Friday, December 20, 2013 this thing on?

John 10:27-28 (NIV)

 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

My husband, used to our poor cell service, usually starts a static filled call with the words: this thing on?

Those words often make me smile. But today reading Jo Ann's post about Listening for God's Voice it has a bit of new angle.

We often wonder, and are asked, Are you SURE you can hear God? Are you SURE you are doing HIS will? And how do we answer when doing His will turns out unexpectedly for us?

A friend of ours asks if we are missing God's voice. I'm pretty sure that is what the enemy wants us to do - be busy. Be DOING stuff so that being STILL and hearing God is just not possible.  The world doesn't want us to be still. Be busy. Do something. Anything. Just don't be STILL!

    Psalm 46:10
    He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 
Be still. Oh how hard is THAT?

The enemy wishes for it to be impossible. Impossible!  The enemy wants us busy, accessible, loud, unfocussed and running about. He would love for us to be running, yelling over our shoulders, Lord why aren't you leading me?

Why?  Because when he steals our ability to be still, he has stolen our focus. Our ability to BE.  He wants us doing. He wants us busy. A distracted Christian is so valuable to him. 

When we are NOT STILL we are not praying, we are not caring, we are not hearing, we certainly are NOT listening. To anyone. Or anything. 

This is so apparent to me at Christmas. We have had our Christmas stolen, and sometimes we eagerly give it away to the false god of busy. 

Jesus was born in a stable. I wrote a bit about Expectations and Standards and about the importance of that humble stable.  Another thing about a barn, at night, it is quiet. The animals are resting. They are still.  

Our Savior was born at night in a stable.  His mother tucked away things in her heart, she pondered them. Silent adoration. Still in awe and love.

We can hear God all around us. In the trees, in the bird song, in the crunch of snow and fall leaves. We can hear God in the wisdom of a child. We can hear God in the sign of a panhandler. WE CAN. But do we?  God lets us choose.

>>>>>  think on that for a second - God lets us choose.

We can choose to listen for Him. We can choose to let the world distract us. We can choose to hear Him. We can choose to let the world steal our still.

Have you ever used a two-way radio?  There are three key things to using them!  

1) Choose the right channel. Are you on the channel of the King? 

2) Push in the button to talk. Prayer and time in the word is our button. 

3) Release button to hear what is being said. You can't hear if you don't stop talking. Let the button go!

Channel. Push to talk. Release to hear. 

We are often running on 2 outta 3! The third step is the most important one! And we miss it. We miss it!

Instead of shouting, GOD WHERE ARE YOU? WHY CAN'T I HEAR YOU? could we try being still.

1 Kings 19:11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (emphasis mine)

Elijah had huge faith. And huge courage. And he knew that God wasn't in the loud. But in the whisper. The quiet. The STILL!

What if we were able to stand the still long enough to hear God?  Pass through the storms, and the distractions, to find Him?

We don't distract God. We become distracted from God. He longs for us to be present, to be attentive to Him. But He won't force us. Worship is an act of love, not an obligation.

We are so trained, over trained, to be busy. To appear important is to be busy. To appear valuable is to be busy. To have worth is to be busy. It is a lie! It is a TRAP of the slickest kind.

Sisters, and brothers - BE STILL!  He waits to speak to us. And He will!

Linking up today with the amazing and lovely #VoiceBloggers!

Join us won't you?  Link up your own blog, share in the comments and leave love. Always leave love!  And pray for one another.

Jo Ann Fore

Thursday, December 5, 2013

connection lost please try again





What is it about the holidays that makes us want to connect with people?  Are we feeling nostalgic in the face of all the Christmas specials that make even a fictional imperfect family seem perfect?  Or do we long for the neighborhood where you just pop over for a visit and find a full blown holiday festival in the living room?

What is it about the holidays that makes us want to disconnect with people? To step away, back way. Run away? To get away from the cost of social obligations. The pain of smiling from the sidelines. The alone in the middle of a crowd?  The stress, the mess and the fuss.

When my husband and I talk about the holidays, any holiday, and our traditions we find some stark differences and some comforting familiar ground. To quote Christian comedian Mike Warnke, "It's a strange place this place."

It is strange. This time of year. And our need to connect. And it goes back so far. Further back than even the birth of Christ. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than them. Even Herod. The wise men. Some for good, some for ill. Connections with people are the same way.

We need to connect in healthy ways. In ways that fill us with the fruits of the spirit. Ways that are counter to most of our culture. But sometimes we can't make it happen. Sometimes it isn't God's will to happen.

Have you ever lost your internet connection, and even though you have done everything on your end right it is still gone?  It is out of your hands. Clicking your mouse repeatedly won't work. Shouting won't work. Plugging and unplugging hasn't helped. The troubleshooter is out of ideas.

That is when you know the problem isn't with you.

Connecting with people, making connections, is no different!

Sometimes, despite our best and most prayerful efforts nothing works the way WE WANT IT TO.

Rest assured, it ALWAYS works the way God wants it to!

So sometimes the best way to find good connections is to recognize the bad ones. Like being able to tell counterfeit money by being completely familiar with the real currency - we can learn to detect wrong, faulty or false connections.  And we can rewire them, leave them with our Holy Provider or we can disconnect.

We can miss some incredible connections with people when we are spending our time trying to connect where God doesn't intend us to. It's hard. So hard. I WANT to reach out again, break my own boundaries. To see if they have changed. Stay my hand Lord. Steady my soul. 

Connections are made to be tested. To be rewired. Re-written. Written over. Corrected, maintained or abandoned. They are fragile and need to be handled with prayer.

Connections are so important, and in our overly-connected world we sometimes miss what they are meant to be. God wants us to be connected as a community. People loving on each other, praying for each other and going out and doing the same for others.  We need deep connections, ones that nurture roots. Ones that help us grow. And ones that prune us, too.

How do you test your connections?  Do you test them?  I would love to discuss in the comments with you!

Linking up today as one of the #VoiceBloggers at Jo Ann Fore's page. Come by and join in. Share in the comments, add a blog post to the link up or join our book group. Everyone is welcome!

Jo Ann Fore