How You Know When God is Speaking to You

Lots of people want to know what God has to say to them specifically about the details of their lives.  Sometimes we would be happy with a general direction.  I have never been spoken to audibly, but the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, and many times it is at the weirdest times. That is how I know it is Him.  I could not come up with such genius and wisdom when I’m in that place between sleep and awake, running, in the green bean isle at Target or reading a children’s devotion to my daughter. Maybe you can relate?  I have friends who say they have clearly heard from Him in the shower or some other happy place where no one else is demanding their attention.

Here is an example.  I have been praying like CRAZY lately.  It’s this whole new world.  I grew up in a pastor’s home, and they talked about praying all the time, and we prayed all of the time.  But, somewhere along the line there was a disconnect.  I had in my mind that God was really going to do whatever He wanted to anyway, so my prayers were very wimpy and served little purpose.  On the other hand, my husband has been praying all of our married lives.  He always prays on his way to work – faithfully every morning.  He believes in it, and knows it can change an outcome.  He always says, “If you don’t ask, why should God give it to you?”  He has been carrying this family for 20 years.

So back to my praying.  I read Circle Maker and was totally inspired to seriously begin praying.  What did I have to lose?  I began a prayer journal.  I would simply “talk” with God.  I would ask Him for very specific things, and He began answering left and right.  He has helped my daughter transition into a new school beautifully, He has helped my dad with a health issue, I sold my parents’ home in 30 days without a realtor.  I know they seem like tiny things, but they are big deals in my life.  He has been so good,  that I talked with my husband about it.  I was worried – almost feeling guilty that things were going to good.  What?!?  God is answering too many of my prayers?  He said that was ridiculous (I like the way he says things).

Two hours later, my daughter and I were doing a devotion from Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling.  Let me give you a little portion, “This is a time of plenty in your life.  Your cup overflows with blessings.  Enjoy this time – it is My gift to you.  Don’t feel guilty when everything is going well.  Don’t turn away from My blessings because you think you don’t deserve to be so blessed.  That is nonsense.  The truth is no one deserves anything from me.  Instead of trying towork for My blessings, I want you to receive them thankfully.  I give you good gifts becasue I love to see your joy wehn you recieve them.  So open your hands and your heart, and accept My blessings gratefully.  This brings Joy to you and to Me!”

OK, wow!  Got that one loud and clear during my daughter’s devotion at 9:00 when I really just wanted to go watch tv.

God speaks.  We just have to be open to what He says and available to hear when He wants to reveal it to us.  He is full of surprises, wisdom, and answers when we least expect it.  I love that about Him

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Puppy Love

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We wanted our daughter to switch schools, and that is the last thing in the world she wanted to do.  So, with a little prodding and a new puppy, we are finally convincing her. (Oh, just call it what it is – bribery.)  None of the two practical, experienced, or wise people in our home wanted a dog because they were in fact aware of what would happen approximately three hours after the precious puppy’s arrival.    About 2 hours after our blessed new arrival, everything unravelled.  There was poop!  There was pee!  It looked like the toy department at Petland had thrown up in our family room.

Gone were the days when I was trying to stuff toddler toys in a bin in the corner of the family room, but here were the days I was stuffing dog toys in a bin in the corner of the family room.  THIS IS LIKE HAVING A NEWBORN.  There is no rest or peace.  I am waiting for nap time and tip toeing around when it happens.  I took her for her first walk.  Please note that I took her and not one of the three kids that begged to have her.  She nipped and bit at my neon shoe strings.  She would stop and try to eat those dead dried up worms that couldn’t quite make it across that black hot pavement,  she would pull at the leash and try to wander away.

The next morning when I was running alone (ALL ALONE), the song, “I Can Only Imagine”, came on.  I usually skip this song because I have heard it 7 million times, but it hit me in a fresh way.  The first  line is, “I can only imagine what it will be like when I walk by your side.”  And, it hit me.  Sometimes, I am like my puppy when it comes to walking with Jesus.  I will nip and bite at Him with my worries and concerns.  I get distracted with with things that have absolutely no eternal value.  He will try to draw me in and pull me away to walk with Him, but I will tug at that leash and attempt to go a different direction.

He continues to invest in me and shower me with grace.  I look forward to that day where I can finally meet Him face to face and walk with Him.  But, I want to do that before I’m dead.  I want to be able to walk with Him now.  I want to follow His lead without the questions, doubt, and stopping for things that just don’t count.  I want to walk beside Him like the beautiful, loyal and trusting daughter He created me to be.  It is a continuous journey and process that I wouldn’t want to miss for the world. One day my puppy will walk by my side like the beautiful, regal, and  strong German Shepherd she was born to be.

I wrote this in August.  It is now January, and I’m not exactly where I want to be with our walks, but it’s way better.  I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  Lucy has happily and successfully completed her first semester.  Queens the puppy helped her all the way.

Behind the Pulpit

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Behind the pulpit, you usually find a great man.  Behind the great man, you usually find a great woman.  This is what you expect.  This is what you hope for.  This post is for the pastor’s wife.

You have a special place in my heart because my mom is one of you.  I recently spoke at a conference for pastors’ wives.  It was supposed to be from a pastor’s kid’s perspective.  I thought it would be fairly easy.  As I was preparing, I was finding out more and more about these sweet women.  Their stories reminded me of ours.  Their homes were like the one I grew up in.  My dad was a pastor at a larger church, but they were experiencing the same pain and difficulties that we did.

My heart was broken for them.  You see, more than anything, the devil wants to take away our faith.  He would love to have our marriages, our children and our churches, but the greatest prize would be our faith.  You think it would be harder to tear away our faith living in a pastor’s home.  But, many times that is the easiest place.  When you live so connected with that occupation you see things that are unthinkable.  They are things you would expect to see out in the world, but not taking place in God’s precious church.   The people that are put so high up on pedestals in our congregations seem to fall the hardest.  Every time we don’t see it coming, but it does.  It knocks the wind out of us.  It takes a little bit of our faith because we are utterly confused and completely stumped that someone that makes the claims that they do would participate in the behaviors that they do.

We ask ourselves, “Is this it?  Are these the best people Christianity has to offer?”  I struggled with this so much.  I still hear stories that blow me away.  But, I prayed.  I shared my frustration with Christ.  This is what was pointed out to me.  Colossians 3:1-2 says, “He is your life.  So, if you’re serious about living this new resection life with Christ, act like it.  Pursue the things over which Christ presides.  Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you.  Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is.”

I have to look up.  I can’t get caught up in the challenges, questions and difficult things right in front of me.  It is imperative that I change my perspective to God’s perspective and focus on eternity.  I will think on what is lovely, noble and pure.  I will look at people through Christ’s perspective and with his love instead of the devil’s judgement, accusation and hate.

It’s interesting.  How many times have people seen me fall off my pedestal?  God always picks me right back up.  It is so easy to see someone else’s sin as worse than ours.  I thank Him for His constant grace, forgiveness and love.

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