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The Art of the Ear: When God Speaks Tags: Christian blog Christian devotional Christian Writers Creation encouragement God God's voice help horses Inspiration listening love

But whoever listens to Me will dwell safely and will be secure, without fear of evil”—Proverbs 1:33.

                                                                                                     

Giving God our ear. Hmmmmm. What does that look like? How does God speak to us? Many ask this.

For me, His voice has different “sounds”: He gives a strong impression in my spirit about a particular situation ... a gut feeling, if you will; The truths in His Word will come alive as I read and revelation hits me right between the eyes; He will move on someone to be His voice, giving me an encouraging word; He’ll give me a dream while I’m sleeping; Or, He may use pictures in His amazing Creation to illustrate His character.

When He speaks to me through His Creation, that’s incredibly cool. One time, I was out feeding the horses trying to work through some stuff in my head. I glanced up and saw the most magnificent full rainbow I’d ever seen— and a double one to boot. The colors were so vibrant and alive. I ran to the trailer and grabbed my camera. As I stared at that rainbow, profound thoughts eased my mind: Our Creator created incredible beauty out of mere mist; Every rainbow from the very first one is the same—the same colors, the same lines, the same form. They don’t change. He doesn’t change. His promises never change. In this world, we can’t count on anything. But we can count on Him—encouragement I needed right then and a word in due season. (Isaiah 52:7)

He used a gentle breeze to encourage an acquaintance of mine. She was reading her Bible outside, troubled by a circumstance she faced. The breeze kept blowing the pages to a certain scripture. Every time she tried to turn back to the previous spot where she was reading, the breeze would flip the pages right back to that other place. She finally looked down where the breeze stopped—there she found the answer to her problem.

He likes to speak through people to give His encouraging words. Years ago I was asked to sing at a trail ride in Texas. When I pulled up on the ranch, my heart was heavy. I had a new truck, two beautiful horses and looked as though I hadn’t a care in the world. But on the inside, I was hurting and scared. I had two jobs: one in an office, one on a ranch. A “friend” betrayed me and stole the ranch job—the one I had based my truck payment on. Single, with no other means of extra support, I was afraid of losing everything.

A few days before I drove to the trail ride, I prayed, “Lord, please make yourself real to me.” Until then, I did not believe the Lord really knew I existed—unless I hung out with people I thought were spiritual. Let me tell ya, the devil had deceived me good!

I parked my rig and made my way over to a big oak tree. I leaned against it, quietly watching the other singers on the stage. A man and his wife, whom I had never met, walked up. “I have a word for you from the Lord,” he said. That man “read my mail.” He told me, “The Lord said, ‘all your needs are already taken care of.’” I was floored. I had not told a soul what I was going through, not even my closest friends. How in the world did this guy know my situation?

One week later, I received some cleaning jobs that perfectly dovetailed with my day job at the office. The wages from the cleaning jobs covered my old ranch wages to the dollar.

Two months later, the same man gave me another word from the Lord: I would be given one job that would take care of all my needs. Within three months, I quit my cleaning jobs because the office I worked for offered me a higher position in another department with a lot more pay.

I have learned that He is always directing us with that still small voice of His ... or trying to. I’ve blown right over the top of it— more than once, I’m afraid. One time, He impressed on Bruce, my husband and me to clean up the pine needles under the high-line our horses were tethered to. We didn’t, getting distracted with some other project. Our “Hoover”-horse, Rocky, decided he very much liked the taste of pine needles, proceeding to suck up every strand in the area. He promptly colicked. We were way out in the National Forest with no phone service. Prayer and the painkiller Banamine played veterinarian. He was pooping pine needles for the next day and a half, but he pulled through.

In all my years with horses in the mountains, I have never seen them eat pine needles. I never, ever imagined that Rocky would do that. But it didn’t matter what I thought or what my experience was. The Lord told us to rake up the pine needles ... period. He knew what would happen. Lesson learned ... again!

Fine-tuning the art of the ear takes practice. Sometimes total resurrection. But it’s an art worth bringing back to life. It means laying down our own desires and agendas. It takes not just being hearers of the Word of God, but doers of what He’s asked us to do. (James 1:22-25)

And the reward? We can live a life of victory and peace, encouraging others in the same. (John 15:12-13)

Listen ... Listen ... Listen ...

“Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe” by Christie Browning Tags: Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe by Christie Browning Help! I’ve Got No Room to Breathe Christie Browning

rainy pink flower

Recently, I wrote the following in my journal:

“I am far beyond being stressed. I feel lost…without focus or a plan. I don’t like that feeling. I feel like I’m suffocating and about to run out of air, but there’s no room to breathe. I feel attacked on all fronts. I feel like someone has set off a stun bomb and I am left dazed, confused and blind. All the while, everything is being thrown at me, but I can’t grab anything or respond fast enough to catch what’s been thrown. I feel like I just have to stand here and take the beating.”

no room to breathe 1

It’s been a rough couple of months. Recently, my father-in-law was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and it’s been a brutal-downhill slide. That has been a weight on our family in ways I never anticipated.

But…the “suffocating” comes from feeling like it’s the cancer diagnosis coupled with major changes in my business, income shifts and changes, dealing with uncertainty, job stresses, financial pressures and just “life” stuff.

The last straw: My cellphone quit working, and I didn’t have insurance. YIKES! One of these on its own is doable…but all together, I feel crushed under the weight.

Have you ever felt that way? Ever felt like you were losing ground, out-of-options, nowhere to go? As I wrote the above statements in my journal, I felt God’s promises start to flood my heart and mind. I began reading the story of Joshua. In the first chapter, we read the account of God placing Joshua in a leadership role of epic proportions.

Moses led the Israelite nation through some of its most miraculous circumstances…the plagues in Egypt, crossing the Red Sea, and surviving four decades in the wilderness. Moses had died and God looked to Joshua to pick up and take over.

Can you imagine the pressure, the stress? Talk about uncertainty!

I think about being in Joshua’s shoes. As a natural people-pleaser, my first response would have been, “They won’t like me/trust me/follow me like they did Moses.” And then I would have run through a mile-long list of “what-ifs”.

But, as I continued reading the chapter, and as I reflected on my own situation, I discovered three big truths that put breath back into my lungs:

1.) God promises Joshua, “…you shall cause this people to inherit the land which I swore to their fathers to give them…”

God didn’t give this colossal assignment to Joshua without having an end-result in mind. That end-result was more-than-amazing, and God promised to use Joshua to get it done. There was no wavering in God’s choice or His decision to use Joshua.

2.) God promises to be with Joshua wherever he goes.

In verse 9 of chapter 1, God tells Joshua, “Don’t be overwhelmed or uncertain. I am with you wherever you go.” That means God is sticking beside Joshua. Not just physically being present no matter where Joshua goes, but God is on his side, cheering him on, wanting to see Joshua blow the doors off this plan He set in motion.

God gives Joshua the formula for his success (and ours): Meditate on the Word day and night.

3.) God told Joshua if he does this, he will be able to do what is written in the Word. His ways and efforts will be prosperous and he will be able to deal wisely, make good decisions and have good success.

So, what does all this have to do with my “can’t breathe” feeling? Well, for starters, going to the Word for understanding and peace is always the right move.

But, Joshua’s story and the promises God gives him are spot on!

mediocre plan

God doesn’t have a mediocre plan for us. He has a reason for creating us, a plan to see it through, and it’s all good!

Just like Joshua who was told he would get the Israelites to the Promised Land, God is looking at you and me. He is looking past our limitations, circumstances and situations. He whole-heatedly has a plan for us to do something great for Him.

My situation is not ideal. Joshua’s wasn’t either. He was handed a whole nation, and they were standing in the wilderness with a ginormous city and army to overtake in order to claim the land promised to them.

The same promise of God’s presence no matter what is true for us, too.

As we walk out our God-given plan and press forward to the end result, God is with us. He is for us, cheering us on, encouraging us and strengthening us.

He didn’t give Joshua the role of leader and then

leave him to figure it all out on his own.

In the same way, He has given us an assignment and is there to work it out with us.

Life may be tough, but God is tougher. Cancer might take my father-in-law, and there might be one-thousand ripples to shake us up a bit. God promises to be there through it all.

I can make clear decisions, act accordingly and have good success just like Joshua. The same formula works for me and it works for YOU!

overwhelmed

It starts with the Word.

When I was feeling overwhelmed, taking time to open the Bible was the first part of the equation. Reading God’s promises over-wrote the lies and fears I was buying into.

The rest of my day, I went about praying for God’s insight, favor and presence in all I did. The results were much like Joshua’s:

No, I didn’t get a Promised Land full of milk and honey…but I did get a free cell phone!

 

christie browningChristie Browning is a speaker and author with a passion to encourage, empower and inspire women to live as the amazing ladies God created them to be, instead of getting hung up on their pasts, mistakes, shortcomings and insecurities. As a speaker, Christie has been seen on stages across the U.S. since 1996, as well as on television programming such as PBS and FOX. In addition to speaking, Christie is an award-winning writer with five HSPA awards. She is a featured contributor to The Huffington Post, has been a contributor for DaySpring. Christie publishes a monthly women’s magazine read nation-wide and can be found on numerous blogs including her own at www.revisionforwomen.com. Her first book, “Kick the Clock – How to give up on managing your time,”(available on Amazon.com) brings a Biblical perspective to the everyday struggle of time management. She is a wife and stepmom with a healthy love of music, hiking and dogs.

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Click Here to visit Christie’s website!

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