Where Is God?

Tpray copyhis is Day 28 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! Only three more days left of the Challenge. You will find the complete list beginning on  Day 1. You will find Day 28 a bit different from the way I have been traveling down this Prayer path. A valid question was asked, and when I became aware of the wondrous answer, I had to place it here with our exploration of Listening Prayer.

Since July 25, 2014, my dad has been in Five Oaks Nursing Center in Kannapolis, NC.

There are some wonderful benefits offered to him there:

  • They have Bingo.
  • They have quality care.
  • It is located close to my sister.
  • It is very clean.
  • It has no unpleasant smell.
  • They have regular planned activities.
  • They help him become more independent.

Aside from these benefits, it is a place of pain, suffering, distress, and misery.

At any given time, you are likely to hear pitiful cries bellowing from rooms. You may hear someone rolling their wheelchair down the hall while hollering, “Somebody, help me. Oh, Jesus, somebody help me!” Sometimes you hear, cursing, or moaning, and alarms going off when someone has crossed their boundaries of movement.

I visited him there twice this week, and Jay asked  this thought-provoking question: “Where is God in this?”

children calcuttaI thought about this for some time, and I thought about the sad fact that as bad as this was, there were much worse places on the earth. For example,250,000 homeless children live on the streets of Calcutta encountering daily dangers and abuses with barely enough nutrition to stay alive another day. Where is God in this?

One of the most horrific places and times in recent history was the Ravensbrück concentration camp in Germany, where Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie were imprisoned for hiding Jews in their home. Corrie tells her story in the Hiding Place. One example of the pain, misery, suffering and distress that has invaded our earth is this place.Here’s a description taken form this article:

“Barracks built for 250 women later housed 1,500 or 2,000, with three to four to a bed. Thousands of women did not even have part of a bed, and were lying on the floor, without even a blanket. When 500 Jewish women arrived from Hungary in the fall of 1944, they were placed in a huge tent with a straw floor and died in masses. A plague of lice and danger of disease from the water made life in the barracks even more unbearable.”

Many asked, “Where was God?”

Ed Rouse3Jay’s question demanded an answer. “This is not God,” he said. We’ve taught our children that God is love, and life, and joy, and peace. Every good and perfect gift comes from God. What is going on here? Pain will remain. Suffering will continue. Distress lingers; misery persists.Where is God? God showed us the answer.

  • He is in the kind nursing assistant who patiently warmed the tray of cold food my dad had been offered.
  • He is in the sister who goes day after day to bring a smile, love and sunshine, making sure he has everything he needs.
  • He is in the son-in-law who drives 15 minutes both ways to bring a milkshake because “Pop” couldn’t eat his supper.
  • He is in the wife who answers the phone, though she’s been asleep for hours, and patiently answers his questions.
  • He is in the volunteers who take the residents on outings.
  • He is in the nurses who work long hours and still maintain a pleasant demeanor.
  • He is in the volunteers that take time to come and sing, entertain, engage or pray.
  • He is in the touch on the shoulder, the hug, the time spent listening.

Ed Rouse2You find him as your father tells you once again of stories of his childhood. From his wheelchair, even though he has fallen out of bed the night before, even though he is confined to the inside of this building, even though he has barely been able to eat for days, he shakes his head and says, “I’ve had a great life.” And then he says it again.

You find Him in the prayer prayed by the grandson asking for healing and for peace for his grandfather.

Many are the people you encounter who have that same pain, suffering, distress, and misery right within the confines of their body, soul, and mind. You meet these people every day. You sit near them at church and pass them at the grocery store. You interact with them on a daily basis. Some may be family members and friends. Where is God? Look for Him. He is there. You are there.

It isn’t easy to see God, or hear God in a place like Five Oaks Manor with so many suffering, helpless people. You have to look closely. If you don’t find Him, you must look within yourself. He is there.

He is there in a glimmer of light, a glimmer of kindness, a glimmer of hope, a glimmer of love. He is there.

Betsie Ten Boom died on December 16, 1944. Before she died, she told Corrie,

“There is no pit so deep that He [God] is not deeper still.” He is there.

Can you find HIm?

Ed Rouse4Continue to Day 29

 

 

 

Not By Words Alone

 pray copyThis is Day 27 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! Only four more days left of the Challenge. You will find the complete list beginning on  Day 1.

With the understanding that God clearly wants us to hear Him and makes it possible for us to do so, let’s see what happens when we ask Him the next question (taken from a January post, “A Conversation with God.”) Listen and write down what He is saying to you about this, and please feel free to share in the comments.

Do I have some power to affect things for the better here in our world?

I went on to tell God what I would do for the world if I could.

If I could, I would put love in the hearts of everyone I know. I would give peace to everyone I know. I would provide the finances that each one needs and some more for fun, but wisdom would come with it. Confidence love, joy, and peace would be the norm.

And here’s me continuing the conversation today:

Lord, I have meditated on this question all day today, and I have not heard an answer from you. Is this becoming a pattern that You aren’t going to answer?

No, this is becoming a lesson.

(Now that sounded like God.)

words2I am learning the lesson: You are not limited by words. I have been talking to Jay about this, and Nick also confirmed the idea that words are limiting. I have always loved words as  you well know. I have not considered them limiting as there are so many of them, and so many things you can say with them, and yes, you are right, so many ways to get in trouble with them.

Lord, you are showing me that You often communicate by:

  • impressions
  • or listening to others
  • or even by our own talking
  • by gentle nudges that we had no idea were You (but when we look back, we see your handprint)
  • by “anything and everything” in Your power (which is everything)

butterflyI am in awe of You, and there I go using words to say something that I feel more strongly than words can say. And that is why You love finding creative ways to show your love, and lead us, and teach us, and answer our questions. I am listening now. With Your help, I will listen for more than words!

And with just a few more days left in the Challenge, remember to pray for our country:

americaDare to Pray, “Lord, keep our country in safety, peace, and prosperity.We declare the name of Jesus over the United States of America.

 

Continue to Day 28.

 

 

The Beauty of the Heart

Day 26

Beautiful-Sunset-in-Marrakesh

 

Sometimes the beauty of the heart can only be expressed with the absence of words. Maybe God’s love is not just something that can be expressed with words, but something that has to be experienced in a timeless journey with Him.

( by Jay Christopher Jordan)

Jay 10-25-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dare to Pray for America. We pray that Your people will rise up like a mighty giant across the land and show Your love to the world.

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Speaking Through Pictures

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This is Day 25 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! If you want to catch up, click right over to Day 1 for a list of all the posts.

 

The Game With Minutes is trying to win every minute by thinking about the Lord, bringing Him into our thoughts, making every thought an inner conversation with Him. He speaks to us, and we want to hear. In the last few days, I felt I heard Him tell me three important principles that I want to remember and use on a daily basis.

trees1.  Ask for Wisdom. Breathe in, and let His words flow out of me.
2.  Look for Him to speak through the things and people around me. What are you saying to me through the beautiful green trees that I am looking at, Lord. The impression that came to me was life, growing, bearing fruit.  By being planted in Him, I have life, I grow, and I bear fruit.
3.  God wants me to hear Him, and He will use creative ways to communicate with me.

 

As I started writing on Listening Prayer, I referred to the post, “A Conversation With God” and promised to listen to God in answering some of the eight questions I had posted there. These questions seem to be leading me to other thoughts and ideas to talk about along the way but today. Here’s the second question and today’s conversation with God about it.

 

Can You impart that sense of knowing that everything is okay?

Here’s me entering into this conversation:

Lord, when I asked you this question, I must have been disturbed or concerned about something. I don’t know what it was, but I come to you now and ask that same question. Whether I see you preaching to people on a hillside or sleeping in a boat with Your disciples, you are “unruffled.” You are calm; You are not upset. Why do we get so ruffled and upset at things in our lives? My question is how can we be like You, and be calm and unruffled, knowing that everything is okay when it seems like it’s not?

Jesus on hillside2

I’m listening:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

I’m not hearing anything else as I had expected to, but the sense that I get is that picture of Him being “calm and unruffled.” I believe that the answer is to hold that picture of Him. When opportunity comes to be upset or to think the worst, see Him “calm and unruffled.” The truth in this remarkable scripture is what enables me to be as calm and unruffled as He is. He has given me peace.

As you can see, God does not only use words to speak to us. When I embarked on this experiment, I thought He would let words roll and roll out of my fingertips in answer to my every question. However, early on during my experiment He showed Himself powerfully out of my box and revealed a wonderful answer to the question through a picture of Himself. My heart wraps around the scripture given and around the picture of my calm and unruffled Jesus giving me peace in the potentially unsettling or upsetting circumstances my day may bring me. Thank you, Lord for speaking to my heart as only You can!

 

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Dare to pray for the safety and protection of our country, for Wisdom for our leaders and for each of us and that our hearts would turn back to God.

Continue to Day 26.

Does God Want You to Hear Him?

Tpray copyhis is Day 24 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! If you want to catch up, click right over to Day 1 for a list of all the posts.

As you play the Game with Minutes, bringing Christ into every thought and making all of your thoughts an inner conversation with God, we will meet with obstacles.The enemy will try to convince us that we cannot hear His voice and should not hear His voice. He will try to frighten us and confuse us, and even distort the voice of God. We have a scriptural answer to make the truth plain:

John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

and in Mark 4:9,

“Then Jesus said, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

These words are repeated in several other passages in the New Testament. The Old Testament in Isaiah 32 gives us this beautiful picture. It is a picture and a prayer of God’s Will for His beloved children.

Isaiah 32:3-4

 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed,
and the ears of those who hear will listen.
The fearful heart will know and understand,
and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear.

He wants us to see and hear, know and understand, and speak fluently and clearly.

Today’s Exercise: Take a few minutes and listen, what do you hear Him saying to You?

I love you. You can trust me. Rest in me. I will never leave you nor forsake you. I hear your prayers, and I see your heart. Open your heart up to me more and more. Look up, and allow the sunshine of my love to warm you and reveal Truth to you. Walk in my ways. Love others with my love. Rest in me. Walk with me. Smile with me. I love you.

Can you wait to see what He shows us in Day 25?

Remember to:

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Dare to Pray for God to reveal Himself to every person and to keep our country under the Shadow of His Wings.

 

How Is Your Hearing?

pray copyThis is Day 23 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! If you want to catch up, click right over to Day 1 for a list of all the posts.

How is your hearing? We are so used to our five senses interpreting our world and our circumstances, that it takes exercise to strengthen our spiritual senses. By playing The Game With Minutes, we are strenthening our spiritual senses. Learning to think God’s thoughts opens us up to see, smell, taste, feel and hear as He does. It is challenging at best, but it is quite the adventure of life to play this game and learn to live His Way.

5 sensesListening Prayer is when we do our best to quiet our busy minds and hear what He is saying. If we can learn to ask Him for his thoughts, He will give us those higher thoughts and  our words and actions will be wiser and more productive.

There are certain tests through which we should filter the words we hear. When we try to hear His Voice, remember that our own thoughts reside right along with our spirit. The more our mind is renewed to the Word of God, the more accurately we will hear His voice. Naturally, some of our own habitual thoughts will mingle with His thoughts. When reading back over what you have heard, you can test the words by asking these questions:

  • Does it agree with the Word of God?
  • What fruit does it produce? If these words lead you down a path of life and peace, rest in it.
  • Does it stand the test of time? If you will look at these words again in a few days, weeks, and even longer, the life of these words will be apparent compared to other words you have written.

If you find that some of the words do not meet the tests, do not be alarmed. Celebrate the fact that you were able to discern the difference. Expect to hear His Voice, and your sense of spiritually hearing will improve with practice.word-of-god

Today’s Exercise: Set a timer for five minutes and stay focused on the Lord, listening. If you would, please share something from your experience with us.

I thought I wasn’t going to hear anything tonight,but this is what I felt I heard:

“I am not limited by words when I want to speak with my people. There are many ways that I will speak to you. I will use anything and everything within my power to communicate to you. Look for signs of my love everywhere you go. You will see me in flowers, trees, birds that sing, bricks that build, people who smile. Look for me and sing out the message that you hear.”

In the next few days, we will experiment with hearing God’s answer questions like this:

Can You impart to me a sense of knowing that everything is okay?

Let’s see what He has to say to us on Day 24.

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And of course, as you have for the last 22 days, please remember to:

Dare to Pray for God’s hand to be upon our country in safety, protection, love and peace.

 

I am linking this post with Holly Gerth at Coffee for Your Heart

Are You Ready to Experiment With Listening Prayer?

pray copyThis is Day 22 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! If you want to catch up, click right over to Day 1 for a list of all the posts.

The Game With Minutes is bringing God into our thoughts at least one second of every minute. It is making all of your thoughts a conversation with God. In the last half of our Writing Challenge, we are experimenting with the listening side of this conversation. I have been going back through the Archives of my posts because there have been occasions where I knew that God spoke to me through writing. I found one originally published on January 23, 2014, entitled “A Conversation With God.” Come with me as we explore the answers to some questions I asked God several months ago. You’ll have more fun if you put yourself with Him on the sofa and picture yourself there, listening to my questions and anticipating His answers.

I started out writing my thoughts as I closed my eyes and imagined Jesus was sitting on the sofa with me.

There is nothing in the world more precious than your Presence. Let’s say that I am in your Presence right now. I am aware that You are here on the sofa with me. You are willing to listen and talk about anything I want. Just being with You brings me peace and joy. I feel calmer now. I can see the love in Your eyes. I can sense the wisdom that You have. You are totally unruffled. I just sense that You are not the least bit concerned about any of the things we are, though you patiently listen and smile. They just aren’t that important in the scheme of things. I am looking into Your eyes and knowing suddenly that none of this matters. You have much bigger plans and ideas. You can see it all fitting together.Presence3

Next I asked Him a number of questions, but in the original writing I didn’t write His answers. Perhaps, I didn’t even really stop to listen, but just asking the questions drew me into a place of peace and located where my heart was. Tonight and over the next few days,as an exercise in listening, I am going to take some of these questions and record what I hear Him saying. Presence5

Here’s the first question:

Would You be able to impart wisdom to me?

I’m closing my eyes. I am listening. You can do the same with your pen and paper or open document, and you may hear something different than I do. Please share what you hear.

Here’s what I heard:

You ask me if I would be able to impart Wisdom to you that would enable you to see how things fit together. I say to you he who wants wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally. Just ask me for wisdom any time any place and I will l give you wisdom.Trust in me. Wisdom is the principle thing. Solomon, my son, asked for wisdom, you know the story well, and I gave him riches and wisdom. People came from afar to hear his wisdom. Breathe deeply and let wisdom come to you. Stay ever close to me and when others ask questions of you, train yourself to silently ask me for wisdom and breathe in. Then share what words I give you. Let them flow out of you as words of life. Lean not unto your own understanding.  Trusting me for Wisdom means not thinking and reasoning and planning and analyzing, but let my words flow to you and bring you Truth.

Continue to Day 23 for more answers.

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And every time you see a flag or a symbol of our country:

Dare to Pray that the people of the United States of America will hear the Voice of the Lord and turn to Him as never before!

 

 

My favorite post of the day can be found at Holly Gerth’s Coffee for the Heart.

Three Times I Heard from God

pray copyThis is Day 21 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! If you want to catch up, click right over to Day 1 for a list of all the posts.

sky3There is something about the Voice of God. I am not speaking of an audible voice, but His Voice in our spirit. Sometimes it sounds like our voice. Sometimes we think it is our own voice, our own thoughts, and sometimes it is. When it is the Voice of God, somehow you know it. Whether it sounds like you or not, it has a quality, an essence about it that you know is different from any other voice. For one thing, it is often contrary to the way you were looking at something. It is a broader, clearer view. For another thing there is a quality of life and wisdom about it. You often remember where you were and the circumstances surrounding it when you heard the Voice of God.

1. Once I remember standing in the doorway of our home between the hallway and the den. I am sure I was trying to make a point and convince Larry of my view of something. In my ear, I heard these words, “Your reasoning is faulty at best.” I have never forgotten the impact and the wisdom of that. So often we think we can figure things out, or if we take the information at hand and thoroughly analyze it, (I do this for sport) we will come up with the right answer. The word of the Lord was “Your reasoning is faulty at best.” Hearing this made me put far less weight on information and my ability to come up with the proper answer through analysis. I learned to rest and rely on His wisdom which may come through intuition and through the “knowing” that He will communicate to us.

2. Another time that I recall was when we desperately needed an answer to prayer. Something was out of our control, and we were on a time deadline. I heard this, wrote it down, and obeyed it. I still have the piece of paper. The message was, “Trust me. I’ve already taken care of it.” Within two hours we had the favorable answer that we desired. Instead of spending those hours frantically worrying and wondering, I went to the pool with my friend and rejoiced when the answer came. This was the much better way.

3. Larry and sharon on the beach A third time that I heard the Voice of God was not so much a Voice that I heard but a knowing that came. Anyone who is married knows that who you marry is one of the top two most important decisions you will ever make with accepting the Lord as being number one. When I accepted Larry’s marriage proposal, I was breaking with the path I had been on which would have been more traditional. He was that “out of the box” kind of guy that didn’t necessarily follow the status quo, it seemed. This information was based generally on the simple fact that he had longer hair than anyone else I had dated. He had attended UNC-Carolina instead of a Christian college like I had. Who knew what views he held? These were not my thoughts at all, they were Mom’s! Bless her heart! So my knowing came in two ways: The first one was, “Whatever makes you love God more is His will.” I had read this in a book and it resonated with me. Secondly, I knew that I knew He was the one. If I had not married him, I would have known that I had disobeyed God. I was that sure. It cannot be explained, but I pray everyone will be that sure and have that knowing in such an important decision.

These are three times I heard from God. There have been many others, and I believe there will be many more. The more we talk to Him, tune in, ask for His thoughts, and listen, the more we will hear and know we are hearing His Voice.

Lord, what would you say to us now.

Look at the horizon, lift your eyes up and see as far as you can see. Trust me to take you there. Trust me to walk with you there. You don’t need to be looking down or looking at the things that are around you. There is a dream, a destiny that you have; there is a plan that I have for you. Get your eyes on the horizon. Trust me. Let me guide your steps. Keep your eyes on me and put one foot in front of the other. Walk in love. Walk in My joy and My peace. I will lead you. I walk with you. I will show you great and mighty things. Look to the horizon.

 

Dare to Pray, “Lord, let each one of us hear and discern Your Voice today. Let our congressmen and President and all government leaders hear and discern Your Voice.”

Continue to Day 22

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Can You Hear the Lord Speaking to You?

pray copyThis is Day 20 of the 31 Days of Writing Challenge! Quite the milestone. I haven’t missed a day, and I have been stretched, as I know all of the writers have. How about the readers? We’ve all been fervently trying to read as many posts as we can so that we can encourage others, learn from others, and make friends. Many of us want to establish regular readers who care about what we are saying. I have stretched myself by researching the subject of prayer and conversation with God through the writings of respected author, teacher, and missionary, Frank Laubach.

A bend in the road is here for me, and as I take this turn I will write about some of my experiences in playing the Game with Minutes and learning to hear God’s voice as well as talk with Him continually.

Listening prayer is as important to our conversation with God as it is in our conversation with any person. If we are talking all of the time, we never grow or learn anything.

  • It is by listening that you learn the heart of the person you are talking to.
  • It is by listening that you show respect for them.
  • It is by listening that you build a relationship with them.
  • It is by listening that you can benefit from the wisdom that they have.

When you apply these to listening to God Himself, your benefit will be magnified exponentially. I am listening, and here is what I “feel” He is saying:

prayerMy Wisdom is readily available to you. First you will find it in my Word. Take my Word into your life and eat upon it as you would daily bread. Meditate upon my Word, and let it sustain you . By taking my Word into your life you will learn my voice. You will learn my truth. You will learn about my love for you. My love for you is greater than anything you can imagine. For I am Love. Can you meditate on my love every day? Can you feel my love for you? Can you let my love totally consume you? Do you feel how much I accept you? I delight in you. I see the tree in the acorn, the flower in the bud, the apple in the seed. I delight in you. I delight in the acorn, the bud,and the seed just as much as I do the tree, the flower, and the apple. You are my beloved. You are mine!

Keep listening.

He’s asking you and I to meditate on His Word and His Love. I can do that today.

Dare to Pray, “Help us to be aware of Your Great Love for us today, and let that love flow through us to others. God bless the United States of America.

Continue to Day 21

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