Listen Up and Receive

Proverbs 15:31-33
“The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.”

Have you ever met anyone who just wouldn’t listen to wisdom? You know, that one to whom you could talk till you’re “blue in the face;” yet, he or she just simply refuses to open his or her ears to hear. To be honest, when this happens, I have to fight genuine anger within my heart and then I have to fight pure pity.

To watch someone who is so stubborn in their own will to refuse God time and time again infuriates me on the onset, because it is as if I am standing at the top of a waterfall screaming out to her of the coming danger. I am jumping up and down, waving my arms, yelling at the top of my lungs, desperately trying to make her see that if she continues to travel in her canoe, ignoring the rushing rapids, she will find herself busted and destroyed in just a short time, maybe even beyond repair. It is as if I am furiously throwing all lifelines out to help him get to safety, and yet, despite all my efforts, he shoves the ropes off the boat and scoffs at my concern.

Then, the undesirable but inevitable happens. She finally realizes the error of her ways, but it is now too late. She violently attempts to turn around, only to find the craft is teetering over the edge and racing toward the rocks below. There is nothing more you can do, except wait until he steps out of the destruction and finds himself again. You can pray, and you can cry, and rightly you should; yet, until he decides to remove himself from the debris, you will be struggling in vain.

That is when the pity and the sorrow settles into my view. To see her fighting against the hope which remains breaks my heart. To see her waring against her Maker draws tears to my eyes. To see him clawing and assaulting his Savior, refusing the grace and mercy right within his grasp, shatters my serenity and peace.

There is hope for all who are lost. There is redemption for all those broken and shattered by their own muck and mire. He loves you. He will redeem you. He is waiting there for you to see. Just call on His name. You will never be the same.

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The Mailbox Is Full

Are you one of those whose voice mailbox is always full? People call your number only to receive the automated voice which says, “I’m sorry the voice mailbox is full and cannot receive any more messages.” I know, those of you who know me personally are chuckling right about now. Sometimes I am the world’s worst about cleaning out my mailbox. (#sorrynotsorry). My problem is being a keeper of too many memories, but that’s another story for another day…

Regardless of the reasons for a full voicemail, having one full inhibits a new message from getting through. Having a full mailbox causes a backup, a blockage, a hindrance of something new or something important being delivered to you. People have to recall, send a text or try to remember to give you the message upon the next time seeing you. This method isn’t very helpful, and it can definitely pose a problem in the case of an emergency or an important moment of contact when missed.

This made me start thinking of when God is trying to get “a message” to us. Sometimes, our minds are full of so much clutter that we can’t hear truth. The volume in our head is too loud. Our thoughts overrun whatever message He is trying to send, because we never shut them off. We never make time to just be still and listen.

Sometimes, our imagination is at such a high that it causes the volume in our head to be too low. Our daydreaming has become so unruly that we constantly live in a “happy place of nothingness,” and we miss His message, because we’re not connected to the moment when He speaks. We miss an opportunity, a person of influence or a moment of impact, because we are never present where we are.

I don’t know about you, but I want God to be able to get through to me at anytime, night or day. I want to be so in tune to His voice that no matter what is going on, where I am, or who I am with, He is able to speak, and I immediately hear. I want to be free from clutter, and I want to be living in each moment of every day, never leaving anything to chance.

Lord, help me to clean up my “mailbox”; so, I can clearly hear Your voice. Help me to turn the volume down in my head when it gets too loud by walking out into the woods or standing beside a waterfall to remind me of who You are and who I am not. Help me to turn up the volume in my head when I am distracted by the void of nothingness. Always remind me to live fully in every moment You give me, for I never know when it might be the last for me or someone I love. Let my life be of impact to those around me, because I am in tune with You, and I know when You speak.

 

Be Still

Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Can you hear Him today? He is whispering to your heart. Take minute to listen…

Nothing

Nothing

I sit and ponder

Wondering what words to use

I read. I peruse. I pause.

Nothing

I stand and wait

I listen intently for what You have

I look. I walk. I breathe.

Nothing

Sometimes, I wonder if I hear clearly.

Sometimes, I question if you care.

Sometimes, I doubt I am able.

Nothing

I know You have best in mind.

Yet, I struggle with the waiting.

I know Your love is the best.

Yet, I wrestle with the longing.

Nothing can compare
Nothing can comprehend

Nothing can hinder

Nothing can resist
You are my everything
Even when I feel undone

Nothing

I know You are below

Nothing

Even when I cannot hear

I know You are lacking

Nothing

Even when I cannot see

I know You are beyond

Everything
Penned – MG – 7/7/16

To Speak or Not To Speak

For our relationships to be healed, mended and restored, we must speak up and be heard, but we must also shut up and listen. Sometimes, what you are assuming leads to misunderstanding and confusion. Sometimes, what you are avoiding leads to brokenness and pain.

Proverbs 17:27-28 tells us, “He who has knowledge spares his words, And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.” Maybe, you need to slow down and listen more. I had a teacher in my young life who said, “God gave you two ears and one mouth. Learn which one He wants you to use more.” This has really stuck with me through the years.

 

Maybe you contend that it’s easier for me to stop and listen than it is for the next guy. Maybe my introverted personality affords me more latitude. This doesn’t mean the next guy is necessarily excused from the need, from the expectancy of others. This doesn’t mean he has a better excuse than I. No, it just simply means he might need to work a little harder to open his ears and shut his mouth.

Other times, it’s better to speak up and be heard than to remain silent. In just a few chapters later, in the book of Proverbs, this instruction is given to us, “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.” Sometimes, when you remain silent, what you are feeling is not simple discomfort, it is pure conviction for what you are observing, hearing and the situation of which you are allowing yourself to be a part. When you remain silent, your actions further condone what is happening. If it is wrong, speak truth. Stop violence. Stop harm against the innocent. Stop evil with your bold speech.

 

 

I could argue that, maybe it’s easier for you to speak louder than it is for me. Maybe your extroverted personality allows you more fortitude. This doesn’t mean I am excused from the necessity of expression, from the desperation of the wounded. This doesn’t mean I have a better excuse than you. No, it just simply means I must put more effort in the articulation of my voice.

The perfect balance comes between the tension of knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. It comes from the acknowledgment for the need of both and seeking the right one at the perfect moment. It comes in knowing our own weaknesses and strengths and drawing from them both for the courage to do right, and finding our passion in one and releasing our will for another.

That is the beauty of conflict and the harmony of perfect peace.

 

Don’t Throw it Away

Had a conversation with someone today about this very thing. It is so heartbreaking to know someone is going down the wrong path, and they refuse to turn around. They refuse to listen and get help out of their detriment…Be bold enough to speak truth into their lives. Care more for their soul than their approval of you.

the grizzle grist mill

You’ve got so much to live for; you’ve got so many days.

You’ve got so far to go; so, why toss them all away?

You think there is no harm; you think there is no mess.

You think there is no pain; so, why is there this death?

You didn’t see it coming; you didn’t see it go.

You didn’t see it hit; so, why are you so low?

You’re falling into the trap; you’re falling into my arms.

You’re falling into the hole; so, why not stay from this harm?

You’ve come to me in love; you’ve come to me in shame.

You’ve come to me in anger; so, why do they still blame?

You have to make a choice; you have to make the decision.

You have to make a change; so, why are you resisting?

You can’t wait forever; you need to get it straight.

You’ve got…

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Shimmers Like Gold

       

The lake shimmers like gold.

 

I drove across the lake today. As I looked at the water it seemed to be shimmering, as if it was a pile of diamonds glowing in the sun. It was simply beautiful. 

This moment reminded me that there’s beauty all around us, all the time. We just have to open our eyes and see it. We can get so busy in our everyday drives, in our daily routines, and in our weekly habits that we miss the beauty that God placed right in our midst. Do you ever just stop to actually smell the roses? Do you ever just pause at night and look up at the stars? 

God placed us here amongst His creation to enjoy it and to praise Him for it. Yet too often these days, I think, we are too busy to even see it clearly. Sure we might pause for half a millisecond to watch a bird on a branch, to hear it chirp it’s little song, but then, we have appointments to make, things to do, people to see, and then we leave, missing out on its beautiful praise. 

We must stop. We must get away. We must get alone until we’re not alone anymore. We must seek our Maker, and then, we’ll be able to see and hear what He has for us. His plans, His creation, His ways are so much clearer when we step out from among the chaos of our lives and step into His presence. I think I’d like to see Him today in the shimmering gold on the lake. I’d like to hear Him in the rustling of the leaves. Would you like to join me?

“Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…”   Psalm 96:11-13a

Train Them Up

The Bible says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6. As we strive daily to teach our children strong values and Godly principles, I often wonder how we’re doing. Dealing with the ever shifting cultural standards, the pressures from the outside that scream, “You’re too old fashion!” “You’re intolerant!” “You’re behind the times,” I am tempted, almost daily, to question my motives, intentions and purpose for setting these “rules,” these boundaries, these standards by which we live. Having a young teen in our home, one who is striving to find himself, to determine his own faith, ‘not that of mom and dad,’ and to become the man he so longs to be, it causes me, at times, to pause, to ponder, to almost take a poll to see if I’m doing right by him, if I’m teaching him these things for his own good or for mine.
Good parenting doesn’t come easy. Good parenting isn’t a popularity contest. It isn’t a survey we take to see who approves and who doesn’t. Good parenting takes faithfulness to the One who created it. It takes a lot of love, mercy and grace. Good parenting takes tenacity to carry on, to uphold your standards and to stick to your convictions, even when you’re all alone and “nobody else is doing it!”
The best kind of parent has the faith to remain a boundary while all others run away in fear of ridicule. The best kind of parent stands with courage in the face of rejection and loneliness. The best kind of parent has also learned when to say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong,” even when it hurts their pride to do so. The best kind of parent loves beyond the failings, keeps believing beyond the mishaps and keeps cheering beyond the cold winds of adversity. The best kind of parent knows when to push forward and when to pause and let them breathe. Lastly, the best kind of parent keeps loving when the door to their child’s heart has been slammed shut, and it appears he/she will never come back home.
Good parenting skills don’t come easy. It’s not a game in which you roll the dice and see if you hit the jackpot. No, good parenting takes faith. It takes determination. It takes a strong heart to love deep and remain true. It takes a strong mind to think the unthinkable, to plan for the unpredictable and to dream the unimaginable. It takes humility, love and grace for success to come, and, sometimes, that success may not be realized for almost a lifetime.
In this one thing you can rest assured, His Word does not fail. His promises are true. You train that child to follow Him, they will know the way home. Yes, it will have to be their choosing; He will never force their hand. He will never demand their love, but He will be ever present, ever drawing them with His love that is unconditional, His love that never fails.
So, keep the faith, Mom. Hold up that standard, Dad. Remain true to the One who called you to this purpose. You can do this! You can survive! Those little hearts are counting on you. They need your love. They need your guidance. They need your boundaries that protect them from the evil outside. They need your standards that protect them from themselves. Keep the faith! You only have a few years to fight this battle for the souls of the next generation. Don’t give up. Don’t give in, and never let them see you cower in fear. You were made for this. This is your destiny. Win!

…These are the moments when my heart is reassured that we are on the right path…

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His dream is to be a Christian Rapper…so, we work hard to help him realize his dreams even while he is still young…

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At bedtime, we find him like this more often than not… (He’s fallen asleep reading his Action Bible.)

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At a summer youth camp, I looked up and saw him immersed in worship…

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On top of the mountain, he said, “Mom, take this picture. I want to post it to [social media] and talk about pondering things of life and faith…”

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I told them I’d like to get a picture of them with the mountains behind…
(Note: I didn’t ask them to “huddle up,” but they did.)

…Parents, be encouraged today. Sometimes, it’s the little things that we fail to notice, and sometimes, those are the very things that matter the most! 🙂

If These Walls Could Talk

If these walls could talk, what would they say? Would they groan over the hardships they’ve seen? Would they sway under the weight of change? Would they laugh at old antics and past traditions? Would they smile at the new lives and refurbished dreams?

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Would they share a solid faith? Or would they cry over faltered testimonies? Would they weep from years of lost souls? Would they impart wisdom beyond measure or reprimand our crooked ways?

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If these walls could talk, what would the tell us? Can you hear them? Are you listening? I think I hear a whisper on the wind…