Are You Ready For Jesus To Return?

When I was a young child I remember being at school and having to occasionally deal with a fire drill. Right in the middle of class, when no one was expecting it, the fire alarm would sound very loudly and nobody knew if it was a drill or a real fire, but we all knew what it meant. We had to get up and go outside and wait until it was over. Thankfully, each time that alarm rang, it was always a drill and never a real fire. As much as the drill was an inconvenience however, it taught us what to do if there ever was a real fire in the school. It meant, grab your stuff and  walk out the door towards the outside. Don’t run, don’t panic, don’t scream, don’t knock other people down, just walk quickly and make your way to the nearest exit. Practice of course is never the same as the real deal, but, it does make us have some idea of what to do and sometimes, perhaps even more important, what not to do.

The other night as I was lying in my bed trying to go to sleep, I had this little vision that I want to share with you because it felt very much like a fire drill to me. I saw in my mind’s eye an angel come to my side and tap me on the shoulder and tell me it was time to go. Go where you might ask? Up! I told you, it was like a fire drill, except I knew instantly that it was just a drill, it was not the rapture. What was revealed to me through this little vision however, was even more important. I realized in that split second that I saw the angel and knew that he was calling to me, that I wasn’t ready to go yet. Why not? If you had asked me if I was ready for the rapture, I would have told you that I’ve been ready for decades. Theoretically, I have been. As long as it was a thought, a promise, a hope, something that would happen one day in the future, I was looking forward to it. But when the reality of it came, to my own dismay, I was not ready. I had things I was not yet ready to give up. People I didn’t want to leave were on my mind. What about my unsaved kids? Who would feed my cat? These are important things! I was not yet ready to give up this earthly life and as I pondered on this very chilling thought, I realized that we have in fact been warned about this exact thing in scripture. 

There’s a story in Genesis 19 that tells us about a man named Lot and his wife and family. Lot lived in the city of Sodom and he was Abraham’s nephew. Unbeknownst to Lot, the Lord had told Abraham He was about to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and Abraham had interceded on his and his family’s behalf. We are told that two angels came into the city to assess the situation and see if things were really as wicked as they appeared. If you have ever read the story, you will most certainly know that things were so bad, that the men of that city wanted to rape the two angels, who they thought were just visitors. The two angels told Lot he had to leave because destruction was coming.

Lot and his small family reluctantly left and headed to safety, but even as they escaped, fire and brimstone came down from heaven and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. What happened next is almost as tragic as the destruction of these cities. Lot’s wife heard the destruction and looked back, even though the angels had warned them not to.“And as they (the angels) brought them out, one said, “Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away.” (Genesis 19:17) What happened to her? She became a pillar of salt. (Verse 26)

Lot’s wife has always gotten a lot of judgement, no pun intended. We always look at her and wonder why she didn’t listen. You know the old expression, “curiosity killed the cat”. But was she really just being curious, or was there more to what she did? Remember I mentioned earlier that she had family left behind in that city? Yeah. I use the term “left behind” for a reason. We are not told for certain if her two daughters were her only children, but we do know that their betrothed husbands did not join them. Genesis 19:14 tells us, “So Lot went out and said to his sons-in-law, who were to marry his daughters, “Up! Get out of this place, for the LORD is about to destroy the city.” But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be jesting.” Notice the word “Up”!

His future sons in law thought he was joking. I’m sure we all have people in our lives who think we are kidding when we tell them that Jesus is coming back soon and to get ready. What do we do when those people are family and friends that we love? You see, that is where my dilemma lies because there is a fire coming on this earth and it is called God’s wrath. Revelation tells us in chapter 6:16-17 that the people who are left on this earth during the tribulation period will cry out to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?” When I think of those who will be left behind because they chose not to listen to my warnings, I have to remind myself of this one thing that is perhaps the most important fact of this story about Lot and his wife: Looking back did not save anyone; Looking back just killed his wife.

Jesus tells us in Luke 14:26 the following: “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” I’ve always found this verse, if truth be told, a little offensive. He tells us to love each other, why would Jesus tell us to hate our own family? Actually, He’s not telling us to hate them. He is telling us to love Him more than them, and in comparison it will appear as hate to us. He’s telling us that when it gets down to the wire, if we have to choose between Him and them, we must choose Him.  Abraham is our terrible, awful, gut wrenching example of this when he was told to sacrifice Isaac in Genesis 22. Was God trying to kill Isaac, the promised child? Absolutely not. He was simply trying to kill the idol called Isaac in Abraham’s heart. So too, I must kill everything in my heart that comes between me and my God just like Abraham did. Do I hate my prodigal children? Absolutely not!! I love them and adore them and weep over them. But, when that angel comes again and calls my name and tells me to come, next time I will be ready. Next time I will have already made the decision in advance.  I will choose to trust those that I love with Him who is Love. And I will go up. It sounds like hate, doesn’t it? But it’s not. 

What on earth is going on?

During one of the private moments that the disciples had with Jesus, as they sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, they asked the Lord in Matthew 24:3 what would be the sign  of His coming and the end of the age. Before He gives them any signs, He starts with a warning to them and to all of us: “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” Astray in this sentence means to deceive or lead away from the truth. He repeats Himself in verse 11 and tells them, “And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray”. The thing about deception is that it is, well, deceptive. In other words, it’s not obvious, it’s not easily discernible, and it will not be clear, unless you really look at it. I would suggest that even looking at it is not enough. You cannot stop from being deceived without help and there is only One who can help us to not be deceived: the Word! Yes, I called Jesus the Word, because that is what John called Him in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”. 

Why do I say that only the Word can protect us from deception and not the Holy Spirit? Because Jesus tells us to build our house on the Rock, which is Jesus, which is the Word. (Mathew 7:24-25) Deuteronomy 32:4 tells us that “He is the Rock”! He never tells us to build our house on the Spirit. He tells us that we must be born of the Spirit, but we must build our house on the Rock! It is only the Word of God that will keep us from being led astray. So I ask another question: why does this distinction matter so much? Am I suggesting that we don’t need the Spirit of God? Absolutely not!! The Holy Spirit is our Helper, and yes, He will help us to understand the Word. However, many people in this day and age do not know the Word. They do not read the Bible, they do not read the Scriptures and therefore they do not know when they are being led astray by shepherds and prophets who twist the Scriptures to their own advantage. In the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:14  he admonishes us “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting”. Yes, there are men and women who will trick you. They will deceive you and they will lead you astray. And no, it will not be obvious. Not at first. 

It only becomes obvious if you know the Word. Many of these false teachers and prophets will do signs and wonders to try and prove to you that God is with them. Signs and wonders however, do not prove anything. Jesus makes this very clear to us in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” I want you to really look at what Jesus said here. He never knew them! Yet, they prophesied in His Name! Yet, they cast out demons in His Name! Yet, they did many wonders in His Name! But He called them people who practiced lawlessness. I find this very interesting because it tells me that even though signs and wonders follow those who believe (Mark 16:17-18) they also follow those who deceive (Mark 13:22, Matthew 24:24).

In Jeremiah 23 the Lord speaks about these false prophets. How do I know He’s talking about this generation? Because he actually tells us: “In the latter days you will understand it clearly.”(vs. 20) Let me show you some of the things that God says about these false prophets: “I did not send the prophets, yet they ran; I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, then they would have proclaimed my words to my people, and they would have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their deeds”. There are many prophets out there right now, proclaiming “thus saith God”. Have they told you to repent? Have they told you to turn from your evil deeds? 

It goes on. “How long shall there be lies in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies, and who prophesy the deceit of their own heart, who think to make my people forget my name by their dreams that they tell one another, even as their fathers forgot my name for Baal? Let the prophet who has a dream tell the dream, but let him who has my word speak my word faithfully. What has straw in common with wheat? declares the LORD. Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, declares the LORD, who steal my words from one another.” (Jeremiah 23:26-31) I have heard some of these prophets. They do not speak His word faithfully. They speak lies and promise us things that are so absurd that a child could tell it is deception. A child of God, that is. 

In verse 16 and 17 God says the following: “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD. They say continually to those who despise the word of the LORD, ‘It shall be well with you’; and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you”.

Right now there is a fire upon this earth. It is happening in every nation, with every tribe and tongue. That fire is not one thing, it is many things. We see the signs that Jesus said would come at the end, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, plagues, false prophets, the list goes on and on. Just turn on the news, you will see every one of them. All these signs lead to one thing and one thing alone: Jesus Christ is wrapping things upHe is getting ready to rapture the church, thereby ending the “age of the gentiles” which He talked about in Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled”. How do we know this age of the Gentiles is ending? The beginning of it started on May 14, 1948 when Israel once again became a nation. Since then God has been calling the Jews back to their homeland from all the nations that He scattered them to in 70 A.D. when the Roman army destroyed Jerusalem. 

If you are still with me, then please hear my cry. Read the Word of God! Be careful who you follow. Do not allow yourself to be deceived for there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing out their masquerading as shepherds and prophets. Ask the Lord if you are deceived. He will tell you. He will show you and if you are, repent! Build your house on Him, not on lies and deception.

What is the Gospel of Grace?

Did you grow up in the church? I did not. I became a Christian as a teenager and did not start attending church until I was a grown up. To me, this is a double edged sword. On the one hand I didn’t have the baggage of religion but on the other hand, I also had to learn the foundation of Christianity as an adult. The one thing I never had to deal with however, was the question of works versus grace. I was acutely aware of my own sinfulness when I repented at 17 and gave my life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He saved me out of my sin through His atoning work on the cross. It is by grace I was and am saved and I never doubted it through all my years. 

However, after 46 years of walking with God, I began to notice a disturbing trend, a way of thinking, that had slowly crept into my heart and mind. I realized that I was struggling more and more with the bondage of being saved by my own works, and not by His grace. For me personally, I saw this issue through the writing of this blog. I noticed for example, that I was continually feeling pressured to write. I knew that the Lord had called me to write. He was the one that told me to start this blog and not hide what He was teaching me under a basket: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16) However, it was becoming a continual struggle filled with guilt and even condemnation, when I did not know what to write about. I have no desire to entertain you, nor do I wish to write in the flesh. Nothing that I know is of any value. The only thing that will bring life to you and me, is His spirit. With that being said, let me show you how He walked me through this cycle of trying to obey Him, while not being caught in the bondage of slavery. 

I remember just a few weeks ago, coming to Him once again and asking Him about this struggle. He answered it for me so succinctly that I couldn’t believe it had ever been an issue. He asked me one simple question: “Do you want to be saved by your own works, or by my grace?” Whoa!! The answer was so obvious it was almost silly. I’m far too lazy to be saved by my works. I’ll take grace, thank you very much. I thought the issue was dealt with, but boy was I wrong. The devil loves to dupe us and trick us because he loves religion. He knows all too well the power of the blood, the power of the cross of Christ, and he knows more than anyone on this earth that my works are nothing more than dirty, filthy rags and will never meet God’s standard of righteousness. The devil knows that only the blood can save me. Only Christ’s righteousness will meet the standard of God! No matter how hard I try, I cannot save myself. If I could, then the cross would have been unnecessary and Jesus did not have to come to earth as a man to die on the cross. 

Ok, so why does the Bible tell us that we need to do good works, then? I think this question is a real conundrum for many people, including myself. I think that the answer is actually just as simple as being saved by grace. Paul tells us in Romans 8:14-15 “For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” I want to really unpack this scripture. The word slavery that Paul uses here is the word douleia which literally means, bondage, slavery, the condition of a slave. That word has a spirit attached to it. He called it the “spirit of slavery”. In Galatians 4:21 Paul addresses this issue, “Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law”? He goes on to tell them, that they can choose between the yoke of slavery, which is and was the law, or they can choose the freedom that Christ has given us. “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” The old covenant that God had given to Abraham was the law. If you break any of the law, you will break all of it. It was a continual attempt at being good enough, of keeping the law, of good works to earn salvation. It didn’t work for them, and it doesn’t work for us. 

So I will ask again, where do good works come in? The answer is surprisingly, also very simple. Paul tells us in the next sentence: “but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” If you’re like me, you have read this verse and never thought about what it really means. The difference between a slave and a son (or daughter) is love! Jesus tells us in John 15:14-15, “You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, (doulos, in the Greek, slave or servant) for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” There it is, right out of the mouth of Jesus, we are no longer servants or slaves, we are His friends if we do what He tells us to. If we love Him, if we consider ourselves His sons and daughters, we will do what He tells us to do. We will do good works. The works do not save me or you, but they are born out of love!

So simple. So hard. So difficult to believe. But it makes me really examine my heart. Do I love Him enough to do the work He has called me to do? He’s called me to write. What has He called you to do? And do you love Him enough, to do it?

Are you mad at God?

I was thinking about my regrets this morning. I think back on my relationship with my mother for example, and I regret that I didn’t communicate better with her. I had a lot of anger towards her while she was alive and we never resolved any of those issues. Now it’s too late. It’s only after her death that I began to give her more grace and forgive her for her humanity. I have several children, some of whom I have a good relationship with and others I don’t. You know what the number one reason for the difference is? Communication. One of my daughters will tell me when she’s mad at me. It’s never comfortable of course. But, the most important thing is that we hash it out, we talk it over, we work through it and we resolve it. This is never an easy process because it requires humility, repentance, courage to talk about your feelings and hurts and finally, forgiveness. 

I think one of the most painful things that we can do to people we love, or have done to us for that matter, is something commonly called the silent treatment. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Sometimes we may not be silent towards another, but we have this inner anger and resentment that we refuse to acknowledge or talk about. Instead of communicating and allowing both parties to share their feelings and thoughts, we pretend that everything is ok. 

All of this makes me think of something the Lord tells Isaiah in chapter 1 verse 18: “Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD”. Whenever I read this, I always think about the term “conflict resolution”. God not only tells Israel to talk to Him, but He then offers them hope:

though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool”.

What is God really saying to Israel, and to us, when He tells us to come and reason with Him? It is my understanding and belief and might I add, personal experience, that He is telling us to come and tell Him what’s on our heart, and our mind, and to tell Him about our anger, our offense with Him, and perhaps even our resentment. You see, He already knows how I feel. If I’m angry with Him, I might be able to fool myself, or even others, but I cannot fool Him. He knows. 

I remember many years ago, I was going through a very painful and difficult time in my life. I was angry at the way God was handling the situation. Or perhaps I should rephrase that. I was angry at the way He wasn’t handling or fixing the situation. I was mad. But I refused to talk to Him about it. I had this weird idea in my head, that somehow, telling God I was mad, was wrong, sinful and offensive to Him! I remember a friend had told me that God was big enough to handle my anger. Was He? It seems like a strange question now, but at the time, it was where I was at spiritually and emotionally. I will confess that I did not handle the conversation well when I finally “confronted” Him. I yelled at Him. I’m ashamed to admit, I might have cussed at Him. I stood there in horror at what I had just done, afraid He might wipe me off the earth. His response shocked me. I heard Him say, as clear as a bell, “well, I’m glad we got that out of the way. I knew all that was there, but you didn’t”! Say what? He wasn’t angry at me. No. As a matter of fact, we talked about it, and then He offered me that hope and forgiveness that Isaiah mentions. I repented for my anger and in return I received His unfailing love and mercy. 

I look back now at those terrible years and I can see the wisdom in what He allowed to go on in my life. I learned to trust Him in those difficult times. I learned that He is safe. I learned that He loves me unconditionally. You see, unconditional love is not unconditional, unless the person really knows you, warts and all. If all they see is your best side, it’s not unconditional love. My God, my Jesus, knows me, inside and out and He loves me anyway. He knows you as well, inside and out. And the good news is that He loves you unconditionally as well. 

Let me just say one more thing. We are living in difficult, frightening times. If you are angry at God, if you feel offended with Him, go reason with Him. Tell Him how you feel. I think, if I know Him correctly, He will help you to work through it and to find His peace. 

The benefit of hearing God’s voice.

The Lord told me something recently, that I wasn’t sure what to make of at first. He told me that I have a lot of audacity. He told me that I have the audacity to believe that I can hear His voice every single day. I looked up the word audacity. It means boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought or other restrictions. Mmm. According to Him, I come to Him each and every morning with the audacity to believe that He wants to talk to me. He then asked me a rhetorical question. Where do I get this audacity from? Who told me that He wants to talk to me? I was a little nervous  at this point but I pressed on. His response? He did. All throughout Scripture it tells us that the Lord wants to talk to us. Jesus put it very succinctly in John 10:27, “My sheep here my voice”. And this desire of His, this desire for relationship, actually started in the garden of Eden. After Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, this happens: “And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:8

Where are you indeed? Now you have to remember, this was after the fall. Even after they had sinned, He still wanted to talk to them and have a relationship with them. To this day, He still wants to have a relationship with you and with me and that requires conversation. It’s hard to have a relationship with someone, if there is no talking. It’s also been my experience that monologues do not make for good relationships. 

What comes to your mind as you read this? Do you feel convicted to spend more time praying? Do you feel sad because you’ve tried and don’t hear Him? It has not always been easy for me; even to this day I have to persevere to hear Him. Some days are easier than others. I have to have tenacity, determination and single mindedness, if you will. Remember, the first thing that Jesus told His disciples when they asked what would be the signs of the end was “See that no one leads you astray”. Knowing His voice has always been important, but it is becoming even more important in these last days because there are more and more voices out there, voices of strangers, desiring to lead us astray. 

We are told by Matthew in chapter 1:22 that the prophet Isaiah prophesied that “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel”. God with us! I know that I’m not telling you anything new here. When Jesus was raptured and went back to the Father, (Acts 1:9) He sent us the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. The Holy Spirit dwells in us, if we are His. God with us! Why would He not talk to us if He dwells in us?

Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. He wants a relationship with you and me. He wants to talk to you. If you start with that understanding, He will help you to hear Him.

With that being said, let me share some ideas with you that you might want to consider, to help you hear Him, because there are definitely times He doesn’t answer, even if we speak to Him and wait. I am in no way suggesting that we have to be perfect to hear Him. These are just a couple of ideas that I have found to be true in my own life that I want to share with you. 

Isaiah 29:13 tells us that sometimes His people draw near to Him with their mouth, but their hearts are far from Him. Before we can have the audacity to think He will speak to us, we must cleanse our hearts through repentance. This is not a one time event, or a little prayer we said many years ago. I ask Him to show me my sin on a regular basis and He is always faithful to convict me when I do sin. However, our hearts must be soft and willing to listen. The author of Hebrews tells us “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.

Jesus told us in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” Are there lies in your heart? Are you keeping things from Him, things He has convicted you about? Micah 3:4 tells us: Then they will cry to the LORD, but he will not answer them; he will hide his face from them at that time, because they have made their deeds evil”.

How about idolatry? We might not have carved images made of wood or metal these days (or do we?) but are there things which you trust or serve more than Him? Are there things which you fear more than Him? Are there things that you feel secure with, more than you feel with Him? Those are idols. If you come to Him, and there is an idol in your heart which you trust in, which you fear, then it will come between You and Him. That idol will stand between you and Him, and you are in fact talking to it, not Him. He will not answer you. Isaiah 57:11-13 gives us a response that the Lord gave to Israel during a time of great idolatry in the land: “And of whom have you been afraid, or feared, that you have lied and not remembered Me, nor taken it to your heart? Is it not because I have held My peace from of old that you do not fear Me?

I will declare your righteousness and your works, for they will not profit you. When you cry out,

let your collection of idols deliver you.”

God answers us when we call out to Him, not when we are talking to another. It doesn’t matter what we call that idol, even if we call it Jesus, we are talking to it, not the King of kings and Lord of lords. So search your heart, and see if there are idols that you trust or fear more than Him.

The good news is that no matter what the sin is in our lives, we can receive forgiveness through the precious blood of Jesus. He will cleans us from our sins, if we but ask Him to. What the Lord is looking for is our faith in Him. He wants us to fear Him, to trust Him, to follow Him, to find our peace in Him, not in something or someone who cannot save us. That requires us to have a relationship with Him and to know His voice, so we will not follow the voice of a stranger (John 10:5)!

Listening in prayer

Do you keep a journal? We used to call them diaries, but that makes me think of a teenager writing about her secret crushes in the pages of a book she hopes no one will ever read. I’m not a teenager anymore and I don’t have any secret crushes, but I do have secrets. We all do, don’t we? Secrets that we hope no one will ever know, or read about. But I have learned something in my old age, there is Someone who knows all my secrets. His name is Jesus. And even though He knows every single one of them, even the ones I don’t even acknowledge to myself, they are safe with Him. I have discovered that He does one of two things with my secrets (He might do more, I don’t know). First, if I confess my secrets to Him, He will forgive them. I mean, isn’t that what sin is, a secret? And second, He loves me unconditionally, even as He watches me living with those unconfessed secrets. Perhaps, I should add that He does a third thing with my secrets, come to think of it. When I confess them, He forgets them! Micah 7:19 tells us “You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea”. This has often been translated as the sea of forgetfulness.  What powerful imagery! The ocean is a pretty big place and my secrets will easily be hidden and forgotten. Just ask anyone who has ever searched for debris in the middle of the ocean. It’s deep and wide and ever moving. 

But there is something else that I want to mention when it comes to keeping a journal. I write in my journal every morning the things that I believe God is showing me in scripture or telling me through His Holy Spirit. You see, God also has secrets, but His secrets are good, not evil and He likes to share them with His friends. In John 15:15 Jesus says to His disciples, “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you”. Jesus wants to share His secrets with you and me as well. How do we know this? Because Jesus had just told the disciples a few moments earlier “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” and “the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you”. (John 14:16-17,26)

In John 10:27 Jesus tells us “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”.

Let me rephrase that. Jesus tells us that if you are His sheep, you will hear His voice and follow Him. Let me ask you a question. Do you know the sound of your mate’s voice? Do you know the sound of your best friend’s voice? I’m assuming you said yes. Why do you know it so well? Is it because you spend time with them, and listen to them when they speak? I’m sure the answer is yes, again. So why do so many not know the voice of their Master? I think you are beginning to see where I’m going with this, at least I hope you do. Is the reason why so many Christian’s don’t know His voice, because they don’t spend any time listening? 

Let me ask you another question. Have you ever spent time with someone who talked non stop and never allowed you to get a word in edge wise? And when they were done, the “conversation” was over? I think a lot of us look at prayer like that. We talk at God, give Him our shopping list, tell Him what we want Him to do for us, and then we walk away. And might I add, that we walk away feeling satisfied, even gratified, because we spent time in prayer. So, how do you feel when someone just talks at you? I bet it’s not a nice feeling. I look at my prayer life, over the past 45 years of being a Christian, and I cringe to think how many times I did that to the Lord, and then patted myself on the back, thinking I had somehow appeased Him. I bet He didn’t feel so good. I have images in my mind of Him opening and shutting His mouth, trying to get a word in, but not being allowed to. Why? Because I never stopped talking long enough to allow Him to say anything.

So let’s go back to that journal. Why do I keep a journal? Because I like to write down all His secrets. I like to write down every single thing He tells me. My journal forces me to stop talking and listen for His voice. It was not easy at first. I had to learn to listen. I had to learn to be quiet and wait. But it has gotten so much easier with time. And I will testify to this, waiting on God and hearing His voice, is so worth it. There is nothing so wonderful as to hear the voice of the one who loves me the most, who delights in me, and died for my sin. And truthfully, He already knows everything I need and want. (I’m not suggesting here that we shouldn’t ask for things in prayer) He tells us in Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you”. What does seeking the kingdom really mean? Perhaps Mary shows us in Luke 10:41:42, But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” What was Mary doing? She was sitting at the feet of Jesus, and listening. 

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