Signs at the End of the Age

Matthew 24:3-14

3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”

4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.

9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Someone said to me recently, “I believe that we are living in the end times. There is so much evil in the world and so many people are turning away from God that we have to be near the end.”

Whenever I hear someone talking about the end times I am reminded of the words of Jesus from Matthew 24:36: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”  If we as believers knew the exact hour or day that Christ would appear in power and glory in the sky, it would be a hindrance to our faith. Faith is the key word here. As believers, we must live each and every day by faith, trusting in God’s divine plan for this world.

Chapter 24, in the book of Matthew, gives us an insight into just how curious the disciples were, about when the end times would occur. Sitting down on the Mount of Olives, looking down over Jerusalem, the disciples want Jesus to give them a sign of when the end will come. It’s understandable that they would want to know a time frame since they were so deeply invested in the gospel ministry of Christ.

Matthew, chapter 24, can easily be misunderstood if you do not carefully study this chapter which talks about signs of the end of the age. The chapter begins with the disciples asking Jesus about signs to look for that signal the end of time. In verses 4-14, Jesus appears to give a description of the last days, which would begin with Jesus’ incarnation and end with his second coming.[1] The destruction of Jerusalem, which occurred in AD 70, is then presented in verses 15-22. Then in verses 23-31, it seems that we are given a description of Christ’s second coming.

There are many modern bible prophecy teachers that use this text to create interest or fervor among those who are curious or long for Christ to return to earth. While some of this teaching may be motivated by good intentions, it does not follow the teaching of Christ in Matthew 24:36, that plainly tells us that only God knows fully when the end of time will occur. Many end time teachers today use the bible to point out “clues” that the end is near. The bible however, states very clearly, that it is not in God’s will for us to know or even attempt to determine when the end will occur.

Many catastrophic events, such as earthquakes, famines, and wars, have occurred throughout the history of the world and these “birth pains” are sufferings that Jesus warns us that we will face. In our own time we may remember David Koresh or Jim Jones and the death tolls they exacted as false prophets. But there were also many false prophets that came on the scene in the first century. And in our time as well, we must constantly be on guard, for those whose teachings run counter to Christ and our Holy Scriptures.

Matthew 24:14: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”  There are many websites today that attempt to measure the preaching of the gospel to all the nations of the world. There is a lot of debate as to the percentage of nations that has been exposed to the gospel. Jesus knew that his disciples were curious and He knew that we would be curious in our time as well, but Christ plainly tells us that we can never know the exact day or hour that the end will come.

Jesus concludes his teachings on the end times, in Matthew chapter 24, by telling a parable about who is the faithful and wise servant that has been put in charge of his master’s household. This parable on being watchful and actively serving concludes this chapter on end times, but many people continue to miss what Jesus is saying. As believers, we must always be vigilant because the day of Christ’s coming could happen at any time. Jesus teaches us that we must also continue to preach and spread the gospel of Christ to the whole world and not worry about when the end will come.

As believers, we must be actively doing our part to share and spread the love and teachings of Christ each and every day. We can never be too busy that we miss the many opportunities that God gives us in our own “mission fields” every day.

Matthew 9:35-38: Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

As a follower of Christ, I encourage you to seek out the “harvest field” that God is calling you to, as you minister to and serve those that do not know Christ.

 

 

 



[1] Zondervan, NIV Study Bible, 2002

Are You Listening?

Romans 12:9-13: Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

The book of Romans, in which the Apostle Paul lays out the fundamental plan of salvation to the early church in Rome, is one of my favorite books of the Bible. Paul was writing to the church in Rome, which was made up of mostly Gentile believers. It appears that there was a substantial minority of Jewish Christians in the Rome church also and Paul was seeking to explain the relationship between Jew and Gentile in God’s overall plan of redemption. The Jewish believers were being rejected by the larger Gentile group in the church because the Jewish believers still felt constrained to observe dietary law and sacred days. [1]

In our scripture passage for today, Paul is writing about how believers should care for and act toward each other. Paul is encouraging the early church in Rome to live out their faith and their concern for each other with their actions. Your actions become apparent by how you: honor one another above yourself, share with God’s people who are in need, bless those who say bad things about you, rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.  You begin to live in harmony with one another, you live out a life that is humble, not being proud or conceited.

In verse 10, Paul writes that we should “honor one another above ourselves (yourselves).” At first glance, you can almost read over these five important words – honor one another above yourselves. As a believer, do you find that it is difficult to honor your fellow believer above your own self? In order to do that, we must become better at listening, and many of us have not yet mastered that skill. We need to be more intentional, to stop talking, and simply listen to our fellow believers. We need to hear their triumphs and their tragedies, their dreams and their worries, their walk of faith with God and their struggles with sin. We all have a tendency to talk about ourselves and our own problems and worries. Paul is saying to us that there comes a time when we just need to be quiet and take the time to listen to the worries and struggles of our brother or sister in Christ.

Peter comes to mind as a perfect example of someone who should be listening instead of talking. The gospel writer Luke tells the story of the transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. Jesus takes Peter, John and James with him to the mountain top to pray. And as Jesus was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became very bright. Luke tells us that Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but they became fully awake and saw the glory of Jesus and also Moses and Elijah standing there with Jesus.  Peter then speaks to Jesus and says something about putting up three shelters for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. The gospel writer Luke tells us that “He (Peter) did not know what he was saying.”  Then God’s voice comes out of a cloud that had appeared and surrounded them, and the voice came from the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” (Luke 9:34-35)

When we meet and speak to people in church and ask them how they are doing, they almost always reply that they are fine. That’s the expected answer; we would be very surprised if they began to give us a laundry list of all their worries and all of their problems. As believers however, we have an obligation to fully invest ourselves in each others lives.  We need to be willing to open up to each other and most importantly; we need to be prepared to listen to each other.

Paul words most certainly speak to each of us today. As followers of Christ, we must practice sincere love towards each other, we must rejoice and mourn with each other, we must try to live in harmony with each other and we must honor one another above ourselves and our own selfish interests. These are not just words that we say – these words must be lived out in our actions and in our encounters with each other. They must become a part of our lives together as believers and in our daily walk with God.



[1]Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002 Edition

 

What Is Your Calling?

Matthew 4:18-20: As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

The disciples were very ordinary men for the most part. Not one of them held a degree in theology and none of them could boast of any type of religious training, before Jesus came into their lives. These men were not part of the religious establishment of their day, they were outsiders. But they were chosen by Jesus to help spread the Good News throughout the Holy Land and out into the world.

The Gospel of Matthew tells us that when Jesus extended the invitation to Simon Peter and Andrew to follow him, they at once left behind their nets and they followed him. The Gospel is clear that there was not any hesitation by these two men as they accepted the calling of Jesus to follow him. Peter and Andrew could not have known what their future would hold, but they did not hesitate in following Jesus.

These two early followers of Jesus and the ten that followed were basically just like most of us. They did not lead perfect lives, they sometimes had selfish motives, they spoke when they should have listened, and they, throughout the Gospels, struggled with their faith. In fact, only one of the disciples remained at the foot of the cross, and that disciple was John.

In the book, Twelve Ordinary Men, by John MacArthur, the author writes this about these early followers of Christ: Yet with all their faults and character flaws – as remarkably ordinary as they were – these men carried on a ministry after Jesus’ ascension that left an indelible impact on the world. Their ministry continues to influence us even today. God graciously empowered and used these men to inaugurate the spread of the gospel message and to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Ordinary men – people like you and me – became the instruments by which Christ’s message was carried to the ends of the earth. No wonder they are such fascinating characters. [1]

If you desire to be a follower or disciple of Christ, you can look to these twelve men as proof that God can use each of us if we will only “take up our cross” and respond to His calling. God will not lay out the future before our eyes to allow us to decide if we will accept His calling. We would not be following in faith if God allowed that to happen. As believers, we must step out in faith and try to answer the calling that God gives each of us and believe that God will be there alongside us to help us on our path of living out our calling.

Each of us can make a difference in our home, in our workplace, in our church, and in our community. It doesn’t matter if you have lots of religious training or certain skill sets. And it doesn’t matter if you are young or old, man or woman, bold or shy, rich or poor. All it requires is that you love God and that you “love one another.”

John 13:34-35: A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”



[1] Twelve Ordinary Men, by John MacArthur, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Publisher, 2002

 

 

Remembering My Mom

Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 1:3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

March 17th, would have been my mother’s 84th birthday. Mom passed away on December 6th, 2011, following a four month illness after breaking her hip. Little did we know, that on the morning of August 7th , 2011, when she fell, that this was the last day that she would spend at her home. She lived with her sister and being separated for four months was extremely difficult for both of them.

Her birthday is a day that I have been trying not to think about for several months now. I knew that it would be here eventually, but I have not been looking forward to it. Knowing that my mom is in heaven with God has made these last few months bearable, but we continue to miss her. She was tired of suffering and being confined to a bed and she told me many times that she was ready to “go home, to heaven.” But still, she is greatly missed, with every passing day.

My mother was the leading influence in shaping who I am today. She taught me to work hard and to be honest in all that I do. The importance of loving and being loyal to your family, was another lesson that mom lived out for me to witness, over the course of her life. Being part of a community of believers and her strong faith were the most important legacies that she left behind. Growing up, I do not remember asking if we were going to church, it was always understood that we would be in church. She wanted to be certain that I had a good foundation to stand upon while I was growing up.

Besides talking with her each day, her smile is one of the things that I miss most about mom. Her last months were mostly spent at a rehabilitation facility near her home. She came to be greatly loved by the staff that took care of her.  This morning, as I was rereading the hospice card that was signed by, many who took care of her, I noticed some common comments on mom. I would like to share just a few of them with you.

  • “She always had a smile on her face; I loved taking care of her.”
  • “She was an amazing lady; I will always remember her beautiful smile.”
  • “She inspired us with her positive attitude and graciousness.”
  • “She made each day sweet to be here.”
  • “She will always be remembered for being so loving and kind to us; she always had a smile.”
  • “Her positive attitude and kind words were always a perk in our day.”
  • “She was a blessing to me; I am a better person for knowing her.”
  • “She never failed to greet us with a smile and a positive word; this special angel will truly be missed.”

We can have an impact on the lives of others, in any situation that we find ourselves in, good or bad. My mother could have become cold and uncaring after the many health struggles that she was faced with. However, she became even more positive and upbeat. She knew that she was probably never going to leave the rehab facility but she didn’t let that affect her outlook on life. She made a decision to get to know and to love the people who cared for her.  The medical term that would be used for a patient like her is that, she was “compliant.” The spiritual term that I would use to describe her attitude towards others is that, she was sharing and living out the love of Christ.

I am not trying to make my mom out to be a saint; she was a sinner just as we all are. It was her strong faith and a certainty of knowing where she would spend eternity, that made her want to reach out and be kind to others. She did not fear death, she knew that her heavenly home awaited her.

The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:55-57: “Where, O death, is your victory?Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

As believers, because of Christ’s resurrection and ours, we know that serving him is not an empty, useless activity.[1] Out labors here on this earth are not in vain, we will be rewarded at his second coming. And we know that, as followers of Christ, we will be rewarded with an eternal life, free from tears, suffering and pain.

My mom is more alive on this day than she has ever been. I cannot begin to imagine all that she is seeing and experiencing in heaven. And today, I take comfort, in knowing that I will see her again one day. It is because of the love of God, through Jesus Christ the Son, that by believing in Him and confessing Him as our Savior, we are saved from death and will spend eternity with our Father in heaven.

 

 



[1] Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002 edition

 

 

 

The Beautiful Earth

Scripture Reading: Psalm 19: 1-6: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.

I have been working in my yard a lot this week and it reminded me of my grandfather, Paul, who was always out working in his yard or in his garden. Paul lived in Banks County about a mile from where I grew up. I vividly remember Paul and the beautiful flowers that he grew and the impressive garden that he had every year. Paul loved the earth, the soil and the beautiful plants and vegetation that it produced. He believed it to be a blessing from God, a gift spoken from God. Paul also believed that it was our duty to take good care of the earth and to also share in its abundance, as he often did with everyone in the community from his garden.

Paul was a “character,” he had a witty sense of humor and he was a very friendly man. I remember him sitting in his usual pew on the left side of Harmony Baptist Church beside one of the windows. Paul always arrived about thirty minutes early to church, driving his powder blue Ford Fairlane. Many times Paul would be sitting under a shade tree at the edge of the parking lot where it was cooler. That was his time to sit outside and have a conversation with God before the service began. Paul, I believe, felt closer to God when he was outside.

When Paul passed away, the preacher at his funeral told the story of a time when he went to visit Paul and saw him down in the garden. The preacher said that he heard Paul talking but he didn’t see anyone else around. As he approached Paul, he saw him holding up a big, fine potato in one hand and he realized that Paul was talking to the other potatoes that were still in the ground. He was holding up this big, healthy looking potato and saying to the other ones, “now boys, this is what you all are supposed to look like.”

This psalm was written as a hymn that praised the majestic “glory of God” as displayed in the heavens, especially in the brilliant summer sun as it moves across a cloudless sky from east to west. [i]

How often do we take the time to stop and look at the beauty of God’s creation that is all around us? Whether we are gazing at the big, white, fluffy clouds that have been so beautiful this week, or the clear skies that have made the bright stars look magnificent these past few nights, we should be in awe of this beautiful earth that God has created. And we should also give thanks to God for all that we have been so richly blessed with.

 



[i] Zondervan NIV Study Bible, 2002 Edition

 

 

The Challenges of Life

Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:15-17: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.

There is so much in this world that attempts to take our focus away from our family and our faith. As a parent, it seems to be more difficult to sit down and simply watch a television show with my younger daughters. Many shows that we have watched over the past few years have begun to allow more undesirable words to be aired on their show. What are our duties, not only to our children, but also to our faith? Do we continue watching, do we write letters or emails to voice our displeasure, or do we simply do nothing?  As a Christian parent, I have a responsibility to raise my children to grow up as followers of Christ. I also have the responsibility, to use situations like these, to explain to my children why it’s not ok to use this type of language when speaking to others.

Our scripture passage today, reminds us that we can’t become too comfortable in this world that we live in. The writer, John, is not referring to the world of people or the created world, but the world, or realm, of sin, which is controlled by Satan and organized against God and what is righteous. [1]

Paul, in Ephesians 2:1-2 writes: “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.” Paul is describing a life that is separated from God and that is exactly what Satan wants in our lives today.  Satan wants us to be disobedient to God and to just accept things in this world as they are. The evil one wants us to become comfortable with the world that we live in and not question what our society defines as normal.

I meet people every week that only look to this world for acceptance, security and reassurance. Many have forgotten their faith and have chosen instead for the instant gratification that this fallen world offers. Some of these people like to feel important and they will go to any lengths to let everyone know their lists of accomplishments. Many others would simply choose the escape that this world seems to offer so that they can forget their marriage that is in trouble or their other relationships that are crumbling.

God offers something that is more permanent, actually eternal. Paul again, in Ephesians 2:4-5; 8-10: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

So go, and do the good works that God has planned for you to do. And know that God will be with you, as you live out your faith, in obedience to God. It won’t always be easy to do the right thing, but God will strengthen you as He continues to mold you into a new creation. Thank you God, for forgiveness, and for your amazing grace.

 

 

 

 



[1]Zondervan NIV Study Bible


Struggling With Sin

Romans 7:15-20; 24-25: I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do – this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Many scholars throughout the centuries have debated over what Paul is speaking about as he describes his struggles with his sinful nature. Is Paul speaking of the non – Christian life or is he speaking of the difficulties that a Christian faces with temptation and sin? Paul seems to be very honest about the subject of sin, and it seems to me that it is a personal struggle, one to which most of us can certainly relate to.

There are two things that we don’t like to discuss in church: Satan and sin. These two topics make us feel uncomfortable. We are fearful of digging deeper into our souls as we are then forced to examine who we truly are. We also would rather not be forced to come to terms with the reality of Satan in our lives and in the affairs of this world. Most Christians believe that Satan exists but they don’t want to think that he has any influence over their lives.

I believe that Paul is being very candid as he struggles with the control that sin can have on our lives, if we allow it.  Paul writes in Romans 8:5-6: Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.

We are presented with a choice; we can allow the desires of this fallen world that we live in, to guide our actions and our daily living. Or we can make a more intentional effort to allow the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts and our actions, as we live out our lives following the example of Christ. You can choose today which path you will take. Paul tells us to choose the path of life.

Psalm 1: 1-2 &6: Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

 

 

 

God and Silence

Last June, I did a post entitled, When God is Silent. I am posting this again because I have received more comments on this post than any other, and also for newer readers of my blog.  In fact, I continue to receive comments on this post from over eight months ago. It tells me that there are many people out there listening for God and seeking Him. I urge you to continue to seek out God and to listen for His reply, in whatever form that may be.

Psalm 102: 1-7: Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. Because of my loud groaning I am reduced to skin and bones. I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof.

We live in a world where there is constant noise and very little silence. Noise is something that we are accustomed to and when there is silence, we become uncomfortable. When the pastor asks the congregation to pray in silence, before the pastoral prayer, I take notice of people moving around uneasily. Even in the middle of a church service, we are anxious when it comes to silence.

Silence is especially painful when it is the silence of God in our lives. And it seems that when we are going through a painfully long period of silence from God, there are many people that want to tell us about how God has “spoken” to them. That tends to trouble me, because I begin to wonder why God is speaking to them and not to me. The silence that I am feeling becomes agonizing and then uncertainties begin to settle in my mind, and I pray really hard for some kind of answer, and it seems that all I get from God is silence.

When God is silent we can simply become upset with God, we become confused, we start to doubt. The truth is that we just don’t know what to do with God’s silence. There is some sort of anguish in my life, I am suffering and in pain like the psalmist. And it seems that I have been praying to God for a very long time, to help me with my problems, and all that I am met with, is silence from God. Then I begin to question if God has given up on me or has stopped listening to me and my prayers.

The Old Testament story of Job, is a reminder of crying out to God for answers and receiving silence. Job cried out to God for the first thirty seven chapters of the book of Job and God finally answered him in chapter 38. God said, “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (Job 38:4-5). That is God’s way of reminding us that God continues to be in charge of this universe.

The psalmist, in our scripture reading today, seems to be asking, “God, are you even listening to these prayers of mine that I am pouring out to you?” I’m hurting Lord, I’m in deep anguish God, please hear my prayers. The psalmist is reminding us that it’s allright to complain to God. We don’t have to hide our feelings from God because He knows what they are already.

It could be that God is not silent after all; it’s possible that we are not tuned into hearing God. We are surrounded by background noise and countless distractions. God is trying to communicate with us, but we can’t hear God because we have blocked him out. Our minds are tuned into the internet or the television instead of reading our Bible daily or a few moments of quiet prayer with God. It is in those moments that we can hear that still, small voice of our creator God. And it is in those moments that we can receive answers to our worries or concerns.

1 Kings 19:11-12: The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. This is why it is crucial to have a daily quiet time with God, so that through reading the Bible, or through prayer, God can speak to your heart through the Holy Spirit, in that still, quiet voice. Don’t allow yourself to be too busy that you don’t take the time to listen.

There is a story that you may have heard about a man who once lost his valuable watch in an ice house. All of his fellow workers diligently searched the ice house looking for the watch. They combed every inch of it, but they couldn’t find it. A little boy, hearing about their search, slipped into the ice house and quickly emerged with the watch. All of the men were amazed and they said, “How did you find it?” And he said, ” Well I simply went to the ice house, closed the door, laid down quietly on the floor, and then I began to listen. After a while, I could hear the tick, tick, tick of the watch.” Are you training yourself to listen for that gentle whisper of God?

What happens when prayers seem to go unanswered or not answered in the way that we wanted them to be? For me, it’s continuing to have faith and trust in God and His plan for my life. I have struggled lately with my calling and why things have not worked out in the time frame that I have wanted them to. I feel that I have been faithful to God and sometimes I just can’t understand why opportunities have passed me by and doors have been closed on me. Someone told me several weeks ago that God closes one door in order to open up another one. I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of all those doors slamming shut in my face.

However, I continue to have faith and hope, and I trust in God’s promises. I pray that you will continue to have faith and seek out some quality, quiet time with God. I believe, that it is in those quiet moments, that we have the opportunity to experience God revealing himself to us and making clear His will for our lives. We must train ourselves to be quiet, and to listen, and then respond, to our creator God.