The Voice

There is a Monday night television show titled “The Voice”. Amateur talent sings to stay on the show through the season until the final contestant is chosen as “the voice”. I admit that I do enjoy some of the contestants and their music, but I know something many of them may not know. There is only one voice that matters, only one voice to lead the way for our lives and it is not one of the four judges on the show.

In John Chapter 10 of the Bible, Jesus told a story about sheep. He said that when the shepherd entered the gate of the sheep pen, the sheep listen to the voice and know their shepherd. The shepherd calls them by name and leads them out. They follow him because they know his voice. It is interesting that a voice is often referred to as a musical instrument, in which case, the voice of the shepherd is like music to the ears of the sheep.

There are many voices clambering for our attention today. It is difficult at times to know who or what to listen to. Whose voice are you listening to in your daily life? Is it the voice of discouragement, the voice of deceit, or some other negative voice?

Jesus identified Himself as the Good Shepherd. Those who know Him are of His flock. Those who follow Him know His voice and it is like music to their ears. There is no competition for “the voice”. Jesus was the winner long before the television program was conceived. His voice will lead you to the work of the day. His voice will lead you to provisions for the day. Follow His voice above all others. Let Him be your guide and He will carry the burdens of your heart leading you to greener pastures of provision and safety.

You may ask, how does He speak? He speaks through the Bible which is the word of God, through prayer, by His Spirit, through circumstances and godly leaders. If the voice you are hearing does not line up with the word of God, run the other way. Follow the Good Shepherd who is Jesus.

To Grow Your Faith further, click the title  The Voice of the Shepherd

Does Wishing Make It So?

If you have ever shopped online at amazon.com or any other online shopping store, you’ve probably seen a space called the WISH List in addition to the shopping cart. The wish list is where you place the items you wish you had but for whatever reason, you are not getting today.

What is a wish? The dictionary tells us it is “a hope or desire for something”. You can wish for things present as well as in the past. I don’t know about you, but wishing for something to be so does not make it come to pass for me. And you can wish all day long, but anything you wish about the past will never be so. Wishing for something in the past is simply not realistic. We can’t change the past. But we can learn from it for today and the future.

There was a rhyme we recited as children when we saw the first star at night. It went something like this:

WishStar light, star bright,
The first star I see tonight;
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight

Obviously wishing upon a star will not make it so either. So let me ask you a question. What do you wish for? The good news is, there is a wish list you can have today.

1. WISDOM. What is wisdom? Vines Dictionary of New Testament words defines it as, “understanding, prudence, and right use of the mind.” If we think about wisdom in action as being the right use of the mind, it changes the way we think and speak. It can also change the way we ask God for wisdom. “Father, provide the thoughts for me today to use my mind in the right way for your purposes.” Make a note of this promise from God in James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given.” God will give you all the wisdom you can handle and He will give it when you ask.

2. IDENTITY – We live in a modern culture where identity is often questioned and skewed. But Ephesians 2:10 is clear in telling us that we are God’s workmanship. That means we are works of art and a masterpiece to God. The next phrase says, “Created in Christ Jesus.” This is your identity. If you are a believer in Jesus, you are identified with Him as His creation. It is by faith this occurs as God pours His grace on you through Christ.

3. Security – This is a big one in your wish list I am sure. We all want to feel secure don’t we? We want to know that we are loved by our husband and family. We want to know that the bills can be paid, we want to know there is hope for the future; in fact, we want to know what the future holds for us and our family, and that the future is secure. The root of insecurity is fear. There were two verses God used to teach me not to fear but to trust Him. The first is Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you.” What things? The prior verses list food, drink and clothing. God gives reassurance that those things will be provided as we seek Him and live in a right relationship with Him. And then verse 34 sums it up by talking about the future. It says, don’t worry about tomorrow. Do what needs to be done today and trust God for tomorrow to give you the courage to face whatever the future holds. The second verse that made a difference in my life and helped me to overcome fear is 2 Timothy 1:7. “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” (self-control) If fear is not from God, what can you learn from this? Your future is secure with Him. You do not need to fear for the future, God is already there.

4. HOPE – And the last thing on our wish list that we can have today is HOPE. In proverbs 24:13-14, it tells us that wisdom is like honey to our soul. It is like something sweet and nourishing to us. Then it goes on to tell us that, “if you find it, then there will be a future and your hope will not be cut off.” That means destroyed.

Hope is the confident expectation of something good. But when we are not applying wisdom to our thinking, that hope can be destroyed. How? By believing lies about God, about ourselves, about our circumstances. These lies cause doubt and questions that weaken our faith and trust in God. And so begins a downward spiral of fear and despair. When we find ourselves in that condition, it is important to capture those negative thoughts by taking them to Christ in prayer. Lay the discouragement at His feet and trust Him to lift us up once again in hope. Ask Him to take control of our thoughts and fill us with His wisdom. Because the wisdom of God is sweetness to your soul, and you can follow it to a secure future.

Wisdom, Identity, Security, Hope – the wish list you can have today as you seek the Lord and trust Him for your future.

To grow your faith through Bible Study, click here.

Measuring Hand (not cup)

“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand?” Isaiah 40:12 ESV

If you have ever baked anything, you have measured water for a recipe; a cup here, a half a cup there. But I imagine you have not measured all the water in your home in the palm of your hand. Yet, we are told from Isaiah in the Bible that God has measured ALL the waters of the earth in the palm of His hand. Can you even imagine how huge that hand must be or how enormous is our God!

We have just returned from vacation on the West coast and have seen the vastness of the ocean in that one area of the earth. If I were to dip my hand in it and lift out a handful of water, it would not have left a ripple. And so, as I read this verse, I realized my concept of God’s greatness is not even close to the reality of who He really is and the magnitude of His being. It is a very humbling realization.

Because we are able to have a relationship with God through Christ Jesus, we may tend to think of Him as people size. This verse and chapter of the Bible prove otherwise. Not only has He held the waters in His hand, but He has held the dust of the earth in a basket! (Isaiah 40:12 NIV) That requires a pretty big basket and arm to hold it! But even more than the size of the basket is the strength needed to lift it. These verses prove that God really does have the whole world in His hands.

If He is that big and that strong, He has more than enough strength to pass on to you, and He does. What would seem like a powerful surge of strength to us is but a blip on God’s radar screen. What a blessing it is to be the recipient of such mighty strength and power. I am humbled, and I am speechless…

To GROW YOUR FAITH, click here, print the lesson titled “How Big is God?”