HUNGER: How far are you willing to go to get what you want?

Hunger_Pains36tDetailHave you ever noticed how a hunger pain sounds like a cat growl? The threat of, “if you don’t feed me, you will regret it!” GRRRRRR!!!

My faith has been in question for awhile. As soon as my eyes opened this morning, I was hungry to have an encounter with Him so I decided that I would fast until I had received what I was in search of. Questions like: how are we justified by faith? What happens when my faith is weak? What part of my faith? Just the part that believes in what Jesus did for us? Faith is a funny thing! Without faith we cannot please God?

First, I shut my eyes and focused on Jesus, pushing away all distractions and I was willing to wait as long as it took for Him to speak to me.  I was expecting a heavenly experience like the kind they talk about on the Sid Roth programs.  Recently, someone said that God is a chatterbox so I was hopeful.  In my experience, seven significant words, like “I AM giving you a Double portion,” has been a conversation that’s drawn out over many years.  In my impatience, I think it became a one-sided conversation.  I was excited when He spoke those words to me because at the time I was cleaning my toilet and maybe the thought that I would be rich and never have to clean another toilet in my lifetime seemed pretty awesome.

An hour later, I opened my eyes and realized “nothing” had happened.  I turned to my daily devotional for some wisdom as it always has good information but nothing was giving me that “WOW” revelation that gets me excited.  While reading my bible, there were some scriptures that were confirming what I am learning from Jonathan Welton’s “Understanding the whole bible” teaching.  The light bulb came on  when I read, “Living in Christ-like LOVE is the evidence of our FAITH!”  It dawned on me that as long as I’m displaying love for and toward others, my faith is in operation.   The only command Jesus gave us was to “Love one another as I have loved you”.  My faith is equal to my love!

I’ve been preaching to anyone who will listen for a long time that Man’s love and God’s love are very different.  Man’s love is flawed and feels good temporarily, almost like sin.  God’s love is permanent and perfect.  It’s very challenging to operate in God’s love all the time because we get angry and want to act on that anger when people are less than we want them to be.  We want the ideal.  “Goodness” to be evident all the time yet we live in a fallen world where people just don’t care that much until they come to believe that the world can be changed through their LOVE.  Specifically ourselves, loving ourselves so that we can love others the way God intends for us to do so. When Christ lives in us, His love flows out of us.  I’m not saying I’m doing it perfectly.  Just yesterday, I wanted to slap a couple people but I didn’t do it!  Instead I acted graciously.   Call me two-faced but  I’ve already asked forgiveness for it.  Maybe genuine love starts out that way.  It may seem like we are being two-faced until we really fall in love and have compassion on God’s creation like He has.  Thankfully there is no one that understands better that He does.

Bon Apetit!!   Until next time.

Judy

 

 

Season of Preparation

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In 1991, just before I headed off to College, the Lord gave me an open vision.  As I was driving my car, suddenly in my mind’s eye, I saw a huge movie screen open before my eyes and there it was.  The events of my past!  My heart was filled with remorse, as I uttered, “oops, sorry Father.”  It was clear that I had been steering my life in the wrong direction.  In the most gentle and gracious way, He said, “This is what you have done, I want you to see what I can do.”  His timing was perfect because I was ready for a change of lifestyle.   At that time, I was working the evening shift at the most popular bar in my hometown.   I was living my life selfishly and doing as I pleased without regard for anyone else.  Instantly, I knew that the way I had been living was unacceptable to my loving Saviour.   The one who had been with me the whole time. The one who died so that I could live.   Watching and allowing my very poor choices, Jesus loved me too much not to intervene.  He knew that the path I was on would lead to death.  He came so that I could have an abundant life of peace and joy.   So, He used the consequences of my bad behaviour to draw me to Himself.

Even though, I accepted Christ into my heart when I was 8 years old, my Holy Spirit education began when I was 21.  Looking back, I should have gone to Bible College instead of taking two years to become a travel consultant.  I’ve been toying with the idea of going to Bible College now, just to satisfy man, not that I think it wouldn’t be great fun. I do!!  But the Lord reminds me that He has prepared me exactly the way I am for His purpose and He doesn’t want me to be concerned about a title or a position.  The door He opens no man can shut.    1 John 2:27 says, “You have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true.  For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true – it is not a lie.  (The Message Bible version adds, “uncontaminated by a single lie”)  The Holy Spirit’s teachings are uncontaminated by man’s imposed ideas.   As well, Jesus said, “As it is written in the scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from Him comes to me.”   Is it possible to be prepared by God to do His work without Bible College?  HE seems to think so!

While in college, I worked my way through a twelve step program.  The program encouraged us to, “take what we like and leave the rest.”   We choose what makes sense to us and mold our belief system around our own thoughts and feelings.  However, God wants us to build our belief system on His Word.   I’ve decided to soar like an Eagle in this life by basking in the amazing events, that Ephesians 2:10 tells us, He has planned for us to do.   Experiences that He promises are beyond my best imaginings.  He will satisfy my soul and the desires of my heart.

While homeschooling my son, pre-planning the lessons was important but I learned to be flexible because Holy Spirit reserved the right to change my plans at any given moment.   His memorable lessons always last a lifetime.   I want the only Father that I’ve ever had, to be proud of me and I know He is.  The one thing in this life I am secure in, is “His Love for Me.”   Sometimes, I worry that I’m too much like Moses and instead of speaking to the rock, I will become angry and have to face the consequences.  What I mean is, that my hasty behavior will set me off the best destiny path the Lord has for me.  Regardless, I know that nothing can make My Father love me any less.  However, I prefer the speed of the Holy Highway rather than the bumpy wayward ditch.

Since the experience of my open vision, I’ve pursued intimacy with God passionately so that my life can be a living testament to Him.  In the same way that Jesus did many other things while he was here.   If those events were all written down, the whole world could not contain the books that would be written.  Our lives would produce many books as well.   No one knows what you are capable of.  Only He knows.   My Holy Spirit education will never be complete and I CAN do all things with Christ, who strengthens me.   I wouldn’t want to do it any other way!

PRACTICE

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Hmmm?   Love is like playing the piano?

When I turned 40, I realized that time was flying by. The reality that I didn’t have enough time to do all the things I want to, set in. However, I am going it give it a good effort anyway.   First, I decided to ride a street bike.   Very quickly, I went from a baby bike to a big girl bike.   I haven’t mastered her yet but I’m ready to check off another goal from my very long bucket list during the winter months.

My next endeavour has been to take piano lessons. Whether it’s playing the piano or practicing love, it is best when you follow the example and advice of a good teacher. It is great to have good role models but what happens when you don’t?   There is hope. Jesus is your role model for love.   It doesn’t matter that he was never married because he treated everyone with dignity and respect and we are to love everyone.  Although someone else said these words, you can accept them as Jesus speaking directly to you.   “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.   Train yourself to be godly. Physical training is good, but training in godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.   Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.”   PURITY!? Now that’s a challenge because although we show everyone how good we are on the outside, God knows what we look like on the inside.   By the grace of God, go I. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect but in the time being, I know that it is only because of Jesus’ righteousness that I am able to come boldly into God’s gracious presence.

For years, I’ve been practicing love but in that time my heart has been broken into itty bitty pieces and I’ve learned to guard my heart against loved ones who hurt without remorse or sneak in a bit of revenge. As I commit myself to prayer for not only the ones I love but my enemies too, I choose to trust God to fight my battles in the spiritual realm in the same ways He did for King David. What God has done for one, when asked, He will do for another. Often, the argument, “that God expects me to do for myself” has been brought up by Christians who don’t mind living on the beach with God’s palace overlooking their little tent but I want to live in His home with Him.   My interpretation of God’s Word entails a lot more intimacy and dependency than these advisors suggest. So, I choose to always put love first and to sacrifice myself for the sake of the greater good so that I will dwell with the most High forever.

Many people have confided in me about their failed marriages. Often, I’ve wondered, if they had let God help, how would the circumstances have been different? There are four marriages, that I’ve seen where God has helped and completely released a spouse from another because of the other half’s outrageous behaviour. Yes, you heard me correctly. The marriage dissolved with God’s intervention. Clearly, the one spouse was favoured by God and blessed by being severed from a highly dysfunctional relationship.   Sometimes God requires us to let go of friends that have bad influence over us, as well. Considering that there may be an idealist reading this blog, I will say that my grandpa and grandma on my father’s side lasted happily until death did them part. Years ago, I witnessed a christian couple that submitted themselves to God for the healing of their marriage.  He was faithful and they were blissfully surprise how amazing God is. From where I stand, I want my life to be completely directed by God.   I am certain that His way is leap years ahead of what I could do for myself. I still want what I want and am willing to practice love and patience in order to achieve the end result.   God promises that He will give me anything I ask for.

A common benefit of playing the piano and practicing love is reduced stress.   Also, research has shown that older men and women who take up the piano as a hobby generally have an increased sex drive and better cognitive functions which is absolutely a perk when practicing love WITH YOUR SPOUSE!!

LISTENING

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God is continuously trying to communicate with his children every day, all day long. Shown in the illustration above, His children choose to respond differently.   While some want to hear his every word and listen with every part of their body as well as tuning in with the spiritual part of themselves, others refuse to even acknowledge that he exists and others listen only to what they want to hear, when they choose.   Imagine how these last two types of listeners’ behaviour must hurt His feelings.   Yet He chooses never to give up on them.

How does He communicate with us?   First and foremost, to hear God, you need to know the Bible, which is His written Word, from cover to cover with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, as well as His living Word, which is Jesus. As you read through the bible, you need to ask God questions and allow Him time to show you the answers. The bible doesn’t tell the whole story. There are gaps that the Lord wants to fill in for you but it’s a mystery and that’s why He tells us to seek His kingdom. His kingdom operates differently than this world.   For example; in heaven, you don’t need the promise of protection because you are always safe there.  I hear that an orange that you pick from the tree is fully ready to eat.  On earth, the reason for the peel is to protect the fruit. In heaven, there is nothing to damage the orange’s flesh. This analogy shows how His kingdom is contrary to the world’s system.

Knowing God’s written Word will also help you differentiate between the truth and a lie so that you can discern between the voices that are speaking. In your mind, you hear your own thoughts, the voice of the enemy disguised by your voice and the Holy Spirit as a still small voice. The enemy wants to confuse and deceive you. God promises that the mind that is focused on Him will be in perfect peace.

Other ways you hear His messages “in part” are through other people, repetition, nature, dreams and visions, art and music, in prayer and through circumstances.   Keeping your heart open and uncluttered will allow you to hear Him better.   Often He gives us one revelation at a time so it is easier to digest and will establish a firm root in our souls.

Sometimes He is silent but even in His silence, He’s communicating.   He likes listening to you so in those times of His silence, keep expressing yourself to Him.   Being the awesome Father, He models the behaviour He wants us to have. He beckons us to “Do as He does!”   The more we get to know God, the more we become like him.   Remember, we were made in his image but by choosing sin, we choose to oppose that image. Be deliberate in setting aside time each day to practice listening. As you learn to address Him as your constant companion, you will begin experiencing two-way communication.   In my experience, my desire to hear His voice has increased and as a result, I speak less and listen more.   God encourages us not to give up lest we lose our hope. God loves you with an everlasting love!!