Calm Down and Be Quiet

Do you ever feel like the world is just loud and it is hard to hear from God? Or maybe you are just so busy with all the day to day that you do not have time for downtime. It seems like everyday we are busier and busier and somedays we just forget to “Be still and know”  Psalm 46:10 – The NASB translation actually says “Cease striving and know that I am God…” Isnt that what we spend most of our life doing? Striving for success or love or happiness or freedom or to be seen or to be heard or….

A lifelong friend of mine once said that I was one of the few people she listened to and sometimes she just needs to be told to “sit down and shut up” – isn’t that what God tells us to do time and time again in His Word? To trust in Him to handle even the smallest of details. God says this same thing through Isaiah to Ahaz in chapter 7. Ahaz and his people “trembled likes trees of a forest shaking in the wind” at the news of nearby fighting and invasions of other kings. Though these kings were plotting evil and Ahaz knew it, God says “sit down and shut up, I’ve got this!” It’s hard to just sit down and be quiet when society tells us we should always be striving for more!

Being quiet doesn’t necessarily mean not speaking. The Theological  Wordbook of the Old Testament says that shaqat means “be quiet, tranquil, at peace.” and further describes it in the following way:

The basic idea of the root is ‘tranquility.’ It implies the absence of strife, war or trouble o the one hand, and worry or anxiety on the other. It may also imply the absence of a pressing obligation, or again, of some disturbing element that mars a relationship between individuals.

How can you realistically practice this today? Is there a thought or worry in your mind that you need to let go of? Do you need to carve out space in your planner to just “Be” – to be with God or to be with His People? Are you the type of person that can easily just calm down and trust God or is that a last resort for you? Whatever you are facing today- face it with God and imagine a lifelong friend telling you to just “sit down and shut up” and to let God handle it!

Be well! Dwell with God, in His Word and with His People!

 

 

 

Again with the Obedience and Blessings lessons

I was so excited to see answers in God’s Word moments after I journaled a prayer in my Awaken by Priscilla Shirer journal. I wanted to do a live video to share about it. But…it’s HOT and I didn’t think anyone needed to see me sweating and squinting in the sunshine. For those of you who have followed along or heard my ramblings this year, again I am being reminded about being obedient and the blessings that follow. I had selected the word “purpose” to focus on this year but it seems God had other plans.

To begin my few moments of quiet before the children or grandchildren found me, I was reading Matthew Chapter 4 and I underlined verses 19-20 in my bible. This is where Jesus tells Simon Peter and Andrew “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The Bible tells us immediately they dropped their nets and followed him. I know  I have touched on this before but today I also noted how they did not ask questions, they did not wonder how they were going to eat or have necessities. They did not worry about how they were going to provide for their families. They simply listened and followed him.

I next moved to the devotional which was titled “Hearing is Believing” and spoke about David and Goliath. The journal prompt question was “What types of things are your fiercest battles saying to you right now?” I journaled about the implications of being unemployed and going to grad school and incurring further debt. I wrote about feeling tired and that nobody or nothing gets the best of me or all of me- everyone gets a little but I can’t fully surrender. I ended my journaling with this prayer:

Lord,  Help me to commit fully to You and to the roles you have placed me in – to the people you place before me. Help me to show your love and commitment o to others. Pick me up when I fall – remove the sense of failing from my life. Help me to trust in you! Amen

After journaling I like to look up the verses that are included in the devotional. The second verse today is Isaiah 50:4-5 which is titled “The Obedient Servant” and it says: “The Lord has given me the tongue of those who are instructed to know how to sustain the weary with a word. He awakens me each morning: he awakens my ear to listen like those being instructed. The LORD God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I did not turn back.”

This sums up so many of the lessons I have already been learning this year. Listen to hear, be obedient, share with others, be blessed!

While there are days of doubts, days when I don’t give my best to anyone, I still move on- small steps at a time. Listening for the Lord, sharing his word and being blessed when what is written here touches the lives of one of you. I guess that’s why your feedback is so important to me. It encourages my soul and my obedience with blessings that I am able to see here and now because I know God’s plans include blessings for others that I will never know about on this side of Heaven.

Until next time 🙂

Dwell in Him, In His Word, With His People!

gena

 

Is your spirit different?

When my son was younger we had some difficult times with teachers. However, one teacher gave us hope! She seemed to see something beyond a young boy who wouldn’t sit still, listen or confirm to the standard box of “normal” first graders. She was sweet and kind and encouraging and she shared with us that the last thing she wanted to do as a teacher was to stifle that spirit and that uniqueness that made Nixon who he was. She was one of those rare teachers that adjusted her methods to reach her students rather than expecting those young students to adjust to her.
As I read in Numbers 14:24 about Caleb and how he is described as having a different spirit, I remembered this teacher and my own boy and thought about the few people in this world who have the courage to be different. Far too often we want to fit in the mold, do it like everyone else and not stand out, because…what if we are wrong?
When I looked up the word used to describe Caleb’s spirit the definition given was “disposition of various kinds, often unaccountable and uncontrollable impulse.” I am quite sure I used those same words to describe my son and I did not use them in a favorable fashion. Yet here I am, 4 years later and God is still using those moments to teach me lessons. Just maybe it is okay to have a different spirt – if spirit is under obedience of Our Lord.

Caleb could have been just like the other spies and other Israelites, but he was different and thus we find in Joshua 14:8 that Caleb followed God completely! While the others lost heart, Caleb was obedient and not just a little bit but completely! And Caleb was patient to see his reward. In fact, 45 years patient (that’s just a little bit less than my whole life time). The Bible tells us that Caleb stayed strong and did not neglect his daily tasks and ultimately, he was granted his reward and rest! Isn’t that we all want in the long run? Reward and rest!

We all have a mission field! That mission field does not have to be big and it does not have to be scouting foreign lands. Your mission field is wherever God puts you – in your home, with your family, your workplace, the Walmart checkout line and even on social media!
As I reflect on this lesson, I asked myself and now I ask you – Am I modeling complete obedience? Am I taking God with me or am I trying to go at it alone?

Where is your mission field today?
How can you celebrate having a different spirit that shows God you want to be like my son Nixon and like Caleb and not easily stuffed into a pre-described box?
Who else around you is showing a different spirit that needs to be celebrated?
God created us all individually – we are one of a kind and a piece of his workmanship- let’s rejoice in our differences today!

Comparisons!

Hi!

I have missed you so I recorded a quick 5 minute video this morning talking about comparisons and differences.

I will be giving away Nicki Koziarz new book Why Her? On Thursday so stay tuned and be sure to interact with me here, on Facebook and Instagram for your chance to win!

I encourage you to read Numbers 14 and Joshua 14 as I will be using these for an upcoming lesson. Let me know if you have questions after you read them!

I would LOVE to have you subscribe to receive these posts via email and if you think others might be blessed, please share!!!!

Be well and dwell with God, in His Word and with His people!

And remember: blessings follow obedience!

It’s not my job…

As I shared on the last post, I didn’t want to share what God told me to share. I felt unqualified, judged and that no one would listen to me anyway. God kept bringing Moses to my mind. In Exodus 3 and 4 we learn about God calling Moses into service and how Moses responded. Before we get too far into that I have to share what my CSB translation shares about the “burning bush” – because it kinda cracks me up.

Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. 2 Then the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush. As Moses looked, he saw that the bush was on fire but was not consumed. 3 So Moses thought, “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight. Why isn’t the bush burning up? ”

Exodus 3:1-3

Really? “an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire within a bush” and he thought “I must go over and look at this remarkable sight.” How many of you think that is quite a tame response to such a magnificent sight? If it was me I would have been “holy buckets! where’s my phone I gotta get a picture of this!” and then I would have been hollering out to everyone I know!

alright sorry for that quick side track – but it is in the next verses that God calls out to Moses and tells him what he wants him to do. God has chosen Moses to deliver the chosen people from the oppression and slavery they are suffering in Egypt.

Beginning in Exodus 3:11 Moses questions God the first time “who am I?” and God reassured him- “I will be with you…when you bring the people out of Egypt” notice God says WHEN not If...but Moses is not convinced and asks again “what do I say when they ask who sent me” – notice – God has already told Moses “I am the one who sent you” God replies “I AM!…this is how I am to be remembered in every generation” – every generation (that means you and me too!!) and in verse 18 God says “They will listen to what you say.” Notice- God doesn’t say you will make them listen to you. God just says “they will listen to you.”

But still Moses is unconvinced and again he questions God in 4:1 “What if they wont believe me and will not obey me…” God provides more miracles to show Moses he means business (because like most humans Moses needs to see proof – can you relate?)

In verse 10 Moses starts to beg “Please Lord, I have never been eloquent….my mouth and tongue are sluggish” and still again God reassured him (how many times does God have to reassure me or tell me what to do before I listen?)

God says “who placed a mouth on humans?” (I wonder if he regrets that decision)

and again he says “I will help you speak and I will teach you what to say”

But still… Moses begs…”Please, Lord, send someone else.”

Finally God has had enough and he agrees to allow Aaron (Moses’ brother) to help him.

God is relentless. If he has a job for us to do he is not going to back down no matter how many times we say no or beg him to send someone else. But oh the sweet blessings of obedience!!! I wondered why God felt distant when I wouldn’t listen to what he was telling me to do. He was still there but he was not going to let it go…not going to let me go. He wasn’t distant from me but my stubbornness caused me to feel distant from him. Since obeying him and sharing last week I have felt something change inside of me. I am excited to awake each day and see what He has to share with me and I pray for guidance and wisdom to know when it is time to share with you. It is not my job to make you listen to me (and that is a hard one for me to learn. I want you to listen and respond and share and keep the spark going…but I can’t make that happen). It is my job to listen to God, to do what He tells me to do and to enjoy the blessings that follow obedience.

  1. Have you ever felt like Moses and begged God to send someone else?
  2. Have you ever asked God to show you His will for you?
  3. Do you make excuses for your disobedience?
  4. How can you open your heart to hear from Him today?

Until next time. Dwell with God, dwell with His people and dwell in His Word!!!

It’s a Give Away

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I am so excited about this new book from my friend, Wendy Blight. Wendy is an amazing bible teacher and I am so blessed to learn with her.

There are several ways to enter to win a copy of this great book!

  1. Comment on this post.
  2. Subscribe to this blog to be delivered via email.
  3. Like our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/gathering2dwell/
  4. Comment on the giveaway post on facebook by tagging someone who needs to know that they are loved!
  5. Share the facebook post!

Fine print details: Entry period is 12/27/17 @6:45pm CST through 12:01pm 01/01/18. Winner will be announced here and on the facebook page at 6:45pm CST 01/01/18. United States postal addresses only please.

Twas the week before Christmas

and all through the house…fill in the blank. How is your house? Is it calm and peaceful? Are you preparing for company? Preparing to travel? Planning a quiet time at home? or preparing to avoid the sadness that comes when miles or jobs keep you separated from loved ones?

The word on my mind the past week is sanctuary. I don’t want to miss out on the important lessons from the bible about this word but I also think before we can claim sanctuary in our souls or our homes we have to take time to pause. And who besides me finds it hard to pause…especially the week before Christmas?

Take a few moments to pause and breathe and reflect and thank God for the many blessings you have. Sit in quiet with just the twinkle of the lights on the tree or the flicker of the fireplace or maybe just the dark. Ask God to give you peace during this week. Peace like you have never felt before. No hustle and bustle, no stress of family dynamics, just peace and thankfulness for another day with breath in your lungs. 20171214_075831

God didn’t send his son to make us rush about like crazy people in the “spirit” of celebrating Christ’s birth. He sent His son so that we can be free and live in peace now and forevermore (John 3:16). So that we can find peace and reconciliation with God. So that we can draw near to him to dwell in that place of Sanctuary. Let’s let our homes be a place of peace this week. Let’s let our hearts be a place of peace. He is the Prince of Peace. Let’s let him rule in our lives each day this week (and ever-after)!20171203_194202

I pray that you enjoy this week. Enjoy the food, enjoy your people, enjoy the lights, enjoy the peace. And if your home is missing any of these things come on over! We have plenty to share!!

You may find me rambling a bit between now and the new year but invite your friends and join me back here on Jan 8 as we learn more about sanctuary and dwelling!

Merry Christmas! May there be Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Men! (Luke 2:14)

Psalm 15 – Peace and Quiet

I had originally planned something different for this video but God just took me in this direction instead. I have for MONTHS been craving some quiet time in a cabin. Although the circumstances aren’t exactly what I envisioned- I am at this very moment (Monday, Dec 4, 2017 at 1:19pm cst) sitting in a cabin by myself – listening to the wind blow and spending time with God. The remainder of my day will be hustling and bustling, chaotic and crazy but I am soaking up these moments now so that I can soak up those blessings later.

I would love to hear how you are soaking up the quiet moments in this season of life? Please share below in comments and also feel free to share this (or any) post to someone who might be encouraged! Have a wonderful day!!

 

72

fb_img_1534130288983Growing up and well into my adult hood…like until today, I never thought much about the other followers of Jesus during his ministry on earth and soon following his death and resurrection. There is much emphasis on the 12 and those closest to them. However, reading in Luke 10 today a few things stood out to me. 1) He sent 72 others 2) He sent them in pairs 3) He sent them to every town and place where he himself was to go 4) He asked them to pray because the harvest was “abundant” and the workers were few.

These are important things for me to remember today. Many of us feel called to ministry and we do not always know what that looks like. There are so many big names in ministry today and for me this causes a lot of doubt and insecurity. I don’t know how many times I have said “no one wants to hear what I say” or “I’ve got nothing new to share” – but the thing is everyone’s mission field is going to be different.

Jesus did not tell the 72 to go to the places where the 12 had already gone. Jesus did not send the 72 on their own to cover more ground- he sent them together. He sent them to the places where he was about to go and He encouraged them to pray for more workers.

So you see, your mission field is perhaps just your home or your workplace. You don’t have to have a big following or a formal ministry. You were not meant to do it alone. Grab a like minded friend- encourage each other. Support each other. Pray for each other. And know if you are called to “go” to a certain place (even if its in the next room) this must mean that Jesus is preparing to be there too!!!

No matter how many workers there are – the harvest for followers of God is growing! There will never be too many workers! Your mission is not going to be the same as my mission. Don’t believe the lies that the world doesn’t need another woman talking about Jesus! Take the next step, grab your partner, and just Go.

As you continue to read in Chapter 10 Jesus gives more instructions and basically He says – I have already given you all you need. Go and offer peace. Not everyone will welcome you and in that case; move on! Keep those in your prayers but don’t dwell there. Move on!

Maybe your name will never be known outside of your home mission field. Maybe you will be like the unnamed 72. Maybe you will wonder if you even matter. Trust me. You matter! Those 72 were able to reach people that the 12 were not. You are able to meet and minister to people in ways that the Big name preachers and teachers can not. The world needs all the workers for Christ.

Don’t give up. Jesus will never give up on you.

 

Be well! Dwell with Him, in His Word and with His people!

Mark 3:23-27

15325210949171773094450452648661I have been praying that God would give me something to share and He never fails!!

Reading today in Mark 3:23-27.

One only has to open social media or turn on the news to see how divided out nation has become and this trickles down to effect our states, our cities, our Churches and our families.

There is a lot of talk about staying United. Yet everyone has their own idea on what that looks like and while we scream for acceptance and tolerance… we, ourselves, are often not very tolerant of those who are not the “same” as us.

So back to these verses…I wrote in my Bible about not letting Satan tie me down and keeping my eyes on Jesus. “Be strong in the Lord!”

Yesterday I was watching Netflix with my teenager. And it was like going to church; such a lesson on love. Sharing Jesus and loving unconditionally.

At one point the lady who was featured in this episode said “you can not antagonize and evangelize at the same time”!!! And I about stood up and shouted “amen! Hallelujah! Amen!”

How can we ever stand together against the forces of evil when we are so busy pointing out what we see as sin, posting disrespectful comments about our leadership or those who do not think the same way we think they ought to???

The notes for Mark 3:23-27 refer to the “strong man” as Satan. We must tie him up with love. Unconditional love for each other. Being United in love is the only way our families will be strong. In order to change the world, we have to start small and like a spark (it only takes a spark…sorry had to stop and sing my favorite  church campfire song) those flames of love will spread. Love conquers all!

Who can you show love to today?  And how will you do it? I would love to hear about it!

Be well! Dwell with God! In His Word and with His people!

God answers prayers

Malachi. 1:2a says “I have loved you,” says the LORD. Yet you ask, “How have you loved us?”

Do you ever have to consciously remind yourself that He loves you?

Here is a bit of my recent reminder!

Last August I lost my job after 10 years of working from home. That was just another situation following the previous few years of moving, death of loved ones, and periods of depression.

In November I was offered a position at a job I didn’t really want and really felt God had called me to stay home and focus on being a mom and a wife!

In January 2018 I had a phone interview for a job at a nearby church which seemed to be a perfect fit. However I did not hear back from them until April at which time they were again looking to fill the position. After another phone interview, 2 face to face meetings and introductions to other staff members I was told that “leadership” had decided not to fill the role at this time. I imagine my surprise when 2 weeks later I see the same job posted once again on Linked.

Since August I have applied for over 200 jobs. Interviewed for about 5 and been offered 2 that my family and I had decided were not the right fit. I have even “interviewed” and been passed up for volunteer positions.

I had begun to question my worth and why nobody wanted me! When I saw the job posting the other day, I almost was upset and then I remembered my prayers! I had and have asked God that if anything came my way that was not in His will for me that He would close those doors! I have been reminded that He called me to focus on being s mother and a wife. I often say “my greatest mission field is in my home.”

God is answering my prayers. The lack of employment had allowed me time to focus on my health and search for answers, time to stop and listen when my husband talks and be supportive of decisions he makes as the head of our family (especially when those decisions are disappointing to him), time to spend a week with a life long friend sharing laughter and tears and most of all God”s relentless love for her, time to answer phone calls from my children’s school, time for hour long or multiple phone and video chats with my adult children, time to pray and read and study, time to begin new friendships, time to travel with my mother, time to sit on a porch swing with my cousin, time to drink coffee and talk and laugh with my aunts and grandmother, time to share a message from the book of Jonah at the cutest little church in the world, time to cram my assignments for seminary and submit them at the last minute before their due date, time to sit on my new to me patio furniture and read His word,  and time to have my grandchildren safely under my care.

While this time and season may be a little but tight financially, I am full beyond measure in blessings! God amazes me everyday that I choose to open my heart and my eyes to see how He loves me!

God loves you too! Open your eyes and heart and look for those ways He is showing how He loves you today. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy whatever time or season you are in!

I would love to hear how He loves you! Share a comment, send me a text, call me on the phone or come on over the back deck is open and we have plenty of chairs!

Be well! Dwell in Him, in His word and with His people!

 

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda

Are you living in the freedom of Christ? Do you ever get tired of the “oh woes me” self-help books, tweets, snaps and posts that seem to inundate your news feed? Please understand I do not think I have it all together. I do think those tools are useful. I just think sometimes we focus so much on our worldly shortcomings that when we go through seasons of goodness- it is kind of hard to enjoy it. I stop to question, am I really at peace right now? Did I really enjoy a half hour of silence soaking up the sun (yes I am an 80s girl who still likes laying out)? Shouldn’t I be trying to figure out where my shortcomings are and what is wrong with me today? Shouldn’t I be spending more time in God’s Word or serving His people or Shouldn’t I be sharing some intelligent new thought on Christian life that no one else has shared before???

There are a lot of shouldn’t I’s we could listen to. There are lots of resources for our sinfulness, our loneliness, our anger, our sadness, our past mistakes, our comparisons, our need to seek Him more. Of course, the best of those resources is just simply His Word itself. Studying God’s Word convicts me, calms me, gives me joy and reminds me that I am loved.

And sometimes I don’t need to be reminded. Some days I just know! I feel Him near, I see Him moving in my life and life is just good! So let’s not be afraid to celebrate the good days. Let’s not be waiting for the next shoe to drop. Let’s just enjoy a sunny Saturday knowing that God loves us. He has claimed me worthy as one of His own. He has called me to His Kingdom and so no matter what this life brings I ALWAYS have something to look forward to. Today I declare that the end goal is worth it and it is enough for me just for today! Today I am soaking up the Son! Today I am being thankful and praising Him for all of His Blessings – bc I am His and He says I deserve it! He chose me and I choose Him, today and Always!

Go out and enjoy your weekend. Celebrate like you are royalty because you are! You are the child of the King of all Kings! And nothing can ever take that away!

Dwell with the King today, Dwell in the King’s Word, Dwell with the King’s People and Be well!!

 

Jonah, Nahum, and the Ninevites

I have been camping out in Jonah for about six weeks now. Slowly reading, re-reading and taking notes and I pray that when the time comes I will be able to share all of this with you.

I also am part of a One Chapter a day bible reading group. Today we began Nahum and to my surprise here I am reading about Ninevah and the disobedient Ninevites again!! A century later after Jonah preached against them and they repented and were not destroyed by God, here they are again disobeying and angering God! Jonah 3:6 tells us that even the king of Ninevah repented and fasted. Jonah 3:10 says “God saw their actions–they had turned from their evil ways–so God relented from the disaster he had threatened them with. And he did not do it.” And a century later Nahum writes in verses 3:18-19 “King of Assyria, your shepherd slumber, your officers sleep. Your people are scattered across the mountains with no one to gather them together. There is no remedy for your injury; your wound is severe. All who hear the news about you will clap their hands because of you, for who has not experienced your constant cruelty?”

The king in Jonah’s time gathered his people together to repent and fast and to “turn from his evil ways and from wrongdoing.: (Jonah 3:8b).

The king in Nahum’s time had people who were scattered and who would celebrate his death.

What happened to the people of Ninevah during this in between time? Was it a fast decline back to their evil ways or was it slow mindless meandering that led them back? Were the people not intentional in following God and obeying His commands? Did they slip a little here and there? Maybe they decided public prayer was no longer needed. Maybe the people didn’t support one another and became afraid of their neighbors instead of getting to know them and loving them. Maybe their work and entertainment became more important than reaching out to others and sharing life and love. Maybe they just decided it wasn’t fun to follow God. Maybe they felt that the world was falling in around them and they had nowhere to turn so they joined the world in that fall. Maybe it was just easier and more fun to do what everyone else was doing instead of remembering the grace God had showed them when He saved them from destruction.

Over and over in my life I have battled between being good and having fun and living a life of faith and walking with the Lord. Over and over I have asked for forgiveness and rededicated myself to the Lord. Over and over I have failed and walked in the world instead of the Word. I dont want to be like the Ninevites of Nahum! I want God to see that I have repented and to save me from myself! And I pray that the generations that come after me will be followers of God and not followers of the world. It isn’t easy but it is worth it! We do not have to walk in the world. We can be different. We can be strong in the Lord! Our future generations depend on it!

“Turn away from evil and do what is good, and settle there permanently. For the Lord loves justice and will not abandon his faithful one. They are kept safe forever, but the children of the wicked will be destroyed.” Psalm 37:27-28

What is one thing you can do today for the generations that will follow you?

 

Be well, dwell with God, in His Word and with His people!