“Hey, ya want to take a walk with me? I know, how ‘bout we ride the motorcycle to Retzer Nature Center and take our walk there! Would you like that?” I asked.
My husband made a move for his shoes and off we went! It was a beautiful summer day in the 80’s and sunny. Sometimes is does one good to get out in nature.
We began the hike and hadn’t gone too far, before I stopped and squatted down, whipped out my phone to take some photos of a plant with red berries. It was the first among many.
Michael began to point his phone toward plants and flowers using an app called SEEK which identifies them, but I continued on. All of a sudden I heard him exclaim from twenty yards behind me, “This is FUN honey!”
When he caught up to where I stood I inquired, “What do you like about it?”
He quickly replied, “the fact that you learn things as you take pictures of pretty things.”
We took a few more photos each.
“It will only get me to the genus of Golden Rod, but it won’t tell me the species!” He said. He was a bit dejected, as we slowed to a halt.
My Nike app interrupted, “pausing work out “ then once we started down the path again she chimed in “resuming work out!“
I laughed, Well, this isn’t really a work out” while Michael exclaimed, “This is better than work out this is educational!”
Much later, after many more photos were taken and my phone battery died, we came around the bend into an intersection in the board walk area. There we met a dad and his young daughter who was maybe six years old. She was a thin girl with beautiful soft curly blonde hair. She was so excited to have a bird identifying pamphlet with her. She stopped to show us some pictured birds as she unfolded its accordion pleats.
I was amused because she kept talking and pointing at the birds all the while her extended pamphlet was upside down. I asked her, “Do you see the bright yellow one down on the third row? They’re called goldfinches. We saw three today as we rode in.”
She worked to get her long hair, which was a bit wind blown, out of her face, then she looked up at me and squinted because it was bright. She asked in her high picked voice, “but don’t you think cardinals are the best?”
Next, her mom and sister came walking and drew closer, “Hello,” she smiled. The sister seemed about the same size, perhaps a twin she never looked up or spoke but she was armed with a butterfly net! I assumed they too were going to have an identifying adventure like we had.
“The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters.” Psalms 24:1-2 NIV
I’m about to publish a book, He Speaks- Hearing the Voice of God Through Journaling, it’s about hearing God’s voice over all the clamor and noise that vies for our attention. As I thought about my journey with voices, I wanted to give you some basic guidelines that has helped me to distinguish whose voice I am hearing because voice recognition is vital to victory. (I have provided an audio version of this blog below #audioblog)
Years ago, while painting instead of writing, I continued to hear this voice in my head accusing me over and over. Why are you doing this? You realize you should be getting other things accomplished. You need to be writing a blog, why do you plan to do this project today? You are so random and you’re not very disciplined otherwise you’d be writing.
ENOUGH! I RECOGNIZED and realized the source. The voice I had been listening to was the accuser who was trying to make me feel badly about myself. That’s what he does 24/7, he accuses.
I recognized it as his voice and spoke out the truth, God made me and He knows how I’m wired. He knows I do random tasks even when it makes no sense.He is delighted to spend time with me! I asked God, “Do you want to take today to do this with me? He said. “Yes!” So we headed to Home Depot to buy the paint.
We listen to music and painted the living room together. It was a beautiful time. Later, I took a walk and got to thinking about how we are human beings not human doings. God made us each the way He made us so we too can delight in ourselves the way God, the Father, delights in us.
As I drew near to my house, I was thinking, I really should get a blog post written, but I still don’t have something I desire to write about. I then heard the sound of a car behind me. I was met by a friend who slowed down and said, “Hey pretty lady!”
I removed my hood and turned my head toward her familiar face grinning at me. She had the window rolled down so we caught up about my upcoming trip and her recent time away in California.
She then asked, “Hey, would you blog sometime about the four things that you need to do when it comes to listening to voices in your head? What were the four things again? I saw something on Facebook once from one of your retreats, but I still need to be reminded.”
I said. “Really? I was wondering, what I will blog about today? She stressed again, “Seriously, Rachel I so needed this, this past week. Please write about it!”
So here are some of my thoughts about the voices in our heads. We must realize there’s always an inner dialogue going on. You’ve heard it, right? Yes, there are voices in our head. We MUST learn to distinguish the source of the voices that we’re listening to.
Here are some things to keep in mind. If the voice is the voice of approval it is from God. If it’s a voice of accusation it is from the enemy. If it is a voice of comfort and confirmation it is from God, but if it is a voice of condemnation it’s from the enemy. If the voice is based on behavior and your past it is from the enemy but if the voice is based on your purpose and your destiny it is from God.
God: Comfort & Confirmation Enemy: Condemnation
God: Affirmation Enemy: Accusation
God: Your position in Him Enemy: Your Performance
God: Purpose & Destiny Enemy: Your Past & Mistakes
So with that in mind realize there could be four voice sources:
An ungodly spirit – or the devil.
So recognize the voice or even straight up ask Holy Spirit, “Is this from you? God is this you?” Remember the voice is NOT from Father God:
If it does not bring you encouragement…
If it does not tell you, you are loved…
If it does not show you your future, which is bright…
If it does not have kindness and comfort… Remember, even in correction God is good and kind.
(Scripture tells us, it’s His kindness that leads us to repentance.)
So if the above list is the VOICE you hear- then it is NOT from God. When it comes to that kind of voice you must choose NOT to listen. I’ve told my audiences many times and I will repeat it again in this blog today at the request of my friend.
It’s pretty simple. When you recognize it’s from the enemy or voice you shouldn’t listen to then reject the thought. Then reject the voice and don’t give it any more “head space” or” airtime.” Third you have to think again on a higher level. Think in a kingdom way, re-think on a higher level…in the heavenly places with Christ where we are seated. (Ephesians 2 you have to repent)
BUT REMEMBER you can’t leave the shelves in your brain empty because the thoughts from the negative voice will come flooding back in so you must replace those accusatory thoughts with the truth.
Let’s use my earlier example of when I was painting the room. I was hearing all the voices about why I shouldn’t be doing this or that. I needed to be writing a blog instead. Blah, blah, blah. I don’t even want to rewrite the garbage thoughts again. I had to silence the voice. Recognize, Reject, Repent, Replace!
I had to replace it with truth. I had to say aloud, “You know what? This is how I’m wired. Psalm 139 tells me I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. This is the way I roll. I may make my husband crazy, I may drive people around me nuts but I am keeping in step with the Spirit and today this is what we are going to do. We’re going to paint this room!”
I don’t know what you’re battling today. I don’t know whether you’re hearing the voice of condemnation or not. But I do know God is speaking to you and His words over you are words of LOVE. They are words conveying His pleasure with you because He made you.
He wants you to know:
He is proud of you
He sees your circumstances and how you are pressing forward.
You are an overcomer.
Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.
No weapon formed against you will prosper. It may be formed but it will not prosper.
He hopes like nobody’s business you know:
You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
He is the friend that sticks closer than a brother.
The righteous have NO FEAR of bad news.
He will provide for your every need.
You don’t have to dwell on the past. (If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive your sins and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.) He doesn’t want you to dwell on things Jesus paid for on the cross. He wants you to leave the past behind and go forward in faith.
Okay, I guess I DID have something to say today and at the risk of ranting, I just want to leave you with the thought that you too can do the four “R’s”. Maybe it’ll help you to remember Rachel said them and they all start with the letter “R”
Father, help all of us recognize the voices that are coming in and help us to know if it’s from you or not. Lord, if the voices that we listen to are from an ungodly spirit or the enemy I pray, in the name of Jesus that we would reject them. Lord, we repent of partnering with any thought that is not the way you think about us or our circumstances. We repent of thinking on an earthly level when we are kingdom people.
We repent of partnering with the lies and the negative voice of the accuser. We ask you for forgiveness. Give us the ability to think again on a higher level. Lord, I thank you for your word. Your word is the truth. We can replace any negative thoughts and lies we’ve believed with positive thoughts of what you think about us straight from your word.
Thank you for what you say about us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. You never make junk and you have started a good work and are faithful to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. We thank you, we thank you, we thank you, we believe you are doing a good work in and through our lives. I pray this, in Jesus mighty name, amen!
“What’s the rest of your day look like?” A friend inquired as we headed to the car after our workout.
“I’m pretty open today, why?”
“I’m wondering if you’d be up for walking along the river I was telling you about? It’s supposed to be a warm day, the water will be perfect and it’s always so clear.” She informed. “Wanna go?”
“I’d love to!” I replied.
I’m really glad that was my immediate response. I took the day off, so to speak. I didn’t write a blog post, but allowed myself the freedom to be out of my rhythm and away from my normal schedule. We’veall been out of scheduled rhythms for awhile now, I realize. Sometimes a change of venue is what’s really needed, right?
I’m delighted to report:
* The weather was perfect
* Temperature ideal
* Water level – never higher than my belly button
* The plant life and fish – a feast for the eyes.
Allow me to share just a few photos.
May I offer a suggestion? Take time to interrupt your schedule and change up the rhythms of your day, because sometimes a change of venue is a really good thing!
I tied up my tennis shoe laces while seated on the front porch, stood up quickly to demonstrate my resolve to go for a walk and thought…Okay, let’s do this thing!
While out on my walk I saw a woman who clearly had on socks that did not match. One was a red sock on her right leg the other was a green sock on her left leg, they were ankle high and were clearly two different colors. She wore black tennis shoes and shorts with a blue t-shirt. The point is, I remember thinking, Hmm? Her socks don’t match. Well, years ago the trend was, or may possibly still be, to not wear matching socks.
I remember fondly, how a young gal used to come over to our house weekly and take off her shoes politely, in the entryway, then make her way up the steps to chat with us in the kitchen.
I asked her about her silly unmatched socks one day and she giggled, threw her head back a bit and said, “Oh, I never have time to match my socks. I just pull out whatever two I can grab quickly before rushing off to school.”
I shared a simple tip: I said, “A friend of mine used to safety pin her own socks and her husband’s socks before throwing them into their dirty clothes hamper. That way they’d be ready to wash and would stay mated. If that helps you, try it!”
Enough about socks, life hacks and the woman I saw today with an unmatched pair. But this all started me thinking about how easily we can judge or question someone or think our way is the right way. My socks usually match, yet should it really matter to me whether someone else’s socks match? No! Of course not! This is a silly example but…
In this day and age, or at least currently it seems, people have an opinion about everything, get offended about anything and are tipped over and upset about everything! Okay, I’m exaggerating but let me build my point.
It seems like differences have caused people to think they can’t be together, rather than allowing the differences be the reason we are drawn together. I know our own uniqueness can be celebrated and beautifully stands out because of the differences and diversity of the other people around us.
I LOVE my husband and children so much and my extended family too. We have so many similarities, but really we are nothing alike. We are a huge can of mixed-nuts! I celebrate that, it makes us the goofy and amazing bunch that we are.
I like going to the farmers market and picking up a beautiful bouquet made of the flowers that bloom during summertime. I love how each flower is so different! The big sunflower lifts its head in the center, the little tiny purple flowers fill in next to it, both large and small flowers are represented, with the lacey beside the bold. It’s the differences of each unique flower that makes that collection one of my favorite late-summer bouquets.
So as I walked this morning, I thought about celebrating, rather than judging, questioning or even wondering about a lady who wore unmatched socks. God reminded me of what really matters and what must match. Like what I believe about Him, His love, His character and nature and what I believe about myself in light of who He says I am, now that matters!
I must rehearse truths about who He is and who I am. Because this determines how I think and feel and choose and that is what must match up. God showed me, by speaking to my spirit, how my life’s love must be matched and directed towards people and my faith must be matched with action. I’m working on it! Or I guess, I’d say He is working on it IN me!
So feel free to kick off your shoes, take off your matched or unmatched socks and remember to “keep your love on!”
Let me leave you with these verses:
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
An onslaught of thoughts, words, visuals, sounds and images all blast us daily, hourly, each moment of the day and every waking second. But will we and should we even allow them access?
Let me ask you a question,would you allow a thief in to vandalize your home and rob you blind?
Duh, I know the answer, no way!
Yet we allow this to happen with our thoughts all the time.
God’s Word has much to say about our thoughts and what we should think about. Allow me to share a few verses here, plus add a true story illustration, then offer some personal ways I combat toxic thoughts.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 NIV
AND this massively important one:
“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV￼
I know people who are bombarded by their own negative and worst-case scenario thoughts. These thoughts, unchecked, can wreak-havoc￼ and vandalize￼ a life.
I’ve witnessed how these thoughts played out to an imaginary end, left the individual robbed blind of the present precious moments as well as the immediate future. (Usually, this robbery is at the hands of FEAR about things that NEVER even occurred. This is what God’s word calls speculations.)
Sometimes speculations creep in or a spirit of dread makes its entrance on the scene and the thoughts become very toxic, even fatalistic.
Whoa! I realize it’s not always this simple, but we must stop the toxic thoughts. We must recognize and arrest the thoughts and stop them from coming in or make them obedient to Christ, otherwise these thoughts, carried it out through the full gestation period, can birth into a full blown movie of a horrifying future. This is not from God. This is a “Spirt of dread.”
We, dear believers, have the mind of Christ. He’s given us a sanctified mind and he’s also told us what types of things we can allow our minds to think about. Thus the above verse Philippians 4:8. Which mentions things that are LOVELY.
Whatever is lovely? That word, lovely my friend used often. She moved miles away so I don’t get to see her regularly but I do see things, hear of events or moments in life and just like my friend, I utter, “Oh, that’s lovely.”
Let me come at this another way, because of the whole COVID-19 coronavirus in the global pandemic, I have had to scan my forehead to take my temperature, fill out a sheet and record my temperature, wipe down everything I’ve touched and fold and place my completed sheet in a sealed, locked box.
This all must take place before going any farther into my own church. As I enter to rehearse for the worship team, I need to complete these steps so that I am considered “safe” to come in, mingle with people, and not spread the virus.
Here’s my point.
What if we took the temperature of our own thoughts, so to speak. What if our thoughts had to go through a screening process. What if our thoughts had to go through a check point before they were allowed to come in and interact with our lives.
What if toxic thoughts that carry the wrong temperature or a potential virus were examined, taken captive and made to obey Christ and were not allowed in. I think that’s what it means to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That’s what it means to consider whether it fits with the Phillipians 4:8 passage or not.
Related to taking thoughts captive and making them obedient to Christ, here’s what I try to do. I carry the thought way out to a future point, farther out than when I first received the thought. Then…
I ask some questions:
Whose voice is assigned to this thought? (Is it the Accusor’s or the Comforter’s voice? Should it be allowed in?)
What is the far-reaching end of this thought?
Is it hopeful?
Does this condemn me?
Do I have hope when I think about this in this way? (God is the God of all hope.)
Is this lovely?
Is this true, noble, right, pure, lovely and admirable? ￼
Finally, let me leave you with some lovely photos from my back deck and a few “lovely” thoughts about Father God:
God is good
He is a good Dad, He is going before you even right now.
He promises never to leave you, never to forget about you.
He invites you to cast your cares on Him, because He cares for you.
He warns and reassures us all the time. (Warning: The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, Reassurance: BUT Jesus said,” I have come to give you life and life to the full.”)
Wrapping this up…
Don’t open the door to the wrong voice, don’t allow the enemy to vandalize your day, home, or your life and never allow him to rob you blind.
God is a giver of every good and perfect gift. And we can all be gracious receivers. Now that’s a “lovely” thought! ￼
Want to join my cute honey and me in 2021 for our trip to Israel? 🇮🇱 Check out link below:
Many sources and voices that clamor for our attention and many schools of thought in the world lately have been swirling around. Two major themes have seemed to dominate the recent narrative FEAR AND HATE. These two pests keep constant assault on our minds.
They have been knocking at the door demanding entrance into our world and lives through our thoughts. I do not want to be taken captive by a Spirit of Fear or of Hatred. Instead, I want to take every thought captive and MAKE it obedient to Christ.
For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says,”I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:18-21
I do not want to develop my own way of thinking about things. I never want to think my OWN thoughts, I know I must take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. I want to abide and remain in Him. He is the vine I am just a branch. I have been given the mind of Christ.
I want to draw near to the heart of God and find out what He is thinking. I felt like the child who crawls up into her daddy’s lap and whispers, “Hey, whatcha thinkin?” As I sat with the LORD, He reassured me and reminded me to wait on Him. HE is working and He is moving in this overarching grand story of God in my life and in our world.
Sometimes it is hard for me to wait on God. How about you? Why? I think, sometimes it’s because I think I know what’s best. Yes, indeed. I have had to confess and repent of the fact I think I know better. That’s laughable, right? He’s God!
Or on some occasions, I think I have a desired outcome all figured out, designed perfectly, so I’ll submit it to Him in prayer as a possible idea for consideration. It’s a relationship so He does listen, but not all of my grand ideas are helpful. He needs no counsel.
Or maybe waiting on God is difficult due to impatience required for His perfect timing. Sure, it can be hard to wait. BUT If I really believe God is good and his ways are best, then waiting on God can be freeing even relaxing and peaceful. I need to seek Jesus every day, especially in the storms of life, to gain his thoughts and perspective.
Seek the LORDwhile he may be found; call upon him while he is near; but the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 54:6-9
It’s pretty easy to get used to things and even create new habits, at least certain ones. Here’s a silly example, it started me thinking. We have a slow-release lid for our new toilet in our remodeled master bath. When it is shut, it lowers slowly, automatically and quietly until it’s fully closed. It’s fabulous.
Sometimes I use a different bathroom, in our home, which isn’t very often, but I forget I’m not using the toilet with the slow- release lid, so I lower the lid but it flops down super fast with a loud, BANG! Whoa! That’s so loud it hurts my ears. Oh, my goodness, I’m so used to the other bathroom, I’ve totally forgotten!
I wondered today what other things have I gotten used to? I mean in a negative way? I’m sure we’ve all gotten used to somethings and readily adopted what we shouldn’t have. BUT we are just used to them now. I’m asking myself and you… What have I become used to that really should not be tolerated? What has to go? Is it a stronghold in my life? Does it need to be prayed away? If it’s a stronghold it needs to be broken down.
It might be things like:
a negative attitude
thinking something is too big for God to handle
sitting in unbelief about a situation
thinking in the negative
frustration with a spouse
anger toward anyone
just fill in the blank __________________.
The season that we’re in prompted my thoughts today. So here is my prayer, you may borrow it too, if you’d like.
God, I pray that I wouldn’t except anything in my life that I’ve just gotten used that isn’t from you or isn’t a fruit of your Spirit, or it’s not your best for my life. I pray that we would all pull down strongholds and anything that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.
And I pray we’d take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. That things that we are thinking about, that are stinkin’ thinkin’ would have to go, now! In Jesus name. I pray that we wouldn’t become used to sin patterns. I thank you Lord, you’ve made us victorious! You’ve made us saints not sinners, through your son Jesus. So we don’t need to sit in the pig-pen…ever!
I thank you for what you are doing God and I pray, in the name of Jesus, we would know what should remain and what should be eliminated today. Amen.
For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flash but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. 2 corinthians 10: 4-6.
Early in this season of forced sabbath rest, I was seated on the couch participating in my second EVER “Zoom call” with some friends. The coronavirus (Covid-19) and the “Stay Home-Stay Safe” movement was sweeping the nation and globe. One friend posed a simple question, “How can we pray for you in this season?”
I will never forget it, because within seconds, out of my mouth tumbled, “Pray that I would use this season well and I’d get whatever God wants me to have and leave behind anything He doesn’t want for me to carry into the future.”I’ve been thinking a lot about my request, it’s still my prayer today.
I hear people use the phrases like: new normal, back to normal, when this is over, as soon as we can begin to live our normal lives… I have this ache in my heart and stirring in my spirit. It’s a longing of sorts because I don’t want to go totally back to “normal.” I want to change by the work of Holy Spirit in my life and be transformed by the renewing of my mind.
I want to live differently because I think differently. I desire an upgrade in my vision for my life, my future and those who live around me and are close to me. I don’t want NORMAL. I have this sigh in my heart, “Oh, God don’t let me miss it. I want to squeeze out everything from this time you want me to receive and then give it out.” I don’t want to live in fear that I’ll “miss it” because perfect love casts out fear.
I feel a bit like a caterpillar that goes along eating up every thing in sight as it’s about to enter into the confines of the tightly bound up chrysalis stage. Even before this pandemic started I’ve been so HUNGRY for more of God and intimacy with him and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. I don’t want to die out, like a glowing ember. Rather, I’d like it to be fanned into flame, burning ever brighter during this rest period.
As far as the caterpillar goes, I really have no idea how one feels, but I do think there are similarities here… it’s dark, closed in, lonely, without contact with the outer world for a season, five to twenty-one days, then it emerges and BUSTS out to FLY!
So here are the things I pray will not follow me into the future as I break out:
fear of man
praise of man
Maybe you are like me. Are you amazed at how completely different a caterpillar is from the butterfly? Think about it, one is worm-like, tubular, so slow and lowly and confined while the other is beautifully ornate, whimsical and glorious not bound to land but flutters and flies and purposefully alights.
A few years back this verse became an inheritance verse for me, like God gave it to me not for a season but for an outlook on life, a perspective shift. It has helped me navigate changes that happened in my home, my church, my friendships and my family. It was a welcomed metaphor for my life’s journey and it still gives me a sense of hope and excitement about the future..do you not perceive it? It’s like I hear Holy Spirit gleefully rubbing his hands together as he bounces on his toes with joy about what’s to come. “Do you not perceive it?” God alone is the ONLY one who can make a way in the desert and give us streams in the wasteland.
So may I suggest you join me…Let’s not dwell on the past or wish it would all go back to normal, rather let’s welcome the “Upgraded New Normal” the new thing He is doing in us, through us and around us. Let’s FLY!
Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:18,19
I don’t freak out when I track the faithfulness and kindness of God in my life. So let’s all live NOW and as we move forward here is a phrase I use in life, it’s also the title of one of my talks I give.
I’m seated comfortably in my favorite chair in my upper loft area with my feet up on the ottoman. I was about to write a new post for this blog “Fresh Perspectives for Every Day Life” when I recalled a post I wrote years ago and I realized, it’s still what I would want to say today. I’m normally home most days, the only difference is now most people are homebound too because COVID-19 “Stay Home” is in effect.
At a time when FEAR is rampant and anxiety levels are high with many people hooked up to news feeds like it’s an IV, I wanted to share a few thoughts about”What God is NOT doing” during COVID-19 this global pandemic.
Here ya go:
She was dressed for summer in an icy blue, vertically striped shirt and a pair of white pants. Her familiar smile lit up her face and mine. She greeted me with a sweet hug that enveloped me, “Hi friend!” then blurted out, “I have to run to the bathroom quickly. Be right back!”
When she returned, we ordered our drinks, grabbed a seat and caught up. “It’s been months since we last met? When was that?” we wondered. Many work transitions and family health trials have entered her life since we’d last met. I sat. I listened. She’s reading the book of Daniel now and we thought through each situation from Daniel’s lens and his prayer of praise in Scripture.*
She asked me…”So, what’s going on with you?” I reported about some of the fun and beautiful things going on in my life and what God’s been teaching me, about me. I also shared a few updates related to my husband, ministry, plus a quick update on my empty nest and my grown children.
We marveled at all that had taken place in our lives while, it seemed, other things hadn’t changed at all. We both have difficult situations where, since we last spoke, it seems there has been no change. You know what I mean where it appears God is not doing anything related to an issue. I got to thinking about that wacky perspective of concentrating on what God’s not doing and how off that really is.
So, I told her. “You know, the other day, I thought of it this way… I can only imagine what my response would be, if I had throughly cleaned my house-vacuumed all the carpeted rooms, dusted the entire place, scrubbed every toilet, mopped all the floors, washed every dish and put them all away, only to hear my husband comment when he returned home, “You left the mail on the counter!” I’d be so disheartened thinking, WHAT? Don’t you see all the things I’ve done?
“It is kind of like that.” I said. “God is doing SO many wonderful things all around me and I resolve not to be the brat kid who stomps her foot at the Father and accuses Him of inactivity. But, but, but you haven’t done…this yet, God!”
She said, “Wow! I’ve never thought of it like that. Good point.”
Okay, yeah, it may be tempting to think he is not at work. I’ve been there. So whenever I’m tempted to focus on what God is seemingly NOT doing, I say, yeah, sure, God is not doing some things. Here are a few of the things God is NOT DOING:
He’s not scratching his head wondering, Oh, boy what do I do now?” Or “How will I help?”
He’s not out of the office or unaware.
He’s not working against me. He is FOR me.
He’s not surprised or shocked.
He’s not wringing his hands.
No, He is not biting his nails bewildered, wondering, “How do I respond in this difficult situation?”
He’s not confused and doesn’t need to call in a committee to help with decisions.
NO he is not because…HE’S GOD! And He is good!
I truly believe God is doing so much, in and around me, all the time! Jesus is quoted in the book of John saying, “My father is always working.” So, yes, for now… I will live in the mystery of all He is doing. I am thankful and I praise Him and I’m thankful for the things he is NOT doing as well.
When our time drew to a close, we discussed a next time to meet and said our good byes.
*Here is the praise passage from Daniel 2:19-23
“During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven and said: “Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.”
Especially at this time read this Scripture:
“You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection. I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.” God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases. You can go to him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. You can trust him to surround and protect you like a shield. You will have nothing to fear at night and no need to be afraid of enemy arrows during the day. You will have no fear of diseases that come in the dark or terrible suffering that comes at noon. A thousand people may fall dead at your side or ten thousand right beside you, but nothing bad will happen to you! All you will have to do is watch, and you will see that the wicked are punished. You trust in the Lord for protection. You have made God Most High your place of safety. So nothing bad will happen to you. No diseases will come near your home. He will command his angels to protect you wherever you go. Their hands will catch you so that you will not hit your foot on a rock. You will have power to trample on lions and poisonous snakes. The Lord says, “If someone trusts me, I will save them. I will protect my followers who call to me for help. When my followers call to me, I will answer them. I will be with them when they are in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them. I will give my followers a long life and show them my power to save.””
In my previous blog I talked about how my strength training coach can get more out of me than I know is in me. It’s true, she does. She has taught well and pushed me and I’ve become stronger. (Toothpaste and Workouts) and an interview from the real deal link: (the real deal)
Chelsea is a good teacher and demonstrates every exercise before I attempt to do it. She’ll point out all the particulars of each movement and she is excellent. Equally important, she mentions what not to do. I’ve heard her say, “Don’t let your arm extend pass this angle, don’t hyper extend your knees, keep them slightly softened.” But mainly she stresses what’s “right” and she does it. (Teaching) I learn by watching what is “right” and doing what is right. Not only am I stronger now but I’m more aware of the way my body works. I’ve even caught myself in wrong patterns, old cheat patterns, or poor body mechanics and I’m now able to correct some old habits.
I’m excited because I have even caught myself when I’ve not used correct form. For example, when I pull open the microwave door now, I reach toward the handle, set my shoulder and use my lats instead of my shoulder and neck muscles to open it. That way I won’t carry pain and tension in my shoulders but engage the muscles that operate my shoulders from behind in my upper back. She is teaching and I’m learning!
Here’s my point… I wouldn’t know the proper way to do this unless, while working out, my coach also called out my errors or mistakes. “Nope, don’t raise your shoulder Rachel! Keep those muscles quiet and pull from behind. Yes, there that’s it!” She will touch the muscles she is referring to and help me correct if I need to.
Whether I’m using free weights, resistance bands or the weight machines that operate on a pulley system, I am being taught, reprimanded, corrected and trained well. And I love it. Never once have I thought, Oh, my gosh! Why is she saying that? She is so judging me and doesn’t care about me. Not at all! In fact it’s quite the opposite. I know she is for me and she wants me to grow and become stronger.
We expect and welcome advice from a strength coach about our bodies. We similarly want to be taught and challenged regarding our nutrition, our money and investments. We accept tips from experts who’ve gone before us. They get our attention and we are open to it. Even when they express how to avoid the pitfall or challenge us in the HARD things of life we welcome it. We know, in order to grow, it’s all part of the deal.
I love the word of God, I do! Scripture is a written love letter from the author, God, to us and it helps us become more like His son, Jesus Christ.
All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 ESV
Every scripture has been written by the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. It will empower you by its instruction and correction giving you strength to take the right direction and lead you deeper into the path of godliness. Then you will be God’s servant, fully mature and perfectly prepared to fulfill any assignment God gives you. 2 Timothy 3: 16-17 TPT
Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end you will be counted among the wise. Proverbs 19:20
4 areas are mentioned:
Teaching (What is right because it says later “in righteousness”)
Reproof (What’s not right)
Correction (How to get it right)
Training (How to keep it right)
No matter where we are let’s be open to teaching, rebuking, correcting, training, so that we may be perfectly prepared and complete to fulfill our assignment. It’s a one time transfer into the Kingdom of his beloved Son, yet it’s a life long process! So let’s welcome the correction that is involved in the process instead of resisting it. That way we will all grow in righteousness.