Listening To The Voice That Matters

Noise. Confusion. Doubt. Chaos. So much bombards our life making it difficult to know which way to go sometimes. A devotion from Streams in the Desert says we are to be still and listen for God’s clear direction when our path seems uncertain.

“When we are in doubt or difficulty, when many voices urge this course or the other, when prudence utters one advice and faith another, then let us be still, hushing each intruder, calming ourselves in the sacred hush of God’s presence; let us study His Word in the attitude of devout attention; let us lift up our nature into the pure light of His face, eager only to know what God the Lord shall determine—and ere long a very distinct impression will be made, the unmistakable forth-telling of His secret counsel.”

This devotion tells us to take our questions to God. It says if we will get alone with God where the lights and shadows of earth cannot interfere, where human opinions fail to reach, and wait there silent and expectant, even though all around us insists we make an immediate decision or action, the will of God will be made clear.

The world clamors for our attention in light and shadow. Everyone has an opinion and advice they aren’t afraid to share, whether the sharing is done in a healthy way or not.

The world works hard to pull us away from following closely after Jesus. Voices all around us tell us what we should do and how we should do it, often against what God’s Holy Word tells us we should do. At those times, as the Streams in the Desert devotion writer suggests, we are to shut out the intruders, and calm ourselves in God’s truths.

God doesn’t shout to be heard. He doesn’t rush us toward a decision. He doesn’t keep us so active or agitated we can’t hear from him. He doesn’t frighten or push us. Those are the deceiver’s tactics, not God’s.

Just as the sheep know the shepherd’s voice by being still and listening to it, we can know Jesus’ voice in the same way. But first, we must shut out the imposter’s voice.

“STAND STILL,” my soul, for so thy Lord commands: 
E’en when thy way seems blocked, leave it in His wise hands; 
His arm is mighty to divide the wave. 
“Stand still,” my soul, “stand still” and thou shalt see 
How God can work the “impossible” for thee, 
For with a great deliverance He doth save.

Be not impatient, but in stillness stand, 
Even when compassed ’round on every hand, 
In ways thy spirit does not comprehend. 
God cannot clear thy way till thou art still, 
That He may work in thee His blessed will, 
And all thy heart and will to Him do bend.

“BE STILL,” my soul, for just as thou art still, 
Can God reveal Himself to thee; until 
Through thee His love and light and life can freely flow; 
In stillness God can work through thee and reach 
The souls around thee. He then through thee can teach 
His lessons, and His power in weakness show.

“BE STILL”—a deeper step in faith and rest. 
“Be still and know” thy Father knoweth best 
The way to lead His child to that fair land, 
A “summer” land, where quiet waters flow; 
Where longing souls are satisfied, and “know 
Their God,” and praise for all that He has planned.
—Selected

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And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a voice behind you say, “No, this is the way; walk here.” Isaiah 30:21 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Pause for Poetry – I Laid it Down in Silence

I Laid it Down in Silence

Frances Ridley Havergal

Selected from Streams in the Desert

I laid it down in silence,

This work of mine,

And took what had been sent me–

A resting time.

The Master’s voice had called me

To rest apart;

“Apart with Jesus only,”

Echoed my heart.

I took the rest and stillness

From His own hand,

And felt this present illness

Was what He planned.

How often we choose labor,

When He says “Rest”–

Our ways are blind and crooked;

His way is best.

Work He Himself has given,

He will complete.

There may be other errands

For tired feet;

There may be other duties

For tired hands,

The present, is obedience

To His commands.

There is a blessed resting

In lying still,

In letting His hand mold us,

Just as He will.

His work must be completed.

His lesson set;

He is the Master Workman:

Do not forget!

It is not only “working.”

We must be trained;

And Jesus “learned” obedience,

Through suffering gained.

For us, His yoke is easy,

His burden light.

His discipline most needful,

And all is right.

We are to be His servants;

We never choose

If this tool or if that one

Our hands will use.

In working or in waiting

May we fulfill

Not ours at all, but only

The Master’s will!

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You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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It Doesn’t Hurt Us to Be Nice

courtesy pixabay

The other day as I drove to my son, Pie’s, apartment located across from one of the local high schools, I remembered it doesn’t hurt us to be nice. You see, a teenage boy sped across the divided four lane highway on his skateboard up ahead of me.

Ninny. I thought. You could get yourself killed.

As I parked the car and walked across the parking lot to Pie’s apartment, who should scoot past? The Ninny. I mean, the teenager.

The way I saw it, I had three choices.

  • Be polite, smile, and say hello.
  • Let the parent/teacher in me out and lecture the teen on the danger of riding his skateboard across a busy street.
  • Or ignore him altogether.

Can you guess what I did?

I smiled and said hello. And you know what? Skateboarder Dude raised his silver-studded lip into a smile, waved back, and said hello.

Are there ever times when we see someone and become standoffish just because of their age, looks, or demeanor, without any real basis for that reaction?

I’m not talking about tuning away from someone when the spidey-sense God gives us goes off as we walk through a dark parking lot alone. Or when we find ourselves someplace we probably shouldn’t be.

I’m talking about refusing to acknowledge someone just because we’ve allowed a negative stereotype to take hold.

From the way the teen smiled after I spoke to him, I believe he was surprised I acknowledged him at all. It’s possible he may be accustomed to adults turning away and ignoring him. Or worse.

Back to my choices.

I could lecture him for the careless way he rode through traffic out of concern for his safety. I could ignore him completely as if he didn’t even exist because he acted irresponsible to my way of thinking. Or I could be nice.

By being nice and not lecturing or ignoring, maybe God used my few simple words to speak life to the teen in some small way.

You never know. But I’m pretty sure the other two options would not result in as positive a response.

Have you ever let discomfort stop you from being nice when it wouldn’t have hurt to do so?

This post first appeared on my blog May 8, 2016.

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It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others. Ephesians 2:10 (TLB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Half the Battle: Healing Your Hidden Hurts Book Review

As is true with most things, there are good and not so good. I found this to be the case with Half the Battle: Healing Your Hidden Hurts by Dr. Jon Chasteen.

First the good.

Dr. Chasteen points out most of us are engaged in a battle of some kind, saying we all have hurts and wounds. Before we fight external battles, he says we must fight the internal battles we hide and cover up.

He states the only way to truly rid ourselves of the shame and guilt of these hidden wounds is to invite God into them, allow him to take his knife to the wound, and let him remove it.

The majority of the book talks about wounded, rejected people. In the final chapters Dr. Chasteen compares the World War I and the story of Gideon to facing our battles today in the light of Jesus as our guide, in the unity of believers, and with praise.

There is a study guide at the back of the book with additional questions for consideration.

Now the not so good.

I found the way the author wandered back and forth through various scriptures to prove his point extremely disjointed and distracting.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blog About Bloggers Network for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave. Leave a comment between October 8, 2020 and October 14, 2020 for an opportunity to receive a free copy of the book. Winner will be notified by October 20, 2020.

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Boast in the Name of God

In Kay Arthur’s book, Lord, I Want to Know You, she asks, Where do we run for help? What’s our first instinct? Do we trust and boast in the name of God as our defender, or do we trust and boast in human strength?

I have to admit far too often my first thought when I face an overwhelming problem is to either try and solve it myself, or run to someone I feel can. While there are times when either of these actions may be the prudent thing to do, the problem I see is defaulting to humans before we seek God.

In biblical times chariots were a means of protection and escape. They were a measure of an army’s wealth and power. We don’t need to look further than the exodus account to see how useless Pharaoh’s chariots were against the power of Israel’s Jehovah-nissi when his people reached the Red Sea (Exodus 14).

While we don’t have chariots pulled by horses these days, far too often there may be things or people we trust and boast in perhaps more than we trust and boast in the name of God.

In her book Kay Arthur asks, “Why don’t we take an aggressive stand in the face of fear?” She suggests it is because we don’t trust and boast in the name of our God. She suggests we write down our fears, troubles, insecurities. As we consider our list, she says to ask God to show which of his attributes will meet that need.

Recording God’s attributes and names in a journal as I read through the Book of Psalms helps me see God as so much more than a single faceted divine being. The first attribute I recorded in my journal is filled with fierce fury against those who plot against him.

From there my list includes ruler of all nations, my shield, my only hope. God is the lifter of my head. That’s an attribute and name I boast in often.

God is righteous, the perfect judge, majestic, creator, everlasting, refuge, merciful. He is the helper of the helpless, father to the fatherless, healer, trustworthy, shelter in the time of storm, redeemer, strong and mighty in battle.

And that’s just the beginning.

In our time of trouble and need there is nothing better than to boast in the name of God. When we run to him in full trust, believing he is more than capable to do exceedingly more than we could ever dream, hope, or imagine, we find he alone is worthy to be praised.

I’d love to hear what names of God you boast in.

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. Psalm 20:7 (NASB)

You can find my October Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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