A Direct Line

Have you noticed?

It appears that some people have a direct line to God.  When they call (pray), God always responds.   Stuff happens.

I believe it’s true – some people have a direct line to God.

Why?

Because they pray in line with God’s will.  When I pray for what God wants to give me, I always get it.  He has promised me.

God tells me in James 1, when I pray for wisdom, I always get it – in generous amounts.  When I pray for more of the Fruit of the Spirit, the Spirit that lives inside of me helps grow and nurture those things.  When it’s God’s will for me, he says yes every time.

The key is praying God’s will.  What does God want?  What is best for his purposes?

To do this, I need to know God well.  I need to have his word etched on my heart and mind so that it’s how I think.  And – this can be a tough one – I need to put what he wants ahead of what I want.  There are times when God reveals to me through his Word what he wants done in a certain situation.  Other times, I simply pray Jesus’ prayer, “Thy will be done.”

I can’t give God a list of things I want and expect him to say yes to everything.  But when I pray for what God wants – knowing and trusting that what he wants is always best –  it happens.

This doesn’t mean I don’t ask God for things I want.  He tells us to pray to him all the time on every occasion about everything.  It does mean that the answer will not be ‘yes’ if I’m praying out of line with his will.

In 1 Chronicles, King David was trying to bring the Ark of God back to Jerusalem but he was running into big problems.  One of his men died because he touched the Ark to steady it.  That scared David so he left the Ark with a local family and went on to Jerusalem.  There, he realized the issue with the Ark  was “we did not inquire of him (God) about how to do it in the prescribed way.” 1 Chronicles 15:13b.

So David consulted God and, when they did it God’s way, they were successful.  David danced with joy in front of the Ark as it entered Jerusalem, the City of David.

When I ask God to do things his way, my direct line to God is wide open.

And the answer is always ‘yes’.

Thank you, Abba Father.

No Such Thing

There are no ‘good witches’. This is one of the lies that permeates our culture. We all see these ficticious characters in movies and TY shows doing good things for people or cleaning their house with a twitch of their nose.

No one can be a ‘good witch’ because there are two major supernatural forces in our world – good versus evil, God versus Satan. God is very clear in his Word that witches do not get any power they have from him. God does not speak through Ouija boards or seances – he speaks through his Word. So that leaves just one place where witches or any of these things can get their supernatural power – Satan. And Satan is never good.

Satan is the great Deceiver and the Father of Lies. He can make something bad look like it’s okay. He can twist the truth just slightly to make it a very convincing lie. He can use something that looks good to bring about a bad result. Make no mistake – evil intentions lie under everything Satan does.

The story in the Bible of King Saul going to the Witch of Endor is a sad story with a interesting twist. The enormous Philistine army was approaching and Saul was terrified. He ‘inquired of the LORD, but the LORD did not answer by dreams, or Urim or prophets.” 1 Samuel 28:6. Saul was regularly disobeying God at this time, so God stopped answering him. Why give Saul an answer if he’s not going to obey? Sometimes God will stop answering us, too, if we continue to ask but are not listening and obeying.

In the past, Samuel had helped Saul listen and obey God, but now Samuel was dead. Saul wanted to talk with Samuel so he went to the Witch of Endor. The witch did her normal ‘consulting the spirits’ act but then screamed when she saw Samuel appear. Why did she scream? She obviously did not expect someone to actually come back from the dead – she was used to making it all up.

And Samuel wasn’t happy about being disturbed. That makes sense. He was enjoying heaven and suddenly he’s back on earth having to deal with Saul’s fear and lack of trust in God.

Samuel told Saul because he continued to be disobedient, God was going to do what he said – take away Saul’s kingdom.

And the next day Saul and his three sons were dead.

In this instance, God worked through a witch in order to achieve his purposes. But she was not a ‘good witch’.

Don’t be deceived.

Thank you for your truth, Abba Father.

Psalm 57, 2021

Hear my prayers, Father, and show me your compassion.  I will hide myself in your shadow until my fears and worries go away.

I ask that you fulfill your purposes for my life.  I know the angels of heaven are fighting my battles and they will give me victory.

Your love and faithfulness never leave me, Father.

I am surrounded by the evil one who is trying to take pieces of me and devour me.

But I still praise you, God.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

My enemy sets traps for me – especially when I am weary and distressed.  The evil one digs deep pits in my path but then he falls into them himself.

I am confident in you, oh God.  My heart sings your praises.  I awake every morning with a song of praise to you.  Thank you for your love and faithfulness which has no end.

I praise you, Father.  May your glorious light shine over all the earth.

Psalm 63, 2021

O God, you are my God.  I am searching for you with all my heart.

My soul needs you.  My whole being longs to be close to you in this empty, weary and very confused world.  I treasure the precious time I get to spend with you.

I have personally witnessed your power and glory.  I praise you for your love which makes this life worth living.

I will lift my hands and heart up to you in praise for as long as I live.  Only you can fill the emptiness inside of me and make me sing for joy.

In the darkest part of the night, I remember how much you have loved me in the past and how much you have promised to love me in the future.  My heart sings for joy as I cling to your promises and feel your arms around me, holding me safe and securely to your side.

The Evil One and his team are all around me, Father, trying to ruin me.  But I know you are fighting my battles, God, and you have already won the war.

I rejoice in you, God.  All who know the Truth know you.  Liars will be silenced.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Psalm 34, 2021

God is good – all the time!

I will share this great news with everyone I know.  They all need to hear this – there is no one and no thing that compares to the LORD!

Say it with me – God is good, all the time!

When I talk to God, he answers me and takes my fears away.

The light of God’s love shines out of us, his children, and we are never ashamed.  When we are lost in a pile of problems that we created, we can call on God who rescues us.  His angel protects us and sets us free!

Try him and see!  God is good!

My Father God is a safe haven and a provider for me and for everyone who has faith in him.  Those who look strong on the outside grow weak and empty on the inside if they don’t have faith in God.

God’s children have everything they need.

Listen to me –

respect and honor the LORD and you will live a life filled with good days.  Stay away from lying and all evil.  Be a peacemaker.

God watches over those who do what is right.  He hears our cries.  God is always close to the brokenhearted.

But God turns his face away from those who do evil.

When we have faith in God, we will still have trials but God walks beside us every step of the way – giving us peace and strength.

The wicked get what they deserve.  The LORD condemns anyone who opposes the people who love him.

God rescues his children – he is a safe refuge that is always available to us.

Thank you, Abba Father.

The Journey

9 years.

I’m in my 9th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible. A couple years after I started, I changed to the Daily Chronological Bible and it has helped fuel the fire God has placed inside of me to read his Word. Every day. Every year. Several of you have been on this journey with me for quite a while – thank you!

I have a passion for knowing what God has to say about everything. I have learned that its very important to know what God says about a certain topic throughout the Bible – one or two verses just don’t give me the message that God intended. When I read the entire revelation of God, the dots start to connect and I begin to understand the bigger picture.

After my 4th or 5th year of reading the entire Bible, I realized that I could start to point out when someone said something they thought was in the Bible but its not. When I hear something like that, I usually ask the person where that is in the Bible in case I missed it. More often than not, they can’t find it in God’s Word. Exposing the truth like this continues to fuel the fire inside of me.

I appreciate the entire journey through the Bible. The Old Testament used to be a little hard to get through but the Chronological Bible helps a lot by condensing several repetitive sections into one so I only read all the laws once, I only read all the details about building the temple once, etc. It’s significant to me that it takes 9 months to read the Old Testament in the Chronological Bible and only 3 months to read the entire New Testament. This shows the importance to God of the Old Testament. And it tells me I should be reading and studying the Old Testament just as much if not more than the New Testament. Since I’ve started doing this, God speaks just as clearly to me from the Old Testament as he does the New Testament.

Because it is condensed, the Chronological Bible is a great reading Bible, but not a good Bible to study. When I’m studying God’s Word, I get out my study Bible.

I have some favorite parts in the Chronological Bible. I’m in one of them right now so I thought I’d take a break in the journey to share some of the things I really love about how this Bible is organized.

I’m reading David’s story right now and the Chronological Bible places the Psalms David wrote into his story at the time he wrote them. David tells me in Psalm 56 all about his thoughts and fears right after I read about him being captured by the Philistines in Gath. I read in Psalm 34 of David’s gratitude to God for taking care of him after reading how David pretended to be insane and King Achish let him go. I hear David’s prayer in Psalm 142 as I read about him hiding in the cave to avoid being killed by King Saul.

Later in the Chronological Bible, it is organized so that some of the minor prophet’s writings are placed next to the story of the king they talked to. It all makes more sense.

In the New Testament of the Chronological Bible, I find myself reading about Jesus’ sacrifice for me on the cross right around Thanksgiving time. It’s so appropriate and helps me focus my gratitude on the most important thing that has ever happened to me and to our world.

Then right after Thanksgiving comes Christmas and I will be reading Revelations. Wow! When Christ comes again, it’s going to be better than the first Christmas for those of us who have put our faith in him.

And then, on January 1, I start again. In the Beginning….

And the Journey Towards the Truth continues.

Thank you for your Word, Abba Father.

Psalm 142, 2021

David wrote this psalm as he hid in a cave from King Saul who wanted to kill him.  If he wrote it today, it might sound a lot like this.  Do you need to say this to God right now?  

I cry out to the Lord today!

I need your know you care about me, dear Father.

Here are my complaints and troubles –

I am tired….very tired.

I feel lost….very lost.  You know the way – please show me.

I can’t trust the people around me.  They are my problem.

Look!  There is no one here to help me.  There is no one I can count on.

No one who cares.  But I know you care, Lord.  I can count on you – you are always on my side.

I desperately need you to hear me….

and rescue me!

I’m stuck in my problems and issues – they are too big for me.

Set me free, Lord!  Get me unstuck!

And I will give you all the credit.

Everything good in my life comes from you.  You are so good to me!

Thank you, Abba Father!

Caving In

Or should I call it making the ‘popular’ choice?

In 1 Samuel, Saul disobeyed God by keeping some of the ‘stuff’ that they took from the Amalekites after defeating them.  When Samuel pointed this out to Saul, Saul rationalized the sin by telling Samuel that they did this so they could give the best of the sheep and cattle to God.

Samuel then tells Saul,” Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD?….Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:22,23.

Well, THEN Saul admitted that the real reason he kept the plunder was because he was afraid of how his men would react if he destroyed it all like God wanted him to do.

The bottom-line in this story is Saul didn’t trust God.  He didn’t believe God had his back.  He got all wrapped up in being a hotshot king that everyone looked up to and he didn’t want to put any of this hero-worship into jeopardy.

So Saul made the ‘popular’ choice rather than the obedient one.

Do I ever do that?  Do you ever do that? Are we ever more concerned about what other people think than what God thinks?  Do we fail to take the more Godly position on issues sometimes because it may not go over well with others? 

We probably all do, sometimes without realizing it.

If my goal is to be obedient to God, I’m going to need to make what God thinks a higher priority than what people around me think.

Pleasing God trumps popularity here on earth – every time.

Please help me show my love for you and faith in you by obeying you, Abba Father.

I Know That Voice

Little Samuel’s story in the Bible is one my favorites.

He heard a voice calling to him in the night and he thought is was the Prophet Eli since he was living with Eli.  So Samuel got out of bed and ran to Eli saying, “Here I am”.

But Eli said, “I did not call, go back and lie down.”

This happened again and then the third time, Eli realized that it was God who was calling the boy.  This time Eli told Samuel, when he heard the voice, to say, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.” 1 Samuel 3:9.

When God spoke again, Samuel told him he was listening and God went on to tell Samuel what was soon going to happen.

I’ve got a challenge for you.  The next time you think you might be hearing something from God, say those same words, “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”  And then listen.  Listen to what is going through your brain.  Think about what you have been reading in God’s Word and how it applies to your life.  Think about coincidences that have been happening in your life and how they relate to what you’ve been reading.  Remember things that Godly people in your life have said to you recently.

I believe God is regularly trying to break through the cacophony of our culture – especially the electronic bubble where we spend a lot of our time.  He is trying to talk to you and me – guiding us, encouraging us, and teaching us.

Have you had the experience where you are reading God’s Word and suddenly a sentence seems to stick out of the page? It almost looks like it’s in bold print? You reread a phrase a couple of times?  You start to wonder what this means in your life?  Has that phrase always been there?  I don’t remember ever reading that or even hearing anyone talk about that before?  That is God stopping us.  That is God drawing our attention to something specific in his Word so he can speak to us.

That’s what God did today with me.  He stopped me as I was reading to remind me how much I like young Samuel’s story.  Because I know God, I know he is encouraging me to continue to learn how to hear him more and more clearly as I read his Truth.  My knowledge of God is growing and the more I know him, the better I hear him.

How can I be confident that it’s God that’s talking to me and not just my own thinking?  What God says to me will always be consistent with what he says in the Bible.  He will not contradict himself.

I am also 100% sure it’s God talking when he says something I’ve never thought of before and it’s consistent with what I have read in the Bible.  God confirms his guidance to me through my circumstances as well.  When it’s God talking to me, things happening around me will line up with what God is saying.  Sometimes it will be something my husband, my pastor or a friend says.  As I pray about what God is telling me, God will often open up my eyes to how he is moving around me and I’m be able to connect the dots.

When I take time to consider all of these things, God’s directions to me become really clear.

When I work at staying aware of the fact that God is trying to talk to me, it’s not hard to hear him.

Thank you for your guidance, Abba Father

Do Whatever Works for You

Sounds good – let’s all do whatever works for us.   Then we’ll all be happy.

Or not.

“In those days Israel had no king: everyone did as they saw fit”. Judges 21:25. This is how the book of Judges ends.  It may sound good until we scan back a couple of chapters and realize what they thought was ‘fit’ to do. 

Family members were stealing from each other.  They obviously thought this was an ok thing to do.

Family members were kidnapping each other.  They thought this was ok as well.

Family members were killing each other to the point that they virtually annihilated one of the 12 tribes of Israel.  I wonder how they could possibly think this was ok but they did.  They could rationalize anything. Their moral judgement was quickly spirally into total chaos and confusion.

Because they had no compass.

Sounds familiar? Our current culture has many of these same issues. Why?

When I base what is right and wrong on what I think, I’m in trouble.  Then I’m just like these Israelites – doing what I see fit and letting my standards waiver in whatever direction the wind is blowing.

God has been very clear to you and me on moral boundaries. His Word to us is full of direction and guidance. I might not like all of it. You may not agree with all of it. But that doesn’t change his Word to us.

This picture of the Umbrella of God’s Blessing sticks in my head and reminds me that one of my main goals in life is to stay in line with God. When I obey God and follow the compass he has given me, I am placing my life under his umbrella of blessing. When I don’t obey God and just do what I want to do, I am stepping out from under his umbrella. I can’t expect God to bless my decisions and life when I’m not obeying him.

It’s my choice and I choose to stay under the umbrella – every hour of every day.

What do you choose?

Dear Father, I desire to walk in your path of truth.  Please guide me so that your moral standards are what ‘fits’ me best.