He Speaks in the Noise

I thoroughly enjoy my moments of quiet and relaxation.  That typically happens before my family is awake or out on a country road riding my bicycle.  Lately, life has traveled far from tranquility.  It’s loud, stormy, and, stressful.  In about every arena that I am involved – it feels like a storm is brewing.

For example, while retrieving one of our cars, after being in a wreck this week – the van I have been driving shuts down on the way home.  Now it sits in a parking lot as I try and figure out my next step with it.  As for the car, it will probably end up getting crushed later this week for scrap metal.

Yesterday I took a vacation day from work and went on a field trip with my daughters kindergarten class.  It was a fun time to watch my daughter interact with her friends.  I don’t see how the teachers do this day after day.  Leading little minds to learn, respect, behave, and to enjoy life.  One parent said to me, “I don’t see how they (teachers) do it.  They kept up with all of these kids today.”  I’d like to add that the children were well behaved. I know the teachers were tired from their little outing but they still had a smile!

Reading in Luke 8:22-15 this morning.  I have re-read this passage several times this week as I continue my trek through the New Testament.  A couple of things stand out to me.  Nothing new.  But in the midst of the current circumstances these verses seem to hit home.

The disciples are with Jesus in a boat.  Jesus is sleeping. There is a storm on the lake and the disciples are scared and have begun to panic.  Now, some of these guys are very familiar with boats and being on the water, as they were fishermen by trade.  I am sure they are very familiar with storms on the water as well.  But for some reason this storm was nothing like they had experienced before.  They were afraid for their lives,

They awaken Jesus for help, “Master we are going to drown!”  The Message says, “Getting to his feet, he [Jesus] told the wind, ‘Silence!’ and the waves, ‘Quiet down!’ They did it. The lake became smooth as glass.”

The sentence that leaves me asking more questions is Jesus’ question back to his disciples. “Why can’t you trust me?”

Makes me think of a moment this week where things seemed to be crashing in on me and I wondered if God even liked me anymore.  I began to question if he was going to let me perish in the midst of my own personal turmoil.

As I read this again, I hear him ask, “Why can’t you trust me?”

Yes.  It’s very noisy right now.  And he is here.  I know it.  I need to learn in this experience of life and to respect, behave, and enjoy life.

Advertisements

Encouraging faith around the toilet

The past several months have been some of the best months I have experienced in a long time.  Why? Read on…

Over the past couple of years (and maybe more), I have struggled to see where God is, where I am in God, and where it is I belong.  I have sought the Lord.  I have prayed and read the Bible.  I have read devotionals.  I have talked with friends.  I have gone to church and attended Sunday School. I have attempted to teach a couple of times. And earlier this summer I went on a mission trip where I believe things began to change. I had about given up.

I’m in the midst of reading 1 Kings right now in the Old Testament.  While reading, 1 Kings 17 – 19, I read about Elijah: A man who speaks with the Lord, fed by ravens and angels, a man of prayer, used by God to raise the dead, prayed for rain in a little whose God is bigger tournament on Mount Carmel, and a man, when challenged, was afraid.

I can relate to Elijah… especially as it pertains to running from my fear.  When Elijah was challenged by Jezebel he ran in fear.  In 1 Kings 19:13, “And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?”  I’m pretty sure I have heard that in my own spirit before as well.  There are a few other things that stand out to me this morning in the midst of his fear.

  1. The Lord was with him.
  2. He was not forgotten.
  3. God still had a purpose, work, and a plan with his life.
  4. There was nothing too big God can’t overcome.
  5. God wanted him to mentor someone else (Elisha)

God has been speaking to me lately in so many wonderful ways.  If you are new to faith in Jesus or are seeking to understand who Jesus is, I want you to know I don’t hear him audibly.  I see/hear Him as I read His Bible.  I hear him as I contemplate and pray over and through His Word (Bible). I hear Him speak to me through other Christians and circumstances in my life.  I personally love to have a spot where I can sit, pray, and read the Bible.  It’s our meeting place.  If you don’t have a place where you meet with God I encourage you to find a place and ask the Lord to meet you there.

So, what does this have to do with faith and a toilet?  I’m looking to tackle a couple of little projects around the house.  I met with a good friend last night to discuss some of those things he may help me with.  The toilet was on my list.  I had looked at this toilet a couple of times by myself.  (I really hate working on things like this).  The couple of times I had looked at it by myself I never saw what the problem was.  I just thought I was going to have to replace all the stuff in the back of the toilet.

Well, last night he pulled the lid off and I stood there looking at it from a different angle.  A new perspective so to speak.  Immediately, I saw what the problem was.  The little chain was keeping the rubber-flapper-deal from closing all the way which was keeping the water running.  BAM, problem solved!! Thanks Randy!!

Why couldn’t I see that before?  I don’t know.  But the lesson is that we need others in our lives so we can see life from a different perspective.  Randy and I have met together for years (almost once a week) to share with each other from the Bible, a book we are reading, prayer, and just to plain-ole talk.  We have taken a little break from that the last couple of years but God has brought us back to our meeting time in recent weeks.  I’m so glad He did.  I need fresh perspective in my life.  And I need to be able to share with someone else what God is teaching me.  Our meeting time is one of real encouragement.

If you don’t have someone you meet with I highly encourage you to find someone to share with.  Maybe you need to seek someone out who needs a friend that you can mentor.  Or maybe you need an Elijah in your life to help you grow in your faith and understanding of God.

Until next time… Roye

 

 

Can you see what God is doing?

Have you ever ridden the log ride at Six Flags or at some other park? 

Lately my life has seemed much like I am riding a log ride (just not as fun).  My life is in motion bumping up against the parameters (or shall I say the principles) of life.  All the while, I know there is a destination out there that I will arrive at.  As Oswald Chambers puts it, I’m living my life based on principles rather than vision.

There is a difference between holding on to a principle and having a vision. A principle does not come from moral inspiration, but a vision does.

Our own idealistic principles may actually lull us into ruin. Examine yourself spiritually to see if you have vision, or only principles. (My Utmost for His Highest, May 9).

How do you live your life?  Do you get up everyday and hop onto the log ride of the expected routine in life or do you live it a bit more dangerously with a spiritual vision?  I know it seems like I have settled into the log ride and today am being challenged to get off of the ride and jump into a raft and conquor an uncharted river.  The Holy Spirit will be the guide and he will provide the vision.

Many years ago I went white water rafting on the Ocoee River in Tennessee.  I was nervous and stressed the entire time.  The water was freezing, the rapids were rough, and I had to trust the guide.  At times, I even got angry with the guide because I thought he was intentionally sending us through rougher water when it wasn’t necessary.

I realize in life I do the same thing.  At times, I get upset and angry with where this course is taking me.  I want to point a finger at the Holy Spirit and say, “Why didn’t you tell me to dig earlier?”  I’m quick to forget that He is teaching me as I go.  He allows the rough waters in my life and I need to learn from them. 

I have come to know when He is telling me to do something.  I have learned His voice.  But I haven’t overcome my fear of taking risks in following Him.  I like the log ride.  I know what I will experience in the log.  As for the the raft, there’s a risk and I will have to trust the Guide.

Have you lost the excitement for living?  Your job? Ministry? Family?  Read Proverbs 29:18,

  If people can’t see what God is doing,
   they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
   they are most blessed. (The Message)

I know the following quote is from a message on marriage.  But it is applicable to any aspect of life that pertains to personal passion.  Job. Family. Ministry.  Whatever!  We all get involved in doing something based on how it makes us feel but to keep it going and alive there must be a plan… a vision.  It’s the plan that will keep you moving forward.

“Falling in love requires a pulse, staying in love requires a plan.” (Andy Stanley).

Are you following the vision for your life?  Or have you decided to remain comfortable with where you are?

Where’s my mind?

It’s somewhere north of here!

There are a few songs I really like to listen to when I drive… especially when I am going through a contemplative season.  It’s that season again.  “Somewhere North” by Derek Webb is one of those songs. 

It’s a muggy night in Houston
And all the intersections are like full service stations
I’m on my way to a familiar place
It’s cold in Kansas City
And you can no more hear me than I can see your face
How I wish it was just you and me

We wouldn’t have to talk above the crowd
We wouldn’t have to talk so loud

Chorus
I give you my life and all I am
But what have I to give
So I hand you a candid photograph of this little boy
‘Cause I have nothing to my name
But I can give you that

I don’t miss the driving
Seems like forever
And I’m always driving in my mind
And wearing out the road that gets me there

And I’m driving till my eyes just can’t see straight
But I suppose that it’s getting late

Chorus

I may never find the sleep
I’ve lost all feeling in my hands and
Feet may touch the ground but
My mind’s somewhere north of here

I saw Derek Webb perform at Berry College with Joel and Jason last winter.  Webb was awesome!  I don’t recall if he sang this or not… I assume this song is about a relationship with a girl.  I have another take on it for my life and will write about it in Part Two.

Why all the fear?

I recall sitting in my bedroom on Walnut Dr.  It was summer.  I think I was 19 years old.

I knew what God was wanting to do with me at the time.  I knew what He was calling me to do.  I knew what He was preparing.  But I had this fear of stepping out and doing what He wanted me to do. 

Fear.  It’s an ugly four letter word.  One that I don’t like to face. 

So what happened on that day in my bedroom?  I had been praying about this thing on my mind.  I knew what God was telling me.  Yet I wanted him to write it out on the wall for me… send me a letter in the mail… speak to me audibly.  I just wanted authoritative proof that what was on my mind was really Him and not something I was making up in my mind. 

So what happened while in my bedroom?  Well, after I prayed I recall having this thought come to my mind. “Read Psalm 32:8-11.”  OK – cool – I will read it.  I did.  Before I read it I had no idea what it was going to say.  I wasn’t even sure if there were 11 verses in this Psalm.  I grabbed my NIV and started reading:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
       I will counsel you and watch over you.

Do not be like the horse or the mule,
       which have no understanding
       but must be controlled by bit and bridle
       or they will not come to you.

 Many are the woes of the wicked,
       but the LORD’s unfailing love
       surrounds the man who trusts in him.

 Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
       sing, all you who are upright in heart.

Well, He didn’t have to head me over the head!  But I’m glad He did! After-all I asked for it!

Tonight I am reading in Psalm 32.  While reading this passage I am reminded of that particular evening.  Now I’m 43.  Guess what!  I still struggle with that fear. 

My friend James told me yesterday, “Don’t be afraid”  – among other things.  Sometimes I think if God would put that bit in my mouth and lead me on I will not need to fear… yet he says, “Don’t be like the horse of the mule…”  I guess I’m a jack ass 🙂 !  Just kidding… I’m a child of God that wants to be safe.  I need to live with “Reckless Abandon”.

Why all of the fear?

Trust

After reading a passage in Psalms and reflecting on some things in and around my life – I have begun some evaluation.  These are some random questions I began to ask myself:

  • Who do I trust?  Why?
  • Do I trust anyone with everything about me?  Or do I pick and choose certain people depending on the circumstance?
  • How do I know when someone is trustworthy? 
  • What are the traits of someone who is trust worthy?
  • Once trust has been broken – How does someone regain my trust? Is it possible?

trust [truhst]

reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

God is all strength for his people,
      ample refuge for his chosen leader;
   Save your people
      and bless your heritage.
   Care for them;
      carry them like a good shepherd. (Psalm 28:8-9, The Message).

I know at times in life (family, church, job, and other relationships) it is tough to trust.  To have full confidence in someone else can be a scary thing.  Especially if one of those people or institutions has broken that trust.  I think sometimes I am too trusting of others… almost to the point of being naive.  Although, lately I have been catching myself being very skeptical of putting a lot of trust in others.  I don’t like being like that. 

I had surgery on my arm and back this year.  I had these lypoma’s removed.  All is well with me and the places where they were removed.  The strange thing is that I am very guarded still about those two areas on my body.  There was some damage there in the past.  It has been dealt with… yet I still want to protect them especially when someone touches either area.  I don’t even like to touch those places either.

Being hurt or let down by others will make anyone skeptical of putting total trust on the line once again. Does this keep you from trusting God?

I was reading Psalm 28 and this idea of trust came to my mind.  I thought about a few words in the two verses listed above.  (Strength, refuge, save, care for, and carry.)  I asked myself these questions: 

Do I really rely on His strength?  Do I trust Him to be my refuge or fortress?  Do I trust Him to save me?  Do I have confidence that He cares for me?  When I know I’m at the end of my strength do I trust He will carry me?

Ma`owz – fortress

(As found in Psalm 28:8)

place or means of safety, protection, refuge, stronghold

  1. place of safety, fastness, harbour, stronghold
  2. refuge (of God) (Crosswalk.com Bible Study Tools).

When the world all around seems so unstable – Look to God… trust Him with your life!  He loves us both so much!  Run to safety trust the LORD to carry you.

Blocking out the noise in silence…

Catalyst… I was there!

Catalyst… It’s still bugging me!

Catalyst…        

I can either run to the Truth and embrace it… or I can run from it.  From all indications there is no running from it.  Total surrender is the only acceptable response.  God is on every street corner.  He is in the midst of every conversation since those two powerful days.  God was there before I got there.  He was waiting.  God was in the invitation for me to go.  God is here with me today.  God is.

This is not about Catalyst.

I have read several blogs from some who have attended Catalyst.  I hear their response.  I hear how God has dealt with them. But I still struggle.  I still cry.  I still sit here looking through my notes.  What is it I can’t let go of?  Why is it God will not let go of me?  (Not that I want Him to).  But He is always there – He is always here.  No matter where I go in my thoughts he is there. 

He was there December 1983.  He changed my life set me a part for Himself.  To lift Him up!  To tell His gospel story.   

I have the house to myself this morning.  I have sat here in silence.  Just sitting.  I dare not go outside and do anything as I have had bronchitis for the past week.  So, I sit… just listening to the silence.  When was the last time you sat in total silence?  Literally the only thing I can hear is the refrigerator and THAT is about to drive me nuts!  God is here. 

This is not about me…

In the silence, I have prayed for friends.  Friends who are sick.  Friends who are serving the Lord at this very moment.  Friends who are surrounded by fear.  Friends who are full of hope and encouragement.  Friends who God is reaching through me.  God has been doing some things I didn’t even know about until day before yesterday…. WOW!  But today – I’ve just sat here.  And so has God.  It took me a bit to notice He was here.  Oh – I was listening for Him but I had some things to deal with in this silence.  In this moment He is here.  He is there with you too.  It could be today or It could be tomorrow but He is there.  Kind of freaky – I know.  But it’s His love.

Is it noisy where you sit? 

Although I have been sitting here in this silence my mind has been filled with the noise that distracts me so much.  Now that I am here… now that He is here… I just want to stay here in this silence.  I have found a bit of peace.  The noise is gone (even the motor of the refrigerator is silent).

It’s all about God… His Son – Jesus…

Have you told anyone lately?  Is the Holy Spirit working through you today?  Or is there too much noise?  You know He will work through you even through all of the noise… don’t let the noise trick you to think otherwise.  Your life is His… let Him use you today… there’s another life waiting for the Truth.  They are looking for it.  They are on the street corner.  They are in the grocery store checkout line.  They are at your work.  They may even be in your church.  They are where you are.  Be abandoned to Him.  Run… go and tell what He has done for you.  Don’t let the moment pass you by.  It’s not about Catalyst… it’s not about me… It’s all about Jesus.  It’s about setting the captive free. 

The world is looking for a revelation
We’re always under their investigation
They look at us to hear we got to say
They can’t see Jesus when we stand in the way
They don’t need no more elevated speeches
We’re keeping Jesus just beyond their reaches
Can’t see the forest for all of the trees
They won’t see Jesus till we fall on our knees

(From, “Lift Him Up”, Petra – Bob Hartman, 1983).

Silence Broken

Kara just broke the silence with a very strange txt message:  “John McCain is at the Cartersville Airport until 1PM” I had to turn on FOX News and break the silence to find out for sure.  It was a scheme of the devil… to get me out into the cool breezy weather.   John McCain is in Albuquerque today!!  Which is ironic  – as I would love to be living in Albuquerque once again!!  Thanks for the diversion Kara. 🙂