He Speaks

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If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

Before we had children, God spoke to us through the messages on a church sign we drove by daily.  I know it sounds strange, but no matter what obstacles we were facing it seemed the local church knew about all of them and put up inspiring messages for us each week. We were so sure these messages were meant for us, the first one to leave the house after a new message had arrived would call the other on their cell phone and report the new encouraging word for the week.

After our first child was born we began facing the challenge of how to adjust our finances so that I could stay home with her. We had prayed, cried, questioned ourselves & God and wondered why our prayers were not being answered in the time frame we were counting on. One day, God answered and He answered BIG!  Within a three-day period our house sold, my husband got a raise and I was able to quit my job.  That week the sign read “Your Breakthrough Is Here Rejoice!”

This time, I had to pull off the road to catch my breath and dry my tears.  I called my husband and raced home to get the camera so that we could forever document the awesome event.  Looking back, I wish I had documented all of the prayer requests and church sign messages during the few years we lived there.  It would be so inspiring to look back on all God had to say to us while we were going through those daily challenges.

It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end. Deuteronomy 11:12

Even if I don’t have all of God’s messages documented – I do have this one.  I will never forget His answer to prayer and how He was celebrating with us that day.

Today I ask you to document, remember and cherish the times God has come through for you. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:8-9 It happens more than we realize, but the big ones are always obvious so at least write those down.  If not for you – for your children or grandchildren. Do this so that during times of trials and challenges we have God’s truths and promises to cling through until we can claim victory over the battle.

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And If I Perish. . .

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I get together with a few friends on Wednesday morning for bible study.  We recently started a study on parenting – which of course brings up the topic of worry. I am sure if we all sat down right now and made a list of things we could or should be worrying about, it might take up several pages.  I shared with my friends that worry and fear are two emotions I have to give to the Lord several times a day. Thankfully, they confessed they also struggled with this and we had a very honest conversation that helped me greatly.  Sometimes knowing that you aren’t alone in a struggle gives you the courage, strength and comfort of knowing you can conquer the problem.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?  Matthew 6:25

We are NEVER alone.  You may not know a friend that is struggling with a problem like yours, but I promise that God knows your problems, He understands your fear, hears your prayers and is always walking with you to help you defeat the evil one who delights worry and fear. Know and trust that you are never alone.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:8-9

Several years ago as I was running on the treadmill listening to some music, it hit me.  It was as if someone walked up to me and said, “Allison, don’t fill your mind with this useless worldly music.  Fill your mind with My promises and love for you.”  That very day I came home and deleted all my current music and downloaded only contemporary Christian music.  The fact was, if I was going to ride around down all day with a song stuck on repeat in my head, I wanted it to be one of faith and encouragement. A message that was constantly reminding me who was in control and was walking with me every step of the way.

I love Esther’s sentiment in Esther 4:16 when she was faced with the possibility of death.  She prayed, trusted God was in control, watching over her and simply said, And if I perish, I perish. Do you trust God that much?  Can you hand over your fear, worry and control?  Can you trust Him enough to put your life in His hands?

“Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” Esther 4:16

Prayer

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“Prayer is like that she whispered, Sometimes it can take days . . . months . . years and then sometimes when I get really quiet I can see, hear and feel the answer all at the same time.”

A very dear friend of mine gave me a gorgeous print with this quote. I absolutely love it!  It sums it all up for me.  There are times when I pray and receive an instant answer and other prayers that seem to just sit out in space and take an eternity to be answered.  Learning to enjoy the wait and be thankful for all the blessings I already have is the tricky part.

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:12-13

What a powerful scripture.  In other words, Paul was saying, thank you for your prayers, help and concern.  I really appreciate it, but you don’t need to worry about me.  I have found the recipe to being completely happy and satisfied no matter what my situation.  Wow!  Can you imagine experiencing that peace?  To be so content in resting in God’s shadow and trusting no matter what the situation – knowing He will provide you the strength to get through and He is all you need.

I think God allows needs in our lives so that we seek and depend on Him.  It also gives Him the opportunity to show off for us and blow our minds with answered prayers we could have never imagined.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

Think of time (maybe it is happening right now) when your child was sick, a friend or family member was going through a difficult time.  How did you respond?  You reached out, didn’t you?  And you wanted them to reach out to you, lean on you for help, support, love and advice.

Our Father in Heaven wants us to cast all our worries and problems on Him.  He is there waiting.  He wants to love on us, give us answers, comfort and peace. He wants to answer our prayers and teach us along the way so that each day we grow closer to being able to have contentment in every situation (Philippians 4:12).

“It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.” Psalms 119:71

Just One More Page

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I love to read, but it can get the better of me.  I can’t read casually just a chapter a night.  Once I begin, I get so engrossed in the story, I can’t put it down because I can hardly wait to see how the story plays out and how it ends. I will even go as far as reading the last page of the book before I start reading.

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Ecclesiastes 7:8

I think many times we respond to life that same way. We rush through a circumstance, forget to seek God’s guidance or push feelings behind us because they are too difficult to deal with. We just want to get through it, find a quick fix and see what’s coming next.  When impatience gets the better of us, we miss out on a lot.

being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience Colossians 1:11

In life, each time was face a circumstance where we choose to wait on the Lord for His answer, His direction and His clarity we are empowered and strengthened.  He opens our eyes and takes the opportunity to teach us lessons that will help us endure what is to come.

Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. James 5:7

We are a work in progress.  God needs us to be patient, listen and learn through every circumstance.  Each lesson builds upon the other. You can’t learn to add before you can count, you can’t build a house until you have a foundation and you can’t play the piano until you can read the notes.  Don’t rush through life and it’s challenges.  Of course, we want to fix every problem immediately, rush to a conclusion and move on to the next step, but if we aren’t careful we will miss what we need to learn to complete God’s master plan for our lives.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:24