Wednesday Whisper ~ Press Pause

1446 B.C. ~ The nation of Israel is sandwiched between the Red Sea and the Egyptian army. Their response? Terror, panic, and anger. Clearly, they were doomed … until God intervened and split the sea, allowing them to escape across dry ground! Three days later they faced what they viewed as a drinking water crisis and the following month, a food crisis. Israel’s reaction to each challenge was panic. If God had given Israel the Red Sea test again, they probably would have fared better.

Typically, the tests of faith we experience vary, but sometimes, we face the same challenge repeatedly until we pass the test. We haughtily view Israel’s lack of faith, but most likely follow a similar pattern. Increasing stress builds until at the panic point, we implode or explode without a thought given to the One who could intervene for us.

James 1:3 says “…the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” As believers, we will be tested. When we find ourselves at the panic point, when we see no way out and no sensible answer, may we remember that we have a God who is working on our behalf, who has good plans for us, and who can make a way. Instead of panicking in the face of difficulty, let’s ‘press pause’, pray for His peace, and persevere.

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Wednesday Whisper ~ His Name

All of us have a first and last name and most have a middle name, although I acquired mine as an adult. My illustrator, originally from Brazil, has five last names. I hope she doesn’t have to write that signature often!

When we think about our Creator God, our Heavenly Father, the One True God, clearly many names come to mind. Depending on their experiences with God, characters in the Bible referred to Him differently. The same thing happens to us. Some are comfortable with calling Him ‘Daddy’ or ‘Abba’, others know Him better as their Provider, Helper, Healer, or Defender. When meditating on His character, other names come to mind:  Lover of My Soul, Almighty One, God of Mercy and Grace, Faithful and True. The list lengthens with the additional names for Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

Be challenged this year to consider God’s names in striving to know Him better. Whether you are spending time in worship, taking a walk, driving, or sitting in a waiting room, meditate on the names of God that touch your heart. If you wish, go through the alphabet and see how many different names you can think of and then identify your favorites.

“Not to us, O LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory.” (Psalm 115:1a)

To view my list that blossomed into a song, go to my website, http://pointingtheway.live, and find “Sing Out Your Name” under the ‘Song Lyrics’ tab.

 

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Wednesday Whisper ~ Beyond Me, Beyond Now

No! I can’t! I quit! I’m out! I’m done! The task is insurmountable, the cost too great, the request unreasonable!

When I am called to ‘do the difficult,’ my initial response is often negative because I am completely focused on self. If I would pause instead of panic and take a step back, I could gain a better perspective. The key seems to be to look beyond me and beyond now. When I stop focusing on me, I gain a sense of the One who is with me, the God who is my Hope, my Strength, my Provider, and my Friend. When I look beyond now, I am reminded that this is only a speck in time, and there are eternal rewards awaiting believers.

From this new point of view, my “no” becomes “maybe.” “I can’t” transforms into “I can do it with God’s help.” “I quit” turns to “I can take one step.” “I’m out” changes to “I’m in this for Him.” And, “I’m done” elevates to “There is something He wants me to accomplish.”

So, the next time we want to slam the door on what seems to be ‘mission impossible,’ let’s  bring the request to our Father in prayer, surrender the cost, and begin the task in His strength and for His honor. May we look beyond me and beyond now and meditate on, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

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Wednesday Whisper ~ Vision 2020

What do you see as you look toward a new decade, a new year, a new day? Newness may invoke feelings of hope and/or fear. Remembering God’s promises helps conquer the fears Satan fires at us and replaces them with God’s peace. Those who believe in God, who have accepted His Son Jesus, can be confident in knowing we have good reason to hope. God promises to do life with us, provide for our needs, give us strength, and offer guidance and counsel all 366 days of 2020.

Look and experience how God speaks to His children. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” (Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV)

May we go forth with a reverent fear of the Lord rather than fearing the future, trusting in the One whose vision surpasses 20/20.

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Wednesday Whisper ~ God’s Gift

Christmas is the day we rejoice and celebrate God sending the greatest gift, Himself, in the form of baby Jesus. The very Presence of God with us in the form of His Son and later the Holy Spirit is an indescribable gift, a gift that includes eternal life with Him.

Jesus explained to the Samaritan woman at the well, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you …” (John 4:10), then she would understand that Jesus was the Son of God offering her eternal life. The Apostle Paul shares this description, “… the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

To experience life with God by our side is the greatest gift ever! He is our joy, our peace, our hope, our strength, our comfort, our guide, our help, and our Savior. Who doesn’t want and need that?

May we know and accept this incomparable gift from God by believing Jesus is His Son and accepting His grace that makes our lives new, looking forward to eternal life with Him.

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Wed. Whisper ~ Destination: Bethlehem

Talk about inconvenient! I’m almost nine months pregnant, basically due any day, and Joseph and I are now required by the Roman government to go to our ancestral ‘home’ and register for the census. For us, that means at least a three-day journey to Bethlehem.

There is much I do not understand. These days have been difficult, but I know God has a plan and purpose, and I know He is faithful. From the angel’s first visit, I agreed to be the Lord’s servant and I earnestly put my trust in Him.

I pray that this Holy Son of God I’m about to give birth to is One you come to know and worship as well. May you serve Him even when it’s not convenient, trust Him during difficult days, and experience His immeasurable love.

“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human!” ~ Philippians 2:5-7 (The Message)

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Wednesday Whisper ~ Glory to God

When:  The night watch.
What:  Protect the sheep from predators and thieves.
Why:  The flocks outside Bethlehem were reserved for sacrifice at the nearby temple in Jerusalem.

And one holy night, more than 2000 years ago, shepherds were the ones blessed to receive a birth announcement from heaven, witness the glory of God, and hear His angel choir. As the shepherds went to find the infant King, did they try to echo the song they heard? Did they describe and repeat the refrain of ‘Glory to God’ to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus? The shepherds were so jazzed, their praises continued even after they returned (Luke 2:20).

May our hearts join them this Christmas as we, too, celebrate the coming of our Savior. It may be an ancient song, but we can make it new by adding a melody and offering it to the One most worthy. The angels’ lyrics were “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased” (Luke 2:14 New Living Translation). Let’s bring Him our best, and who knows, we may be joined by a behind-the-scenes back-up choir, or at least we can imagine we are!

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