Longing & Learning to Hear God

Longing & Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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Remembering Scripture in Ocean Sunrise & Song

Remembering Scripture in Ocean Sunrise & Song

For several years before my mom went to Jesus, I spent lots of precious time with her on the coast in New Jersey. I remembered this blog I wrote after a sweet summer with her at my sister's house in Belmar. One of the highlights has always been my early morning walks along the beach at sunrise. So maybe you need some peaceful reflection today. Why not join me as I "go to the beach" and enjoy the glory of our great Creator in pictures, Scriptures and song. Blessings, my friend. 

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Abba's Little Girls: Mama-sisters

Abba's Little Girls:  Mama-sisters

Motherhood is a Sisterhood...unrivaled by any other (except perhaps, Grandmother-hood). So if you are a mom, you are my beloved sister...

And sometimes we mama-sisters just need to be daughters...Abba's (Hebrew for Daddy) little girls.

So this Mothers' Day, let us hear these restful words of promise from our Abba:

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The Secret Place of Communion

The Secret Place of Communion

Where do you go to commune with your God? 

Do you go to a chapel or a church?  to a favorite place near a stream, at a mountain retreat, or on a beach? Do you go to a "prayer closet," a special place in your own home?

But maybe you are frustrated because there never seems to be a "place" where you can go. Maybe you're a mom with young children or a special needs child. Perhaps you are a working mom or a worker who needs to moonlight at a second job to make ends meet. Maybe you or a loved one has a handicap or serious illness that takes you to services and medical places that seem to consume your life. Where is the place for you?

I have good news for all of us ... 

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Arrested by the Risen Christ: Brenda's Story

Arrested by the Risen Christ:  Brenda's Story

Every Easter I think of family and friends who have died in Christ.  Somewhere and sometime on their earthly journey they each met the Risen Christ in a unique way...some quite dramatically, some softly and quietly.

During this Easter week, I'd like to tell you about a friend who was arrested by the Risen Christ.  She's virtually unknown, except by those whose lives she touched.  Her name is Brenda.

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Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Resurrection ZOE -- the Dance of LIFE!

Easter isn't Easter unless it's Easter to YOU!

So declared a radio preacher early in Holy Week a few years ago. At first I said, "Yes!"  Then I thought about it awhile and said, "Not really! Easter is Easter whether I get it or not."

What is Easter anyway? Easter is the day we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the grave. He had conquered sin and death on the cross and then was raised, so that we could walk in newness of life. (cf. Romans 6:4)

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Abandonment

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Abandonment

Abandoned!  Left on the "doorstep of Life"...but with no Rescuer in sight! What happens next in the unfolding drama of the crucifixion of our Lord is incomprehensible!

It's an abandonment so profoundly mysterious that it boggles the mind...but ravishes the believing heart! Let's watch it unfold...

It is noon.

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Longing and Learning to Hear God

Longing and Learning to Hear God

As far back as I can remember, I longed to know God.  At my mother's knee, I would sit and listen to stories she would tell me from our big gilded Bible.  You know the one...with the records of births and deaths, marriages and first communions. But it wasn't until later, in my young adulthood, that I became aware that I could hear God's voice speak to me...not audibly, but in the still, small voice of His sweet Spirit dwelling within.

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Hearing God...when getting mixed messages

Hearing God...when getting mixed messages

I have a precious friend named Kitty. She sees and hears God EVERYWHERE! Her favorite "mantra," so to speak, is"He is is SO personal!"  And that's what I love about Kitty!

However, for Kitty and for all of us, hearing God can be a little tricky.  Jesus said we DO hear Him if we belong to Him. But how? Where does the hearing take place?

Kitty and I had such a conversation the other day.  Here is my paraphrase:

KittyI'm struggling.  One minute I hear this message in sermons and songs and blogs,

"Wait upon the Lord.  Keep silent and wait." 

And that's what I'm trying to do. But then the next minute, it is

"God is waiting for you to step out in faith, and then He will move." 

Which is it?

JanThis is the key, Kitty...

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"Your heart has knees..."

"Your heart has knees..."

I would like to tell you about Lou, a friend and brother in the Lord.  Lou was a "flower child" of the '60's.  He, of course, would never have missed Woodstock -- along with all his long-haired hippie freak friends.  And Lou loved to share.  What he always shared was the latest "turn on" he had discovered and enjoyed, no matter what it might be. But there was Something missing in Lou's life.  He didn't realize that it was a God-shaped Someone, and He had a Name.  His Name is our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

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Facing the New Year without Regret

Facing the New Year without Regret

Another year, another 365 days to accumulate regrets! Loved ones have passed into eternity; opportunities have flown by because we have delayed too long ... and on and on. So I'm sharing this, one of my most visited blog posts over the years. May we all be able to face the fresh regrets of 2016, many of which are valid, and place them in the loving arms of our Savior. Amen.

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Advent Devotions: the WITH-ness of our God {His Presence in prepositions}

Advent Devotions:  the WITH-ness of our God {His Presence in prepositions}

Isn't it wonderful when someone wants to spend time with us?  Not just a token, obligatory, "showing up" to either fulfill an obligation, salve guilt, or ask for something...a real wanting to be with us.

As special as it is in human relationships, think how amazing it is when we realize that the Sovereign God of the universe has wanted to be with us!  Yes, US!  and according to the Bible words used, we see that in Jesus, our Emmanuel, He is with us on every level possible.

In the original language of the New Testament, there are three Greek words that can be translated with.  With is one of a group of many words we call prepositions.  Don't worry about the grammar of it all.  Just keep in mind that the key idea with prepositions is relationship.

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An Unexpected Grief

An Unexpected Grief

There I was, sitting at the stop light. All of a sudden, an overwhelming grief ... not primarily for my mom who died an exact year before, almost to the day. No, for my dad ... who had died in 1983 right before Thanksgiving.

But why am I grieving now ... why this year, when I hadn't thought of him at this time other years?

I tried to track my train of thought and realized that my thoughts had gone from grieving over my mistakes in my parenting to the difficulties in my own childhood home.

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"All of God in all of me"

"All of God in all of me"

In recounting her journey to Christ as a young college student, Jill Briscoe tells of a little nurse who led her to the Lord during a hospital stay. The night Jill was saved and every night thereafter,  that wise little nurse encouraged her to go to sleep saying:

All of God in all of me.

Jill says, as a result of that truth etching itself in her mind and heart, she never doubted that when she received Christ, she had gotten all there is of God. 

... If the spirit is a person, then you can't receive a "bit" of the Spirit, just as you can't receive only a part of a person. So I had been given all of God I was going to get ...*
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Living from a Reservoir

Living from a Reservoir

You cannot impart what you do not possess!

This was a favorite saying of Dr. Howard Hendricks of Dallas Theological Seminary.

John & I had the privilege of sitting under Dr. Hendricks' teaching in the 1980's at DTS. No matter the class, whether it was "Bible Study Methods" or the "Christian Home," this profound little truth would punctuate the "Prof's" lectures.

In my last post, we talked about Teaching from a Reservoir.  If Dr. Hendricks' statement is true, then teaching (or whatever we are doing) from a reservoir presupposes LIVING FROM THE RESERVOIR -- the reservoir of truth in relationship with Him who is the TRUTH.

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Teaching from a Reservoir

Teaching from a Reservoir

…Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

In the early fall of 2000, John & I were blessed by a visit from Dr Marvin Mayer and his wife Shirley. Dr. Mayer had just retired from many years of teaching Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.  John & I were students at MBI in the 1970′s.  Dr. Mayer fast became one of my favorite professors and “spiritual father,” with a continuing relationship over the years.

On this particular visit, I got up early so I could walk with Dr M in the morning before he and Shirley left to return home to Illinois.  As we walked and talked, he spoke of his years of teaching and made a statement that grabbed my attention:  “I teach from a reservoir.”

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Lenten Meditation: Eulogize your living loved one

eulogy  noun, plural eulogies.1. a speech or writing in praise of a person or thing, especially a set oration in honor of a deceased person. 2. high praise or commendation.

In our week's Lenten meditation, we focus on the Lord's care for His dear mom as His own death approaches.  How tender, how like a beloved son of a beloved mom! Caring for our treasured loved ones is at the heart of "family" in the purest sense of the word.

However, we often forget that true caring can be much deeper and more needed than merely physical care, as critical as that is.  There's a caring that touches heart and soul...one that meeting physical needs approaches, but a caring that perhaps only loving words can reach.

We busily go through our lives, often thinking many kind thoughts and feeling loving, appreciative sentiments for our loved ones, but not stopping to put words and voice to them...nourishing the soul of ones we love.

Rather what do we traditionally do?  We wait until the person has passed away to express those words, words that deep down she may have been longing to hear.    We give those golden words to others in the form of a eulogy, either formally or informally delivered, at a funeral or memorial service.

I've been thinking a lot about death these days, especially since my dear mom has gone to her reward with Jesus in heaven just last November.  About eight years ago, several of my siblings had the wonderful brain-child to celebrate my mom's 85th birthday with a big party/reunion.  This was a huge deal with music, singing, readings and fun!

As part of that, many of us wrote, in a sense, our eulogies to her, and my son Jeremy compiled them in a book with photos.  And as wonderful as the entire occasion was, the most important thing was that little volume of golden words.

I'm not sure my mom was able to take it all that day. But I do know something was received...she was honored with words of love, affection, and affirmation.  And she looked through that book while she was in the Manor House Senior Center, and who knows but many memories kicked in when she viewed not just words but also  photos of loved ones.

So dear friends, don't wait too long!  Don't even wait till 85...life is a vapor!

I really believe that a big part of our grief over the loss of a loved one is really regret (which can eat us alive!).  Seize the opportunity to just simply say the beautiful, wonderful things you think and feel, even right then and there in the moment. You don't need a big bash to do it! Don't assume the person knows how you feel!We are all insecure enough to NOT KNOW!

You will be glad you did...but most of all, your loved one will be "cared for" in the depths of her soul!

For His honor and glory! Amen!

To see my "eulogy" for my mom's 85, click here.

Take a look at the one another verses.