WHEN GOD IS SILENT—THEN WHAT?

WHEN GOD IS SILENT—THEN WHAT? https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/02/27/when-god-is-silent-then-what/

I have a confession to make—I have experienced seasons when I don’t hear from God. Yes, I mean complete silence for an extended period. At first, it was disconcerting, especially when other Christians seemed to have a direct hotline to God at all times. What’s wrong with me? I questioned.

Have you noticed that Christians are quick to share stories of answered prayers ladened with all the feel-goods and warm fuzzies?  But we’re not nearly as vocal about the desperate times we persisted in prayer and are met with a wall of silence. However, I think these stories might be just as important. So, if your prayers seem to be echoing off the walls, don’t lose faith. if-your-prayers-are-echoing-meme

 

You are among good company. Job was well acquainted with God’s silence. We read 37 chapters of how this faithful man cried out to God but was met with deafening silence. Abraham was met with silence as he planned to sacrifice his son. There’s no mention of Joseph hearing from God while in prison either. In my own life, God’s silence has tempted me to doubt. I think most of us can relate.

What Can We do During the Periods of Silence?

Examine Your Life

Make sure nothing is blocking you from being able to hear God’s voice.We must begin with asking ourselves this question: Is there any unconfessed sin in my life?

“If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 68:18

  • Is there someone I need to forgive?
  • Do I have wrong motives?
  • Have I put anything above my relationship with God?

As God brings things to mind, be quick to ask for forgiveness.

Remember, God, delights in restoring our fellowship with Him. There is no shame in repentance.

Please understand, God’s silence does not always mean we have unconfessed sin. We read that Job was righteous and yet he went through many trials while God remained silent. Checking our heart and motives is always a good place to begin when experiencing silence from God.

Accept God’s Sovereignty

God doesn’t have a responsibility to answer us or communicate at all, for that matter. And yet evidence of His mercy and great love are on display in creation, in His word, and through the life and death of His son.

Sovereignty means realizing He is in control and can be trusted.

Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” Job 2:10

Keep Talking

God’s silence doesn’t mean we should turn our backs and stop praying. Don’t give up! The Psalms are a great example of crying out to God.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me,  so far from my cries of anguish? My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,  by night, but I find no rest.” Psalm 22:1-2

“I love you, Lord, my strength.The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:1-2;6

Recognize that Silence Creates Hunger

When God is silent, it can lead us to a richer, deeper experience and hunger for more of Him. gods-silence-meme-quote

Let’s relate this concept to our diets. Last summer I did a dietary cleanse, eliminating refined sugar, processed foods, bread, grains, and red meat from my diet. The cleanse was very restrictive and specific in what I could and could not eat. After several days, I was allowed to slowly add certain foods like grains back into my diet. I cannot tell you how great that quinoa tasted! If we allow it, spiritual hunger can cause us to be grateful for every opportunity to hear from God.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6

Wait

Remember for 37 chapters in the book of Job, God is silent. But then in chapter 38, God speaks and questions Job.

“Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man;  I will question you,   and you shall answer me. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?  Tell me, if you understand.”

In chapter 40, Job responds to God. “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.  I spoke once, but I have no answer—  twice, but I will say no more.”

Then finally in chapter 42: “The Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.”

Waiting means trusting. Can we trust God even during the silence? Job did, Abraham did, Joseph did, Mary did, Paul did—and so can we!gods-silence-meme

Silence does not mean absence. We must trust God’s promises to “never leave us” and that “nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from His love.” (Hebrews 13:5, Romans 8:38-39)

“But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

So, if you are in the midst of a season of silence, remember that God has not left you. In fact, if you are a Christian, His Holy Spirit lives within you. He is as close as your breath. God is all about relationship. From the beginning with Adam and Eve, He walked and talked with them in the garden. Throughout the Bible, we see God’s desire to be known through relationship. We must trust if He is silent, He has a good reason because He is good!

“God you are good and you do what is good; teach me your decrees.” Psalm 119:68

Hold on beloved, the Lord is near to those who draw near to Him!


LET’S CHAT: How about you? Have you experienced times of silence in your relationship with the Lord?

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DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF?

DO YOU LOVE YOURSELF? https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/02/20/do-you-love-yourself/

Sometimes God speaks to me in unexpected ways. Today was one of those times. I was driving home after having breakfast with a friend. I enjoyed my time with her, but now the responsibilities of what lie ahead for the rest of the day was crowding in and threatening to steal my joy. My mind was flittering from one thought to the next, eventually swirling out of control. Somehow my to-do list had morphed into a list of my problems, my insecurities, and my failures.

Have you ever done that?

In the midst of my chaotic downward spiral of self-deprecation, there she was—all three feet of her—skipping across the Lowe’s parking lot while holding her daddy’s hand. Her dark unkempt, waist-length curls bounced with each kick of her dirty sneakers, raising her turquoise princess dress enough to see her jeans beneath. Was she wearing those jeans first then put on the princess dress when her daddy said they were going out? Or did she have on the princess dress and decide to wear the jeans too because you never know?

I continued watching her through my rear view mirror, mesmerized by her innocence and...joy. That’s what joy actually looks like, I thought.

“That’s what YOU look like to me.”  

I gasped, knowing I would never say that to myself. This was none other than the voice of God. Not audible, of course. But so evident, it was almost a whisper.

Did He see me as a princess? A child?

“You are my beautiful daughter. I AM the King of Kings which makes you a  princess. I have clothed you in the royal garments of salvation.”

I scoffed at the thought of being called a princess. But then remembered one of my favorite chapters: Isaiah 61. 

I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10

I need to stop right here and share something personal with you.

There was a time when I used to look in the mirror with the eye of scrutiny, looking for what I considered imperfections. Here’s the thing, I didn’t even realize I was doing this to myself. It had become so normal

My struggle with body image started when I hit puberty. Like many girls, I compared myself to girls my age as well as what I saw on TV and in magazines. When I looked in a mirror, I knew I didn’t measure up. My distorted self-evaluation continued until it manifested into an eating disorder called Bulimia.

By the time I had moved out on my own and started college, Bulimia was a way of life for me, that is until I started going to church. I didn’t understand why at the time, but I was convicted to stop making myself throw up after I ate. For the first time in my life, I asked God to help me with my problem. And He did—immediately! 

Yes, the urges became less and less until I was no longer making myself throw up. I knew without a doubt, it was God. But what I didn’t realize was this: Bulimia was only a symptom of a much bigger problem that took years to uncover and find healing.

The problem was, I didn’t love myself and I didn’t think I was worthy of God’s love either.

When I looked into a mirror, it was still the same distorted image, until I began to get to know my heavenly Father. As I began to know God, it was like a veil of distortion was beginning to lift and I was able to see not only Him but myself differently. Please read the scripture below aloud.

“So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.
2 Corinthians 3:18

Did you notice I didn’t say, know ABOUT my heavenly Father? We can learn all about God through reading the Bible. That is not the same as engaging with Him personally through His Word. This happened for me when I began journaling scripture and writing down what I learned.

I remember reading about how the Word was in the beginning and the Word became flesh, and that the word was alive and powerful (John 1; Hebrews 4:12). This was a life-changing revelation.

When I read the Bible, it was God speaking directly and personally to me!

That’s when I fell in love with Psalm 139. Here is where I learned how valuable and precious every life is to God—including my own.

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
Psalm 139:14-16

When we see ourselves through the eyes of judgment, we eventually turn that judgment outward to others.

As I began to learn how much God loved me, my self-image began to change. And the way I viewed others changed too! I also learned how reciting God’s word helped tear down strongholds of negative thought patterns.

It has been a long process and I’m still “under construction” but with the Lord’s help, I now recognize when my mind goes in a direction that is not godly thinking. And that is exactly what happened the other day when I saw the little princess girl.

My mind that was once firing out of control with negative thoughts prior to seeing the little princess, was now recalling bits and pieces of scripture telling me who I am to God. Who I really am.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made in My image. (Psalm 139:14)

You are loved. (John 3:16)

You are treasured. (Deuteronomy 7:6)

You are a masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Maybe you’re like me, and you struggle with really loving yourself.

I’m not talking about selfish, narcissistic love that we often see displayed in our culture nowadays. What I’m referring to is a healthy, godly view of self that can only be found through the One who created you.

The one (and only) way I’ve been able to move from those negative thoughts to God’s positive ones is because I know Him and I’m familiar with His word, the Bible.

Do you know what the Bible says about you?

The Bible says when we ask Jesus into our hearts as Lord and savior, we have become a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The trouble is, our brains are hardwired to remember our old self-image prior to learning who God says we are. Here’s the good news: the more time you spend with the Lord and learning His word, the more your old thoughts are transformed into His thoughts.

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

If you struggle with loving yourself, it’s time to wash your brain clean with God’s word.

  • Learn who God says He is by getting to know Him.
  • Learn what God says about you.
  • Write down a verse that speaks to your heart.
  • Meditate on the verse and memorize it.
  • When you recognize negative self-talk, say your verse aloud.
  • Repeat often.

IT’S TIME TO EMBRACE WHO & WHOSE YOU REALLY ARE!

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSES: who-i-am-in-christ: WHO I AM IN CHRIST (from Priscilla Shrier’s Armor of God study)

Watch the video below to learn more about who God is. It’s powerful and worth the watch!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or pray for you! Let’s start a conversation in the comments section below.

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LOVE TRUMPS EVERYTHING

LOVE TRUMPS EVERYTHING https://beckielindsey16.com/2017/02/12/love-trumps-everything/

When I was in Washington, D.C. the day after the Presidential election last November, there was a group of protesters shouting, “Love Trumps Hate!”

I agree. Love indeed, trumps hate. The only problem was, these protesters were also angry, pushy, rude, and using profanity. Their actions obliterated their message. How were they representing love?

But their actions made me think.

How am I representing love during these tumultuous times?

I asked God how He wants me to represent love. His answer: The way my Son loves is the way you are to love.

In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, an expert of the law asks Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus asks the man what is written in the law. The man recites this scripture,“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.”

He also asks Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?”

This is how Jesus responds, “’A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.’” (Luke 10:25-37 paraphrased)

What if this story took place in the 21st century? It might look a little different. What if the story went something like this…

A group of angry protesters saw a person who had been badly beaten on the side of the road. But he didn’t share their beliefs. Maybe he’s gay. Maybe he’s a Christian. Maybe he’s black. Maybe he was actually born she. Maybe he’s a police officer. Or maybe it’s a woman who is pro-choice. Fill in the blank however you choose. It really doesn’t matter. What matters is this: everyone mentioned are human beings. Everyone mentioned is a neighbor.

What did Jesus say again? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

As human beings, neighbors and countrymen, do we not have more commonality than differences?

Think about that for a minute.

We all need love, acceptance, freedom, understanding, and protection.

Okay, about this time you might be thinking I’m just spouting some 1960’s style rhetoric spawned from lyrics like the popular Beatles song, “Love is All You Need. Love, love, love, love.” (blah, blah, blah!) As if we can take our complex issues and opinions, wrap us all up tight in a love quilt, and then Presto! Problems solved!

Nothing could be farther from the truth. I know it’s not that easy. In fact, it’s pretty darned tough. But that is what love is. Love is tough. Take a look at a portion of this familiar Bible passage known as The Love Chapter.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Let’s just start with the first one: Patient. Having patience is HARD! Ask any parent. What about this one: Love keeps no records of wrongs. Don’t we tend to remember more of how we were mistreated than when someone does or says something kind? It’s our sinful human nature.

My friends, I’m not proposing some warm and fuzzy or mystical ideology, here.

Let’s be practical. Love takes effort and self-discipline. And quite frankly, we are not capable of true love without tapping into the source of love, God Almighty, who IS love. And by the way, God is practical, relevant, and current with the times. He knows all about what we tweet and post.

From the start of the campaigning up to now, we’ve witnessed deplorable, unloving behavior. It didn’t matter which “side” you were on, we were all disgusted.

So, why then, are we continuing the same slanderous, cruel, and divisive behaviors?

Take a look at 1 Corinthians 13:11 (The Love Chapter)

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”

I ask you, no, I beg you—let’s stop acting like children! Spoiled, rotten children who have not gotten their way. And I’m not just referring to Millennials either.

I mean really, is this how we teach our children to handle conflict? To throw a fit, to throw a fist, to fire a weapon, to take a life, to bully, to use our words as weapons, name calling like crybaby snowflakes?

Our children are watching. The entire world is watching.

And why is the world watching? Because the United States of America is a world superpower. I say that not in pride, but in humility. For as quoted by Benjamin Parker,

“With great power comes great responsibility.”

All Americans have a responsibility to do this thing right. Whether or not your chosen candidate won, this is OUR country. We must come together in unity and love.

“…that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863, The Gettysburg Address.

Perish from the earth? Perish the thought! Could it be possible that division could tear us apart, literally?

 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

~Jesus Christ 

Frightening! Our “united” states are not united. We are dangerously divided. It is said that all negative emotions are rooted in fear. Negative emotions are on display—broadcasted across media every single day.

Are our individual fears worth the collective loss?

My friends, we can show love and respect to a person without having to agree with them. I’m not in any way saying as Christ followers we should bend, twist or change the Word of God in order to condone sinful behaviors and lifestyles. But isn’t being hateful toward another person sin too? Unloving behavior towards others that don’t agree with us has led our country to division. We are grieved, angry, and vulnerable to failure.

The way forward is for each of us to look inward and then upward.

Look inward and face our anger, biases, assumptions, and prejudices. Look upward to God Almighty for forgiveness, grace, wisdom, unity, peace and LOVE.

Reconciliation is more important than legislation. Americans must learn how to communicate respectfully and nonviolently. We must look to see what we have in common. Every idea from the right is not wrong. Nor is every ideology from the left wrong. We must look for the things each can teach us and find common ground. We must love our neighbors, our countrymen, as ourselves.

Loving our neighbor, despite our differences is the only way to make America great again because…

LOVE TRUMPS EVERYTHING!

“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”


I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one. Please use the comments below to share respectfully what’s on your mind.


Because of the internet, I have many readers in other parts of the world. First of all, I’d like to say thank you for reading. Secondly, I ask if you would please join me in prayer for The United States of America.

This post is linked to#LMMLinkup at, http://maryanderingcreatively.com/lmmlinkup-looking-for-new-hosts/