A Moment of Honesty

I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m far from it. I have a sincere desire to purse Jesus and do His will, but I haven’t always made decisions that reflect full submission to His Lordship. In fact this is an area I’ve struggled with pretty consistently for years. Especially challenging for me has been learning to really hear His voice in the midst of a thousand other voices.

Three years ago I was so convinced I was hearing God’s voice, leading and direction, but things didn’t play out as I expected and I was left with two options. Either I can’t hear God’s voice at all or God’s plan for that time in my life was different than I thought it was. I believed it was the latter, but my emotions told me it was the first.

In a way I gave up. I didn’t stop loving Jesus, but I did disengage. I stopped believing I could ever truly hear His voice and direction for my life. I made several decisions during this season that weren’t necessarily bad, but weren’t based upon prayerfully following the leading of the Lord.

I tried to do things my own way.

That’s never an easy thing to admit is it? It happens all the time. We all have moments when we boldly jump into a decision without considering the direction of the Lord. The true test comes once we realize that we stepped towards something God didn’t intend. Sometimes we double down on the wrong direction and just hope God can make something good of it. 

He can. 

However, the best thing we can do is take a step back and put our whole life on the table in front of the Lord and say, “Ok God, what is Your will?”

The struggle I ran into is that I’d gotten so used to doing things my way, I couldn’t recognize His voice. It was no longer familiar. I reached out and sought advice and counsel from many different sources.

In difficult decisions we should always seek the peace of the Lord. God’s voice is always assuring and His direction is accompanied by peace. Even when the decision in question is challenging,  hard to follow through and will lead to all kinds of mixed emotions, deep down in the presence of Jesus we can have peace.

That doesn’t always make things easy, but this is where Faith in the Lord and the willingness to obey Him comes into play. What’s most important to you? The plans we laid or obeying the Lord? For me, I know I want to be in His perfect will at any cost.

I’m still working on learning to truly obey Him and hear His voice. Some of you reading this today might relate in my struggle to hear God’s voice. If that’s you, can I encourage you to keep at it. Keep reading the Word and spending time in prayer. Prioritize God over all else and I promise, you will learn to recognize His voice. He is active and wanting to speak to each of us, leading us and directing us down paths of promise.

I tried to do things my own way rather than letting God’s voice lead my life. I let other people tell me what God was saying, and while other people can confirm what the Lord is speaking to you, we must listen to the voice of the secret place.

I believe the Lord is leading me into a new season of my life. For 8 months now I have been consistently pursuing the Lord in a way I hadn’t for a long time. I believe I am learning to hear His voice again and more importantly obeying that voice.

This learning process is part of why my blogs abruptly stopped. I know I had just barely even started this blog, and I stopped. I found myself in an unexpected season where I was empty, broken and needed to fill up on His Word. I lacked motivation and inspiration to write, but I kept my prayer time and Bible reading consistent.

I guess today my primary message to you would be that obedience to God is the most important thing. Prayer if not coupled with action, leads to complacency. We must act in a way that pleases the Lord.

Next week we will spend some time looking at sin and the result of disobeying the Lord. I hope you’ll join me as we explore the stories of King Saul and Samson and learn some practical steps we can take to overcome sin.

Thank you for reading!

The Battle Between…

Recently I’ve realized my faith isn’t as strong as I thought it was. That statement isn’t an easy one to make. We have perceptions of who we are and occasionally we have difficult moments where we truly see through our own web of self deception and see reality. Too often we only see our intentions and overlook our lack of action.

That’s the key right there, because to have faith is to know without doubt that what you believe will come to pass. When we are pursuing God’s will for our lives, we should live boldly with no doubt that our plans will succeed, because God is on our side. If you have this kind of faith then ACTION will be the natural byproduct. It’s easy to act on what we know, it’s hard to act on what we doubt.
GettyImages-489748108_master.0.jpgI will sit in a chair with confidence, because I know it will hold me up, but if you ask me to walk across a bridge made of  glass, forget it! I will be filled with fear and as a byproduct be filled with inaction. Frozen.

Frozen is where I have found myself on more than one occasion. I fully believe God’s ability to accomplish what He has put in my heart and in my life, yet many times when it comes down to it, I am filled with doubt.

Things don’t always work out the way we expect, these are the moments that test the genuineness of our faith. It is the trying times, when circumstances seem to tear apart our dreams that we will either stand firm on the promises of God or give way to fear.

In the latter half of Mark 5 we see such a moment develop. Jarius, a leader in the local synagogue came to Jesus full of faith that Jesus could heal his dying daughter. I am sure he was in a hurry and was frustrated by the great crowds following Jesus. As a father, worried over his dying daughter he must have been feeling very anxious when the woman with the issue of blood touched Jesus and he stopped to interrogate the crowd.

The woman confessed that it was her who had touched Him and Jesus told her, in verse 34 “Daughter, your faith has made you well.” Jesus knew she had faith because of the corresponding action, she fought her way through the thick throngs of people and was just barely able to touch the bottom of His robe.

Jarius must have felt encouraged, again seeing Jesus has the power to heal, and full of faith that Jesus would do the same for his daughter.

Then everything changed.

Mark 5:35-36  (NLT) While he was still speaking to her, messengers arrived from the home of Jairus, the leader of the synagogue. They told him, “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now.  But Jesus overheard them and said to Jairus, “Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

We know how the story ends. Jesus goes to the little girl and performs a great miracle, but what if Jarius had listened to his companions? What if he had set his sights completely upon his physical reality instead of having faith in a spiritual reality? It would have been easy to listen to this news and completely despair, but Jesus intervened.

There will be times we have to choose to look past our fears, look past our doubts and look to Jesus, trusting in Him completely. David understood this.

Psalm 38:13-15  (NLT) Meanwhile, my enemies lay traps to kill me. Those who wish me harm make plans to ruin me. All day long they plan their treachery. But I am deaf to all their threats. I am silent before them as one who cannot speak. I choose to hear nothing, and I make no reply. For I am waiting for you, O LordYou must answer for me, O Lord my God.

I want to encourage you today, don’t listen to the negative voices that would have you believe your dreams are dead. Be like David and choose not to hear them and definitely don’t respond. Instead wait on the Lord.

Continue to have faith that He will make a way.