Friday, July 3, 2020

Introduction: A 14-Day Journey to Hearing From God

It was Sunday, July 1, 2018. I had been struggling in my writing session for hours in my living room, so I knew I had to leave the house. Whenever I hit a wall like that, it's usually because I've gotten annoyed with my surroundings.

Every now and then when I'm writing, it feels like the walls of my home are caving in on me. Sitting at my dining room table, which is one of the best writing spots in my house, begins to feel like punishment, and every sound, from the humming of the refrigerator to the ticking of the clocks, all of a sudden drives me up a wall.

When that happens, Starbucks is my refuge.

I go there, take in the new scenery and the less annoying sounds, and eventually I'm able to enter into a headspace that allows me to write again. On that particular day, I was determined to meet the personal writing quota that I'd set for myself, and I wasn't leaving until it was done.

When I got into my good writing groove, I opened my Bible to search out scriptures to include in my writing. I flipped and flipped and was getting pretty excited because the Lord was showing me exactly where to go to grab what I needed. I was looking to make one more point before my writing session would be over for the day, and I eventually landed in the book of John, chapter 15, where my eyes went directly to a scripture that I've read a kazillion times. In the latter part of verse 15, Jesus says, "...for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you."

It was like the words jumped off of the page and began to speak. The Lord spoke to my heart and said, "There are so many who don't know that I am speaking to them. There are so many who want to hear my voice, but they need to know that they CAN hear my voice. There are so many who don't know if it's my voice they're hearing or if it's that of a stranger. I've just said, clearly, that what I hear from the Father, I make known to them (those who are mine)."

He told me to go on Facebook and ask if there was anyone who wanted to hear God's voice. He told me to ask if there was anyone who wanted to hear His voice more clearly. The post was already written in my head before I could even close my Bible! He told me to invite those who were interested to a 14-Day Class/Workshop/Whatever We Want To Call This Thing of learning to hear His voice.

I didn't know how He was going to structure it. I didn't know how it was gonna be done. All I knew was that if I did what He said to do, He'd show me how to get it done.

And He did!

For 14 days, the Lord gave me specific scriptures, messages, videos, and studies to share with the participants. We had an amazing time, and those who gave themselves completely over to the Lord in those 14 days proclaimed that they were closer to Him at the end of the journey than they were when we started!

And here we are again! 

When the Facebook memory popped up in my feed this year (I love FB memories), I felt led to ask, again, if there was anyone who wanted to hear God more clearly.

There was a resounding response! 

And if you know me, you know there's nothing I love more than allowing God to use me to help others know Him better. I'm honored to be on this journey with you.

Starting Tuesday, 07/07/20, I'm going to challenge you to push past your feelings and MAKE TIME in your schedule to hear from the God who created you, who loves you like crazy, and who WANTS you to hear Him because He DESIRES to speak to you.

I'm telling you now that you're not always going to feel like setting the time aside to meet with God. There are going to be so many things vying for your attention because the enemy doesn't want you closer to God.

You will need to push past those feelings. Our feelings get us in trouble, so ignore them! Shut them down!

You will need to push past those distractions--social media, answering e-mails, the television, family requests that aren't life or death and don't need your immediate attention... Do what you need to do to get to God! He DESIRES to speak to you!

For the journey, you will need:

A Bible  - You need a bible that is easy for you to understand. I suggest the NLT or the AMP version. I'm going to ask that you not use your cell phone as your Bible because you WILL BE distracted. I don't care how strong you are or how determined you are in these 14 days, your phone will distract you when it's time to read and study. You'll actually need to write things in your Bible, so having actual pages is a plus. And there really is just something about "talking back to" the Word while you're reading it, writing on those pages and responding to the Lord as He talks to you.

A Journal - This doesn't have to be fancy. You don't need to go and purchase a $10 journal. You can get a spiral notebook. You can use a composition notebook. can get some loose leaf paper and staple it together, but you need a "notebook" of some kind that will be used specifically for this 14-day journey.

A Pen and/or Highlighter - You will be writing in your Bible. You will be writing in your journal. You can highlight where you feel is necessary, if you feel it's necessary, because you may want to remember certain scriptures to revisit later. You may feel the need to highlight in your journal too, if there's something you want to revisit there.

Internet Access - You will access your daily assignments here on my blog. There may be videos to watch that are linked to YouTube or Facebook or some other site online. You may need to visit an online Bible to look at a verse in another version.

Join the Private Facebook Group - Everyone who is on the 14-day journey will receive encouragement and daily reminders about assignments through the Facebook group. And can I just say... THERE IS POWER IN ACCOUNTABILITY! I don't know how people live their lives without it.

Something about being on the journey with others will push you when you don't feel like pushing through. Deciding to partner with someone to help you on days when it's tough is a blessing. Let the Facebook group be that for you.

In the event that there is a glitch in the blog system or I need to reroute us for the day (the Holy Spirit will have His way), I can make an announcement to the group. If ever He wants to say anything LIVE, the capability is there. This is also a good tool because should you have any questions, you can ask me (or others in the group), directly.

**You will get a personal invite to the group.**

I'm excited about this journey with you.
I will be stretching with you.
I will be making time with you.

I want to hear God's voice more clearly for myself, but more importantly, for the 14-day journey, I want to hear His voice FOR YOU! I want to guide you by His leading. It's my prayer that you will hear Him more clearly than you ever have, and that you won't stop communing with Him after the 14th day. I pray your conversations never cease!

Let's get ready to dive in! I'm SO ready to hear all He has to say!


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Love the Hell Out of Hate

Everything begins with a seed, be it a natural/physical seed like that of fruit or vegetables, or a spiritual/mental seed of doubt. Or hope. Or defeat. Or determination. 

Human life itself begins with a seed. And seeds eventually grow. When they’re watered and nurtured, they inevitably spring up to produce after their own kind.  

You won’t plant an apple seed and get an orange. An apple seed will eventually produce an apple tree, and that tree will bear apples.

Planting a bell pepper seed won’t get you a cucumber. A bell pepper is what you’ll get. 

You can’t expect to reach a goal that requires your determination if all you’ve ever planted are seeds of doubt. Seeds of doubt grow and produce inaction. A seed of determination will eventually arrive at a met goal or an accomplished dream.

And have you ever seen a human produce anything other than a human? A human seed produces a human being.

This is nature. Her laws are natural/physical and spiritual/mental. She is as she’s always been, and she shall forever remain. When a seed is planted, it will eventually produce.

So let there be no surprise that we’re seeing the fruit of deep-rooted seeds of hate in our nation today. Hate was long ago planted in the hearts of men (species), and we are certainly seeing the product of it. (Matthew 15:17-20) We’re experiencing the fruit from that tree—seeds that have been planted and replanted and replanted in the hearts of men (species) who produced more men (species) who produced more men (species). And on it goes.

We’ve always known the tree was there. We’ve always seen its fruit, but we knew we shouldn’t take of it. We knew its fruit wouldn’t nourish us.

Or maybe, for some, it took for us to eat of the fruit and become poisoned by its juices to learn that we should stay away. We had to learn the hard way that that fruit wasn’t our fruit to eat...that the fruit from the seed of hate wasn't what was best for our diets.

And aren't we tired of the fruit from the seed of hate, whether we've eaten it ourselves or simply watched what eating it has done to others? Isn't it high time that we choose to remove that fruit from our diets, and encourage others to do the same for our overall health? Do you, like me, want to see a move toward healthier living?

Let's plant seeds of love. 

Let's grow a different tree. Let's very intentionally nurture its fruit so it can produce more of its kind that will plant and replant and replant love in the hearts of men (species) for generations to come.

When given the opportunity to repay evil for evil, let's choose to love instead. Let's overcome evil with good, being careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone (Romans 12:17-20). Let's not be overcome by hate and evil.

Love with your words. Love with your deeds. Love with what you post. Let even your body language speak love, as it has the power to heap burning coals on hate's head (Proverbs 25:21-22). 

Be intentional about loving your neighbor. Initiate conversations that are wrapped in peace and that focus on goodness. Intentionally plant seeds that yield good fruit.

We've watched the seed of hate poison our nation. The fruit is harvesting in abundance. But we can plant seeds of love, and just as nature has promised, the seeds will produce fruit after its own kind. Love gives life; it's the only thing that overcomes hate. And we want that harvest. We want it in just as much bounty as the fruit of today's hate.

And we can have it.

Plant love.
Water love.
Nurture love.
Harvest love.