It Wasn’t Supposed to Be Like This

It’s been a tough year. So many things have happened that were not part of the “return to normal” plan after COVID. The details are too numerous to list here, but I can tell you that our Christmas tree was out of the box and fully decorated early this year to force-feed the glow of Christmas joy into our house. 

To get into the Biblical spirit of Christmas, I read Luke 1, and the story of Zachariah caught my eye and tugged on my heart. 

“In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.”

What do you think Zachariah was thinking while he was serving? I wonder if he and I felt the same way – thinking, “Here I am serving God and all these people, yet I don’t recall seeing this life path option in the brochure. So, now what?”

The story continues. 

“Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.”

I love how the Bible is written about real people. Because just like I would, Zachariah asks, “How?” He was a priest. His job was to be close to God, yet he still found it hard to believe. Just like him, I’m sure this would be my question, too, except with a more emphatic “No way! Listen, Angel guy, I’m not sure you get how this whole thing works, but have you seen all this grey hair?!” 

The angel had some things to say about his doubt.

“The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

That part is where the story really started messing with me. Every day for TEN months, Zachariah woke up and could not talk. Not at all. 

My dad has a paralyzed vocal cord from a recent viral sinus infection. His ability to talk has been reduced by about 70 percent. I have watched this issue be a gigantic source of frustration and isolation. It sucks to watch, and it hurts my heart for him. But until I read this passage in Luke, I had never wondered what it was doing to my dad’s spirit. I’m sure Zachariah was feeling the same frustrations. No songs to sing or jokes to tell. No way to be heard above the noise of the table. Just this weird promise that sometime in the future, it will be better. If I’m being real, I think I would have started doubting that in week 2. 

But, then it happened.

“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment, he wrote, “His name is John.”

Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.”

I believe what God was working on in Zachariah is the same thing He is working on in me—giving up control. It was custom in those times to always pass down a family name. It was an honor and part of their heritage and the way it was supposed to be. However, Zachariah chose the name God gave him for his son. 

God silenced Zachariah’s voice so he could truly hear His voice. During that ten months of silence, God was trading out Zachariah’s will for His own. God exchanged Zachariah’s life plan for a higher one. 

This lesson is the gift I needed this Christmas season. It’s the best present swap I’ve ever been invited to and the gift I never knew I always needed. Maybe you’re there too. Are things not going according to plan? Do you catch yourself saying, “But it wasn’t supposed to be like this!”

If so, join me in this prayer, “Dear God, even through the pain, the inconveniences, and the doubt that come my way this month and in the upcoming year, give me the sight to see that You have a greater plan for me because you love me, and like Zachariah, I am Your chosen servant. Amen.”

We will get through this together!

In His service and at yours!

~Shawn

Knowing God

Guest Post: Kathy Roseborough

My one prayer for the people I lead and love is that we would know God. Not just know of Him, but intimately know Him. Then, from that place of understanding, we could experience more of His presence and power than we ever imagined possible.

Most believers would say they know God, but do you really know Him?

A common mistake we all make is thinking that intimacy with God can be achieved through the accumulation of knowledge. However, knowledge is not synonymous with trust. I’m not talking about just head knowledge. I’m talking about knowing God.

“KNOW” can be defined as 1. to be aware of through observation, inquiry, or information. 2. to have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them. 

Just a few days before a recent hair appointment, I learned that my hairdresser of 14 years was moving to California. She knows me. She has been all up in my business! She knows my hair. So, I had to have my hair done by a new person, and by a miracle, she turned out to be fabulous. She said she needed to ‘get into my hair’ to see the condition, examine the color, and become familiar with my routine. It will take some time for us to form a relationship, for her to know my hair. I have to grow in my trust for her, allowing her to color, cut, and make changes that will ultimately be better for me. She has to learn that I am as blonde as I can afford to be. 🙂

But there is one who knows every hair on my head, and He calls me to know Him. God has been challenging me in this for a while, and at times I’m awkward and wobbly, but I keep participating and pressing into the activity of knowing God. If I’m honest with you, there are times I’d much rather study the Bible than be affectionate with God! Check that box! Give me a star on my chart, and I’m DONE FOR THE DAY!!! 

Yet, God wants so much more than that!

His word says in Isaiah 43:10, “You are my witnesses, and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He.” 

It changed everything when God confronted me with the truth that I knew about and of Him, but I didn’t really KNOW Him. Years of Bible studies taught me much about God, but I was not intimate with Him. Over this journey, I have learned that God is much more than I had acknowledged or experienced. He is capable of SO much more than I believed He could do. He wanted me to know WHO I belonged to and get an up-close view of who He is and what He’s capable of doing. 

I have learned that He is…

The First and the Last

The Beginning and the End

The Keeper of Creation

The Creator of All

The Architect of the Universe

The Manager of Time

He always was, always is, and always will be unmoved, unchanged, undefeated, and never undone. He was bruised but brought healing. He was pierced but eased pain. He was persecuted but brought freedom. He was dead but brought life. He has risen to bring power. He reigns to bring peace.

The world can’t understand Him. Armies can’t defeat Him. Schools can’t explain Him, and leaders can’t ignore Him. Herod couldn’t kill Him. Nero couldn’t crush Him. The new age cannot replace Him, and Google, Trump, or Clinton cannot explain Him away.

We need to remember that He is light, love, and longevity, and He is Lord. He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness, and He is God. He is holy and righteous and powerful and pure. His ways are right, His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on us.

He is our savior, guide, peace, joy, comfort, and the ruler of our lives. I serve Him because His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life.

I follow Him because He’s the wisdom of the wise, the power of the powerful, the ancient of days, the ruler of rulers, the leader of all leaders and His goal is a relationship with me. He’ll never leave, forsake, mislead, or forget you. He will never overlook you and will never cancel your appointment in His appointment book. 

When you fall, He’ll lift you up.

When you fail, He’ll forgive you

When you are weak, He’s strong

When you are lost, He’s your way

When you are afraid, He’s your courage.

When you stumble, He will steady you.

When you are hurt, He will heal you.

When you are broken, He will mend you.

When you are blind, He will lead you.

When you are hungry, He will feed you.

When you face trials, He is with you.

When you face persecution, He shields you.

When you face problems, He will comfort you.

When you face loss, He will provide for you.

When we face death, He will carry us home.

He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every time, and in every way

He is your God, and you belong to Him. 

So I’ll ask again, How well do YOU know Him?

~Kathy

My dear friend Kathy has served our local church, Seacoast in Charleston, for over 20 years. She spoke this over the church staff many years ago. I have a written copy that I pull out of my Bible and read and teach from several times a year. I hope during this week of Thankfulness, these words bless you as much as they have me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

In His Service and at yours!

~Shawn

Third Time’s a Charm

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

 ~ African Proverb

This past Wednesday, I needed a good proverb after I found my truck with a flat tire after church. But that one is filled with as much wisdom as I needed that evening. After 30 years of driving, I know how to fix a flat tire. However, the experience never seems to suck less, and on top of that, I have never changed a truck tire. Not a real truck tire, anyway. My other truck was so small that I could have used a rat pack as a pit crew, but this truck…well, I needed much more than that. 

As I stared at my truck leaning awkwardly to the right, God was like, “Why don’t you ask Scott for help? You know he is right inside.” “Help!?” was my instant reply. I mean, what kind of man asks for help, especially when working on his car?” But I quickly realized I either needed to ask for help or be late to a family gathering. So, I texted my friend, and I swear he must have run because he was there within seconds, ready to help. We got dirty, laughed a lot, and I learned new things about hidden Nissan tire jacks. 

I left that parking lot with a full tire and a full heart. 

We often say that the” third time’s a charm. “It’s probably because repetitive moments breed success. But what is not said is how lonely and discouraging the other two times can be. 

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” Proverbs 17:17

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

Although my friend Scott may say otherwise, I didn’t exactly “need” help, but I sure was grateful to have some, which, in turn, makes me want to help others. After all, if we want to go far, we need to do it together.

I’m not sure I can help you with a flat tire, but I’d love to pray for you! Please email me at charlestonmacs@gmail.com and let me know how I can best serve you in prayer today.

We are all in this together!

In His service and at yours!

~Shawn

Abundance

I spent some time with Jesus in the woods of North Carolina this past weekend and walked away with the word “abundance.” As I searched these scriptures, they seemed to form a letter of promise. I have taken some liberty with structure and syntax, but I believe the heart of our Savior is apparent. I hope it blessed you as much as it did me.

My Beloved,
I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; and yet I came that you may have life, and have it abundantly.

Therefore if anyone knows Me is in Me, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. But as many as received Me, to them I have given the right to become children of God, to those who believe in My name.

How great is your goodness, Lord! Which I have stored up for those who love, claim, even fear Me. Goodness I have wrought for My children who refuge in Me. It will be given to you. Poured into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by the standard of measure given it will be measured to you in return.

(Scripture references: John 16:33, John 10:10, 2 Corinthians 5:17, John 1:12, Psalm 31:19, Luke 6:38)

We will get through this together!
In His service and at yours,
~Shawn

A Boat Full

I know the times were different, But I’ve always had a hard time with the idea of Peter leaving his family for an undetermined amount of time to follow Jesus. Because of my personality, I’ve been asked, oh, I don’t know, a dozen times to be involved in multi-level marketing projects. When Anna and I were very young in our marriage, it was not uncommon for me to come home and present delusions of grandeur about our future if we were just willing to use one room of our apartment to stock toilet paper and hand soap. Thankfully, Anna is a sensible woman and could see that our friends and family probably wouldn’t line up to buy their household products from us instead of Walmart. 

Of all the characters in the Bible, I have found myself resigned to knowing I am the most like Peter. Excitable, emotional, exuberant, and unfortunately, often afraid. And yet, God chose to build his kingdom upon that goofball.

I’m reading through the book of Luke with my niece. I thought it would be an easy read, but I found more reflection than I expected. I’m often bewildered how Peter had the credibility to convince so many men to leave their careers as he recruited and how he was able to convince his wife that Jesus was legit. After all, it doesn’t look like she saw any of the miracles in the beginning. Looking deeper has caused me to slow down and look for ways to connect with them both. Then, my niece and I got to the part with all the fish. You know the one. It’s every fisherman’s dream to simply cast the net over and rake in a boatful of fish. As I read, I wondered how many fish did Peter really pull in? What economic impact did this event have on him and his family?

Luke 5:1-7  “One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.”

Was Peter always this helpful, or just a people pleaser? Either way, God used all of it. 

I’m guessing that Peter didn’t have much savings based on his career and personality. His boat was his livelihood. His boat was how he was known. It was one of the most valuable commodities in his life. But look at what happened when he allowed Jesus to use the most precious thing he owned.

“In Luke 5:1-11, the Bible describes a miraculous event. Peter and his fishing partners caught so many fish that both of their boats started to sink. We wanted to know the economic impact to Peter and his partners from this catch of fish. Using the dimensions of a boat from approximately the same time and location, we estimate that a total of 62,696 pounds of fish filled the two boats. A wage and commodity price law from 301 AD indicates this gave each of the four fishing partners 24.5-36.4 years’ salary at General Laborer rates, or 12.1-18.2 years at the skilled labor rates, depending on the fish’s quality. With modern financial advice saying one needs 25 years’ expenses in savings to live entirely from the interest, this put Peter and his partners in good stead to leave the fishing business and work for God full time.” (An Estimate of the Value of Two Boatloads of Fish, As Recorded in Luke 5:1-11, written by William P. Houser and Rochelle A. Houser)

I couldn’t find any additional sources for the value of these fish. Nonetheless, if you do the math, this event set Peter and his family up financially in such a way that Peter could afford to leave his job and follow Jesus for the 3+ years he needed to become the “fisher of men.” 

I’m an entrepreneur. So If I were Peter, I would be trying to get a second fishing trip on the calendar with Jesus. But instead, Peter was so overwhelmed by the magnitude of this gift he fell at Jesus’ feet and said, “Go away. Leave me, Lord! I’m a sinner!” But Jesus saw past Peter’s sin. He saw something in Simon Peter that was rock solid. Something to build upon – a foundation. Just like you.

If you have empty nets or ones that seem to keep catching problems instead of favor, God sees you. He has a way of using your circumstance so the world can see His Son. The question becomes: Will you listen to His next simple instruction? Will you allow Him to use what is of most value to you for His glory? “The “Yes, Lord” moment changed Simon to Peter and helped change the world. Your “Yes, Lord” will change you and the world around you. How much, you ask? A boat full.

We are in this together!

In His service and at yours,

~Shawn

Slowness

Do you have issues with your phone opening up when wearing polarized sunglasses? It seems like a silly question. But, as much as I love my expensive sunglasses that I got as a gift last Christmas, it drives me crazy that it messes with the face scan of my phone unlocking. 

I must have been outside a lot this week because I found it maddening and heard myself mutter under my breath several times, “Why is this dumb thing so slow?” It seems I got God’s attention because I have had the most frustrating dance with time this week. I spent 2 hours at the DMV despite being number 11 in line when they opened. I spent 45 minutes on hold with the gas company and will not even get into the current state of Charleston’s rush-hour traffic. 

All the while, I felt like God was asking me, “Do you think I am slow?”

It was an interesting question, but as I began to research the topic of slowness in the Bible, it pointed to how good God’s heart is towards us. With both answers.

Is God slow? Yes, my God is slow. 

Psalm 103:8 “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”

Is my God slow? No, my God is not slow.

 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish.”

I love this writing from Max Anders. 

“Sometimes God’s “slowness” is merely an inconvenience or frustration. Other times, it feels life-altering. At times, it seems that He is simply too late. He missed the boat! Abraham reminded God that he and his wife, Sarah, were already beyond childbearing age. It seemed that God missed that boat. But He didn’t. Even worse, Lazarus was already dead! Surely, his sisters thought, Jesus missed that boat. But He didn’t. God doesn’t miss boats. If He keeps track of sparrows when they fall, and if He numbers the hairs on our heads, He is surely always aware of what time it is. 1 Peter 3:8 says, “With the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promises…” It just seems, from our perspective, that God is slow. But He has His plan, He is not slow, and His promises never fail.”

In light of the season that Anna and I are in, my friend, Jason Cates, told me that in recovery, there is a phrase,

“This may be a slow process but quitting won’t speed it up.”

So true, Mr. Cates! So true.  Are you fed up with the amount of time something is taking? Maybe this season for you is just soooo loooong. Take heart. God loves you and only has the best plans for you and me. Thank heavens His timing is perfect too!

We will get through this together!

In His service and at yours!

~Shawn

El Matador

Guest Post – Gleysi Rauel 

Have you ever had the chance to see, whether in a TV series or a movie, a bullfight in Spain? On Sunday afternoons, entire villages and towns gather at the city arena to cheer on El Matador and entertain themselves with a spectacle. Through endless chants of “Olé!” multitudes of people expect the bullfighter to show his rhythmic skills and precision to inflict pain and unfold his Machiavellian plan. Infuriating his opponent out of balance and control, a much stronger adversary subdued to a character with a cape, hidden weapons, and evil schemes to end his opponent’s life through gruesome hurt and pain.

El Matador begins his scene with the least lethal weapon of all, the Red Cape. At a glance, it is not even a weapon but manipulated by a master in provocations, and it is very effective to shift his opponent’s focus. While the cape itself is not a threat, has no power, can’t even stand alone, and is merely insignificant, at the hands of El Matador, it is used to shift the focus from who the real enemy is. 

The enemy hides behind the cape, and the bull is completely enticed by the object waving and flapping in front of his eyes. The cape is irritating and provoking, creating chaos – such an insignificant object but capable of controlling the animal’s mind leading him from the true source of evil, the Matador behind the cape. At each “Olé!” chanted by the crowd, the bull becomes more and more enticed by the false enemy wasting his strength and energy on the wrong thing.

El Matador knows that the more exhausted his enemy is, the less resistance he will face. The bull’s reflexes will be careless, and at the appropriate moment, the moment of least resistance when the guards are down, El Matador shows his true intent and uses his sharp sword to pierce this powerful opponent. 

The art of El Matador is not to kill at once because he would have to show his true intention up front, but his scheme is to strike the sword when the bull least expects it. While the bull is fighting the wrong fight, focused on an enemy that does not pose any threat to him, his anger, frustration, lack of focus, and discernment leads him to a very slow and painful death. Ultimately, el Matador carries out his plan. So many victories, El Matador’s cape has killed too many bulls! 

It doesn’t take much to understand the story and realize a close parallel between El Matador from the arenas in Spain and the enemy of our human souls, Lucifer – the devil. He is the greatest Matador that has ever existed. The Bible says he is a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He does not kill bulls or animals, but his schemes aim to steal, kill and destroy human life through a spectacle for all to see. Our enemy has enticed and spiritually (and physically) killed too many Christians using the same strategy. 

You are in the arena of life every day, so my question is, can you identify the true enemy? Can you stop focusing on the Red Cape manipulated in front of you? Your enemy is not your spouse, boss, coworker, business partner, and so forth. Behind every situation is a true Matador whose intent is to inflict pain and death on you. One of the greatest spiritual gifts you can ask God is to have discernment and see things as they really are. 

Identify the source and fight the right battles. The Holy Spirit will give you the right strategy to counterattack and be victorious in Jesus’ Name. 

My prayer is that you can take a step back in the heat of confrontation and ask God to show you the true source of the conflict – Who is manipulating this cape in front of me? The victory starts when we know who our enemy is and where we find true strength.

Historical, Not Hysterical

Lately, I have needed Biblical encouragement and examples about how God triumphs even when the surrounding circumstances seem impossible. So, in an effort to keep my sanity, I have been reading about my boy, Jehoshaphat. I love his story found in 2 Chronicles 20. Take a few moments and read it. You won’t be disappointed.

When Jehoshaphat got ominous news that impending circumstances were looming, enemies were on all sides, and he was about to lose everything, he didn’t freak out. Instead, he wrote the playbook on how to overcome…God’s way.

  1. Seek the Lord
  2. Get God’s Attention
  3. Praise God for What He’s Already Done
  4. Ask God for Help
  5. Wait and Watch

But here’s the part that really struck a chord with me this week. When Jehoshaphat was literally and figuratively surrounded, heavily burdened with the responsibility of the people in his kingdom, he made the best decision.

He decided to get historical, not hysterical.

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” 2 Chronicles 20:6-9

Getting historical is based on logic and fact, not emotion. This week, it helped me put together a list of all the times God came through for my family and me. I began to put names and dates on miracles, relationships, prosperity, and provision. It was an exercise that took some time, but it was well worth the effort and far more beneficial than worrying. It also gave me exponential courage to face the next challenge.

Are you staring down the impossible? Surrounded by discouragement? Grieving something that is lost? Overcome by the impossible? So was my buddy Jehoshaphat.

So, today ends with a little bit of homework. My challenge for you is to get historical. Write out your list. Maybe you don’t need it today, but I promise you may need it in the future. Have it ready so that when the sky darkens, and you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders, you can remember that our God has, is, and always will be the God of the impossible.

We will get through this together!
In His Service and at yours,
~Shawn

Connection Check

Guest Post by Laurel Ferrell

My husband and I bought a used pop-up camper a few years ago. During COVID, we had the “opportunity” to rebuild the roof entirely after we noticed a leak causing damage to the camper. Thankfully, my husband is very handy and was able to figure out not only the rebuilding of the roof but how to make sure the electricity ran to the overhead lights and our newly installed air conditioner.

This April, we took our camper out for its first trip of the year. The new roof had worked great since the rebuild, and we expected a non-eventful setup process. Once we got set up, however, we realized that while the overhead lights were working, everything below waist-level on the camper wasn’t getting any power. That means the fridge, microwave, and all the electrical outlets were unusable.

We assumed that since the lights were working, the issue must be inside the camper somewhere. While it was great to be able to see each other, we needed power flowing to everything, not just the lights. So my husband sprang into action, trying to troubleshoot what the problem could be. He meticulously went through every fuse on the box, taking out each one, checking it, and replacing them—still, no power.

After an hour or so of troubleshooting, he went outside and checked the cable where the camper plugs into the power. After unplugging it and plugging it back in, all the power came on. It turns out there was some dirt and spiderwebs in the outlet box preventing the cable from getting a full connection to the power.

This scenario accurately represents how we troubleshoot the loss of Kingdom power in our lives. So many of us are walking around with only some power. Our lights are on. From the outside, everything looks normal. But inside, where we need power most, it is lacking. We can’t keep our food cold. Others can’t draw power from us because we don’t have enough. 

It takes what little current we have just to keep the lights on.

Many of us fall into the trap of checking the fuses. We want to swap out a house, a job, a ministry, or even a spouse. We think that if that “fuse” changes, we will feel the full current of power running through us again. However, the source of the power isn’t the fuse. The source of the power comes from outside the camper. We can change fuses every day, but if the spiderwebs of life are blocking our connection to the source, we will never get the power we need.

“His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence.” 2 Peter 1:3

How do we stay connected to this power? 

The easy answer is that we stay connected to Him. The Lord wants us to have the power to acquire the things we need for life, to be excellent like Him, but we do this through getting to know Him more. Just like a plug has three prongs, we get this power in different ways. The first is through reading His Word. We gain knowledge by knowing what He has spoken. We have to keep the Word of God hidden in our hearts, like a wiring diagram showing us how the different elements in our life work. 

The second way to stay connected is through prayer. God is still speaking to us today, and He has direct insight into how to troubleshoot the challenges we encounter in life. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” We need God to explain to us even our own thoughts and intentions! A new job can’t give us that kind of insight. A change in circumstances may delay our own dissatisfaction, but it will return the next time we need to power something other than the lights. We can’t sustain our lives on our own batteries. That power always runs out. 

The third way to stay connected to power is through the community of other believers. Sometimes we get lost trying to figure out things on our own. Sometimes the answer is simpler than we even think. Staying connected to others helps us to hear God’s voice in a different way. 

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”
1 Thessalonians 5:14

If you see that your brother or sister in Christ is struggling with power in their life, step alongside them and see if you can guide them back to the source. Don’t assume that just because they have lights, everything is working correctly. Anyone can fake it for a Sunday morning. It takes really walking in community and “doing life” with people that we get to experience how God is moving and working in their environment. 

When all else fails, check for spiderwebs. 

What in your life could be blocking your connection with the Lord? It might be unpleasant to try to clean that stuff out, but it’s the only way we get a good connection. Is there one prong of your plug to the Lord that is suffering? Maybe you are great at quiet times and reading the Word, but no one in your life really knows your dreams and your struggles. Reach out and find the community that you need. Take the time to read His Word. Listen to what He wants to speak to you today in prayer. 

Speak Up!

The only time I’ve ever heard God raise his voice was when I asked him to.

It must’ve been ten years ago, and I can’t exactly remember what I was doing, but I do remember how frustrated I was in the midst of it and earnestly praying for God’s direction. However, when the right path appeared right in front of me, I missed it. I was so frustrated! So without thinking, I haphazardly threw what I could remember of this scripture back at Him.

“Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12

“I don’t need your whisper! I need your shout, Lord! I clearly don’t know your voice, so you need to turn up the volume!”

Then as our Lord always does, He responded and began to talk to me. That’s how this blog was born. The “Red Letter Moments” are times when I ask God to speak to me…and He does. The key is that I need to listen and be attuned to His voice.

What made me think of this moment during the week was something someone said in my small group. They said,

“If you can’t see God or if you can’t hear God, it’s you that moved. Our God does not drift from us.”

It made me realize that my God really does not raise His voice. He is so even and steady in His tone with me. As a parent, I can list so many voices in which I have spoken to Cora. I’ve been anxious, teaching, listening, excited, frustrated, distracted, and compassionate. But my God in contrast has such an even consistent tone. Always available, eager to talk, willing to give counsel, a voice of conviction, not condemnation. 

How do you hear God? Does He speak to you audibly, through His word, or others? I would love to hear about another way to hear Him come through. Please leave a comment below and let me know! 

In His service and at yours!

~Shawn