A Time of Silence

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The past couple of days have been rather “silent” for me…after a flurry of busy days filled with deadlines and lists of “to dos”, all leading up to a scheduled event. Thanks to the Lord’s mercies, His strength, and the power of the Holy Spirit, the event was a success.  Yet it was not without personal struggles, little short-comings, and roadblocks to circumvent.  Now my body has decided it’s time for some down time. That’s often the way it is for me.  And it may be that way for you, too.  As it is for many who are disabled or who manage life with a chronic illness.

Flare-ups are common, especially after a flurry of activity or a bout with stress or increased demands on our body’s limited resources. “Down” times become necessary, as they are the body’s way of telling us it needs rest and restoration.  You may find yourself overly fatigued, having increased pain levels, or facing flare-ups of other symptoms.  It isn’t so much the pain or fatigue that down time brings which upsets me the most. It’s being unable to minister as I am called to do or unable to do some of the other things I love. And yet, the Lord is helping me to realize that these quiet times are a good opportunity to rest in Him, to pray, and to listen for His voice. God speaks to us in the stillnes- sometimes through our pain- and He will comfort us and draw us nearer to Him…if we allow Him

“Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

I have found that, often, during such times, His Spirit enables us to share what He’s placed in our hearts, according to His perfect timing. For me, it might be in the form of a letter, or perhaps an article or blog post, or through a video I’ve been given the time to produce. Your sharing may come in a similar form, or in a different way altogether.  He’s taught me that, in the stillness, if I will take time to listen, He will speak to my heart and often provide new, quite opportunities to minister to others, as He brings healing and restoration to my own body and spirit.  And He will do the same in you!

Sharing hope and the beautiful truth of God’s love are the greatest gifts of ministry- often revealing themselves via the most heart-touching and meaningful ways- in the silence.

Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (NIV)

John 14:26: “But the Comforter [which is] the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

May the Lord bless you abundantly as He guides you to becoming all He created you to be!

Angela

God’s Tapestry of Grace

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“’Every day, in every situation and life circumstance, God is doing 1000 things you cannot see and do not know.’ These words by John Piper encouraged me earlier this week as I’ve been struggling with pain. Oh, what a wonderful Day it will be when finally the underside of the embroidery will be flipped upright and we will see how every painful thread fit beautifully into God’s tapestry of grace. So join me in persevering, friend!” – Joni Eareckson Tada

I often find much uplifting and inspiration in the words and illustrations of Joni Eareckson Tada.  Sometimes life can be overwhelming as it bears down upon us.  And those of us who battle chronic pain, fatigue, or illness understand that it can make life’s challenges seem multiplied ten fold.  But God is always in control and He is faithful to finish the work He began in each of us.  By His Spirit, we have the power to accomplish whatever service He has called us to do and whatever task He has set before us!  I love Joni’s illustration, “God’s tapestry of grace”.  It is God’s grace and the power of His Holy Spirit that enable us to keep going, even in difficult circumstances and despite all obstacles!  Praise the Lord!  Be blessed today in HIM!

Lamentations 3:22-24: “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,  “Therefore I hope in Him!”
 

Stand in the Bright Spot

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Looking back over the year 2013, I must admit it was a year of seemingly relentless difficulty for me.  Perhaps you can relate?  As soon as one trial had passed, another would quickly follow.  And often there were multiple trials all at once which became an almost insurmountable struggle.  One day, in a moment of weakness, I was praying and literally crying out to the Lord to ease my load, feeling as though the darkness might soon completely overtake me.  I longed for a reprieve from the seemingly endless barrage of attacks from the enemy- a breakthrough!  Then, softly and intently, the Holy Spirit spoke to me, “Angela, stand in the ‘bright spot’.”

I cried out in desperation, while in the middle of a particularly bad flare, “What bright spot, Lord?”, overwhelmed and struggling at the time to see the tiniest glimmer of light outside His immediate presence.  Surely, in the midst of all the trials- a year-long whirlwind of family chaos and turbulence, the effects of chronic pain and fatigue, months of difficulty getting resettled after a necessary summer move, nearly three months of fighting not to succumb to depression, and not to mention the current ice storm with thirty-two hours of no power, no heat, and no running water at home- I thought surely, there wasn’t a beam large enough for me to stand in.  “You’re all the light I see, Lord,” I said.  “Where would You have me stand?”

And then, like a vision, it came to me.  Though the circumstances that weighed so heavily upon me were like walking through dark shadows that seemed to engulf me, I began to imagine beautiful rays of light as they broke through the clouds of darkness.  In those rays of light- the “bright spot”- there was hope, warmth, even joy, and renewal.  So I asked the Lord, “Father, where is the bright spot in all of this?”  I longed to see it and to feel it’s warmth flood my spirit. Then I felt Him saying to me, “Look around you to those things where I am and you will find it.”

It was a week before our Christmas Musical at church and I so wanted to sing for the Lord and bring glory to His name.  Singing is one of the things that brings me joy and gives me inspiration.  I so enjoy singing with our Praise  Team and worshipping our Lord together.  And for nearly three months, I had longed to once again find the ability to connect with the passion and inspiration I knew God had placed within me for His ministry.  So, in that moment, and for that very time in my life, singing in the Christmas Musical became my “bright spot”. For a little while, I was able to bask in the rays of light from my “bright spot” and felt God’s warmth pour over me as His joy began to renew my spirit.  Making an effort to attend weekly practices and listening to my performance CD at home and in the car, I had been looking forward to singing with my sweet Sisters on the Praise Team and to the program God had inspired our Music Minister to lead.  But my basking wouldn’t last long.  The next morning I awoke with a scratchy throat.  And, by the following morning, it had turned into the worst sore throat I could ever remember having.   This time the Holy Spirit led me in a different way.  But I’m certain it was His direction which prompted me to call and make an appointment with my doctor, something I usually don’t immediately do.  A visit to the doctor is certainly not one of my favorite things!  But this time was different- I knew I needed to get to be seen as soon as possible and suspected it was strep.   Sure enough, the test confirmed I had strep throat!

It seemed my “bright spot” had vanished. But I soon discovered it had only moved.  Often in challenging circumstances, the Lord’s desire is to inspire our faith to grow as we continue to trust Him and follow His leading.  So I prayed for His strength and the ability to trust faithfully and to keep my focus on Him, instead of on my circumstances.  The circumstances surrounding me were still very difficult.  That had not changed.  But just as He always had, by His mercy, grace, and love, the Lord brought me through.  Each day, as I followed my doctor’s instructions, took my medication, and placed everything in God’s hands, I began to improve.  Slowly, I began to practice using my singing voice a little at a time and was soon able to sing again!  More importantly, God helped me realize that His gift of inspiration doesn’t always come from within.  Sometimes His desire is that we rest in Him for a while and be carried by and become part of the inspiration He bestows to others. I’m continuing to learn, when the dark clouds of gloom and uncertainty loom over me, I only need to ask the Lord to help me look for the “bright spot” and to stand in it!

No matter how dark the clouds looming overhead or the shadows surrounding you, there is always a bright spot- a place where God says, “I am”.  It may be uniquely different, depending on your circumstances.  Where is your “bright spot” today?  Is it the love in your children’s faces?  Is it spending time with your grandchildren, lending them your love and guidance?  Is it something God has gifted you to do that brings you joy?  Perhaps it’s having lunch with a friend, or a phone call to a loved one.  Maybe it’s giving of your time and talents to minister to others.  Or it’s spending time studying or teaching God’s Word.  Maybe it’s a walk in the park or a drive through the country, enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. Look for your “bright spot” today.  Stand in it!  And the Lord will give you warmth, hope, His unspeakable joy…and He will renew your spirit!

John 8:12: Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the Light of the world. Anyone who follows me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” (HCSB)

Standing in the Bright Spot,

Angela 🙂

 

Who is Whispering in Your Ear?

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Sunday Go To Meeting! Who is Whispering in Your Ear?  – by L. A. Marzulli

James 1:12 – 15  “Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

The Fallen One, Satan, the Adversary of our souls, the Accuser of the Brethren, the Dragon, The Prince of the Power of the Air, “Slew Foot,” all are names for the fallen cherub, who along with his dark minions, comes to rob, kill and destroy. He starts with a whisper in our ear, a suggestion, a fleeting thought that goes by unchecked. We entertain it and think about it, and if we do not bring it and hold against the Word of God, and see what it really is, we will believe the lie and as the scripture above states, it will bring forth death.

Sin always starts in our thought-life. When we entertain an idea, a suggestion, or we are enticed. The word enticed means:

deleazō (Greek – Strongs #G1185

1) to bait, catch by a bait

2) metaph. to beguile by blandishments, allure, entice, deceive

Our adversary is a master of deception. He whispers and entices and lures us away from where we should be, into death and destruction. Here’s an example. The teenager who takes the $20 out of the cash register when no one is looking, and justifies it because the store makes too much money. The student that cheats, and tells him or herself that it’s OK because he or she needs a good grade. The husband who watches hours of porn and believes it’s “manly” to do so. The woman who holds bitterness against someone who has hurt her in the past and won’t forgive. In all of these examples if these actions are continued through a lifetime, it will lead to death. Perhaps not physical death, but certainly spiritual death and in my opinion I think this is worse.

Paul tells in 2Cr 10:5 – Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

It may seem to us like a tall order and when I first learned of this I thought the task impossible. Now, after 33 years of walking with Him, Jesus, I realize that by the power of the Holy Spirit, all things are possible and if something slips through, He is faithful to remind me — usually at 2:30 in the morning!

In closing todays Bun: Our minds are our receivers. Our spirit is what interfaces with our mind. It is with our mind that thoughts enter. We can think on something such as a problem or task. Then there is the Holy Spirit’s voice, who we learn to recognize, and then there is the whispering of the Fallen One and his minions. It is important for us to realize what voice we are listening to. It is essential for us to learn to recognize who it is that is whispering in our ears. The first step is to know the word and what is good and required of us. The second is to take every thought captive. The third, when the enemy of our souls starts with “his stuff,” to cast it down and rebuke it in the name of Jesus. Don’t entertain it, even for a second!

Greater is He that is in us, than the “whisperer” who lies, and tries to entice us.

The Principle of Character

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“Character cannot be developed in peace and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision be cleared, ambition insured and success achieved.”

– Helen Keller

There is something of great truth in this quote by Helen Keller.  I’m sure that many are familiar with her story and of the nearly impossible circumstances she faced as a child.  The principle of character is one which young Miss Keller learned first hand, being trapped in a world of unimaginable isolation and suffering as a young girl who was blind, deaf, and unable to speak or effectively communicate her needs.  With the help of her dedicated teacher, Anne Sullivan, Helen overcame great odds in learning to emerge from a dark, silent world to become the person God had intended her to be.  In so doing, she made a difference in this world by bringing hope and inspiration to countless others through her life’s testimony.

John 10:10 speaks of the abundant life Jesus came to offer us, in and through His redeeming blood and by the power of His Holy Spirit.  We must only choose to believe. Accepting Him as Lord and Savior is the first step in our pilgrimage. But in order to become truly like Him and grow in character, we must at times be molded, shaped, and tempered in the fires of adversity.

I find so much encouragement in the New Testament, both in the words of our Lord Jesus, as He instructs us directly, and in those of His servants, like the Apostle Paul.

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:35-39 (KJV)

Paul understood so well what his suffering would achieve and that it was only temporal.  Led by the Holy Spirit, he wrote such words of encouragement like these to the church at Corinth:

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed…For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:6-18 (KJV)

My friend, remember today, as you may experience periods of trail and suffering in this world, perhaps due to illness, a tragic loss, near devastating circumstance, or even because of the judgments and persecution of others- remember the words of a true servant of Christ and God’s words of comfort to you and me:

“And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:2-5 (NIV)

May the Lord comfort and uplift you today!  Stand true to what you have believed and be assured that, as you allow your light to shine and do good to others, your labor is not in vain.  Cling to the promises in God’s Word and never give up on the dream He has placed in your heart! Persevere with the hope of Christ’s return and His love in your heart, and you will grow in both spirit and character!

May God bless you today and guide you to becoming all He created you to be!

Love in Christ,

Angela

God’s Positioning System

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“The Holy Spirit is

your spiritual GPS.

He will tell you where you are

and where you are going.”

-Author Unknown

John 16:13: “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

The Holy Spirit also ADOPTS (Romans 8:15), TEACHES (John 14:26, 16:3), REFRESHES (Acts 3:19), EMPOWERS (Acts 1:8), EMBOLDENS (Acts 4:31-33), INTERCEDES (Romans 8:26-27), SEALS (Ephesians 1:13-14), FREES (2 Corinthians 3:17), and RESURRECTS (Romans 8:11).