a HCSB
I love how God does not just say there will be a road, and to take it. Do you notice He says there will also be “a way”? We may have wondered deep into the woods like Hansel and Gretel. All of our bread crumbs may have been eaten up from our poor choices. Yet, He will give “a way.”
“God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” 1 Cor. 10:13 HCSB
Once Hansel and Gretel escaped they were on the straight path to life. They were reunited with their father. Maybe some of you, like me, have been or are on the crooked path going deeper and deeper into the woods. Maybe right now we are face to face with the witch of our poor decisions, empty dreams, or long gone hopes, that we feel far removed us from our Father. Or perhaps you were once on that path and now walking on the straight path to life? You heard “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isa. 30:21. And, you did.
If not, and you are deep in the woods remember God provides a way. He himself will guide you, and get you back on the right track.
“I will rescue them from all the places where they have been scattered on a cloudy and dark day.” Ez. 34:12 HCSB
So friends, when the way looks dark, when all the bread crumbs you left behind are gone, when the way to go is clouded, when you hear His voice take heart. Stop. Listen, and yield to them. There are two paths – a crooked evil one, and a straight path to life. To know which to take we need to listen for:
“This is the way. Walk in it.” Isa. 30:21.
Then – Go.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015
*picture by imgkid
“Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” Pr. 3:6 NLT
That’s not really the question. Many of us have dreams. Things we wish we could do, have, or achieve. The question lies in acting on it – to move forward to try and attain it, or not to move forward. What do you do? Bingo! That’s the real question.
There are numerous avenues to try and get that answer: fortune tellers, palm readers, crystal balls, tarot cards, horoscopes, stones, and leaves. Parker Brothers even has a conduit for you – the good ole’ Ouija Board! If the Parker Brothers don’t come through for you – Mattel might with their Magic 8 ball. There are 20 possible answers, so one of them has to be right! Right? I have to admit I have been known, a time or two, or three, to shake the Magic 8 ball after asking a question. Of course, since I am the one holding the ball, I will shake it until I get the answer I want. If all else fails there is the vintage channel of figuring out what to do. The old fashioned, infamous – Eenie Meenie Miney Mo! Like the Magic 8 Ball I play the game until I get the answer I want. Then laugh because I always think, wouldn’t it be nice if life worked that way. Wouldn’t you agree? When I am faced with making a decision, and the question of “what to do” comes up – just shake, pick, or consult some thing that already knows the outcome. However, it’s not that easy. Is it? Or, is it?
The questions I’m talking about are not the daily questions of: what to wear, eat, exercise or not, who to talk to, what time to go to bed, etc. What I am referring to are the hard questions of life that could change your direction, and possibly turn it upside down, or right side up: to marry or not; where to live; what career to pursue; have the operation or not; which treatment to agree to; take the transfer or leave the company; stay married or not; etc… BIG questions, sometimes associated with BIG dreams. Questions in which the answers could make or break the situation. Oh to have the answer readily available in an easy to understand format. Do you use any of the means mentioned above? If you have experienced what I have, in the past, Parker Brothers, nor Mattel have ever been able to direct my life and steer me down the path God has for me. They may bring humor, and ignite a small spark of conversation, but when it comes to the important questions; the ones that re-direct the compass for my life I look north; to God.
I’ve learned I cannot shake the bible like the Magic 8 Ball, drop open the pages and move my fingers around to the verse for me, or like the stones and leaves pick and choose. God tells you, and me, to seek Him with all our hearts, and when we do we will find him. (Jer. 29 12-13 NIV). So how do we do that?
Here are three ways:
# 1 – Scour the Scriptures
To scour means “to search thoroughly” according to Oxford American Dictionary (p. 813). If we are going to thoroughly search the scriptures we have to spend time reading them. Not just plop and drop the bible open and read whatever appears. Get a bible with a concordance and look up what you are dealing with: sadness, loneliness, direction, marriage, finances (money), fear, the list could go on. Then write down each scripture that pertains to your situation. I realize that if you are trying to decide whether to live in Kansas verses Texas, or which job to take, that will not be in the bible. But, direction, discernment, and path will be.
After you write the scriptures, read them, and meditate on them. You may even want to cross reference them with other scripture in the Bible. This process could take a while. To scour indicates we are searching until we find.
#2 – Seek His face
Seeking His face kinda automatically happens when we scour the scriptures. We get face to face with God’s word. When you seek His face you are looking for direction only from Him. Not God plus your friends, and then we take a vote. It’s not based on the majority rule with God.
God tells us, “If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me” (Jer. 29:13 NLT). Notice it does not say, “you: may, might, possibly, by chance, or if you’re lucky.” God says – “you will find me.” I love that! That’s better than any Magic 8 Ball, Ouija Board, or other methods of assistance with a decision. That is a sure thing!
# 3 – Share our hearts
Tell God what is on your mind, what is bothering you. Tell Him about the decision, and share your concerns, fears, doubts. Why? Because He already told us to, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for He cares about you” (1 Pe. 5:7 NLT).
When something is bothering me, often I find myself wanting to run to a friend and spill my heart to them. If I am conscience about it, I will stop myself and have a conversation with God about it. He’s who I should have went to anyway. There is something freeing about releasing our worries, and concerns. Who better to do that with than our Maker Himself? Psalms 139 tells us, He knows everything about us; we can never escape from his Spirit, or presence. He saw us before we were born. When someone knows you that well – we should be sharing our heart with Him!
So the next time we are faced with a decision, instead of resorting back to a quick resolution; May we scour, seek, and share with our Maker. No eenie meenie miney mo’s about it.
“Seek His will in all you do, and he will show you the path to take.” Pr. 3:6 NLT
© Gentle Whisper Ministries
*picture by funxite
Tug-O-War. It’s a game that was played in gym class when I was younger. I don’t even know if kids play it anymore. Tug-O-War was a game in which there were two teams. Each team was divided on each side of a long rope. In the middle of the rope was a flag that would indicate the middle and serve as a guide. If you knew the game well, you would strategically place the strongest person in the back to serve as the anchor. When one team began to lose their footing from the front of the line the back of the line would kick into gear, and PULL! Each side pulling, in an effort to bring the other team across the line in the middle to secure their victory. The more popular version today with Tug-O-War is with dogs. The dog holds one end of the toy rope in its mouth and the owner the other side in his or her hand. Either way, with the family pet, or with children, there is pulling on both sides until one side is the victor. In our lives is there a tug-o-war game going on? It may not be with a rope, but perhaps with a desire? A desire to look better, keep up with “the Joneses,” a desire to fill a hole that is prevalent in our lives only God can fill, a desire to be accepted, or to be loved that we compromise our values? That is a question only you, and I, can answer personally.
In the book of Daniel there was a tug-o-war per se. It existed between Jehoiakim king of Judah, and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The match did not last long because immediately in Daniel 1:2 it states, “The LORD handed Jehoiakim over to him.” The him, is Nebuchadnezzar. During the days of Daniel Babylon is referred to as, “a lover of luxury, one that sits securely, a self-assured city, one that says, ‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’” Isa. 47:8 and Zeph. 2:15 HCSB. Babylon was a city of power, influence, wealth, vanity, and self-seeking pleasures. Scripture has noted this in 2 Kings 24, Babylon was filled with treasures from The LORD’s temple, and took into captivity only the best. King Nebuchadnezzar left the poor and weak in the land. The select people to serve in Babylon would be influenced by a three year training program as noted in Daniel 1: 3-5. In the book of Revelation, Babylon is referred to as, “Babylon the Great, Mother of Prostitutes, and of Vile things of the Earth. A dwelling for demons, a hunt for unclean spirits, sexually immoral, and merchants have grown wealthy from her excessive luxury.” Rev. 17:5 and 18:2-3 HCSB. That’s quite a team to play tug-o-war with. Using Babylon as a metaphor for something in our lives, is there an influence, wealth, vanity, or any self-seeking pleasure we play tug-o-war with?
On one side is: our desires, our lusts, our pride, and the things we have placed our trust in; whether it be our job, bank account, our homes, jewelry, cars, or another person to save us, to make us feel complete, loved, or special. The sides are ready, the line is drawn in the middle. The anchor is in the back – Babylon. We hear Babylon’s words “I, and no one else.” Isa. 47:8b.
On the other side is Jesus. He is saying, “Stand up for me against world opinion and I’ll stand up for you before my Father in heaven. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and rightly.” Mt. 10: 32, 39; 11:29-30 MSG.
With the sweat beading on our brows, and our eyes darting back and forth, we are in the middle. The flag of our heart will move over the line to the side that will claim victory. Babylon’s hands tightening on the rope, feet securing by digging into the ground, each desire gripping, reflecting its strength and stamina, enticing and influencing us. Then in a moment’s instance- the PULL! The rope comes up off the ground and we move back and forth in the middle as Babylon and Jesus both pull. The Tug-O-War has commenced. Which way will you fall?