Wednesday, December 21, 2011

God With Us

This Christmas season, I have really been resting on this thought: God is with us. Not God was with us, or God will be with us, but that He IS with us!

The Bible fortells the coming of Jesus, "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." -Isaiah 7:14 And later... that happened. "And the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call him Jesus....The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy--the son of God.'" -Luke 2:31, 35

The Son of God, Jesus, was born. His only purpose was to die, as an atonement for the sins of man. While Jesus was walking the earth, he told his disciples, recorded in John 16:7, "Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper [Holy Spirit] will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you." In order for us to have the Holy Spirit with us, Jesus needed to go.... but God is in three persons- God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So, God's promise to "never leave you or forsake you" -Hebrews 13:5 stands true even today. It did not begin on Christmas and end Easter.... it continues on as we have the Holy Spirit!

This Christmas, I hope that seeps in for you too. It is amazing to think that as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, we can also rejoice in the fact that God is with us, always.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Do You Hear What I Hear?

"But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me." - Micah 7:7
"The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer."
- Psalm 6:9

God hears me. God hears you. He listens. As our Father, he wants to hear from us! He loves to hear straight from our hearts, whether good or bad. But so many times we tend to think, "well God already knows, no use in telling him." Ok.... picture this....
You're a parent. Your child's teacher, during a conference, tells you all about your child's creativity on a project. If your child wanted to tell you about it later, would you say, "Oh honey, I already know all about it. Let's talk about something else." I certainly hope not... I know I would want to hear my child tell me EVERYTHING, regardless of my prior knowledge.
Same with us and God. And, on our end, it is so refreshing, comforting, and often provides a feeling of reflief to go to the Lord with whatever it is and just talk -- knowing He is listening!

"I call upon you, for you will answer me O God; incline your ear to me; hear my words."
- Psalm 17:6

But what about the other way around....? Do you have friendships or relationships with people who you talk to and never listen to? Probably not. A relationship is two-way. It takes investment from both parties. In a relationship with God, we tend to do more talking than listening... and then we get mad when we don't "hear" an answer. Well, how are you waiting for God to respond? There are many ways in which God speaks to us...
Circumstance: God will use an open or closed door/opportunity to answer us or show us His will.
Still Small Voice: God will impress upon us by the power of the Holy Spirit to move us towards His will.
Peace: God will give us peace in a situation if it is His will.
People: God will use other believers to speak wisdom into a situation.
But the only ABSOLUTE way in which God speaks to us in an undeniable way is through His Word.

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." - Hebrews 4:12

So, my encouragement to you (and reminder to myself!) is to first, talk with God... have a conversation... do some talking, then some listening. And the listening may require spending time listening to a Pastor give a sermon, or resting in a quiet place.... or reading the Bible! Let God speak to your heart. I am always so thankful when I choose to listen for Him; He never fails me.