When God Speaks

It’s 2 am and I am awake yet once again. A new pattern has developed over the past 6 weeks or so and I’ve gotten used to it – sort of. At first, I was frustrated by not being able to get my much needed 8 – 9 hours. It’s so much more of a struggle to be nice when I’m exhausted but God has his methods and who am I to complain? Since I’m not one for popping strong medication to make me sleep, I surrendered and listened for that still small voice. This morning’s message was quite different from the recent ones I’ve been receiving and I feel comfortable sharing it with you today as I’m sure many of you will relate.

Go do your nails.

What?

I knew it was God speaking because He usually speaks to me in the form of a command such as “Go” or “Stop”.

Now that is an odd thing to hear.

I listened again and again the still small voice said Go do your nails.

Obedient and groggy, I pushed myself off the bed and made my way to my kitchen where my manicure tools where waiting from the night before. As many of you ladies know, there is a process to doing your nails.

First, you smooth out all the ridges and rough spots.
Then, you buff the nails.
Next, you shine them up with one of those handy rectangular things.
Then you apply the polish.
Lastly, you apply the top coat.

Yes, gentlemen, this is what we ladies have to go thru to have those nice shiny nails many of you adore. I can honestly tell you I have been judged by the condition of my nails. Really!

The same process we use on our nails, is the same process God uses on us.

First, He smooths out all the rough edges and removes the spots.
Then, He allows life and circumstances to buffet us.
When the buffing process is complete, He shines us up so we are ready to be polished.
Next, He applies the polish – this is the exact color He has for each one of our lives.
Finally He applies the top coat – His protection over us.

Are you having trouble sleeping these days? Could God be speaking to you? Are you willing to listen and obey or do you drown out that still small voice by taking a pill or a sleeping aid?

Whatever your situation, rest assured God is in control. He is still on the throne and His plans will not be thwarted. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us and that plan sometimes takes time to be made real. So don’t fight your sleepless nights. Listen to that still small voice. You can be sure all will be made clear in time. Remember, we walk by faith and not by sight. Until next time, keep the faith and always always, keep looking up!

He is Risen

It is 4 am. The sun is not up yet but I am. The birds are chirping their love songs already. I can imagine Mary not being able to sleep, walking slowly to the tomb where her best friend, Jesus, was buried. Who is your best friend? Your spouse? Your friend from high school or college? Your mom? How would you feel if they died unexpectedly?

My dad died last year and I know how it feels. Jack was a kind & gentle spirit who loved Jesus and could recite 1 Cor 13 by heart. His passing was quite a shock and a loss to our family. I rejoice knowing he is in heaven, playing golf and dancing with the angels. Perhaps you, too, have suffered a loss.

So it must have been with Mary, when she saw the stone had been rolled away. As she crept into the darkness of the tomb, perhaps she was shocked.

“Where is my, Lord?” she cried out in unbelief and fear. Do we not all do the same when pain, loss, and tragedy strike our lives? “Where is God in all this?”

Jesus’s answer is the same today as it was two thousand years ago.
“I am not here. I have risen.”

Jesus conquered the grave. He healed the sick, made the blind to see and the deaf to hear. He cast out demons and performed many miracles. He is still in the miracle-working business today because He is alive!

What miracle would you like to see in your life? What dream or hope have you given up on? As the angel said to Mary, “Fear not” only believe and you will see miracles happen. The choice always remains with us.  Will we be like Thomas or like Mary? Will we walk in fear or faith over our circumstances?

When we walk with Jesus, we don’t have to carry our cross alone. As my youngest son recently reminded me of the two sets of footprints that became one in the sand. When we go thru our darkest nights of the soul, as I did on Monday, and Jesus did on Holy Friday, God is merciful. When we don’t know where the road ahead leads and we are at our weakest, Jesus carries us.

“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

The walk with Jesus is not always the easy path. The journey to faith is paved with potholes. Yet it always leads us to higher ground. If we are willing to believe, we, too, can conquer our fears, doubts and unbelief, because He lives!

No matter what lies in front of us, we can trust that God has a plan and a purpose for it. No matter how many times we stumble and fall under the weight of our cross, or like Peter, fail and doubt, God is always there to pick us up, dust us off, and place us on solid ground.

As you celebrate this glorious day, whatever your beliefs, I encourage you to give Jesus a try. Jesus, like Coca-Cola, is the real thing. Every other path is a detour. As he revealed himself to Mary, He will reveal himself to you and you, too, will rise up with wings like eagles and soar!

Whatever your dream, follow it! Whatever your passion, live it. Whatever you dream, believe in it!
Enjoy this inspirational performance of the Wales boys choir and always, always, keep looking up!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AARrVAHnkdY

How ‘s Your Vision?

Sometimes our vision does get distorted, doesn’t it? We think we are seeing the signs clearly and interpreting them properly. We judge by what we see or rather what we think we see.  Not always true. We tend to see people and situations through the lenses of our own experiences and fears and not the way God sees them. God sees us thru the eyes of Christ: pure, holy, and unblemished. He knows what He has allowed each of us to be born into and the reason why. He says we are each wonderfully and fearfully made (Ps. 139:14) and He created our innermost being. What we see as flaws in ourselves and others, God sees as tools for His glory. 

We all have a vision, yes? We have dreams, plans, and goals. We think we know where we’re headed. We think we are doing all the right things to get there and make it happen and then, whammo – we get blindsided.  Something out of the blue shows up and we don’t know what to think or do. That’s when it’s time to revisit the Great Eye Doctor.

This week I went to see a neurovascular ophthalmologist. Personally, I had never heard of one before, but I follow doctors’s orders and went thru all kinds of visions and screenings as I have been having some vision distortions and headaches recently. They had quite the technology let me tell you.

Like beauty, reality is in the eye of the beholder. How we view the world and others is how the world sees us. Thankfully, this is not how God sees us. We tend to see the faults of others very quickly, but we are blind to our own. Jesus says “You hypocrite. First take the log out of your own eye and then you will see well enough to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)

What is your life’s mission? What vision do you have for your life? Is it in sync with God’s will for you and have you run it by Him lately? Is it time for you to have an eye exam? Now and then we all need to update our spiritual glasses or even trade them in for new ones. God never holds anything against us nor should we. His policy is “forgive, forget and move forward.”

My vision is to glorify God in all I say and do and think. One of my favorite life verses is “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Ps. 19:14). No, I am not perfect at it and sometimes I need to reframe my perspective as well, but I am continually open to God’s refining fires.

What about you, dear one? God is still in the process of restoring our vision. He always sees us thru rose-colored glasses. When we put on our spiritual spectacles, we will begin to see ourselves and others as He does. Our vision will become clear once again and we will start to see the miracles that are all around us and in each other. Like the song goes, “Once I was blind, but now I see.”

Today is the day and now is the time. God only wants the best for his children so I encourage you to take a leap of faith and step into God’s vision for your life. You will be amazed!

Until next time, keep looking up and you may see the stars!

"Man in the Mirror"

When was the last time you looked in a mirror? This morning? In your car? Many of us spend lots of time in front of the mirror: primping, styling our hair, and making sure we look just right before we head out the door. Now I am all for looking your best, but how often do we consider the fact that inner beauty is so much more precious in the sight of God?

I think Michael Jackson realized this when he sang this powerful song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEQAie8ABLE
On stage since a small child, Michael was always in the limelight. He had the glitz, the glamor and the fancy clothes. But as we all realize sooner or later, the glitz, the glamor and the lights fade all too soon and then we are we? When all is said and done, how much time have we devoted to shining up our souls and reaching out to help someone else in need?  Jesus commanded us to do this when he told Peter to “feed my sheep”. Who are the sheep that Jesus is talking about?

As evidenced by the crowds adulation in this video, we are all sheep. We each have gone astray and lose our way time and again. The things of this world displace our focus from the eternal to the temporary.

Is it any wonder that people are leaving churches in droves? When a church is all about glitz, glamor and lights but fails to feed the flock, is that true religion? I think not. Each of us has a need and a hunger. Each of us is searching and we are all sheep.

Every time I make a mistake or fail, I jokingly tell myself “You’re such a sheep – baaaah!”
to remind myself of my need for a Savior and for forgiveness. I feel the loving arms of my Lord gently pulling me back from the precipice and into his loving arms. He tells me it’s ok and that everything is going to be fine. Despite what it feels like to me, despite the fact that once again I have allowed the cares of this world to suck my energy, I believe his words when he says “Come to me all who are weary and heavy-burdened and I will give you rest.”

When was the last time you took a good look in the mirror? Despite what you see, remember to see yourself and others thru the eyes of Jesus – with love, compassion, and mercy. In this Lenten season if you want to lay down your cross and follow Jesus, his arms are open wide. If you want to make a change, remember with God all things are possible.

Until next time, keep looking up and have the courage to make that change!