I AM – Devotional Style Short Stories – “Opps”

The woman is startled awake and looks at the clock. She leaps from the bed realizing she’s overslept and will be late if she doesn’t hurry. She dashes to the closet and without worrying about what to wear she grabs a pair of jeans and jerks a random shirt off a hanger and quickly runs to the bathroom to quickly run a brush through her hair.

Donning the jeans and shirt, she shoves her feet into a pair of shoes and races toward the kitchen. Opening the cabinet she grabs her medications and quickly gulps them down with a tall glass of water.

Grabbing the refrigerator door handle she throws it open and snatches up a small bottle of juice and races to pick up her Bible. Out the door she flies.

Glancing at the clock on the cars dashboard she thinks she just might make it to church services on time and relaxes a bit. She’s covered seven miles of her thirty mile trip when a man’s voice, through the radio, praises the song just played and states, “On this beautiful Saturday morning…”

She slams on the brakes!

Feeling pretty stupid, she turns the car around and drives back home. Ripping the jeans and shirt off, she throws them on the bed while kicking the shoes off her feet. She dons her bathrobe, sets her Bible back on the counter, and slowly walks to the living room.

Flopping down on the chair and shaking her head in disbelief, she begins to laugh.

***

Matthew 10:20 “For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of the Father who speaks in you.”

***

In this scripture Jesus is telling the disciples that He will give them the words to speak to nonbelievers. The Holy Spirit can speak to us through people, like the announcer on the radio in the story, did. The Lord saved the woman in the story from driving all the way to church to find an empty parking lot. It is amazing that there are some people who say that when we speak to the Lord, that’s prayer, but if the Lord speaks to us, that is mental illness. If the Lord our God can speak through a donkey in Numbers 22:28, then surely He can use a radio announcer. God is not limited in His ways of communicating with us. We just need to listen and sometimes the best way to deal with our mistakes is sit down and just have a good ole belly laugh.

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Where’s our Linen Belt?

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In Jeremiah 13:1 the Lord instructs Jeremiah, “Go buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch the water.”  Now isn’t that kind of a strange request? Put on a linen belt but hey, don’t get it wet. Maybe because linen is a type of material that when wet will squeeze the daylights out of Jeremiah or become really itchy like wool. After all it was considered an “intimate” garment. It was worn like our underwear. But on the other hand maybe not. Maybe He had some other reason.

Jeremiah does as he’s told and then the Lord tells him to take the belt off and go bury it in Perath. Jeremiah had to be wondering what in the world is the Lord doing! First He has Jeremiah put the belt on, then take it off, and then go hide it! What? But Jeremiah again does as he’s told and carries the belt to Perath and buries it. Now you have to wonder what Jeremiah is thinking on his treak to Perath.

As the days pass Jeremiah forgets about it and goes about his business when the Lord shows up again some time later and says, “Hey Jer. go get the belt you buried.” (my translation) He goes all the way back to Perath and digs up the belt only to find it is ruined and absolutely useless! Now what? Jeremiah must be really wondering if the Lord has imbibed on a little too much wine.

God knows what Jeremiah is thinking so explains as Jeremiah stands holding the ruined and dirty belt looking puzzled, I’m sure.  “In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah (Let’s replace that with America) and the great pride of Jerusalem. (America) These wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt – completely useless!” (v.10)

Ohhh that had to be back then. We don’t serve other gods! Is that what you’re thinking? What about the god that we place above our family and children that we leave at 6:00 or 7:00  every morning to go to? The job! What about the god of being independant and “I can’t have this kid! It will interfere with my plans?” What about the god of lust, for the same sex or for my neighbors wife or husband? The love of money? The need to be better than the Jones? Oh America, we have a whole bunch of god’s and sadly the gods of the world have attracted us so much and so fervently that we are turning our back on the one True God. The Almighty God that created heaven and earth and everything in it.

God told Jeremiah, “For as a belt is bound around a man’s waist, so I have bound the whole house of Israel (America) to me,’ to be My people for My renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.” (v.11)

God has called the Jewish people His people for many, many years but He has called the gentiles, too. (That’s non-Jewish people) He has offered the same redemption and the same blessings as He offered, and still offers, the Jewish people to us. He took America under His wings because we are a Nation under God. We looked to Him, we prayed, we sought His wisdom, and even made our Constitution from His decrees.

He had His linen belt around our waist, holding us close, but we have removed that belt and thrown it in the dirt, replacing it with pride! Pride has thrown prayer out of schools, “Gay Pride,” “We don’t need the Ten Commandments,” “It’s my body,” say the name of Jesus and see how mouths start screaming, we have elected government officials that say they are a Christian and in the same breath condemn and mock Christ followers, and the list goes on. Until America wakes up we are as dirty and as useless as the belt Jeremiah dug up and the Lord cast aside!

America may be pushing God out of the picture but God still loves us in spite of our stupidity and has been sending His warnings; Katrina, 9-11, earthquakes, Sunami’s, AIDS, Ebola, ISIS!

“But they have not listened.”  

~~~~~~~

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Blessings to you.

Hearing from God

 

 

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I feel a welling up inside my body.  It’s like a balloon being filled with air (no, it isn’t gas) kind of feeling, if I can even begin to relate to what a balloon must be feeling while being filled with air. My chest feels full, my heart beats a little faster and seems to expand just a little. Sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? It isn’t weird at all. The Holy Spirit is upon me but how do I know that? Because I’ve experience it before and through obedience learned it is the Lord wanting to speak.

Some people might say, “I think God is speaking to me,” but how do they get that word from the Lord? Is it just a feeling? Is it a voice that speaks within the compounds of their head? Did they pick up the Bible and a verse seemed to jump up off the page?

We hear from God in a variety of ways. When I use the word “hear” I’m not talking about just hearing with our ears. It’s a term I use for covering a variety of ways that God speaks to us. One way He speaks to me is through sensing. What does that word mean, sensing? It’s that same thing I described at first. There’s a sensing within our spirit that takes the form of words. It’s God speaking to our spirit that is within us. It’s similar to what we describe as a “gut feeling” but it goes much deeper. It’s much like when we walk along and suddenly feel like someone is following us, for example. That’s a sensing within us that makes us stop and look around.

Another way the Lord speaks to me is with verbal auditory words. Sometimes they are whispered, sometimes stern, but usually He’s speaking to me just as though He’s standing in the room next to me like you and I might carry on a conversation. I literally hear Him speaking. Don’t ask me what His voice sounds like, I can’t describe it.

Another way He speaks is by guiding me to scripture in the Bible. He may say, “I want you to read….” and when I begin reading there will be a particular sentence or paragraph that He will stop me at or lead me back to over and over again. He’s telling me something in that sentence or paragraph and it’s up to me to ask what it is or discuss whatever it is with Him. In my case if I ignore it He’ll bug me (keep placing that scripture in my head over and over) until I face up to what it is He’s wanting me to know. God won’t be ignored for long. We can slam hands over our ears and shout la-la-la-la-la until we’re hoarse but eventually He will get our attention. One way or another!

He will also speak through other people to us and they don’t always have to be another Christian. If He can speak through a donkey (Num. 22:28) I think He’s quite capable of speaking through even non-believers. It sometimes amuses me because when that happens the non-believer looks as shocked as I do. But I recognize immediately that it was not the words of the non-believer so I listen. Be warned though, Satan definitely has a voice! We all must weigh what is being said with what God’s Word says and I suggest that everyone ask the Lord to give them His gift of discernment of good and evil. Just because someone opens their mouth and words come flowing out doesn’t mean they are from God. That includes preachers.

We all play a part in communicating with the Lord. I hear so many people say, “I don’t hear from God” or “God doesn’t speak to me.” My suggestion is, “Then you need to start listening.” God speaks to His children. He isn’t a mute God and He isn’t deaf either.

I think most of us feel deeply the words within songs. For me, an inspirational song can touch me more deeply than some sermons I’ve heard. Why?  Because the words and music is resonating with His Spirit within me. If we have confessed Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior His Spirit dwells within us. Personally I think His Spirit really likes music. Especially the kind that brings glory to the Lord and magnifies Him. The Lord can also use music to speak to us.

There are so many ways Christ, through His Holy Spirit, speaks to us and I encourage all to open their spiritual ears and listen with your spirit what God is saying. He accepts us where we are, He will guide us in the direction He wants us to go, He will encourage us when we feel down or lost. He is the God of love and compassion, guidance, and yes discipline, but how do we truly know that if we have never experienced His love for us through Him speaking to us in whatever way He chooses to do so? We have to be open to Him in order for His words to penetrate the deepest part of us. A closed heart is incapable of receiving. And maybe that’s the problem why people say, “God doesn’t speak to me.”

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Blessings to you and Happy New Year.