Thursday, February 23, 2023

Listening...

 


We spent a considerable amount of time praying to God and reaching out with our requests and praise reports.  However, how often do we take time and listen to what God has to say to us?  Our Heavenly Father desires to share His thoughts with us.  Remember we have a relationship with a Living God, and like in any healthy relationship, there should be two-way communication.  Each time God speaks to us we can learn more about Him and about His will for our lives.  What an incredible opportunity to become closer to our Father. 

So, how do we listen to Him?  There are several ways.

He can speak clearly to us as we have seen in the bible.  He can speak to our heart through something we may see around us.  God also uses His word to speak to us.  We can spend time in His word daily and learn more about His character and His will for our day.  We need to be in a posture of receiving to hear God.  Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and you can tell they are distracted by something else and not really listening?  That is how conversations degrade and miscommunication occurs.  To hear our Heavenly Father clearly, we need to come in a posture of listening, and not with a list of our personal requests.  Remember God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason so we can listen twice as hard as we speak.




We must first clear our head from all the things that are distracting us from Him.  It takes focused attention.  We need to take the time to step away from the grind of the day.  Or perhaps - start your day fresh before leaving your bed by asking God to speak to you first.  Focus on His still small voice speaking to your heart. Give it some time.  Like every good skill, it takes practice…

It takes a moment of silence sometimes.  It’s okay to be silent.  We are so caught up with the noise around us it is hard to sit in silence.  Ask Him for help being still and silent before Him.  Remember, He hears everything we ask and can help with this simple request.  Don’t get frustrated if you do not hear anything the first time, or even the second or third time.  Every moment you spend with the Lord is not wasted.  It is a chance to get to know Him more and grow as a Christian.

There may be times that God just keeps repeating something in our head over and over - until we hear Him - through the clutter that is going on in our thoughts.  Yesterday was one of those days for my husband.




God often speaks to Carl late at night when he is asleep.  That is normally when Carl’s brain is the quietest.  God wakes Carl and proceeds to give him a solution to a problem he was working on the day before.  Occasionally he receives an idea to proactively take care of something that is coming up in the future.  Each time Carl wakes up and excitedly shares the new revelation with me.  “God gave me the answer!” He always says.  He then proceeds to move forward with the direction God gave him for the job or project he was tackling that week.  One of our relatives used to say that Carl had a lucky horseshoe and that is why it happened.  That relative didn’t realize a simple shoe didn’t have the power of God who can speak to anyone.   The rank was much higher than an inanimate object.

Back to my story…

Yesterday afternoon my husband was working hard at a job and God wanted to get his attention once again.  So, while he was diligently working on the job, the solution to another job was put in Carl’s head.  He didn’t know why he heard the solution but filed it for a later time.  God kept bringing the answer to the problem over and over into Carl’s mind.  The solution became a proverbial pebble in Carl’s shoe.  He couldn’t get it out of his head.  As Carl cleaned up from the job he was working on and headed home, he called me and mentioned the solution in passing.  We discussed it several times as dinner was cooking. 

Then the phone rang.  It was the answering service.  A service call that day needed assistance again.  That was the call Carl kept thinking about.  He mentioned to the technician earlier in the day the solution that needed to be implemented.  Somehow there was a breakdown in communication.  Carl knew it was coming and was prepared.  He got back into his truck and headed out to the customer.  The solution God gave him was the exact thing the customer needed to fix their problem.  Imagine that.




It wasn’t the first time it happened to Carl, and it won’t be the last.  Each time he listens to God speak they become closer in their relationship.  I envy that but know God speaks to each of us differently.  He speaks to me through daily activities and a still small voice.  Each time I listen I am getting to know my Father more and we are becoming closer.  That is the ultimate goal.

Reach out and see how God can speak to you today. 

He does and He will.

 

1 Samuel 3:10

The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Numbers 22:28

Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?”

1 Kings 19:12-13

After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Job 38:1-4

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge?

                                                Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, February 17, 2023

A time for everything...



I looked up from my desk this morning and realized today was Friday…already.  February is half over. 

February? 

What happened to January? 

Didn’t we just usher in a new year…2023?

I know you have heard this before, but it is worth repeating.  Time seems to fly by faster as we get older.

When I was younger Time was just a word.  Time seemed to stand still, especially during school days and exams.  I would sit in class and watch the clock on the wall.  Tick.  Tick.  Tick.  The clock seemed to tick louder and louder as I watched the secondhand move.  Obviously, I wasn’t paying as much attention to my studies as I was the mechanical capabilities of the wall clock.  That is a story for another time.

This brings me back to the last couple of months.  I have been fighting some physical issues.  A migraine since mid-December to be exact.  This was a new inconvenience to my schedule.  I have delt with headaches for many years due to allergies.  Sometimes they take on a life of their own and ‘become’ a migraine.  This particular one was new.  A migraine that decided to pack a suitcase and stay for a while.   It disrupted everything in my life.  My work, my volunteer duties, my sleep, everything…  However, no matter how much my head bothered me, I kept stubbornly pushing through. For those of you who know me, I know you aren’t surprised.

Then God stepped in.

I lost a week last week.

God allowed me to be completely down for the week.  I was so physically weak I couldn’t get up and do any work.  I couldn’t do anything.  I could only sit and – Be Still.  That is what He called me to do.

He wanted to speak to my heart and show me something.  I was so busy trying to ‘get things done’ that I put myself down for not staying ahead.  Aren’t we funny how we can put ourselves down but easily extend grace to others who are struggling?  He gently reminded me that He didn’t need me to do everything.

First, He showed me behind the curtains where He was working all along but I was too busy to notice.  His people came out in droves to help.  They prayed.  They stepped in and assisted with the UME Gala and Children’s Church.  They checked in on me.  My husband blew up his entire week to care for me.  God wanted me to know I wasn’t alone.

So, I listened.  I accepted His direction.  I sat and was still.  He then spoke to me.  He sat with me.  I communed with Him.  I was able to intercede for others while sitting still last week.  Nothing got in my way of our time together.  It was beautiful.  There was no thought of time.  Time didn’t matter.  Only listening to His voice.  It was as if time stood still.

 


I experienced God in a new way.  Not that God is new.  My mindset was new.  I needed refreshing.  I needed to step aside.  He allowed me to be sick so I would listen.

How many times do we need that?

Work never ends.  The bills never go away.  The rat-race of life is moving faster as we get older.



I watched a video on social media last week while I was sitting in bed contemplating my migraine.
  The speaker held up a long piece of rope.  The very end, about four inches was painted red.  The red painted part represented our life on earth.  The small four inches was our entire existence on earth.  The remaining part of the rope represented the remaining part of our existence in eternity.  That little red piece was everything we focus on. 

Birth

Growing up

Getting a job and possibly a family

Working towards retirement

Retirement is the goal…  Or is it?


Four inches of red.  

What was glaringly obvious was the remaining part of the rope. 

Are we living like the four inches of red is all there is?

Are we living like we are going to our true home someday? 

Are we living to tell others about their time here?

 


We can’t turn the hourglass around and start over.  We only have so much ‘sand’ in our hourglass.  The red four inches on the rope.  Only God knows the day and hour of our last moment.

Are we living like we are dying?

Sometimes we need to Wake Up from our slumber and step out in faith sharing our testimony with others so they can wake up too.

Sometimes we need to Be Still…  and listen to His voice.

Either way - we need to be open to listening to Him.  He will give us the direction and the words.

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1-11

a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace. What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.


Hebrews 9:27

Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment,





                                                       Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Need meat, lettuce...

 


People have asked me over the years how I work with my husband 24/7 in the same business.  We laugh over that question.  Our first response is normally; “Because of God.”  What follows that statement is, “And because of United Marriage Encounter.”  Both are attributes to our working together in the business for almost 6 years. I have also learned to keep a sense of humor.

Are we perfect?  Absolutely not.  But we are covered by His grace as we move through this imperfect world together.  And for that I am grateful.  I have someone to tackle this time on earth with.  We do have our moments though.  A week or so ago was one of them.

I was running errands with our office manager when I received a text notification from my husband.  The announcement came over the car’s radio.  “You have a text message” I was excited to hear from him because we are normally too busy to talk during the day.  Occasionally he sends me a quick text to say hi or “I Love You.” I eagerly hit the play button while I was driving down the road. 

“Need meat, lettuce, cheese. Please”

Well, that wasn’t what I expected. 

I have received texts in the past from my husband.  Sometimes he uses speech to text and what comes across the airwaves is not quite what he meant to say.  I have heard words that didn’t belong together or were not actual words. 

This was a new message.

 

Here is his backstory:



My husband ran out of lunch meat when he made his sandwich for lunch that morning.  He wanted to remind me as he went driving down the road.  Simple.  Yet amusing.


“Need?”


I drove down the road and started to laugh at the humor of ‘need’.

I could think of several things he might ‘need’ more than lettuce.  Heck I could think of a few things I would prefer over lettuce. 

Possible dinner out 

…and a bit of romance...?


Hey at least it did end it with please, right?


We love to communicate our daily activities when my husband comes home from his installs.  Some days are better than others.  This particular day would be a humorous one.  I did laugh for the rest of the day when I remembered his text.

Since the bar was set so low, I believed he would be happy to know I did pick up the necessary processed meat, rabbit food, and over-processed milk.

I also purchased him some snacks for after dinner.

That is love. 

That is how we communicate and work together.  Words are very powerful.  Remember to lift up each other with your words.

God is the glue that holds it all together.

And keep a sense of humor 😊

 

 

Ecclesiastes 4:12

Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

 

Song of Songs 1:2

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth— for your love is more delightful than wine.

 

Song of Songs 1:2,15

How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! Your eyes are doves. 


                                              Copyright © 2022 Peggy A. Priest. All Rights Reserved.

God's Timing

  I am impatient .   I wait in grocery lines and pick up my phone and scroll through social media.   I stop at a red light and pick up ...