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.

Read More

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.

Read More

Speak a Blessing...Be a Blessing

hugging a tree
hugging a tree

Is there someone in your life that needs hope and encouragement? How about all of us? While preparing recently to teach a study on Hebrews 11, God's Hall of Faith, I read, as if for the first time, about two of the patriarchs that I rarely ever think of in connection with faith: Isaac and Jacob.

By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future. By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of Joseph’s sons, and worshiped as he leaned on the top of his staff. Hebrews 11:20-21 NIV

Yes, that word blessed jumped out at me. And I remembered a significant moment in time on the last day of a preschool class I taught back in 1998-1999. It was significant because of what the Lord did and what He taught me as a result.

Why not reminisce with me via a blog I wrote to celebrate my "preschoolers" graduation from Xenia Christian High School.  And then answer my original question:

Is there someone in your life that needs hope and encouragement?

tree huggers
tree huggers

Why not be the one to speak a blessing...and be a blessing!

PS If you would like to read my entire "trip into yesteryear," click on Kingdom Academy.

The Blessing 1999

Sometime during the school year, I had read The Blessing by Gary Smalley & John Trent. In that wonderful book, the authors explore our human need for approval and validation. They show how this need was met in the Biblical blessings given by fathers to children. But also we could do this for our children today and for others we care about. The authors listed 5 elements to the Blessing:

1. Meaningful touch 2. Spoken words 3. Expressing High value 4. Picturing a Special Future 5. Active commitment

I intended to use what I learned from this book to bless my own young adult children and the ladies in my Bible study group. I basically left it at that, but God had other ideas.

It was the last day of PK class. We were gathering our things into each child's box. Just as we were all lined up and starting to walk down the hall and out to the waiting moms, the Holy Spirit stopped me. "Bless them!"

PK 98 last day
PK 98 last day

So there in the hallway, I laid my hands on them one by one and prayed over each in turn...unique words and blessings for every child. I wish I had journaled the blessings...alas! I didn't :(

But what I'll never forget are the eager little faces...as each child waited his turn to be blessed!

No dry eyes for me...and a lesson learned in the value of blessing others!

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

I Am A Promise I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice I am a promise to be anything God wants me to be.

I can go anywhere that He wants me to go I can be anything He wants me to be I can climb the high mountains I can cross the wide sea I’m a great big promise you see!

I am a promise I am a possibility I am a promise with a capital “P” I am a great big bundle of potentiality And I am learnin’ to hear God’s voice And I am tryin’ to make the right choice

I’m a promise to be anything God wants me to be Anything God wants me to be!


The Pilgrim Spirit of Faith (Hebrews 11)

We are so tied to the here and now, aren't we?  But at the heart of the life of faith is belief in the unseen God and trust in His promises that this world is not all there is.  People of faith are "pilgrims," "aliens."

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13,16

pilgrimage
pilgrimage

A bumper sticker I recently saw says it well,

We are not human [temporal] beings having a spiritual [eternal] experience. We are spiritual [eternal] beings having a human [temporal] experience.

If our existence on this earth is temporal, then it is temporary.  And according to God, it's fleeting...and we need to come to grips with that if we are to have the correct perspective of life on earth.  So...

...let these Scriptures wash over you, and then humbly worship the unseen God, our Father, Who loves us!

Hear my prayer, O Lord!    Listen to my cries for help!    Don’t ignore my tears.For I am your guest    a traveler passing through,    as my ancestors were before me. Psalm 39:12 NLT

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,    it will become a place of refreshing springs.    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger,    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. Psalm 84:5-7 NLT

Your word has been the music of my lifethroughout the years of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.Psalm 107:43 NLT

your life a vapor
your life a vapor

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NASB

grass of the field
grass of the field

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children... Psalm 103:15-17 NASB

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Cor 4:16-18 NASB

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NASB

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth Would care to know my name Would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the bright and morning star Would choose to light the way For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin Would look on me with love And watch me rise again? Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea Would call out through the rain And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

I am yours Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? 'Cause I am yours I am yours

We are Part of Something Bigger than Us! (Hebrews 11)

Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11

John Eldridge in his book The Sacred Romance says that deep inside of us is a longing for intimacy and adventure.  Here in Hebrews 11, we definitely see both!  The intimacy is with a God who spoke us into existence and now can be trusted to care for us every step of the way (we will see this again in Heb 12). And the adventure...oh my!  We are part of something bigger than ourselves...and that's exciting!  We are in the "race of faith" with a long line of "runners"...some famous, like Abraham and Moses; some infamous and unlikely, like Rahab and Samson; and some unknown, like those who were sawn in two (among other horrors)...people "of whom the world is not worthy," the writer to the Hebrews says (Hebrews 11:38).

What is it enables us to endure, like our fellow runners?  It's faith!  Not the world's kind of faith, which makes faith a work, or a "name it and claim it," or an "entity" in myself that I need to muster up enough of to get what I want.  NO!  As Andrew Murray says, "faith is confessed helplessness, casting itself on God [the living God, the "I Am"] and His promises [which are 'yes and amen!']."

Heb 11:1
Heb 11:1

So the nature of true, Biblical faith has to do with the unseen and the future.  It is confidence in what we don't see:  God & His promises; not in what we do see:  circumstances, people, things, feelings, etc.

And the outcome of faith is that it puts "a smile on God's face"...it pleases Him.  He puts His stamp of approval on us!  In fact, He so loves to see faith that He witnesses to it in us...He testifies to it in His children.  Remember how God boasted of Job?  "Have you observed my servant Job?"  That's what God does when He sees true faith!

According to Spiro Zodiates in his Word Studies in the NT, the words, "to be approved, to obtain the testimony, obtained the witness" are all the same Greek word in the passive voice (which means someone else does it).  The exciting thing is that God "lauds" [dare I say, "applauds"] us and "reports well" of us because of our faith (which faith, by the way, is a gift, Ephesians 2 :8-9; as is everything in life!)

So this means that God is looking for faith, not perfection!  And that is good news to those of us who worship at the altar of "doing the right thing" or "doing it perfectly."  It may sound so right to be trying so hard to be perfect or get it right, but where is God in that picture?  That sounds more like self-effort and a "works with a smidge of God" type spirituality.

Heb 11:6
Heb 11:6

As you reflect on these far-from-perfect-people in Hebrews 11, thank God that, despite your "fluctuations of body and soul,"  you can walk by faith TODAY, because HE IS and He rewards those who seek HIM...step by step...by faith!

Hebrews 11 – Ray Stedman

BY FAITH Keith & Kristen Getty

By faith we see the hand of GodIn the light of creation's grand designIn the lives of those who prove His faithfulnessWho walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earthWith the power of His promise in their heartsOf a holy city built by God's own handA place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a dayWhen the longed-for Messiah would appearWith the power to break the chains of sin and deathAnd rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to goIn the power of the Spirit to the lostTo deliver captives and to preach good newsIn every corner of the earth

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith this mountain shall be movedAnd the power of the gospel shall prevailFor we know in Christ all things are possibleFor all who call upon His name

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

That was for This: Longing & learning to hear God

That was for This:  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.

Read More

Hebrews 11: the Pilgrim Spirit of Faith

We are so tied to the here and now, aren't we?  But at the heart of the life of faith is belief in the unseen God and trust in His promises that this world is not all there is.  People of faith are "pilgrims," "aliens."

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth...Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:13,16

pilgrimage
pilgrimage

A bumper sticker I recently saw says it well,

We are not human [temporal] beings having a spiritual [eternal] experience. We are spiritual [eternal] beings having a human [temporal] experience.

If our existence on this earth is temporal, then it is temporary.  And according to God, it's fleeting...and we need to come to grips with that if we are to have the correct perspective of life on earth.  So...

...let these Scriptures wash over you, and then humbly worship the unseen God, our Father, Who loves us!

Hear my prayer, O Lord!    Listen to my cries for help!    Don’t ignore my tears.For I am your guest    a traveler passing through,    as my ancestors were before me. Psalm 39:12 NLT

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,    who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,    it will become a place of refreshing springs.    The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings. They will continue to grow stronger,    and each of them will appear before God in Jerusalem. Psalm 84:5-7 NLT

Your word has been the music of my lifethroughout the years of my pilgrimage. Psalm 119:54

Those who are wise will take all this to heart;    they will see in our history the faithful love of the Lord.Psalm 107:43 NLT

your life a vapor
your life a vapor

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14 NASB

grass of the field
grass of the field

As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children... Psalm 103:15-17 NASB

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.2 Cor 4:16-18 NASB

So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NASB

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Who am I, that the lord of all the earth Would care to know my name Would care to feel my hurt? Who am I, that the bright and morning star Would choose to light the way For my ever wandering heart?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin Would look on me with love And watch me rise again? Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea Would call out through the rain And calm the storm in me?

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

Not because of who I am But because of what you've done Not because of what I've done But because of who you are

I am a flower quickly fading Here today and gone tomorrow A wave tossed in the ocean A vapor in the wind Still you hear me when I'm calling Lord, you catch me when I'm falling And you've told me who I am I am yours

I am yours Whom shall I fear? Whom shall I fear? 'Cause I am yours I am yours

Hebrews 11: We are Part of Something Bigger than Ourselves!

Hebrews 11
Hebrews 11

John Eldridge in his book The Sacred Romance says that deep inside of us is a longing for intimacy and adventure.  Here in Hebrews 11, we definitely see both!  The intimacy is with a God who spoke us into existence and now can be trusted to care for us every step of the way (we will see this again in Heb 12). And the adventure...oh my!  We are part of something bigger than ourselves...and that's exciting!  We are in the "race of faith" with a long line of "runners"...some famous, like Abraham and Moses; some infamous and unlikely, like Rahab and Samson; and some unknown, like those who were sawn in two (among other horrors)...people "of whom the world is not worthy," the writer to the Hebrews says (Hebrews 11:38).

What is it enables us to endure, like our fellow runners?  It's faith!  Not the world's kind of faith, which makes faith a work, or a "name it and claim it," or an "entity" in myself that I need to muster up enough of to get what I want.  NO!  As Andrew Murray says, "faith is confessed helplessness, casting itself on God [the living God, the "I Am"] and His promises [which are 'yes and amen!']."

Heb 11:1
Heb 11:1

So the nature of true, Biblical faith has to do with the unseen and the future.  It is confidence in what we don't see:  God & His promises; not in what we do see:  circumstances, people, things, feelings, etc.

And the outcome of faith is that it puts "a smile on God's face"...it pleases Him.  He puts His stamp of approval on us!  In fact, He so loves to see faith that He witnesses to it in us...He testifies to it in His children.  Remember how God boasted of Job?  "Have you observed my servant Job?"  That's what God does when He sees true faith!

According to Spiro Zodiates in his Word Studies in the NT, the words, "to be approved, to obtain the testimony, obtained the witness" are all the same Greek word in the passive voice (which means someone else does it).  The exciting thing is that God "lauds" [dare I say, "applauds"] us and "reports well" of us because of our faith (which faith, by the way, is a gift, Ephesians 2 :8-9; as is everything in life!)

So this means that God is looking for faith, not perfection!  And that is good news to those of us who worship at the altar of "doing the right thing" or "doing it perfectly."  It may sound so right to be trying so hard to be perfect or get it right, but where is God in that picture?  That sounds more like self-effort and a "works with a smidge of God" type spirituality.

Heb 11:6
Heb 11:6

As you reflect on these far-from-perfect-people in Hebrews 11, thank God that, despite your "fluctuations of body and soul,"  you can walk by faith TODAY, because HE IS and He rewards those who seek HIM...step by step...by faith!

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Homework: Read Hebrews 12:1-24 Answer questions in Hoping for Something Better, p. 201-203 Read chapter 9,  Hoping…

Hebrews 11 – Ray Stedman

Class notes -- BY FAITH…Heb 11

BY FAITH Keith & Kristen Getty

By faith we see the hand of GodIn the light of creation's grand designIn the lives of those who prove His faithfulnessWho walk by faith and not by sight

By faith our fathers roamed the earthWith the power of His promise in their heartsOf a holy city built by God's own handA place where peace and justice reign

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith the prophets saw a dayWhen the longed-for Messiah would appearWith the power to break the chains of sin and deathAnd rise triumphant from the grave

By faith the church was called to goIn the power of the Spirit to the lostTo deliver captives and to preach good newsIn every corner of the earth

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight

By faith this mountain shall be movedAnd the power of the gospel shall prevailFor we know in Christ all things are possibleFor all who call upon His name

We will stand as children of the promiseWe will fix our eyes on Him our soul's rewardTill the race is finished and the work is doneWe'll walk by faith and not by sight