Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Listen to Your Father

"Listen to your father, who gave you life..." Proverbs 23:22a (NIV)
Listening is almost a lost art. We live in a society of fast communicators. We communicate with cryptic text messages, short voices messages, IM short-hand, quick facebook one to two liners, ... We have a drive-through line mentality in so much of our interactions today. Listening you say, that takes too long. I can't afford the time.
This verse in Proverbs, however, encourages the idea of listening but not just to anybody out there. We are to listen to our father (both earthly and heavenly-I would challenge you). Sometimes our earthly fathers have served as wonderful examples of what a father should be like, however, at other times, we may struggle with any type of "feelings" of kindness, compassion, or care toward our earthly father. The important fact is that whatever kind of earthly father you had, it is because of them that you are here. You are worth it!!! The fact that they had a part in your creation is enough to be thankful to them for.
The other part of your creation came for your Heavenly Father. He not only helped in giving you physical life, He offers spiritual life to all who call on His name and believe in His Son, Jesus Christ. That Eternal Life He offers is life everlasting. That is truly something to celebrate.
I struggle at times to set aside time in my daily schedule to spend time reading my Bible, praying, and then being silent with God. It is in the times of silence that God can speak to us. Just as in any great friend/mentor relationship. We speak a little and then let our friend speak to us while we listen. Are you spending time "listening" to God everyday? I encourage you to take time to listen to Him. If you can, write down your thoughts during those times of listening. Remember, God's will for you will never contradict what scripture says.
The Bible tells us to "be still and know that I am God". Won't you be still before Him today?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Going from Ordinary to Extraordinary

Have you ever had a mountain top experience spiritually, emotionally, or professionally? Have you ever been at a loss to truly describe something you experienced? Well, that is exactly were I am right now. I will try to put words to my feelings of joy, anticipation, and excitement.

This past weekend, I attend my 3rd "She Speaks" Conference offered by Proverbs 31 Ministries (www.proverbs31.org). I knew the Lord had something special but I was unsure what that was. I always come to this conference expecting one thing and going away with more than I even imagined. I learned long ago to not put God in a box (try to limit what He is able to do based on my own human ideas).

The Friday evening session of the conference, presented by Lysa Terkeurst (www.lysaterkeurst.blogspot.com) was the beginning of my wonderful weekend journey. The verse that stood out to me the most was Acts 4:13-"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." (NIV)

Wow. Christ spent time with ordinary men. The rulers, elders, and teachers in Jerusalem could see this very clearly. Yep, these were just ordinary men. But, the fact that they had been around Jesus, in His presence, spending time listening to His teachings--this changed them. They showed courage. They astonished people with their teachings.

Could it be that because I too spend time with Jesus, studying His Word, praying, meditating on scripture,...could this change me from ordinary to extraordinary? Well, scripture suggests that "being with Jesus" does change people. I am not an extraordinary person. However, when I spend time in the scriptures, when I pray, when I wait on God's truth to teach me, I am changed from ordinary to extraordinary. It is only by the grace of God that this happens.

What about you? Do you regularly spend time studying God's Word? Do you take time daily to pray-to praise God, thank Him for the blessings He has given you, confess your sins to Him and receive His cleansing, and present your prayer requests to Him believing that He is able to answer them in His perfect time? I encourage you to develop a daily habit of Bible study. This time with the Savior will take you from ordinary to extraordinary.

In His Service,