The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. Psalm 34:17 NLT
In this time of pandemic, when most of us are feeling much more isolated than before, there are few people who will take the time to really listen. Have you found that to be true?
At first my husband and I talked much more every day with each other. Then gradually it seems we have each found our own space, our own tempo of life and occupations. I have heard friends comment that they cannot endure another Zoom meeting, where it is harder to speak up and add to the conversation.
Everyone wants to be heard. So, who is listening? In both the Old and New Testament, it is clear that God listens to his people. He wants us to know he is listening, no matter how distant we may feel from him some days. God listens because he loves us, cares about how we feel, and because every detail of our lives matters to him.
How can I tell you with such certainty that God hears you? For one thing, his Word, given to us to help us know him and who we are to him, says so. His Word also tells us that, as believers in Jesus and his followers, we have been given his Holy Spirit who lives in us. So, God knows our feelings, our most intimate thoughts, and the condition of our spirits every moment of the day. His Spirit is kind, gentle and patient, yet ready and more than able to help us with every need. He is not far away, so can respond instantly. He is focused on our well-being, because his job is to help us grow up into all that God created us to be. Through the Holy Spirit, God promises to cause everything to ultimately work for our good.
It is normal and natural to have moments when we feel alone, isolated and helpless in this world crisis. The media is screaming for our attention, our job may have presented more complications and now demands more time. Our families may need more of us, especially if we have children who need more help with their studies and need us to find alternate opportunities for them to have healthy activities.
The world will not stop to really listen to us and understand who we are and how we feel. But at any moment in our day, in the confusion and noise, or in the quiet of isolation, we can be sure that Father God knows where we are, listens and loves us.
Jesus died so we could experience his constant, close and active presence. God desires for us to live in perfect peace of mind and heart, and to experience deep peace and vibrant joy. It’s our inheritance and Jesus promises to share his very own peace and joy. The world cannot provide that, so we waste our time looking there for what only God can give us. After all, God created us for himself, so we could enjoy our beautiful, amazing relationship with him, not just now, but throughout eternity.
Pray with me: Father God, thank you for listening to me. Thank you for caring so deeply and always standing with me in every situation and working for my good. Because you are always with me, I am never alone. Please, teach me how to listen to you and others, like Jesus listens to me, so I can grow into the wise and beautiful woman you created me to be. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ September, 2020
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn't looking for him and doesn't recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. John 14:16, 17 NLT
Perspective can change everything. In 2 Kings 6:15-17, during the night the prophet Elisha and his servant are surrounded by Aramean troops who intend to capture them. The next morning the young servant panics when he realizes their deadly predicament.
"Don't be afraid!" Elisha told him. "For there are more on our side than on theirs!" Then Elisha prayed, "O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!" The Lord opened the young man's eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire." (6:17) His perspective changed.
Recently I heard one of the experts observe that truth no longer exists in America. It seems everyone is permitted to choose his/her own reality. That this is even accepted is bewildering to me. How tragically confusing and depressing life must be without the anchor of God-defined truth and reality.
As believers in Jesus and students of God's Word, we need not be caught up in this delusion of the enemy. The Bible removes the veil of deception by defining reality and truth for us through the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Without the anchor of our heavenly Father's truth and love, we will be easily blown off course, and be blindly led into chaos, division, anarchy and worse. We will end up calling good that which is evil in God's eyes, and evil that which God created for our good. We will have been captured by our great enemy, whose only desire is to deceive and destroy humankind and disrupt and delay Jesus' Kingdom on earth.
Instead of following the world that cannot discern truth from fiction, we have the very light with which to lead them out of the darkness. The Holy Spirit now lives in us, and if we let him, can and will lead us into ALL truth, as Jesus promises in the verse above. We do not have to fall into depression, hopelessness and darkness. We are no longer slaves to fear and sin. Our old nature was crucified with Christ. We are totally new women, being made more and more beautiful day by day in the light, love and presence of God who has a sovereign plan for us.
Let us have compassion and mercy on those who do not yet believe. Let us reach out to them and shine the light of truth on our surroundings and circumstances. But, let us be alert and pray protection for ourselves, our families and communities. There is a spiritual war out there, but Jesus has given us the power and authority to live in peace, love and joy in the midst of the battle. Do you know and believe the truth that will set you and others free from the enemy's strategies? Join the battle!
Dear friend, be blessed with deep peace as the Holy Spirit leads you daily into increasing truth and revelation of what really matters. Bask in God's presence and light as you grow ever more beautiful in Christ. You are dearly loved. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ September, 2020
“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way
more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body,
the church.” Ephesians 4:15 NLT
Why is God wanting us to ponder who he is to us right now? We should understand that what God reveals about his character, he intends to work into us. Quite simply, because our job any time, but particularly in this tragic episode in our history, is to become more like God the Father, more like Jesus our Lord. How can we cooperate with the Holy Spirit in working that completely new nature, God’s very character, into our souls and spirits?
Luke 6:27-38 is a good place to ponder that character. It begins with the radical command to love our enemies! “Do good to those who hate you.” A helpful way to measure our new character development is found in Luke 6:31, “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.” How are we doing with that?
In Luke 6:35 Jesus repeats, “Love your enemies! Do good to them. … Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked. 36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.” According to verses 6:37, 38 that means, don’t judge or condemn people, but forgive them, and be generous with them.
You may ask why God would want to make us more like himself? The Bible tells us that we are made in his image and likeness. (Gen.1:27) Because of the Fall of humankind, we were full of darkness, but that darkness, our old nature, was crucified with Christ when Jesus became our Lord. (Rom.6:6) It’s lost its power in us. We are now God’s dearly loved children, children of the light, not the darkness. (1 Thess.5:5) Our heavenly Father wants us to grow up so that we may share in Christ’s glory.
God sees the beginning and the end. This is not the final act. When he looks at you he sees your place with him in eternity for which you are now only in training. In Daniel 7:27 we find, “Then the sovereignty, power, and greatness of all the kingdoms under heaven will be given to the holy people of the Most High. His kingdom will last forever, and all rulers will serve and obey him.”
Jesus is smiling as he offers us his hand, and urges us, “Be as I am.” 1 Peter 1:6 promises that there is “wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.” … “But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (1:15,16)
As true believers, we can rejoice! Our suffering and pain have a beautiful, eternal purpose. God is working his very nature into us. Let us praise God together and keep growing more and more like him.
Dear friend, be blessed as you take the higher perspective of what is going on around you. Be filled with God’s peace and confidence as you determine to allow the Holy Spirit to use the hardships and trials to work God’s character into you. You are already beautiful, delightful in Jesus’ eyes, but imagine and believe how glorious you will be as his bride! Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ September, 2020