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
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
Have you ever had someone tell you, just pray? Those two words can sound so simple, yet leave us speechless.
We have an example in the Book of Nehemiah. In chapter nine Nehemiah reveals to us the prayer that the people said. They had just faced great difficulties, and had just finished rebuilding the wall around their city, Jerusalem.
Their prayer is one that recognizes Who God is. His power, love truth, faithfulness, and mercy. It is reflective and expresses their knowledge of the present state they are in.
Let’s take their example and personalize it. Reminding ourselves of Who God is. His love, mercy, and even when we are not faithful to Him, His faithfulness to us.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
Here we are forging along in the Word of God. Oh how I pray that you are experiencing Him like never before! If you know of anyone that needs some encouragement please invite them to join us. We still have seven weeks left.
If you are new to our challenge welcome! I am so glad to have you! Let me give you a re-cap of what we are doing. It is the 2016 Challenge – we are taking 20 verses, one verse a week (ok, sometimes we have more than one verse in a week) which is 20 weeks. Each day we are focusing on the verse(s) for 16 minutes. When you focus on the Word of God, do so with a pen and paper. Ask Him to reveal what He wants you to know from the verses. Then the key is to write it down.
The premise for our challenge is Numbers 23:19. I will let you look it up for yourself. It is a powerful verse.
We just celebrated Good Friday. Today marks the day in-between Christ’s death, and His resurrection! The world is in a somber state…the Messiah was crucified, they feel alone, and wonder. But, girlfriend, guy friend – we know Sunday is coming! Easter Sunday. The day all hope was restored, and Christ rose. It is noted in all four of the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
As we continue our decent down the mountain this week we will focus on Easter, the meaning, and this verse:
“For we live by believing and not by seeing.” 2 Cor. 5:7 NLT
Let’s ask God to reveal to us the answer to these questions. Do I:
- really live like this?
- honestly believe that Christ died for me?
- accept that His death was the ultimate sacrifice for my sins?
- believe in His power instead of relying on what I see?
Those may prove to be tough questions, but so important because Christ did rise from the grave, and sits at the right hand of God. Mk. 16: 6 & 19.
If you feel like you are answering those questions with doubt, or a no. Pray each day and ask God to help your unbelief, and accept what Christ has already done for you.
This week may you realize the power of Christ in your life.
“Therefore, let all the godly pray to you” Ps. 32:6a NLT
Let the godly.
In the last couple of days life has presented me with a couple of situations to deal with. Decisions need to be made. Communication needs to go out. Yet, as I type I have done nothing with one of them. The other is being investigated further today.
When the first situation was handed to me I shocked myself! I went to God first to seek the answer, and direction immediately. Now some of you reading this may think – ok, that is what you should do. Perhaps you may even be thinking that is what you do. For me, a type-A, results driven, communicator that likes to engage all the senses that God gave, at times I will go to a friend before, or at the same time as seeking God’s direction. <Gasp!> Yes, it’s true. Isn’t that what a lot of women do?
Except for lately.
Lately – I have went to God first. I have went to The One that holds my life in His hands, sets my feet on His path, and gives me new mercies each day.
Today a second situation raised its head. This situation required immediate attention. I would have used my phone a friend up immediately on the game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire.” Actually, since you only get one friend to call – oh the dilemma I’d have. Can you relate? If you are a man reading this, then I assume no. The men I know internalize things and try to fix it on their own. Now we women – well if you are like me you have your crisis friends on speed dial. When something happens you can’t hit the button fast enough. Are you with me?
This morning when situation two raised its head I did not immediately feel the need to call, text, or email, any friends. Perhaps because I was already seeking God on situation one. For the first few minutes of my day I sought His peace, comfort, and presence for this. About two hours into the morning, and one cup of coffee down, my five senses began igniting; thoughts of who to call, text, or email began to fall from the tip of my pencil.
With that I set my pencil down, and put my gym clothes on. Yesterday’s application sat parked in the front of my mind from Judges 13:17-19. Manoah had inquired of the angel of the Lord and he did not get an answer. Instead of letting it interrupt his whole day he went about his business, and it is noted “as he and his wife watched, the LORD did an amazing thing!” (Jud. 13:19b NIV exclamation point and italicizes mine) I thought that is what I want, I ask, I may or may not get an answer, but to have the LORD do an AMAZING thing while I watch! Wouldn’t that be awesome?!
Yesterday in speaking with another friend I made the comment, “I wish Jesus would just come down from heaven, sit next to me, and tell me.” That would satisfy my senses. Sometimes I am like Thomas. I need to see, touch, and feel, the holes in the hand. (Jn. 20:24-28) Can you relate? But Jesus says “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (Jn. 20:29 NLT) I put my senses on the back burner, and out the door I went.
I have many friends that I consider to be godly women that love the Lord with all their heart. We pray for, encourage, and inspire each other. I love each one dearly. Then I felt God saying –reach out to these. I must admit my habits wanted to just orchestrate a text that would go out to the masses (all my friends) but I felt Him saying – just these. No, He did not come down and sit next to me. Their names were impressed on my heart. And with their names a calmness. No need to say what I did next – you know.
When a situation, trial, trouble, or mishap comes our way we want, and need prayer. The more the merrier. We are called to pray. Prayer is our communication to God himself. And, when we don’t know what to pray the Holy Spirit will intercede for us. (Ro. 8:26-27) It says, “the Holy Spirit prays for us with groaning’s that cannot be expressed in words.” Because our needs, desires, and wants are so ingrained that we don’t even know. Again, I am reminded of Judges 13:18 after Manoah asked the question to the angel of the Lord, he responded with “it is beyond understanding.” But God knows. And He says, “Let the godly pray.” (Ps. 32:6a)
One response was “I am praying for you in song.” I didn’t give much thought to it except to think how nice, as I envisioned her belting out the tunes. Then my eyes fell on Psalms 33:1a “Let the godly sing to the LORD” (NLT). He heard. His presence is here. And I was reminded of “let the godly.” When we can’t. When we do not know the words. When our minds are preoccupied with situations, events, or circumstances. When we need intercession – let the godly.
“Therefore, let all the godly pray to you” Ps. 32:6a NLT
The lesson lies in priorities – go to God first. He knows us better than we know ourselves. And, even though I do not physically see Him next to me. I know He is here. And, He is next to you. Playing in the background is “How Great Thou Art.”
Let the godly sing to the LORD (Ps. 33:1a NLT). Go ahead. Sing it. Belt it out. And, let the godly.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015
*picture by clipart
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Phil. 4:6 HCSB
Don’t worry. Two words that are easier said to another than to live out for yourself – at least for me. When one of my friends, or family member, is having a hard time with a life event I often find myself saying, “Don’t worry.” Today those two words came back to me like a homing pigeon with a message tied on its leg. When I opened the message it began with “Don’t worry,” of course this was after I had paid my bills for the month, and was left looking at the remainder. The remainder for – the month. Some of you may be in the same position, each month just making ends meet. Barley getting by. Some of you may be trying to catch up from last month, or two months ago. I am fortunate in the sense I don’t have a family at home to also provide for. But nonetheless, I understand your plight if you do.
This blog has become my journey to dive deeper into God’s Word like I never have before. The words I write are for me, as well as for you. So I hope they help. In my heart I know I am not alone. Friend, our situations may be different. You may be dealing with: a loved one that is terminally ill, you may be ill, you may be on the brink of losing everything you own, recently you may have heard the words “your position at work has been eliminated,” you may have heard “I no longer want to be in this relationship, or marriage,” your banker may have said “I’m sorry but you have no more money in your account to cover the expense,” whatever your situation – you are not alone. You may feel alone, because all your friends and family seem to be flourishing. But, you are not.
If you’ve ever read Philippians 4:6 after we get past “don’t worry” we tend to focus on our situation. Yet, if we read on through the rest of the verse God tells us what to do, and how to not worry, so we don’t worry. He gives us three steps.
The first step we already know. Don’t worry.
The middle part of verse six says– pray about everything. Tell God what you need. (NLT) God is specific in his direction. He does not say pick and choose, or pray about some things, but everything. EVERY-THING. Do you pick and choose? Do you tell Him what you need? Remember this is you telling Him. That does not mean we will get everything we ask for. If you are a parent, do you give your child EVERYTHING they ask for? If you answered no, why? Same is with God.
The last part of verse six starts with “and;” and thank him for all he has done. (NLT) We all have something to be thankful for. Are you reading this? Then you can be thankful for your eyesight. If you are reading this you have a smartphone, or a pc. You can be thankful for that. Are you healthy? Did you eat today at all? Do you have clothes on your back? I know those may sound mundane, but there are millions of people in the world that did not even have a meal today. You may have had more than three. Just saying. I’ve only listed a few, but you get the idea. If you are like me you can begin to thank Him and then all of a sudden your mind goes back to your dilemma, and worry rushes back to the front of the line. If that’s you too, get a pen and paper and write down everything you are thankful for – then read the list. Over and over if needed until verse seven magnifies itself.
Then. “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” (Phil. 4:7a NLT) Some people are happy no matter what. I tend to think they cry behind closed doors, but that’s ok. That is between you and God. He sees and hears you. Remember verse six – pray about EVERYTHING. Tell God. That’s part of it. Take Him your tears, fears, concerns, needs, and praises. With those steps no matter our situation peace floods our souls like a tsunami rushing into shore. My study bible describes the peace as “knowing God is in control.” (NLTSB)
This will take practice, lots of practice. Especially if you are a natural worrier. One thing is for certain God never says, “Try not to worry.” He says – “Don’t worry.” Once we learn to follow the three steps in Philippians 4:6, we can confidently say the next time a problem arises – God is in control; I’m not worried.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015
*picture by smashcave
Side effects. It is the consequence of taking something, or doing something. It is a result of a particular action. That’s my definition of side effects. What does the dictionary say, “1. Often harmful and unwanted effect of a drug or chemical that occurs along with the desired effect. 2. A result of an action that is not expected or intended.” (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) I had part of the definition, it is a result. Side effects because they are associated with medications tend to always be negative. And, if you’ve ever read all the side effects of something it can go on and on making even the person that needs the medication to question if they should take it. I’ve often thought at the end should be: reading all of these will leave you questioning whether to take it or not, and give you a headache.
Before I go on – I am not discounting the listed side effects they are important to know. Due to all the law suits that occur companies are required to list all possible things that could happen. This gives the consumer notice. And, unfortunately sometimes something will happen as a result of the medication.
On the other hand there are those individuals that read the side effects, and then all of a sudden after taking the medication with the first ache are convinced they have developed an effect from the medication. Couple that with conversations with other individuals that have the same issue and all of a sudden their experience becomes an identical reality. Never mind the age of the person, their body type, genetics, lack of exercise, or eating well, your joints will begin to ache, and creek. Upon a visit to the doctor it is discovered the things that occur are not side effects, but the body’s natural aging process.
But, what would happen if the side effects read:
By taking this medication you will experience: Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation. From this you will be drawn to the Word of God so that you will have a powerful weapon that you cannot live without. You will pray more both day and night, you will pray for people you know and don’t know. Your eyes, and mind, will be alert and prepared for the Devil’s schemes. You will be an encourager to others like no other. (Eph. 6:14-18 MSG). Finally it will conclude with; if you experience any of these keep taking it, Seek God more intently, and share it with others.
Whoa! Can you imagine the outbreak that would occur? I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself now! And yet, isn’t that what is supposed to happen when we follow Jesus. Aren’t those supposed to be our side effects? Not being judgmental, accusing, thinking we are better than others, or more righteous because we may go to church and others may not. I will admit I have been guilty of a few of those a time or two, or three. I remember a sermon a long time ago from one of my pastors, and he said “what you allow to go into your mind may very well direct your future.” Allow me to rephrase – what you allow to go into your mind may very well cause a side effect you may, or may not want. What are you allowing to go into your mind and take up residence?
God tells us “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you in to a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Ro. 12:2 NLT) That is what happens when we take the pill of God which is His Word, the bible. We begin to feel different, and see things different. What once was negative – now is an opportunity to share. What once we went along with we choose not to, because the side effects can be harmful. May our side effects be positive and contagious; “let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes.” (Eph. 4:23 NLT).
Your prescription reads: Ingest His Word daily: morning, noon, and night. Pray continually. This can be taken on an empty stomach because, “when your words showed up, I ate them – swallowed them whole. What a feast!” (Jer. 15:16 MSG).
The side effects include, but do not limit, His ability to influence others around you.
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2015
*picture by pastorjohnprice
Thank you for being a friend! Those six words echo in my mind as I watch the reruns of a popular 1980’s television series, “The Golden Girls.” Four women: Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, and Sophia live together in a house in Miami, FL. Each one’s own life changing event brought them together, from divorce, leaving an assisted living home, to the passing of a beloved spouse. They share their lives together, and when one hurts they all hurt. When one has a success they all celebrate! From laughter to tears they journey through each day as each other’s, “pal and confidant.” Most of us long to have that type of friend, you live life together everything from laughter to tears. They are your pal and confidant. If you have a friend, or a few, like that you know how valuable they are. Sometimes we say, “We know them better than they know themselves.” Perhaps, we do. The Golden Girls are not the only set of friends that lived together, and lived life together, there are four men who also did the same: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
You may know them best as; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. The four men that were thrown into the fiery furnace only to come out unharmed. Dan. 3: 8-30. Four young men that were taken into captivity from their homes in Jerusalem, and brought to live in Babylon. Dan. 1: 1- 7. These young men who endured a diet of vegetables and water so they would not defile themselves with the king’s food or wine he drank. In fact, it is recorded, “The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court.” Dan. 1:19 HCSB. They even worked together. These four young men also prayed together, “Daniel went home and told his friends what had happened. He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed.” Dan. 2: 17 – 18a. NLT. In their own language, to each other, they may have uttered the same words, “thank you for being a friend.” We, like the Golden Girls, may not have to pray to avoid execution, but we may pray to avoid a certain event, or to be delivered from something in our lives. They were each other’s “pal and confidant.”
Like the Golden Girls, I imagine they lived in the same house because Daniel “went home and told his friends.” I imagine they shared meals together and talked. Perhaps since they were men they talked about: the weather, the sporting events of those days, there were no cars, but perhaps they talked about certain horses and chariots, their work day at the king’s palace, all the things guys talk about. That’s not in the Bible just my thoughts having grown up with two brothers in the house. They became each other’s brother.
Through each of life’s events I imagine they, like the Golden Girls, would say to each other “and if you threw a party, and invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me, and the card attached would say – thank you for being a friend!” Golden Girls Theme Song written by Andrew Gold. Who is your Dorothy, Sophia, Rose, and Blanche? Or your Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? You may not have three, you may have one, two, or more that you live life with. If not, pray to God and ask him to bring you a “pal and a confidant.” Then – throw a party, attach a card, and say, Thank you for being a friend!
*picture on modernmet.com