Thursday, February 26, 2009

Develop a Tender Conscience

"God will use your conscience to help lead you and keep you out of trouble," Joel Osteen says in BECOME A BETTER YOU. I attended an assembly today at a high school given by a former police officer who had a daughter, Kelsy Smith, abducted from the Target parking lot in Olathe and killed. He told us that 70% of personal safety depends on listening to your intuition. I am not sure how closely related conscience and intuition are, but I feel like both are the voice of God inside. I've called that a GPS (God's Powerful Spirit) before, and today I would like to make a case for using it. Joel says, "Don't override your own conscience. When you feel uncomfortable down inside, pull back and pay attention to what God is trying to say to you." He can protect you from danger. Joel goes on to say, "every time you obey, your conscience becomes more tender. When you obey, you're letting in more light. Your heart will be a little softer and you'll respond more quickly.....Live your life with a clear conscience. Get into God's best plan. The Scripture says in Matthew 6:22 that the lamp of the body is the eye." The former police officer advised us to be aware of our surroundings and make eye contact. It humanizes us and makes it harder for the offender to harm us. Also if we have our eyes open, we are aware of what is going on around us, and that adds to our safety. I am learning to accept direction from my inner, intuitive voice, which is my guide to knowing. I think of conscience as the urging to do the right thing. Both intuition and conscience are valuable tools of my GPS. As long as I listen to that still, small voice, I will be OK, and so will you. :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rising Higher

Joel Osteen says, "The way to rise higher is by staying open and dealing with issues as God brings them to light....Anyone of us can rise higher. There is no limit to what God will do in your life, if you will learn to obey quickly." We need to listen to our GPS (God's Powerful Spirit). That is the part of us that transcends our body's and our mind's limitations. We can bring forth the light of God because our GPS lifts us above any experience we may face. How does this happen? Well, we have a wonderful example in Jesus. He stole away from the masses to pray. This communion with God kept His Spirit high. Even when He went to the cross, He was not overwhelmed because He knew that He was fulfilling His purpose on earth. He did not see himself as a victim but as a victor. Another example He set is forgiveness. Jesus said, "Forgive them for they know not what they do." We need to also forgive if we expect to rise higher. A third example he sets is His ability to stay focused on the present moment. Jesus was placed between two thieves at the crucifixion. One thief represents the past. He says to Jesus, "I know I deserve what I'm getting because I know I've done a lot of negative things. However, YOU don't deserve this, Jesus." The other thief represents the future when he says, "What's going to happen to us after this experience?" Jesus represents the present when he says, "Today, thou shalt be with me in paradise." When we hang out in the past like the first thief, we set ourselves up for regret. When we hang out in the future, we set ourselves up for worry and anxiety. Jesus stays in the present moment. It is in our awareness of what is going on right now that we can find peace. It is in the present moment that we can hear the voice of God and rise higher. When we go from "nowhere" to "now here", we experience divinity and bliss. When we are ready to transcend, we go within and get in touch with our GPS. God will then raise us higher so we can transform our world a little at a time. We can rise above any circumstance and let our light shine to make this world a better place. Joel says, "God is preparing you for greater things. He's going to take you further than you thought possible, so don't be surprised when He asks you to think better of yourself and to act accordingly." Jesus taught us these three things by example: (1) Pray and listen to the Holy Spirit, our GPS; (2) Forgive;, and (3) Stay in the Present. If we would do these three things, we can rise above any circumstance that comes along.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

God Is in Control

If you believe that God is there for you no matter what, then sorrow will have as much divinity as joy. GOD IS in control!! Banish any doubt of that! It is not enough to believe this to be true; you must KNOW this to be true. Otherwise nagging doubts will steal your joy. If trauma happens in your life, strive for peace of mind by KNOWING God is in control, and that HE has your best interests at heart. HE loves you and me. Thank You, LORD! Joel Osteen says, "When we truly trust Him and believe that He's in control, we can rest. There's a peace in our hearts and minds. Deep down on the inside, we know that everything is going to be all right." Wow! Isn't that a comforting thought? No matter what happens, God is in control, causing us to be in the right place at the right time. Every day the media puts out more scary stuff about the economy, and if we don't know WHO is really in charge, that news will steal our peace and joy. Last week we discussed remembering our good. It's a good thing to remember how God has bailed us out in the past. His economic bail-out is much more dependable than anything the government can do. He's never let us down in the past, and He will certainly be there in our future. That's not to say we won't have some challenges in our life, but ultimately we will see God's hand in everything that happens. He's working in our lives and arranging things in our favor. I Thessalonians 2:13 says, "God is effectually at work in those who believe." God has the answer. He knows the beginning and the end. That takes away the stress and the worry. What a relief from the pressure of life to know that God is in control! Expect good things. Rely on God's perfect timing. "Weeping my endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalms 30:5).

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Remember the Good

David says in Psalms 77:11, "I recall the many miracles God has done for me. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about them." Talk about an attitude of gratitude! David constantly remembered the good. What an example! When I remember the good things in my life, I am so grateful. I remember the sad times too when God carried me through them to a sweet spot. One of the loneliest times of my life occurred when my girls grew up and moved away. I was in Lodgepole, Nebraska, and my daughters moved to Fort Smith, Arkansas. I missed them so much. My first grandchild was born to Teresa in Arkansas while I still lived in Nebraska. Oh, how I longed to be with my family! Then Teresa had a pulmonary embolism. It was one of the scariest times of my life. I flew down to Arkansas to be with her and my new granddaughter while she was in the hospital. Later when she was released from the hospital, I went back to that small Nebraska town where I had taught English for fourteen years, but I found that I could no longer endure the separation from my daughters and little granddaughter Jessica. So I decided to resign from teaching in Lodgepole and move to Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was already summer, and I wondered if the schools in Fort Smith had already hired all the teachers for the fall. I filled out applications for the schools but took a minimum wage job for the summer. I was concerned about how I would survive on that wage when one of the junior high schools responded to my application. I had an interview! Every one told me that it would be very hard to get the job because there were a lot of applicants. I had God's favor, though, and landed a job at the junior high. It was awesome! I now lived close to my daughters and granddaughter. I was thrilled. Before long, I met Frank, my wonderful husband. God turned my loneliness and my daughter's health issue into something beautiful. Teresa recovered and my lonely life was suddenly full to the brim! Talk about God directing my steps and giving me such blessings in His perfect timing. Wow! What an encouragement that is for me even to this very day! I thank God for what He has done. That memory causes me to dwell on God's goodness so I can stay in an attitude of faith and victory. The pictures above show Teresa, Jessica, and me years later climbing around on Mt. Evans in Colorado.

It's good to write down how God answers our prayers. In our bible study group, at one time we were encouraged to keep our worries in a notebook and pray over them. Then when God answered them, we recorded that. It was amazing what an encouragement that notebook was for me. Every time I got it out and read how God worked out every situation, I was so encouraged. I started to call it my blessing notebook. Joel Osteen says, "When you recall how God opened this door for you, protected you over here, restored you over there, healed you here, your faith will increase....He is holding you in the palm of His hand, and He will take care of you." Yes, Lord, help me to always remember the good that You have done. Thank YOU, LORD!!