God Speaking

The birds sing. Sirens blair. Thunder rumbles. Babies cry—all of these sounds are the sounds of everyday life.

The author of the last book of the Bible, Revelation, heard a different sound, a voice. The heavenly voice was one that John recognized. It was the Lord speaking. Now the tone of Jesus’ words we’re authoritative. The Book of Revelation describes the risen Lord’s vocalization like a trumpet (Revelation 1:10) announcing something new. The following description of his words was loud, like the sound of many waters in a waterfall (Revelation 1:15).

John worshipped every Lord’s Day while in exile for his crime—preaching the gospel of redemption. Even as a man in his nineties, he ignored his confining circumstances on an isolated prison island. This disciple’s priority was Jesus. Only the residents of heaven knew his Sunday appointment. John worshipped the Lord, and the Almighty received John’s worship in a revealing way.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega.” The scripture’s symbolism of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet is significant. Jesus is picturing the beginning and the end of all good things everywhere. The Lord added the term Almighty as if the former words were not all-inclusive.

The voice that John heard encouraged him to write to the seven churches of Revelation Two and Three. The voice John heard may not sound like the one you sense. Yours will be a quiet voice, not audible to the ears, but to your heart. God has a way of speaking personally to every individual. God’s method may be a prevailing thought, a concern for someone, or an unexpected sum of money someone else needs. Whenever God speaks, listen, and, then, do his bidding.

My World

Life was simple in the Garden of Eden. All the necessities were there. Adam and Eve accepted life as God provided. They concluded each day with a walk in the garden beside their Creator. Life was good. However, the routine lacked adventure.

When an enticement came, Adam and Eve started talking to the serpent. He began by asking questions. The snake hid the truth by placing a doubt in Eve’s mind.

The truth is not always glamorous. Dissatisfaction with reality often occurs. What I like about the truth is I can sleep without feeling guilty. Sweet dreams come at no extra charge.

The older I get, the more I find happiness and peace of mind in the simple things. I enjoy watching children playing and learning. Observing two-year-olds fitting puzzle pieces together or matching colors and shapes brings an inner joy to the observer.

There’s no prejudice with kids. When young people are friendly, everything is right with the world. When selfishness raises its ugly head, cooperation disappears. If adults would learn this, the world would be a better place to live.

Today some of our churches and believer’s get entangled in this self-centeredness by wanting to outdo one another. The result is usually some turmoil.

Life is not about taking your toys and going home when you don’t get your way. God’s plan is about sharing. No competition, just sharing and allowing the Redeemer to work when and where He chooses. My world is better when I accept his decisions and walk with him.

Ready and Willing

We live in a world of the temporary. Disposable items are a way of life now, from diapers to paper plates. We use them once, and then we throw them away. On the other side of life is the word commitment. The term defines itself. 

The trials in our lives are teaching tools. The lessons from our mistakes sharpen our fortitude not to repeat the same deeds. The consequences of mishaps help us approach life differently, often including a change in direction. Destiny has a personal invitation to somewhere, something new, or a renewed interest in the old. 

Life events have a pre-ordered schedule that is usually unknown to us beforehand, but in a timely order in a sequence. God, in his usual manner, gives no warning of his upcoming announcement or assignment. Yet, in our thoughtful hindsight, we see his guiding hand in preparation for our new endeavor. Knowing when we’re ready for his scheduled event is his omniscience. The Lord always knows when we are open to another spiritual level.

Being emotionally and intellectually prepared means we are spiritually ready to walk by faith. Trust and commitment are necessary. Confidence in our unseen Savior allows us to rely on Jesus only. He will lead, provide, and empower us for his service. Our heart’s desire for God to use us can come true. While waiting, compliance to God’s word is the thought of the day, for every day! God sees our diligence and knows the time is right. 

We must ask ourselves if we are ready and willing to be his servant. Not just for a day, but for the duration. When our answer is yes, God’s answer is also yes.

Times Have Changed

A stranger in your world could be a description of you or the title of a new book. For those under fifty, the following is a history lesson of how things used to be. If you are older, you are living in a new world. Things have changed. What you knew in your younger days is a memory. They do not exist anymore, except in attics, dreams, or museums. 

The following are examples of yesterday. Then, the norm was one television per household with a black and white screen. It went off the air at about 1:00 am with the Star-spangled Banner playing on the three stations. Things are different now.

Many families went to church in one car. Everybody put on their best Sunday clothes for worship. Then, you ate dinner as a family. Churches had three services: the Sunday am service and the evening service. Even the midweek service was a regular event and another night for visitation. Those times have disappeared.

Children were not allowed to do certain activities depending on their family background. For example, there were no Little League games on Sunday. Pro sports on Sunday were a new edition. High school events were on Fridays. College sports were on a Saturday routine. Things have changed.

Stores were closed on Sunday. Even gas stations honored the first day of the week. Your neighbors look down on anyone who cuts their grass on Sunday. Ladies would not dare hang their clothes out on this day to dry. Those, too, are bygone days.

Most police officers had Sunday off. It was a crime to commit a crime on Lord’s Day back then. The uniform of a law officer was one of respect. Hospitals sent many of their patients home before the weekend. Only a few nurses work Sundays. Those days are only a memory.

Times have changed, and people are different. Society is evolving. But the gospel is still the same. The world still needs to be redeemed. What are we going to do?

There Are No Accidents

Why you? Why now? Why are you unique? God has the answer. Are you willing to listen? God made you for such a time as this (Esther 4:14). The Lord made you for a purpose, different from everybody else. Yes, you may look and sometimes think like someone in your family, but you are different, unique, and peculiar (1 Peter 2:9). Do you realize you are special? No one can do what you can do. God has a time and a place for everything and everybody. Only you can be your parents’ child for the events coming in your life and affecting others.

What will you do knowing you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14)? The answer begins with God by asking Him for guidance every day. Suppose you are not ready every day. You’re probably not prepared for the future. Every day is an opportunity to grow spiritually and strengthen your resolve for the future.

Peacefulness facilitates endurance. Stick-to-itiveness encourages others in the challenging moments of life. Faith may not be glamorous. But faith will enable you to stand when others might fall or give up. Dependability and trustworthiness are two traits that are admired by all. 

The why of who you are and where you are now is for you to do what God has planned for you. He has equipped you for whatever task He has set before you. There are no accidents in the eyes of God. God knew all along what, when, and where all events would occur. Yet, somehow in the chaos of your life, God will get you there to do His purpose for His glory. If you can’t see or fathom the why, then wait, you will. It may be tomorrow, next year, or eternity, but you will understand. God made you for such a time as this.

Two Options

Why is the church you attend your church? In many cases, you go there because you know someone who is a member there. It could be a relative, friend, neighbor, or coworker who invited you. After the invitation and your trial run, you decided to look closer. As a seeker, you ask yourself, “Is this church a good fit for me?” 

Friendship or family ties seem to overpower all other influences. Young families tend to look for programs for their children. Parents want their kids to be enthusiastic and safe. Safety is the primary concern of parents.

Activities for young people usually supersede spiritual concerns. Evidence shows the rise of Sunday morning youth activities. Parents make their choice between sports and Sunday school. Sports are winning, based on church attendance, contributing to the decline of churches.

Many worship centers, especially the smaller ones, are made up of life-long members. Their parents brought them to church; they grew up in God’s house like Samuel of old. They will serve God all their lives there. The only thing that will move them is job relocation.

So, what is the typical church to do (average attendance in America is less than one hundred)? Two options come to mind. Remain the same or do something different.

A difference maker includes reaching out to new people and sharing the gospel. And in doing so, you may need to start innovative Bible study programs. Some churches incorporate a more contemporary style of music. Before changing your worship style, the congregation needs to agree. Many churches have difficulty with this decision. Whatever you decide affects your future outreach.

If changes happen, will your church still be yours? If there is an agreement in the congregation, then go ahead. If there is disagreement, pray until there is a total agreement.

What’s Your Answer

Your intentions, whether good or bad, belong to you. Every weekend I have two things I want to do. The first is the attend the House of God. The second is to write a meaningful blog. I’m not always successful with the second one. Many times, I struggle with something to write about. This week is no different.

I’m reading the book Rise and Shine by Charles R Swindoll, published in 1989. The first chapter is about bringing glory to God, not yourself. So, I thought I would write about three things Swindoll mentions in his first chapter (pages 29-31).

To glorify God, we must meet with Him regularly. The meeting should be a one-on-one situation. You and God with no one else around. There are times our schedule does not include God. We put others, things, and events ahead of our Lord. On those hectic days, we need to find time for God, even if it’s two minutes before bedtime.

When God answers your prayer concerns, don’t take credit for it. After all, the Lord is the one who enables you, provides for you, or allows you to be the recipient of His goodness. Pride has a way of getting in our way of giving God thanks for making good things happen.

I suggest you ask yourself if what I’m doing brings glory to God. Ultimately, our lives should be about glorifying God, not ourselves. Doing that can be a real game changer in your life. You may need to place reminders in visible places to help you refocus. Posting notes in conspicuous places can help.

At the end of the day, how did you do? Did you have time with God? When God answered your prayer, did you take the time to say thank you? 

You’re making progress if you answer these three questions with a yes. Most of us may need to improve in all three areas. I do. What about you?

Celebrate Resurrection Day

“Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” Psalm 107:2 NKJV

Resurrection changes the world. The foreknowledge of God saw human actors performing selfishly. Their efforts centered on self-indulgence. Their deeds designed by Lucifer, the fallen Angel, were intended to thwart the plan of God.

The false notion of destroying the Son of God would aid the intentions of Satan. However, the devil’s possessed an unknown handicap. Since he was not God, he did not realize he could not overpower the Creator as a created being.

Greed is never good because it is not a heavenly emotion. Generosity and liberality, however, are in the heart of God. Our Lord demonstrated His heart by allowing His Son, Jesus, to become human. The Son of God came to this earth to provide the ultimate price for man’s sin.

Consequently, the birth, life, and death of our perfect Savior, Jesus, needed one more punctuation—resurrection! Without the Lord’s resurrection, there would be no future, no hope for you to have a better eternity.

As a result, the first day of the week is now different than in Old Testament history. Sunday gives a new meaning to placing God first in our lives. Sunday changes the believer’s day of worship from the Sabbath, the seventh day, to Sunday, our celebration day. Believers now worship and commemorate the Lord’s resurrection from death to life on the first day of the week.

Indeed, God has visited his people. Two thousand years ago. Today He indwells each saint of God with the Holy Spirit. So, as you worship in celebration this Easter Sunday, take the time to recollect. Rehearse in your mind the wonderful things Jesus did for you two millenniums ago—especially His resurrection.

Easy Wisdom

Every day you wake up can present you with an opportunity or a challenge. The demands of life make your muscles ache. On the other hand, your mental anguish may be disheartening. The looming financial situation could be discouraging.

The challenge to rise above the swamps of despair seems impossible at times. There are two positive solutions. The first can be to chip away at the dilemma. If we choose this route, the process will be slow and painful. The ultimate goal is somewhere in the distance. The chips of personal experience may be bitter. However, experience is a good teacher. Our lives would be better, quieter, and less painful if we avoided some of life’s learning pitfalls. 

The second would be to ask the Lord for guidance. Bible believers are encouraged to ask for wisdom (James 1:5). This verse reminds us that God gives insight to all who ask and gives it generously. This truth is a promise that Christians ignore too much. The “how to’s” of life are available for the asking. We may need to ask ourselves, “Why don’t we apply this Bible truth to our lives?”

Our lives would be more straightforward with fewer flaws. Are we satisfied with one slice of God’s goodness? The whole cake is available. The Lord is willing to share. But are we ready to sit down with him and enjoy the presence of the Almighty?

The road of challenges always intersects the highway we travel. The smart ones learn from their mistakes and will not turn on the road of bumps and bruises. The wiser have seen the evidence. The experiences of those who’ve gone before us are better. These have learned to look in both directions before crossing the roads of life.

Christian Leaders Pray

Leadership is about leading others. Good leaders enhance productivity while helping others reach beyond their old boundaries and enter new territory.

Maybe you planned on something other than leading. Life has a way of making everyone a leader at some point—sometimes, family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, or observers from a distance force you to lead.

Every believer has someone who is watching and following. Maybe you can’t see them. Your eyes do not connect, but they are there looking at you, observing from afar or even at close range.

You are a potential leader to them. Did you ask them to watch you? No, is your reply. However, your answer doesn’t change their mind. The number one reason for your self-appointed follower to quit watching is for you to fail in their eyes.

Even Christians fail. But someone’s failure is a wake-up moment. Our eyes are on the wrong individual. No earthly human is perfect. We all stumble at some point. Misfortune may come tomorrow or next year, but it will happen.

If our eyes are on Jesus and we read the gospels, we find Jesus spent nights praying. He asked for strength and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time for those watching. His method of helping observers was different in each circumstance. Nevertheless, the outcome for the actual recipient was always an improvement.

When we watch and pray with the right motive, things work out for the better because we have our eyes on our Lord Jesus Christ.

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