Tuning In and Tuning Out

 

 

I absolutely love earplugs.  As someone who spends a great deal of time reading and studying, the ability to block out irritating and distracting noises is quite appealing to me.  I mean, really, I could be in the same room with someone watching TV, and with my trusty earplugs, I can continue in my little-secluded paradise of the book or materials I am going through and remain undisturbed.  The people around me can continue their activities all willy nilly and my little bubble of earplug world is protected.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the grand scheme of this thing called life, popping in earplugs to block out unwelcomed voices and interruptions is not so easy.  Yet, what we allow to seep into our hearing can shape you for the good or the bad.  It can influence your next move in life or totally debilitate you depending on what messages you are paying the most attention to.

We have the choice to tune in or tune out the right frequencies that will build our faith, encourage our walk, and bolster our energy that will inspire us to move forward.  Like those radios of old, we turn the knob until we get the right wavelength so that we can hear them playing our song.  And, when it comes to life and where God is leading us, we want them playing our song.  We want to hear things that are pleasing; things that encourage and lift up.

But, as the story of this world goes, that’s not always the case.  Negative is all around us so we have to be selective in what we receive into us, into our thinking, and into our faith.  Sometimes you even have to turn a deaf ear to your own inner voice.  You know the one; the one that expresses doubt and confusion where there should be none.

Every message and every voice we allow to take up space in us is something that will fill us with positive or negative potential.

Gideon was a man in the Bible who had to overcome insecurity.  He not only had to deal with his fear of what it really meant to go against such a large army with a few men, but he also had to tune out his own inner voice that expressed doubt about what God was going to do for him and the people against the Midianite army.

God directed Gideon to go down into the camp with one purpose: to tune him into a different channel of thought than what he had been listening to.  God wanted him to hear something different.  He said, “If you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant, and you shall hear what they say; and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp,” (Judges 7:10-11, NKJV).

When he got into the camp unawares, what he heard changed his whole perspective on the move of God in his life.  There were certain men of the enemy’s army talking and one told the other of a dream he had: “I have had a dream: To my surprise, a loaf of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian; it came to a tent and struck it so that it fell and overturned, and the tent collapsed,” (Judges 7:13, NKJV).

The man who was listening to the dream admitted the truth he felt as its telling.  He said, “This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel! Into his hands God has delivered Midian and the whole camp,” (Judges 7:14, NKJV).  Gideon heard the enemy admit defeat before the battle was even fought because God was with the people of Israel.

When those words fell on Gideon’s ears it changed his perspective on the battle.  Those words fed his inner man with a healthy dose of courage and caused him to get into agreement with God.  He spoke to his fellow countrymen and gave this report: “Arise, for the LORD has delivered the camp of Midian into your hand,” (Judges7:15, NKJV).  He was ready to step into new territory of being victorious for God.  He was ready to take on this battle and win.

Stand guard against what you allow to be fed into your hearing.  For what enters your hearing enters your thoughts, and what enters your thoughts affects the spirit man.  Today, make a conscientious effort to tune in to what God is saying through His Spirit and through His Word and tune out anything negative that speaks against His truth.  Let Him be your spiritual earplugs.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/LubosHouska

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“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

“And you who seek God, your hearts shall live,” Psalm 69:32

How many go through their day complacent in the status quo?  No passion for life.  No zeal for better.  Just run the ordinary course of the ordinary life jogger, following the crowd, content with a heart that’s just beating but not alive.

A heart that is alive thrills at the unknown.  A heart that is alive craves to pump its life source throughout every crevice of its being.  Those who seek for God are not content with just the rhythmic beat of every other man.  Their heart wants to thump against the chest wall to express the life that lives in it through Him.

When one seeks God it stirs up something on the inside of them.  It stirs a wanting of more.  Kind of like a first love.  You seek to be near that person or to simply hear their voice.  When contact is made it makes the heart beat a little faster and you feel alive!  God promises those that look for Him with that same passion your hearts shall live.  Your heart will tell a story all its own about the love that dwells in it for the one you seek.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10).  He wants hearts alive; hearts that live for seeking Him more and more.  From that they will reap not the status quo rather an abundance of life that flows from Him.  If the beat of your heart is a little slower these days, or your faith is not getting as excited as it used at the first, check to see who or what you have been seeking after.  It may be that you have been looking for love, acceptance and passion everywhere but the right place.  But, we have this promise, “you who seek God, your hearts shall live!”

“Today I Believe I am Big Enough!”

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“And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” Numbers 13:33

Feeling outsized in life?  The fact of the matter is that many of us feel too small for the task ahead.  Goals, dreams, and possibilities are alright to fantasize about, but when it actually comes down to implementing what needs to be done, we often feel inadequate, as if we don’t have enough in us to see it all the way through to the end.  We feel too small to go in and take hold of what we can be.

Too often we get stuck in a rut because of this line of thinking.  The pressure of what it actually takes to step out into something new, to believe there is a chance for you to be better and to have better, is a little overwhelming to most.  Dealing with the unusual and stepping into the unfamiliar takes a strong act of courage.  It involves one having enough strength and faith to look past what they view themselves as now and see something bigger.

For any area of life where we want to see improvement, there will always be barriers.  There will always be “giants,” whether real or imagined, that will say and make you believe that you are too little; that you don’t have enough in you to be big.

“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4).  The world doesn’t want you to make it.  And, he that operates in the world wants your faith to diminish to the point that you feel like you’re a little “grasshopper.”  It is time for you to stop listening to the world and turn a deaf ear to the “giants.”  If God brought you to the edge of the promise, then, He is most certainly able to bring you all the way into it.  The main factor that can hinder you is you!  It is what you believe about yourself!   It is what you believe God can do in and through you!

“Greater is He that is in you!”  Our belief in ourselves and what God can do through us rises when we realize who it is on our side and what He can do.  That’s the beautiful thing about this.  Life may outsize us but it will never outsize God!  God dwarfs to nobody!  He is greater than all.  So much so, that when He was telling Abraham about his promises, “He could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,” (Hebrews 6:13).

God is the greatest there is.  The buck stops with Him.  He can’t be outdone.  He can’t be belittled.  He is king and will be king forever.  And, He is “in you!”  That means you are big enough!  You are nobody’s grasshopper!  You can do it because of who you have on the inside of you!  Your job is to wholeheartedly believe, understand and know His bigness, so that you can believe, understand and know that today, “I am big enough!”

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“Love Makes a Difference!”

"Love Makes a Difference!" 1 Peter 4:8 www.wordforlifesays.com

“Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.”1 Peter 4:8

Love makes the difference!  There’s no way around it.  God is love (1 John 4:8).  Jesus died because of love (John 3:16).  And now we are admonished to have that same “fervent charity/love” toward one another.  Christians are to have a love for each other that cannot be easily extinguished by life’s difficulties.  Paul wrote, “Ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another,” (Gal. 5:13; emphasis mine).  The love and compassion we have in us should be poured out freely to one another.

“For charity/love shall cover the multitude of sins.”  God’s love, through His Son Jesus, covered a “multitude” of my sins and yours.  We are to be imitators of our heavenly Father.  Proverbs 10:12 tells us, “Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”  Both of these verses pronounce love as a covering.  It’s not that we don’t see, feel or hurt at the wrongs of others, it’s all about what we choose to do with it.  Much like God (although we can never touch the capacity of His love), our love is to be so on-fire for one another that it causes us to look beyond the faults of others and see to the core of their very need.  That’s how love makes a difference!

“Come to the Waters”

“Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters . . .” Isaiah 55:1

Come to the waters, the Lord beckons.  This world will tire you out and the pursuit of it will leave you drained.  Refreshment can only be found in Him.  As one traipsing through a desert of darkness that this world so often leads you through, His plentiful Spirit will satiate the aridness and will water your life where it was once dry.

Do you need that touch from Him?

Come!

Do you need that refreshing spring that flows from the everlasting Father?

Come!

Do you need the tenderness and hope that can only be found in the stream of His salvation?

Come!

Do you need to be rejuvenated into new birth in the waters of His spiritual deliverance?

Then, come!

Don’t lighten your pace.  Run with haste to the pool of His mercy and grace, and come.  Don’t let anyone stop you from dipping in.  Dive in with full surrender and with full abandon, and come.

A sip just won’t do.  We are thirsty for You, O God!  We have nothing to offer for the price You paid, yet, You say come.  We have no value on our own, but You speak, come anyway.  There is no good thing that dwells in our flesh (Romans 7:18), but You invite us to draw near to You and come.

Come to the waters.  Step into the abundant life He so offers (John 10:10).  Come and let your soul be spiritually satisfied.  Come and take the offer of His salvation for yourself.

Come, and don’t turn away.  Don’t give up this great treasure that can only be found in God.  Don’t let the delight of what the Lord Jesus Christ bought for you on that cross slip through your fingers.

“Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live . . .” (Isaiah 55:3, NKJV).  Live in Him.  Live in the peace He offers through the pouring out of His blood.  Live a life free from spiritual drought because you were once thirsty and you came and partook of His holy waters.

Yes, this world will dry you out, but He restores, He redeems, and He puts in right fellowship with Him every thirsty soul that comes to Him and drinks.  Jesus said, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” (John 4:14).

Therefore, come to the Water!

“You are not alone!”

There can be days when the heaviness of life just won’t seem to let up.  There can be times when burdens leave you spent and wrung like a dirty little dish rag.  And, sometimes it’s hard during these down times to find something to smile about; to find hope in the midst of darkness; to know that you are not forgotten in the middle of the mess.

But, no matter what you may be feeling or going through, Jesus wants you to know, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” John 14:18.  He wants you to know that you are not in this alone.  His presence refuses to turn His back on you.  His presence doesn’t want you carrying these troubles by yourself.  His promise says that He cannot leave you without comfort.  You and I are not without the love of the Father present with us.  He said, “I will come to you!”

Our Lord Jesus Christ will not abandon you to deal with life on your own!  He is your help in the neediest of times!  He is your strength in the weakest of times!  He is your source in the emptiest of times!  He will not turn away from you!  He went to the cross for you that He might ever be with you!  He’s with you in the midst of it all to ease the turmoil you may be feeling.  He is with you to console raging emotions and thoughts.  He is with you to support you when nobody else will.  He is with you to show you how the love of the Father is very real and active for you!

He does this all through His abiding Spirit.  His loving presence takes up residence on the inside of those who believe in Him.  He is in there to fill any emptiness one may feel.  He is there to bring healing to the hurt and damage inflicted by others.  He is there to walk with you through all the ups and downs of this life, no matter how difficult it may appear right now!

He is with us as the rescuer of our heart, meeting the spiritual need in our life that nobody else can.  We don’t have to wonder about it because Hebrews 13:5 assures us, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

Did you see that word “never”?  By absolutely no means will He not ever be with you where you are and in what you are going through!  It can’t happen!  It won’t happen!  He loves you too much to leave you out there to deal with this world and this life on your own!

With confidence, let your prayer be, “Jesus, I need you,” and His promise stands sure that He is with you where you are through the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit.  You are not fighting this alone!  Every step of the way, He is there!

“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee,” Deuteronomy 31:6.

“Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” Matthew 28:20b

“Never Too Strong for God!”

 

“He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me;
For they were too strong for me,” 2 Samuel 22:18

“Is there anything too hard for me?” is a question God asked Jeremiah, (Jer. 32:27). “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” was the question God put to Abraham after Sarah laughed at the possibility of having a child in her old age. Luke 1:37 tells us, “For with God nothing shall be impossible,” and yet, when faced with things in this life we don’t understand and heartaches untold, we often feel our situations are out of His reach. As if the problems that overwhelm us are too strong for Him, also.

Due to the anointing on his life, David faced enemies who hated him for no reason. He spent many days with his life hanging in the balance. But, in the end, he declared, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were too strong for me,” (2 Sam. 22:18).  I’m wondering, is there anything you have been facing lately that just seems off the charts? Do the difficulties you face feel like it’s just too much to handle? Are you going through a situation that seems “too strong” for you?

Take heart today! There is no weight too heavy that God can’t lift it! There is no enemy too strong that God can’t overcome them! There is no miracle too miraculous that God can’t cause it to come to pass! There is nothing too hard for God in any situation, problem or adversity we may face! The enemies and hardship you face today may seem to overwhelm you but they will never overwhelm God. They are never too strong for God to handle. So, with that being said, whatever you face, give it to God and wait for Him to bring you through. God is strong enough to take on anything! We can trust Him with whatever is “too strong” for us. God can deliver you today!

Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

“You Make a Difference to God!”

God is after you, dear friend, in a good way.  He loves the masses, but the individual heart He wants to hold as His own.

There are so many things in our culture that can evoke an inferiority complex in people.  The barrage of advertisements that make one feel less than if they don’t have what others are offering.  The seemingly picture-perfect life displayed on the feeds of social media, causing a longing for what they appear to have, making one feel they don’t measure up to some invisible criteria.  The comparison factor of success that is too much alive in this world which causes many to believe they will never be what another is.

That’s good because God created you and me to be us!  The masses that come to Him don’t negate the fact that He wants the individual heart – He wants the individual life – He wants the individual you!  You make a difference to God!  You are important to God!

God will leave the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to go after that one which is lost because that one is special to Him (Luke 15:1-7).  That one is cared about by Him.  That one is loved by Him and He wants that one with Him because to God, they make a difference.  God finds joy in just that one heart that will turn to Him, repent, and enter into blessed fellowship with Him.

When the individual heart turns to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, it puts a smile on God’s face and makes the angels rejoice (Luke 15:10) because despite what the world tries to make us believe or feel, each one of us makes a difference to God.  You are valuable to God and He loves you more than you could ever know.

Inspiration:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  – Psalm 139:14

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:31

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

You are uniquely loved by God.  You make a difference to God!

Photo: Pixabay/DreamPixer

“Carry God’s Presence Today”

 

“Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai . . . Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him,” Exodus 34:29

No matter what you do today:

WORK ………………………………………………….

SCHOOL ………………………………………………

PLAY ……………………………………………………

SNOW ………………………………………………….

RAIN …………………………………………………….

SUN ……………………………………………………..

HARDNESS ………………………………………….

PEACE …………………………………………………

ADVERSITY ………………………………………….

SPOUSE ………………………………………………

CHILDREN ……………………………………………

FRIENDS ………………………………………………

MOM …………………………………………………….

POP ……………………………………………………..

VACATION ……………………………………………

DAY OFF ………………………………………………

PRAYER ……………………………………………….

BIBLE …………………………………………………..

CHURCH ………………………………………………

OUTREACH ………………………………………….

VISITATIONS ………………………………………..

WITNESSING ………………………………………..

TEACHING ……………………………………………

EXERCISING …………………………………………

GYM ……………………………………………………..

HOME …………………………………………………..

LAUNDRY …………………………………………….

DINNER ………………………………………………..

BEDTIME ………………………………………………

carry God’s presence with you!!!!  Let people know that you have been with Him!!!  Let your life reflect it!!!

When Moses met with God his face shone, carrying evidence of being in God’s presence. What kind of evidence do people see in us that lets them know that we have met with God. As we start this new day, are we carrying God’s presence with us no matter what we are doing? May we shine for Him and let His presence be magnified in us!

Photo: Pixabay

Familiarity Doesn’t Have to Breed Contempt

 

Image Credit: Pixabay/rawpixel

Daily routines and associations with those closest to us can sometimes cause us to downplay their strengths and pick apart little things about them. A surface of critiquing and criticizing seems easier to some than delving into what’s below the surface to focus on the greater good dwelling in an individual.

One prime example of this sort of relationship is within marriage.  Spouses who have been married for any considerable amount of time with the ins and outs of daily life can sometimes start to hone in on what bothers them the most about the other as opposed to purposefully looking to view them in light of all the positives they have to bring to the table.

Why is it so easy to see what doesn’t please us about people and harder to focus on their good attributes?  Why does it seem easier to dismiss the familiar just because they are, well, familiar?

Jesus knew exactly how it felt to be dishonored in such a way.  Once He is quoted as saying, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house,” Mark 6:4.

Common sense would tell us to support and uphold those closest to us; to have their back and cheer them on when seeing them trying to get ahead or excel at life.  We have no problem when it comes to doing this on a national level, say for the Olympics.  We give that one competing for our country our support and we stand in front of the screens rooting them on to win so that nationally we gain a medal at the end.

But for those closest to us, when we see them talk of their dreams and make plans to forge ahead into the future unknown; when we see them start ministries, set goals, and go after where they feel God is leading them, is it easier to downplay that  than offer the support we so willingly give to others whom nationally we don’t even know?  Does our opinion of them, because we knew them way back when alter our perspective of their current work, hopes, and dreams?

In Luke 4, Jesus, quoting the same verse as above, also gave two examples from their history of people who received blessings although they were not of the Jewish people.  One was the widow of Zarephath in the region of Sidon and the other was Naaman the Syrian (vss. 26-27).  Both were Gentiles and not of the “familiar” countrymen of which Jesus spoke.

The widow received provision during the time of famine and Naaman received healing from a normally incurable disease.  They weren’t blinded by the familiar, rather they opened their hearts to the link that God had placed right in front of their faces to receive the blessing He had in store for them.

Don’t let the familiar cause you to miss out on the blessings found in the people that God has already placed in your life.  To you, they may seem like, “Oh, that just so and so.  No need to worry about them.”  But, they may be your connection to that blessing that God wants to pour into your life.  Don’t count your blessings out (like those whom Jesus was talking about) just because you know the source from which it flows.

And, what if you are the one being rejected like Jesus was; because people know you and don’t want to receive or accept the gift of God in you?  You press on anyhow.  You don’t dwell on people, but you dwell on the God who gave you the gift and has entrusted you to work His works in your life.

Even if a person doesn’t support you – God does.  He does not neglect the gifts that He has placed in you and don’t you do it either (see 1 Timothy 4:14).  Don’t cower at their rejection, rather you stir up that gift and let the flames be fanned (see 2 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus was rejected and He also warned in another verse, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you,” (John 15:18).  In other words, no matter who you are, and no matter what gift you have in you not everybody is going to be on board with you or supportive of the work of God in you.

What do you do?  How do you deal with that contemptuous familiarity then?  You do what Jesus did: “He passing through the midst of them went his way,” (Luke 4:30).  You keep on keeping on.  Jesus didn’t stand around and try to convince them to receive Him.  Life is too short for that; His time on earth would declare as some of us say today, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  We have limited time here on earth and God needs our gifts and ministries up and running and being effective for His kingdom.

What do you do?  You follow the path of God for your life.  You continue to go forth working the works of God He placed in you, sowing seeds of ministry wherever He leads you.

Familiarity breeds contempt can work two ways: it causes us to miss out on the best of people that God has already placed in our lives, and it causes rejection of what you personally can bring to the table, seeking to hinder you, but it doesn’t have to.

With the love of God operating in us, we can look at those around us and be thankful for the familiar and the special things that each one brings to our lives.  And, with our faith in God we can march forth in the destiny He has in store for us regardless of who has our backs because, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  We can stay positive in what He has called us to and not succumb to the negative because of the familiar.

For either end that one may find themselves on, we have Jesus as our prime example on how to deal with it.  Follow Him and you will never be led wrong.  Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt.  God may be doing something new in the midst of the ordinary and you don’t want to miss it.