from Enjoy the Silence by Maggie and Duffy Robbins
This is something i've needed to read since I dont know when...I'm so glad I can share it with you.
11 The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah. 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:
" 'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD,
'I will frown on you no longer,
for I am merciful,' declares the LORD,
'I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—
you have rebelled against the LORD your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
under every spreading tree,
and have not obeyed me,' "
declares the LORD.
14 "Return, faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your forefathers as an inheritance.
19 "I myself said,
" 'How gladly would I treat you like sons
and give you a desirable land,
the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.'
I thought you would call me 'Father'
and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel,"
declares the LORD.
21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,
the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel,
because they have perverted their ways
and have forgotten the LORD their God.
22 "Return, faithless people;
I will cure you of backsliding."
"Yes, we will come to you,
for you are the LORD our God.
Read these verses two times, slowly and prayerfully. Listen carefully. Is there a portion of this passage tugging at your heart in a particular way?
How do you feel when you read the words, "'But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful to me, O house of Israel,' declares the Lord," Is there any sense today, in which you might be hearing God speak these words to you?
Think about a time when you were unfaithful to God. Don't hurry past this memory. Recall what brought you to that place. What was it that made you turn away from God? Why did that event, that situation, that set of circumstances, that person make you turn away from the God who chose you as his own?
You may want to stop and sit silently to think about that question. Try to remember the failure, guilt or disappointment you felt when you realized you'd let God down. Take a few moments to record your thoughts...
Read the passage a third time, listening especially to God's word of inviation to you in verses 12 and 13.
"'Return, faithless Israel,' declares the Lord, 'I will frown on you no longer for I am merciful,' declares the Lord, 'I will not be angry forever. Only acknowledge your guilt--you have rebelled against the Lord your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me," declares the Lord.
How does it make you feel to realize no matter how much you deny him and rebel against him, God still calls you back to his side? Unworthy? Un welcome? Ungrateful? Or do you feel loved unconditionally?
God will not be angry forever. He is merciful.
"Only acknowledge your guilt--you have rebelled against the Lord your God" (verse 13).
God knows where you've been. He knows what youv'e done. He knows everything. Yet he says, "Come back!"
Where earlier you recorded your feelings aobut failure, disappointment, or guilt, write in big letters over everything you've written, "Return to me."
just something entertaining for y'all
I googled that today, hoping to find something random but uplifting. Instead, I found a bunch of different things like "God wants me to drive a cadillac...", "God wants me to be President", "God wants me to run for congress", and "God wants me dead." This posed an interesting thought. What does God really want us to hear or be, and are we taking the right steps to know.
Sitting here, You could easily tell yourself, "God wants me to...(fill in the blank)." You just know, for instance, that God wants you to buy that brand new BMW x5, or to get that brand new pair of nike's at the mall. Certainly, God wants what is best for you, right? Are these God's thoughts and intentions though, highly unlikely. God is begging you to hear his thoughts, and his voice though. He is begging you to listen, but we are too controlled by the static of the world to hear Him. The static says that you need new things, you need success, you need money, you need power, you need to control your own life. The static is all about you. It's about your thoughts, wants and desires. I'll be the first to admit for many years that was my focus. I wanted to be someone famous, someone to make a difference on TV. I wanted to make a lot of money or at least marry into a lot of money. I'm beginning to see however, the only way to get what you need...is to find out what God wants for you to need.
Listening to God has always been my hardest point. I could never find the time to just listen. However, that is what our world needs to start doing. Waking up 10 minutes earlier, or spending that time you usually spend watching Jay Leno, with God, listening. Mark Virkler has amazing tips for you to start hearing God. Read on, to find the Four Key's to Hearing God's Voice (which will lead to God's call).
Key #1 - God’s voice in our hearts sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Therefore, when I tune to God, I tune to spontaneity.
The Bible says that the Lord answered me and said...(Hab. 2:2). Habakkuk knew the sound of God’s voice. Elijah described it as a still, small voice. I had always listened for an inner audible voice, and surely God can and does speak that way at times. However, I have found that for most of us, most of the time, God’s inner voice comes to us as spontaneous thoughts, visions, feelings, or impressions. For example, haven’t each of us had the experience of driving down the road and having a thought come to us to pray for a certain person? We generally acknowledge this to be the voice of God callus to pray for that individual. My question to you is, "What did God’s voice sound like as you drove in your car? Was it an inner, audible voice, or was it a spontaneous thought that lit upon your mind?" Most of you would say that God’s voice came to you as a spontaneous thought.
So I thought to myself, "Maybe when I listen for God’s voice, I should be listening for a flow of spontaneous thoughts. Maybe spirit-level communication is received as spontaneous thoughts, impressions, feelings, and visions." Through experimentation and feedback from thousands of others, I am now convinced that this is so.
The Bible confirms this in many ways. The definition of paga, the Hebrew word for intercession, is "a chance encounter or an accidental intersecting." When God lays people on our hearts for intercession, He does it through paga, a chance encounter thought, accidentally intersecting our thought processes. Therefore, when I tune to God, I tune to chance encounter thoughts or spontaneous thoughts. When I am poised quietly before God in prayer, I have found that the flow of spontaneous thoughts that comes is quite definitely from God.
Key #2 - I must learn to still my own thoughts and emotions, so that I can sense God’s flow of thoughts and emotions within me.
Habakkuk said, "I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart..." (Hab. 2:1). Habakkuk knew that in order to hear God’s quiet, inner, spontaneous thoughts, he had to first go to a quiet place and still his own thoughts and emotions. Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still, and know that He is God. There is a deep inner knowing (spontaneous flow) in our spirit that each of us can experience when we quiet our flesh and our minds.
I have found several simple ways to quiet myself so that I can more readily pick up God’s spontaneous flow. Loving God through a quiet worship song is a most effective means for me (note II Kings 3:15). It is as I become still (thoughts, will, and emotions) and am poised before God that the divine flow is realized. Therefore, after I worship quietly and then become still, I open myself for that spontaneous flow. If thoughts come to me of things I have forgotten to do, I write them down and then dismiss them. If thoughts of guilt or unworthiness come to my mind, I repent thoroughly, receive the washing of the blood of the Lamb, and put on His robe of righteousness, seeing myself spotless before the presence of God.
As I fix my gaze upon Jesus (Heb. 12:2), becoming quiet in His presence, and sharing with Him what is on my heart, I find that two-way dialogue begins to flow. Spontaneous thoughts flow from the throne of God to me, and I find that I am actually conversing with the King of Kings.
It is very important that you become still and properly focused if you are going to receive the pure word of God. If you are not still, you will simply be receiving your own thoughts. If you are not properly focused on Jesus, you will receive an impure flow, because the intuitive flow comes out of that upon which you have fixed your eyes. Therefore, if you fix your eyes upon Jesus, the intuitive flow comes from Jesus. If you fix your gaze upon some desire of your heart, the intuitive flow comes out of that desire of your heart. To have a pure flow you must first of all become still, and secondly, you must carefully fix your eyes upon Jesus. Again I will say, this is quite easily accomplished by quietly worshiping the King, and then receiving out of the stillness that follows.
We have already alluded to this principle in the previous paragraphs; however, we need to develop it a bit further. Habakkuk said, "I will keep watch to see," and God said, "Record the vision" (Hab. 2:1,2). It is very interesting that Habakkuk was going to actually start looking for vision as he prayed. He was going to open the eyes of his heart, and look into the spirit world to see what God wanted to show him. This is an intriguing idea.
I had never thought of opening the eyes of my heart and looking for vision. However, the more I thought of it, the more I realized this was exactly what God intends me to do. He gave me eyes in my heart. They are to be used to see in the spirit world the vision and movement of Almighty God. I believe there is an active spirit world functioning all around me. This world is full of angels, demons, the Holy Spirit, the omnipresent God, and His omnipresent Son, Jesus. There is no reason for me not to see it, other than my rational culture, which tells me not to believe it is even there and provides no instructions on how to become open to seeing this spirit world.
The most obvious prerequisite to seeing is that we need to look. Daniel was seeing a vision in his mind and he said, "I was looking...I kept looking...I kept looking" (Dan. 7:1,9,13). Now as I pray, I look for Jesus present with me, and I watch Him as He speaks to me, doing and saying the things that are on His heart. Many Christians will find that if they will only look, they will see. Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us. It is as simple as that. You will see a spontaneous inner vision in a manner similar to receiving spontaneous inner thoughts. You can see Christ present with you in a comfortable setting, because Christ is present with you in a comfortable setting. Actually, you will probably discover that inner vision comes so easily you will have a tendency to reject it, thinking that it is just you. (Doubt is satan’s most effective weapon against the Church.) However, if you will persist in recording these visions, your doubt will soon be overcome by faith as you recognize that the content of them could only be birthed in Almighty God.
God continually revealed Himself to His covenant people using dream and vision. He did so from Genesis to Revelation and said that, since the Holy Spirit was poured out in Acts 2, we should expect to receive a continuing flow of dreams and visions (Acts 2:1-4). Jesus, our perfect example, demonstrated this ability of living out of ongoing contact with Almighty God. He said that He did nothing on His own initiative, but only that which he saw the Father doing, and heard the Father saying (Jn. 5:19,20,30). What an incredible way to live!
Is it actually possible for us to live out of the divine initiative as Jesus did? A major purpose of Jesus’ death and resurrection was that the veil be torn from top to bottom, giving us access into the immediate presence of God, and we are commanded to draw near (Heb. l0:19-22). Therefore, even though what I am describing seems a bit unusual to a rational twentieth century culture, it is demonstrated and described as being a central biblical teaching and experience. It is time to restore to the Church all that belongs to the Church.
Because of their intensely rational nature and existence in an overly rational culture, some will need more assistance and understanding of these truths before they can move into them. They will find this help in the book How to Hear God's Voice by the same author.
God told Habakkuk to record the vision and inscribe it on tablets...(Hab. 2:2). It had never crossed my mind to write out my prayers and God’s answers as Habakkuk did at God’s command. If you begin to search Scripture for this idea, you will find hundreds of chapters demonstrating it (Psalms, many of the prophets, Revelation). Why then hadn’t I ever thought of it?
I called the process "journaling," and I began experimenting with it. I discovered it to be a fabulous facilitator to clearly discerning God’s inner, spontaneous flow, because as I journaled I was able to write in faith for long periods of time, simply believing it was God. I did not have to test it as I was receiving it, (which jams one’s receiver), because I knew that when the flow was over I could go back and test and examine it carefully, making sure that it lined up with Scripture.
You will be amazed when you attempt journaling. Doubt may hinder you at first, but throw it off, reminding yourself that it is a biblical concept, and that God is present, speaking to His children. Don’t take yourself too seriously. When you do, you become tense and get in the way of the Holy Spirit’s movement. It is when we cease our labors and enter His rest that God is free to flow (Heb. 4:10). Therefore, put a smile on your face, sit back comfortably, get out your pen and paper, and turn your attention toward God in praise and worship, seeking His face. As you write out your question to God and become still, fixing your gaze on Jesus, who is present with you, you will suddenly have a very good thought in response to your question. Don’t doubt it, simply write it down. Later, as you read your journaling, you, too, will be amazed to discover that you are indeed dialoguing with God.
Children can be rather good at disobeying their parents. I know, I still have a hard time completely obeying my parents. Sure, I usually do the things they tell me now, because I've learned the consequences of not doing what they ask. I also have 19 years of experience of life to tell me that doing what is right is better than doing what is wrong. Today I found out my brother took medication I take to school with him last Friday, his teacher confiscated it. I wasn't surprised to learn this because lately he's been taking things that don't belong to him a lot. He has also become very verbal (back talking) and has done a lot of things he really shouldn't have. At 8 years old, a lot of people expect things like this out of him. However, my parents still have to punish him to correct him and teach him that what he does will not be accepted as he gets older. Even I, his older sister, being 10 years older than him, have taken on some responsibility in correcting him. Who else will teach him that turning on the neighbors water and flooding their yard while they or my parents are not home, is not acceptable? This brings me to the everlasting question of punishment. How does God punish his children?
Looking up punishment for children on biblegateway.com, I found a few verses but they all read something like this.
Exodus 21:17 "If anyone calls down a curse on his father or mother, he will be put to death.
Kind of harsh for an eight year old, I think. However, it does remind me of the question. How does God punish his children? Being that he can not physically teach us our actions are wrong by spanking us or sending us to our rooms without dinner, he instead does worse things to us. Take the story of Jonah, he was a child of God. He went everywhere preaching God's word and correcting the ways of the cities that had fallen from God. One day, God asked Jonah to go to Ninevah. Ninevah was a place that was filled with sin, Jonah refused to go. Instead, he sailed the other direction. God punished Jonah for disobeying him by sending Jonah into the belly of a large fish for three days. Jonah, being punished for his wrong doings, then set out for Ninevah, preaching to them and saving them from the fire of God. It was good news for Ninevah, who no longer were on God's death list, but Jonah became angry because they were saved. He knew what they did. He knew about their past before coming to God. God asked Jonah, "Do you have any right to be angry?" (Jonah 4:4). In fact, Jonah didn't, but angry still he set out for a place further up insisting God was going to destroy the city. After all, they were too evil for complete salvation. Out in the middle of no where though, God showed his mercy not only to Ninevah but to Jonah as well. Even with a hard heart, God provided shade for Jonah, then he took it away because Jonah didn't take care of it. After he took it away, the sun beat down on Jonah so hot he wanted to die. But again God said, "Do you have any right to be angry about what happened to the vine?". Jonah replied, " "I do," he said. "In fact, I'm angry enough to die." (Jonah 4:9). God was teaching Jonah a lesson, punishing him but teaching him a lesson. The lesson he taught is explained in Jonah 4:10 and 11, "But the Lord said, "You have been concerned about this vine. But you did not take care of it. You did not make it grow. It grew up in one night and died the next. 11 Nineveh has more than 120,000 people. They can't tell right from wrong. Nineveh also has a lot of cattle. So shouldn't I show concern for that great city?"
Just as God did to Jonah, we must also do to our children. Teach them a lesson...punish them...
This is a little something personal to my life, but something I think every one should know. My brother and I are very special people to the world. We both have "psychological disorders". I have been diagnosed with depression, that I struggle with daily. My brother, Cole, has mild autism and ADHD. Today, I want to focus on him.
Cole began life like every other child. Nothing seemed to be wrong with him. When he was in Kindergarten however, we noticed he had a hard time understanding the things most children did. He even had a hard time being social. This was totally different considering my sister and I had both been extremely smart, learning everything quickly and faster than other students. When he was in first grade he was diagnosed with ADHD, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He would do such things as walk around the room at inapproriate times, not pay attention, stare into space, he had a hard time following directions, and most of all, he just wasn't learning. We have spent the last two years fighting his hardships with medication. Although, I can't begin to describe to you the difficulties we went through with him. His appetite became nothing and he was more anti-social than ever. During class, he still could not focus and was constantly silent. His teacher this year became very worried about him, as did our family. After many tests and such, he has finally been accepted into the special education program at his school because of a diagnosis of mild autism. We thank God for this because we never want him to feel like he's stupider than people, because he's not. He just learns things at a different pace, it takes him longer. He has the capabilities though, to do whatever he wants.
The point of this long story is to say, one day my brother will ask himself, like I do almost every day...why was I made this way? Why am I different than everyone else?
I'd like to believe it was God's plan for Cole and I. WIthout our struggles, we would not learn to persevere. We would not learn that we have special talents that some people do not have. For instance, Cole is very good at building things, taking things apart, and art. He will either be an artist or a mechanic. He's so smart in those areas, even if it isn't book smarts. God created everyone in special ways. Children with disabilities are blessed in their own ways and the families that raise them are blessed as well. My hope is that whether you, a family member, or a stranger has a disability that you not see it as a curse, but a blessing.
Psalm 139:13 says God created you from your mothers womb. He created you special. He created EVERYONE special.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God.
5 For you, O Lord, are my hope,
my trust, O Lord, from my youth.
25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Thanksgiving and Prayer
3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel,
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
11:1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
I really liked the answer I saw on gotquestions.com to the question "Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?" The answer is as follows:
"Why do bad things happen to good people? That is one of the difficult questions in all of theology. God is eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, etc. Why should we human beings (not eternal, infinite, omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent) expect to be able to fully understand God’s ways? The book of Job deals with this issue. God had allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him. What was Job’s reaction? “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15). “The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised” (Job 1:21). Job didn’t understand why God had allowed the things He did, but he knew that God was good and therefore continued to trust in Him. Ultimately, that should be our reaction as well. God is good, just, loving, and merciful. Often things happen to us that we simply cannot understand. However, instead of doubting God's goodness, our reaction should be to trust Him. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Perhaps a better question is, "Why do good things happen to bad people?" God is holy (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). Human beings are sinful (Romans 3:23; 6:23). Do you want to know how God views humanity? “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-18). Every human being on this planet deserves to be thrown into hell at this very moment. Every second we spend alive is only by the grace of God. Even the most terrible misery we could experience on this planet is merciful compared to what we deserve, eternal hell in the lake of fire.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Despite the evil, wicked, sinful nature of the people of this world, God still loved us. He loved us enough to die to take the penalty for our sins (Romans 6:23). All we have to do is believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16; Romans 10:9) in order to be forgiven and promised a home in heaven (Romans 8:1). What we deserve = hell. What we are given = eternal life in heaven if we would just believe. It has been said, this world is the only hell believers will ever experience, and this world is the only heaven unbelievers will ever experience. The next time we ask the question, “Why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?”, maybe we should be asking, “Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?”
As much as we can be angry with the student who led out the attacks that led to the deaths of 33 College Students and Professors yesterday in Virginia, I ask us to pray instead. Pray for the victims families, that they may find peace and love in such a difficult circumstance. Pray that they seek God or find him in this tragedy. I also ask you to pray for the students that are injured, that there pains are healed and they are able to return to their lives and their studies as quickly as possible. Also, pray for the family of the shooter, for they are a victim in this as well. They have also lost a son, brother, cousin, nephew, etc. Pray that they see God, since in South Korea, I know, that is very difficult to do. Lastly, pray for the faculty remaining at Virginia Tech and their families, that they are able to rise above this heart breaking circumstance and return next week with poise and love for everyone around them. That they too, may find God.
Remember, You do not have the right to decide who goes to Heaven and who does not because honestly, NONE OF US deserve it.
13Who among you is wise and understanding? (A)Let him show by his (B)good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom.
16For where (I)jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
18And the (Q)seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
1 Corinthians 3
1 Corinthians 3
Taking Sides in the Church
1 Brothers and sisters, I couldn't speak to you as if you were guided by the Holy Spirit. I had to speak to you as if you were following the ways of the world. You aren't growing as Christ wants you to. You are still like babies. 2 The words I spoke to you were like milk, not like solid food. You weren't ready for solid food yet. And you still aren't ready for it.
3 You are still following the ways of the world. Some of you are jealous. Some of you argue. So aren't you following the ways of the world? Aren't you acting like ordinary human beings? 4 One of you says, "I follow Paul." Another says, "I follow Apollos." Aren't you acting like ordinary human beings?
5 After all, what is Apollos? And what is Paul? We are only people who serve. We helped you to believe. The Lord has given each of us our own work to do. 6 I planted the seed. Apollos watered it. But God made it grow.
7 So the one who plants is not important. The one who waters is not important. It is God who makes things grow. He is the One who is important. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have the same purpose. The Lord will give each of us a reward for our work. 9 We work together with God. You are like God's field. You are like his building.
10 God has given me the grace to lay a foundation as a master builder. Now someone else is building on it. But each one should build carefully. 11 No one can lay any other foundation than the one that has already been laid. That foundation is Jesus Christ.
12 A person may build on it using gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay or straw. 13 But each person's work will be shown for what it is. On judgment day it will be brought to light. It will be put through fire. The fire will test how good everyone's work is. 14 If the building doesn't burn up, God will give the builder a reward for his work. 15 If the building burns up, the builder will lose everything. The builder will be saved, but only like one escaping through the flames.
16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple? God's Spirit lives in you. 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. God's temple is holy. And you are that temple.
18 Don't fool yourselves. Suppose some of you think you are wise by the standards of the world. Then you should become a "fool" so that you can become wise.
19 The wisdom of this world is foolish in God's eyes. It is written, "God catches wise people in their own tricks."—(Job 5:13) 20 It is also written, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise don't amount to anything."—(Psalm 94:11)
21 So no more bragging about human beings! All things are yours. 22 That means Paul or Apollos or Peter or the world or life or death or the present or the future. All are yours. 23 You are joined to Christ and belong to him. And Christ is joined to God.