Your Voice

Okay, so you caught me. I screen my phone calls. When the phone rings, if it’s a number I don’t know, I don’t answer it. When the answering machine cuts in, I wait to hear if someone will leave a message. Remember when we were happy to get a phone call? Do you remember before answering machines and caller id, when we wanted to actually talk to the caller?

The other day, my home phone rang, and the caller id showed unknown, so I let it go to the answering machine which kicked in and I heard a voice call my name. The voice was staticky, but I recognized my friend’s voice so I picked up the phone. We talked a few minutes and had a nice visit.

I recognize many of my friends and all my family by their voices. One voice I love to hear is one that speaks often in my heart. I don’t hear this voice with my physical ears, although some people have, but I recognize Jesus’ voice when He speaks to me. When I say, “The Lord told me…….” I usually mean I heard something in my heart.

Let me tell you how I recognize His voice. I spend time with Jesus’ reading the Bible, praying, and just thinking about what He would do or say. Also I am familiar with what Jesus would say now, because I’ve read what Jesus said while on earth. I have known Jesus for many years, since I am now 69 years old and met Him when I was about 8.

Jesus said, “And when he [the Shepherd] brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers…. I am the good shepherd. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:4-5, 27. New King James.

Think about the Bible when you are reading, and listen inside for His voice. He’ll speak to you too.

 

 

 

A Plan to Bring You Out

When Joseph brought his father and brothers into Egypt during the time of famine, God had a purpose in it—to save their lives and their race. Joseph, the prime minister of Egypt, wanted his father Jacob to join him there. God spoke to Jacob in the night and told him, “Go to Egypt, for there I will make of you a great nation. I will go down with you to Egypt and I will also surely bring you up again.” Gen 46:4.

Many years later, Jacob’s descendant Moses was tending sheep in the wilderness, when he saw the burning bush. God told him, “I have heard their cry because of their taskmasters for I know their sorrows and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians.” Ex. 3:7-8. God had a plan to bring them out before they ever went down to Egypt.

They cried out to God and He heard them, but He already knew what they were going through. That was not the first time God knew about it, when He heard their cries. He knew what was going to happen and it was all a part of His master plan to make of Abraham’s descendants a great nation. He even knew how long it was going to take for them to grow to the number that He had planned.

God knows what you are going through. It has not taken God by surprise. It is all part of His plan, to make of you a great nation, a people of God like none other before. Keep crying out to God for deliverance. Don’t stop on the edge of a miracle; don’t give up too soon. God has a plan and a timetable.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV.

God has a plan to bring you out.

My Old Shell

Several years ago my 8-year-old grandson and I found empty cicada shells on the patio, split down the back, with the feet still attached to the columns.

“Oh, the poor bug is dead,” he said.

“No, he is still alive,” I told him. “He grew a new shell and slipped out of his old one and left it behind as he flew off on a new adventure.” I picked the June bug shell off the post and laid it down on the patio table for a lesson on insects. “See this split on his back? That is where he escaped the old shell.”

“Why did he do that?” Zac asked me.

“His old shell was wearing out and getting too tight, like the way you outgrow your clothes, so he grew a new shell while he was still inside the old one. When it was ready, he took off his old shell, like taking off a coat, and left it hanging here on the patio post.”

This explanation seemed to satisfy his curiosity and we went on to other things, but I couldn’t get that cicada shell out of my mind.

Someday my old shell will be worn out and too tight, just like the June bug’s shell. When my time has come, my spirit which is the real me inside will step out of my physical body.

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, “So also is the resurrection of the dead… It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. ..As we have borne the image of the man of dust, [meaning Adam] we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man [meaning Jesus Christ.] So when ….this mortal [body] has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: ‘Death is swallowed up in victory.'” I Corinthians 15: 42-54 NKJV. (Inserts added by Lavon for clarity. Read it all for yourself.)

When you see my unoccupied body lying there, you will know it is only my June bug shell. It isn’t me; I am off to a new adventure in my new body.

Total Makeover

Make-overs are all the rage these days. Make over your home, your garden, your hair, your clothes. Some people need a major overhaul, a total make-over, from their hair to their homes to their lives.

I had a major over-haul in 1975, when I rededicated my life to the Lord Jesus Christ and asked Him to change me, because I had made a wreck of my life. I needed someone to take control of my life and work out all the kinks, to show me what I was born for, what my life meant. It wasn’t just my looks, although the Lord surely changed those too, but my attitudes and thoughts and feelings were all scrambled up, until I truly didn’t know what I wanted or how I felt.

He didn’t change me overnight like they do on those TV makeover shows, but little by little, my life started getting better. Oh, there were still bad times, when I regressed, two steps forward, one step back.

One day years later while I was blow-drying my hair in front of the mirror, I started singing a little song, “Little by little He’s changing me, line upon line He teaching me,” My heart leaped in my chest and I started to cry. Jesus really had been changing me, while I wasn’t looking. Jesus was making me into what He had intended for me to be all along.

II Corinthians 5:17-18 says, ” Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold all things have become new. Now all things are of God who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ. . .”

The moment you ask Jesus into your heart, you are born again and become a new creation, a new creature, a new species of being that hasn’t been known of before. Your spirit is changed and made new, but it takes a while for that change to work its way outside. I am just now beginning to be the woman God wants me to be.

Jesus changed me from the inside out.

Shod With Good Shoes

My first memory of shoe shopping is leaving the store crying because Mama bought the ugly tie-up shoes instead of the cute Mary Janes I wanted so badly. Another time when I was being fitted, the man pressed on my toe and I pulled it back, so when I got home that pair of shoes was too short for me and I couldn’t wear them.

When I was born my feet were crooked.  My older sister said, “They shipped her in too short a shoe box.” Mama said she held my little feet in her hands to straighten them out, as she rocked me and prayed over my feet.
I wear narrow width, so it is hard to find odd-size shoes in a small town. I usually buy a pair of shoes anytime I go to the Big City, but mainly I order my shoes online. Mama always said to dress your feet first and she always bought the best shoes she could buy, even if it meant doing without something else.
A horse is shod by attaching horse shoes on his hooves. Or he is s-h-o-e-d; that is where that  ‘shod’ came from. We are “shoed” or shod when we put our shoes on our feet. Shoes protect our feet, give us stability, allow us to stand a long time, help us be firm-footed. Shoes stand between us and obstacles, such as thorns, sharp rocks, broken glass, biting insects or animals. Shoes also keep the soles (or souls) of our feet soft and pliable.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.” Ephesians 6:15-16 NKJV.

Put your shoes on in preparation and plant your feet firmly, so you will be ready and prepared to resist and stand your ground against evil forces that come against you, by the power of the word of God.
If you have your shoes on, you are ready to face the day. Whatever comes, you will be prepared.

Your Bucket Your Heart

Most people in a small town don’t drive badly, but the ones that do irritate me no end. Small-town drivers stop where there is no stop sign and run stop signs. They pass on the right, where there is pavement but only one lane, especially where someone is making a left-hand turn. They don’t signal or give any indication that they are going to turn, because they don’t decide till they get to the intersection whether they are going to turn or go right through it.
However, the rule has always been that we don’t call anyone stupid in my house, so I have to be very careful that I don’t use those words that are floating around in my mind while I am out driving with my grandson.
What words float to the surface of your mind when something irritating happens? When your “bucket” is kicked, what comes out? Just like a water bucket that the oldtimers used to carry water from the well, your heart is a depository. What are you putting in your heart, your “bucket?” Are you filling it with the Word of God, with songs of praise and worship of the Lord, with words of gratitude and thankfulness?

Or are you filling it with words of complaint and grumpiness? With feelings of irritation, stress, and aggravation? Do you go about your day grumbling about being mistreated and abused by your co-workers? Do you complain about the weather, the economy, the IRS and income taxes, the price of gas?

In Matthew 15:11, Jesus said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man: but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.”
Whatever your heart is full of will come out when somebody kicks your bucket.