Monday, March 28, 2016

The Antidote for Complaining




I recently had a "sponsored article" pop up on my Facebook feed entitled The Science of Happiness: Why complaining is literally killing you, by Science and Nonduality.

**Disclaimer**  I want to be clear that I in no way endorse or believe in any of the spiritual tenants this website professes. I merely found the science presented regarding the effects of complaining on the brain thought-provoking.  


The article's title drew me in because you guessed it, I'm a complainer.

Merriam-Webster shares the following simple definition of the word complain:

: to say or write that you are unhappy, sick, uncomfortable, etc., or that you do not like something
: to say (something that expresses annoyance or unhappiness)

The very essence of complaining is normally not something done in solitude, but with the purpose of telling others.

I am someone that wears her heart on her sleeve.  It's almost as though I need to express my complaints to others or I'll explode!  Not really, but you get the gist...

In reality, complaining is my ill-conceived perception that I am fixing the problem or the feeling that I am taking an active role in the situation - staying in control...

My need to complain is selfish and does not take into account the happiness of those around me.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
Ephesians 4:29

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18

A joyful heart is good medicine
Proverbs 17:22

According to the article The Science of Happiness:  Why complaining is literally killing you, our "brains have a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever we have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electric signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information we're thinking about. It’s very similar to how nerves carry electric from the sensation in your toe all the way up to your brain where it’s actually “felt”.  

Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger.  Your thoughts reshape your brain...

...the synapses you’ve most strongly bonded together (by thinking about more frequently) come to represent your default personality: your intelligence, skills, aptitudes, and most easily accessible thoughts(which are more-or-less the source of your conversation skills)...  

It’s not just our thoughts that can alter our brain and shift those synapses; the thoughts of those around us can do it as well. 

When we see someone experiencing an emotion ( be it anger, sadness, happiness, etc), our brain “tries out” that same emotion to imagine what the other person is going through. And it does this by attempting to fire the same synapses in our own brain so that we can attempt to relate to the emotion we're observing. This is basically empathy. 

This is why it is so important to spend time with people who lift us up, because 'Debbie-Downer' friends are moving those fearful, cynical, pessimistic synapses closer together, making our default, short-path-personality as jaded and bitter as our peers. Want to be happy?  We need to surround ourselves with happy people who rewire our brain towards love, not towards fear.  I’m NOT saying don’t be there for friends who are having a hard time and need an ear or who need to work through a difficult situation. Nor am I saying you can’t be critical about the failings and injustices in the world. Positive change usually requires critical thought."

I think there might be some truth to the science presented in this article because I know the more I complain, the MORE I complain.  I get into a vicious cycle where I end up complaining about the silliest things.  Apparently my complaining synapses are attached!

I have also found that when I spend time with someone who constantly complains, I myself start complaining more, if not about my own problems, but about the other person's complaining.

It can be very exhausting to spend time with a complainer.  You can try to encourage them and be positive, but they just come back with another complaint and another complaint, discounting any encouragement offered.

Do I want to be a complainer that reshapes her brain to a default of ALWAYS complaining??

Do I want to be that complainer that exhausts people and causes them to stumble??  

God's Word has very clear admonishments against complaining...

Do all things without grumbling or questioning.
Philippians 2:14

Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.
James 5:9

And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, 
and when the Lord heard it, his anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp.
Numbers 11:1

Nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.
1 Corinthians 10:10

They murmured in their tents, and did not obey the voice of the Lord.
Psalm 106:25

Through our complaining, we are not only negatively impacting the physiological make-up of our brains, but those we are constantly complaining to as well. 

The most devastating effect of complaining is that we are dragging Christ's name through the mud by such a poor testimony. 

Nothing touches us without coming from the hand of God first - from the biggest trial to the smallest nuisance, the Lord ordains those circumstances for our good and His good purposes.  

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.
Psalm  37:23-24

So when we complain about anything effecting us, we are essentially complaining about God!  

May it never be!

Soon after reading The Science of Happiness:  Why complaining is literally killing you, I read a quote by David Mathis from his book Habits of Grace which essentially describes the Biblical antidote to the scientific data about complaining presented in the article above.

"When we memorize lines from the Bible, we are shaping our minds in the moment to mimic the structure and mindset of the mind of God."

Let that sink in...

There is so much power in the active and living Word of God!  Power to reshape and renew our minds to have the mindset of God; a mindset that will pour out in our words and actions, bringing Glory to God!

Do not be conformed to this world, but BE TRANSFORMED BY THE RENEWAL
 OF YOUR MIND, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, 
what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, THINK ABOUT THESE THINGS.
Philippians 4:8

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our INNER SELF IS BEING RENEWED DAY BY DAY.
2 Corinthians 4:16

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will GUARD YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

And to be RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MINDS 
Ephesians 4:23

Therefore, PREPARING YOUR MINDS FOR ACTION, AND BEING SOBER-MINDED set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:13

For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and TAKE EVERY THOUGHT CAPTIVE TO OBEY CHRIST. 
2 Corinthians 10:4-5

SET YOUR MINDS ON THINGS THAT ARE ABOVE, not on things that are on earth.
Colossians 3:2

Let the song of our hearts be...


May the mind of Christ, my Savior,

Live in me from day to day,

By His love and pow’r controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His pow’r.

Kate B. Wilkinson


Thank you Grace & Truth for featuring this post.  :-)




You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays UNITE Cozy Reading Spot

Monday, March 21, 2016

God's Special Promise to Mothers

A few years ago, I shared the following Easter devotional with a group of moms at a MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) gathering.  As I re-read through what the Lord had laid on my heart just a few years ago, I found myself encouraged and spurred on all over again.

This Easter week, I hope you too will be encouraged by God's special promise to mothers...  



Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the most prominent mother of the Bible.   No one had a more intimate relationship with Jesus than she did.   Yet there were times that she struggled as a mom too!  But it was her willingness to be led by the Christ that carried her through all the joys and sufferings of being a mother.

Mary exhibited three characteristics when yielding to the Lord's leading.  Characteristics we can learn from and be blessed by...

MARY BELIEVED GOD

When the Angel announced to Mary that she would conceive a son by the Holy Spirit, she BELIEVED it was true.  Mary knew who God was and believed He would do what He said he would, even something that seemed beyond comprehension - conceiving a son by the Holy Spirit!

And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"
Luke 1:46-47

We can be encouraged by Mary's example to BELIEVE God.  We BELIEVE God by knowing Him. We know Him through His Word. A Word that is full of the promises of God, and tells us about the One who is faithful to keep EVERY promise.  When we BELIEVE these promises, we are allowing God to lead us in all that we do.  We will experience less fear and doubt, and be filled with more peace and joy. There are promises from God that speak peace over the smallest nuisance to the biggest trial.  The more we learn about God, the more we will trust Him and believe Him in all things.

MARY WAS WILLING

 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 called holy—the Son of God. And behold, 
your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren.  For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Luke 1:35-38

Mary didn’t agonize or debate about her decision to carry the Son of God.  She in essence said, "Okay, I'll do it."  She was WILLING to carry the Son of God!

There are times that we are convicted to do something and we know it is the Holy Spirit prompting us, yet either because we don’t want to, feel inadequate or it seems too difficult, we will say, “No, I can’t do it”.  Just think of the blessings we miss when we are not willing to say, “Okay, I’ll do it!"  The Lord's leading always comes with blessings.   O what blessings await us if the next time we hear His still small voice calling us to Kingdom work, we say “Yes, I will do it!”   And what blessings we will pass down to our children, if they see a WILLING spirit toward the Lord modeled in us.

MARY WAS OBEDIENT

By law, Mary and Joseph were required to present Jesus at the temple.

 And when the days for their purification according to the law of Moses were completed, Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord… 
Luke 2:22


Like Mary, God gave us our children to dedicate to Him out of OBEDIENCE to His Word.

She said, "Oh, my lord! As your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood 
here beside you, praying to the LORD. "For this boy I prayed, and the LORD 
has given me my petition which I asked of Him. "So I have also dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the LORD.
1 Samuel 1:26-28

Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

It’s never too early to dedicate children to the Lord.   Even before our children are born and continually thereafter, we should diligently pray for their salvation, and their walk of obedience in Christ.  When we dedicate our children to the Lord, we are allowing God to lead us as we train them in the fear and admonition of the Lord.

The lives of our children will bring blessings and heartache.   But through our OBEDIENCE in entrusting our children to the Lord, we will be blessed ten-fold through their joys, and receive strength to endure when we see our children suffering.

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon…And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s [a]Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, [b]to carry out for Him the custom of the Law,  then he took Him into his arms, and blessed God…

And His father and mother were amazed at the things which were being said about Him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and [d]rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed— and a sword will pierce even your own soul—to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Luke 2:25-28; 33-35

And a sword will pierce even your own soul...

Mary would endure unthinkable agony as a mother watching her Son being scourged and crucified.

Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.
John 19:1

27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the [l]Praetorium and gathered the whole Roman [m]cohort around Him. 28 They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 
29 And after twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on His head,
 and a [n]reed in His right hand; and they knelt down before Him and mocked 
Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on Him, and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. 31 After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him.
Matthew 27:27:31

17 They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, [i]bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in [j]Hebrew, Golgotha. 18 There they crucified Him, But standing by the cross of Jesus was His mother…
John 19:17-18

Standing by the cross of Jesus was His mother...

This verse has always struck a tender spot with me for the strength Mary had in such unfathomable circumstances. No mother should have to watch their child die, let alone such an extreme death, but Mary did not refuse to go.  She stayed with her Son, at the foot of the cross. She stood right there until Jesus spoke the words; "It is finished!"  Her heart must have broken. I wonder if she remembered back to the words Simeon the prophet spoke to her at Jesus' dedication; "Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also"...

I'm sure there are those of us who have stood by our children in the hospital with an acute illness or have had a child go through surgery or have watched their child suffer through the effects of a terminal illness.  A mother’s heart literally aches when their child is suffering no matter what the circumstance.

Mary was able to endure because of her close relationship with Jesus believing Him in all things, even in the midst of questions and many tears; her willingness to trust Him even in the incredibly hard things and her obedience throughout.   I can say from my own experience, when my children have suffered, even though I have shed tears or even questioned God,  I still had this underlying peace that could not be explained except by God’s grace that has been there for me since I received Jesus as my own personal savior.

Jesus is so approachable.  If there is anyone reading this post who would like to experience God's peace and to hear God’s voice gently leading you as a mother or whatever your stage of life, and most especially wants to receive the promise of eternal life in Heaven, just acknowledge that you are a sinner and turn from your sinful ways.   Ask Jesus to be your personal savior.   Acknowledge that Jesus paid the price for your sins when He died on the cross and set your desire to walk in obedience with Him.  I promise, if you ask and understand these things with a contrite and sincere heart, you will be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

I have included a link from a You Tube video for the song, New Again, by Brad Paisley and Sara Evans which is from the soundtrack of the movie, Passion of the Christ.  It’s a very poignant song from the perspective of Jesus talking to Mary from the cross. It’s a testimony of Mary, even in the midst of incomprehensible circumstances, seeking and talking to Jesus her son, her Lord and Savior, as He continues to lead her from the cross.

While you listen to the song, reflect on the hope that Jesus gives to His Mother and to all of us, even in circumstances that at face value may seem hopeless; a hope that could only come through His death and resurrection on Easter morning giving us new life in Him.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Golden Calf in the Mirror



I tend to have selective selflessness.  There are certain people in my life that I would give the shirt off my back to, but most of the time, I only think of myself, never putting others needs before my own...  I wish I could say that there are lots of people I would give the shirt off my back to, but sadly, that would not be true.  Only a very few have experienced a selfless Karen...

When I do live in an attitude of giving and selflessness, it hasn't been based on how much I love a person.  In fact, I can be the most selfish around those I love the most.  There are just certain people that seem to invoke a selfless spirit within me...

I am not by nature a people pleaser.   But maybe, if I were to be honest with myself, there is a component of people-pleasing which motivates me to act selfless toward certain people which turns a selfless act into a selfish act; serving my own need for affirmation rather than genuinely serving the other person.

The Golden Calf in the Mirror stares back at me demanding worship; it's all about Karen, Karen, Karen.


They have made for themselves a golden calf and have worshiped it and sacrificed to it...  
Exodus 32:8


Selfish act after selfish act crafted the golden calf in the mirror.

Reinforced behavior that consumes...  ME, ME, ME

For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh...
Romans 8:5

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
James 3:16


I recently started reading A Prisoner and Yet by Corrie Ten Boom.  A book of reflections highlighting the many evidences of God's presence with Corrie in the concentration camp and His strength which carried her through some of the most horrific circumstances a person could endure.

Corrie describes a time spent in solitary confinement where the Lord blessed her with weekly Red Cross care packages containing sandwiches and delectable treats which lifted her spirits in otherwise detestable circumstances.  She spent six weeks in solitary confinement with no other human contact except when they threw her daily rations or weekly care package to her.  Then a day came when her cell door was swung open and a frightened woman was thrust into her cell.  Corrie was so happy to finally have a companion.  She wanted to make her new cell mate as comfortable as possible.  It filled Corrie with great joy to share the food and treats from her Red Cross care package with the woman. She had longed to share her food with someone else... to share the blessing...

Sadly, I could not at all relate to this selfless act.  Anyone can tell you that when it comes to food, ESPECIALLY when I am hungry, watch out!  I admit that if there are two pieces of cake left, I will take the bigger piece.  Or if I have packed a snack and someone else hasn't and we are in a situation where lunch or dinner will be delayed, and they are just as hungry as I am, I won't share my snack.  I can't believe I am even admitting this!  It is really not pretty - not pretty at all...

Yet here Corrie was, in deplorable conditions, with very little food to eat daily, hungry, dirty and cold, who when she finally receives these wonderful treats from the Red Cross care package, all she can think of is that she wished she could share the blessing with someone else.  And indeed, when the opportunity presents itself, that is EXACTLY what she does, and with great joy!

O what conviction I felt reading Corrie's words!  How selfless! Thinking of others comfort before her own.

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one 
another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:3-4

Corrie's life was lived selflessly with Christ at the center.  The Jewish people fled to Corrie's family's underground oasis for protection; where she compassionately served each and every person that came through their doors.  Corrie thrived on serving.

Even while being interrogated during her imprisonment, she boldly stated that when she was released, she would devote her life to serving and helping others.  Selfless acts that had already cost her dearly...  She would do all over again...

 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel, ‘Put your sword on your side each of you, and go to and fro from gate to gate throughout the camp, and each of you kill his brother and his companion and his neighbor.’” And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.  And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the Lord, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”
Exodus 32:27-29

The Truth of the above verses in Exodus hit me hard with conviction...

Serving with the Lord comes at a cost; dying to self, and obeying God's call, no matter how hard the request.

I don't know about you, but surrender of self can be so hard, ESPECIALLY when the Lord is calling me to do a hard thing.

Yet indeed we are called to die to self daily and live out each day for Him.

and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, 
but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
2 Corinthians 5:15

The words of the above verse seared my soul.  Do I truly live for Christ each and every day??  Sadly, I do not.

Oh that 2 Corinthians 5:15 would be on my mind every minute of every day.  How selfless would my life be if I would no longer live for myself but for Him who died and rose again for ME!

Reading about Corrie Ten  Boom's home life, her compassionate service to the Jewish people, and her love for the Lord was intoxicating.   I found myself caught up in the moments as they were described.  Corrie gave 150% in selfless acts of love.  Her beautiful testimony welled up a strong desire in me to begin to live selflessly.

Even though self can feel like it overrules our lives, I truly believe that we, as Children of God, are wired to be selfless.

Look at how many opportunities God provides to each of us to meet another persons needs throughout any given day.  If we are honest with ourselves, there are countless ways in a day to serve others.

I think that indeed helping and serving others, with pure motives, as ambassadors for Christ, can be intoxicating, creating a desire to serve more and more.

O that we would have eyes to see past self to the needs of others and hearts to seek a life lived selflessly for Christ.

The Golden Calf in the Mirror will then fade away, and the reflection of Christ will shine brightly.


You might find me on these link-ups:
Grace & Truth Link-upWoman to Woman Ministries,  Growing in Grace Link-up, 3DLessonsLif4eInspire Me Monday Titus 2 TuesdayA Wise Women Builds Her HomeA Look at the Book,  Sunday StillnessThe Weekend BrewSpiritual Sundays, Soul Survival,  Give Me GraceA Little R&RTestimony TuesdayWomen with Intention WednesdaysStill SaturdayGood Morning MondaysTell His StoryFaith & Fellowship Blog HopMotivate and Rejuvenate MondaysBe SaltyMonday's MusingsThe Art of Home-Making MondayTuesday TalkWaiting on Wednesday, Reflect His Love and Glory  Words of Comfort Link-upWholehearted WednesdaysTell it to Me TuesdayFaithful at Home Fridays, Faith 'N FriendsTGI SaturdaysSitting Among Friends Encourage Me Monday Words with Winter Essential FridaysSo Much at Home Family, Friendship & Faith House to Home Intentional Tuesday ,Wonderful Wednesday , Monday of Many BlessingsLiteracy Musings Mondays,Imparting GraceSHINE Blog Hop Dance with JesusGive Me GraceBooknificent Thursdays

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Voice - Bible Edition

If your like me and my family, you probably have lots of Bibles in your home.   

I have personally used many different Bibles through the many seasons of my life. Before becoming a believer, a neighbor gave me The Living Bible.  Soon after coming to know the Lord, I used the Women's Devotional Bible.  As I started to crave a deeper and deeper study of the Word, I used the Thompson's Chain Reference Bible.   Once I was solid in my doctrinal understanding, I moved onto the Life Application Bible.  And now, in this older and maybe a bit wiser season, I am using a Journaling Bible.  

I remember when I first became a believer, hearing the Bible described as God's love letter to His children.   And indeed it is!  In the pages of Sacred Writ, we learn of our precious Savior who took on human flesh for the ultimate purpose of suffering and dying in our place, to satisfy the penalty our sins deserved, so that we might have everlasting life.  "Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God would die for me!"

Not only is the Bible a love letter, it is the means by which we learn about the character of God. Story after amazing trust-building story describing our strong, powerful, faithful, steadfast, patient, loving, and unchanging God

When the Lord inspired man on what to write in the Holy Scriptures, He also used word pictures to help our finite minds grasp with our senses an infinite and eternal God and Savior.

God has been physically described as one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace... Revelation 1: 13-15a

...a man clothed in linen, with a belt of fine gold from Uphaz around his waist. His body was like beryl, his face like the appearance of lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze.  Daniel 10:5

And then there is the description of God's voice...  

I don't like loud noises.  It all started when I was a little girl.  My mom can tell you many stories about me and loud noises.  

Here are just a few...

When I was very little, my  mom and I walked by a firehouse when the siren went off and I apparently burst out crying, frightened out of  my wits.  

Every summer when the carnival would come to town, I would dread the night of the fireworks. 

And thunderstorms, forget about it!  I would physically shake in bed with every loud crash.  {It didn't help that our house had been hit by lightening adding to my fear of loud noises!}

I will admit, I actually wonder what it would be like for me, if the Lord were to return during my lifetime, whether I could handle the noise!   

God's Word describes the voice of the Lord in terms of being very loud.

Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth.
Job 37:2

And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder
Revelation 14:2

The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord, over many waters. The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty. The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;...  The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire...

The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness... The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth
and strips the forests bare,

Psalm 29:3-5; 8-9

God's voice has also been described like the sound of a multitude.  Daniel 10:6

and like the roar of many waters. Revelation 12:15b

God's voice is full of great power.   His mighty voice, which breathed every word of the Holy Bible into existence, with account after account, and promise after promise, assures us of His great love and proves our ultimate security.

Why then do we so often choose to listen to the voice of Satan rather than the voice of our loving Father.

There were only three times in Scripture where the actual words of Satan were recorded...

First Satan speaks to man...

Indeed, has God said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.'” The serpent said to the woman, “You surely will not die! “For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 3:1-5

{Satan tries to cause Eve to doubt God.}

The second time Satan speaks directly to God...

Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse You to Your face.  Job 1:9-11

{Satan tries to cause God to doubt man.}

The third time Satan speaks directly to Jesus

If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”  Matthew 4:3

{Satan tries to cause the Son to doubt the Father.}

Satan's mission is clear...  EVERY time he is sewing seeds of doubt...

Yet we listen to him...

I recently came upon the list below, and was so struck by the truth of it...




Too often, we get pulled into the chaos of all the manifestations of allowing Satan's voice to drown out the still small voice of God...

It is exhausting to be discouraged, to worry and obsess, to feel rushed and pushed, to feel frightened and confused, and then at the end of the day, to condemn ourselves for feeling this way.

And it's all not necessary!

We have an ever-present Helper; One who is faithful and steadfast, always whispering in our ear, "this is the way, walk in it",  reminding us of His precepts, telling us of His great promises, and speaking peace over our hearts; ALL through His precious Word - the very voice of God!

How do we let the Lord's voice thunder in our ears so that it is the ONLY voice we listen to?

By committing God's Word to memory.  Intentionally setting out to memorize Scripture.

One of the best ways to combat Satan from sewing seeds of doubt and temptation into our lives, is to identify those areas of weakness that are a struggle.   Once identified, find Scripture verses and promises of God that speak victory over that weakness.  Keep the list and corresponding promises and Scripture verses in your Bible.  Commit to memorize those verses so that when faced with the besetting temptation or doubt, you will ONLY hear the voice of God which will... 

still you
lead you
reassure you
enlighten you
encourage you
comfort you
calm you
convict you


Psalm 23 is the embodiment of the voice of God speaking peace over our lives.  

Sometimes I think because this Psalm is one of the more quoted, we can lose sight of the great comfort found within its verses.

Meditate on each verse...  Whatever situation you might find yourself in now, I promise, you will feel great comfort and calm wash over you as you let the Words of your Shepherd sink in.   My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.  John 10:27

 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
 I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
 your rod and your staff,
 they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
 all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
    forever.

Psalm 23



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