The desire to hear His voice!

THE STORY OF JESUS: 1 Kings 17-19
“And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” (1 Kings 19:12)
In these chapters we see dramatic signs of God’s power.
Yet the signs are still not enough to convince Elijah.
Similarly, Jesus performed great miracles, but people still doubted Him.
It was only in hearing God’s Voice through Him that some believed.
In everything that happens, big and small, the Voice of God is whispering.
Hearing God, being with God, knowing God — this is the goal.
Many Christians still clamour for signs, when God wants to give us Himself.
But God is not in the fire, nor the healing, nor the multiplied loaves, etc.
God is in you, He is whispering His love and wisdom into your heart.
Jesus is God in a body, drawing near so that we might know Him.
He is still calling gently, with a ‘still small voice’, calling you to come.
Listen with your heart, listen to your heart, eagerly desire to hear Him.
Feel, sense, and hear His assurance, ‘You are not alone, I am with you!’
Stop seeking miracles, seek to know God and Jesus — this is the true joy of LIFE!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, Elijah saw many miracles, but it was knowing You and hearing Your voice that ultimately satisfied Him. May I hear Your gentle whisper again today, its what my heart truly desires.

True or harsh?

What do you think?

Missing out?

“He could not do any miracles there…” (Mark 6:5)
Imagine a new cure has been discovered for a terrible illness.
But some people are skeptical; they refuse the treatment and stay sick.
Doctors will not be able to heal these people because of their lack of faith.
Wouldn’t this be frustrating, wouldn’t this be sad?
Many people were drawn to Jesus, but some were skeptical too.
How could such an ‘ordinary’ guy have such extraordinary power?
Today people are skeptical of Jesus for different reasons.
The frustrating thing is that people remain stuck, troubled and hopeless.
Even more frustrating, they seek other ‘bad news’ answers that only make life worse.
Jesus is offering God’s free welcome, free forgiveness, free hope.
He can free us from chains (spiritual, mental, emotional, physical) holding us back.
He will set us free from the ‘dark voices’ that plague our minds and feelings.
But we have to trust Him; if we don’t let Him, He can’t help us either.
Jesus wants to help you; do you want Him to help you?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, sometimes I wonder if I am missing out on the MORE that You want to do in/through me. Has my experience of You become so ‘ordinary’ that You can’t perform miracles in my life?

“Don’t be afraid!”

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 5:35-43
“Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’” (Mark 5:36)
What does Jesus mean when He says ‘don’t be afraid’?
His daughter is dead, his heart is melting in grief and sorrow!?
I hear Jesus saying ‘don’t give in to your despair, trust me on this one!’
Fear, grief, despair, sorrow, these are natural in our broken, messed up world.
Satan knows how to yank our chain, to agitate us with fear.
I admit that I am sometimes agitated, and it takes real effort to ‘not be afraid’.
If I consider the many horrors of death that others experience, I tremble.
But Jesus speaks to this family in the despair, I trust He will speak to me too.
In fact, in many other times of fear I have heard His whisper of love.
Jesus does not raise up every person who dies, or heal all sick people.
But this miracle reminds us of His victory over sin, sickness, death and hell.
In the midst of crisis, darkness or despair, we can hear Him gently say.
“In this world you will have trouble. Take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Whether grieving or dying, listen for Jesus whispering, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I could hardly be strong through buying and selling a house, how would I manage death. Thank You that it is not the strength of my faith but the strength of Your love that will carry us through!

Refuse to let go!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 5:30-34
“Your faith has healed you.” (Mark 5:34)
Faith is not a magic formula, nor a set of beliefs that one must hold.
This woman did not know how healing worked, nor who Jesus was.
But in this one desperate act, she reached out – hoping against hope.
It was the hopeful reach of her heart, a grasping at hope in Jesus.
Disappointment can hinder faith, but it cannot stop it.
Job had a faith that held on, even if he wasn’t healed right away.
Every day again he reached out to God – in anger, in frustration, in desperate hope.
But he was still reaching, even if it was not perfect or complete faith.
I see faith as like Jacob’s refusing to let go until he was blessed (Genesis 32:26).
God’s power flows into those who reach out to Him.
How His power works, what His power does, I cannot always say.
Sometimes it is healing, sometimes comfort, but it is always something.
Are you suffering, are you desperate… keep reaching out to Jesus.
Refuse to let go of His cloak until you feel His power flowing through you!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, sometimes discouragement causes me to loosen my grip. But letting go is worse than hanging on and waiting. So as I am able, I refuse to let go, until Your power flows through me!

Keep looking up!

What does faith look like when things don’t go as planned? What does it mean to trust the Lord through times of fear, frustration or uncertainty?

At this very moment, we are playing the real estate waiting game. We are waiting for offers on our house – and none have come yet (and it’s 4pm). To make matters worse, the house we are offering on has three registered offers.

My heart is beating faster, my mind is all over the place, and I can’t relax. My agent here reminded me to “Keep breathing, keep the faith, stay positive!” My agent there reminds me every time I talk him that every day is a great day with God. (Where would I be without these great spiritual encouragers???) And here I am, the one who preaches faith, giving in to waves of fear. This is all present moment, everything will likely be different a few hours from now. But right now, I am being attacked by anxious thoughts. Satan is playing games in my head.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

I keep repeating these words, “The Lord is near!” (Philippians 4:5) The above picture comes to mind as I feel like I am drowning in negativity. Its a picture from the perspective of someone that is sinking. Looking up, you see Jesus’ feet on the water, His face looking down in love. And His hand reaching down, offering to pull me up out of the depths.

I am choosing to look up, to reach up, and to give my situation to Him. I am choosing to affirm words of joy, of hope, of peace, and to hand over my anxieties to Him. The feelings remain, but I am not giving in to them… I refuse. I am confident in this, this will all work out for the best in the end. For now, I will hang on through the storm; He will lead me safe to shore!

I can see His face above the waters… can you?

(I’ll let you know later how this all worked out.)

Healing touch prayer!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Mark 5:21-29
“Put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” (Mark 5:23)
These two believe that just a touch from Jesus, and they will be healed.
Somehow – they don’t know how – God’s healing LIFE flows through Jesus.
I have found this idea, the image of Jesus’ touch, helpful in my own prayers.
When praying for the sick or dying, I imagine Jesus’ hand touching and healing them.
I don’t have the gift of healing, but I do believe healing can flow through me.
Through laying on of hands, I am a link between God and those needing healing.
Like the clothes of Jesus, not Jesus but near Jesus, I can convey God’s healing LIFE.
Even crowds pressing in on Jesus were blessed by God’s Spirit through Him.
The key is proximity: being WITH Jesus is needed for His power through us.
“They saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men. They were astonished and took note that they had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13)
As Jesus followers, don’t underestimate what God in Jesus can do through us!
We can prayerfully spread the LIFE of Jesus with everyone that connects with us!
“Put Your hands on (this person) so that they will be healed and live.” (Mark 5:23)
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, strengthen my faith that I may believe that ‘just a touch with You’ is all that it takes to spread Your healing LIFE and love.

Rejoice, the Lord is King!

“Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy.” (Psalm 47:1)
Imagine being bullied for years, then finally being vindicated.
Think of your joy and gratitude for your protector and benefactor.
This is the feeling behind Psalm 47, the praise of the victim vindicated.
This psalm was likely written for when the Ark of God was first placed in the temple.
The message here is not just for Israel but for “all you nations” (v.1).
God stands up for everyone, and always resists the cruel and unjust…
God will even oppose Israel (or the church) if they become bullies.
God is not just good to His own chosen people, but to all people.
Anyone can find shelter and protection and justice from Him.
Sadly, too many people have suffered at the hands of the bully church.
The church has actually hindered people from celebrating God’s reign.
As Jesus followers, we join with Jesus in giving people reason to “clap their hands”.
We stand with the underdog, we resist injustice and violence and help the weak.
Is our joy in Jesus as king giving other people reason to celebrate?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, may Your kingdom come in me and in this community, and may the people living here join in the celebration that You are King!

We get what we seek!

THE STORY OF JESUS: 1 Kings 14-16
“You made for yourself other gods and turned your back on me.” (1 Kings 14:9)
In these chapters we see things going from bad to worse in Judah and Israel.
Despite God’s warnings, the kings and the people abandoned God for corrupt living.
But is God to blame for the consequences of this corruption?
God does not cause suffering, violence or death… sin does.
But God does withdraw support from those who leave Him.
And when God withdraws, who will protect from the consequences of corruption.
C.S.Lewis observed, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, “Thy will be done,” and those to whom God says, in the end, “Thy will be done.”
If we want life without God, we get it (and what it entails).
As Jesus followers, are we “fully committed to the Lord” (1 Kings 15:14) like Asa.
Or do we pursue our own dreams until things go bad, and then run to Him?
God will give us what we seek… but we may not be happy with the results.
The Lord is challenging me: am I seeking life with Him, or without Him?
If I am not seeking Him fully now, should I expect Him fully later on?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, these kings remind me that I will get what I seek. If I only aim for a half-hearted relationship with You, that is what I will get, with all its half-hearted consequences.

Following His direction!

THE STORY OF JESUS: 1 Kings 12-13
“I have been told by the word of the Lord…” (1 Kings 13:17).
This poor prophet, tricked by another prophet into disobeying the Lord!
Rehoboam foolishly followed bad advice, but this prophet listened to a prophet!?
Both Rehoboam and this prophet learned the hard way not to listen to everyone.
As a Jesus follower, the lesson I take from this is that I need to obey Jesus.
In the end, we are responsible for our choices; we cannot blame others.
I must go with how I sense the Spirit of Jesus leading me, for better or worse.
Jesus promised His Spirit to lead and teach us (1 John 2:27, John 16:13-14).
The closer I am to Jesus, the better able I will be able to discern His will.
Spend time with Him, and He will show you a path to take.
No doubt we will make mistakes, but no matter what we must choose to obey Him.
As Paul says, only the Lord can judge this (1 Corinthians 4:3-5).
What is the Lord saying to you about this issue or struggle or decision?
By all means, seek advice, consider the options, but in the end you must decide!
As you do, trust in Him as He guides your heart, and rest in His grace for the results.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, whatever I choose to believe and do, I must do so out a sense of surrender to You. May the Voice of Your Spirit be clear, and may I discern Your guidance and grace as I choose which way to go.